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Happy Birthday To...

January 31 is the best birthday in baseball. You know why?

Because it's the birthday of Jackie Robinson, a baseball pioneer of great courage and fortitude who stood up to racism and oppression and paved the way for those who followed his path.

Because it's the birthday of Ernie Banks, a man who loved baseball so much that he'd always rather play two. The 512 career home runs were a pretty good reason why.

Because it's the birthday of Nolan Ryan, a pitcher of great strength and endurance, who sent 5,714 batters muttering and cursing back to the dugout in frustration.

Because it's the birthday of Charlie Robertson who showed that perfection can be attained (see Tigers vs White Sox, April 30, 1922) even in the face of mediocrity (see a 49-80 career record).

Because it's the birthday of Duke Maas, Pinky Hargrave, Stuffy Stewart, Steamboat Williams, Goat Cochran, Honey Barnes, whose presence reminds us of the wonder of the nickname, to have fun with the sport, and to make the best use you can out of www.baseball-reference.com.

Because it's the birthday of Rafael Santana and Bob Apodaca, whom we can appreciate simply because they were Mets and that's as good a reason as any in my book.

Oh, it's my birthday too, but that doesn't really have much to do with anything, other than to give me something neat to write about today. But if you're curious about the story of my birth (aka: "I was a walk-off baby") feel free to click on the link below.

http://metswalkoffs.blogspot.com/2005/07/i-was-walk-off-baby-another-tale-of.html

True Metdays know...That January 31 is also the birthday of legendary former Packers wide receiver Don Hutson, ex-heavyweight champion Jersey Joe Walcott and two-time Gold Medal swimmer Shirley Babashoff.

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