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June 26, 2013

KITCHELL: Time for a Landis comes full circle

When the great actor Tom Hanks shot “A League of Their Own” in Indiana, one of the most memorable lines in his script was “There is no crying in baseball.”

Maybe this year, there should be. This is the kind of summer when little boys, fathers and grandfathers join forces to talk baseball for the ages — and yet they’re not. This is the kind of year when young and middle-aged men go to a bar at night to hear a buzz and not get one — and they’re not.

Some of us can remember the last time a Major League Baseball player hit .400 or higher in a season. That was in the 1940s when Ted Williams swatted a lofty .406.

Some of us can faintly remember that epic 1961 Roger Maris chase to beat Babe Ruth’s home run record and the asterisk that distinguished the fact that Maris played in a 162-game season while the Babe only played in 154.

Some of us remember Hank Aaron getting death threats when he approached and then surpassed the Babe’s lifetime 714 home run total.

Some of us can remember when Denny McClain went 30-6 for the Detroit Tigers before gambling darkened his reputation as a competitor.

Some of us can remember Rickey Henderson obliterating Lou Brock’s stolen base mark, or Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire erasing the single-season homer records before Barry Bonds eclipsed them.

Some of us might remember a baseball player out of Notre Dame named Carl Yastrzemski who won a triple crown for the Boston Red Sox. The triple crown may be the rarest feat in all of baseball. No-hitters are thrown practically every season, and even a perfect game is not uncommon. Triple plays are executed periodically and there is the occasional inside-the-park grand slam.

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