ST. LOUIS — So far, the World Series first-pitch duties have been handled by a crew that included an NBA champion, a Super Bowl hero, a former U.S. president and Bob Gibson.
But as we head into Thursday night's Game 6, it appears that the St. Louis Cardinals are really starting to pull out the big guns. Throwing out Thursday night's first pitch will be none other than David Eckstein, the pint-sized hero of the 2006 World Series.
Eckstein, as you'll remember, was named MVP of that World Series win against the Detroit Tigers after he went 8 for 22 with three doubles and four RBIs in the five-game series. He played another season with the Cardinals before finishing off his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres. He retired after 2010.
Over the years, Eckstein has become a smirking punchline in the SABR community as the tributes to his unquantifiable "scrappiness" piled up. I've never found a home on either extreme, though I do like the move to bring him back to Busch Stadium for Thursday night. Regardless of what you think of his overall value as a ballplayer relative to the publicity he received, he definitely created some October memories around these parts.
If the Cards go on to force a Game 7, perhaps he'll make one more.