Heroes

When I last visited the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame about 8 years ago, I wandered into a bookstore and noticed a book authored by my childhood baseball hero—a book in which he monotonously spouted many things about himself.  This former player holds many National League and MLB records, and I’m of the opinion that he should be in the Hall of Fame despite personal downfalls.  His prideful character is far from unassailable, though, and I long ago stopped listening and following his exploits (although I do have a gift coffee mug with his uniform number on it, and I’m hanging onto an autograph, too, for posterity).  I can’t completely shake my consciousness of this past player, but I’m opting out of using his name here since he’s gotten more than his share of publicity.  As late as my 20s, I might have named him as one of my “heroes,” but no more.

My dad, during his childhood, had chosen a far better baseball hero—Stan Musial, a man who apparently never did anything societally unbecoming.  Musial also holds many baseball records and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.  Musial is “The Man” by nickname and could also be referred to that way in complimentary slang terms (i.e., “Dude, you Da Man”):  his baseball career, his reputation as a person and celebrity, and his personal integrity all seem to have been aligned.  My dad’s autobiographical memoir (for which I served as copy/layout editor) contains an entire chapter on Musial.  I have a copy of an autographed Musial photo on my wall and am also happy to be first in line for a Musial-autographed ball, which will be passed down the line through my son.  [See also  https://blcasey.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/multi-talented-monopolies-or-sluggers-and-clergymen/]

Baseball heroes are okay, I suppose, as far as they go.  Most of them are probably better than entertainment-types.

But the only hero I now claim lived 2,000 years ago.  He’s the only One worthy of hero worship.  Obviously, the Galilean Rabbi didn’t tick off the baseball commissioner or the press, but He did tick off the religious establishment as He turned the world upside down by newly bringing in the Kingdom of God in the midst of the Roman Empire scene.  The “Son of Man” (in a sense a nickname, and one with a lot more theological and cosmic significance than Musial’s “The Man”) didn’t have sports records, but He did have a completely perfect record as a human on earth.  It would be hard to imagine Him giving autographs like a celebrity, and He didn’t receive a national medal.  He did have given to Him the name that is above every name . . . the power above all powers . . . the authority and status of The Name YHVH.  He is Kurios, the Lord.

God upraised Him to the topmost place and freely conferred on Him the name which is above every name.   – Philippians 2:9

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