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Canzano: A nod to the greatest right-handed hitter who ever lived
Now, tell me about your dad...
My dad would walk into the room when I was a kid and ask: “Who was the greatest right-handed hitter who ever lived?”
Napoleon LaJoie won five batting titles. Joe DiMaggio hit safely in 56 straight games. Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente and Rogers Hornsby weren’t bad, either. But my answer was always the same.
“You are, dad.”
My dad was a middle infielder. He ran well and had butter-soft hands in the field. He was good enough with the glove to become a minor-league All-Star. But his most productive batting season in the minors was a .258 batting average in Triple-A in 1969. Two seasons later, at age 24, he hit a career-high seven home runs.
At 25, he retired.
My father was — and is — my hero. Always there when I needed him. Always free to play catch, tell me a bed-time story, take me to a book store or wrestle on the living room floor.
I love the photograph of my dad at the top of today’s piece. He’s a young shortstop in Triple-A with the New York Mets organization at the time. The picture was snapped before I knew him. I don’t know what he’s talking about or with who is listening, but I know that expression on his face.
I frequently saw him that way as a kid.
My father sacrificed for his four children. I talked with him this morning on the phone and thanked him for being a great dad. And for teaching me how to be a good father. I also told him he’s still the greatest right-handed hitter who ever lived.
I’m not going to write long today. But I want to wish all the fathers who read my column a happy Father’s Day.
A year ago, I checked in with a variety of Pac-12 Conference leaders including commissioner George Kliavkoff, several athletic directors and coaches. I asked them about their fathers and wrote about it. If you missed that piece, give it a read.
Now it’s your turn — tell me about your dad in the comment section.
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