July 5, 2012
Looking For the Next Tekulve
I'm proud to say that along with my Ottoman Empire fascination that I have a Kent Tekulve fascination. I know what you're thinking right now, "Jeez this guy is weird." Before you say anything though just know that Rick Santorum is also a Tekulve fan. Okay maybe you're right. A fascination with Tekulve is weird.
But you have to look at Tekulve as a whole. Look at his aviator glasses he wore while pitching. Those old Pirates hats that made players look like construction workers or bee's. His famous submarine delivery which always looked exceptionally hard to pull off because his arm would behind his head while he was bent over to throw a pitch.
And then there is the longevity and the records. Did you know he holds the Phillies record for games pitched in a season? And that he was 40 years old? Did you also know he never had a BABIP over .303 his entire career which is pretty remarkable.
Tekulve wasn't just a goofy looking son of a bitch, he was also one of the most reliable pitchers in two decades. Tekulve is one of those guys who probably could have pitched much longer if he really wanted to.
I bring this up because I miss Tekulve's style. I can delve into the stats and talk about his longevity, but the only thing I and other people will always remember about Tekulve was his style. His hair, those glasses, and his windup.
Baseball to me has lost it's sense of style over the years and that's one of the reasons why the sport has seen a decline in interest. Now please spare me with your "Brian Wilson's beard!" talk. There have been plenty players over the years who have grown beards. Bruce Sutter had a big bushy beard when he played. Beards and facial hair have been a part of the game for a long time. Brian Wilson didn't re-invent the wheel by growing a beard. And neither did James Harden while I'm on the topic of beards.
I'm talking about wearing real glasses on the field again. And not the little skinny glasses Eric Sogard wears that makes him look like a professor at Cal. I'm talking about the big aviator glasses Tekulve would wear on the mound. Why has that style disappeared? And why are guys afraid of wearing the aviator's on the mound today? That's real style. Not facial hair that most men can grow.
I want the next Tekulve to enter my life. It would be preferable if he was skinny and threw submarine style like Tekulve but it's not required. MLB needs this style to come back to flourish as a game. We need men willing to stand up to the beards and embrace the glasses. As Bud "Montgomery Burns" Selig would say, "It's what's good for the game."
according to Wikipedia (it must be true) Tekulve shows off his 79 championship ring to everyone who meets him. How perfect is that? In my imagination Tekulve walks down the streets of Pittsburgh just holding out his hand like royalty giving the common folk a chance to to kiss the ring. And yes I would kiss his ring.