Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bigfoot Diaries Hall of Fame

Aint no pussies in the Hall of Fame...

This is the inaugural class of the Bigfoot Diaries Hall of Fame. It works like this: I will take nominations, and if I deem someone worthy of induction, I will consider them for a spot in the Hall... But please note that it's not an easy club to get into. While I am open to your nominations, I am a committee of one. I am the only one who has a say on who can be inducted or not... Making this perhaps the most exclusive Hall of Fame in the world.

This class includes 5 men of my own nomination that could be considered for ANY Hall of Fame... These men are kings in a world of pawns and have each displayed a unique quality that has set them apart from the rest of society. Perhaps they have displayed  an acute immunity to weakness, or showed resiliency in the black face of danger. Maybe they took us on a journey that broke musical barriers while offering a one finger salute to the very industry that they helped to define, or maybe they put their own life on the line in order to save someone else's... Whatever they did, they did it extremely well without compromise.

Without further ado, I bring you the inaugural class of the Bigfoot Diaries Hall of Fame.

Ron Santo

Ron Santo has a Hall of Fame problem... He isn't in one. And that's why he is the inaugural member of The Bigfoot Diaries Hall of Fame. This Chicago Cub legend is one of 6 Cubs to have his jersey number retired by the orginization. Battling with Diabetes his entire career, Santo still managed to put up Hall of Fame caliber statistics, only to be shunned by the sportswriters that ultimately decide who is worthy of that prestigious fraternity. During his 14-season run with the Cubs, Santo hit 337 home runs, then the eighth most by a National League right-handed hitter; his 1,071 career walks with the Cubs remain the team record for a right-handed hitter. He was the first third baseman to hit 300 home runs and win five Gold Gloves, a feat since matched only by Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.

A nine-time National League (NL) All-Star, he led the league in walks four times, in on base percentage twice and in triples once. He batted .300 and hit 30 home runs four times each, and is the only third baseman in major league history to post eight consecutive seasons with 90 runs batted in (RBI) (1963-1970). He was the second player at his position to hit 300 career home runs, joining Eddie Mathews, and also ended his career ranking second to Mathews among third basemen in slugging average (.464) and third in runs batted in (1,331), total bases (3,779) and walks (1,108).

His defense was also worthy of mention: The winner of five consecutive Gold Glove Awards for fielding excellence (1964-1968), he set or tied NL records by leading the league's third basemen in total chances eight times... In games, putouts and assists seven times each... And in double plays six times. He also set NL records for career assists (4,532), total chances (6,777) and double plays (389) at third base, all records which weren't broken until Mike Schmidt did it between 1986 and 1988.

In 1961 he set a Cubs record with 41 double plays at third base, breaking the previous mark of 33 set by Bernie Friberg in 1923. In 1962 he led the NL in assists for the first time with 332, setting the team record for assists at third base, breaking the mark of 323 set by Randy Jackson in 1951. Santo continued to lead the NL in assists every year through 1968, breaking Ned Williamson's major league record of leading the league six times; Brooks Robinson went on to lead the American League eight times, and Mike Schmidt eventually tied Santo's NL mark of seven. In 1963 Santo broke the modern NL record with 374 assists at third base, passing Tommy Leach's 1904 mark of 371. In 1966 he set the all-time league record with 391, the previous record being Billy Shindle's 382 in 1892; his total was 99 higher than that of league runner-up Ken Boyer. Santo broke his own record in 1967 with 393 assists, which remained the NL record until Schmidt posted 404 in 1974; Santo's assist totals from 1963 through 1968 were the six highest by an NL third baseman between 1905 and 1973.

Did I mention that Santo played his entire career with Diabetes, a very mis-understood disease in his era? He based his blood-sugar counts off of his moods... If he was "moody" he would eat a candy bar in the club house to build up his blood sugar. He kept this fact a secret for most of his playing career for fear of being benched, or receiving preferential treatment. As part of the publicity surrounding "Ron Santo Day" at Wrigley Field on August 28, 1971, he revealed his struggle with diabetes. He was diagnosed with this disease at the age of 18, and was given a life expectancy of 25 years. Santo has had both his legs amputated below the knee as a result of his diabetes. Here it is 52 years later and Ron Santo is still going strong.

Congratulations, Ronnie, you tough son of a gun. You are in the Hall of Fame.

Aron Ralston

This might be the toughest son of a bitch to ever walk the planet. A true life super hero, Aron Ralston overcame insurmountable odds after getting his arm stuck between a fallen boulder and a canyon wall while on a rock climbing adventure.

While he was on a canyoneering trip in Blue John Canyon (near Moab, Utah), a boulder fell and pinned his right forearm, crushing it. After five days of trying to lift and break the boulder, a dehydrated and delirious Ralston prepared to cut off his already dead arm by levering it against a chockstone, which snapped the radius and ulna bones. Using the dull blade on his multiuse tool, he cut the soft tissue around the break. He then used the tool's pliers to tear at the tougher tendons...

He used the boulder that trapped his hand as a leverage device to break the bones in his arm, and he had to drink his own urine for several days after running out of his rationed water. After freeing himself, he was still eight miles from his truck (which incidentally was a stick shift), and he had no cellular phone. He had to rappel down a 65-foot sheer wall, then hike out of the canyon in the hot midday sun. After finally meeting with other hikers in the canyon (a family of three on vacation from the Netherlands), he was given food (two Oreo cookies, all they had) and water and ultimately rescued by a helicopter search team.

So yeah... Lets recap: All this guy did was cut off his own arm after spending 5 days in the wilderness alone to free himself from a boulder that had him pinned against a wall. He drank his own urine to keep from dehydrating to death, and he had to travel through 8 miles of extreme wilderness... Even rappelled down a 65 foot cliff, just to get to his truck which incidentally was a STICK SHIFT... All of this under the blistering mid-day sun.

Yeah. This Hall of Fame was made for people like you Aron.

Dr. Claudio Vitale

On March 23rd, 2009 this Italian doctor was performing a rare and dangerous brain surgery on a patient when he started to suffer from a heart attack. Knowing that his team wasn't skilled enough to finish the surgery themselves, and that the patient would die if he left his post, Dr. Vitale continued to work through his pain to get the patient to a point where his team could take over safely. Then, a half hour later the doctor underwent surgery of his own to repair his damaged heart.

An Italian surgeon managed to complete a brain operation despite suffering an angina attack during the procedure.

Claudio Vitale, 59, insisted on finishing the surgery in Naples before undergoing his own operation to clear an artery which had clotted up. Despite the intense pain and the sake for his own well-being, Dr. Vitale refused to abandon the operation to remove a tumour, even though he needed emergency treatment.

According to reports, Mr Vitale started to feel chest pains part way through the operation at Naples' Cardarelli Hospital. When the pains worsened, Mr Vitale's team urged him to stop the procedure and get treatment, but he refused. He agreed to undergo a blood test, which confirmed a heart problem, but the neurosurgeon insisted on completing the operation before getting medical help.

Half an hour after finishing the surgery, Mr Vitale had an angioplasty operation to treat an angina attack.

"I couldn't leave [the patient] at such a delicate moment," Mr Vitale was quoted by La Repubblica newspaper as saying. "I'm not a hero, I only did my duty," he said.

I say, No sir. You are truly a hero...And worthy of a Hall of Fame induction. Less-men would have let the patient die. Both Vitale and the patient lived through the procedure and are said to be living normal lives.

Capt. Chesley Sullenberger III

By now we have all heard about the pilot who guided an airline jet to a safe landing in the Hudson River despite the fact that both engines had failed on the plane. But it doesn't mean this cool-headed man isn't worthy of induction to The Bigfoot Diaries inaugural class of the Hall of Fame.

"It was very quiet as we worked, my co-pilot and I. We were a team. But to have zero thrust coming out of those engines was shocking," he said.

Yeah. I imagine it was. A normal pilot would have choked up and kissed his ass good-bye in that situation. Instead Sullenberger and his co-pilot remained calm, and despite the loss of engine power, somehow (and miraculously) guided the giant air bus into the Hudson River for a safe water landing. All 155 people on board survived, with little or no injuries.

Well done sir. You are truly a hero and an inspiration. Especially in this day and age when the only news seems to be negative news.

Johnny Cash

Really now... Do I have to explain this one?

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