Baseball Fantasy: A dream lunch with a player – who would it be?

Bill Stein - Texas Rangers 1982

A baseball fantasy – what else do we have now? So, let our mind wander a bit imagining a dream lunch with one major league ballplayer..who would it be?

Each of us knows of a player we’d like to meet for a baseball fantasy lunch. Except, it wouldn’t be a fantasy. Because just as sure as the Field Of Dreams team emerging from the cornfield, this one is real too.

It means, though, you have to pick one out of 15,213 men who have appeared in a major league uniform all-time – since 1903?

Narrowing Down The Field

Okay, Ty Cobb, you surly bastard, you’re out. And Babe Ruth, when is our lunch date, before or after you turned into a carnival attraction barnstorming wherever there was a buck to be made?

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Mickey Mantle? Oh, Mick (right), I loved you dearly as I grew up through my adolescence. But what happened to you? Did you get lost somewhere carousing the streets of Manhattan? But if I could have a sober minute or two with you, I’d pick you.

Maybe a baseball fantasy with Derek Jeter. But what would you or I expect to get from him – that he likes French dressing and not Bleu Cheese on his salad? Yeah, that’d be pretty much it.

Joe DiMaggio? – no freakin’ way. Rest on your laurels Joltin’ Joe and the gratitude you should have for Paul Simon to graciously include you in one of the best-written songs and movies of the 20th Century.

Aw – Ted Williams. What the hell was your problem? Spitting on a fan – Jesus. Really? You should have known the world of baseball idolized you as a hitter.

Egocentric on the outside but a basket case of insecurity on the inside, Williams makes for a downer as someone sitting across in a diner booth picking at his french fries.

A Baseball Fantasy Lunch – More Disappointment

Pete Rose would be interesting, just to let him talk his usual blue streak. Because sooner or later, the man would emerge through the fog of anger. In protest of his exile from baseball.

Rose would make his case in earnest, and I would nod in agreement, but the idiots at MLB would not be listening. So, why bother?

Should we pick an even angrier man, though, and perhaps our tape-recorded “scoop” will become viral on YouTube? Nah, exclusives are a dime-a-dozen these days.

My Baseball Fantasy Lunch Choice

I’m sorry, I simply can’t pick an All-Star player I’d like to have lunch with. Maybe you can, and I hope you will if given a chance.

Likewise, for my baseball fantasy lunch, I’ll take a pass on any of the 235 players in the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

Instead, I’d choose a player who enjoyed coming by the bowling center I managed in Fort Worth, Texas, with his son to bowl a few games before going to the ballpark.

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Bill Stein (right) is not a household name. But he did set an American League record with his seventh consecutive pinch-hit when he singled home the winning run in the ninth inning to give the Texas Rangers a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on May 26, 1981.

Stein broke a record set in 1964 by Bob Johnson of the Baltimore Orioles. Following the game, he told the New York Times:

”It is an amazing streak. In fact, I was amazed after the third one. I was never a very good pinch-hitter. That just shows you how crazy this game can be.”

This happened – to me?

Bill Stein has stories to tell as a journeyman major league ballplayer (that’s a compliment) that will never be heard. I’d listen, though.

Bill Stein was a worker bee who played with the queen bees of his time. He played baseball to make a living and provide for his family.

Who needs Joe DiMaggio when you can have lunch with a genuine person?

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.