For a large number of years, the month of October belonged to baseball in the national sports consciousness.
This was before pro football gained such a strong foothold and before television covered it in such a coast-to-coast all encompassing manner. It was a time when baseball was still unquestionably the national pastime.
Now that October has become firmly entrenched on the wall of even the most tardy calendar page turner, baseball still provides some wonderful, dramatic moments as it moves toward what has been termed the Fall Classic — the World Series.
This year most of the teams most popular among our readers (Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox) either didn’t make the postseason or were eliminated once it started. But baseball still holds some interest for those fans whose favorite team has already started thinking in terms of 2014.
Part of the reason is that Madison County has been well represented in professional baseball through the years.
At least 10 have played in the big leagues since 1900 who were born in this county. The most recent three were Highland’s Adam Lind, who is currently with the Toronto Blue Jays; Madison Heights’ Jermaine Allensworth and Anderson’s Carl Erskine.
It was Erskine who enjoyed a long career with many memorable World Series performances with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Perhaps Lind will one day play in baseball’s postseason as well.
We haven’t forgotten Alexandria’s J.D. Closser, but a check of the baseball records shows he was actually born in Beech Grove. We also haven’t forgotten that he played as recently as seven seasons ago.
There are also several players from this county who have signed pro baseball contracts and are playing in the minor leagues. A few are only a step or two away from joining this elite company.
So in a couple of weeks when the World Series begins, the sporting world will no longer stop to watch. But many sports fans in this area will be in front of the television for this time-honored baseball tradition.
In summary Madison County has had a strong connection to major league baseball through the years. Now that the calendar has been turned to October, the sport is front and center in sports consciousness.