Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Give Credit Where Credit is Due

We all like to get credit for things we did. Quiet, subtle behavior with a focus on attention to detail and manners should be recognized rather than the attention given to those who attract attention to themselves. You know, bright colored clothing, jewelry and a loud-mouth that never shuts-up. And the person operating that tongue and those lips doesn't pay particular attention to the timing of things because there is only one time AND that's when their lips and tongue are in motion.

Occasionally in sports, the one place where feats are magnified to an unbelievable size and with the prose used to describe the event(s) what is being seen or read about is poetry in motion. A player/participant may have only made a singular contribution and that one moment in the sun will afford them many opportunities to see if they can duplicate that feat.

Such is the case of Jim Qualls.

(In an article about Tom Seaver and the 1969 New York Mets, Seaver talks about his near perfect game in which Jimmy Qualls was the only Chicago Cub to reach base.)

In front of 50,000 fans the Chicago Cubs didn't get anybody on base until the 9th inning. Jimmy Qualls, a left-hand hitting rookie. Seaver said he had never faced Qualls before that game but that Qualls hit him hard all 3 times at the plate.

Seaver says this was a game that made everyone take note that the New York Mets were for real and for those lucky Met fans, they would find out later how wonderful the year would be for the Miracle Mets.

But about Qualls. Seaver said he was a left-handed batter. Actually, Qualls was a right-handed batter early in his career until he suffered a broken jaw after being hit by a pitch from a right-handed pitcher. After that, Qualls became a switch-hitter.

Qualls made his major league debut in 1969 with the Chicago Cubs.
He was traded to the Montreal Expos early in 1970. After appearing in 9 games with Montreal he was sent down to the Winnipeg Whips. With the Whips, he got into a dispute with the club about meal expenses, and he eventually returned home to California in August 1970.

He spent the entire 1971 season with the Indianapolis Indians, an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.
In 1972, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox. He made the Opening Day roster. Appeared in just 11 games, primarily as a pinch-hitter, and was released.

Jim Qualls finished his career in Japan during the 1972-73 seasons.

Qualls was born on October 9, 1946 and his career ended in 1973. He was 27 years of age.

But he will forever be recognized as the player who spoiled Tom "Terrific's" perfect game bid on July 9, 1969. Not many of us will be recognized for playing baseball but hopefully if we do the right thing we will be recognized as someone who is a fine and decent human being.

(thanks to Baseball-Reference for the info on Jim Qualls and the inspiration by Sporting News magazine on Tom Seaver's day, 7/9/69.)

Kevin Marquez