We write about athletes, coaches, and other sports personalities at Sporting Chance Press. We focus on the good stuff–the achievements, the effort, the talent, and overcoming the odds. We don’t look for the flaws. Although we might avoid writing about players who are not good influences on young people. That I suppose is where things get a little subjective.
Often, I find there are many people in life who are inspirational because they overcome their own demons. Only the Man upstairs knows the final tally, but I find the story of Rabbit Maranville particularly inspiring. In our book The 10 Commandments of Baseball, we talk about baseball and life principles. “Rabbit Maranville is the “poster boy” for bad boys in the first quarter of the 20th Century. On the field beginning in 1912, he was a short-but-excellent shortstop and second baseman for the Boston Braves. He played infield like a gymnast leaping high for line shots in his direction, moving quickly to cover ground, and catching balls with basket type catches that Willie Mays made famous again half a century later. But Maranville was a challenge for coaches. He drank too much and he was often goofing around making life difficult for those in authority. His behavior got worse. Eventually, he bounced around with several teams and finally was cut lose at age 34 after playing about half the time for the last two seasons.
It looked like the end for Maranville, but Branch Rickey, the creative General Manager for the Cardinals signed him on in 1927 and sent him down to the minors to sober up. In 1928, a sober Maranville was back in the lineup and playing like a kid. Maranville returned to Boston and played for another five full seasons until he broke his leg in 1934 and retired in 1935. But Maranville’s outstanding effort recharged his career and earned a Hall of Fame induction.