Who’s your favorite Red Sox player? said Harlan. I don’t know, said Blurtso. How about you? said Harlan. I’m a Yankee fan, said Alex. Jeter? said Harlan. Of course, said Alex. We should go to a game, said Harlan. I can get three tickets for this afternoon, said Alex, but we’ll be in the sun in rightfield, so make sure to wear a cap.
Wow! said Blurtso. Look at that grass!
It’s the seventh-inning stretch, said Alex, where’s Blurtso?
What’s this? said Blurtso. It’s the Baseball Encyclopedia, said Alex, the complete statistical record of every man to ever play Major League Baseball. Wow, said Blurtso, it’s like a history book written with numbers instead of letters. Exactly, said Alex. Who is the greatest player of all time? said Blurtso. Babe Ruth, said Alex. Or Ted Williams, said Harlan. Which one is it? said Blurtso. Babe Ruth, said Alex, hit 714 homeruns, a record which lasted for forty years. Yes, said Harlan, but Ted Williams hit 521 homeruns, and he missed five seasons due to military service. So? said Alex. If he had played those years, said Harlan, and averaged 36 homeruns per year, which is what he averaged for his career, he would have hit 700 homeruns as well. Who had the higher batting average? said Blurtso. Babe Ruth batted .342, said Alex. Ted Williams batted .344, said Harlan. Who was a better defensive player? said Blurtso. Babe Ruth, said Alex, until he got fat. Has anyone else hit 700 homeruns? said Blurtso. Yes, said Alex, Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron. Willie Mays hit 660, said Harlan, and he missed two years in the military, so he would have hit 700. Who is the best defensive player in that group? said Blurtso. Willie Mays, said Alex, but Barry Bonds was also exceptional. Better than Babe Ruth? said Blurtso. Much better, said Harlan. Then why, said Blurtso, isn’t Barry Bonds the best player ever? Because, said Alex, he played in the steroids era. Who was the greatest all-around player, offense and defense? said Blurtso. Probably Willie Mays, said Alex. Or Barry Bonds, said Harlan. But Babe Ruth, said Alex, is the greatest player of all time. Or Ted Williams, said Harlan.