Baseball doesn’t have any set age limits that determine athletic ability and in an age of an almost obsessive-attention to younger players and prospects, I think it’s a great testament to how diverse the game can be; as well as how dedicated the individuals comprising the sport are. There’s a great article written by Tom Krasovic, “Marc Kroon signs with Giants after high octave closing stint in Japan.” As the title indicates, the article focuses on one of the great veterans in the game, 37-year-old and current Fresno Grizzlies pitcher, Marc Kroon. His story has been told and retold by sportswriters, as well as being highlighted during the Giants documentary series on Showtime. But it’s a story so important it needs to be told and retold until it’s not forgotten.
Marc Kroon’s baseball career has been a testament to his strength as a man and a ballplayer.
Originally drafted as a 72nd overall pick by the New York Mets in 1991, he’s experienced the joys and tribulations that all athletes go through, in order to perfect their craft. Kroon has played in Japan for both the Yokohama Baystars and served as an outstanding closer for the Yomiuri Giants as well, breaking his own speed records, clocking 101 mph.
But even more remarkable is Kroon’s character. Now as a pitcher for the AAA Fresno Grizzlies (an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants), he maintains the devotion and dedication to the game he’s played since childhood. His veteran poise and leadership was once again demonstrated when he decided against participating in the AAA All-Star Game, so that younger players were instead giving the opportunity to experience it for themselves. Additionally, he remained true to the San Francisco Giants by not accepting an opt-out clause (as chronicled by the excellent, San Jose Mercury writer, Andrew Baggarly, in his June 1st “Extra Baggs” post).
Kroon is an excellent example for any ambitious child or teenager, dreaming of making it as a ballplayer. Kroon’s dream is to pitch in the Majors again (he’s been there for a cup of coffee a few times before) and we have no doubt that he will. For his sheer determination and never giving up, combined with his selfless act of forgoing the All-Star game, we here at The Good In Sports are happy to award him with a Gold Star. Well done, Mark!
Statement from his Twitter re: All-Star Game (3 Tweets from July 1, 2011):
“Is an honor being selected 2 the AAA All-Star game. Thanks 2 everyone who voted me in. I have declined to go so another young kid can enjoy. I made the AAA All-Star team in 1997. It was a great experience for me. I hope whoever replaces me this year will have the same experience. I will use the 3 days too spend time with my kids. They come first in my life. Looking forward to spending time on the beach with them.”
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