Every baseball fan knows that the greatest moments in baseball history occur in October. Think back to these World Series moments: Willie Mays’ remarkable over-the-shoulder catch in 1954 or Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956 or Reggie Jackson’s three home run game in 1977 to solidify his name as Mr. October or Kirk Gibson’s “I don’t believe what I just saw ‘’ walk-off home run or Carlton Fisk’s 1975 walk-off home run when he waved his arms to keep the ball fair at Fenway Park or Joe Carter’s 1993 walk-off home run as the announcer shouted “you’ll never hit a bigger homer in your life!”
Despite all these remarkable moments, the Pittsburgh Pirates arguably claim the greatest moment in Major League Baseball history. The Pirates second baseman, Bill Mazeroski, stepped up to the plate at Forbes Field against the New York Yankees in the 7th game of the 1960 World Series. This Wednesday will mark the 61st anniversary. The score was 9-9 in the bottom of the ninth inning. Mazeroski crushed the second pitch over the ivy wall in left field which flew over the head of Yogi Berra.
As Mazeroski was sprinting around the bases, numerous fans were already on the field. In fact, two young boys beat Mazeroski to third base and were jumping up and down as they high fived Mazeroski. The Pirates legend was greeted at home plate by Pittsburgh fans.
So, how does the most memorable moment in MLB history relate to faith? It has a lot to do with our human nature –especially our desires.
A common thread that we see throughout all of C.S. Lewis’ writings is a focus on The Argument from Desire. Lewis explains the argument like this, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for these desires exists” (Mere Christianity). He then goes on to write that a baby experiences hunger and there is food. A duck wants to swim –there is water. Monkeys desire to climb trees –there are trees. People desire to know –there is truth. This is what we call The Argument from Desire. Lewis then adds the “mic-drop” statement, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world” (Mere Christianity).
What then does Mazeroski’s 1960 walk-off home run have to do with The Argument from Desire? The greatest moment in MLB history, despite the intensity and awe it unleashed, despite the crowd’s excitement in beating the New York Yankees, despite Mazeroski being remembered as a legend, despite winning the World Series –none of it filled Mazeroski’s longings or the deepest desires of those who were at the game. In other words, their hungers were not completely satisfied –their deepest thirsts were not quenched.
Overall, we as human beings have desires. Some of which can be quenched –such as hunger or thirst for food and drink. Some of these desires cannot be met –such as a desire for complete joy and happiness; meaning –on this side of the Kingdom we will never be completely happy…but why?
Our minds are built for truth. The will is built for goodness. Our passions are built for beauty itself. God is truth, goodness, and beauty – try filling up an infinite bucket with anything other than the infinite, it doesn’t work. St. Augustine said, “Lord you have made us for yourself. Therefore, our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
Now, we see The Argument from Desire yet again from Mazeroski’s induction into the 2001 Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. Although he had prepared 12 pages for his speech, he began to recall memories and had to pause shortly thereafter due to emotion. Fans were expecting him to recall his 9th inning, 1960 World Series home run against the Yankees. He never mentioned that moment though. It never seemed to cross his mind.
Instead, he stated “I thought when the Pirates retired my number that that would be the greatest thing that ever happened to me.” What was once an expected greatest desire was met which then unleashed an even greater desire. This is precisely the logic of The Argument from Desire.
Mazeroski then began to cry and was not able to speak. He then said, “I think you can kiss these 12 pages down the drain.” He looked at his family and began to cry again. He looked out at the people and thanked them. Never once did he mention anything about the greatest moment in MLB history. He was being flooded with the realization that one desire satisfied led to another desire which led to an even greater desire and so forth.
How many of us have experienced incredible moments and thought, “this is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me?” Then, we realize that we have a longing in our hearts and desires which are greater and deeper than we could have ever imagined. We then say, “there’s more.” Such is being human. Maybe C.S. Lewis was right, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world” (Mere Christianity).
Ben Daghir is a transitional deacon for the Diocese of Erie from St. Marys, Pa. He pitched for the Elk Catholic Crusaders in 2010-2011 and coached SM Little League for 4 years. Ben was a pitcher for the 2009 St. Marys Senior League State Championship team. He currently studies at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. His favorite team is the Pittsburgh Pirates and favorite baseball players are former pitchers Tim Lincecum and Sandy Koufax.