Faith, Family, Country, Sports

Archive for the category “Roles”

Role Players: Pete Rose greatest in baseball history? Really?

Last month, I wrote a post on Embracing your Role. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a pair of local Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle groups and a high school baseball team on the topic.

Roles are not just limited to those who come off the bench. Starters have a role to play but most don’t view it in that context. They are just viewed as starters. The best five, nine, or 11 players to begin the game on that specific day.

In researching for my baseball speech, I found the person who, arguably, could be considered as the best role player in baseball history – Pete Rose? Really? The maligned, all-time hits leader?  The shoe-in Hall of Famer, if not for his betting on baseball issues?

I was never a Rose fan growing up so this post is not an attempt to serve as his apologist. I did respect how hard he played the game and the passion he had for it.1964-Topps-Baseball-125-Pete-Rose-214x300

There are not many superstars, then or now, that would have done what Rose did. The former Macon Peaches standout entered the major leagues in 1963 and won Rookie of the Year honors at second base for Cincinnati. 10 years later, Rose captured his only National League MVP Award playing left field for the Reds.

Rose gave of himself for the team. During that decade between honors, he saw action at one position in a single season just four times (1964 and 1965 at 2B; 1972 and 1973 in LF).

The former Macon Peaches standout is the ONLY player in major league baseball history to play 500 or more games at five different positions (1B, 2B, 3B, LF, RF), and according to Baseball-Reference.com, a total 18,337 men have played in the Big Leagues. Rose also played nearly 100 games in centerfield.

A 17-time All-Star, in his 24-year career, Rose earned that honor seven times as an outfielder, five at first base, four at third base and one at second base. RosePete

It is clear that no role was to big or to small for Rose. He did what he was asked to do and what he had to do.

Rose embraced the opportunity to play any position, and that attitude helped him become one of the greatest players in Major League baseball history.



Role Players: Jeremiah Castille and “The Fumble”

In 1986, the Denver Broncos crushed the Super Bowl dreams of the Cleveland Browns with “The Drive.”

The “Mistake by the Lake”, and its “Dawg Pound” fans, were silenced as Denver quarterback John Elway orchestrated a legendary 15 play, 98 yard drive in the game’s final five minutes. His touchdown pass to Mark Jackson

Denver Broncos Mark Jackson, 1987 AFC Championship

UNITED STATES – JANUARY 11: Football: AFC playoffs, Denver Broncos Mark Jackson (80) victorious after scoring game tying touchdown during game vs Cleveland Browns, Cleveland, OH 1/11/1987 (Photo by Tony Tomsic/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (SetNumber: X34239 TK2 R15 F15)

sent the game into overtime where the Broncos won on a Rich Karlis field goal.

One year later, the Browns attempted to produce their own “drive”. Trailing 38-31,with just over a minute left in regulation, Cleveland reached the Denver eight yard-line looking to tie the game.

Enter Jeremiah Castille.

In his fifth NFL season, the former Alabama Crimson Tide All-American, was in his first year with the Broncos. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Castille started 45 of his first 60 NFL games from 1983-1986.

Though playing in 11 games during 1987, Castille did not start and was used as a backup cornerback, many times in special situations. Such was the case in the AFC title game.

On first and goal from Denver’s 8-yard line, Castille came into the game as the Bronco’s expected Cleveland to throw. Showing a three-wide formation, and Denver with an extra DB, Brown’s quarterback Bernie Kosar changed from a passing to a running play.

Castille took advantage of his opportunity.

Kosar handed-off to 215-pound Earnest Byner and the Columbus, Georgia native was barreling toward the end zone for an apparent score. Outweighed by 40 pounds, Castille came off his coverage duties and met Byner in the hole, stripping the ball loose and recovering “The Fumble” at the two-yard line.


Watch the play and listen to the call from NBC’s Dick Enberg here.

Because he kept his focus and played his role, Castille helped Denver to a second consecutive Super Bowl and the little-known cornerback is now forever-known in Bronco history.

Nearly 30 years later, Castille’s current roles include teaching, coaching and leading his Christian-based Jeremiah Castille Foundation.








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