Every generation has its own heroes. Not their grandfathers' heroes. Not even their fathers' heroes. And certainly not their childrens' heroes.
I was forcibly reminded of this truth this morning when I read Albert Pujols, a star of this generation, had passed Micky Mantle, a star of mine, for 16th place all time on the home run list.
Mantle was actually my brother's hero. We grew up in Baltimore, but my brother was a Yankee fan. "My team is still playing in October," he would point out. When you are ten or twelve years old you worship the stars of your world. We knew who Babe Ruth was, but we only saw him in photos and newsreels.
In our youth the two leagues only mingled twice a year, at the All Star game and World Series. Baseball games were not televised every day of the week. Living in an American League city we never saw NL players. We knew who Willie Mays was but we hardly ever saw him. We never saw him play live.
I kept things local. Brooks Robinson was my hero.
Albert Pujols is one of the great players of his day, but how is a 67 year old man going to put him on a pedestal? That's for some youngster in Anaheim or St. Louis to do.