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Do we care about old-time athletes like Gates Brown?

Written By: Terry Foster | September 28, 2013

Filed Under: Uncategorized

During Friday’s Valenti and Foster Show I broke the news on twitter that a childhood hero died.

Pinch hitting great Gates Brown died at age 74 from a heart attack and it was sad news for me. Brown was a childhood hero for the Tigers because it seemed as if he always got a big pinch hit home run or single when the Tigers most needed it in 1968.

My partner Mike Valenti is younger and he was not from Detroit. I told him I needed to make a few phone calls because I wanted to write the obituary for The News on Brown.

“Who cares.” Mike said. “Nobody knows who Gates Brown is.”

I wanted to educate the young man but there was not time. A part of me understood what he said. For young people the “who cares?” attitude is common. They really do not care about athletes that played before they were born.

I did care. And I do believe a lot of people cared about Brown. He was loved in this community every bit as much as Miguel Cabrera and Calvin Johnson. He was nowhere the player they were but he played at a time where you could reach out and touch your favorite athlete.

Brown was at local watering holes sitting next to fans and at the local barber shop and super market.

I am in a unique position. I get to talk to old time heroes like Willie Horton, Lem Barney, Mickey Stanley and Bill Freehan. They are special if you got to see them play.

Who cares?

I do. And I am willing to bet a number of others care also.

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5 Responses to “Do we care about old-time athletes like Gates Brown?”

  1. Perry Says:

    Had the same feeling as you Terry. Sad to hear the news about Gator. I know Bill Freehan is in poor health too. We are the same age and that 68 team were our heroes. Went to the Tiger Fantasy camp this past Jan. and they honored the 68 team. It was a week I’ll never forget.

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  2. Mike Says:

    I think you’re right on there Terry. Whether or not you care about someone from a team or event depends on your age, your attachment to them and your personal perspective. I think folks like Mike will have their moments of melancholy when they reach our age. You were lucky enough to know him and know he was a good guy besides being a good ballplayer. Rip Gator.

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  3. Jenn Says:

    You are a good man, I like you a lot, much respect for you. However, I will never be able to respect the Stern wanna be seated next to you. This is just another example why.

    Reply

  4. Walt Says:

    Mr. Foster, I have the unique priveledge of working with one of Gates relatives. Just less than 2 weeks ago she took a ball of mine down to Ohio where, despite his affliction and pain he aurographed it for me. I am honored and my respect for him took on another level. I was 13 when the Tigers won the 68 series. yet This man still took time in his waneing hours to honor a fans request. He did not have to but he did. That ball means more to me than just the fact a star signed it it represents an man who possessed a character we all wish we had at times.

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  5. cathy Says:

    I care, the 68 team were my Tigers, it bothers me that Mike said that, he not from Detroit so he doesn’t get it like a true Tiger fan does, The 68 team you would see around town all the time cause they lived here, Heck Mickey Stanleys son played baseball for 5 years as a kid with my brother and Don Wert lived across the street from my cousin they were friendly and would talk to you, not to say the Tigers of today are that bad most of them don’t live in the area so you really don’t see them around that much

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