Baseball Toaster Catfish Stew
STOP CASTING POROSITY! An Oakland Athletics blog.
Frozen Toast
Google Search
Catfish Stew

02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  01 

12  09  08  01 

12  11  10  09  08 
Email Us

Ken: catfish AT zombia d.o.t. com
Ryan: rarmbrust AT gmail d.o.t. com
Philip: kingchimp AT alamedanet d.o.t net

Ken's Greatest Hits
28 Aug 2003
12 Jan 2004
31 May 2005
11 May 2005
29 Jun 2005
8 Jun 2005
19 Jul 2005
11 Aug 2005
7 Sep 2005
20 Sep 2005
22 Sep 2005
26 Sep 2005
28 Sep 2005
29 Sep 2005
18 Oct 2005
9 Nov 2005
15 Nov 2005
20 Nov 2005

13 Dec 2005
19 Jan 2006
28 Jan 2006
21 Feb 2006
10 Apr 2006
16 Apr 2006
22 Apr 2006
7 May 2006
25 May 2006
31 May 2006
18 Jun 2006
22 Jun 2006
6 Jul 2006
17 Jul 2006
13 Aug 2006
15 Aug 2006
16 Aug 2006
20 Aug 2006
11 Oct 2006
31 Oct 2006
29 Dec 2006
4 Jan 2006
12 Jan 2006
27 Jan 2007
17 Feb 2007
30 Apr 2007
27 Aug 2007
5 Sep 2007
19 Oct 2007
23 Nov 2007
5 Jan 2008
16 Jan 2008
4 Feb 2008
7 May 2008
20 Jun 2008
4 Feb 2008
In Memory of Joe Kennedy
2007-11-23 13:21
by Ken Arneson

You never know the meaning of a moment. On June 17, 2007, with two outs and Aaron Miles on first base in the top of the fifth inning of a baseball game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Oakland Athletics, Cardinals catcher Gary Bennett grounded out to the A's second baseman Mark Ellis to end a scoreless inning.

Bennett Swings Bennett Grounds Out

At the time, I gave no value to this moment, and let it slip from my memory nearly immediately: an unextraordinary event in the middle of an unextraordinary day in the middle of an unextraordinary year. As it turns out, however, this was the last pitch I ever saw Joe Kennedy throw. Ten days after this ground out, my daughter was born, and by the time I returned to attending A's games again a month later, Joe Kennedy had been pulled from the A's starting rotation, and then claimed on waivers by the Arizona Diamondbacks. And now, five months after that 4-3 groundout, Joe Kennedy is dead.

The news is shocking. I don't know how to deal with it really, just as I didn't really know how to deal with Cory Lidle's death last year. But my thoughts keep turning back to a blog entry I read this morning by the actor Stephen Fry on the topic of fame:

Fame. It’s an embarrassing thing to talk about, for all that it is a national/global obsession. It is one of the few apparently desirable human qualities that … no, what am I talking about … it is not a quality. It is not like courage, mercy, kindness, strength, beauty or patience; or laziness, dishonesty, greed or cruelty for that matter. What is different about fame, I was going to say, is that it is so contingent. If you are tolerant or strong or wise, you are tolerant and strong and wise wherever you are on the planet that day. You don’t become bigoted, feeble and dim-witted the moment you cross a continent. Famous people however, can become entirely unknown the second they leave their homeland.

Fame exists as memories in the minds of others, not as a quality inherent in those endowed with fame. All I really know about Joe Kennedy is his modest amounts of fame, and the events he is modestly famous for: he played baseball for my favorite team during the last three seasons.

I have, in my mind, strong feelings and opinions about his famous feats. I never quite understood, for example, why the A's yanked Kennedy from the rotation in July. Here are the earned run totals Kennedy allowed in his sixteen 2007 starts: 1,1,1,1,1,3,1,3,7,1,2,4,3,5,2,4. The last start was only 2/3 of an inning, but besides that game and the 7-run game against Baltimore in the middle, none of those starts were disastrous, and most of them were pretty good. The fact that he was 2-7 in those sixteen starts wasn't really his fault. Obviously, the last half of those stats don't look as good as the first half, but when you allow 2 or fewer runs in eight of sixteen MLB starts, you probably deserve to have (a) a winning record instead of a losing one, and (b) a job.

But none of those things are really qualities of Joe Kennedy. Joe Kennedy, I presume, had Thanksgiving dinner with his wife and child and other friends and family last night, in some place where he was not a famous baseball player, but had crossed that continent to become a human being who was kind or patient or dim-witted or funny or lazy or whatever true qualities made Joe Kennedy be Joe Kennedy. I, as a distant observer, know nothing of those qualities. I have not personally lost them.

And yet, like those who did know him, I feel compelled to mourn. What am I mourning, exactly? Perhaps an idea: we may live in the present and point towards the future, but we all, like Joe Kennedy, could find ourselves at any moment in a moment where all our moments and the qualities we fill them with are behind us. As long as we are alive, our qualities exist within us. When we go, our qualities last only as long as our fame: as memories in the minds of the people we touch. I mourn to keep Joe Kennedy alive, just a little bit longer, in hopes that others, someday, may do the same for me.

2007-11-23 13:51:04
1.   walbers
i still mourn my lovely daughter...gone these past 13 years at age 3 and a half (anniversary in 9 days) for the very same reasons.
2007-11-23 14:22:29
2.   BigShmirdawg
Very devastating news for MLB and especially the Kennedy family. My heart goes out to his wife and young son.

R.I.P. Joe Kennedy #37

2007-11-23 18:31:02
3.   Athletics for Life
Great post, Ken.

RIP Joe. :(

2007-11-23 19:49:21
4.   scareduck
Very sweet, Ken.
2007-11-24 08:45:12
5.   Bluebleeder87
You blow my mind some times Ken Arneson, wow.

R.I.P. Joe Kennedy.

2007-11-24 14:32:29
6.   Suffering Bruin
Wonderful stuff. Thank you.
2007-11-24 20:18:00
7.   68elcamino427
Thanks, Ken. I miss my dad, but somehow he is still here, in some unique things that I see my kids do and in other ways. I just wish that I could talk to him.
2007-11-26 16:13:15
8.   Chyll Will
Beautiful, Ken. This time of year always seems to bring forth memories of ourselves and those who have passed or come into our lives, especially at a moment when you want them to be there and they're not. But it is important to remember, or else you lose a part of yourself that you may need long before you know it.

Peace be with you, Joe Kennedy and your family.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.