"I know for a fact," says Tartabull, standing in the Royals' clubhouse, "that guys in this room wouldn't know who he is." (Wagner won eight batting titles and hit .327 over his 21 major league seasons.)
"I'd heard of him," says Doug Drabek of the Pirates, last year's Cy Young Award winner in the National League. Drabek says he was unaware of Young's accomplishments "until a couple years ago. I was flipping through a stat book and saw the numbers." (The numbers: 511 wins over 22 major league seasons.)
"A lot of the young players here," says San Francisco catcher Terry Kennedy, standing in the Giants' clubhouse, "don't know who Willie is." (He was a good-field, good-hit Giant.)
"Names like Ted Williams, DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, they recognize," says Adrian (Smokey) Garrett, who invokes many of these names while serving as Kansas City's hitting instructor. "But not names like Pee Wee Reese and Phil Rizzuto. I'm sure to players today Phil Rizzuto would be more known for being an announcer than a player."
How bad is it?
You ever hear Phil Rizzuto announce?
History in the Unmaking, Part IV: It is 1990. The Pirates are in Wrigley Field, where a flag bearing the name of Hall of Fame Cub outfielder Billy Williams ripples in the breeze above the stadium. Pittsburgh bullpen coach Rich Donnelly points to the pennant.