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THE BEST PLAYER YOU NEVER SAW
MICHAEL MCKNIGHT
April 01, 2013
In clubhouses from Class A to the majors, even superstars such as Albert Pujols still speak in awe of the promise of Brian Cole
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April 01, 2013

The Best Player You Never Saw

In clubhouses from Class A to the majors, even superstars such as Albert Pujols still speak in awe of the promise of Brian Cole

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When he spoke about Cole recently, Pujols asked that a message be relayed to Cole's mother. "Tell her I thank God for letting me play with Brian," he said. "Tell his family that we still remember him." When Maudelene hears these words she slides her fingers beneath her glasses and wipes her eyes. "It's O.K.," she says. "These are tears of joy."

Lying on her coffee table is a poem Greg found about a year after Brian's death, while going through some old stuff at his dad's house. It is eight lines long, written in Brian's awkward handwriting. It begins "Moma," and near the end it reads: "Growing up I hated to see you cry/I'll love you always, even when I die."

A smile fills Maudelene's face, the same smile that's on those fuzzy-edged baseball cards lying next to the poem. "This might sound strange to y'all," she says, "but how can you mourn someone who's still here?"

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