Kid in the Hall

The Kid is in the Hall.

Ken Griffey Jr. has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame with a record 99.3 percent of the vote—437 of the 440 votes cast by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. (No one knows what is wrong with the three holdouts who hate America.) The vote will officially enshrine one of the most popular players of all time, the kid with the megawatt smile and backwards caps who will become the first-ever No. 1 draft pick in Cooperstown.

Griffey made his MLB debut in April 1989, when he was 19. I was 15. The fact that people my age are now HOF-eligible provides further—and unnecessary—evidence that I am old.

Long ago, I accepted the reality that the players I watched and wrote about were only getting younger. The unpleasant shock of the first spring training roster with players’ birthdates in the 1990s lingers in my mind like the flimsy fog of half-remembered names and places. The other day, it occurred to me that my life is likely more than half over. The first thought following this happy realization: It certainly feels like it sometimes.

But being this age is not all bad. For instance, I got to see Griffey Jr. play (never in person, sadly) in his prime. There are a few other things that aren’t so bad about being 40-something, despite what every Facebook meme and BuzzFeed list would have me believe.

In honor of the Kid, No. 24, here are 24 good things a person of a certain age got to experience:

1)    Calvin and Hobbes in the funny pages.

2)    The element of surprise in answering the phone.

3)    John Hughes movies, in the theater.

4)    Videos on MTV.

5)    Hours of unsupervised—and unnoticed—play.

6)    Football in the backyard, not on a video screen.

7)    The original Muppets – and the movies.

8)    Scooby Doo, Looney Tunes and the Smurfs.

9)    A childhood narrated by Judy Blume.

10) A world without 24-hour news.

11) Madonna on American Bandstand.

12) Designing Women and Golden Girls.

13) Vinyl.

14) Atari.

15) The original Care Bears.

16) Strawberry Shortcake, et al.

17) Watching the Berlin Wall come down.

18) Scholastic Book Club order forms.

19) The smell of library books.

20) Trapper Keepers.

21) Star Wars, the first time.

22) Fernandomania and Kirk Gibson.

23) The Super Bowl Shuffle.

24) Larry Bird’s 3-point shot. 

What else?