|Bill Bergen (1878-1943)|
His claim to fame rests entirely on how wonderfully awful he was as a hitter. I'm not really sure that the lesson of his life is that "if you are going to be bad at something, be spectacularly bad." And it doesn't make the least bit of difference to Bill or anybody who knew him personally that he is still being talked about, they all being dead and long gone. If there has to be a lesson, more likely it is that our strengths can be used to outweigh or at least to balance our weaknesses. A person of limited abilities thus can still get into the big leagues, make a contribution, and be remembered not only as the worst hitter of all times but also as one very good catcher. He could only be "spectacularly bad" if he was also actually quite good.
But why ruin the fun of history with lessons? It may be a useless fact that a hundred year's ago winning ball games depended on the "finer arts" of base running and bunting, but it is just fun to know that it was so—once upon a time, a long time ago. And fun to know that a Bill Bergen graced our world with his presence.