Ever since baseball has been a recognized sport there has always been the argument of whether it’s better to have sheer talent or heart and desire.
Two of baseball’s best players perfectly illustrate this conflict. Hanley Ramirez is what some baseball enthusiasts would call, a “five tool player. ” Essentially, he was born to play baseball. David Eckstein on the other hand, isn’t exactly the model athlete. The differences and similarities between these two players make them both great baseball players but in very different ways.Upon looking at the two, it is clear that Ramirez was physically groomed to be an athlete. Standing six foot-three inches, weighing 225 pounds, and built like a Greek god, his presence is ominous.
While Eckstein, standing a mere five foot-seven inches and weighing 177 pounds, looks more like a choir boy than a major league baseball player. Ramirez is capable of hitting for power and contact, playing defense very well, throwing out anybody in the majors, and he’s lightning fast. It is hard to fathom how they play the same position.Eckstein is lucky to hit the ball out of the infield, has a mediocre arm at best, and is an average runner. He is the epitome of bland. However, what Eckstein lacks in raw ability, he makes up for in his work ethic and love of the game. When he was growing up, every coach he ever had would say, “you’re good, but you’re just too small”, or “ I can’t put a five foot seven shortstop on my team! ”.
But that never stopped him. Even as a major league player he is practicing and working every day, trying to get better.Since he plays the game how it should be played, his teammates look to him as a leader. That is what makes him great. Conversely, Ramirez is gifted with such talent, but plays lazy. A number of times his coach has benched him for his poor attitude, or his lack of effort. It’s almost as if he walks around with a chip on his shoulder because of his ability.
Ramirez will hit a ball that he thinks the defense will catch and he jogs down to first base as if he doesn’t care.His utter lack of discipline may come back to haunt him. Although both Ramirez and Eckstein are now in the major leagues, they got there by drastically different means. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, Ramirez didn’t have much, but he did have baseball. He always played growing up, but never dreamed about making a living out of it. Baseball is what brought him to the United States and how he makes his living. Eckstein, coming from a slightly more affluent family, enjoyed baseball and played throughout high school.
His standard route to the majors took him through college, the minor leagues and finally the majors. Both of these men have made a big name for themselves in major league baseball. Ramirez the hard hitting giant, with a cannon for an arm, and Eckstein with the heart of a lion have earned their recognition for being exceptional at their sport. Coming from polar opposite back rounds, and gaining respect very differently, these two only add fuel to the argument of talent versus determination.
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