When I was 11 years old, baseball was the most important thing in my life. Back then, I had very little time to think about anything else. As the month of October approached, my parents worried that my fascination with the game had turned into an unhealthy obsession. My grades were dropping faster than Guidry's ERA and I didn't seem to get much joy out of life unless the New York Yankees had won the night before.
It was October of 1978, and as far as I can tell, no other 11 year old baseball fan has ever had more fun than me. The Bombers were in the World Series looking to repeat their 1977 epic victory, when suddenly, it was announced that second baseman Willie Randolph would not be able to play due to an injury. At first, I felt a sense of despair but, as the Series progressed, I realized that it is moments like this that make baseball --as well as life itself-- such a fun endeavor.
A seldom used second baseman, named Brian Doyle, came to the Yankees rescue filling in for the injured Randolph. Doyle had always been a reserve player and was very weak at batting. He had a dismal .192 batting average that season but, on that World Series, something extraordinary happened. A tenacious Doyle, went 7 for 16, drove in two runs and ended the World Series with a .438 batting average.
Doyle, a small infielder, became one of the most unlikely baseball heroes of all time. He might be one of the reasons why, despite being a Yankee fan, I always enjoy rooting for the underdog and why I always like to see something special in those that, at first glimpse, might appear to be less fortunate than the rest.
As a baseball fan and as a person I owe a great deal to Brian Doyle. Unfortunately this week, I found out through the news, that the great player who once came to the rescue of his team, is now being left behind by his Nation.
Doyle suffers from several severe medical conditions that make it impossible for him to work in any job, including his former job as a coach and as a motivational speaker. He battled leukemia which deteriorated his bones greatly. He has had two cervical fusions and, in addition, he suffers from and advanced form of Parkinson's.
Despite all of the dramatic limitations imposed by Doyle's conditions, his Social Security Disability benefits claim has been denied. He is currently waiting for his case to be heard by a judge.
Doyle's Social Security Disability denial has been documented by the Fox News Station in Atlanta. The news story shows that winning the World Series can be easier than winning SSD. I ask everyone to view the story, --particularly those who are critical of the Social Security Disability programs--, and ask yourselves whether this is the way that we want to treat this Nation's disabled individuals.