By Del Duduit
Have you ever thought you deserved more recognition and never got it?
It’s happened to me, and I’m sure it’s taken place in your life.
I’m not bitter, but there have been times I have wondered why. And that’s okay.
Perhaps an incident in your life has become an obsession. You think about it all the time and plot ways to seek revenge. If this is you, then you might have a problem with bitterness.
To this day, my wife still talks about the time she got shafted from the National Honor Society at her high school in spite of having one of the highest GPAs in her class along with a solid reputation.
I’ve heard about it for years and have even suggested professional counseling – I’m kidding of course. She deserved the honor, but it was not given to her.
But she didn’t let that stop her from being successful in life. She is okay and moved on to earn three college degrees. Today, she is a director at our local university.
Just don’t ever ask her about not making the honor society, while I always rub it in that I was inducted into my school’s NHS.
This brings me to a friend of mine who had a successful career in Major League Baseball. His name should be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but sadly, he has never been voted in by the nation’s sportswriters.
I discuss the legacy of Al Oliver in my book, Dugout Devotions 2: Inspirational Hits from MLB’s Best, which will walk up to the plate on March 8, 2021.
Here is a portion of chapter 24 titled, “His name is written down.”
On paper, there is no doubt that Al Oliver should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
He was selected to seven All-Star teams, was a vital part of the 1971 World Series Championship Team with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and won three Silver Slugger Awards. In 1982, he was the National League Batting Champion and led the league in RBIs.
But when his name first appeared on the ballot for sportswriters to consider him for induction into the Hall of Fame, he came up short.
Al did not receive enough votes to be put back on the ballot the next go around.
In 2019, his name was presented to the Modern Era Committee for consideration into the prestigious HOF. This committee addresses players who might have been left off the ballot for unusual reasons and may have been overlooked due to outstanding circumstances.
The small group of 10 said no. As a result, he will likely never be inducted into baseball’s elite group.
His stats are more impressive than many who are already in the HOF.
“It’s out of my control,” Al said to me over coffee one day in his hometown of Portsmouth, Ohio. “It’s not up to me. The only thing I could have done is play ball — and I did that pretty well.”
Everywhere Al goes, the Hall of Fame is brought up to him.
He always has an honest but canned response.
“I thank them for their comments because they respect my career,” he noted.
Pete Rose told me once that Al was the best line drive hitter he had ever seen.
Jim Palmer told me that Al was special because he could “hit my best pitches.”
Is Al disappointed to know that his name will not be enshrined where It – by all rights – should be written?
“It’s just something that I have to deal with and accept,” he said. “I definitely did my best as a player under some tough situations.”
As a fan of baseball and not just because he is my friend, I believe Al deserves to be in the HOF.
He has accepted that he is not, but he doesn’t have to like it, and he knows deep down that he is worthy of the honor. And so do most of the people who followed his career.
He has not let bitterness and disappointment stop him. He keeps a positive attitude and serves as a motivational speaker.
How do you handle not being recognized or honored for years of accomplishments?
If left to fester, bitterness can consume and take over your life. The only way to overcome bitterness is to forgive. This might be hard, especially if you are the victim.
But it’s a must.
- Make the choice to forgive. Be honest and don’t just go through the motions. Let it go.
- Understand your emotions: The natural and human side wants to spout off at the mouth and say negative things about someone who has done you wrong. That’s a trap set by the devil.
- Lean on God: He is the only One who can grant forgiveness. He is the only One who can manage your anger. Al turned it over to the Lord and is at peace.
- Seek grace: Have the courage to leave it behind and move on. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: (Matthew 6: 14)
Al may never find his name enshrined in the halls of Cooperstown, New York, and he’s accepted this fate. But he also knows there is much more to life.
Follow me on Twitter here.
His perspective has been to move on, and he says it’s more important for his kids and grandkids to know that he will make Heaven’s Hall of Fame one day. “That’s the best legacy I can leave them,” he added.
Dugout Devotions 2 is on deck to release on March 8, 2021.
Pre-order is available here.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.