Yesterday, Yader Molina signed a contract that should make him a Cardinal for his entire career.
He was won eight Gold Gloves, has been to the All-Star Game seven times and one day will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Molina was born with plenty of talent, but it had to be cultivated. It was done so, ever so gracefully, by his late father, Benjamin.
Benjamin would wake everyday at about 5 a.m. He would go to his job, where he was a factory worker for much of his life. He stood on his feet for ten hours working on big box breakers.
He would then come home and get a quick bite to eat before taking is boys to the baseball field. Combined, the three boys ended up winning five World Series and nine Gold Gloves.
He never said he was tired, never. He knew his boys, and the neighbors, wanted to play ball and that is what he did everyday of his life. He raised three biological sons and about 100 neighbor sons on the ball fields over the years.
Benjamin did it with an incredible knowledge of the game, but more importantly, with love.
Benji, Jr. told me he never heard his father yell at anyone on the ball field. He wasn't one of those parents that was trying to live vicariously through his kids. He just loved them and would do anything to help them.
Benjamin, Sr. died at the age of 58 in 2008, on the field he used to train the boys. The same field where he raked the infield and poured sand on the mud when it rained.
Yesterday, on one of the most important days of his life, I imagine Yadier was thinking about his dad and all of the sacrifices.
I never met Benjamin but I kind of feel like I know him.