Steve Lyons will be remembered as the player who dropped his pants.
He could be remembered as an outstanding infielder … as the player who played every position for the Chicago White Sox … as the guy who always dove into first base … as a favorite of the fans who high-fived the guy who caught the foul ball in the bleachers. He could be remembered as an above-average player who made it with an average ability. But he won’t. He’ll be remembered as the player who dropped his pants on July 16, 1990.
The White Sox were playing the Tigers in Detroit. Lyons bunted and raced down the first-base line. He knew it was going to be tight, so he dove at the bag. Safe! The Tiger’s pitcher disagreed. He and the umpire got into a shouting match, and Lyons stepped in to voice his opinion.
Absorbed in the game and the debate, Lyons felt dirt trickling down the inside of his pants. Without missing a beat he dropped his britches, wiped away the dirt, and … uh oh …twenty thousand jaws hit the bleachers’ floor.
And, as you can imagine, the jokes began. Women behind the White Sox dugout waved dollar bills when he came onto the field. “No one,” wrote one columnist, “had ever dropped his drawers on the field. Not Wally Moon. Not Blue Moon Odom. Not even Heinie Manush.” Within twenty-four hours of the “exposure,” he received more exposure than he’d gotten his entire career; seven live television and approximately twenty radio interviews.
“We’ve got this pitcher, Melido Perex, who earlier this month pitched a no-hitter,” Lyons stated, “and I’ll guarantee you he didn’t do two live television shots afterwards. I pull my pants down, and I do seven. Something’s pretty skewed toward the zany in this game.”
Fortunately, for Steve, he was wearing sliding pants under his baseball pants. Otherwise the game would be rated “R” instead of “PG-13.”
Now, I don’t know Steve Lyons. I’m not a White Sox fan. Nor am I normally appreciative of men who drop their pants in public. But I think Steve Lyons deserves a salute.
I think anybody who dives into first base deserves a salute. How many guys do you see roaring down the baseline of life more concerned about getting a job done than they are about saving their necks? How often do you see people diving headfirst into anything?
Too seldom, right? But when we do … when we see a gutsy human throwing caution to the wind and taking a few risks … ah, now that’s a person worthy of a pat on the … back.
So here’s to all the Steve Lyons in the world.
In the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado, Word Publishing, 1991, pp. 247-248