A Suitable Rite Of Passage

April 13, 2015

A Suitable Rite of Passage

LaTroy Hawkins is 42 years old, now, and this could be his last year closing games in the big leagues. When he leaves the game, though, he’ll leave a legacy. A legacy above and beyond what he did on the field. A legacy of well-dressed rookies.

When Hawkins himself was a rookie, Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett noticed his shabby road clothes and took him on a shopping spree. Since then, Hawkins has tried to do the same for a few rookies every year. In fact, as Jonah Keri writes in Grantland, it’s a major league tradition. Veterans pay for dinner, and they buy rookies suits. No strings attached.

It’s telling that even professional athletes see dressing like a grownup as a rite of passage. Some of these kids may be back on the farm a few months after their trip to the big club. They may even stay there. But they’ll always remember the time that a big leaguer helped them live like a man.

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