A new baseball season looms, and yet one of the great sport’s most faithful chroniclers will be sadly unable to witness it. Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, whose eternally-young characters disastrously took the field each spring from 1953 to 2000, has been moldering in the grave these last 15 years. Good grief, indeed. Never again, outside of newspaper reruns and possibly that upcoming animated movie, shall doomed starting pitcher Charlie Brown give up line drive after line drive on the way to another punishing, triple-digit loss for the team he manages.
Now, baseball blogger Patrick Dubuque has penned what is surely the definitive word on Brown’s spectacularly unsuccessful half century in baseball: a 2700-word essay entitled “Is Charlie Brown The Worst Manager Ever?” Lacking box scores and looking past an admittedly lopsided win-loss record, Dubuque uses what he calls “anecdotal evidence” to assess the round-headed child’s managerial skills. Dubuque is even-handed in his critique, acknowledging that an overall lack of talent is a major problem for the team (“The outfield is a disaster.”) but faulting Charlie Brown for failing to take full advantage of his best players, Linus and Snoopy, while casting a willfully blind eye to his own shortcomings as both a pitcher and a hitter. Ultimately, though, Dubuque credits Charlie Brown for accomplishing something of “a minor miracle”: getting his players to assemble, again and again, for games and practices. “It’s not nothing,” says the author. “It’s actually kind of amazing, in a way.”