Yes, I'm sure that you probably think that this story is going to center around the Pittsburgh Pirates rookie first round pick Pedro Alvarez. in which case you would be wrong. In fact, this story doesn't even concern the sport of baseball!
Above: In the famous Pulitzer Prize winning photo above, photographer Nat Fein snapped a portrait of a fading Babe Ruth. The slugger, thin and tired, had been ill for months and would die two months after this picture was taken. This is an image of a home run hitter getting his last hurrah. The story of Pittsburgh's home run hitter, on the other hand, is just beginning...
I know that you're probably still overdosed on the SuperBowl since being a member of the "Steeler Nation" is quite often a daunting proposition. It can take awhile to get your nervous system recovered from a SuperBowl run like this year's. But regardless, we have to give "props" where props are due, and the man who is worthy of all of this praise is a person who has raised his game to a level seldom seen in these parts regardless of the fact that we now possess six Lombardi Trophies along the banks of the Allegheny. The "Home Run Hitter" to whom is being referred in the above paragraphs is none other than Steelers elite receiver, Santonio Holmes.
Above: Santonio's famous gloves are worth thousands, but he never uses a mitt.
Like a circus performer shot out of a cannon, Santonio has made plays with increasing frequency during this season. Viewed individually, they are awesome on their own, but when clustered together, they are absolutely breathtaking.
Thanks to a recent feature on "NFL Network" entitled, "The Ten Biggest Pittsburgh Steelers plays in 2008-09", I was able to jot down the highlights as they crossed the screen in the order they appeared and ultimately further appreciate the greatness that permeated this Steelers lineup all year long. So here, courtesy of the football gurus at the "NFL Network" are your top ten plays. See if you noticed what I noticed.
10) Santonio Holmes makes a spectacular diving catch versus the Tennessee Titans.
9) Lawrence Timmons has an 89 yard interception return for a touchdown against the New England Patriots.
8) Santonio Holmes scores a controversial game-winning touchdown in the waning moments of a titanic struggle against the Baltimore Ravens.
7) DeShea Townsend has a "pick six" served up by Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys.
6) Santonio Holmes touchdown catch versus the Ravens in AFC Championship game.
5) Troy Polamalu's crucial interception returned for a touchdown against the Ravens.
4) Santonio Holmes long gallop for a touchdown on a punt return against San Diego in the playoffs.
3) Troy Polamalu's miracle fingertip interception that was also a "Play of the Week" on "ESPN".
2) James Harrison's 100 yard interception return for a touchdown. One of the greatest defensive plays ever made in any year. The fact that it was made in the SuperBowl makes it even that more spectacular.
Above: Santonio gently grips his Pete Rozelle Most Valuable Player Trophy won at SuperBowl XLIII during the victory parade in the Burgh.
1) Santonio Holmes "The Immaculate Extension" some are calling it. I like to call it "The BenTonio" because the "big guy" had a little to do with it too. But make no mistake about it, when a play starts getting named, well you know you've done something special.
Having snared five of the team's 10 Biggest Plays of the Season on the "NFL Network" has established Santonio Holmes as a genuine big-time threat who should now be considered among the top three most dangerous receivers in the entire NFL.
True, the Steelers still don't "air it out" like some teams do and we don't want them to start either. But unquestionably, in Santonio Holmes the Steelers have a very formidable weapon who posesses a rare mix of talents: Tremendous hands, incredible speed, lightning-quick moves and most important of all: The desire for the ball in the most crucial situations.
In my estimation, the only wide receiver who ranks above Santonio is Larry Fitzgerald who has three other elements that combined with all of Santonio's abilities only potentially makes him the greatest wide receiver ever, even topping the great Jerry Rice someday. Fitzgerald also has size, great leaping ability and two vises for hands that refuse to be stripped of a catch. There has never been a receiver like Fitzgerald...ever.
But Santonio isn't exactly chipped ham either. While there may only be one Babe Ruth ever, would you be disappointed knowing that you had Henry Aaron on your team? Hardly. Santonio Holmes is a player who has a lot of years to continue to elevate the Steelers play and help Steeler fans gluttonize themselves at the trough of Lombardi Trophies.
The only thing that he needs to work on is act like the connsumate pro and drop the salt shaker routine. That act plays over in Cincinnati.
Above: "With their first pick in the 2006 draft following a trade of draft picks with the New York Giants, the Pittsburgh Steelers select Ohio State wide receiver, Santonio Holmes".
2006 Draft commentary appearing in "Steelers Fever.com"
"It doesn't happen often. Pittsburgh traded up in Round 1 of the NFL draft just one other time. That trade? The rights to Penn State RB Larry Johnson for the rights to SS Troy Polamalu in 2003. That seemed to work out fine for everyone, now, didn't it? The Steelers, with powerful, forward-thinking moves, traded their No. 32, 96 and 129 picks to the New York Giants for the No. 25 pick. This landed a guy no draft prognosticator predicted to land in Pittsburgh. And it's a name that will come up plenty-often over the next 10 years. Santonio Holmes. A guy who is so cool, he's named after a city, but doesn't have time to waste on the second syllable. He doesn't even need a last name. A guy who is so fast, he plays tennis - with himself. A guy who plays so intensely and blocks so ferociously, his idol is THE Hines Ward. He's even a big Steelers fan, to boot. Having the famous Ohio State wide receiver pedigree won't hurt, either. He's the perfect Steeler guy."