A simple name search on the soccer jerseys Internet provides extensive accounts of today's star players; the information available on people like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter or Ryan Howard is boundless.
The big names get the books, the biographies, and the sabre-metric essays. The journeymen get next to nothing. But that doesn't mean they do nothing.
Think of Matt Stairs. In last year's playoffs, he had only four at-bats and just one hit. But that hit -- a game-altering bomb at Dodger Stadium in the National League Championship Series -- will draw smiles in Philadelphia for decades.
Over in the American League we find catcher Jeff Mathis. He may never amount to anything more than a serviceable back-up in the big leagues, but one good throw and two late-game at-bats turned the Angels on the Yankees Monday. Yes, the Angels have shown borderline disinterest in their series, but when the club's best playoff moments are revisited in years to come, Mathis' moment will shine.
Durbin was called in to face Manny Ramirez, who represented the tying run in the fifth inning. Durbin's second pitch -- a sinker at the ankles -- was fouled off Manny's shin. A little later, Durbin jammed the great slugger, followed with a 1-2-3 sixth and killed any hope the Dodgers had of staging a rally. It was a critical performance, one that will not jump out in the boxscore.
Jayson Werth got the curtain call, Brad Lidge got the nationally broadcast post-game interview, and Howard got the MVP trophy. Durbin got nothing more then handshakes and hugs. Heck, he probably had to pay for his drinks after the game too.
But if the Phillies are having their fingers sized for World Series rings -- again -- in a few weeks time, you can bet the team's big stars will pay Durbin a sizeable tribute.
Others will get little recognition for critical contributions because no home run is hit, no side is struck-out, no miraculous double-play is turned.
Take Chad Durbin, a non-descript right-handed pitcher who will never be mistaken for an all-star. A few years back, he was an unsuccessful starter for a bad Kansas City team before beginning the journey of a big-league survivor. But a simple inning-and-a-third in Wednesday's game was imperative to a Phillies victory.