The 90s is the best decade in history. It brought us the Rugrats, Boy Meets World, “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” Will Smith, “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” Will Smith, “save the planet” Will Smith, boy bands, ska music, East Coast vs West Coast Rap battles, Biggie, Tupac, blow jobs in the Oval Office, Stone Cold Steve Austin, the NWO, and of course Michael Jordan and the one and only Chicago Bulls.
It was a fascinating decade where youthful revolt turned to apathy. Where we focused on enjoying life rather than trying to fix all its problems. Many great aspects of the 90s live on and the ripples can still be felt, but there are also many people, places, and events that never made it out of the 90s or at least never achieved the same success outside of that great decade. I want to take a look at those things that have been lost in the annals of history in our newest segment, “Lost in the 90s.”
First up, Tom Emanski. The brilliant baseball mind whose teachings helped produce baseball’s back-to-back-to-back AAU National Champions. Anyone from the 90s that watched ESPN remembers Emanki’s commercials for his VHS instructional videos on how to play the game of baseball the “right way.” Funny that right and white rhyme in this instance. Don’t you think?
The greatest gift for an overbearing, delusional father whom wants to push his son as hard as humanly possible in order to live vicariously through him on his way to the Big Leagues in order to ignore the fact that he got cut from his JV High School team. These videos were a gold mine for Emanksi whom made millions off the sales. Kids of the 90s had to suffer through these dry, boring videos to “learn the game” when all they wanted to do was go out and play something that was actually fun with their friends.
Emanski was a baseball lifer, despite growing up in the furthest thing from a baseball hot bed, New Jersey. This man had an undying love for fundamentals that carried over to all aspects of life. His wife never has to worry about having a good time on her birthday and anniversary. Emanski starting working as a MLB scout in the 70s before taking his incredible skills of observation to the instructional field in the 80s. However, it was a lesson in Orlando with a young 18 year old, aspiring ballplayer named Fred McGriff that took his career to new heights.
Larel and Hardy, Batman and Robin, Lewis and Martin, Regis and Kathy Lee, Jordan and Pippen, Sheen and “any pornstar willing to fuck for cocaine,” and Emanski and McGriff. These are the names in the Pantheon of great duos to ever grace God’s green earth. In 1991, when Emanski was preparing to launch his instructional video series, now known simply as “The Nine Commandments,” he knew he needed something or someone to make a splash. Enter Fred “the Crime Dog” McGriff, at the time the starting first baseman for the Chicago Cubs. Emanski called in a favor to the man he helped turn into an eventual Hall of Famer and of course McGriff said yes. He picked up the Crime Dog straight from Wrigley, after one of the team’s surprisingly low 83 losses, and they drove to a local high school field to make history. Naming the greatest commercial of all-time is a subjective manner, but anyone that has ever seen Emanski’s commercials would have a hard time saying any other is better.
After the success of the videos, Emanski was living the high life. The private jets, the limo rides, the parties, the women, it all came fast and easy for this 90s superstar. It unfortunately did not leave any time for Emanski to manage a baseball team himself, which would no doubt lead to him becoming the most successful of all-time. Then the 90s came to an end and his star inexplicably lost some shine. Everyone once in awhile someone references his name in passing, but never with the reverence it deserves. But really, I’m not sure if that is even possible. He may no longer get the recognition that he deserves, but for any child or father of the 90s, Tom Emanski will forever be the greatest baseball mind the world has ever known.