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The heroic struggle of Ed Hearn

Folks my age and older might remember Ed Hearn, if not for his role as a dependable backup catcher for the 1986 Mets than at least for his presence in the trade that sent him to Kansas City in exchange for one David Cone. That resume may be the sort of thing that keeps a guy in free lunches and attaboys during his retirement, but for Ed Hearn, baseball is but a tiny footnote in his life story:

As the baseball postseason unfolds this month, heroes will be anointed, and star players feted. Nobody will say a word about Hearn, who isn’t the best ballplayer to play in this city, but may be the most courageous, and the most selfless.

At 49, Hearn has been through three kidney transplants, 25 surgeries, three dozen carcinomas and courses of radiation. He takes 20 medications a day, running his lifetime pill total to about 140,000. When he was first diagnosed in the early 1990s, he was so distraught that he went down to the basement with a loaded gun, and wrote a suicide note to his wife, Trish.

Now he says it is his love for Trish, and their son, Cody, and his faith, that keeps him going.

Harrowing stuff indeed, turned uplifting by Hearn’s courage and equanimity in the face of something that would make even the strongest among us wilt. If nothing else, it’s a story that truly puts baseball in perspective.