Clayton Kershaw is an All-Star, which is far out, and right this minute the ashes of his great uncle are floating through the stars, which is even farther.
Clyde Tombaugh (1906-1997) discovered Pluto 85 years ago while staring into the Arizona night sky through a powerful Lowell Observatory telescope. In recognition of his achievement, the scientists who packed up the New Horizons space probe for the recently completed trip to whatever Pluto is (some say planet, some say pshaw) included a canister of Tombaugh’s ashes and an inscription identifying him as “father, astronomer, teacher, punster, and friend.”
Does any of this matter to Kershaw? It must. In a 2013 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night talk show, the Dodgers’ ace verified that Tombaugh is his great uncle and then blasted off a bit on the International Astronomical Union, the august body responsible for sending Pluto down to the Triple-A league of dwarf planets.
“I’m really glad you brought this up,” Kershaw told Kimmel, who may have been expecting a lighter answer to his question. “It’s something that’s been a huge problem in the Kershaw/Tombaugh family for a couple of years now.
“My great uncle discovered Pluto. I know that sounds like a joke when it comes out, but it’s true. Clyde Tombaugh, my great uncle, discovered Pluto, and they took it away from us. Said it’s a dwarf planet now. What, scientists just decide to just get in a room one day and say, ‘Oh, you know, we’re out with Pluto’?”
Is there nothing we can agree upon down here? I prefer to believe, for instance, that the moon is made of swiss cheese, nicely chilled. Any of you nerds over at the International Astronomical Union got a problem with that?
Anyway, I’m hoping that one day Kershaw can pitch for the Houston Astros. It seems to be in his blood.