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We won't be dealing with non-baseball news events here very often, and I'm not a Roman Catholic. But the passing of John Paul II to the next plane of existence is of world-historical significance. Whatever your beliefs, this man was one of the giants of the late 20th century. I wish peace to all those in mourning this evening.

In 1979, the Pope made a visit to central Iowa, where I was growing up, holding a huge mass at Living History Farms near Des Moines. There were many Catholic children in my neighborhood, and I still remember how excited they were about the event.

Then the Pope's aircraft flew over my house as he left town. It was a big marker in my childhood.