Thursday, July 13, 2006

Face of the Franchise

Posted by Chris Kenna

Recently, while listening to the morning radio programming which wakes me up on my alarm clock every morning (it happens to be ESPN's Mike and Mike, the only sports talk radio program worth listening to for any amount of time) I heard of an upcoming promotion by Major League Baseball that caught my attention.

Apparently, Major League Baseball, in conjunction with DHL Shipping, I believe, will be choosing 5 players from each team's history to compete for a vote to represent each franchise. From that point, the general online public will be able to vote for their choice to represent each team online.

The competition starts on July 17, but given my immense interest in the history of the great pasttime of baseball, I simply could not wait that long to delve into this issue and make my determination on which player should be considered the face of each Major League franchise. I thought I would share my thoughts and maybe get some debate started before the competition officially begins.

Before I begin, let's keep in mind that this vote does not necessarily mean picking each team's "best" or "most talented" player, but the player that would best represent your franchise. If the team was listed in the dictionary, this player would most likely be in the accompanying picture.
So, without further ado...

  • Arizona Diamondbacks - Randy Johnson
    Had his best seasons in Arizona and brought this young franchise a World Series.
    Others considered: Luis Gonzalez, Curt Schilling
  • Atlanta Braves - Hank Aaron
    The all-time home run king makes this one an easy choice, especially when you consider he played for the Braves in Milwaukee and Atlanta for all 23 of his seasons in the Majors. Others considered: Greg Maddux, Eddie Matthews
  • Baltimore Orioles - Cal Ripken
    Baseball's ultimate Ironman is a relatively easy choice, despite a rather storied history of success in Baltimore and St. Louis before that.
    Others considered: Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer
  • Boston Red Sox - Ted Williams
    Arguably the greatest pure hitter the game has ever seen.
    Others considered: Carl Yastrzemski, Cy Young
  • Chicago Cubs - Ernie Banks
    His nickname was Mr. Cub, isn't that enough?
    Others considered: Ryne Sandberg, Fergie Jenkins
  • Chicago White Sox - Joe Jackson
    One of the game's most well-known and most-respected hitters.
    Others considered: Frank Thomas, Nellie Fox
  • Cincinnati Reds - Johnny Bench
    The greatest all-around catcher of all-time anchored the powerful Big Red Machine. Others considered: Joe Morgan, Pete Rose
  • Cleveland Indians - Bob Feller
    The only great Indian to spend a majority of his career in Cleveland was a member of the last Indians team to win a World Series.
    Others considered: Manny Ramirez, Tris Speaker
  • Colorado Rockies - Todd Helton
    The best among a shallow selection pool.
    Others considered: Dante Bichette, Larry Walker
  • Detroit Tigers - Al Kaline
    You can't mention the Tigers without mentioning Kaline.
    Others considered: Hank Greenberg, Ty Cobb
  • Florida Marlins - Miguel Cabrera
    With a lack of great candidates, Cabrera could easily earn his place among the elite on this list over the next 10 years.
    Others considered: Dontrelle Willis, Josh Beckett
  • Houston Astros - Jeff Bagwell
    The leader of the Killer B's and the most recognizable player in franchise history.
    Others considered: Craig Biggio, Nolan Ryan
  • Kansas City Royals - George Brett
    One of the all-time greats at third, and easily the best Royals player of all-time.
    Others considered: Brett Saberhagen, Dan Quisenberry
  • Los Angeles Angels - Rod Carew
    Edges out World Series hero Garret Anderson in this franchise's rather non-descript history.
    Others considered: Vladimir Guerrero, Garret Anderson
  • Los Angeles Dodgers - Jackie Robinson
    No one contributed more to the game more than Jackie Robinson.
    Others considered: Sandy Koufax, Mike Piazza
  • Milwaukee Brewers - Robin Yount
    A tossup between Molitor and Yount is decided by the fact that Yount spent his entire career in Milwaukee.
    Others considered: Paul Molitor
  • Minnesota Twins - Kirby Puckett
    Kirby represents the golden age of baseball in Minnesota.
    Others considered: Harmon Killebrew, Walter Johnson
  • Montreal Expos - Tim Raines
    Baseball's second-greatest leadoff man of all-time.
    Others considered: Andre Dawson, Vladimir Guerrero
  • New York Mets - Tom Seaver
    Leader of the Amazin Mets of '69, and one of the greatest pitchers baseball has ever seen.
    Others considered: Keith Hernandez, Daryl Strawberry
  • New York Yankees - Babe Ruth
    No explanation needed.
    Others considered: Lou Gherig, Mickey Mantle
  • Oakland A's - Dennis Eckersley
    Baseball's original dominant closer edges out two incredible players with character issues.
    Others considered: Reggie Jackson, Rickey Henderson
  • Philadelphia Phillies - Mike Schmidt
    Arguably the greatest third baseman in the history of the game.
    Others considered: Steve Carlton, Chuck Klein
  • Pittsburgh Pirates - Roberto Clemente
    Combination of talent and contributions to the betterment of the game makes this as easy as any choice on the list.
    Others considered: Willie Stargell, Honus Wagner
  • San Diego Padres - Tony Gwynn
    One of baseball's best and most likable hitters.
    Others considered: Trevor Hoffman, Dave Winfield
  • San Francisco Giants - Willie Mays
    The first, and best, legitimate 5-tool player.
    Others considered: Barry Bonds, Christy Matthewson
  • Seattle Mariners - Ken Griffey, Jr.
    Before he left Seattle, he was on pace to become one of the 5 greatest players of all-time.
    Others considered: Ichiro, Edgar Martinez
  • St. Louis Cardinals - Stan Musial
    They called him "Stan the Man," and he is often recognized as the most underrated player in baseball history.
    Others considered: Ozzie Smith, Bob Gibson
  • Tampa Bay Devil Rays - Carl Crawford
    See the Florida Marlins. This kid could be a great one.
    Others considered: Scott Kazmir, Fred McGriff
  • Texas Rangers - Nolan Ryan
    Played for many teams, but recorded several milestones in a Rangers uniform. The Robin Ventura fight seals this one.
    Others considered: Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez
  • Toronto Blue Jays - Joe Carter
    Sure, there's the game-winning World Series homer, but Joe was a pretty decent player beyond that.
    Others considered: Roberto Alomar, Carlos Delgado

This post is dedicated to Dan Clarin's favorite comedian, Red Buttons, who sadly enough, passed away earlier today. RIP Red Buttons.

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