tabor36 and I were talking on Thursday about the new MLB promotion Hometown Heroes, which allows fans to vote on the most outstanding player in each franchise's history. I voted, and some of the choices were really tough. Want to debate? Bring it.
Today: American League
Tomorrow: National League
Oh, you want a cut?
-Cal Ripken, Jr.
A sneaky hard ballot to start off. At first it seems obvious, but then I remembered how Eddie Murray had 3000 hits, a bunch of them with the O's, and how Frank Robinson won MVPs in both leagues, and how Brooks Robinson was a Hoover with some pop, and how Jim Palmer did ads for the Money Store (1-800-LOAN-YES). But I'm going with my gut, and the night in 1995 when my entire body was goose bumped.
MY PICK: CAL RIPKEN, JR.
BOSTON RED SOX
The frozen guy wins!
MY PICK: TED WILLIAMS
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Kind of a nondescript list here, including a guy most famous for playing in six decades. When in doubt, go for the big bat.
MY PICK: FRANK THOMAS
I would have liked to see Rocky Colavito on the ballot, but either way, you can't go against one of the best fastballs ever.
MY PICK: BOB FELLER
Yikes. There's a lot of talent here. It's weird to see Trammell, though, without Lou Whitaker. The best Tigers pitcher ever is also a tough call, but I'd go with Mickey Lolich over Hal Newhouser. And The Bird. Damn, The Bird was cool.
MY PICK: TY COBB
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
This one isn't close, but Dan Quisenberry should at least be on the ballot. Bring back the powder-blue unis!
MY PICK: GEORGE BRETT
LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM
One of the rules I live by: If you get beaten up by that chick from the Whitesnake video, you can't be your franchise's greatest player.
MY PICK: TIM SALMON
Um, did they forget that the franchise used to be in D.C. (you know, the Senators) and had a pitcher named Walter Johnson? I guess they did.
Poor Rod Carew. This makes two straight teams he'll get shafted on. But I had to go with the guy who was not only larger than life, but greater than The Logo himself, Harmon Killebrew.
MY PICK: KIRBY PUCKETT
NEW YORK YANKEES
Jesus Christ. I hate the fucking Yankees.
MY PICK: BABE RUTH
As the man himself said, rather modestly I think, "This is Rickey, calling on behalf of Rickey." Stolen Base King, I'll put you through.
MY PICK: RICKEY HENDERSON
-Ken Griffey, Jr.
I was really torn on this one. In the end, Junior Griffey's defensive heroics propelled him over Edgar Martinez. But if Ichiro has a couple more Ichiro seasons, this is his category to lose when they do this thing again.
MY PICK: KEN GRIFFEY, JR.
TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS
Hahahahahahahahahaha...HA! HA! HA!
HA! HA! HA!
Okay, almost done.
HA! Ha. Ha...
If Fred McGriff wins, will he thank Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills video? "This is the instructional video that gets results!"
MY PICK: AUBREY HUFF
Nolan Ryan should get a few votes because he was a Ranger when he pummelling Robin Ventura. But the best hitter, and best player, for the Rangers isn't even on this list. So it's time for a write-in vote.
MY PICK: JUAN GONZALEZ
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Good to see Dave Steib get some love. I've always thought he's one of the more underrated pitchers of the 1980s. (One of the more underrated pitchers of the 1880s? Tim Keefe. You ever hear him mentioned? He only got 300 wins!) I'm trying to be civil in this whole thing, but I have one thing to say, from the bottom of my Phillies-loving heart - Joe Carter, I hate you.
MY PICK: JOE CARTER