Recently, the craze has been to fill out a “Mount Rushmore” of (fill in the blank) sports immortality. In reality, it is most often a hopeless, fruitless endeavor that has one or two easy answers and then opens up to an endless stream of debates and arguments — which is perfect.
So, in my endless pursuit to overdo myself in figuring out the game of baseball, one Mount Rushmore was not enough. Why not climb to the top of every Major League Baseball team’s summit and pay homage to who’s up there? There is a lot to consider when doing something like this and, without a doubt, plenty of elements to debate. From impact, to time spent, to how a guy shapes the image of a franchise, to be considered an all-time face of a team is an extraordinary group to be a part of, whether it’s the Yankees or down to the more recently born Rays and Diamondbacks.
So why not: 30 teams, 30 MLB Mount Rushmores. A few with some commentary from me — and others with a little help from my TSFJ friends.
In all reality, this sucks. Because anytime room for Pedro Martinez, Wade Boggs or Tris Speaker can’t be found, it is going to burn. But Ortiz has been the constant in the Sox finally shaking off the curse, and Clemens was the best pitcher of the ’80s and the early 2000s. And all the other two guys listed here did was combine for three Triple Crowns. —The Cheap Seat Fan
Cal Ripken will always be celebrated as the Iron Man, with a record that may be one of the last to ever be broken in any major sport. Frank Robinson is here for his role in the Orioles spearing their World Series runs in 1966 and 1970, while winning the Triple Crown during his tenure in Baltimore. With Manny Machado making a strong case for the best third basemen in the league (for now, before he goes to SS), remember it is Brooks Robinson who had the illest nickname ever due to his greatness (The Human Vacuum cleaner). And of course Cy Young award winner Jim Palmer, who was a part of the Orioles’ last championship season in 1983. —The NFL Chick
The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908 (sorry to remind Chicagoans again, carry on with your day). It seems to me they should reserve a spot on Mt. Rushmore for someone who actually won a title with them. Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown is the best candidate. He even has an origin story worthy of a superhero: farming accident produces legendary pitcher. —No Class Friday
Forget the Black Sox scandal, Joe Jackson is still one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. Does he make the cut here though? I don’t know. I do think Hall of Famers Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio deserve a long look over either Appling or Konerko. They were the double-play tandem on the famous Go-Go Sox pennant winners of 1959. Also Chico Carrasquel because he was my dad’s favorite player. —No Class Friday
The Indians’ offering really shows how poor this franchise has been. Bob Feller and Lou Boudreau debuted in the late 1930s. Tris Speaker started his career in the dead ball era (I have no arguments with those three by the way). Jim Thome took his last swing in 2012. Now, Kenny Lofton could get some consideration here as could Manny Ramirez or Gaylord Perry, who won a Cy Young with the Tribe. For me, Napoleon Lajoie, another dead baller, figuratively and literally, is the biggest omission. Lajoie was so popular in Cleveland that the franchise adopted the nickname “Naps” during his years there. —No Class Friday
This is one of the toughest ones because there are three clear-cut Hall of Famers that deserve the nod, plus one of the greatest hitters of all time whose call to the Hall is only blocked by the 10 years of baseball he probably still has in front of him. But leaving off Lou Whittaker and Alan Trammell is tough … best case, only one would be able to make it, and how do you really pick between one or the other? All respects to Charlie Gehringer and Yahoo Sam Crawford as well. —CSF
I’m a firm believer that the closest I’ve gotten to Heaven is Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. In the meantime til we cross paths again, I’ll pass along the gospel of the Field of Dreams here, Cheap.Seats.Please, I70 Baseball, and ‘Live From The Cheap Seats’.