Mount Rushmore – Baseball Edition



One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.

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39 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Joe Shlabotnik- He is symbolic of the love people have for individual players and how they follow them.Report

  2. Ha! Your list is perfect. Anyone who disagrees with any of your selections is either dumb or evil. And is definitely an anti-American Communist.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mark Thompson says:

      GAME OVER!!!Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy says:

        There was a time that the Dodgers haf the best closer in baseball and the Giants one of the worst. Whenever Eric Gagne came into a home game, the scoreboard would light up with GAME OVER. There was a joke going around that when Armando Benitez came in, it should say “Mission Accomplished.”

        (No politics.)Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        Eventually Gagne ended up with the Red Sox. At which point, fans became convinced he was on a mission to blow games in as excruciating a fashion as possible. I remember one game in particular. Well, I semi-remember it. His antics caused me to go from “enjoyably drunk” to “belligerent”. I punched a wall.

        I hate Gagne.Report

  3. Avatar Mo says:

    I could make a case for Tommy John. He ushered in the era of players undergoing extreme medical treatments to recover from injury. Hard to throw out anyone from there.Report

  4. Avatar EB says:

    I like the way the question is framed-“telling the story” rather than simply “these are the four best.” Given that, my first thought was “Bonds better be there!” Hard to argue with any of those choices, although there’s something missing from a story of baseball in 2014 that doesn’t involve any Latin American/Hispanic players. Clemente? A-Rod (mostly for the labor relations stuff that Flood touches on;biggest contract ever, etc)?Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to EB says:

      I considered Clemente for that last spot but did not mention him. I think it is too early with ARod to know what his legacy will ultimately be.Report

  5. Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

    1. Cy Young

    2. Shoeless Joe Jackson

    3. Jackie Robsinson

    4. Sandy Koufax or Hank GreenbergReport

  6. Avatar RTod says:

    Given the parameters o your Rushmore, don’t you have to include Ray Chapman?

    Two of your players — indeed the two everyone seems to agree need to be there, Ruth and Bonds — don’t get there without Chapman.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to RTod says:

      I had to Google who Chapman was. While the long-term impact of his passing was undoubtedly integral to the game, I’m not sure that it makes Chapman himself special. Were it not him, it would have been someone else. I think that matters. And I don’t think the same can be said for people like Flood and Robinson, whose actions took courage. Chapman was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.Report

  7. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    1 You’ve got a pitcher, and a great one,

    2. Curt Flood lost, and nothing changed. That slot should go to Marvin Miller.

    3. Baseball goes back a long ways. The National Association (deceased) was started in 1871 and the National League (still with us) in 1876, but your choices for the pivotal part of its story are from the 1920s and later. I’d add at least one older figure:

    Albert Spalding: the first well-known player to use a glove (and, of course, the founder of the most famous company to make them.)

    Harry Wright: innovator (creator of, for instance, the defensive shift) and founder of the first professional team.

    Cap Anson: also an innovator (spring training, base coaches), and the man most responsible for segregation. It would serve him right to have to spend eternity next to Jackie.

    4, Also, Willie Mays. Because he’s Willie Mays.Report

  8. Avatar Patrick says:

    You couldn’t think of a pitcher that felt integral to this history of the game?

    Take Curt out, put him in.

    I agree with Jackie and Babe. I like Mike’s note about Spalding.Report

  9. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    And one nitpick about Bonds: he couldn’t throw that well. He made up for a weak arm by getting to the ball and getting his throw off quickly. Which, together with his speed and judgement of fly balls, was enough to make him a top-notch left fielder (through 1998, +13 dWAR and 8 Gold Gloves.) But when he got older and slower, he became a real defensive liability. I don’t blame the Giant for not resigning him in 2008, because he was no longer capable of playing in the field, but the fact that none of the 14 AL teams signed him as DH after he’d gone .276/.480/.565 with 28 HRs stinks of collusion.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      Thanks, @mike-schilling . Bonds’ unceremonious departure from the game was absurd. Not because he necessarily deserved a ceremony. But because he would have made damn near any AL team better at the DH spot.Report

  10. Avatar zic says:

    Sort of off topic but: I think my sweetie’s mom may be having a late-in-life romance with a player who probably wouldn’t adorn the Mt. Rushmore of baseball, but might be carved into the mountain honoring baseball broadcasters. They live in the same retirement community. It’ sweet.Report

  11. Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

    A couple of names that deserve consideration only because they were the first, or at least “first”: Ron Blomberg, the first player to be that abomination known as the DH, and Dennis Eckersley as the first true closer, the advent of which has made late inning baseball about as exciting to watch as the last couple of minutes in a basketball game. On 2nd thought, perhaps they belong on the Wall of Shame.

    Fun fact about Cap Anson, @mike-schilling : He is still the all-time Cubs RBI leader. He played his last major league game in 1897, which just goes to show you how horrific the Chicago National League ball club truly has been for the last century and a quarter.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

      Anson played for the Cubs for 22 years; it’s not that surprising he’d lead in some of the counting stats. And 1880 RBIs for one team is not bad. It would make him 12th lifetime. (Baseball-reference has him 3rd lifetime, because it includes his five years in the NA.)

      How about Andy Messersmith, first man to play out his reserve clause year and become a free agent?Report

      • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Along with Dave McNally.

        In The Lords of the Realm it was reported that once the reserve clause was wiped out by the courts, Charlie Finley advocated for making all major leaguers free agents. He knew this would drive down salaries, but his fellow owners couldn’t let go of the idea of their “investment” in players developed in the minor leagues. As a result, Adam Dunn, a lifetime .240 hitter, and noted strike out king, is making $15,000,000 this year. Blech.Report

  12. Avatar Susan says:

    America’s Passtime, not Past Time.Report