Friday, July 28, 2006

Who's Your FACE?

Na. Hopefully we all can do better than that.

What I mean is, who is the face of your city? Your franchise?

MLB's Hometown Heroes vote is taking place right now. From the website:
"Cast your vote for the most outstanding player in each club's history..."

You can also enter to win 2006 World Series Tickets.

In St. Louis, there "can-na be no-a debate", as Poppy would say.

The face of the St. Louis Cardinals is, without question, Stan Musial. The Man. Baseball's greatest living player.

When they have had a GIGANTIC statue of you downtown outside of two baseball stadiums for the past 40 years, that pretty well settles all debates. At least for the next decade or two. Wait 20 years and we'll see if Albert Pujols is revered so much as to put a giant statue of him on the city's sidewalks.

The Statue's old home... and the new home.

Of course, even then, Albert will still need to be put on the cover of TIME magazine just to draw even with "The Man".

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to go through the other 29 teams and pick, from the perspective of a St. Louis Cardinals fan, the Hometown Heroes, the "Faces" if you will, of each franchise.

Not all of these picks are found on the official ballot. But remember, they are my perceptions, who I "see" in my mind's eye when someone mentions a particular team. A la word association.

National League East
Mets- Tom Seaver. (Remember 1969?)
Braves- Hank Aaron (714, too easy)
Phillies- Mike Schmidt (To Phillies fan, he's the face and the so-called other end)
Marlins- Jim Leyland. (Hey, a manager could win this, no?)
Nationals/Expos- Rusty Staub. (A red headed assassin with long socks. Nicknamed Le Grand Orange?!! I always wanted to be called that. Yeah. He's your man)

National League Central
Reds- Pete Rose (MLB be-damned)
Astros- Nolan Ryan (No-no anyone?)
Brewers- Robin Yount (1982 hero. I can like him because the Cardinals won the World Series over the Brewers. If they'd have lost, I'd have forever hated him)
Cubs- Ernie Banks (Let's play two? Heck-fire, the Cubs don't even like playing one)
Pirates- Willie Stargell (Best All*Star Baseball player ever- had the biggest "1", i.e. home run, on the playing disc when I was growing up)

National League West
Dodgers- Jackie Robinson (A baseball icon)
Giants- Willie Mays (Sorry Barry, your godfather's got you beat all the way around)
Diamondbacks- Randy Johnson (Wanna argue with him that he's not?)
Padres- Steve Garvey (1984 NLCS game 4 home run against the much-hated Cubs is a memory a Cardinals fan can't help but treasure)
Rockies- Larry Walker (Sure, it doesn't hurt he finished his career with El Birdos)

American League East
Red Sox- Ted Williams (A no-brainer, like Stan Musial. The sad thing is, they could take his deeply-frozen face and stick it at Fenway- making him the face...literally)
Yankees- The Babe (I thought this team would be the hardest, but how can you go against the single most famous baseball player in history? That's easy. You can't)
Blue Jays- Joe Carter (World Series winning home runs always pretty-much seal the deal)
Orioles- Jim Palmer (This was perhaps the toughest pick. I could go with Eddie Murray or Earl Weaver on any other given day. But those guys didn't do underwear commercials. And when all other things are even, a guy who does underwear commercials will always win out over those who don't)

American League Central
Tigers- Mickey Lolich (Pains me to say it, but my most clear memory of early Cardinals fan-dom is of Mickey and the Tigers dancing on Busch Stadium's turf after the final out in game 7, a pop foul, in the 1968 World Series. Still brings a tear to my eye. Alright, everyone look away for a minute. Sniff-sniff)
White Sox- Joe Jackson (Another hard one. I almost went with Harry Caray! Definitely could never vote for a total malcontent like Frank Thomas. Let's face it, despite 2005, when you think of the Sox, the Black Sox Scandal pops in to one's head first. And who is the most famous of the Black Sox? I rest my case)
Twins- Kirby Puckett (Went to Bradley U. in Peoria. I almost went with Harmon Killibrew. But how many dogs do I know named Harmon? Zip. But I do know one named Kirby)
Indians- Lou Boudreau (Hey, I'm an Illinois Boy! Who else could I even consider? Hall of Fame player. Managed the Indians to their last title. I find it incredible this guy's not even on the ballot)
Royals- George Brett (Another no-brainer. Duh)

American League West
A's- Reggie Jackson
(Love him or hate him, he's definitely a famous dude)
Angels- Don Baylor
(Like Randy Johnson, who's gonna tell him he's not?)
Rangers- Nolan Ryan (Houston, we have a problem. Sorry. I always wanted to write that. Seemed terribly appropriate to say that, since I picked this same guy for the Astros also. Get it? GET IT? Never mind)
Mariners- Ken Griffey, Jr. (It is what it is. Who else?)

Notice I left one team out. Tampa Bay. What business do the Devil Rays have being in this thing? They have no face. They've never even fielded a competetive team. So I thought I'd spare them the embarrassment of having everyone snicker at whoever is picked for them. Maybe if they ever do something...

But since they have no face, I'll "loan" them this one:


  1. Padres- why not Tony Gwinn?
    Giants- bye bye, Barry. (I agree with you.)
    Blue Jays- giving it to an ex-Indian, huh?
    Orioles- thanks for not picking Cal Ripken.
    Indians- I could go with Boudreau or Bob Feller.
    Tampa Bay- you could select Lou Pinella just for comedic value.

  2. "Padres- why not Tony Gwinn?"

    If I didn't root for St. Louis, Gwynn would be my man too. But that Garvey thing is just too good!

    Cal Ripken's only chance would have been if he had done an underwear commercial.

    Sorry to give the Blue Jays to Joe C., but...who else could it be? That was one of the defining moments of that franchise.

    Bob Feller was a close second.

    Lou Piniella- that is funny.

    Thanks, Rick.

    Does this mean you agree with all the others?

  3. I think Bob Feller has the edge in Cleveland. Heck, if we go by your criteria, Feller wins, as he has a statue outside of Jacob's Field. ;) I can't say much about the others, as I don't know enough about baseball history.

  4. Oh, and when I think of the Mariners, I think of Ichiro. Ken Griffey Jr. is pretty much implanted in my mind with Cincinnati now.

  5. Scottius, I do agree with all the others. I was giving you a little grief with Joe Carter; that's who I think of, too.