[The sixth in a series: I’m picking one player that I associate with a team (whether they spent the majority of their career there or not) that I would strongly consider adding to my official want lists. They may not always be superstars, or the most popular, and honestly they may not always be my favorite player from the team, but that’s what will make this fun, no?]
There have been a couple of high-profile retirement announcements this past week. Todd Helton is hanging up his cleats after nearly two decades with the Rockies and Vladimir Guerrero also decided to end his career.
When players of their stature retire the inevitable question comes up: Should they make the Hall of Fame?
To me, the real question is would I collect them? Are they worthy of a place in my hypothetically expanding binder? I’m not ready to put together the Rockies edition of this series, but I’ll tell you that Todd Helton will not be on that list. Nothing against his career, but I refuse to celebrate anyone with a DUI. No respect for people like that whatsoever.
I do have respect for these guys, however.
Jim Abbott. Sure, he may not have been the greatest pitcher, but he did it all with ONE freakin’ hand! The guy was born without a right hand and still managed to be good enough to make a Major League roster. And stay in the majors for 10 years. Oh, and throw a no-hitter!
I can’t even imagine the perseverance and dedication and practice that must have required. Yeah, I’d say that’s a guy that would be worth my collecting efforts.
And Vladimir Guerrero. Yes, we have our first tie. I know it won’t be the last, because I’ve had a specific duo in mind for a future post in the series. Vlad causes a tie here, because he’s always been one of those guys I’ve felt went under-appreciated. The guy actually does have Hall of Fame numbers when looking at baseball-reference comparables. Something about collecting a big power guy and overall dangerous hitter that’s not incredibly popular hobby-wise appeals to me. He’s a 9-time All-Star, 8-time Silver Slugger, an AL MVP, but yet I can’t think of anyone off-hand that collects his cards. I think I would.
He may have spent more time with the Expos, but I came back into the baseball folder later, and know him more as an Angel.
Current player runner-up: Mike Trout
See, I can pick Mike Trout, because I know I would never actually attempt it. Also, I don’t realistically have any other options. Not a fan of Hamilton. Sure, he has the redemption story, but I still think he’s a d-bag overall. I don’t like Pujols (my wife loves his name, because she loves toilet humor), because my allegiances can’t allow that. The rest of the crew are also-rans in my mind. Maybe Torii Hunter would work (is he still on the roster?), but I’d place him more with the Twins.
Retired player runner-up: Tim Salmon
There were a lot of ways this could have gone, but it came down to Wally Joyner and Tim Salmon. In the end, his name won out. Sometimes not a lot of thought goes into these things.
The Series So Far
Brewers – Bob Eucker
Cardinals – Jim Edmonds
Pirates – Andrew McCutchen
Rangers – Nolan Ryan
White Sox – Paul Konerko