[The fourteenth 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?]
It’s fun watching baseball games that matter heading into September. It’s been a few years since that’s happened, so I’m milking it. The Cubs are working their way through a 3-game series with the Dodgers, which could have pretty interesting playoff implications. LA doesn’t have a stranglehold on the NL West just yet, and the Cubs certainly are not a lock for that wild card spot. Taking the series will give both teams a tiny bit of extra breathing room. I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m glad we’re missing Greinke this weekend (sadly still had to face a dominant Kershaw).
Jackie Robinson is an absolute no-brainer in this category and a very good candidate to be the first to jump from hypothetical to real collection (if I ever make significantly more money than I do now). I’ve always been fascinated by Jackie’s story. I had a few different kids books about him (which were some of the only books I read), and even though I was never a big history guy, I made an exception when it came to #42. It’s pretty un-explainable really. I don’t know how a middle class white kid growing up in the ’80s can develop a connection with a person who had to struggle and face racism and oppression. Yet, here we are.
Current player runner-up: Adrian Gonzalez
It’s odd how tough this choice was. There are a lot of “star” players on the Dodgers. I don’t dare touch Kershaw, because the competition would be fierce and his prices are going to rise. I don’t care to go after younger guys like Joc or Puig, because I usually wait a few years before considering a player. Some of the other veterans just don’t strike me. That leaves Adrian. He’d be pretty cheap. I liked his style of play back in the Padres days (and hated when he played the Cubs), and he’s remained pretty solid, I think. A good under the radar selection.
Retired player runner-up: Orel Hershiser
Another kind of tough one. Dodgers have a long, storied history, but aside from Jackie I don’t really have a ton of interest in collecting players from before I was born. Orel had a pretty good career, and a really good scoreless innings stretch (which I think is still a record today?) Plus, he has a fun name. Mouth Chocolate it is!
The Series So Far
Angels – (tie) Jim Abbott & Vladimir Guerrero
Braves – Steve Avery
Brewers – Bob Eucker
Cardinals – Jim Edmonds
Dodgers – Jackie Robinson
Indians – Jim Thome
Mets – (tie) Darryl Strawberry & Dwight Gooden
Phillies – Mike Schmidt
Pirates – Andrew McCutchen
Rangers – Nolan Ryan
Reds – Eric Davis
Rockies – Carlos Gonzalez
Tigers – Alan Trammell
White Sox – Paul Konerko