Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mt. Rushmore - AL Central

It'll be hard to top the talent in the NL Central but, the good old American League Central will surely give it a shot.

Chicago White Sox:  Joe Jackson, Frank Thomas, Carlton Fisk, and Ozzie Guillen.

Defense:  I could have easily included Bo Jackson, Paul Konerko, or even Jack McDowell on this Rushmore.  The vote was pretty close.  Shoeless Joe gets on because he...well, because he was rad.  Fuckin' railroaded, that guy.  It's a shame.  The Big Hurt, newly elected to the Hall, gets on because he was a beast.  Literally and figuratively.  I met the dude when I was in college and he's friggin' huge.  Could've easily been a Defensive End for the Bears.  Fisk, well he was a great catcher.  He was gritty and dirty and a players-player.  Finally, a little controversy...Guillen.  Ozzie, no matter what you say about the guy, was the face of the Sox from the early 90's until he left in the late aughts.  He was quirky and controversial and, frankly, kind of an asshole.  It was real close between him  and Konerko.

Cleveland Indians:  Bob Feller,  Albert "Joey" Belle,  Jim Thome, and Omar Vizquel.

Defense:  The Heater From Van Meter, Bob Feller, needs no defense at all.  Big game pitcher, high heat, war hero...fuck, the guy was the perfect American.  Albert Belle.  You can't say "Cleveland Indians" and NOT think of Joey.  For all his quirks and attitude, Belle was a pure hitter.  The guy could just flat out kill the ball.  And the people in Cleveland loved him, too.  It wasn't too long ago that those Cleveland teams were pretty good...Belle was in that mix.  Jim Thome, while he has played with multiple teams, is synonymous with the city and the Indians.  So many home many RBI's.  Thome is a great player and a class act.  If, and that's a capital IF, he gets into the Hall he should go in as an Indian.  Finally, there's Vizquel.  The slick fielding SS that just about exemplifies everything about the Indians.  I just loved watching him play...a real joy.

Minnesota Twins:  Harmon Killebrew, Joe Mauer, Kirby Puckett, and Bert Blyleven.

Defense:  Killer-brew brought the hammer every night.  Just killed the ball.  No one, I will bet money on this, is more beloved by Twins fans than Harmon (even Kirby).  Joe Mauer.  Yes, he's a modern player.  But, he's also a hometown boy and a bonafied superstar.  Offense, defense, leadership...Joe does it all and has been paid handsomely to do so.  For christ-sakes the guy and his wife actually had TWINS...that's how much he loves this team.  Kirby Puckett.  A little round guy that could hit anything and play stellar defense?  What's not to love about that?  Kirby was so awesome to watch, just kind of an enigma.  He was taken from this world way too soon, for sure.  Bert is a butthole.  But, Bert was a great pitcher. Therefore, he makes the list...barely.

Detroit Tigers:  Ty Cobb, Al Kaline, Miguel Cabrera, and Sparky Anderson.

Defense:  Ty Cobb was a feared hitter, a killer on the base-paths, had fire in his eyes, and hate for
everyone (especially non-whites) in his little, shriveled heart.  But, that little fuckin Georgia redneck was one of the best pure hitters baseball has ever seen.  Al Kaline killed the baseball.  Period.  He hit the baseball like he just hated that thing. I learned as I got older...was kind of an asshole, too.  I have a story about Al and his surliness.  If you want to hear it, send me an email.  Miggy won the triple crown.  In the modern era, that's damned near impossible.  No one hits better in the game today than Cabrera. The Angels CF is close...but he's still miles apart from Cabrera.   I have put only players on the Rushmore's up to this point.  But, I make exception for Sparky.  I believe that no other person personifies a team more than Sparky did for the Tigers.  He was such an unbelievably nice man, too.  When I was a kid, the Tigers trained in our little FL town (still do, actually).  Every year we would get soooo excited.  Not to see the team, but because Sparky was coming back to town.  Love that guy.

Kansas City Royals:  George Brett, Brett Saberhagen, Bo Jackson, and David Cone

Defense:  I really can't defend any of these.  Brett was great.  He could hit but he was also a super-douche back in the day.  I don't say this off hearsay...I saw it first hand.  Their Spring Training was just up the road in FL.  I liked Saberhagen and he was totally the most valuable pitcher they have ever had. To this day, I think Royals fans are waiting for the next Saberhagen.  He just oozed intensity.  Bo Jackson was the best athlete I have ever seen.  Period.  The guy could do it all...hit, defense, fast...Bo was the fucking Mack Daddy.  Sadly, he was the only spark of offensive greatness on otherwise shitty KC teams.  Cone was a great pitcher but he made his name and fortune in other locales.  He just was getting started in KC.  But, I couldn't have a blank face on this Rushmore, could I?  Boy...the Royals have an awful history.

On Deck: NL East

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