Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mt.Rushmore - AL East

Well, it's time to wrap up our Rushmores.  This last installment is the venerable American League East. So, let me tell you who made it and then we can get back to our regular installments dealing mainly with the hobby.

New York Yankees:  Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Yogi Berra.

Defense:  I will not defend this, at all.  I can say that only the Yanks would have a Rushmore that did NOT include Jeter, Mo Rivera, Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Don Mattingly, Phil Rizzuto, blah, blah, blah.  It seems that the greats always spend a good chunk of time in the Bronx.

Boston Red Sox:  Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, Pedro Martinez, and David Ortiz.

Defense:  Two old timers, two not-so-old timers.  Yaz and the Splinter could hit the cover off of the ball.  Williams was probably a far better player but I believe that Yaz was far more beloved by the Sox faithful.  No one, and I mean no one, the size of Pedro could pitch as hard as he could.  Remember the years when he was the most dominant pitcher in baseball?  You should.  There were like ten of those seasons.  Just an amazing pitcher.  He punches old men, too.  Big Papi is the face of the franchise these days.  Hands down.  Talent, power, and charisma...he's got it all.

Toronto Blue Jays:  Joe Carter, Roberto Alomar, Roy Halladay, and Tony Fernandez.

Defense:  Carter was the lynchpin to some great teams back in the early 90's.  Joe could hit for average and power and play a pretty good defense.  Nice player.  Robbie Alomar, all spitting aside, is one of the top second baggers to ever play the game.  Period.  No discussion.  Roy Halladay was easily the best pitcher to ever play in Canada.  That's an easy one.  Just a dominant player and he had so few losing seasons (I think 2 total) in his career.  Tony Fernandez is the all time hits leader in Toronto.  Can you believe that?  I couldn't when I found out.  But, Tony was awesome.  Some of you whippersnappers are too young to remember.  But, I do...because I'm old.

Baltimore Orioles:  Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, and Frank Robinson.

Defense:  Every single one of these guys is in the Hall of Fame. What is there to defend?  I can say that I think that Cal is one of the greatest players I have ever watched play in person.  There was no weakness to his game, I say.  The rest of the guys were pretty good, too.

Tampa Bay Rays:  Fred McGriff, Wade Boggs, David Price, and Evan Longoria.

Defense:  Another young franchise makes it hard to come up with a Rushmore.  But, McGriff, who should already be in the Hall, was an incredible player before he got to Tampa/St. Pete was one of the best.  A great hitter who was also an awesome guy.  Just loved in Tampa.  Boggs, who spent his last two seasons with the Rays (Devil Rays, back then), was one of the best contact hitters of his generation.  He could really just about hit anything.  Let us remember he hit his 3 thousandth hit in Tropicana Field (a homer).  I met him once and found him a little surly...I still like him, though. Price, a youngun, has the franchise's only Cy Young award.  He's a damned fine pitcher and I, for one, would love to see him spend his career in Tampa (ain't gonna happen).  David is a VERY nice dude, too.  Who could argue with Longo being on this list?  Fans love him.  Teammates love him. He's well respected around the league.  He plays great defense and hits well, too.  He stays on the Rushmore.

Well, that's it.  All of our Rushmore's are out into the internets world for posterity.  Argue amongst yourselves about who your Mt. Rushmore's are.  I am moving on to bigger and better things.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mt. Rushmore - NL East

Picking up where we left off.  The NL East Mt. Rushmores.

NY Mets:  Tom Seaver, Mike Piazza, Gary Carter, and John Franco.

Defense:  I could have easily picked another slew of players for the Mets.  Could've gone with Captain America David Wright or Gooden or Straw or HoJo...but, nope, these guys are the Mets for me.  Seaver is a legend and Piazza will eventually end up in the Hall.  It'll only be a matter of time.  Carter was an awesome player and a great dude.  RIP, Gary.  But, to me the man that typifies the Mets the absolute most is John Franco.  The venerable pitcher was everything the Mets were about.  To me, he IS the Mets.  No offense to Keith Hernandez or Mookie or...

Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos:  Vlad Guerrero, Tim Raines, Dennis Martinez, and Ryan Zimmerman.

Defense:  For the Nats I had to dig into their old Expo days.  Vlad could hit anything.  He could hit the nutsack off a gnat with a chopstick.  Seriously.  I saw it.  Actually, I didn't but he sure was a great hitter.  Tim Raines, at that time, was the fastest man alive.  It's a shame he isn't in the Hall yet.  Maybe with time we will realize just how awesome he was.  El Presidente pitched for-freaking-ever.  I think he was 56 when he pitched his last game.  Finally, I had to give some love to the current Nationals and tip my proverbial cap to Zim.  Good player.  Good glove.  Good bat.

Atlanta Braves:  Hank Aaron, Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine.

Defense:  No defense needed here.  The greatest home run hitter of all time...that one's easy to defend.  The face of the franchise for a billion years (Larry Chipper Jones) and one hell of a third bagger.  And possibly two of the greatest pitchers of any generation.  Seriously, this Mt. Rushmore was ridiculously easy to compile.

Philadelphia Phillies:  Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt, Robin Roberts, and Chase Utley.

Defense:  For a team so entrenched in history, coming up with a Mt. Rushmore for the Phils was a bit difficult.  Sure, Carlton was an easy pick.  Just amazing stats in an amazing career.  One of the best pitchers of all time.  Schmidt, if you had to pick one player, just oozes Philly crimson.  Easily the all-time face of the franchise.  One dynamite player, too.  No other Phillie is more loved, for sure.  Roberts is another HOF'er that deserves to be up there.  Utley, while this may be a little controversial, has played at a high level for a very long time in Philly.  Except the last few years which have been riddled with injury.

Miami/FL Marlins:  Kevin Brown, Mike Lowell, Derek Lee, and Hanley Ramirez.

Defense:  I can't totally defend any of these.  With such a young franchise, it's kind of hard to pick who should be on their Rushmore.  But, Kevin Brown was the first really good pitcher that played in South Florida.  He was surly and kind of rough but he was a good pitcher.  Lowell might be the best loved Marlin.  Not flashy, not overly talented...Lowell just got the job done.  He was gritty and I like that.  Lee made his name in FL with his bat.  He was the pure hitter, for sure.  A good guy, too.  I had the pleasure of meeting him once and he was super nice.  Hanley has made his money in LA but he cut his teeth with the Marlins.  He's a hell of a ballplayer and deserves a spot up here.  Honorable mention goes to Giancarlo, who, in a few years, might become the best player to ever done the teal pinstripes.


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

Thursday, February 13, 2014


I just thought I would take a break from the Rushmore's and throw up a couple of Manny Machado's that I dug out.  I'm considering throwing them both up on the bay and seeing what would happen.

They are:  2010 Elite Extra Edition Status #d 7/25 (Die Cut)
                 2012 Topps Heritage Minor League SSP (Reversed Color)

Not sure what they are worth but, hey, it's Manny so they gotta be worth something.

Just wanted to share.

Mt. Rushmore - National League Central

I read back over my last two Rushmore entries and noticed that I don't really go way back in terms of selecting great players.  They existed back then and many old-old-timers will get onto Rusmores of their respective teams.  But, I often choose, during these times, on emotion and memory.  Plus, I have my friggin' favorites and normally those are guys I have seen play before.  So, deal with it people.

Here's the National League Central.  A classic division with some great all-time teams.

Cincinnati Reds:  Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, and Barry Larkin.

Defense:  Does this Rushmore need defending?  Each and every one of those guys defined that team during their era.  Rose was possibly the best hitter to ever pick up a bat.  Just TONS of hits.  I mean, it's Charlie-fuckin-Hustle, dude!  Morgan, even though I don't really care for him on TV, was a great hitter and a Hall of Famer.  Johnny Bench, well he pretty much revolutionized the catching position.  He could hit and play defense...back in the day you got one or the other.  Barry Larkin may be the biggest star of them all.  A classy, great player on both sides of the ball.

Pittsburgh Pirates:  Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, and Ralph Kiner.

Defense:  I could have easily put Barry Lamar Bonds on the Pirates Rushmore.  He deserved to be in SF.  Honus Wagner...never saw him play.  But, if that cat has a baseball card worth more than I will ever make in a lifetime.  Hell, you get on the list sir.  Clemente was just a true talent that got stripped from this world far too early.  A true humanitarian and great person.  Stargell, who was quite possibly the ringleader for the "We are Family"-Pirates could flat out smash the ball.  Pure power.  The same with Kiner.  Ralph isn't as beloved around the country as he is in the Steel City, but he was an all-time great.

St. Louis Cardinals:  Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Albert Pujols, and Ozzie Smith.

Defense:  Seriously?  I need to defend this list.  Really?  I can do it super-quick.  A pure hitter with power.  A power pitcher that could wilt you with a stare.  The best hitter on the modern era.  And the best fielding shortstop ever.  That was easy.  The hardest part about picking the Cardinals Rushmore was narrowing down the field.

Chicago Cubs:  Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg, Fergie Jenkins, and Ron Santo.

Defense:  Let me start with the last guy on the list.  Ron Santo was just so awesome.  He waited for so long to be inducted into the Hall of Fame but when that time came, he had already passed away.  That is just too fucking tragic and I hate that for a great guy and fantastic player.  Banks is THE face of the Cubs.  He defines the Cubs and is beloved.  Hell of a player, too.  Sandberg was one of my favorites growing up.  He hit for average, power, and played defense.  On top of it all, Ryno was a leader.  Finally, Fergie Jenkins, the first Canadian to be inducted into the Hall, managed to be one of the greatest pitchers ever.

Milwaukee Brewers:  Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Ryan Braun, and Prince Fielder.

Defense:  This was...hard.  The former Seattle Pilots have not had what we would normally call an "illustrious history".  Their teams have often sucked, to be frank.  But, Robin Yount was a beast.  Just a great hitter with a wicked-awesome mustache.  Paul Molitor, Yount's teammate for a while, was a pure hitter...just one of the greats.  You can pick a Molitor autograph pretty cheaply, too.  For some reason, he doesn't get a ton of respect.  Braun and Fielder are on this list because...well, there's no one else.  They are both awesome players even though Braun's integrity is now in question and Fielder bounced
at his first chance to make some real dough.  The Brewer's history is just sad, man.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Rushmore...AL West

Now, let's explore the Mt. Rushmore's for the teams in the American League West.  There are some good one's out on the west coast.  I will be including the Houston Astros in the AL West...that's their home now, after all.

Los Angeles Angels:  Rod Carew, Darin Erstad, Mike Scioscia, and Reggie Jackson.

Defense:  Carew needs no defense, at all.  A flat-out masher.  Darin Erstad might have been one of the most popular players ever to play for the Angels.  Just beloved.  Maybe that's because he was all hustle, all the time.  So, don't give me no shit for Erstad.  Scioscia is unconventional because he's on this Rushmore as a manager.  The Angels have had their greatest successes under his leadership.  Finally, Reggie makes the list for the Angels.  Yes, he had greater successes on other teams but...he wouldn't make those teams' Rushmore's.  Reggie deserves to be on one.  With another year under his belt, Trout would make this list for sure.

Oakland Athletics:  Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley, Mark McGwire, and Jason Giambi.

Defense:  Two great closers.  Two great mustaches.  Two Hall of Famers.  Rollie and Dennis were awesome.  McGwire, along with all his controversy, was a fantastic hitter that pretty much (along with PEDs and Sammy Sosa) brought baseball back from misery.  The strike almost killed baseball and Mark and Sammy saved it's ass.  Plus,  all those bombs.  Geez.  Finally, no one embodied what it is like to be an Oakland A more than Jason Giambi.  He could hit like a beast, yes.  But, he also looked like a biker (long hair, tattoos, scruffy beard).  If someone wanted to see what it was like to be an A, look at late 90's Giambi.

Seattle Mariners:  Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey, Jr., Edgar Martinez, and Ichiro Suzuki

Defense:  This Rushmore was easy. If you tell me Jay Buhner should be up there instead of any of those guys, then I will just have to slap you...or cry.  Or both.  Randy is the best left handed pitcher ever.  He had power and control and a billion strikeouts.  And a wicked mustache.  The Kid might have the sweetest swing ever.  Great power, great average, great attitude...he always seemed to be having fun (at least in Seattle).  Edgar was the consummate professional and was a great hitter.  Ichiro...well, he was awesome.  Imagine his numbers if he had played his entire career in the states.  They'd be staggering. In my opinion, every one of these guys should be in the Hall of Fame.

Houston Astros:  Jeff Bagwell, Nolan Ryan, Craig Biggio, and Lance Berkman.

Defense:  Other than Ryan, this line-up has more questions about PEDs than any other.  No matter...these four are THE faces of the Astros.  Bagwell and Biggio are the best hitters Houston has ever had.  Easily.  Nolan Ryan is one of the five best pitchers of all time.  Some may argue that he is the best of all time...but, I disagree with that one.  The Big Puma, Berkman, was great during his time with the Astros.  Big power, good average, good defense, fan favorite.  That's what you look for in a Rushmore guy.

Texas Rangers:  Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, Charlie Hough, and Ivan Rodriguez.

Defense:  Oh boy, I almost put Alex Rodriguez on this Rushmore.  I debated long and hard about it.  But, in the end logic won out.  Therefore, Juan Gonzalez leads the pack in the face of the Rangers franchise.  I don't know if many of you remember just how good and how powerful Juan was in that lineup.  There were years where he WAS the lineup.  Palmeiro made the list and A-Rod didn't?  I know, I know.  But, that A-Rod shit is fresh and still stings.  Raffi is old news.  But, the dude was a masher...on PEDs!  Charlie Hough...old man river.  Charlie played for ever but that knuckleballer did it right.  He's a very good dude, too.  Yes, Kenny Rogers may have been up here but I like Charlie better.  Kenny always seemed like a douche.  Finally, my opinion there has been no better catcher.  A defensive machine with a good bat.  Just the best.

Argue away.  There's some controversy here...

On Deck:  NL Central

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Mount Rushmore...NL West

I've always loved the "Mt. Rushmore" discussions.  Don't know what that is?  It's thinking  hard on who would be the four faces on each team's Mt. Rushmore, or better explained, the four biggest icons from each team.  I think I will do this for the next week or so.  There will be one rule with my Mt. Rushmore's for each team:  A player can only be on one Rushmore.  For example:  I could easily put Nolan Ryan on the Rangers, Astros, or Mets...but, he will only be able to go on one.

So, let's get crackin'.  We're going to start with the National League East.

Los Angeles/Brooklyn Dodgers:  Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, Fernando Valenzuela, and Duke Snider.

Defense:  Koufax and Robinson need no defense.  Each of those two defined their position during their time period.  Both were easily selected to the Hall of Fame.  Duke Snider was a masher and was widely considered one of the best ball players of his era.  Therefore, I feel that I don't need to justify having the Duke on here.  Now, Fernando.  Yes, some of you may be able to skewer me for adding Fernando but the man was awesome.  Many of you don't remember how good he was...YouTube him.  You'll see.

Arizona Diamondbacks:  Luis Gonzalez, Mark Grace, Curt Schilling, Jose Valverde

Defense: It's hard to put up a Rushmore Four for a fairly new team.  1998 really wasn't all that long ago.  So, it's kind of hard to give four faces of the franchise.  Luis was the Diamondbacs.  He just defined what that team was and is.  A class act that will never sniff the Hall of Fame.  Grace was a gamer and people loved him.  Schilling, even though he made his legacy in Boston, was a force in the World Series vs. the Yankees.  He was great on this team and he would never make the Boston Rushmore.  Valverde...I was having trouble of thinking of anyone better.  Thoughts?

San Francisco/New York Giants:  Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Orlando Cepeda.

Defense:  This list needs absolutely no defending.  If you disagree with any of these then you need to read some history.  OR stop following baseball...the NBA is calllllliiiiiinnnnngggg.

Colorado Rockies:  Todd Helton, Larry Walker, Troy Tulowitzki, Dante Bichette

Defense:  Another new-ish team.  However, the Rocks weren't that hard to find four guys who defined what the team is.  Helton should be a HO'Fer...Rookie of the Year, Silver Sluggers, blah blah blah.  Todd is the MAN (capital MAN) in Colorado.  Walker and Bichette were also great players during their times on the Rockies.  Lots of RBI's and lots of HR's....were they both clean during this time?  Well, that's another debate for another time.  Finally,'s quite strange to put a current player on a Mt. Rushmore list but Troy is the real deal.  He is destined for greatness.

San Diego Padres: Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield, Trevor Hoffman, Gary Sheffield.

Defense:  Gwynn is the face of the franchise in San Diego and probably the most consistent hitter that I have ever seen play.  Winfield played on a number of other teams but his chances for making a Rushmore were the best in San Diego.  So, here he is.  Same with Sheffield.  Sheff was a friggin' phenomenal hitter.  Just awesome.  Right behind Mariano Rivera, when it comes to closers, is Trevor Hoffman.  He was that good.

Well, that's the NL West Mt. Rushmore's.  There are some really good players on that list.  Mays, Bonds, Schilling, Helton...etc.  The NL West has seen some great players but...the good news is that the other divisions have seen far greater.  Stay tuned for the rest of the list.

Don't agree?  Email or respond and we can debate...defend your team!  Defend your favorite player!


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Getting With The Times...I Guess

Hey people.  Just thought I would throw it out there that Can't Hit The Curve has joined the Twitter-universe.  We figured it was just time to get with it, get hip, and all that bullshit.  Actually, it seemed like an effective (cost-effective, mostly) way to get the word out there about the ol' homestead...or site.  So, give us a follow.  I'm still learning how to get shit done on the Twitter site so give me a few days and we'll be jammin'.

Follow us:  @Canthitthecurve


Sunday, February 2, 2014

2014 Topps

Hey!  Topps is always first.  They're the grandaddy of this here trading card biz so they reserve the right to go first with their releases.  Actually, I'm awful sure that it doesn't have much to do with respect.  More like:  Topps is friggin' smart to release their newest flagship set every year BEFORE spring training.  I think they are the only company that releases something new before the start of the season but I could be wrong wrong wrong.

Anyway, since the regular old Topps set is fairly affordable, I bought five packs at the LCS.  So, I left with fifty cards and didn't feel dirty or have serious buyers remorse about this purchase.  Topps prices their flagship set appropriately so the whole process of buying and collecting is...gasp!...Fun!  Amazing, I know.

There's a little more gloss to this year's card.  This could be problematic for those collectors who like to hit the streets or the mail to get their cards signed.  But, to me, this is a minor drawback.  The cards themselves look good...they went with the white border again (good!).

Here's a short run-down of some of the stuff you'll find in the 2014 version...actually, there is no short version.  Go to this here link to see it all.

I can at least tell what I got in my five packs.  I got 50 cards.  A number of regular old base cards, a number of rookies, and a handful of "future stars" (is this a new seems to be vaguely reminiscent of Upper Deck), 1 Tampa Bay player (Cobb), 2 of the red hot foil inserts, a Bo Jackson die-cut mini, Gary Carter and Cal Ripken Jr "Upper Class", and a Paul Goldschmidt Power Player card.  Overall, it was fun.  This is what collecting is supposed to be like.