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Monday, April 12, 2010

NL Statues

With the official opening of the Twins new stadium in Minneapolis today, ESPN did their diligence in talking about all the neat features that will help to make it unique.  Along the way they showed a statue of Rod Carew (in his batting stance) outside and mentioned why he was deserving of such an honor.  This got me thinking about each team's statues and how they choose not only the player but the pose. Too often it seems the player is just standing with a bat. Why not depict the player in a way that causes fans to reminisce about the old days? Below I've done my best attempt to determine two statues for each team and the pose they should be framed in.  Click on the link for each player to view my ideas.

Astros
Craig Biggio - Took the term "scrappy" to a whole new level. Biggio spent his entire career with Houston playing C, 2b, and CF.  Is the all-time leader in most hit by pitches while also collecting more than 3000 base hits.
Jeff Bagwell - One of the great power hitters of his era but was also a sound base runner and good defender. Also had perhaps the most unique batting stance of anyone not named Craig Counsell.

Braves
Hank Aaron - The all time home run king for thirty years also ranks third all time in hits.  The perfect pose is him hitting his 715th career homer.
Warren Spahn - The winningest lefty ever was famous for his high leg kick.

Brewers
Robin Yount - Here is his current statue. I think the standard t-ball pose is better because it portrays who Yount was: a quiet, modest player who showed up to work everyday. Won an MVP at two different positions and collected over 3000 hits while spending his entire career in Milwaukee.
Rollie Fingers - A lot of people may claim Paul Molitor should go here. Generally I agree--BUT Molitor is now most remembered for his brief stints with Toronto and Minnesota at the end of his career. I choose Fingers who won an MVP in Milwaukee in the early '80's and along with Yount can really rock a mustache.

Cardinals
Rogers Hornsby - A real difficult guy to get along with, Hornsby hit over .400 three times with power. His spot is in jeopardy as long as that Pujols guy stays in town.
Ozzie Smith - The Wizard is in my opinion the greatest defensive player of all time. Good to see the poeple in St. Louis got it right.

Cubs
Ernie Banks - Few people realize how good he was early in his career. Won two MVPs and hit 512 career home runs.
Sammy Sosa - Yeah, it's easy to make fun of him. But remember how beloved he was while he was hitting 60 home runs?  The Sammy hop and his sprint to right field were his trademarks.

Diamondbacks
Randy Johnson & Curt Schilling - These two flamethrowers not only finished 1-2 in the N.L. Cy Young voting but shared World Series MVP honors.

Dodgers
Jackie Robinson - Seriously, how could it not be Jackie? While his legacy will live forever and he was a great player, I think this statue needs to be an action shot which is why I chose his steal of home in the 1955 World Series.
Sandy Koufax - I wanted to put Roy Campanella here but more people idolized Koufax.  In this image you can see his knee graze the ground as he throws his trademark curveball.

Giants
Willie Mays - The "Say Hey Kid" hit 660 home runs in his career but may be best remembered for his catch in the 1954 World Series. Often referred to as the greatest catch of all time, that was really only half the play as he then spun and threw without looking to second to get a double play.
Barry Bonds - His performance from 1999-2001 is just ridiculous.  Also went 40-40 once, won MVP Awards, and is the all time home run king.

Marlins
Jeff Conine - The only player to win both World Series with the Marlins. Also was the 1995 All-Star game MVP.
Hanley Ramirez - Ramirez is unquestionably the greatest Marlin ever. Too bad his teams are unquestionably mediocre.

Mets
Dwight Gooden - Even his drug and alcohol problems don't cloud the memory of 1985 when 20 year old Doc had one of the greatest seasons ever. He had a moment of brilliance late in his career with the Yankees when he threw a no-hitter. Everyone always rooted for him to succeed.
Mike Piazza - For all the knocks he took about his game, it's hard to argue against him being considered the greatest hitting catcher of all time.  He had a unique batting stance but unlike the link I've posted, I think the Mets would prefer he wear a Met uniform in his statue.

Nationals/Expos
Tim Raines - The greatest base stealer of all time (quantity + efficiency) is also the greatest Expo of all time. He should be in Cooperstown but that's a whole other entry.  Definitely should be depicted burning up the basepaths.
Gary Carter - One of the ten greatest catchers of all time, Carter was a blend of both power and defense. He is one of two players enshrined wearing an Expo cap (the other is Andre Dawson).

Padres
Tony Gwynn - Won eight batting titles and played his entire career in San Diego. 
Trevor Hoffman - The all-time saves leader was never overpowering but managed to guile his way past hitters with an incredible changeup.  His statue would be sure to feature his famous grip.

Phillies
Mike Schmidt - Hit 548 home runs, won ten gold gloves, and is the greatest third baseman of all time. His statue is perfect the way it is.
Steve Carlton - Tough not to go with Grover Cleveland Alexander here but Carlton is someone who has a greater legend.  Won four Cy Youngs and in 1972 won 27 games for a Phillies team that only won 59.

Pirates
Honus Wagner - Wagner is one of the three greatest players ever. An excellent shortstop, baserunner, and hitter, he really took it to Ty Cobb when they faced each other in the 1909 World Series.
Bill Mazeroski - No, he's not the second greatest Pirate ever. But there might not be a greater aura surrounding any former Pirate.  His homer to end the 1960 World Series remains one of the great moments in baseball history.  He might be the greatest defensive second baseman of all time and his pivot on the double play was revolutionary.

Reds
Pete Rose - Charlie Hustle is the all-time hit king. Just because he's not eligible for the Hall of Fame doesn't mean he doesn't deserve a statue.
Johnny Bench - He might be the greatest defensive catcher of all time and is arguably the greatest all around catcher.  Won two MVPs for the Big Red Machine.


Rockies
Larry Walker - Walker won three batting titles in Colorado as well as the 1996 N.L. MVP Award.
Troy Tulowitzki - This might be a stretch as Dante Bichette and Andres Galarraga are both going to be remembered as Rockie greats.  Tulowitzki is just getting started and with his outstanding defense and 30 HR power he'll be around for a long time.

Later this week I'll do the American League.
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