Sunday, January 20, 2019

Blog Bat Around; 30 Teams, 30 Players

When I say the 2 words "Baseball cards" I'm certain that a different image pops into the head of every single card collector. It could be one memorable card, in particular, a specific part of one's collection, a team, a player, or nearly anything else. 

Similarly, hearing the name of 1 MLB team can cause a wide variety of players to pop into one's head. Night Owl started the trend by listing the first player that came to mind for all 30 MLB teams. The post has since inspired a Blog Bat Around which I'll be taking part in today.

I wasn't able to create my entire list all at once since while thinking about all 30 teams, my mind would wander off towards 2 or more teams at once. After having some time to clear my head, I sat down and went through all 30 teams, division by division, and listed the first player that came to mind.

Starting with the AL East, I'll go through each of my picks. One thing that I instantly took notice of was the wide range of players and the eras that they played in. Some guys played as far back as the 1950s while a few are active in the MLB today.

Brooks Robinson's teammate Frank Robinson, as well as Cal Ripken Jr and Manny Machado, came to my mind afterward, but it was Brooks who I thought of first, due in large part to his stellar defensive abilities. 

Red Sox
When I first thought about doing this post, I was intrigued to learn which Red Sox player I would select. My pick, Pedro Martinez, did not surprise me whatsoever.

I also wasn't shocked that my brain chose Derek Jeter for the Yankees team slot. After all, it could be argued that he's the most recognizable Yankees player from the last 50 years with Mantle and Ruth claiming that title from the 60s and before.


Blue Jays
Both Donaldson and Longoria came to mind when thinking of the Blue Jays and Rays respectively. However, neither one of them is still with the teams that I typically associate with both star 3rd basemen.

White Sox
Wilbur Wood was one of the oddest picks for my list by far. Instead of recent Hall of Fame inductee Harold Baines or Nellie Fox, my mind went to one of the best pitchers from the early 1970s, White Sox ace Wilbur Wood whom I have received 2 TTM autos from.


I expected myself to think of Miguel Cabrera or Al Kaline before thinking of former Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, but I guess his historic seasons with the Tigers and him being one of my larger player collections influenced this pick.

Come to think of it, most of the players I chose are guys I collect which didn't come as a huge surprise. It's just that I'm far more familiar with the subjects of my player collections rather than guys that I don't collect. I'm certain that if I collected different players, many of these picks would be affected.

He wasn't the player that popped into my mind when I thought about the Angels, but Carew's 1977 AL MVP season with the Twins was likely the reason why I instantly thought of Carew when thinking about Minnesota.

Ryan played for 4 different teams over the course of his 25+ year career, but the Astros were the only team that caused the all-time strikeout king to come to mind. This could possibly be due to the bright colors of the rainbow Astros uniforms shown above.



It makes sense that Ken Griffey Jr. was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a member of the Seattle Mariners. Although he reached 600 home runs with the Reds, Griffey came up and played many of his best years alongside Edgar Martinez and others in Seattle.


This was quite possibly the most shocking pick of them all, but I suppose Acuña's success in 2018 embedded him in my mind. I agree that he's the face of the Braves franchise today, but I'm shocked to have chosen him over Chipper Jones.


No major surprises here. I've never followed the Mets all too closely, but Tom Seaver is a Gold Tier player collection of mine, and he started out his Hall of Fame career in New York.


He was there long before Bryce Harper, and he'll likely be in Washington for a few years after the current free agent. He's an untraditional pick, but Ryan Zimmerman has spent over a decade with the Nationals.

I collect a couple dozen different Cubs players, but even with all the different players who've put on a Chicago Cubs jersey over the team's history, it shouldn't be surprising that the guy who's nicknamed "Mr. Cub" popped into my head first.


The Brewers are another team that I'm not super familiar with, and while Ryan Braun was a close second, it was their talented, Hall of Fame shortstop, Robin Yount, that I thought of first.

Probably my most certain "choice" out of all 30 MLB teams. Roberto Clemente currently ranks in the top 3 of my favorite Baseball players of all-time.


Paul Goldschmidt was another player to make the list who is no longer with the team that I associate him with. Given the talks that the Cardinals are considering extensions with Goldschmidt, perhaps he could be my pick for the Cardinals in a couple of years.


Koufax is one of just a small handful of players that I don't collect that ended up making this list. Not only does this cause me to question why I don't have Koufax as one of my player collections, but I also contemplate why current Dodgers like Seager and Kershaw didn't come to mind.


A classic card and a classic player to end the list. Given Willie McCovey's significant impact on the game, it would be hard to choose a better player to close out the post.

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