February 23, 2005

Who was your favorite player growing up?: Rich Lederer asks that question to a group of baseball writers, analysts, and executives at a new site called Baseball Analysts. 15 of the 38 people named a Hall of Famer, and the leading player was Yaz, who was named five times. Yesterday was part one, today is part two, and the last part is due tomorrow. Here's the Baseball Primer thread on the article. Me? I'll take the Wizard of Oz.

posted by mbd1 to baseball at 12:46 PM - 37 comments

(I just realized that yerfatma's post on Clemens introduced the new site....mea culpa) Arkansas is Cardinals territory - until a couple of years ago the minor league team in Little Rock was associated with the Cards, and they have a both TV and radio affiliates throughout the state. I became baseball aware ca. 1985 - when I bought my first pack of Topps and watched the heartbreaking world series. It was only natural to idolize Ozzie Smith. I loved that he played awesome defense, slapped singles, and stole bases. I can't remember one particular moment, but the acrobatic highlights on TWIB are the first thing that come to mind. I have a billion Ozzie baseball cards and one of those old Starting Lineup figurines.

posted by mbd1 at 12:54 PM on February 23, 2005

I'm so proud of my favorite players from childhood - Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden. Don't know why I loved those two so much. Growing up in Minneapolis, I could have went to Kirby, but for some reason, Darryl and Dwight were my guys. Maybe it was the $2 I won in a school bus bet after the 1986 World Series, but I'm thinking it had more to do with Nintendo baseball!

posted by emoeby at 01:23 PM on February 23, 2005

Haromon killebrew, Sandy Koufax, MIckey mantle, Tony Oliva are my top four favorite players. Bert Blylevin later became a favorite of mine becaue he has a great pitcher but he was an even better jokester!

posted by daddisamm at 01:30 PM on February 23, 2005

This "new site" has archives that go back to summer 2003. My first favorite ballplayer as a kid was Bo Jackson. He knew. I think somewhere in a closet I might still have my assiduously-collected KC Royals cards.

posted by kjh at 01:40 PM on February 23, 2005

Gotta go with Robbie Alomar and Joltin' Joe Carter - I was 13 and 14 when the Jays finally won it. Dave Stieb was the pitcher I loved.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:01 PM on February 23, 2005

Jimmy Key was the one for me. Miss you, ninety-two.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 02:05 PM on February 23, 2005

George Brett and Hal McRae. Yea I was a Royals fan in the 70's. I still hate chris champliss

posted by scottypup at 02:16 PM on February 23, 2005

Ozzie Smith was the greatest player for me when I was growing up. Man, what a player.

posted by pqcl020 at 02:29 PM on February 23, 2005

Jim Rice, Rod Carew, Tony Gwynn, Thurman Munson.

posted by vito90 at 02:34 PM on February 23, 2005

Favorite: Alan Trammell - always played second fiddle to Ripken jr. in the A.L. - I think Trammell deserved a few more all-star starts and Ripken stole his MVP a time or two also, oh well, he was still my favorite, and I have nothing against Ripken either.

posted by mayerkyl at 02:37 PM on February 23, 2005

goddam's favorite player was rickey. it was the snatch catch and the stance rickey took when leading off base that sealed the deal. dave came in close at second. it took a while until goddam appreciated the greatness of donnie baseball.

posted by goddam at 02:57 PM on February 23, 2005

T-Rex: Kent Hrbek. For lifting one of the Braves right off first base if nothing else. And getting away with it, with a cheek full of chew, looking like a totally badass plumber. What a role model.

posted by lbergstr at 03:15 PM on February 23, 2005

Best sign at a baseball game, circa 1989 - Hey Hrbek, Buy A Vowel.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:30 PM on February 23, 2005

Kent Hrbek, Kirby Puckett, Reggie Jackson...of course those guys... But for some reason I though U.L. Washington was cool, how he always had that damn toothpick in his mouth and the announcers would say: "kids, don't bat with a toothpick in your mouth..." I laugh at it even now.

posted by chris2sy at 03:40 PM on February 23, 2005

Reggie, Goose, Thurman. Hell, anyone in pinstripes. *ducks and covers*

posted by mr_crash_davis at 04:11 PM on February 23, 2005

Dave Steib was the man. home team + great pitcher + coming close to a no-hitter and being denied so often = someone to cheer for The fact that he was surly with the press and generally thought of as a S.O.B. really didn't matter to me. When he got that no-hitter, it was my favourite baseball moment of all-time...until 1992 and 1993.

posted by grum@work at 04:54 PM on February 23, 2005

Steve Carlton - a little before my time, but I did get to see him pitch relief for the Twins in 7th grade.

posted by hootch at 04:56 PM on February 23, 2005

Al Kaline. Hall of Fame player, Hall of Fame person.

posted by roberts at 05:15 PM on February 23, 2005

Jim Rice was my all-time favorite from childhood, but my other guy is Scott Fletcher. He only played two seasons (one strike-shortened) for two awful Sox teams, but I remember him as the one guy who left everything on the field. Sort of a proto-Bill Mueller. Others: Tim Naehring, Dwight Evans, Jeff Gray, Greg A. Harris. Dark secret: when Ricky Henderson and Dave Winfield were there together, the Yankees were my second-favorite team (because of those two). Hell, I was 8 or something.

posted by yerfatma at 05:17 PM on February 23, 2005

Will Clark.

posted by charlatan at 05:20 PM on February 23, 2005

Kirby Puckett. Robin Yount.

posted by rocketman at 06:04 PM on February 23, 2005

yerfatma, I watched Rickey play several games when he was just coming up in the minors, back in about 1979, for the Ogden A's. You knew even then that he was going to be a star.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 06:36 PM on February 23, 2005


posted by StarFucker at 07:07 PM on February 23, 2005

Nolan Ryan, first and foremost. As somebody who became a huge Red Sox fan once he reached high school, allow me to reveal a secret shame and confess that I really liked Bucky Dent in Elementary School. Do I have to give my Red Sox Nation card back now?

posted by Joey Michaels at 07:53 PM on February 23, 2005

Oh, man... this thread inspired me to dig up these two pieces and waste an hour and a half replaying those Series in my head. You guys owe me.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 09:12 PM on February 23, 2005

Dark secret... the Yankees were my second-favorite team (because of those two). Hell, I was 8 or something. that's ok, in '86 i rooted for the sox because i hated all the bandwagon mets fans at school. i was 11, what did i know?

posted by goddam at 10:11 PM on February 23, 2005

ah yes Kent Hrbk--the baseball player in a softball players body. Went hunting like at 5 am of a world series game. I knew that I was missing somebody from my top 5

posted by daddisamm at 11:56 PM on February 23, 2005

Some of my secondary guys I used to always look out for: Ron LeFlore, Gary Pettis, Paul Blair, Chris Sabo, Willie McGee, Freddie Patek, Enrique Romo (hometown guy), and Lance Parrish.

posted by vito90 at 12:36 AM on February 24, 2005

1. Hank Aaron (Still got my autographed photo from '73. It's hanging on my office wall) 2. Al Kaline 3. Mark Fidrych

posted by NoMich at 08:39 AM on February 24, 2005

My God, I was a HUGE Ron Cey fan when I was younger. Ron and I were both stuck with the same shuffling dopey running style, and therefore were stuck with the same nickname -- The Penguin. Neither of us were spectacularly talented and we both managed to get extremely dirty and the job done. In later life, Rex Hudler and John Kruk are very close seconds.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:39 AM on February 24, 2005

The Hawk. Every time I went to the Big O I looked for the special red seat in the nose-bleeds where Dawson socked one in the 80s... Andre for the Hall!

posted by docgonzo at 10:46 AM on February 24, 2005

tony gwynn and bernie williams. I dont care how much you hate the yankees you got to love bernie

posted by david at 11:33 AM on February 24, 2005

I'm thrilled to see yaz at the top. Seeing him still gives me goosebumps.

posted by justgary at 10:37 PM on February 24, 2005

Nolan Ryan..hands down.The guy threw aspirins most of his career,..7 no hitters,and a country ass whoopin on Robin Ventura.

posted by Elwood Blues at 01:41 AM on February 25, 2005

Mike Schmidt as a kid and Tony Gwynn as an adult.2 classy players who played their whole career on their original team.

posted by gwynn3141 at 06:17 AM on February 25, 2005

Gary Carter. It was all about, first, the color of the uniform. And then, the best or most visible player on the team with the best-colored uniform. Duh. (Which explains why anyone who loved Tony Gwynn growing up simply had bad taste. Heh.)

posted by diastematic at 11:31 PM on February 25, 2005

Mine was YAZ, hands down.The summer of '67,the Triple Crown,making it to the World Series, he carried the team on his back!!

posted by mckayx9x at 07:44 AM on February 26, 2005

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