There are 14 American League Baseball teams across country. Each team has at least one significant individual that is the consummate ballplayer who represent everything the franchise is about. As we take a look at each team which ballplayer shows to be the most influential player to donned a uniform for that franchise. Some teams will have an obvious pick chosen to represent their team. What about the teams that were successful in multiple eras? We can only choose one player for each team that deserves the title Mr. Baseball.
American League East
This selection is not as easy as it sounds when you have the likes of Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Cal Ripken Jr. and Brooks Robinson. I know how much of a darling Cal Ripken Jr. and Brooks Robinson are but Frank Robinson is Mr. Baltimore Oriole. The 1966 MVP, Triple Crown winner and 2-time World Series champion(’66,’70) He also was the manager for 4 season for the Baltimore Orioles. Robinson’s numbers as an Oriole were .300BA/882H/179HR/545RBI/.543SLG/.944OPS in 6 seasons.
With the prosperous history of the Boston Red Sox, the franchise had a wealth of talent that come to mind such as Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Jimmie Fox, Pedro Martinez and Carl Yastrzemski . To me Mr. Boston Redsox has to be Teddy Ballgame. Though he was a difficult soul to love in his playing days in Boston. It’s impossible to leave out the last man to hit .406, twice a triple crown winner and twice mvp of the league. Ted Williams’ numbers as a Red Sox were .344BA/2654H/521HR/1839RBI/.639SLG/1.116OPS in 21 seasons.
The most difficult team to choose by far. I will not include Babe Ruth because he is labeled as is the first professional baseball player recognize by all. There are plenty more Yankees such as Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, , Reggie Jackson, Mickey Mantle and Mariano Rivera. When it’s all said and done number 2 is on pace to being the greatest Yankee of all-time. He learned a lot from the Yankee tradition as he is a winner, he is the modern-day Joe DiMaggio, he is the only Yankee to eclipse the 3000 hit list (hard to believe). It’s amazing that he has been able to keep a squeaky clean image in the Big Apple. A role model for all. Mr. New York Yankees belongs to Derek Jeter. Jeter’s numbers as a Yankees so far are .313BA/3265H/.382OBP/.831OPS/347SB
Is it possible that a team that hasn’t been in existence 15 years have a Mr. Tampa Bay Ray? The Rays have only been relevant the last four years and maybe it’s because of Evan Longoria and David Price. I don’t think either one have enough skins on the wall to warrant the title as of yet. There is one man who does represent the standard as he leads the franchise in hits, runs, and stolen bases. Mr. Tampa Bay Ray is Carl Crawford. Crawford’s numbers as a Tampa Bay Ray were 296BA/1480H/103 3B/432SB in 9 seasons.
Off the top of my head it probably should be Joe Carter because of his heroics in the 1993 World Series when he hit a walk-off, 3 run homer against the Phillies, Mitch Williams, to end the series. What about other players such as Roberto Alomar, George Bell, Carlos Delgado, Roy Halladay and Jimmy Key. I believe Mr. Toronto Blue Jay goes to Dave Stieb . By a small margin over Roy Halladay. As a Blue Jay, Dave Stieb won 175G/30SHO/103CG/3.44ERA/1658SO in 16 seasons.
American League Central
I can do a list of White Sox players but none would be worthier than the Big Hurt. Mr. Chicago White Sox is Frank Thomas. Frank Thomas burst onto the scene putting up Hall of Fame numbers standing at 6’5 280lbs, an intimidating force but really the opposite. Other White Sox to consideration were Luke Appling, Paul Konerko and Ted Lyons. Frank Thomas’ numbers as a White Sox were .307BA/2136H/448HR/1465RBI/1466BB/.427OBP/.568SLG/.995OPS
If we were speaking modern-day only, then Jim Thome would win my vote because he is truly the most popular Indian alive but there is a war hero the city of Cleveland loves a little bit more. Mr. Cleveland Indian is Bob Feller. He was a 20 game winner in his teenage years, the hardest throwing pitcher before we ever heard the name Nolan Ryan. He remains the Indians all-time leader in shutouts and strikeouts. Other considerations were Albert Belle, Tris Speaker and Jim Thome. As an Indian, Bob Feller won 266G/44SHO/279CG/3.25ERA/2581SO in 18 seasons. Feller missed 3 prime season due to war.
Numbers never lie, have you ever heard of a major league hitter knocking in 1805 rbi for a franchise by only hitting 111 home runs. Who says you have to be a power hitter. It does help to have 3900 hits and a lifetime batting average of .368 as a Detroit Tiger. Mr. Detroit Tiger goes to Tyrus Cobb. I wonder if the Detroit Tigers franchise the only organization with two members with at least 3000 hits with one team. The other man is Al Kaline. Hank Greenberg is not to shabby himself! Ty also scored over 2088 R/1148BB/869SB/.434OBP/.516SLG/.945OPS in 22 seasons with Detroit.
One name and one name only. George Brett is Mr. Kansas City Royal. 20 years in a Royals uniform, the ultimate professional who did nothing but bring respectability to the Royals organization. When he retired, the Royals organization simply died. In 1980, Brett made a run at .400 batting .390. He is the only major league player to win a batting title in three different decades. Who is going to tell George Brett he isn’t Mr. Royal? Have you seen his reaction during the pine tar incident! Honorable mention belongs to Hal McCrae and Frank White. George Brett’s numbers as a Royal were .305BA/3154H/317HR/1591RBI/.369OBP/.487SLG/.857OPS in 20 seasons in Kansas City.
A short, chubby man with a very large stick comes to mind. This individual was the heart and soul of the only two World Series championships in team history. Did I say he was short. He made some incredible plays with the bat and the glove. Standing at 5’8, this individual definitely played bigger than anyone in his era. Mr. Minnesota Twin goes to Kirby Puckett. Had my eye on Bert Blyleven, Rod Carew, Kent Hrbek, Harmon Killebrew and Tony Oliva. Kirby Puckett’s numbers as a Twin were .318BA/2304H/.360OBP/.477SLG/.837OPS in 12 seasons in Minnesota. Kirby’s career was cut short due to glaucoma. Several surgeries occurred but vision was never restored.
American League West
One of the biggest mistakes in the Angels history was letting this man become a free agent. All he did in an Angel’s uniform was strike people out. Hint, hint! Mr. Los Angeles Angel goes to Nolan Ryan. Someone explain to me how a dominant pitcher who strikes out 383 batters and finishes second in the Cy Young race. Other considerations were Garrett Anderson, Rod Carew, Chuck Finley and Tim Salmon. Nolan Ryan won 138W/156CG/40SHO/3.07ERA/2416SO/1.294WHIP in 8 seasons as an Angels.
Oakland A’s, has a substantial amount of superstars from the likes of Vida Blue, Jose Canseco, Dennis Eckersley, Jim”Catfish”Hunter, Reggie Jackson, Mark McGwire and Dave Stewart. There was a guy who named himself “The Greatest”! Mr. Oakland A’s goes to Rickey Henderson who without a doubt believes he is “The Greatest”! I can’t think of another ballplayer that beats to a crazy drum like Henderson. He will find a way to get on base, swipe second to get in scoring position and cross home plate to add to his run total. He was one of the most individual stat counting ballplayer the game has ever seen. I guess we must take in account that he may have known what he is talking about. I guess! Rickey Henderson’s numbers as a Oakland A’s were .288BA/1768H/1227BB/1270R/867SB/.409OBP/.839OPS in 14 seasons.
The Seattle Mariners hit the jackpot twice raising two teenage ball players into perineal superstars. Unfortunately they couldn’t keep either one in a Mariners uniform. The story of Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. speak for themselves. Both players were bigwigs in their time in Seattle. No one will ever match the human highlights Griffey displayed running down fly balls and that sweet swing, priceless. A-Rod, innocent at the time, putting up numbers at the shortstop position that no one in history before or since has done. Two beloved players but not the most important Mariner. First of all, this individual’s BAT was just as important as those superstars mentioned, and unlike them, he never chased the mighty dollar of free agency. Mr. Seattle Mariner is Edgar Martinez. Other considerations are Jay Buhner, Randy Johnson and Ichiro Suzuki. Edgar Martinez numbers were .318BA/2247H/309HR/1261RBI/.418OBP/.515SLG/.933OPS in 18 seasons.
If Chuck Norris a.k.a “Walker Texas Ranger” had any say in the voting he would choose himself as Mr. Texas Ranger. Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez was the heartbeat for the Texas Rangers for 13 years and still a fan favorite. Michael Young was handed the torch when “Pudge” left Texas and has blossomed into the captain of the team. However, once again Mr. Texas Ranger without saying is Nolan Ryan. Though he only played 5 seasons in a Ranger uniform, he was known for his milestones. In a Ranger uniform he won his 300th game, he threw his 5000th strikeout, he pitched his sixth and seventh no-hitter in a Texas Ranger uniform. Nolan Ryan is Mr. Texas Ranger because he saved a franchise that was in bankruptcy. Since he took over management and now part-owner, the Texas Rangers have been part of the last two World Series (2010,2011) and currently one of the best teams in the Majors. Their farm system is amongst the best in baseball, all because of Mr. Texas Ranger’s Nolan Ryan. Other considerations were Juan Gonzalez, Josh Hamilton, Charlie Hough and Rafeal Palmeiro.
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