Sports Greatness: Baseball Edition Part Two

A few months ago I did a post about the National League, today I will discuss the American League.  For a reminder, this is the first thought that pops into my head when I think about a team.  Could be a player, or moment.

New York Yankees

Mickey Mantle.  I know, it is the Yankees and there are about 1200 things that could pop into your head and you could make a strong argument for all of them.  However, when I was a kid, a relative of mine had a Mickey Mantle baseball card (not his rookie card, but like his fourth or fifth year card) and it was worth a few grand.  I always hoped to somehow go through a family members attic and find Mantle’s rookie card, which when I was a kid was worth something like $40,000.

I read before that Mantle hit some of the longest home runs in the history of baseball.  Granted, the figures were not as accurate as today, but still pretty damn impressive.  Also, check out his stats.

Plus, I loved the movie 61* and the way you see how Mantle abused his body by going out partying every night.

Boston Red Sox
Another team with so many great moments.  Before last year, I would probably have mentioned two things:  the come back against the Yankees or them trying to trade for Alex Rodriguez (and then crying when the Yankees got him).  Fortunately, last year had this moment, which will always be the first thing I think of when I heard Red Sox.

Baltimore Orioles
I went to a game at Camden Yard back in 1999, which honestly should be the first thing that comes to mind, however that is not the case.  I always remember the trivia question “Name the four 20-game winners for Orioles in 1971.”  Actually, I never can remember the answer.  I usually get three of them (oddly enough, not always the same three).  The answer is:
Mike Cuellar
Pat Dobson
Jim Palmer
Dave McNally

Seriously, this is a fun bar trivia question to ask someone older who is a baseball fan.  If you can remember the answer, they are impressed.

Toronto Blue Jays
Joe Carter…

Suck it Philly!!!

Tampa Bay Rays
I like Evan Longoria.  Seriously, I wish the Pirates had a player like him (to be fair, they have McCutchen, he is like Longoria–I wish Pedro was like Evan).  He is a fantastic player and he just seems so damn cool.  Yeah, I think I have a man-crush on him.  Whatever, deal with it.

Fun fact:  when he came into the league, I thought he was the sister of actress Eva Longoria.  Nope, they are not related.

Minnesota Twins
I will always remember the Twins beating the Atlanta Braves in the 1991 World Series.  The Braves beat the Pirates in ’91 NLCS in seven games, but not nearly as dramatic as the 1992 series.  I hated the stupid braves and was so happy to see the Twins win the game.

Detroit Tigers
C’mon, when people talk about crazy things players do nowadays, I like to point out Ty Cobb.  This guy did all of the insane things people hate back in the 1900s.  He sat out games to win a batting title (and do not worry, apparently Nap Lajoie had a bunch of bunt singles to try and beat Cobb, and since the opposing team hated Cobb, they played their third baseman deep).  He beat up fans, he was considered a jerk by all his peers.

He also set most of the records for a hitter and still has the highest career average.  And he held the AL record for total bases in a game until the other night when Josh Hamilton broke it.  Why did he have that record?  He wanted to prove that hitting home runs was not that hard and if he wanted to, he could hit more than Babe Ruth.  Instead, he liked hitting for a high average.

Hell, just look at that slide/flying jump kick…

Chicago White Sox
Speaking of old time players.  I was fascinated by the Black Sox Scandal of 1919 when I was a kid.  I could not read enough about it.  I always thought that Shoeless Joe Jackson got a raw deal.  I mean, just look at his stats from that series.  Does it really look like he was not trying?

Cleveland Indians
When you mention the Indians, how can you not think of the film Major League?  Hell, this clip pretty much sums up how you feel when you watch a Pirates game.

Also, I was at an Indian’s game a few years ago at Jacobs Field.  Unfortunately, I do not remember much of the game.

Kansas City Royals
If there is a team that is as pathetic as the Pirates, it is the Royals.  And just imagine if you allowed them to play…yep, it was as bad as it sounds.  Just check out WHYGAVS liveblog of one of their games.  I recommend reading the whole thing and the comments with it.

I remember reading it while the game was happening and almost pissing myself laughing.  Back before the days of twitter…

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
That should be my memory.  The number of times they have changed the name.  Los Angeles Angels, Anaheim Angels, California Angels…whatever, we get it.

I will always associate Jim Abbott with the Angels.  Dude was born with one hand and still became a major league pitcher.  Yeah, makes you feel good about your life.

Plus, if I remember correctly, he was one of those guys who made the majors without spending a day in the minors.

Texas Rangers
Josh Hamilton.  I hope he signs a long-term contract with them.  He is the positive story we all love to hear in sports.  I think you all know it by now.  Oh, did I mention that the dude can absolutely destroy a baseball?

Oakland Athletics

The Bash Brothers!  Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire.  Huh, who would have guessed they were slightly juiced up…

Seattle Mariners
I think about all the really good players they have had at one point and yet they never won a World Series.  They won 116 games back in 2001.

Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Ichiro, Randy Johnson, Jaime Moyer, John Olerud, and Jay Buhner all played for this team (not all at the same time).  Just crazy when you think about it.  Imagine if they had kept A-Rod and Griffey (maybe he stays healthy in Seattle)…

Anyways, those are my thoughts.  Soon I will move to a different sport.  Leave your own thoughts/memories/players in the comments.