|Cast of Kids from the movie "The Sandlot"|
Of course, we have had a lot of great players in my generation but after they are done, and even some that are already done, will be Heroes. I use this in the loosest sense of the word. True Heroes are, in my opinion, Legends, are Soldiers, Fire Fighters and anyone that risks their lives to save others. However, going off of one of my favorite quotes, I am going to use those terms. I think of guys like Miggy, a perennially great hitter who has gotten better every year. He is a special hitter and most definitely one of the greatest students of the game. I think of Trout, who had the greatest rookie season in my lifetime and continues to be the best all-around player in the game with running, fielding and hitting. He could hit 3rd in any lineup except the Tigers, where hitting lead off would help that pathetic running game we have.
I think of Kershaw, probably the best pitcher in majors right now. He has gotten better every year and his ERA sits at 1.88 this year! He doesn't even turn 26 until just before the next season starts. I think of Votto, Lee, Ortiz, Jeter, King Felix and Pujols. I think of Maddux, The Big Unit, Griffey Jr., Henderson, The Big Hurt and Schilling. I also think of Nolan Ryan, one of the most dominant pitchers ever. Now, are any of these guys going to be considered Legends? Well, Ryan pretty much already is, but the rest of them? Time will tell, obviously.
I don't think we will ever see another Ruth, Mays, Cobb, Jackie, Joe D, Gehrig, The Mick, Yaz and of course, Ted. These guys were pioneers, trendsetters, and all around great players before superb training and salaries REALLY took off. Is Trout the next Mays? It is possible but how do you compare players of different eras? You can't. The whole scope of the game has changed. There are fewer and fewer complete games because everyone is so concerned about pitch counts. Do you think Cy Young was limited to 120 pitches? No, but he also didn't make $20 Mil a year (or even money equal to that) and I have said to some people "Shouldn't these guys perform better than players in the past that made what equals to just under a million 50 years ago?". That makes me wonder too.
Should players today even be considered Legends even though they couldn't approach the 56 ( I originally put 54, what an idiot I am! Apologies to Joe D.)game hitting streak, batting .400, or come close to 400 pitching wins(which was accomplished by 2 pitcher in the early 1900s, Walter Johnson 417 or Cy at 511)? I don't think so. Some of the major hitting records that have fallen in recent year have been broken by guys on steroids. There have been some pitching records that have fallen at the hands of guys who have never been under scrutiny. The most recent player I can think of is Mo with Saves. Miggy hit for the Triple Crown, but he has only done it once (I think he is capable of more but it is difficult) and there are guys with 2. Yeah, a couple of guys named Williams and, before him, Rogers Hornsby who hit a ridiculous .401/42/152 in 1922! Shouldn't our multi-million dollar players top that? That's another debate.
Who do you think should be considered a Legend? No one who is playing because you can't predict the future but what about the guys who are retired and made an impact? We've been blessed with some great players and we've been cursed with PED players. Either way, this sport is awesome and October is almost here! I bet you thought I forgot to mention Mr. October! I love this game!