Something that's been talked about on blogs and on Twitter recently is a word association style game..
For each team, who is the first name you associate with that team?
Well.. I'm going to go through that exercise today..
It'll be divided up by division. I will also give a reason for each.
BAL: Cal Ripken Jr
This one is a no-brainer.
BOS: Roger Clemens
Clemens is one of those names I associate with the Red Sox. Really, others I could have named in the same amount of time are Ted Williams or David Ortiz.
NYY: Reggie Jackson
While there are certainly other names that would fit better here.. Ruth, Berra, DiMaggio, Mantle, Gehrig, Rivera.....
Reggie Jackson is the one here simply because of the attitude.. His attitude is perfect for the Yankees. Both the team and the player have had a lot of success and aren't afraid to brag about it, to the point where you wish they'd just shut up about it already..
TOR: Dave Stieb
Well, as a Jays fan, there are certainly many names I could have thrown here.. Alomar, Carter, Halladay.. But Stieb is the first real big game pitcher the Jays had, and he developed through the system. By time the Jays were champions though, he was on the way out. He did get one in 92 though.
TB: Evan Longoria
The Rays have been through so many rebuilds and have gone through so many players it's hard to really have a "Franchise" style player for them..
The closest the Rays have had is Longoria.. He was the cover athlete for one of the last MLB 2K games before they decided they couldn't make baseball anymore.
CLE: Albert Belle
I don't know why Belle is the first name I think of with the Indians. But he is.. There are certainly better players I could have chosen.. Manny, Jim Thome..
CWS: Frank Thomas
This one was fairly automatic for me.. Really about the only other name I could think of was Jack McDowell..
DET: Lou Whitaker
Lou is one of those names I think of for the Tigers. Obviously, there are others I could use like Ty Cobb, Alan Trammell, Jack Morris, Cecil Fielder... Justin Verlander...
Whitaker of course, was a mainstay for the Tigers in the 80s through the rivalry with the Jays.
KC: George Brett
Is there a name more synonymous with the Royals than Brett??
MIN: Kirby Puckett
Kirby is another one of those players who is synonymous with the team..
About the only other player I think of with the Twins is Brad Radke..
But this is the reason why..
SEA: Ken Griffey Jr
There are a few names that could go here. Griffey, Randy Johnson, Jay Buhner.. Edgar Martinez..
Griffey is easily the most memorable for me..
No offense to the new HOFer Martinez, but I keep forgetting he played as long as he did..
LAA: Mike Trout
There are a few players I can think of aside from Trout.. Chuck Finley, Mark Langston..
However, Trout is one of those generational players people don't easily forget.
OAK: Rickey Henderson
There's really no other name I can think of here. I mean, I guess I could pick Canseco, or McGwire, or Stewart..
But Come on... Rickey Henderson played four separate stints for the A's.. He was the swagger they had in the late 80s and early 90s.. He brought that swagger to Toronto in 93.
HOU: Jeff Bagwell
This one was fairly easy.. Bagwell was one of the Killer B's.
TEX: Nolan Ryan
Back when the Texas Texases were the Rangers, easily the most recognizable name for them was Nolan. Someone else mentioned it's basically Nolan and Juan Gonzalez with this team.. About the only other name I think of is Julio Franco.
ATL: Rafael Belliard
There are so many names I could say here.. Any of the Four Aces they had.. Chipper Jones, Dale Murphy.. But Rafael Belliard comes to mind because when I watched Braves games (hoping they'd lose) in the 90s, Belliard would be batting and the announcers would be talking about how overdue Belliard was to hit a home run..
PHI: John Kruk
The Philthies had Kruk as their ring leader. They lost to the Jays in 1993.. And of course, there's the fact that Peter at Baseball Every Night collects him.
MIA: Jeff Conine
The Marlins are another team that have so many players come and go it's hard to pin a "franchise" style player to them..
So I inevitably think of Mr. Marlin, Jeff Conine.
NYM: Tom Seaver
Tom Seaver is one of those names you think of when you think Mets.. There really aren't many others..
WSH: Bryce Harper
Washington is one of those teams I rather forget about. But Harper is the first name I think of..
CIN: Pete Rose
While there are probably better names I could use.. Or more to the point, less controversial names... Pete Rose is the first name I think of when I think of the Reds..
STL: Ozzie Smith
The Wizard of Oz is the first name I think of..
He was widely considered the best defensive shortstop of his era.
PIT: Barry Bonds
Bonds really can be considered for here and for San Francisco. However, aside from Honus Wagner, my mind becomes blank..
MIL: Robin Yount
Yount is in the same boat as Brett and Whitaker above. Mind you, I could have picked Molitor here and had no issue.
CHC: Ryne Sandberg
Sandberg came to mind first, but I could have just as easily threw Fergie Jenkins here.
ARI: Luis Gonzalez
The Diamondbacks are a tough team to find a memorable player.. So I'll pick the player who provided the most memorable moment..
COL: Dante Bichette
I could have just as easily thought Todd Helton or Troy Tulowitzki, but I have a soft spot for the Colorado Bomb Club.. Bichette, Galarraga, Castilla..
SD: Tony Gwynn
Is there any other choice? Really? Maybe Eric Show...
LAD: Tommy Lasorda
This is a bit of a cheat... But Lasorda IS the name I think of when I hear "Dodgers"
SF: Will Clark
I could have just as easily said Bonds here, as he was his most Homer Happy in SF... But I didn't want to have him twice.
Will Clark is a close second..
As an added bonus...
Because the Nationals are NOT the Expos.... I'm throwing the Expos here as an added bonus one.
Walker and Vadimir Guerrero are probably the first two names anyone thinks of when you say Expos.
Of course, there are others like Raines, Gary Carter, and Andre Dawson..