Carl Crawford / Presswire

Following on Graham’s original post (which itself expands on an idea tweeted by Buster Olney), I’ve decided to go through baseball’s 30 teams and talk about who might be on each team’s Mount Rushmore.

Much like the real Mount Rushmore, the criteria used for selecting the 4 honorees isn’t totally straightforward. Just like with presidents, it’s tough to rate who was “best” in any measurable way, and similarly tough to figure who was most well-liked, most important, or most influential.

I’m also going to run down these teams in reverse order of length of franchise existence, so the first few are going to be toughest. You’ll see what I mean right away when we look at the Tampa Bay Rays.

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the top 15 batters for the Rays ranked by career WAR:

Rk Player WAR/pos From To
1 Carl Crawford 33.2 2002 2010
2 Evan Longoria 27.6 2008 2012
3 Ben Zobrist 21.3 2006 2012
4 Carlos Pena 16.5 2007 2012
5 Julio Lugo 12.7 2003 2006
6 B.J. Upton 11.2 2004 2012
7 Jason Bartlett 10.4 2008 2010
8 Aubrey Huff 10.2 2000 2006
9 Rocco Baldelli 8.6 2003 2010
10 Fred McGriff 7.8 1998 2004
11 Sean Rodriguez 6.8 2010 2012
12 Randy Winn 6.4 1998 2002
13 Akinori Iwamura 5.7 2007 2009
14 Matthew Joyce 5.5 2009 2012
15 Toby Hall 4.6 2000 2006
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/14/2012.

When you get down to guys like Randy Winn and Toby Hall on your top 15, you know it’s slim pickings.

Anyway, from this list, Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria stand out right away as good candidates for the Ray’s Rushmore.

Here is the same list for pitchers:

Rk Player WAR From To
1 Scott Kazmir 15.3 2004 2009
2 James Shields 14.8 2006 2012
3 David Price 9.0 2008 2012
4 Matt Garza 7.7 2008 2010
5 Rolando Arrojo 6.2 1998 1999
6 Tanyon Sturtze 5.2 2000 2002
7 Roberto Hernandez 4.7 1998 2000
8 Jeremy Hellickson 4.6 2010 2012
9 Victor Zambrano 4.4 2001 2004
10 Albie Lopez 4.2 1998 2001
11 Jim Mecir 3.9 1998 2000
12 Wilson Alvarez 3.7 1998 2002
13 Grant Balfour 3.5 2007 2010
14 Rick White 3.4 1998 2000
15 Lance Carter 3.2 2002 2005
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/14/2012.

Uh oh. With Scott Kazmir’s rapid demise as a quality pitcher, it’s tough to imagine selecting him, until we take a step back and realize that he was the first true ace pitcher this franchise ever had, and he did win a lot of games for the Rays during their dark period.

James Shields, as one of the top pitchers now, has to be in consideration too, as does David Price.

I think it’s also worth looking at 2008, when the Rays made it to the World Series. Their leader on offense that year was Carlos Pena, and he deserves a nomination. Troy Percival was also a big part of that team but had such a short overall tenure with the Rays that I can’t even put him on the list.

Ben Zobrist has actually had the two single-best seasons by WAR in franchise history, so let’s put him in the mix.

Let’s have a poll. You can choose any 4 players to put in the Ray’s Mount Rushmore.

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