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:
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:
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.