Friday, May 28, 2021

A-Z PLAYER challenge

 In the spirit of Chris AKA The Collector's A-Z Music Challenge, I thought I would throw out an A-Z Favorite Baseball Player challenge!  One player per letter, from A to Z.

For anyone who does the challenge on their blog, I will keep track of everyone's picks on this page, if you comment with a link to your post.  Since I will be compiling these, I am hoping for some consistency.  For that reason, the players last name should be used to qualify for a given letter.  For example, Mookie Betts would qualify under B, not M.

Honestly, I don't expect the level of participation that the Music Challenge got.  That was just a better idea than this.  But if I get 5-6 of you that are willing to take the time for this kind of post,  I will consider it a resounding success.

My picks are heavily influenced by my youth as a baseball fan.  For that reason, you will see a lot of 70's and 80s players as well as some old timers I read about growing up.  Don't worry, there are a couple of new guys in there too!  And here we go!

AMy PickHenry Aaron
Random card from
 my collection -->

As I have said before, Aaron is probably my favorite baseball player of all time.  So he was an easy pick to kick off the A's!
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Henry Aaron7
Jose Altuve1
Roberto Alomar1
Aristides Aquino1
Garrett Anderson1
Jim Abbott3
Grover Cleveland Alexander1
Brady Anderson1
Jake Arrieta2
Alfredo Aceves1
Koji Akiyama1
Edgardo Alfonzo1
Kevin Appier1

BMy PickGeorge Brett
Random card from
 my collection -->

Lots of good quality B names! Brett wins out for me in part because of his quirkiness. The Pine Tar incident, and some of his crazy youtube videos about messing his pants in  Vegas put him over the top.

Oh, and high batting averages rule!
.390 in 1980
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
George Brett3
Barry Bonds2
Ernie Banks4
Matthew Boyd1
Mookie Betts1
Don Baylor1
Trevor Bauer1
Rafael Bournigal1
Bill Buckner1
Rod Beck1
Vida Blue1
Javier Baez1
Ellis Burks1
Harold Baines1
Wladimir Balentien1
Hubie Brooks1

CMy PickRod Carew
Random card from
 my collection -->

Probably my first favorite player. I loved his funky batting stance, and he still holds the record for most times stealing home in a season with 7.

Oh, and high batting averages rule!
.388 in 1977

Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Rod Carew2
Steve Carlton   2
Roberto Clemente6
Ty Cobb1
Ron Cey2
Sean Casey1
Roger Clemens2
Chris Coste1
Phil Clark1
Jose Cardenal1
Willson Contreras1
Bert Campaneris1
Koji Chikamoto1
Gary Carter1

DMy PickEric Davis
Random card from
 my collection -->

Surprise pick here, at least to me. But I really enjoy the speed and power combo!  My brother and I played a weird 2 man outfield game as kids.  He was Daryl Strawberry and I was always Eric Davis!

Why didn't I pick DiMaggio?  Mainly because I don't have any of his cards in my collection, I guess.
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Eric Davis1
Yu Darvish   2
Joe DiMaggio1
Andre Dawson6
Ed Delahanty1
Don Drysdale1
Adam Dunn1
Johnny Damon2
Dave Dravecky3
Ivan DeJesus1
Rafael Devers1
Darren Daulton1
Dizzy Dean1

EMy PickDennis Eckersley
Random card from
 my collection -->

Another player I loved in part due to his uniqueness.  Had both a 20 win season and a 50 save season in the same career.  Crazy.
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Dennis Eckersley6
Luke Eater1
Carl Erskine1
Andre Ethier1
Edwin Encarnacion2
Jim Edmonds2
Mike Easler1
Darin Erstad1
Scott Elarton1
Arnold Earley1
Dwight Evans2
Yutaka Enatsu1
Johnny Evers1

FMy PickGeorge Foster
Random card from
 my collection -->

This one is all about those sideburns!  George struck me as a baaaaad man.  Always looks so intense on his cards, and he hit 52 home runs in 1977, long before the power surge of the 90's to today.  I met him in person at a spring training game though, and he was super nice to talk to.
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
George Foster2
Freddie Freeman2
Mark Fidrych4
Bill Freehan1
Carlton Fisk3
Todd Frazier1
Chuck Finley1
Terry Francona3
Julio Franco1
Cecil Fielder2
Carmen Fanzone1
Bob Feller3
Atsuya Furuta1

GMy PickLou Gehrig
Random card from
 my collection -->

Man, the Gs are packed with star power!  Gwynn, Griffey and my man, Dwight Gooden.  Gehrig gets the nod, because I want to make sure I am not forgetting the old timers.  And he was about as good as they came.

Gwynn, Griffey
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Lou Gehrig1
Tony Gwynn2
Tom Glavine1
Charlie Gehringer1
Pedro Guerrero1
Steve Garvey1
Ken Griffey Jr4
Dwight Gooden2
Mark Grace3
Todd Greene1
Vladimir Guerrero2
Bobby Grich1
Mike Greenwell1
Sosuke Genda1

HMy PickRickey Henderson
Random card from
 my collection -->

Speed, power and attitude.  The definitive combination of all three, along with being the best leadoff man ever.  We won't see another Rickey, that's for sure!
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Rickey Henderson5
Roy Halladay1
Trevor Hoffman1
Harry Heilmann1
Orel Hershiser3
Aaron Harang1
Torii Hunter1
Ryan Howard1
Rick Helling1
Randy Hundley1
Kyle Hendricks1
Brock Holt1
Livan Hernandez1
Isao Harimoto1
J.J. Hardy1
Eric Hosmer1

IMy PickMonte Irvin
Random card from
 my collection -->

Not a lot of I names, but that doesn't mean that Irvin isn't as quality of a pick as some of the others on this list.  He doesn't have the high profile of many Hall of Famers, but he is in the Hall.  I remember learning about him in a Willie Mays biography I read as a kid.
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Monte Irvin6
Travis Ishikawa1
Kaz Ishii1
Cesar Izturis3
Jason Isringhausen2
Pete Incaviglia1
Brandon Inge2
Jose Iglesias1
Atsunori Inaba1
Raul Ibanez1

JMy PickRandy Johnson
Random card from
 my collection -->

You may have noticed that I favor the unique in my list.  And Randy was unique.  The height and sheer intimidation he brought was really fun to watch.  Interesting dude off the field too.
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Randy Johnson3
Derek Jeter5
Chipper Jones1
Joe Jackson1
Reggie Jackson2
Danny Jackson1
Wally Joyner1
Bo Jackson2
Jason Johnson1
Fergie Jenkins2
Adam Jones1
Kenji Johjima1
Howard Johnson1

KMy PickSandy Koufax
Random card from
 my collection -->

Hard not to like Koufax!  He was so incredible in his short career that it's hard to imagine.  I really wish I had been around to see him in person.
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Sandy Koufax4
Clayton Kershaw2
Craig Kimbrel2
Al Kaline2
Ted Kluszewski1
Howie Kendrick1
John Kruk2
Brody Koerner1
Don Kessinger1
Brooks Kieschnick1
Jason Kendall1
Charley Keller1
Hiromitsu Kadota1
Ralph Kiner1
Ian Kinsler1

LMy PickKenny Lofton
Random card from
 my collection -->

Lofton has always been one of those guys that I thought was underrated.  One that should have gotten more credit for his game.  So I was pretty happy when he came out on top for me in the L's!
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Kenny Lofton5
Ramon Laureano1
Tim Lincecum2
Rick Leach1
Davey Lopes2
Barry Larkin3
Nap Lajoie1
Terry Leach1
Derrek Lee2
Sparky Lyly1
Mike Lowell1
Lee Dae-Ho1
Francisco Lindor1

MMy PickWillie Mays
Random card from
 my collection -->

The M's have the most star power of any letter in the alphabet.  Mantle, Musial, McCovey, Maddux and my guys McGwire, Pedro Martinez  and Eddie Murray! Probably forgot someone...

But Mays is my favorite, and it's not hard to see why.  Just a classic.
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Willie Mays2
Greg Maddux5
Tug McGraw1
Dale Murphy1
Bake McBride1
Joe Mauer1
Joe Morgan1
Pedro Martinez3
Andrew McCutchen1
Roger Maris1
Quinton McCracken1
Brian Batusz1
Fred McGriff1
Masato Morishita1
Felix Millan1

NMy PickPhil Niekro
Random card from
 my collection -->

Knuckleballers rock!  And Phil is the definitive knuckleballer of my lifetime.
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Phil Niekro5
Hideo Nomo4
Jim Northrup1
Joe Nuxhall1
Pat Neshek1
Trot Nixon1
Pat Neshek1
Rich Nye1
James Norwood1
Otis Nixon1
Daniel Nave1
Don Newcomb1
Takeya Nakamura1
Aaron Nola1
Jon Nunnally1

OMy PickShohei Ohtani
Random card from
 my collection -->

This pick surprises me.  I like Ohtani, and he's having a great run right now, but my favorite O of all time?  Shocker!  Others I considered were Mel Ott (forgotten??), John Olerud and David Ortiz, who I assume will get the most votes in this letter!
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Shohei Ohtani4
David Ortiz3
Amos Otis1
Tony Oliva1
Al Oliver2
Paul O'Neill1
Pete O'Brien1
Buck O'Neil1
Augie Ojeda1
Gregg Olson1
John Olerud2
Claud Osteen1
Hiromitsu Ochiai1
Jesse Orosco1
Jose Offerman1

PMy PickAlbert Pujols
Random card from
 my collection -->

Pujols is in my all timers.  I hate that his later career couldn't come closer to his Cardinals times, but that doesn't make me like him any less.  I even have been enjoying watching him as a Dodger!

Along with Barry Bonds and Mike Trout, the best middle of the order hitter of my lifetime.
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Albert Pujols4
Kirby Puckett2
Mike Piazza3
Chris Pritchett1
Wes Parker1
Brandon Phillips1
Tony Pena1
Deacon Phillippe1
Steve Pearce1
Paul Popovich1
Satchel Paige2
Jim Palmer1
Dustin Pedroia1
Hunter Pence1
Roberto Petagine1
Fritz Peterson1

QMy PickDan Quisenberry
Random card from
 my collection -->

I imagine the Quiz will be a popular pick here.  How many Q's are there anyway??  But regardless, he was always a favorite of mine.  Funky delivery, looks like a math teacher and wrote a book of poetry?  Yup!!
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Dan Quisenberry10
Frank Quilici1
Jamie Quirk3
Luis Quinones1
Robb Quinlan1
Jim Qualls1
Jose Quintana1
Carlos Quintana1
Roman Quinn1

RMy PickJackie Robinson
Random card from
 my collection -->

Another super strong letter!!  I ended up going with Jackie, but this one could have gone a lot of other ways.  I know, the card I randomly picked isn't a card, but it is treasured in my collection anyway.
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Jackie Robinson6
Pee Wee Reese1
Pete Rose1
Jose Rijo1
Cal Ripken Jr4
Nolan Ryan2
Old Hoss Radbourn1
Wade Rowdon1
Anthony Rizzo1
David Ross1
Brooks Robinson1
Manny Ramirez1
Tuffy Rhodes1
Alex Rodriguez1

SMy PickIchiro Suzuki
Random card from
 my collection -->

Loved Ichiro!!  Again, a fairly unique player.  Loved the cannon in right field along with the bat work.  

Oh, and high batting averages rule!
.372 in 2004
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Ichiro Suzuki3
John Smoltz1
Mike Schmidt1
Turkey Stearnes1
Frank Smith1
Ryne Sandberg5
Chris Sabo1
Tim Salmon1
Darryl Strawberry1
Mike Simms1
Max Scherzer1
Chris Sale1
Manny Sanguillen1
Hayato Sakamoto1
Tom Seaver1
Ozzie Smith1

TMy PickMike Trout
Random card from
 my collection -->

This guy is a good player.
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Mike Trout3
Fernando Tatis Jr2
Frank Thomas1
Jim Thorpe2
Alan Trammell2
Jim Thome3
Eddie Taubensee1
Trea Turner1
Bubba Trammell1
Andre Thornton1
Luis Tiant3
Motonobu Tanishige1
Bill Tuttle1

UMy PickChase Utley
Random card from
 my collection -->

I always appreciated Utley.  Just a good all around player.  One thing I appreciate that many don't is efficient base running.  In fact, Bill James felt like Utley was the best baserunner in the game at one point.
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Chase Utley5
Bob Uecker8
Justin Upton1
Bob Unglaub1
John Upham1
Koji Uehara2
Seiichi Uchikawa1
Jose Uribe1

VMy PickFernando Valenzuela
Random card from
 my collection -->

I thought this would end up being Justin Verlander, but in the end, I had to go with Fernando.  Loved his whole schtick.  the awesome windup and plumbers body.  He was a lot of fun.
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Fernando Valenzuela6
Justin Verlander5
Joey Votto4
Omar Vizquel1
Pat Venditte1
Hippo Vaughn1
Dan Vogelbach1
Mo Vaughn1
Dayan Viciedo1
Bill Virdon1

WMy PickTed Williams
Random card from
 my collection -->

Teddy Ballgame wins this round, as Elliptical Man often says.  Not because of the random card I picked, it's only so-so, but for the W's, he's my pick.  Just too iconic to go another direction.
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Ted Williams5
Devon White1
Lou Whitaker1
Dave Winfield1
Jesse Winker1
Tim Wallach1
Kerry Wood2
Bob Wolcott1
Billy Williams1
Matt Weiters1
Turk Wendell1
David Wright1
Tim Wakefield1
Tsutomu Wakamatsu1
Jim Wynn1
Hoyt Wilhelm1
Frank White1

XMy PickJoe Xavier
Random card from
 my collection -->
No card!!!  The closest baseball has ever come to having a Major Leaguer with an X at the start of their last name came in the late 1980s and the 1990 season, when Joe Xavier reached AAA.
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Joe Xavier2
*Joe Jackson - creative pick by EM!1
*Xavier Paul1
*Nellie Fox (backwards)1
*Xavier Nady1
*Jimmie Foxx1
*Xander Boagerts1
*Xavier Hernandez1

YMy PickCarl Yastrzemski
Random card from
 my collection -->

The Yaz man!  Took over for Ted Williams, no pressure there.  Between the two of them, Boston got close to 40 Hall of Fame years in left field.
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Carl Yastrzemski7
Robin Yount5
Steve Yeager1
Dmitri Young1
Michael Young2
Ryan Yarbrough1
Don Young1
Eric Young1
Christian Yelich1
Yuki Yanagita1
Eddie Yost1

ZMy PickGus Zernial
Random card from
 my collection -->

OK, I don't actually have the card on the right, I don't have any Zernial cards!  But I want it, so if you have one, send it to me.

Zernial was an aggressive player and a power hitter.  I remember being introduced to him in a Mickey Mantle biography when I was a kid.
Everyone's Picks# of times picked
Gus Zernial2
Barry Zito2
Don Zimmer2
Richie Zisk2
Ryan Zimmerman4
Ben Zobrist6
Bob Zupcic1
Julio Zuleta1
Carlos Zambrano1
Todd Zeile1


  1. Challenge accepted! This will probably take a lot more thought than the music one!

    1. Finally got it posted! -

  2. You picked a great time to do this post. I’m just about finished organizing my favorite player binders, and what do you know, they are organized alphabetically, so this post should be pretty easy. Should have it done sometime next week.

  3. I might do this, but it's just going to be all Dodgers.

    1. My list wouldn't be ALL Mets--George Brett would definitely be there--but it's really strange to me to have a list where you can't tell what the person's favorite team is. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just different from how most of us root in baseball. (It would seem less strange in, say, football.)

    2. Nothing wrong with All Dodgers Night Owl! I had a decent number on my list! And Brett, I kind of take that comment as a compliment. I really love the game of baseball and its history more than any one team. Glad that not a ton of bias was detectable in my picks!

    3. For what it's worth, I greatly appreciate your list not being partial to any one particular team. It makes the post much more readable :)

  4. This is a fun idea! Might take me a while, but I'll try to get to it.

    Love your Mike Trout analysis.

    1. Hope you can! And that Trout blurb might be as good of writing as I can do...

  5. I'll try to write up a post in the near future... but even if I don't... it'll be fun seeing everyone else's.

    1. Agreed, I hope you get a chance to do one.

    2. Here's my list...

  6. I wrote my list (it's All-Reds). It'll go up on my blog next Tuesday!

    1. The Reds got a lot of great players, should be a fun list!



  9. Here's my list.

    Thanks for starting this.

  10. Might take a little while, but I definitely wanna do one of these! Didn't realize how tough of a pick "G" would be, that'll be an agonizing choice no matter which way I go...

    1. That's the fun of ot! I look forward to your list!

  11. Just saw this, and I'm up for it. I have about 60 player collections, so that should fill in most of it. I will try to avoid the "chalk" players - Trout, Jackie, etc. May take me a while to post...

    1. No hurry, but I appreciate you taking part!

    2. Mine is up (and it looks like it's catalogued.) Football version next?


    4. Thanks, got you added! I love the football version, start it up!

  12. Thanks for setting this up, here is my contribution:

  13. Did my post.


    It's been awhile since "right blog post" made it to my To Do List. Thanks for the fun challenge. These have been a blast to read and I love that you have been keeping the lists updated here. Thanks again!

  16. It was fun reading all the posts!

  17. Here's mine!

  18. Here's my list. I apologize for pretty much making you add a new name for each letter.

  19. I'm pretty late to the party, but it was a fun topic, and I enjoyed doing it.