Sunday, March 17, 2024

Who's the face of the team - American League East

Being a fan of an American League team, I thought that this would be easier than the National League. I think overall, it has been. There are a few teams that I'm not as sold on as to who the face of the team is, but for the most part I like my choices. 

Just for a quick reminder, my definition of the face of the team revolves around who is the one player that first comes to mind when a team is mentioned. I decided that I'd do my all-time faces of the teams, as well as the current face of the team.  

Baltimore Orioles

This was a little difficult to decide who is the all-time face of the team. It came down to two players, Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr. Both Hall of Fame players and both definitely the face of the team during their playing days. I went with the player who first came to mind when I was making my list and that is Brooks Robinson. Trust me when I say that is no slight to Cal Ripken Jr. I'm a huge fan of Ripken, but when I think of the Orioles, the first to my mind is Brooks. Maybe it's because I'm older or because I actually got to meet him, but Robinson is always first in my mind. 

The current face of the team also came down to two players. Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson. Another tough call, but I really feel as if Henderson has surpassed Rutschman as the face of the team. I'm not sure that he'll hold the title long though. Feels like real soon it will be Jackson Holliday.

     

I'm not sure when, but I've become a big fan of the '69 Topps set and I really like this Robinson. Reminds me of when I was blessed to meet him. He was older then, but the smile was the same. Once again when the face of the team is a rookie and since I'm sticking to Topps flagship, you get his rookie card.

Boston Red Sox

With such a storied history, there are a ton of great ballplayers who have been associated with the Red Sox. Bobby Doerr, Tris Speaker, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Jim Rice, Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs and Carlton Fisk to name a few. However, none stand out more than the great Ted Williams. Besides hitting .406 in 1941, he won 8 gold gloves and 3 MVP awards. He is considered one of the top 3 hitters of all-time. How could he not be the all-time face of the team?

The Red Sox are transitioning and choosing the current face of the team is a little more difficult. I went with Rafael Devers. I think it could be Triston Casas soon, but for now, it's Devers.

      

I like this '54 Topps of Williams. I think it's the yellow background. It's the same close up on the '55 and '56 cards which makes me feel as if Topps cheated. I know it's not the only instance that Topps did that, but come on, how hard can it be to be a little more original? I like the shot of Devers on the '19 Topps card. I'm not a huge fan of the '19 design, but I like the pic on the card.

New York Yankees

There are so many possible faces of the team for the Yankees. From old school Ruth and Gehrig, through the years of Mantle, Berra and Ford to the modern times of Jeter. I polled several of my baseball fan friends and a few collectors and got a wide variety of answers. Because this is also a baseball card blog, I have to go with Mickey Mantle. To me, Mickey is the first player I think of when the Yankees come up. After he retired, at some point, he relocated to my home town of Dallas and I actually spotted him around town once or twice. Plus, if you consider his impact on the card collecting world I don't see how it could be anyone else. 

The current face of the team is an easy one. Aaron Judge. I think the big thing for Judge to stay the face of the team is going to come down to his health and being able to play. Now that the Yankees have added Juan Soto, I don't think it would take too many trips on the injured list for that title to shift.

   

This is one of my favorite Mickey Mantle cards. He seems relaxed in the picture and I like the colors on the card. I had a hard time picking out an Aaron Judge card. I really don't care for any of them, so I went with his rookie card.

Tampa Bay Rays

When I think of the Tampa Bay Rays I think of Evan Longoria. There have been several players who gone through the Rays organization like David Price, Fred McGriff and Wade Boggs, but those names aren't the first to come to mind for me, its Longoria.

The current face of the team has to be Randy Arozarena. The Rays have some good young talent but Arozarena definitely leads the pack.

     

This is one of my favorite Longoria cards. I'm a sucker for an action shot with the baseball still in it. I know Longoria can hit (he always seemed to do that against my Rangers), but my first thought is of him and his glove. Arozarena on the other hand I think of him hitting and that's why I chose the '21 Topps card.

Toronto Blue Jays

This has been the hardest one out of all of the teams I've done so far. There have been some great players that been through Toronto. Halladay, Alomar, Delgado, Carter, Clemens, Wells, and Stieb to name a few of those players (okay, they weren't all great, but they were players I thought of when thinking about the Blue Jays). It came down to 3 players for me. Roy Halladay, Roberto Alomar and Carlos Delgado. I eliminated Halladay, because when I think of Halladay I always go to Philly in the playoffs. I eliminated Alomar simply because of the way he left Toronto. He didn't want to be in Toronto anymore and got out as soon as he could. If you don't want to be there, how can you be the face of the team? By default that leaves me with Delgado. By default...that sounds bad and I really don't mean it that way. Delgado had some really great years in Toronto. It's not like he's a bad choice. 

The current face of the team has to be either Vlad Guerrero Jr, or Bo Bichette. This one is really close and I think that I could make a solid argument for either one. I'm going with Bo Bichette. No, I'm going with Vladdy. Heck, let them share it!

    

When I think of Delgado, I think of the bombs he hit and that's why I went with 2000 Topps card. I really like the '22 Bichette card. Action shot, ball in the pic...wonder if he got the out? Same thoughts for Guerrero Jr that I have for Delgado. It's all about the bat.

That wraps the American League East. Let me know what you think! I expect a few comments disagreeing with my picks and that's okay. I welcome them. Up next, the American League Central.

Peace,

Michael
Isaiah 40:31



3 comments:

  1. Alomar is the best position player ever for the Jays, but put aside how he left, the revelations on his character are disqualifying.

    For me it comes down to 3, Stieb, Halladay and a guy you forgot in Joey Bats.

    It's hard to take a guy who plays 35 games a year over one who plays 150, but I take Stieb. Simply for being here for the whole gamut of terrible expansion team to WS Champs.

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  2. Hard to argue with what's going on in someone's mind. After reading this series, I understand how it works (first player that comes to mind) and these were the players that popped into my head (before reading your post):

    Orioles: Cal Ripken Jr. & Gunnar Henderson (Cal Ripken Jr.)
    Red Sox: Ted Williams & Rafael Devers (Jim Rice)
    Yankees: Lou Gehrig & Aaron Judge (Rickey Henderson)
    Rays: Blake Snell & Wander Franco (BJ Upton)
    Blue Jays: Dave Stieb & Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Dave Stieb)

    By the way... I looked up who I wrote down back in 2019 and put them in parenthesis.

    I know that Wander is not the face of the Rays franchise... but he was the first name that popped into my head in regards to current players. Truly wish Arozarena had come to mind, because he's a way better candidate than Franco.

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