Wednesday, April 16, 2008

25 Most Famous Baseball Players

Seeing all this stuff posted everywhere about the decrease in the amount of African-American baseball players today got me to thinking. No, not about what this means or if it's worth getting up in arms about, but instead about who the 25 most famous baseball players of the last 15 or so years have been. Don't ask me how I got there, but that's just how my mind works. For fun, I even have them ranked. Oh, and because this started from the diversity news I included all the player's race (in generic terms) to see what that breakdown may be. Regardless, the list is the fun part right? Here it is! And keep in mind I said, "famous" not "best" and because of that, off the field "stuff" like endorsements, PTI mentions, and showing up on Page Six count too.

The List:

25. Chipper Jones (white)
24. Gary Sheffield (black)
23. Mike Piazza (white)
22. Vlad Guerrerro (Latin)
21. Johan Santana (Latin)
20. Albert Pujols (Latin)
19. Tom Glavine (white)
18. Tony Gwynn (black)
17. Manny Ramirez (Latin)
16. Pedro Martinez (Latin)
15. Mariano Rivera (Latin)
14. Curt Schilling (white)
13. Greg Maddux (white)
12. Randy Johnson (white)
11. David Ortiz (Latin)
10. Ichiro Suzuki (Asian)
9. Derek Jeter (black - but not "all the way" right Gary Sheffield?)
8. Alex Rodriguez (Latin)
7. Ken Griffey Jr. (black)
6. Jose Canseco (Latin)
5. Cal Ripken Jr. (white)
4. Sammy Sosa (Latin)
3. Mark McGwire (white)
2. Roger Clemens (white)
1. Barry Bonds (black)

9 White
5 Black
10 Latin
1 Asian

Do with that information as you please.

Some notes on my choices:

* As great as he has been since coming into the league, Albert Pujols seems to have the Barry Bonds "I'm a standoffish pr*ck" thing going for him. This is not a plus.

* Pedro's prime was better than any pitcher's prime during this era, but thanks to self-promotion, the bloody sock, and 3 World Series rings, Big Schill has a marked edge on him.

* Should Mo Rivera be higher? I can't decide. I do feel bad for him however as he is the greatest closer ever but the first two images that probably come to people's mind when thinking of him are blown saves - the Luis Gonzalez bloop to win the 2001 World Series and Dave Roberts steal followed by Bill Mueller's RBI single in 2004. The guy deserves better but so it goes as a closer right?

* David Ortiz might seem high but he is the face of MLB right now and there is no denying that.

* Jeter was the face of MLB before Ortiz. Plus he plays for the Yankees, has dated A-List stars and super-models, has been in numerous Nike and Gatorade spots over the years (the big two for athletes), and has won 4 World Series titles.

* Ken Griffey Jr. was probably the best and most popular baseball player of the 1990's.

* Canseco has pretty much been a spectacle since the late 1980's and obviously, current events have done nothing to diminish this.

* Bonds or Clemens? Clemens or Bonds? I originally was going to go with Clemens because of all of the ridiculous shenanigans around his retirements, pool parties, and the Mitchell Report. Those things drove me crazy, but kept him in the news plenty. Still, there has not been a bigger day-to-day spectacle since almost the turn of the century than Barry Bonds. Whether it was his push for 73 or being the face of BALCO and steroids, the amount of breath devoted to and wasted on this guy over the past 7-8 years has been staggering. Clemens too of course, but I felt like Barry was the move here.

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