While on the train and walking to last night’s game in the Bronx and seeing multiple people in Giambi shirts (seriously, that’s whose shirt you spent hard-earned money on?!), I thought of a dilemma. If you had to pick a player from this and each of the last three decades and were forced to wear, in public, their shirt, whose would it be? And whose shirt, regardless of their affiliation with your beloved team, would you avoid? This isn’t so easy as "who is your favorite player", I don’t think. After all, I really appreciated Manny, he was perhaps my favorite player to watch at the plate (perhaps ever), but I never had an urge to put on his jersey. And, I have come to totally love Dustin Pedroia, but also feel no urge to grab a top with his name sewn on the back. That went for Nomar too, despite his almost magnetic presence at the plate and in the field, and his utter watchability.
If I had to pick four guys from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and Oughts, I think I’d go with Pudge Fisk, the Rocket, the Hit Dog, and Big Papi. Non-controversial picks at the time of their play, but in retrospect (particularly with Clemens and Mo) I wasn’t really thinking about ethics, off-the-field character, or dutiful dedication to one’s calisthenics regimen. Only Pudge and Papi stand that test, to this point (though "Papi" and "calisthenics" isn’t the first word pairing that comes to mind). But hey, I was (am?) a kid. So whose laundry for your beloved squad would you don?
And here’s a second, monkey wrench question: which bitter rival’s uniform would you "proudly" display (if that’s even a possibility)? For me, it’s Mo. No competition. If I were eleven years old today it would be Joba – that kid is something to see and appears like an athlete to emulate, his love of the game apparent.
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.