ESPN has stirred up a debate by releasing a “Hall Of 100” ranking the top 100 players in baseball history.
This type of project is something that can be argued about forever, with no solution in sight. It’s extremely difficult to compare players across eras in a sport that has been played at a professional level since the late 1800s.
I’m not even going to attempt to critique their list – you can check it out for yourself, the whole presentation is right here.
However, I am willing to look at the Tacoma connections on their list:
Played for Tacoma: Mark McGwire (ranked #83) played for the Tacoma Tigers in 1986. Juan Marichal (70) was a member of the original Tacoma Giants in 1960. Gaylord Perry (66) pitched for the Tacoma Giants from 1960 to 1963. Willie McCovey (57) played for Tacoma in 1960. Ken Griffey Jr (34) played in that one rehab game in 1995. Alex Rodriguez (18) was with the Rainiers in 1995 and 1996. Walter Johnson (12) infamously pitched in one exhibition game for the 1906 Tacoma Tigers before manager Mike Lynch told him he would never make it as a pitcher.
Definitely played at Tacoma as a visitor: we saw Manny Ramirez (85) roll into town with Sacramento just last season. Mike Piazza (78) came through town as an Albuquerque Duke in 1992. Tony Gwynn (61) was a visitor with the Hawaii Islanders in 1982, and possibly Las Vegas in 1983. Pedro Martinez (41) came into town with Albuquerque in 1992. Mike Schmidt (16) played in numerous games at Cheney while with Eugene in 1972. Willie Mays (2) made several appearances at Tacoma in Tacoma Giants vs. SF Giants exhibition games in the 1960s.
May have played at Tacoma as a visitor: Jim Thome (94) played portions of two seasons with Colorado Springs, in 1991 and 1992 for a total of 53 games. It’s possible he came through Cheney Stadium back then. Craig Biggio (90) played a half-season with Tucson in 1988 and seems likely to have played at Cheney. Roberto Alomar (73) played in a whopping nine games for Las Vegas in 1988 – the chance that any of those were in Tacoma is slim. Ferguson Jenkins (62) pitched parts of two seasons with Arkansas in 1964-1965. Arkansas, believe it or not, was a PCL team during those seasons and Tacoma played 14 games against the them, so it is likely that Jenkins played at Cheney. Rickey Henderson (14) played a half-season with then-PCL entry Ogden in 1979; he may have played in Tacoma – if any readers know for sure on Rickey, please contact me.
Tacoma-related: Bob Feller (59) did several appearances/autograph signings at Cheney Stadium in his post-playing days. Babe Ruth (1) played exhibition games in Tacoma and Seattle in the early 1920s.
I will leave you with one complaint about ESPN’s list: no Ichiro? Not even in the “honorable mentions?”
- Josh Hamilton signed a five-year contract with the Angels. This really limits the Mariners chances of acquiring an impact hitter – they might have to go the trade route at this point, as Nick Swisher seems to be the last quality free agent hitter on the market.
- On The News Tribune’s Mariners blog there is a wrap-up with audio of Jack Z and Eric Wedge visiting the Hot Stove League radio show.
- Ex-Rainiers third baseman Jack Hannahan signed a two-year major league contract with the Cincinnati Reds.
- Another former Rainiers player, Shin-Soo Choo, was part of a somewhat controversial three-team trade. Choo is also now on the Reds, and there are reports that Cincinnati is going to try him in center field.
- In the PCL, the Iowa Cubs have a new manager and it is Marty Pevey.