This is tough because three of the greatest players in baseball history spent spent one third to one half of their career as members of the Boston Red Sox. I am, of course, speaking of Cy Young (192 Red Sox wins), Tris Speaker and Manny Ramirez.
My Mount Rushmore
1) Ted Williams
2) Carl Yastrzemski
3) Roger Clemens (192 pre-steroid wins – of his 354 total wins) as a member of the Red Sox
4) Jim Rice or Dwight Evans
(roughly equal career values, but Rice shows up better in the triple crown categories)
The Yankees are probably the easiest team to create Mount Rushmore
1) Babe Ruth – 2) Lou Gehrig – 3) Mickey Mantle – 4) Joe DiMaggio
To the extent that you would want to diversify your Yankee Mount Rushmore, you can make a reasonable case to dump DiMaggio in favor of Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford or Mariano Rivera. To me it’s a tossup between DiMaggio and Berra, with Ford and Rivera a little behind them
My White Sox Mount Rushmore would be as follows:
1) Ted Lyons – 2) Frank Thomas – 3) Eddie Collins – 4) Luke Appling
The case for Ted Lyons is an interesting one. No team in MLB history ever was as consistently bad as the Chicago White Sox in the years following the “Black Sox” scandal. Ted Lyons compiled a 259-226 record from 1923 – 1942 (he also pitched in 1946 at the age of 46 compiling a 1-4 record but with a 2.32 ERA, completing all five of his starts, upon his return from WW2) . The White Sox were below .500 fourteen times during that period, at .500 one time, and they were above .500 six times with their best season being 1937 when they were 86-68 (.558) in 3rd place, 16 games behind the pennant winner. Despite being saddled with such poor teams, Lyons finished 30 games above .500 for his career with an ERA+ of 118. He won 20 games three times and received MVP votes in nine seasons despite the Chisox never being in contention. He spent his last six full seasons as the designated Sunday pitcher – in 1942 he completed all twenty of his starts going 14-6 and leading the AL in ERA For his career he started 484 games completing 356 games. He also had 25 saves under the older definition of a save. Despite his age, he enlisted in the US Marines after the 1942 season and fought in the Pacific Theater of Operations during WW2. Yankee manager Joe McCarthy once said, “If he’d pitched for the Yankees, he would have won over 400 games.” WW2 probably cost him a shot at 300 wins but the BBWA elected him to the Hall of Fame anyway, in 1955
Major League Baseball is holding a fan poll to designate MLB’s Four Greatest Living Players and the Four Greatest Players in for each baseball franchise
I will be making some comments in the following days on this topic, but why not participate in the poll for yourself ?
My four greatest living players are Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Yes, I know that the latter two are tainted by the steroid era, but both put up Hall of Fame careers BEFORE ever using any steroids