So our pal Miller had a fine idea: Whose faces would be on the Mount Rushmore of each team. I’ll be your guide through the National League’s Black Hills, and since we’re going alpha by city, we’ll start in Arizona.
The only catch with our Rushmore series is that each face of the franchise has to be someone who only played for that team. Which leaves a club like the Arizona Diamondbacks, extant not quite 20 years as of this writing, in a bit of a pickle. If not for that little hitch in the rules, why they’d be chiseling in the faces of Randy Johnson (51.2 BBREF WAR) WAR, Luis Gonzalez (29.9),…and Curt Schilling (25.4). Well, I’m sure Alex Jones will have a conspiracy theory about our choosing not to include guys with right-wing radio shows. (Hint: It’s the Deep State!)
But, in fact, we decided this is an honor for faithful, loyal soldiers. In which case, things get a little, uh, weird for a team still in early bloom of its flowering. The primary candidates for Snake Mountain are, on offense:
- Goldschmidt (32.5 as noted above and still building his considerable legend)
- A.J. Pollack (16.1 and counting)
- David Peralta (7.5 and counting)
- Jake Lamb (6.3 and counting)
- Chris Owings (4.5 and counting)
Moundwardly there’s Brandon Webb (31.5), and, well, uh, Patrick Corbin’s 4.5 WAR. And that’s about it. At least for another few years.
So, for the moment, on June 14th, 2017 at 9:50 PM, it’s these guys…until one or more split or get split: Paul Goldschmidt, Brandon Webb, A.J. Pollack, and David Peralta.
Frankly, there’s not a ton to say about these guys that you don’t already know since most are of very recent vintage. Goldschmidt is Bagwellesque, right down to the surprising steals and excellent glove. He’s not quite Bagwell’s equal, but he’s in that mode, and his athleticism bodes well for a lengthy and productive career. Every time I see his name, I imagine Dame Shirley Bassey singing “Gooooooooooooldschmidterrrrrrr.” But, you know, that’s just how I roll.
Webb is a-not-so-old favorite of mine. In fact, if the fates played fair, he’s still be pitching in the big leagues. Webb had this absolutely vicious sinking fastball threw, nearly 1200 innings from age 25 to 29, walked off the mound in his first start of 2009, and never threw another pitch in anger again. Total bummer. Wonderful pitcher who could use that dead, if rapid, fish to avoid the thin-air proclivities of the run-drenched high-desert environment.
As for the others I’ve mentioned, I invite you on the journey of a decade or more as we discover what the future holds for them and the many other players supporting the D’Backs youth movement.
What if we want to take the Dead Presidents approach, however, and force ourselves to only use retirees who were Hooked on Phoenix their whole career? You know what, go ahead and grab a beer or some garlic knots and a Sunny D. I’m going to be a few minutes. It’s OK, I’ll have the answer by the time you get back. Well, and if you need a pee break, might as well go for it. I mean, don’t get into the latest episode of Fargo or anything. I won’t be that long.
[Trawls through BBREF’s Play Index with increasingly hangdog expression and red, bleary eyes.]
- Clay Zavada! 0.7 WAR in 2009
- Robby Hammock! 0.6 WAR from 2003 to 2011
- Geraldo Guzman! 0.5 WAR from 2000 and 2001
- Alex Cabrera! 0.4 WAR in 2000
Pretty cool, huh?!
That leaves one other question we like to answer. Who would our personal Mount Rushmore for the team be? Well, The Big Unit has to be on there. In fact, I’d gladly use him for all four faces. He’s just awesome no matter what team he played for. Obviously, I’m something of a Brandon Webb partisan. And there was that one great year of Junior Spivey (2002 for those who may have misplaced that particular memory). For a franchise this young, I’m going to bend the rules a little. Because doesn’t this ring a bell? “Reached on E1 (throw to 2B) (Bunt); Dellucci to 2B.” So my fourth for the AZ Rushmore is none other than Mariano Rivera.