Thursday, May 08, 2008

I watched the excellent PBS documentary about Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente. It was very well done and I recommend checking it out if you get a chance.

Clemente is one of those players I never saw play that I wish I had. He had a rifle arm, was a great hitter and played all out. It got me to thinking about other ballplayers that played before my time. If I had a time machine (preferably a DeLorean with a flux capacitor installed), which players would I go back and see?

Here's my list of 10, in no real order. I put a little explanation of my thought process after each one.

1. Babe Ruth: Well, duh. Who else would be first?

2. Jackie Robinson: I think I would want to see a road game, early in his career, just to get a sense of what he had to go through. It must have been unbearable, and the fact that he took it when he knew fighting back would have set back his cause is a part of what makes him such a hero to me.

3. Ted Williams: I saw him play in an old-timers game at Fenway, but that hardly counts. He's the greatest Red Sox player. Do I need another reason?

4. Dizzy Dean: Ol' Diz was such a fascinating character and a great pitcher.

5. Satchel Paige: He was as dominating a pitcher as there was in his prime.

6. Sandy Koufax: Perhaps the best pitcher ever over a short period of time.

7. Jim Bouton: He's on this list mostly because he's my friend and I would have loved to have seen him pitch in his early years with the Yankees when he was a 20 game winner for a World Series team.

8. Willie Mays: Another "duh".

9. Roberto Clemente: As explained above.

10. Hank Aaron: I saw him at the end of his career, but it would have been a lot of fun to see him play in his prime.

I could probably put 50 more players on this list, but I think that's a good top 10. Who's on your list?


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