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Monday, May 11, 2015

Buster Olney's "Phillies Mount Rushmore"

You start with Steve Carlton.  Hall of Famer.

You follow with Mike Schmidt.  Hall of Famer and arguably the best third baseman of all-time.

Then you add Robin Roberts, ace of the Whiz Kids and another Hall of Famer.

And then you add. . . Jimmy Rollins?  Who, in all likelihood, will not make the Hall of Fame, even if he has had an excellent career.  To do so, you bypass Chuck Klein, an all-time great hitter and Hall of Famer and, also, Richie Ashburn, who, even dispensing with his huge popularity in Philadelphia, also was a Hall of Famer. 

I have written before that based on all-time WAR both Rollins and Chase Utley, who hold the record for being the National League's longest standing double-play combination, were borderline Hall of Famers.  Put simply, neither has had enough "good enough" years to date to warrant inclusion in the Hall.  That doesn't make them bad players, hardly.  It's just that they do not belong in the Hall of Fame, based upon where their production stands to date.

I know that you can argue that the requirements for the Hall are flawed, that there are some in there (Rabbit Maranville first among them) who do not belong, but that doesn't mean that Rollins warrants inclusion on this mountain more than either Klein or Ashburn.   He probably doesn't.

But Olney didn't seek to write the definitive piece.  He wanted to spark many conversations like this one.  Truth be told, if the Phillies' could have say seven on their Mount Rushmore, in addition to the top three, I'd add Klein, Ashburn, Rollins and Utley -- and in that order. 

And that speaks volumes about the first franchise to lose 10,000 games.  The franchise dates back to 1877, and there is hardly a crowd for this club's Mount Rushmore.  In contrast, there's such a crowd in New York that pretty soon the stars will be wearing numbers in the fifties because so many will have been retired.

Let the arguments commence!


Anonymous The Sports Curmudgeon said...


You might put Richie/Dick Allen on the list too.

Do not forget Grover Cleveland Alexander or Big Ed Delahanty if you are going to back in time.

4:40 PM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

You're right, those are good suggestions. It's probably more problematic for fans of the Giants, Dodgers, Yankees, and Red Sox to agree on their "final four," so to speak. There were too many years of "Glenbo" ads and having pitchers like Jerome Williams to dilute the potential honorees on this theoretical Mount Rushmore.

4:14 PM  
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12:10 AM  

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