Private George Ladd (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on March 2, 1865, at Waynesboro, Virginia. His citation reads:
Captured a standard bearer, his flag, horse and equipment.
Fireman John Lafferty (US Navy) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on May 25, 1864, on board the USS Wyalusing. His citation reads:
Served on board the U.S.S. Wyalusing and participated in a plan to destroy the rebel ram Albemarle in Roanoke River, 25 May 1864. Volunteering for the hazardous mission, Lafferty participated in the transfer of two torpedoes across an island swamp and then served as sentry to keep guard of clothes and arms left by other members of the party. After being rejoined by others of the party who had been discovered before the plan could be completed, Lafferty succeeded in returning to the mother ship after spending 24 hours of discomfort in the rain and swamp.
Seaman Bartlett Laffey (US Navy) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on March 5, 1864, off Yazoo City, Mississippi. His citation reads:
Off Yazoo City, Miss., 5 March 1864, embarking from the Marmora with a 12-pound howitzer mounted on a field carriage, Laffey landed with the gun and crew in the midst of heated battle and, bravely standing by his gun despite enemy rifle fire which cut the gun carriage and rammer, contributed to the turning back of the enemy during the fierce engagement.
This is what you’ve all been waiting for. Today is the first day of the rest of your lives. You might be asking yourself what we’re doing here… Well friends, we’re going to take a look at the Mt. Rushmore (if you will) of each Major League Baseball team. You might be saying, “Greg, haven’t other people already done this?” Probably, but that’s never stopped me before. You might also be asking what makes me and Sonny qualified to do something like this. I could give you a number of reasons and since I have some time to kill, I will…
1. When you look at the Mount Rushmore of ball players in Dad’s family you see me, Sonny, Austin and Dach (my childhood dachshund who could play ball all day and all night and who, if you must know, probably had just as good a throwing arm as me and Sonny).
2. I played on multiple championship teams and Sonny played with Billy Baker and Gettys Glaze.
3. Coach Hatley once called me the greatest second baseman he ever coached.
4. Sonny is the older brother of the greatest second baseman Coach Hatley ever coached.
5. Most importantly, we each have a blog… and that’s probably the thing that makes us most qualified.
Anyway, here’s the deal. Over the course of today and March, Sonny and I are going to pick the players we feel should be on the “Mount Rushmore” of whatever teams we’re looking at on that day. Some of you sharp people may have noticed Yankees and Angles in the title of today’s blog post. This, of course, is the New York Yankees and the California (or Los Angeles or Anaheim or Los Angeles of Anaheim) Angels (so don’t look for the names of Grant and Sherman or Gabriel and Michael). For some teams, it was hard to cut the list down to 4… for others it was very (very) hard to find 4 players to put on there. While I don’t think it will happen much, there probably will be times when a player ends up on the “Mount Rushmore” of two different teams. I tried my best to keep this from happening, but couldn't help it sometimes. The reason is twofold… 1 – One (or both) of the teams just didn’t have that many great players to choose from; 2 – The player listed twice is that damn good.
There are times we (me and Sonny) might agree… other times we might not. I’m sure all of our lists will at least share 1 or 2 names each, though that might not always be the case. The thing to keep in mind here is that there are really no wrong answers (though, if there are any wrong answers, I have complete faith that Sonny will provide them). These lists are not limited to retired players… current players are eligible (though don’t be shocked if you don’t see too many make it). So enjoy reading the names of players I consider to be the greatest of whatever team I’m talking about. And, of course, don’t forget to head over to Sonny’Side to see who he picks. One more thing, before I forget… I can’t speak for Sonny, but my lists won’t be in any particular order (unless I say otherwise).
By the way, unless otherwise stated, I used Wikipedia to either get info on these players or to confirm what I already knew (mostly confirm what I already knew).
The Mount Rushmore of the New York Yankees
This might have been the hardest if only because I could name 12 guys off the top of my head who could be put on this list without any argument. But the rules say we can only have 4 and so I decided to go with the best of the best… but I still feel bad leaving off the guys I had to leave off. Maybe Sonny will have one of them on his list (though he’d be foolish to leave any of the guys on my list off of his)…
Note: While I’ll say why each guy is on my list, I doubt I’ll say as much for each one as I’m going to say for this first one.
Lou Gehrig – If I had my way, every pro athlete (nay, every athlete at any level) would be required to study the life of Lou Gehrig (especially his retirement). He played for the New York Yankees from 1923 – 1939 (when his career was cut short due by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS], more commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease”). Gehrig was a 7 time All-Start (1933-1939)… it’s worth noting that 1933 was the first season MLB had an all-star game. His Yankees teams won the World Series 7 times (1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938 and 1939* [a lot of people don’t count 1939 because he retired midway through the 1939 season but I count it because he remained with the team]). He was named AL MVP in 1927 and 1936 (fyi… 1927 is when Babe Ruth set the home run record, yet Gehrig was the MVP… that’s how good he was). He was the Yankees team captain from 1935-1939. Perhaps most famous for his consecutive games streak of 2,130, Lou also had a career batting average of .340, hit 493 home runs (including a record 23 grand slams), had 2,721 hits and 1,995 RBIs. Gehrig also won the Triple Crown in 1934. His #4 was the first number to ever be retired in any sport. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939… the same year he retired.
Now that you’ve seen his credentials for making this list, I want to take a quick second to tell you why he should be studied… First, let’s look at what his manager (Joe McCarthy) had to say during Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day:
After describing Gehrig as "the finest example of a ballplayer, sportsman, and citizen that baseball has ever known", McCarthy could stand it no longer. Turning tearfully to Gehrig, the manager said, "Lou, what else can I say except that it was a sad day in the life of everybody who knew you when you came into my hotel room that day in Detroit and told me you were quitting as a ballplayer because you felt yourself a hindrance to the team. My God, man, you were never that."
And now let’s look at what Gehrig had to say. Remember, this is a man who knows he has a disease for which there is no cure. He knows he is going to die… he doesn’t know when, but he does know is body is failing and his strength is leaving him. Yet with all of this, he steps up to the microphone and says (in part… I’m not going to include the whole speech, though it’s not that long).
Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. …….. So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for. Thank you.
Babe Ruth – Played for the Yankees from 1920-1934. Was a two time All-Star (1933, 1934); Ten times while he was with the Yankees he was the American League home run champion (1920, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931); He was the American League RBI champion five times while with the Yankees (1920, 1921, 1923, 1926, 1928). His Yankees teams won the World Series four times (1923, 1927, 1928, 1932). Babe Ruth set the single season home run record at 60 in 1927 (this was later passed by Roger Maris in 1961). He also set the career home run record with 714 (a record broken by Hank Aaron who hit 755). Babe Ruth is an original member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and his #3 was retired by the Yankees.
Joe DiMaggio – Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio (The Yankee Clipper) played for the Yankees from 1936-1942 and 1946-1951 (taking a break in between for a little thing I like to call WWII). He was an All-Star every year of his 13 year career and a World Series champion for 9 of those years (1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951). Joe was named the AL MVP 3 times (1939, 1941, 1947) and currently holds the MLB record for consecutive games with a hit (56). He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955. His #5 has been retired by the Yankees. Also, he was once married to Marilyn Monroe (which inspired many young boys to go out and practice baseball). While this didn’t help get him on my list, it sure as hell didn’t hurt.
Mickey Mantle – Mickey Mantle played for the Yankees from 1951 – 1968, during which time he was a 20 time All-Star (for all of you math people about to explode, there were two All-Star games from 1959 – 1962). While with the Yankees, Mantle won 7 World Series championships (1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962). He was also a 3 time AL MVP (1956, 1957, 1962) and a Triple Crown winner in 1956. Like the other 3 on the Mount Rushmore of the Yankees, Mantle was voted onto the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. He ended his career with 536 home runs, 2,415 hits and 1,509 RBIs. Many consider him to be the greatest switch hitter of all time. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974 after receiving 88.2% of the votes (proving that 11.8% of the voters back then were stupid). His #7 has been retired by the Yankees.
The Mount Rushmore of the Los Angeles of Anaheim Angels
As hard as it was for me to trim the Yankees list down to 4, it was just as hard to find 4 guys to put on this list. Part of me wanted to use this as a Yankees list Part 2, but decided against it.
Brian Downing – Downing played for the Angels from 1978 – 1990 as a Catcher and Left Fielder. He was an All-Star selection in 1979 and played the entire 1982 season without making an error. Downing left the Angels as their career leader in games, at bats, runs, hits, walks, total bases, doubles, home runs and RBIs. He is a member of the Angels Hall of Fame.
Chuck Finley – Finley was a pitcher for the Angels from 1986 – 1999. He made the All-Star team during 4 of those seasons (1989, 1990, 1995, 1996). He is a member of the Angels Hall of Fame.
Don Baylor – Baylor was a Designated Hitter, Left Fielder and First Baseman for the Angels from 1977 – 1982. While with the Angels, he was an All-Star selection, AL MVP and AL RBI champion (all in 1979). Baylor has a special place in my heart because he is 4th on the career lists for times getting hit by a pitch (267). He is a member of the Angels Hall of Fame.
Bobby Grich - Bobby Grich was a Second Baseman for the Angels from 1977 – 1986. He was selected for the AL All-Star team during three of those seasons (1979, 1980, 1982). Grich was the AL home run champion in 1981 as well as the Silver Slugger award winner (that same year). He was the first player elected to the Angels Hall of Fame.
|The pictures today are going to be all about Scooby. It's kind of a mix between Flashback Friday and Picture Tuesday. Anyway, here's Mary Ruth holding a little Scooby Doo|
|The Wife holding her little baby|
|Me trying to teach Scooby how to nap on the sofa|
|Scooby sleeping in the clothes basket after a bath|
|Scooby hanging out with Lucy on the sofa|
|As a puppy, he could sleep anywhere|
|He still loves his mommy|
|It's a hard life for Scooby some days - This picture was taken after Susie and Daniel had been home all day. Between Susie wanting to do his hair and Daniel wanting to take his ball, Scooby was worn out...|
|I was able to get him to move a little, but he wouldn't let go of the ball...|
|He loves that ball|