Saturday, April 25, 2020

My Favorite Players of All Time - AL Central Edition

I am trying to find some ways to entertain myself a bit as I blog and enjoy my collection so I thought I would continue my posts where I will declare my favorite all time player for each team in baseball.  Figure it is a good way to think about baseball and dig into my collection to share some cards that probably haven't made their way onto the blog.

I started with the AL East Division.  Next up is the AL Central Division.

Chicago White Sox - Frank Thomas

The Big Hurt, one of the best pure hitters I have ever seen.  I am a pretty big guy and generally relate well to big guys.  While I am not one to hold PED use against players (Bonds and Clemens certainly belong in the HOF) Thomas has never been accused of using anything while playing through the era where upwards of 70% of players were alleged to be juicing.  The guy won 2 MVPs, hit over 40 HRs five times, ended up with 521 tying my favorite player of all time in Willie McCovey and led the league in walks four times.  When I think of the Sox, Frank Thomas instantly comes to mind.

Honorable Mention - Shoeless Joe Jackson, Harold Baines, Mark Buehrle & Carlton Fisk

Cleveland Indians - Kenny Lofton

I had a hard time thinking through the Indians and coming up with a favorite.  There are quite a few guys that I like but nobody rose to the surface initially. Then this card came to mind and to me it fully represents who Kenny Lofton is - hustling, running fast, helmet flying off - plus the rookie cup, and my pick was instantly crystallized.  I remember him coming to the Giants in mid-2002 for virtually nothing and being excited then being disappointed when he left via free agency that winter.  He started with the Astros and hit 8 different teams over 7 years after leaving the Indians but returned for his last few games.  The Indians are where I best remember him and he was a great one.

Honorable Mention -Jim Thome, Bob Feller & Manny Ramirez

Detroit Tigers - Al Kaline

Al Kaline is Mr. Tiger and just recently I got that too often sadness that comes over me when one of the baseball heroes I admire passes.  There are tons of players I like and respect throughout the history of the Tigers, some all time greats, some flashes in the pan but nobody surpasses Kaline - to me he is the best.  He seems to have been highly respected by his peers, I can't recall an article or book that speaks poorly of him and up until his death he turned out awesome autographs for collectors and fans.

Honorable Mention -Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Jack Morris, Chet Lemon & Mark Fidrych

Kansas City Royals - Mike Sweeney

I now live in the KC area and grew up in the late 70s and early to mid-80s when the Royals were at their peak but for some reason a guy playing in between those two eras stands out as my favorite.  I recall Sweeney as being the face of the Royals and as a 5-time All Star on a team with little national exposure a guess he was.  I heard an interview with him later in his career and took a liking, to the point of starting to collect his cards.  I pulled this cool auto of him in his catchers gear (he last caught a game in his 5th season but was primarily known as a first baseman and DH) as one of my almost 200 cards of his to share and for the first time realized they spelled his last name wrong.

Honorable Mention -George Brett, Frank White, Willie Wilson & Salvador Perez

Minnesota Twins - Kirby Puckett

I attended an Oakland A's game with my best friend and his dad during Puckett's rookie season.  I vividly recall my buddies dad yelling out "look at that little pudge run" when he was chasing down a fly ball in center field.  I was instantly impressed with him as a player and followed him from that day until the day he prematurely was forced to retire.  I loved the way he played the game, one of the greats.

Honorable Mention - Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew, Brad Radke & Tony Oliva

If you missed my AL East edition you can check it out here.

Up next is the AL West.


  1. I agree, Puckett was truly one of the greats.

  2. I definitely agree with your Tigers and White Sox picks. Lofton was my favorite Indian of the '90s, and I might go with him or Feller as my all-time fave. The Twins are tough, lots of guys I like including Puckett, Mauer, Santana, and Killebrew. My favorite Royals would have to be Brett and Salvador Perez, though I like your reasons for choosing Sweeney.

  3. White Sox - Frank Thomas
    Indians - Manny Ramirez
    Tigers - Al Kaline
    Royals - Dan Quisenberry
    Twins - Kirby Puckett

    Frank and Kirby were the only no-brainers for me. I'm still not set on Manny... but that's who I'll roll with for now. Had a hard time choosing between Kaline and Fidrych, but ended up going with Mr. Tiger. And there really aren't any Royals that stand out to me... so I narrowed it down to Willie Wilson and Quisenberry.