Friday, June 4, 2021

Another A-Z Challenge: Favorite Players

I love making lists. So I'm all in on this latest A-Z challenge of naming a favorite player for each letter of the alphabet. For my list, I tried to choose only players that have played in my lifetime so I would have an actual memory of them. There are some older greats, however, that I've been far more interested in learning about their achievements than in following contemporary players, so a few players on here finished their careers before I was born. For some of these players, I can't explain why they are favorites. Many are Cubs. Some just seem like good dudes or are easy to root for. Some I like the way the play, like contact hitters, consistent performers, or good baserunners. And there are a few that I just gained some kind of attachment to in my youth.

A: Jake Arrieta

2015 Panini Diamond Kings #67 Jake Arrieta Front

 Two Cubs no-hitters.

B: Javier Baez

My current favorite player. 

C: Roberto Clemente

2012 Panini Cooperstown - Hall History #6 Roberto Clemente Front

An all-time great and all-time great guy. I wish I could have seen him play. 

D: Andre Dawson

 1991 U.S. Playing Card Co. #J♣ Andre Dawson Front

League MVP on a last-place Cubs team. 

E: Dennis Eckersley

1993 Hostess #11 Dennis Eckersley Front

I really liked the A's when I was a young kid in the late 80s and early 90s. Eck was a dominant pitcher at the time. 

F: Bob Feller

2016 Topps Archives #163 Bob Feller Front

I've always been fascinated with Feller's career, military service, and fireball. Another I wish I could have seen. 

G: Mark Grace

1997 SkyBox E-X2000 #61 Mark Grace Front

 My favorite player ever. The 90s hit king.

H: Rickey Henderson

There were a few H's to choose from, but Rickey was one of my favorites as a kid. He was just cool

I: Ichiro

2004 Fleer Classic Clippings #8 Ichiro Suzuki Front

One of the best contact hitters any of us have ever seen. 

J: Randy Johnson

2015 Topps Update - Highlight of the Year #H-84 Randy Johnson Front

 His dominance and personality made him fun to watch.

K: Jason Kendall

1997 New Pinnacle #120 Jason Kendall Front

Probably my favorite catcher. I loved that he could run (pre-ankle injury).


L: Derrek Lee

My favorite player through the aughts. 

M: Greg Maddux

1991 Stadium Club #126 Greg Maddux Front

I love how Maddux pitched. I don't love that he left Chicago after his first Cy Young and then proceeded to win the next 3 NL awards.

N: Otis Nixon

 Like many other bloggers have stated, "N" was hard. I liked Nixon's speed.

O: John Olerud

 1994 Post Cereal #24 John Olerud Front

Good hitter and easy to root for.

P: Hunter Pence

Such goofy, fun personality. Hunter Pence signs and his reaction/interaction were my favorite.

Q: Jose Quintana

2018 Topps Gypsy Queen - Green #70 Jose Quintana Front

I don't hold the price the team paid in the trade against him because it wasn't his fault. There wasn't much choice for "Q," though.

R: Cal Ripken, Jr./Nolan Ryan

1998 Collector's Choice #40 Cal Ripken Jr. Front1991 Upper Deck - Baseball Heroes: Nolan Ryan #16 Nolan Ryan Front

Probably my two favorite non-Cubs ever. It is impossible to choose between them and just unfortunate that both started with "R." 

S: Ryne Sandberg

One hundred twenty-three games without an error. And a slugger, too.

T: Mike Trout

2013 Topps - Making Their Mark #MM-2 Mike Trout Front

Hands down the best player I have ever seen because he may be the best ever. 

U: Chase Utley

2014 Donruss #19 Chase Utley Front

Behind two former Cubs (also on this list), the scrappy Utley is my favorite second baseman that I've seen play. 

V: Justin Verlander

2016 Topps Gypsy Queen #34 Justin Verlander Front

I think appreciate how much Verlander helped franchises that had been not-so-great in my lifetime find success while he was on the team.

W: David Wright

2008 Topps - Back To School #TB5 David Wright Front

 Because David Wright is Mr. Met. I appreciate his great play for one team throughout his career.

X:  I got nothing.

Y: Carl Yastrzemski

2016 Stadium Club #60 Carl Yastrzemski Front

Triple Crown winner. I never saw him play, but he was my favorite historical figure for "Y."

Z: Ben Zobrist

2016 Bowman's Best #28 Ben Zobrist Front
World Series MVP for my 2016 Champions.
*All images taken from TCDB, but is a card I own in my collection.

So there you have it. These may not be the best to ever play, but they're the players I tend/tended to root for the most, for varying reasons. I may have to try this with other sports, too. I had fun doing it.


  1. Looks like we have four the same.

    Clemente, Feller, and Rickey are good ones that I didn't end up picking.

  2. Seven matches! Of the non-matches, I really like the David Wright pick.

  3. Nice call on Pence. Very entertaining ball player.

  4. I like the choice of the Hostess card for Eck. Way to represent the oddballs.
    N was a really tough letter for me, too.