Monday, January 21, 2019

Blog Bat Around: Thinkin' Problem

When I was a kid, I used to listen to country music as that was pretty much all my grandparents listed to. My grandpa usually had the radio on his favorite station, K99.1 FM, or had the country music video channel on. I've since moved on from most of those twangy tunes but I clearly remember one song called "Thinkin' Problem" sung by a guy named David Ball. I think it was his only hit.

I hadn't thought of that song for years until I saw the latest in the series of "Blog Bat Around" posts in which you name the first player that you think of for a given team. This turned out to be a much harder exercise than I first, well ... thought ... as some of these teams were quite difficult to come up with someone.

Anyway, now that my thinkin' problem is over, here's what I came up with. There will be a brief comment after each card. For a bit more fun, I threw in some defunct teams at the bottom of the list. Side note, because I'm not writing this at home, I'm going to be reliant on COMC for images.

Let's begin.

AL East

Red Sox - Nomar Garciaparra

2000 Topps Stars - [Base] #11 - Nomar Garciaparra - Courtesy of

Weird that Nomar was the first guy I thought of for the Red Sox. The obvious choice would've been Ted Williams.

Yankees - Babe Ruth

2013 Topps - Chasing History - Gold Holo-Foil #CH-11 - Babe Ruth - Courtesy of

Kind of a gimme here.

Orioles - Cal Ripken

2012 Topps Tribute - [Base] - Bronze #66 - Cal Ripken Jr. /299 - Courtesy of

Another gimme.

Rays - Fred McGriff

1998 Leaf Rookies & Stars - [Base] #55 - Fred McGriff - Courtesy of

Remember when the Rays signed big hitters like McGriff, Jose Canseco, Vinny Castilla, and Greg Vaughn to try to win right out of the gate?

Blue Jays - Joe Carter

1996 Topps Stadium Club - Extreme Players - Bronze #JOCA.1 - Joe Carter - Courtesy of

The hero of many a Toronto fan.

AL Central

Indians - Bob Feller

1956 Topps - [Base] #200 - Bob Feller [VG] - Courtesy of

Surprised I didn't come up with Jim Thome or Albert Belle. 

White Sox - Frank Thomas

1998 Pinnacle - Hit it Here #4 - Frank Thomas - Courtesy of

I honestly couldn't name one current White Sox player if I tried. Ok, well, maybe Jose Abreu, but that's it.

Twins - Kirby Puckett

1985 Fleer - [Base] #286 - Kirby Puckett - Courtesy of

The first Twins player I remember. Harmon Killebrew would've also been an acceptable answer.

Tigers - Alan Trammell

1979 Topps - [Base] #358 - Alan Trammell - Courtesy of

This was actually a tough one. It took me a second or two longer to come up with a Tigers player.

Royals - Salvador Perez

2017 Topps Gallery - [Base] - Canvas #98 - Salvador Perez - Courtesy of

Another hard one believe it or not. I wrote down Salvador Perez, then my mind said "duh, George Brett!" Too late.

AL West

Angels - Mike Trout

2018 Topps Update Series - Salute #S-19 - Mike Trout - Courtesy of

I might have to find a copy of this card since it's from the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati.

Astros - Jose Altuve

2013 Topps Heritage - [Base] #487 - Jose Altuve - Courtesy of

Seems like everyone is thinking Jose Altuve from other posts I've read.

A's - Rollie Fingers

2009 Topps - Ring of Honor #RH36 - Rollie Fingers - Courtesy of

I surprised myself with this one. Rickey Henderson, Dennis Eckersley, Reggie Jackson all escaped me but Rollie Fingers didn't.

Mariners - Omar Vizquel

1990 Score - Young Superstars #28 - Omar Vizquel - Courtesy of

Again, I'm surprised it wasn't Ken Griffey Jr that I thought of first. Still, Omar was a great shortstop for many teams.

Rangers - Jeff Burroughs

1975 Topps - [Base] - Minis #470 - Jeff Burroughs [EX] - Courtesy of

That came from left field ... no pun intended.

NL East

Braves - Greg Maddux

2014 Topps Stadium Club - Legends Die-Cuts #LDC-2 - Greg Maddux - Courtesy of

When you think of the Braves, why wouldn't you think of a pitcher first?

Mets - Tom Seaver

1971 Topps - [Base] #160 - Tom Seaver [GOOD] - Courtesy of

This was another tough one. Tom Seaver was the first one that popped in my head.

Nationals - Bryce Harper

2018 Panini Chronicles - Rookies and Stars - Holo Silver #9 - Bryce Harper /199 - Courtesy of

Still a free agent currently.

Marlins - Charlie Hough

1993 Topps Stadium Club - [Base] #610 - Charlie Hough - Courtesy of

The ageless and well traveled Charlie Hough was my pick for the Marlins. He's honestly the only person that I can actually remember from the first team in 1993.

Phillies - Mike Schmidt

1974 Topps - [Base] #283 - Mike Schmidt - Courtesy of

Our first gimme in the NL.

NL Central

Reds - Barry Larkin

1992 Fleer - [Base] #411 - Barry Larkin - Courtesy of

I grew up with Barry Larkin manning short for the Reds. This makes sense.

Brewers - Robin Yount

1981 Topps - [Base] #515 - Robin Yount - Courtesy of

Another gimme. 

Pirates - Wille Stargell

1981 Fleer Star Stickers - [Base] #15 - Willie Stargell - Courtesy of

Of course I had to use a card that said "Star" on the top as Willie Stargell was famous for his "Stargell Stars".

Cardinals - Vince Coleman

1985 Topps Traded - [Base] #24T - Vince Coleman - Courtesy of

Not the 80s Cardinal speedster you were expecting? Me either.

Cubs - Kris Bryant

2016 Topps - [Base] #350.1 - Kris Bryant (Batting; Blue Jersey) - Courtesy of

A fun player to watch on a not so fun card design.

NL West

Dodgers - Clayton Kershaw

2018 Topps Gold Label - [Base] - Class 2 #52 - Clayton Kershaw - Courtesy of

When there's a Dodgers game on MLB Network, it's usually Kershaw that I see pitching. 

Giants - Barry Bonds

1996 Topps - [Base] #300 - Barry Bonds - Courtesy of

Surprised I didn't come up with someone like ... oh, I don't know ... Willie Mays?

Diamondbacks - Randy Johnson

2002 Leaf - [Base] #7 - Randy Johnson - Courtesy of

Again, another one I had trouble with. I had to rack my brain to think of a Diamondbacks player.

Rockies - Todd Helton

2011 Topps Chrome - [Base] - Refractor #87 - Todd Helton - Courtesy of

I believe Helton is/was the longest tenured player in Rockies history. I could be wrong on that though.

Padres - Trevor Hoffman

2003 Fleer Ultra - [Base] - Gold Medallion #15 - Trevor Hoffman - Courtesy of

Another shocker. As soon as I jotted down Hoffman's name, my mind started rattling off Padres players like Tony Gwynn, Phil Nevin, Randy Jones, etc.

Now for the bonus round ... the defunct teams category

Expos - Andre Dawson

1978 Topps - [Base] #72 - Andre Dawson - Courtesy of

I guess you could say that he was one of the first Expos stars. Well, him and Gary Carter. By the way, if you haven't read the great book "Up, Up, and Away" which details the history of the Expos, you should. It's a fantastic read.

Pilots - Lou Piniella

1969 Topps - [Base] #394 - Lou Piniella, Marv Staehle [GOOD] - Courtesy of

A guy who never played a single game for a team that lasted one season. Piniella won the 1969 Rookie of the Year award though as a member of the Royals.

Browns - George Sisler

2012 Panini Cooperstown - [Base] #20 - George Sisler - Courtesy of

The Browns didn't have many notable players in their history. The only other ones that come to mind are Rogers Hornsby and Pete Gray.

Senators (original) - Walter Johnson

2005 SP Legendary Cuts - [Base] #85 - Walter Johnson - Courtesy of

How could you not think of Walter Johnson when thinking of the original Senators.

Senators (expansion) - Frank Howard

1971 Topps - [Base] #620 - Frank Howard - Courtesy of

Really the only player I could come up with for the expansion Senators.

I have to say, that was a fun but challenging exercise. I could see myself maybe taking this in a number of different directions (hockey and even "short term stops"). The possibilities are honestly endless.


  1. I have my post written and ready to go for tomorrow, and I thought I had a few interesting choices, the funny thing is, you chose a couple of those same unorthodox names!

  2. I should update my post with the defunct teams. Anyways... great post. My favorites are the ones people wouldn't necessarily expect like Hough, Vizquel, Coleman, and Burroughs.