December 12, 2012 or 12/12/12 will be the last day this century where each number will be exactly the same. What better day to figure out who is the best #12 in baseball history? We better do it before the world ends in nine days according the Mayans right?
We’re looking for players that wore #12 for most of their career, so no yelling at me when Roger Clemens doesn’t get a nod. He only wore #12 for a short time with the Yankees and #22 the rest of his career. Here are the nominees!
Roberto Alomar, #12 for the Padres, Blue Jays, Orioles, Indians, Mets, and White Sox
Not a bad place to start than with arguably the great 2nd baseman of all-time. The career .300 hitter coincidentally made 12 consecutive All-Star games, being chosen for the Midseason Classic every year of the 1990’s. His All-Star appearances are almost matched by his Gold Gloves at 11, it would have been an even dozen if it wasn’t for that meddling Chuck Knoblauch in 1997. Alomar was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011 in his 2nd year on the ballot. Alomar’s #12 was retired by the Blue Jays in 2011.
Jeff Kent, #12 for the Mets, Indians, Astros, and Dodgers
Sticking with the 2nd baseman theme with Jeff Kent, who didn’t wear #12 in his best seasons in San Francisco. I haven’t been able to dig up why as no one wore #12 when Kent arrived in San Francisco in 1997 and the number isn’t retired by the Giants. What Kent has that Alomar doesn’t is an MVP award, but he did wear that while wearing #21. The “Survivor” star finished his career hitting .290 with 377 home runs.
Wade Boggs, #12 for the Yankees and Devil Rays
We mentioned before that Alomar had his #12 retired by the Blue Jays. The only other franchise that has the #12 retired? The Tampa Bay Rays for Wade Boggs! Boggs never wore #12 in his time with the Red Sox (he wore #26), but when he came to the Yankees in 1993, Boggs made the switch because Steve Farr had his #26. Also, it’s a little freaky that both players that have the #12 retired had twelve straight All-Star nods in their careers. Boggs finished his career with over 3,000 hits, five batting titles, and on the short list as the most superstitious player in MLB history.
Alfonso Soriano, #12 for the Yankees, Rangers, Nationals, and Cubs
Lastly we have the best current player wearing #12 in the Majors. If Soriano had spent his entire career in the Bronx it’d be interesting to see if he could have knocked another number off the Yankees retired numbers list. Soriano is a 7-time All-Star and the only player to wear the #12 while having a 40/40 season in 2006. That same season he also the #12 uniform record by hitting 46 home runs. Yes, I did spend too much time looking that up. Soriano is going to go down having an underrated career, in my opinion.
I’m kinda impartial to Sid Bream, who wore #12 with the Braves and had the single greatest slide of my childhood. However, I think when looking at the wholeness of a career and longevity of wearing #12. I would pick Roberto Alomar as the greatest #12 in MLB history.
-Bryan Mapes ( @IAmMapes)
I absolutely loved Jim Caple’s piece today on if you could go back in time what’s the one MLB game you would go see? If I’m answering Caple’s question I think I would go with Babe Ruth’s called shot game in the 1932 World Series. It was a great game and I would love to see first hand if The Sultan of Swat really did call his home run. It got me thinking though as a Braves fan what games would I want to go back and see the most? After much deliberating, here’s my top five.
#5 Padres at Braves, August 12, 1984, The Fight Game
I bet you’re sitting there thinking, “this guy is picking a random game in August against the Padres?” You would be right, but this isn’t your typical game. This game features probably the greatest series of basebrawls in the history of MLB. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the video! How cool would this have been to see in person?
#4 Braves at Twins, October 27, 1991, Smoltz vs. Morris
This is on the short list of greatest games ever played period. In Caple’s column Indians closer Chris Perez picked it as the game that he would go see if he could travel back in time. John Smoltz and Jack Morris dueled with neither giving an inch. The Twins had the bases loaded in the bottom of the 8th and couldn’t get the game-winning run across. The Twins had their chance again in the bottom of the 9th and couldn’t get the World Series walk-off. Jack Morris refused to come out of the game and pitched a scoreless top of the 10th, ending with a gutsy 126 pitches. Gene Larkin broke through for Minnesota bringing in Dan Gladden with the winning run. It’s a game that drove 7 year-old me to tears all night, but a game 21 years later that I can truly appreciate for great baseball.
#3 Indians at Braves, October 28, 1995, The World Series One-Hitter
If Braves/Twins didn’t let me sleep because I was so sad, Indians/Braves didn’t let me sleep that night because I was so happy. This was the best Braves team I had ever seen. Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and John Smoltz anchored the best rotation the Braves had during the division title run. Like game 7 of the 1991 World Series, this title-clinching game in 1995 would finish 1-0. Glavine threw eight innings of one-hit ball, while David Justice hit the biggest home run of his life. The title was the feather in the cap of manager Bobby Cox after the disappointment of the previous four seasons losing in the playoffs and the baseball strike. I would have loved to have been there to celebrate with my fellow Braves fans at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
#2 Pirates at Braves, October 14, 1992, Sid Bream Slide Game
This is the most exciting win in Braves history and another great game that is consistently ranked in the top ten of games all time. Game 7 of the National League Championship Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Braves found themselves down 2-0 heading to the bottom of the 9th. Just when Pirates fans were set to exact their revenge on Atlanta for the previous season, things got fun. Terry Pendelton led off with a single, then an error and a walk gave the Braves bases loaded with no outs. Ron Gant hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-1. Another walk made the bases loaded once again with the hopes resting on pinch-hitter Brian Hunter. Hunter wasn’t up to the task, leaving Bobby Cox to call on backup catcher Francisco Cabrera with the bases loaded and two outs. This is what happened.
#1 Dodgers at Braves, April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron Passes the Babe
The only game on this list that actually occurred before I was born, but it is one of the biggest moments in MLB history. Hank Aaron dealt with so much in his chase of the home run record that it just added to this moment’s greatness. To have been one of the lucky one’s in attendance would have been a true honor.
Honorable Mention: Phil Niekro or Warren Spahn’s no-hitter, Randy Johnson’s perfect game against the Braves in 2004, Bob Horner’s four-homer game in 1986, Bobby Cox’s final game in 2010, Hank Aaron’s 714th home run game, and Braves at Astros 18-inning game in 2005 NLDS
What Braves game would you have liked to have attended if you have a time machine?
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
Alright guys. The debate is re-opened at my request. It’s been announced that Bryan Mapes, our podcast host, blog father and Braves fan has tested positive for bobblehead testosterone recently.
Rather than strip him of any of his titles, we are going to just re-open one of the most popular debates Three Up, Three Down has ever seen.
Mapes represented the Sid Bream bobble a few months ago, and I was the Vin Scully bobble representative. We posted a picture of each and a poll to decide which piece of memorabilia you would rather own.
I regret to report that it was an overwhelming final tally: Mapes and his three-player bobble-slide won in a landslide over the simple, elegant, perfect bobble of the greatest announcer of all time sitting at his desk.
Speaking of Scully, he is throwing out the first pitch at tonight’s Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks game. They are finally releasing the beautiful Vin Scully bobblehead at Dodger Stadium tonight, and it’s guaranteed to be a hit.
And because I asked for it (Mapes isn’t really on testosterone – he’s just that good at everything, au naturale. Like Ryan Braun…okay, I’ll stop being mean.), we’re giving baseball fans a chance to vote again. It seems only fair to release this poll again, when the Scully bobblehead is actually being given away.
Here again is a picture of each, a short description, and that damned poll:
Vin Scully bobblehead
The greatest broadcaster of all time, perched at his desk, looking as handsome, intelligent and suave as ever. “It’s time for Dodgerrrrrr baseball!”
Sid Bream bobbleslide
One of the most famous moments in playoff history is depicted here, with Bream beating the tag with the series-winning run in the 1992 NLCS. Complete with the umpire signaling a triumphant “SAFE!”
Vote wisely, my friends.
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
Look, we’ve done the Bobble Battle on Three Up, Three Down once. Mapes destroyed me (though recent reports indicate he has ingested significant amounts of In-N-Out laced testosterone before blogging and will probably be suspended for about 50 minutes – I win by default!) in the Sid Bream Slide vs. Vin Scully bobble poll.
A straight travesty.
That being said, the Dodgers are on a roll in 2012 with bobbles. Scully, Kemp, Valenzuela, and from the end of July, a Kirk Gibson bobble.
But this isn’t a normal bobble. His head nods and shakes and does all that crazy stuff. But it is in commemoration of the iconic home run Gibby hit in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
You all know the story. The Oakland A’s (playing in their first of three straight World Series, in which only 1989 would they be victorious), were the best team in baseball. They sent their star closer Dennis Eckersley to the mound to close out Game 1 of the ’88 series.
Gibson was the Dodgers’ star hitter that year, but had been hobbled by not one, but TWO ankle injuries. He wasn’t supposed to play. He said screw that, grabbed a bat, and made his way in to pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth inning. After a solid at-bat, Gibby finally got a hanging back door slider that he promptly whacked into the right field bleachers for a walk-off homer.
The Dodgers would end up winning that World Series, the last time they ever even appeared in the Fall Classic.
Speaking of classic, you know how the theatrics unfolded after the ball left the bat. A stumbling, limping Gibson making his way around first base and pumping that right arm in rhythmic fashion with a huge smile on his face. Manager Tommy Lasorda jumping up and down on his way out of the dugout to celebrate. Two historic calls by historic broadcasters Jack Buck and Vin Scully (“I don’t believeeeeee…what I just SAW!” – Buck/”In a year that has been so improbable, the IMPOSSIBLE has happened!” – Scully).
It’s not only one of the greatest postseason moments in Dodgers history. It’s one of the most incredible playoff moments in baseball – hell, sports – history! And the manufacturer did it right by adding a BOBBLE ARM to the piece.
The final product depicts Gibson rounding the bases with fist pump in full effect. So is it the greatest bobblehead of all-time? That’s asking a lot. But it’s got to be up there.
So I pose the question, baseball fans. Where would you rank this Kirk Gibson bobble head AND arm on your personal rankings all-time? Have you seen any better than this?
And for what it’s worth…yes. I am currently on eBay looking for a Gibby bobble. Don’t judge.
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
Is there anything better than getting some free stuff on your trip to the ballpark? Arguably, the most popular ballpark giveaway is the bobblehead doll. The bobblehead has become so popular the Miami Marlins even built a shrine to the figurines in their new ballpark.
There will be quite a few new additions to the museum this season, but none will top the “Sid Bream Slide” or the “Vin Scully” bobbleheads. Jeremy and I will plead our case as to why the one representing our favorite team should be the one you splurge on eBay to add to your collection.
The Case for the “Sid Bream Slide” Bobblehead:
Any true Braves fan and any true baseball historian should want to get their hands on this bobblehead on June 9th. This piece is already being hawked on eBay for the lowest price of $55 plus shipping. The bobblehead depicts one of the most exciting, if not the most exciting play in postseason history. Francisco Cabrera, the light-hitting back up catcher steps to the plate and delivers the unlikeliest of clutch hits. Sid Bream rounds third and is heading for home in seemingly slow motion. The throw comes in from future Hall of Famer Barry Bonds as Bream slides past Mark LaValliere’s tag…he’s safe! Just an unbelievable moment as the Braves were going to the World Series for the 2nd straight year after being in dead last place in 1990. The bobblehead perfectly chronicles the slide, even with Randy Marsh giving the safe call. It’s truly a great moment in baseball lore, plus you’re getting THREE bobbleheads not just one! Take a look.
The case for the Vin Scully bobblehead:
I need some redemption after being spanked by Mapes like a misbehaved child in our jersey draft earlier this season. So without further adieu, this is why you must add the Vin Scully bobblehead to your collection: let me do what any good sport does first, and give Mapes props – that triple bobblehead is EPIC. But not only is it not the best moment in postseason history, but it would be ranked behind about ten of Scully’s personal broadcast calls. Look, all I have to say is if you know sports, you know Vin Scully. He is far and away the greatest sports broadcaster in the world, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who disagrees. Just listen to the legend announce one game and you’ll agree with me. Scully has been announcing Dodger games for 63 years, the longest tenured play-by-play man for one team in professional sports history. Bream’s slide was a big moment, but there is no bigger off-the-field figure in baseball than Scully. Go grab his crazy, bobbling head at Dodger Stadium on August 30th. And then send me one. Please?
Which bobblehead are you dying to get your hands on? Let us know! Both is acceptable answer in this case!
-Jeremy Dorn (@jamblinman) & Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)