Tuesday, October 21, 2008
It's the time of the year that two teams find themselves so close to the ring... and like Gollum, they are willing to kill for it.
Or at least break up a double play.
Now a lot of years there are scenarios where a long time star or future Hall of Famer finally gets their ellusive first World Series ring that warms everyone's hearts.
I can think of Dave Winfield finally getting a ring with the 1992 Blue Jays.
Paul Molitor also got one in Toronto when the Jays won the 1993 World Series.
The 2001 Diamondbacks were filled with veterans getting their first (and for some) their only rings, including Randy Johnson, Luis Gonzalez, Matt Williams, Mark Grace, Jay Bell, Mike Morgan, Steve Finley, Greg Swindell, Tony Womack, Reggie Sanders and Bobby Witt.
(Curt Schilling would go on to win 2 more... I can't remember with whom.)
Sometimes it's fun to see that superstar get the "He never won a ring" stigma before going on to pile up more good numbers.
Pudge Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz all won their rings and kept putting up the numbers.
Well this year seems devoid of the ringless Hall of Fame calliber veterans (unless you feel that Jamie Moyer or Matt Stairs belong in the Hall.)
And there are no entrenched superstars either.
But there is a galaxy of rising stars... potential superstars... and people who could be the face of baseball going into the second decade of the 21st Century.
And one group of young stars are going to get the "He never won a Ring" label removed very early and get into the "Pile up big career numbers category" for Hall of Fame consideration.
For the B.J. Uptons, Evan Longorias, Scott Kazmirs, Matt Garzas and David Prices of the world... it's early to call them superstars. But shine on this stage and win, and not only will you have the aura of a champion for the rest of your career... but you'll be the ones who won one of the most unlikely championships in the history of American sport.
Put up the career numbers and then rehearse your Cooperstown speech... you are 4 wins from getting the "intangibles" part down.
As for the slightly more established Phillies...
Hey Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard. You already have the MVP on your mantle.
Put a ring on your finger, put up the career numbers and don't get hurt. You're already putting together a great resume.
As for Cole Hamels or Chase Utley, win in Philly and they may stop booing you for a month!
Who knows if any of these young stars are going to become Hall of Famers?
Who knows if the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Bobby Jenks, Jonathan Papelbon and Dustin Pedroia, all young stars with World Series rings, will have Hall worthy careers?
Being an electric young superstar with a ring could mean you are on the road to the Hall or you could break down like Valenzuela and Saberhagen...
Or flame out like Gooden and Strawberry.
But take note of the route enshrined players like Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan and Cal Ripken took.
Each of them won their only World Series ring very early in their career.
And none of them had the "He never won a ring" yoke to carry around.
Think that's fun to deal with?
Ask Griffey Jr.
Ask any Chicago Cub for the last 100 years!
Just remember young stars... it's never too early to start padding your Cooperstown Resume.