Here we are on the eve of Election Day and politics is in the air. Frankly, I can’t wait until this is over because the two Presidential candidates have been campaigning since around February 2009. As we head to the polls to choose either the same leader or a new one as well as leaders in our cities, counties and states let us remember that voting is one of our great rights, fought for and died for by brave men and women throughout this great country’s existence.
Since baseball is the Great American Game, there have been several players whose nicknames are affixed with political overtones. Here are three of the most well-known. Sorry, no one ever seems to want to be Vice President in the White House and that has carried over to the diamond.
Dennis Martinez-El Presidente To the best of my knowledge, no player has ever been nicknamed “The President”. We will just have to settle for the Spanish translation although Dennis Martinez is a real good choice to have that name. His career spanned 23 seasons (1976-1998) and in that time he amassed 245 victories. He won 15 or more games nine times leading the American League with 14 in the strike-shortened 1981 season while pitching for the Baltimore Orioles. Also during his time in Baltimore, Martinez was a member of two World Series teams and in 1979 he led the AL in complete games with 18 and innings pitched with 292 1/3, both totals we may never see again. In 1991, he led the National League in ERA with a 2.39 mark while pitching for the Montreal Expos. His greatest achievement came on July 28, 1991 when he pitched a perfect game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Martinez is one of only nine pitchers to win 100 games in both the American League and the National League.
Sean Casey-The Mayor Not many politicians are lifetime .302 hitters. Casey played in twelve Big League seasons for five different teams, the majority of his time spent in Cincinnati with the Reds. He was a three-time All-Star, topping the .300 mark six times. His best year was 1999 when he hit .332 with 25 home runs and 99 RBI’s to go along with a .938 OPS as the Reds won 96 games before losing a one game playoff to the New York Mets. In four playoff series, Casey batted a robust .410 including a staggering .529 (9 hits in 17 at-bats) in the 2006 World Series as a member of the Detroit Tigers. This mayor does not hold elected office; you can see him several nights a week on various MLB Network shows.
Frank Robinson-The Judge When we cast our ballots, how many of us really know what types of judges we are voting for? It is not like we see them on TV saying, “I presided over 30 convictions in 32 trials” or something of that nature. Well, everyone knows that Frank Robinson is THE Judge is in Major League Baseball. The man is a Living Legend in the game in every sense of the word. There are so many stats to choose from so I’ll start with the fact that he is the only player to win the MVP in both leagues (1961 Reds and 1966 Orioles) and is one of only 14 players to win the Triple Crown. At the time of his retirement in 1976, he ranked fourth on the all-time home run list with 586 behind three guys you might have heard of: Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays. He knocked in 100 or more runs six times finishing with a career total of 1,812. Robby was a member of World Series Champion teams in 1966 and 1970 with the Orioles and for good measure, won the 1956 NL Rookie of the Year with the Reds. In 1999, The Sporting News ranked him as the 22nd best player of all-time. Robinson also made history becoming the first black manager (while still playing) in 1975 when he was named skipper of the Cleveland Indians. The Judge certainly has presided one of the most memorable careers in the history of baseball.
Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at http://venomstrikes.com