Amid the tributes for San Diego Padres legend Tony Gwynn, who died Monday at 54, I decided to do a quick exercise. With respect to Dave Winfield or a young Ozzie Smith, Gwynn has always been the face of the Padres for me, the first player who comes to mind when I think of the team. Listing the other 29 current teams, I wrote out a quick list of franchise faces.
These players are as follows:
San Francisco Giants: Willie Mays
Los Angeles Dodgers: Sandy Koufax (Jackie Robinson for life of franchise)
San Diego Padres: Tony Gwynn
Colorado Rockies: Todd Helton
Arizona Diamondbacks: Randy Johnson
St. Louis Cardinals: Stan Musial
Chicago Cubs: Ernie Banks
Milwaukee Brewers: Robin Yount
Cincinnati Reds: Joe Morgan
Pittsburgh Pirates: Honus Wagner
Atlanta Braves: Hank Aaron
New York Mets: Tom Seaver
Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg (Tim Raines for life of franchise)
Philadelphia Phillies: Mike Schmidt
Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton
Oakland Athletics: Rickey Henderson
Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout
Seattle Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr.
Houston Astros: Jeff Bagwell
Texas Rangers: Ivan Rodriguez
Kansas City Royals: George Brett
Minnesota Twins: Kirby Puckett (Walter Johnson for life of franchise)
Cleveland Indians: Bob Feller
Detroit Tigers: Ty Cobb
Chicago White Sox: Frank Thomas
New York Yankees: Babe Ruth
Boston Red Sox: Ted Williams
Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria
Baltimore Orioles: Cal Ripken Jr.
Toronto Blue Jays: Dave Stieb
Among other things, it’s striking to me that most teams have a living franchise face; then again, I suppose that’s to be expected in a league that’s nearly doubled since 1961.