Thursday, August 6, 2009

Say It Ain't So

This generation of baseball has become tainted with Performance-Enhancing Substances. When baseball historians and future fans look back back at the turn of the century, they will be looking at how steroids, HGH, and other substances have changed baseball.

Though there is plenty of gloom; there still remains several bright spot of this era. This is a list of the most significant active players who still represent the good in baseball.

Honorable Mentions

Todd Helton - He isn't the best player of the era, but he does represent all that the Colorado Rockies stand for. He has been the face of the team for a decade; it would be deviating for an icon to be tainted.

Jim Thome - I'd like to believe Thome has played his career clean, but too many arrows point to the wrong direction. Right now Thome is guilty until proven innocent. He will be one of those guys has to go out and prove that he played the game cleanly if he wants to be enshrined.

Chipper Jones - He has been a consistent hitter through his entire career. He was the core piece of a dynasty in the nineties; success and consistency earn him well-deserved respect.

Jorge Posada - Posada has been the best catcher of a period deemed the steroid era. Simply a great hitter, fielder, and leader.

Mike Mussina - Mussina wasn't the most dominant pitchers, but he played the game intelligently and with great prudence. He made adjustments as well as any pitcher are represents how the game is supposed to be played. (Moose has retired, but does deserve to be acknowledged).

Top 10

10) Pedro Martinez - Martinez represented all of the fire of this era. Now that two of his former teammates have been identified as drug abusers, one has to hope that he played clean.

9) Trevor Hoffman - Hoffman is the all-time saves leader and one of the best relievers of the period. He was able to get the three most important outs of the game during the regular season, more frequently than anybody else.

8) Derek Jeter - Not just the face of the Yankees but the face of playing the game clean, balanced, and with character. Jeter represents all that has been good about baseball.

7) John Smoltz - There was no pitcher that had more success in the varied manner that Smoltz had. He has been one of the most formidable starters and closers in baseball.

6) Vladimir Guerrero - Guerrero is the epitome of natural hitter. There is no one more exciting in baseball than Vlad. He could hit anything; his entire approach to the game represents the purity of baseball - whether it be wearing no gloves or chasing any pitch he could see. Lets just hope it was only him hitting the ball.

5) Mariano Rivera - Mo is the best closer in history. He is also the most reliable post-season pitcher to ever throw the last three outs.

4) Tom Glavine - Maybe one of the last to record 300 wins. Glavine is nearing the end of his reign and will be remembered as one of the greats.

3) Albert Pujols - The Machine better not have any unwarranted boasts. He would be one of the last straws for baseball.

2) Randy Johnson - 303 wins. 3.29 ERA. 100 Complete Games. 4869 Strikeouts. Lets just hope all four thousand, six hundred and sixty-nine strikeouts came by Johnson's arm.

1) Ken Griffey - Griffey is the last standing man of the era filled with fallen heroes.

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