MLB.com is running an online poll called Hometown Heroes. I'm sure you've all seen the commercial when Honus Wagner says that in his day they didn't have bases, they had rocks.
Any way, I got curious about our Oakland Athletics and went over to take a look at who were the nominees for the biggest Hometown Hero for the green and golders. They have five potential nominees:
Out of this list there is no question to me who deserves this honor. It's the only guy who isn't already in the Hall of Fame (but will be soon no doubt). The Man of Steal himself, Run, Rickey, Run. They call it "the most outstanding player in each club's history." Henderson has the most hits, multiple-hit games, singles, doubles, triples, lead-off home runs, total bases, walks, runs, games played, stolen bases and single season stolen bases of any Oakland A's player. I emphasize the word Oakland because the title of this contest is Hometown Heroes and while I admire and respect the legacy of this franchise in Philadephia and Kansas City, I don't believe Lefty Grove should be on the list. Simply because the name of the contest is Hometown Heroes and Oakland never saw Lefty Grove pitch, so the candidates should start in 1968.
Who should take his place you ask? Well, it could be everyone from Vida Blue to Rollie Fingers to Dave Stewart to Barry Zito (yes, Zito given that he very well should top 100 wins in an A's uni before the end of the season and has won a Cy Young in Oakland).
But someone who probably could easily have made that list is Mark McGwire, even though the rest of the country will remember him in Cardinal red the A's fans know that it was wearing the white shoes where McGwire will be remembered the most fondly.
But look at the list that McGwire has records for the Oakland A's...most home runs in Oakland history, most RBI in Oakland A's history, highest career slugging percentage, highest slugging percentage for a rookie, best individual OBP in a season, most extra bases hits, most home runs in a season, most home runs as a rookie...and the list goes on and on and on. Now granted, after his bumbling performance in front of Congress and non-admission admission of guilt, it would make sense why people would leave McGwire off the list. You don't want to celebrate a cheater, do you? Of course not...but wait, what name do I see under Giants, SF? Barry Bonds. Hmmmmmm. Interesting.
Any way, my point is that there probably should be someone else on this list in place of Lefty Grove. McGwire was never my favorite player, heck he was never even my favorite Bash Brother, but to ignore his contributions in making those teams of the late 80s dynastic would be a big mistake. Especially in favor of someone who never even wore green and gold. I definitely think some of the elements that should play into it are championships and longevity, and McGwire, Blue, Fingers, Hunter and Henderson all have that.
I put up a poll on the front page as to which player you would've liked to have seen on this Hometown Heroes Oakland A's list (it even says "Oakland" in front of A's when you go to vote). Granted all of this is marketing and created to justify the discussion, but I can't help but chime in on it, so I guess it's working.