ESPN Won't Make My 'Mt. Rushmore Of List Makers.'

Steve KeeganCorrespondent IFebruary 26, 2009

Okay, ESPN. 

Enough with your horrible "Mt. Rushmore of Sports" lists that you have seemingly become addicted to over the past month.

They are almost never right, and are almost always based on writers with an East Coast bias, that simply open up team media guides and start reading stats without knowing anything about their context or history.

The latest example was David Schoenfield's "Who Makes the Mount Rushmores of the AL Teams" posted on

As a life-long Angels fan, I took special interest in Schoenfield's take on the Halos' big four.

His picks: Nolan Ryan, Tim Salmon, Garret Anderson and Vladimir Guerrero, with an honorable mention going to Chuck Finley?

Yes. THAT Vladimir Guerrero.

The same Vlad that has only played five years for the Angels, and has flamed out in every playoff he has ever played.

Schoenfield seems to admit in his analysis, he picked out the all-time Angel leaders in some key statistical categories and based his picks almost entirely on that.

He must have, because it certainly wasn't based on other factors like, the passion of the fans, winning championships or what these players meant to the organization.

I will give him Nolan Ryan. To not include him, would be like not including Babe Ruth for the Yankees.

That is where the similarities between my list and Schoenfield's ends.

Vlad belongs on this list about as much as Reggie Jackson does. Don't get me wrong. Vlad is a great player and fun to watch, but you can't name him one of the four greatest players in your franchise's history after five seasons and no World Series appearances.

Hoyt Wilhelm played for the Angels in 1969. Maybe he should be on the list too.

As for Anderson and Salmon, they were both great everyday players, who played with the Angels their entire careers and consistently put up good numbers. 

For that, they should be commended and loved by the fans. 

However, neither of them ever put up monster numbers. Neither was a perennial all-star, and the all-star teams they were named to were often because, by rule, the Angels had to have a representative.

Both of them were on horrible Angel teams their entire careers, with the exception of 2002. Anderson was never able to contribute in any significant way after winning the World Series because of injuries.

Longevity with the team aside, the Angels have had dozens of players that have had comparable seasons to what Anderson and Salmon did in any given year.

In light of that, I was struck by three obvious omissions that I would have included: Rod Carew, Troy Percival and John Lackey.

Carew played 7 seasons at first base, led the Angels to 4 division championships (including their first in 1979), and he did it when winning your division meant something. Carew is in the Hall of Fame and a member of the 3,000 hit club.

Percival is the team's all-time leader in saves, 8th all-time in the majors, was on the mound when the Angels won their first championship and was beloved by the fans.

Lackey has played all 7 years of his career with the Angels, won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series as a rookie, already ranks 5th all-time in team wins, 6th all-time in team strikeouts and came within a hair of winning the Cy Young. He is also only 30 years old. By the time he is done, he will have broken most Angel pitching records and rank second behind Ryan in strikeouts.

As for Chuck Finley being an honorable mention, I can think of at least three people who would be ahead of him. 

How about six-time Angel all-star Jim Fregosi, who also managed the team to their first-ever divisional championship?

How about Bob Boone, who won 4 Gold Gloves as an Angel catcher, and was one of the most clutch hitters in Angel history?

How about Mark Langston, who was the ace of the staff when Finley was on it, won 5 consecutive Gold Gloves as an Angel pitcher and led the league each year in strikeouts?

Do you see what a can of worms you have opened here ESPN?

Lists like these are so hard to put together, but shouldn't you at least have a basic knowledge of the history of a team before you attempt it?