Legacies and the game

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about legacies and baseball. It’s been something that I’ve seen brought up several times recently in particular in reference to A-Rod.

This brings me to a real question….Who has a legacy in baseball? What makes a baseball legacy?

Does A-Rod have a legacy? Why does A-Rod have a legacy? What makes him have a legacy?
He’s been a great player that’s true, but do all great players need a legacy?

Babe Ruth, he has a legacy. Lou Gehrig, he has a legacy. Barry Bonds has a legacy. Mickey Mantle, Johnny Bench, Reggie Jackson they all have legacies.

They are also players that defined a generation. I don’t meant they were among the best players to play the game during their generation.
THEY WERE THE BEST PLAYERS.

A-Rod? He’s a great, he’s got hall of fame numbers, truly he does! Does he have greatest of all time numbers? Not quite.
His post seasons have been either spectacular or awful (Career post season BA is .263) and while there was a stretch where he was ridiculous theres also been stretches wheres hes been between pedestrian and not very good.
His career Batting average is .300 right now. Which sounds really good until you consider the fact that since 2009 he’s hit .286, .270, .276, .272 and currently .273.
Again he’s been REALLY GOOD, GREAT, but not All Time Great with a legacy behind him.
Is it stats that define a legacy? like A-Rod? Is it title? Do all managers have a legacy? Do all players?
Whats Pokey Reeses legacy? Whats Hideki Irabu’s legacy?

Managers seem a bit easier, I think that most managers get a legacy, where as few players get a legacy.

I think the two I’ve been thinking about the most of recent are Dusty Baker and Brandon Phillips.

Dusty like it or not has a legacy in Cincinnati. He does. What you think of that legacy, where it ends up will be decided by the next two years.

Like him or not you have to remember that prior to Dusty this team had 58 other managers (58!)  Even with this being the oldest team in major league history that’s still what a new manager every 2.5 years roughly?

In that time there had been 4 managers between Dusty and Jack McKeon the last manager to have the Reds In the post season and 6 total managers between them and the last post season win (DAVEY JOHNSON!).

Dusty helped bring this team out of the darkness and into the light, for that there should be a certain amount of gratefulness that any Reds fan will look back on Dusty’s tenure with.

For all of that though and the fact that he has gotten them two post season births and never advanced past the wildcard round will result in many detractors to Dusty bakers Legacy.

That’s why this next year and a half is important for him, and his legacy. He needs to get this team out of the first round, he needs a long post season run, he needs to be able to look back at his time while staring at his glistening World Series ring.  I swear this to you, if Dusty gets a world series ring then in 7-10 years we’re watching a Dusty Baker hall of fame speech.  Without it, we aren’t.  That ring is what separates him from a Lou Pinella (Statistically) and that ring will decide where he goes, home or the hall of fame.

Brandon Phillips legacy is interesting to me in another right.

Statistically he has started to over take Joe Morgan for so many Reds 2B stats its not even funny.  By the time his career is over he will have passed Joe for basically every meaningful statistic that there is.

Does that make him better than Joe?  Does that mean I’m going to have Brandon Phillips Toyota across the street from Joe Morgan Honda?

I don’t know about the dealership, what I do know is there is one key important difference between these players.

World Series.

Brandon is lucky in a way.  Unlike Dusty BP has 6 more chances at Rings.  With any luck we’ll see him put at least one on his finger, what will it take for him to cement his playing legacy ahead of Joe as the best Reds second baseman of all time? 2 Rings? 3?

What are your thoughts?

-Richard

Follow me on twitter @hfspodcast

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