I noticed something while watching Seattle Mariner games. For the first time since my youth I feel inclined, through no willful decision on my part, but through an unsought for feeling, that nonetheless is working its way to the surface, to either chose Nick Franklin or Brad Miller as my favorite player. Although in a sense your favorite player chooses you. Let me explain.
One day watching the Chicago White Sox on television when I was kid, I began rooting for Nellie Fox, the all-star second baseman of Chicago. His first name Nelson, was my last name, he was a little guy-at least for baseball players-just like me. I liked the way he choked up on his bat, and batting second in the order year after year, he would either bunt Luis Aparicio into scoring position, or as left handed batter slap a single to right on hit and run. He had great bat control and discipline, striking out maybe 13 or 15 times in over 600 at bats. He became my favorite position player.
My other favorite player was Sandy Koufax from my favorite team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Over four years he dominated as no pitcher has since he retired following the 1966 season because of elbow problems. He retired after a season that saw him go 27-9 with a 1.73 ERA. Over his last four years he was 97-27 with ERA’s of 1.88, 1.74, 2.01, and 1.73, one years striking out 382 batters.
One thing I can’t figure out is that Koufax was a lefty, Fox batted from the left, and I am right handed.
Anyway, as I grew older, though I enjoyed and admired many players, none became a favorite player, which in a sense, is like a hero. I did not need heroes as an adult, except, of course, James Bond. He got all the beautiful girls, had fast, cool cars, had sardonic wit, and was smart enough to extricate himself from all kinds of trouble. Guys of my generation wanted to be Bond, no doubt because of Sean Connery.
Now I find myself drawn to Brad Miller-another lefty-because I am fascinated by his jersey which billows, in a way other players jerseys don’t, when he runs. And when he fields, or runs, perhaps because of his size, or because of some enigmatic connection locked within my baseball memory, he reminds me of long ago Oriole shortstop Mark Belanger. Miller hits better, and why I have this association is a mystery .
And Nick Franklin, a switch hitter, has that slightly oversized batting helmet, a double flapped one, no less. I like his intensity, hustle, desire, and passion.
Felix is my favorite pitcher, though not with the same love of Koufax, far from it. But who do I choose between Miller and Franklin. There can be only one. If you had to choose between them, who would you choose. Just vote in the comments section. You might be able to settle things for me.