Today in Unnecessary Statues: Orlando "Those Aren't My Needles" Cepeda

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Today in Unnecessary Statues: Orlando "Those Aren't My Needles" Cepeda

. Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's not safe to loiter around Major League stadiums these days - you may be turned into a statue

So yesterday I informed you all of my disdain of the White Sox honoring a guy they traded twice with a hideous statue. There's no denying Harold Baines had a stellar career, but the fact that they washed their hands of him twice, retired his number twice, then unretired it twice, makes him something less than an icon in my opinion. But I'll give it to Harold, he was a hell of a player, and a class act. His Wikipedia entry is blissfully free of a "controversy" or "issues" section, and his "personal life" section says only that he's married with four kids and an active scholarship fund. Of course, if the Sox organization loved him so much, I imagine they wouldn't have traded him away so early in his career. Plus, there's no "wow" factor, like there with Ernie Banks. His Hall of Fame vote total last year came to 5.3 percent. Just 69.7 percent more would have gotten him in - damn!

Orlando Cepeda, the 24th best 1st baseman ever - you don't get better than that

Well, since we're now giving away statues like Pez, I found out that the Giants apparently have plans to honor Orlando Cepeda with his own statue. This is the man who, at best, ranks as one of the top 25 first basemen in history. Oh, and before I forget, a traffic stop in 2007 led to the officer finding marijuana, cocaine, and hypodermic needles. He then got a sweetheart plea that included the cocaine and needle charges being dismissed. Not surprisingly, the Deputy District Attorney was immediately fired. And hey, now Cepeda gets a statue to stand alongside Willie Mays, Juan Marchial, and Willie McCovey - bona fide legends, all. Cepeda didn't even have 10 years with the club. What is it with famous Giants players and hypodermic needles? I've come up with a handy equation. Giants players + hypodermic needles = Teenage goths + razor blades.

Alternate shot of Cepeda

But let us not forget the pathetic "me too" offered by the Washington Expos. According to King Kaufman's excellent column in Salon today (which I guess I'm ripping off, but I got here first yesterday), the perrenial doormat that calls DC home plans to erect monuments to Walter Johnson, Josh Gibson, and Frank Howard. Johnson was a great pitcher - with the Washington Senators. Shouldn't his statue be in Minneapolis, since they're the Twins now? As legendary a figure as Gibson is, he never played for the Expo-Nationals either (he played for the Washington-based Homestead Grays of the Negro Leagues), although I agree that recognition for him is long overdue. Some believe he may have been the greatest catcher of all time, and by a long shot, at that. But Frank Howard? The guy only played 7 years on the Senators (Twins), played in 4 All-Star games and led the league in home runs twice. I don't see any Sammy Sosa statues going up on Addison and Sheffield, so let's not put a Frank Howard one in our nation's capital.

Either Frank Howard or a shot from one of the "Police Academy" movies. I can't tell which.

Of course, nothing I'm saying right now has any real quantifiable application - isn't there something subjective about who we should honor? - but after how long it took for Mr. Cub to get his much-deserved statue, I don't want to see what should be a monument to achivement be reduced to something only slightly more presitigious than a bobblehead night.

And if there were bloggers honored for longest run-on sentences, I would already be cast in gold for the previous one. And with that, I'll stop rattling on.


Jen said...

I feel the same way about the teams that have more retired numbers than current players. It loses its sentimentality when they retire anyone that played on the team for more than four years, not to mention it's only a matter of time before they have to start cramming three digits on a uni.