|When you hear "Enter Sandman" in the Bronx, it means the game will quickly be put to bed.|
Page 3 will examine the connection between sports and music all summer long. Also, catch SportsCenter's music series all this week at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Yogi Berra: Confusing Optimist
Song: "It's Not Over ('Til It's Over)" by Jefferson Starship
Famous for his eyebrow-raising one-liners -- the best-known being the song title above -- Lawrence P. Berra was one of the most ardent lovers of 20th century jewelry, collecting 10 World Series rings in 14 Fall Classic appearances. There might as well have been a "Be Home in November" sign hung on the Berra residence every season. (Honorable mentions: "You Know What I'm Saying" by Run D.M.C.; "Lord of the Rings" by multiple artists)
|"Musclehead" by Napalm Death could have been the best song to signal a Big Mac Attack.|
Cal Ripken, Jr.: Everyday Oriole
Song: "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath
This tune selection is in obvious deference to his incredible streak of 2,632 games played. Also because there's no song titled "Thank God A-Rod Moved to Third Base So People Remember Me in 25 Years."
|How about "Diamond in the Rough" for the Cubs' Lovable Loser, Ernie Banks.|
Honus Wagner: The Good Died Old (81)
Song: "Goody Two Shoes" by Adam Ant
"Don't drink, don't smoke. What do ya do?" Um, win eight batting titles and bloody up a sliding Ty Cobb in the 1909 World Series with a hard tag in the grill. Apart from his hitting prowess in the dead-ball era (talking 1897-1917, not the 1993 Mets), Wagner was best known for his clean living and objection to his image being used to market cigarettes on early 20th century baseball cards. Production of Wagner's T206 card marketed by Piedmont Tobacco was halted, making it the rarest and most sought-after sports collectible.
Babe Ruth: Original Sultan of Swing
Song: "Simply the Best" by Tina Turner
He got more votes than anyone for the All-Century Team, and with good reason. Ruth soared so high above his contemporaries that he might have won 10 MVPs and one Cy Young Award had he been eligible in each of his seasons. And think of the economic impact he created at the park, what with the elevating attendance figures and his own affinity for hot dogs.
Hank Aaron: Home Run King
Song: "I Got You Babe" by Sonny and Cher
Maybe it's unfair to always link a man with the credentials of Hank Aaron -- top three all-time in homers, RBIs, hits, runs and more -- to Babe Ruth, but that's the way it goes in any sport. Wayne Gretzky was the Babe Ruth of hockey. Michael Jordan was the Babe Ruth of basketball. Wilt Chamberlain was the Babe Ruth of extracurricular activities. It's not such bad company to be in.
Ted Williams: Ring, ring? Ring, ring?
Song: "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2
The greatest baseball player to have never won a World Series -- though it's arguable Barry Bonds' eight Gold Gloves and 500 steals make up for a 46-point difference in career batting average -- the Splendid Splinter was No. 16 on ESPN's SportsCentury list, receiving the highest ranking of anyone who didn't once reach the apex of his sport.
Willie Mays: The Perfect Ballplayer
Song: "Centerfield" by John Fogerty
Someone's gotta be awarded this classic baseball tune, so it might as well be the Say Hey Kid, who played the sport the way it was supposed to be played: combining genuine exuberance with respect, never betraying the fans' love of what is essentially a kids' game played by hard-working but also fortunate professionals. It's really not that bad of a life, is it, Mr. Bonds?
|What's a better song for the dude who got with Marilyn Monroe than "We Are the Champions"?|
Mickey Mantle: Hard-Drinking Okie
Song: "Friends in Low Places" by Garth Brooks
Bill Martin and Whitey Ford were just two of The Mick's teammates who could lend back-up vocals on the chorus. Together, the whiskey drowned and the beer chased their blues away -- 'til a 1957 brawl at the Copacabana chased Martin away from the Yankees to Kansas City in a trade. (Honorable mentions: "Tequila Sunrise" by The Eagles, "Livin' on the Edge" by Aerosmith, pretty much anything by Hank Williams, Jr.)
Ty Cobb: Hall of Fame Jerk
Song: "Bitch" by Meredith Brooks
Irritating, vile and racist, Cobb was the Georgia Peach who was anything but. He didn't fully appreciate his on-field success unless his opponents were either humiliated or injured in the process. Good thing Pete Rose broke Cobb's all-time hits record, so that a louse doesn't have his name attached to that hallowed mark.
Ken Griffey, Jr.: His Sky Found a Limit
Song: "What Might Have Been" by Little Texas
Junior's 2004 resurgence might prove this song selection irrelevant, or it might shine an even brighter light on his first four years in Cincinnati, in which Griffey was hardly among the best active outfielders, let alone the all-timers. In 1999, his final season in Seattle, The Kid bashed 48 home runs, stole 24 bases and won a Gold Glove, a spectacular but hardly surprising performance for the then-30-year-old. From 2000-2003 combined, Griffey hit only 83 homers, stole just eight bases, never won a Gold Glove nor garnered a single MVP vote.
Pete Rose: Disgraced All-Time Hit King
Song: "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers
Clearly the easiest song assignment of the bunch, Rose didn't know when to fold 'em, admitting 14 years too late that he gambled on baseball. If only he'd given reporter Jim Gray a straight answer after receiving a standing ovation before Game 2 of the 1999 World Series, he might've already delivered his acceptance speech at Cooperstown. The fans' goodwill has since run dry, and Chad Curtis has to be wondering if that protest to not talk with Gray after his Game 3-winning homer was worth it. (Honorable mentions: "Lyin' Eyes" by The Eagles, "Paperback Writer" by The Beatles.)
Stan Musial: Pride of St. Louis
Song: "A Little Less Talk (And a Lot More Action)" by Toby Keith
St. Louis' silent assassin was a typical Midwestern hero who valued substance over style, a main cog in the second-most successful franchise in major-league history. Stan the Man was a three-time MVP, a three-time World Series champion and is among the all-time leaders in almost every major hitting category. Arguments have been made that Musial, who received only the ninth-most votes for outfield on MLB All-Century Team, is the most underrated player in baseball history.
Paul Katcher is a freelance writer based in New York City. He welcomes questions, comments and web links to interesting sites and news items at email@example.com.