I was staring at the one of the photos you can win in Amici’s 25th Anniversary Ultimate Takeout Contest, the one with Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams standing together in a dugout, probably at Fenway Park based on their uniforms. You can probably see this photo, because I put it in this post. There, that was easy.
A lot of things make this an interesting photo. Williams and DiMaggio are both icons in their respective cities. They’re both Hall of Fame outfielders. They were also the leaders of their respective teams, the two preeminent franchises in the American League and longtime rivals.
If we were to do a black-and-white shot of two players from the modern era, Buster Posey would seem like an obvious candidate. We don’t need to go over his credentials, if you’re reading this you already know. He has a way to go until “Posey” becomes synonymous with that same mixture of class, grace and superiority one thinks of when hearing “DiMaggio,” and Posey and his wife seem a lot more normal than the DiMaggio/Monroe pairing, but in terms of being one of the best two or three players of his day, Posey is right there.
Also, Willie Mays said that DiMaggio was his idol as a kid.
So if you stick Posey on the right side of that photo, who’s the guy with his elbow leaned up against the rail next to him? It would have to be a player from a National League team. And not just any team, a rival franchise. That would cause one to look straight at the Dodgers, but the jury is still out on Matt Kemp. He arguably should have won the MVP in 2011, but his 2010 season wasn’t outstanding. Plus, he’s only 2-for-19 this spring with eight strikeouts, which means nothing but I just felt like pointing out because Nelson from The Simpsons put me up to it.
Also, Posey is a catcher and Kemp is a center fielder. So beyond being the best players on the Giants and Dodgers, this comparison just isn’t doing it for me.
How about Yadier Molina? Same position, and while the Giants and the Cardinals aren’t in the same division, they have been sort of rivals throughout recent history and played a pretty darn good NLCS in 2012. You may remember rain being involved. The thing with Molina is that while he’s known as the best defensive catcher going today, he didn’t make an All-Star team until his fifth full season and has only become known as one of the elite players in the National League over the past couple seasons as he has morphed from a single-digit home run guy to hitting 14 home runs in 2011 and 22 in 2012.
Ryan Braun is the most consistent superstar in the National League, with four straight seasons above a 5.0 WAR (Baseball Reference) and top-2 MVP finishes in each of the past two years. Then again, when you talk about Braun there’s the … well, you know.
So what do you all think? If Posey is on the right side of the modern day National League version of this photo, who’s on the left? Kemp? Molina? Braun? Someone else? Hey, let me tell you something. It’s a good question.
Also, if you like that photo or another one you’ve seen at an Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria restaurant, click here and enter their contest and you can win a framed version of the photo of your choice. Here are the rules:
In celebration of our 25th Anniversary, this month we’re giving each of 25 lucky winners one of the iconic Brearley Collection framed 16″ x 20″ B & W photos like those that adorn the walls of every Amici’s restaurant. All you have to do is visit your local Amici’s, tell us which image is your favorite, and in 25 words or less what makes that image special to you. Our judges will pick their 25 favorite entries and each winner will receive their chosen image framed and shipped directly from the gallery in Boston.