We did a similar exercise over three years ago - Jim and Steve from South Amboy were among those who participated - but today is Willie Mays' 80th birthday. So we're doing it again, in this more formalized "Friday Five" setting.
So far, the lists here have been debate-generating, if you will: "How could you possibly think that Baltimore is a good baseball city?" That kind of stuff. I'd call today's more discussion-generating. There's no right or wrong answer. It's just personal.
Which five players would you like to see play in person? Obviously, the condition being that you did not see them in person when they were active. My baseball consciousness began in 1977, so that's my point of reference. Anyone who retired before then qualifies for my list.
Here are my five:
1. MICKEY MANTLE
He was my top guy back in January 2008, when we initiated this topic, and all the more so now. I read Jane Leavy's outstanding book about Mantle, "The Last Boy," and in addition to really getting into Mantle the person, it all discusses the beauty of his swings - right-handed and left-handed - at length.
I'd especially love to have seen him during his rookie year, 1951, before his infamous injury in the '51 World Series.
2. BABE RUTH
C'mon. He was The Babe. Do I really need to offer much more of an explanation beyond that? Of course, I'd like to see him pitch as well as hit.
3. WILLIE MAYS
I'd love to see him sprint around the bases for a triple. Or chase down a fly ball, his cap coming off mid-run. And from what I understand, he didn't embarrass himself at the plate, either.
4. JACKIE ROBINSON
I feel like I know so much more about him as a man than I do as a player. But from what I've read of his playing days, he approached the game with a ferocity that took opponents by surprise. What would I like to see Jackie do most of all? Break up a double play at second base.
5. SATCHEL PAIGE
What a showman he must have been. I wonder what it was like when he took the mound. Did he carry that "This is my game!" vibe that we used to see from Roger Clemens and we see now from Roy Halladay? I imagine he did.
Who are your five?
Sorry, no Friday reading this morning, due to time constraints. But I'll check in later from Citi Field, site of this weekend's Bankruptcy Bowl (Dodgers-Mets, of course).