On this week’s episode of The PosCast—a podcast with sportswriter Joe Posnanski (@JPosnanski) (now writing for The Athletic) and Michael Schur (@KenTremendous) (the creator of Parks & Rec, The Good Place) where they mostly waste time in a sports-adjacent way—the hosts and their guest did a mock draft of “the first guy you think of when someone mentions Major League Baseball.”
As is their custom, there weren’t any rules to the draft other than your pick had to fit in the category for whatever reason. And as is becoming OTE’s custom, we are taking that draft idea and customizing it for our sports website, soliciting feedback from the readers, and calling it an article. I asked the OTE writers to weigh in, and hopefully 3-5 of you faithful readers will as well.
Also, I would highly recommend listening to the PosCast generally (and in particular this week’s episode as it was their annual Name of the Year Bracket episode and was hilarious), along with recommending watching any show Mike Schur has ever worked on (The Office, P&R, The Good Place, Brooklyn99 sorta).
The Question: When someone mentions your favorite college football team, who’s the first player who comes to mind, and why? Feel free to include other teams and sports, but be sure to fully unpack the question and write legibly.
For Wisconsin football I always think first of Jared Abbrederis. He didn’t make his mark until after I graduated, but he still sticks in my mind and is the first Wisconsin player I always think of. When he was hauling in 20 passes per game I had a friend who would always sing “Rock Me Amadeus” but replace Amadeus with Abbrederis, and he’d sing it pretty much anytime Abbrederis’s name was mentioned. And he still does it today, although the mentions are obviously far fewer. Rock Me Abbrederis, Abbrederis Abbrederis! Abb-re-deris!
For the Twins I will forever think of Mike Pagliarulo . He started 120+ games for the Twins the year they won the 1991 World Series, but for whatever reason the Sega Genesis baseball game I played as a kid (often as the Toronto Blue Jays for some reason...I thought their shortshop was really good, but usually I played as the Twins) had real-life Twins backup Scott Leuis as the starter. First, Leuis’s name is far more boring than Pagliarulo’s, and second, Leuis wasn’t the starter! I always used the first time Leuis came to bat as a chance to pinch hit Pagliarulo for him. Pagliarulo was only the 6th-best player on a team from 29 years ago, but he’s always the first guy I think of or mention when someone says “let’s talk about old MLBers.”
ZuzuRU (Rutgers Scarlet Knights): Tough question! I’d say Gary Nova because he had a great degree of love and hate and was THE QB for most of my student career. His legacy is controversial. But then I think of also Janarion Grant, and Isiaih Pacheco because they really are Rutgers’ star offensive playmakers of the Big Ten era. Pacheco is particularly fresh in my head as a current player.
AndrewK (Michigan State Spartans): For me it’s Kirk Cousins. It’s debatable whether he’s the best player or even best QB of modern Spartan football, but he was the face of the team when it got back on the map. Former 2*, only had one other FBS offer, underdog, chip on shoulder, etc etc into a Big Ten champion and NFL player, unanimously beloved by his fanbase.
For the Red Wings, it’s Nick Lidstrom; I know most people would say Steve Yzerman, but my memories of him are mostly of the downslope of his career, and Lidstrom is in a 2-person conversation with Bobby Orr as the greatest defenseman of all time.
For the Tigers, it is, amusingly enough, Todd Jones. The period when I followed the team most closely was when they were really, really super bad. Jones wasn’t overpowering, but he’s the franchise career save leader, and just about every last one of them was a nail biter as he just lobbed that 91-MPH meatball up there and dared you to hit - ok well you hit it but it was only a double and there’s one out, so who’s really in control here?
MSU basketball to me conjures Drew Neitzel, probably just because he was the star of the team when I was in college.
Candystripes for Breakfast (Indiana Hoosiers): IU football: Antwaan Randle El, Tevin Coleman
IU Basketball: Jared Jeffries, Jordan Hulls, Keith Smart
Columbus Crew soccer: Frankie Hejduk, Brian McBride
Indiana Pacers: Reggie Miller
Indianapolis Colts: Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James
Chicago Cubs (gross): Sammy Sosa, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo (honorable mention to Jeff Blauser)
(bonus points to CfB for listing a bunch of teams and Jeff Blauser)
Bman31 (Purdue Boilermakers): Purdue Football: Drew Brees, Mike Alstott, Leroy Keyes
Purdue Basketball: Glenn Robinson, Rick Mount, John Wooden
Chicago Bears (gross): Walter Payton, Dick Butkus, Devin Hester
Chicago Cubs (wtf Bman): Ryne Sandberg, Ernie Banks, Anthony Rizzo
Chicago Blackhawks: Jonathan Toews, Stan Mikita, Patrick Kane
deadread (Nebraska Cornhuskers): Johnny Rodgers, Rick Berns, Turner Gill, Mr. Suh.
Dr. MNWildcat (Northwestern Wildcats): Northwestern Football: Pat Fitzgerald, Justin Jackson, Dan Persa. Fitz because he built it, JJTBC because nobody in purple did it like he did, Persa because I was in school and damn! that dude just did it all.
Northwestern Basketball: John Shurna, Juice Thompson, Luka Mirkovic. No disrespect to Drew Crawford, but the first two put the program back on some maps, and the latter is just my favorite player ever.
WhiteSpeedReceiver (Minnesota Golden Gophers): Gopher FB: Chris Darkins.
BB: Richard Coffey/Lindsay Whalen.
Hockey: Brian Bonin/Amanda Kessel.
Vikings: John Randle.
Twins: Brad Radke.
Timberwolves: Pooh Richardson (Kidding. It’s KG).
North Stars: Neal Broten.
Loons: Ike Opara.
Manchester United: Roy Keane.
Jesse (Nebraska Cornhuskers): Nebraska it’s probably Tommie Frazier because he was just the first person I was really in love with as a kid. Second name is probably Baron Miles which is weird but I guess I love how he just did everything. I thought he was unstoppable.
Nebrasketball: Eric Piatkowski because he was the guy who hooked me on that team.
Nebraska Baseball: Shane Komine. Bills: Thurman Thomas or Steve Tasker.
Cubs (wtf Midwesterners): Ryno or Grace or Maddux.
Pens (the Pens?): Mario.
Hornets/Pelicans (AND the Hornets? How?): Mugsy.
Everton: Hibbo or Big Dunc.
Omaha Hockey: Dan Ellis.
pkloa (Penn State Nittany Lions): Kerry Collins, for the same reason as jesse said. Collins was THE GUY on the best team in the country during one of my most formative years. While I never got to see him play in person, I did get to meet him at a charity event shortly before the draft. Got a football signed by him that day. Ahh, but that’s an amusing tale for another day...
87townie (PSU): DJ Dozier. I was selling cokes in Beaver Stadium and I saw him break through the line, burst past the linebacker and gone... It was the first time I saw 80,000 people (back then) roar together. It was just incredible.
Creighton (Iowa Hawkeyes): It’s got to be Dallas Clark for me. He’s the prototypical Ferentz success story: multi-sport athlete from a town of like 300 people, has basically no D-I offers and decides to walk on at Iowa as a linebacker. He eventually moves to tight end, earns a scholarship and finishes his final season as a unanimous all-American. Having Brad Banks and Dallas Clark on the field at the same time was a cheat code, and his monster game against Purdue was one of the most entertaining things I’ve ever seen in my life. Dallas was a critical part of Ferentz’s breakout year and first Big Ten championship, and to me he represents the first time in my life that I remember Iowa being good since all my memories before then were from late stage Hayden Fry. Also, during the last NFL lockout he guest starred on Criminal Minds (a show I’ve never seen but all my uncles love for some reason) so that was cool.
Is it smart or bad that I keep taking other people’s ideas and adapting them for OTE content?
This poll is closed
A Third Thing