* That I choose to cover, because I don’t give a fudge about the ones I don’t.
It’s All Star Week in Major League Baseball, which means it’s pretty much a dead week in sports. I’m not 12 years old, so the All Star Game doesn’t mean anything to me; I’m not 62 years old, so golf doesn’t mean anything to me. But, a blogger’s job is never done! Or, I dunno, maybe it’s been done ad nauseam. Either way, I’ve got nothing timely to write about, and I’ve got nothing else better to do, so I’m doing this.
We’re celebrating some of the local Mount Rushmores in a series of posts this week, because that’s something people do, right? Sports radio and the like; what’s your Mount Rushmore of TV shows still airing new episodes right now? Off the top of my head, I’d have to say Rick & Morty, Better Call Saul, Bob’s Burgers, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but ask me another day and I might give you four completely different shows.
Today is going to be the first of a two-parter, of sorts. I’m going to split up my Mount Rushmores between the Mariners, Sonics, and Seahawks, with the goal of locking down an official Mount Rushmore for All Seattle Sports tomorrow.
First up: the Seattle Mariners.
- Ken Griffey Jr.
- Edgar Martinez
- Felix Hernandez
I thought this one was pretty easy, but I could see why people might want to make the argument for someone like Randy Johnson or Alex Rodriguez or even Alvin Davis, but ehh. Griffey is Griffey; he’s the greatest player in Mariners history. Edgar is Edgar; he’s the greatest hitter in Mariners history. Felix is the King; his prime in a Mariners uniform was better than Randy’s prime in a Mariners uniform. Had the Mariners never traded Randy, and he won a bunch more Cy Young Awards and whatnot, then yeah, Randy all day. But, I’m going with the King because he’s my favorite player of all time and because he deserves to be on this list. And, I’m going with Ichiro as my #4 due to his longevity and his sustained brilliance as this team’s leadoff hitter. Again, it comes down to tenure over someone like A-Rod who had a short stint of supreme excellence before taking the money and running to the Rangers. In the end, I don’t think A-Rod would end up on any team’s Mount Rushmore, and that’s exactly what he deserves.
Next up: the Seattle Supersonics.
- Gary Payton
- Jack Sikma
- Fred Brown
- Shawn Kemp
You could go any number of ways with the Sonics. Ray Allen, Lenny Wilkens, Gus Williams, Xavier McDaniel, Nate McMillan, Spencer Haywood, Slick Watts, Detlef Schrempf, Big Smooth, Dale Ellis, and on and on and on. There were so many great players, so many great teams, and so many great eras of Sonics basketball. I’ve got the Glove at the top because I think he was the best all-around player in team history. He’s obviously known for his lockdown defense, but he really developed into a dominant offensive player over his career, becoming the team’s unquestioned leader. Sikma was the best big man in team history, averaging a double-double in 7 of his 9 years in Seattle (as well as making 7 All Star Games). Brown was a 13-year career Sonic bridging the early 70s, through the championship year, on into the mid-80s and the next generation of great Sonics teams. And, finally, I’ve got 5-time All Star (with the Sonics) Shawn Kemp, the most explosive and athletic player in team history, who really developed into a force in the league, at a time when there were tons of great power forwards in the game.
And, without further ado: the Seattle Seahawks (past).
- Steve Largent
- Walter Jones
- Cortez Kennedy
- Kenny Easley
Okay, so here’s the deal: those are four Hall of Famers. If you’re going to have a Mount Rushmore of Seattle Seahawks, you’ve gotta go with the actual NFL Hall of Famers, right? Steve Largent, at the time of his retirement, had just about every single wide receiver record in NFL history; he was THE greatest, until Jerry Rice became THE greatest. Now, many receivers have blown past Largent’s stats through the years, but the game is a lot different now than it was in the 70s and 80s. Walter Jones, I think, is the greatest left tackle in NFL history; he absolutely belongs on this list! The Tez is, without question, one of the greatest all-around DTs in the history of the league. His ability to clog up the middle, command double-teams, and still create an abundance of pressure up the middle is simply mind-boggling. And, as for Easley, he was a Pro Bowler 5 of his 7 seasons, and a first team All Pro in 3 of his 7 seasons. Had he not had the health issues that forced him into retirement, he would’ve been an NFL Hall of Famer MANY years ago. Essentially, he was Kam Chancellor before there was Kam Chancellor, at a time when the safety position was oft-overlooked. His type of game-changing talent is generational and precious and should not be taken for granted.
There have obviously been other great Seahawks throughout the years – Matt Hasselbeck, Curt Warner, Shaun Alexander, Jacob Green, Dave Brown, Dave Krieg, Jim Zorn, and so on and so forth – but no one is on the level of the four above-referenced Hall of Famers.
Now, that having all been said, I think this current batch of Seahawks – since Pete Carroll and John Schneider joined the team – have some NFL Hall of Famers on it as well. So, really, I had no choice but to split this part up.
We had the Seahawks (past) and now the Seahawks (present).
- Earl Thomas
- Marshawn Lynch
- Richard Sherman
- Russell Wilson
Obvious asterisk here in that Beastmode is not a current Seahawk, but he’s from this Pete Carroll Era, and that’s really what I’m talking about here. I think Earl Thomas (assuming he comes back from his injury) is the best and most obvious future Hall of Famer. Like Easley, in Earl’s first seven seasons, he’s made 5 Pro Bowls and 3 First Team All Pros. He’s the heart & soul of this defense and really what makes this defense tick. As you could see when the Seahawks lost him last year, this defense falls apart without Earl! With him, it’s among the best in the league, and the primary reason why we’ve led the league in fewest points allowed so many times under Pete Carroll. Next up, I think you have to go Beastmode. I think, as it stands right now, he’s a borderline NFL Hall of Famer. But, with a good season or two in Oakland, I think he blows past borderline into Obvious NFL Hall of Famer. Lynch took this team from soft and old and carried it to back-to-back Super Bowls. He allowed this team to bring its rookie franchise quarterback along slowly, and when it mattered most – in those playoff games – Beastmode brought his game to another level. Ultimately, I think it’s his performances in the playoffs that will carry him into the Hall of Fame (in spite of his famous discontent with the NFL media), and it’s why I have him ranked so high on my list. Third, I’ve got Sherm. He’s the greatest cornerback in team history. Period. 4 Pro Bowls and 3 First Team All Pros in his 6 seasons, and he has yet to miss a game as soon as he entered the starting lineup. I don’t know how much longer he’ll be a member of this team, but as long as he is, he’s on my present-day Mount Rushmore. And, fourth, I’ve got Russell Wilson. I could’ve gone any number of directions here – Wagner, Kam, Bennett, Avril, K.J., Doug – and indeed, any number of those guys might end up making the Hall of Fame alongside my top 4, but I’m rolling with the QB. In spite of the fact that for quarterbacks nowadays, it’s probably harder than ever to make the Hall of Fame, what with all the passing records that are falling, and how difficult it is to last in this league for 10, 15 years or more. And make no mistake, Russell has A LONG WAY to go. 5 seasons, 3 Pro Bowls, no All Pros. It’s especially questionable when you consider the step back he took last year with lots of injuries and behind an ineffective O-Line. For this choice, I’m going mostly on faith, and I do have faith that Russell will reach all of his goals and go down as one of the greats of this era. Disregarding all of that, right now, for what he is, Russell is the guy that stirs the drink. This team doesn’t do what it’s done without Russell Wilson behind center. No Super Bowls (plural), no division titles (plural), not nearly as many 10-win seasons (he’s 5 for 5 in his short career, no pun intended) with a replacement-level player. Quarterback is the most important player on every NFL team, and the Seahawks are no exception. As such, he’s making my Mount Rushmore over the rest.
Tomorrow, I’m going to pick from among the above-listed 16 players and come up with a definitive Mount Rushmore for Seattle Pro Athletes. Weeeee!