The Faces of MLB Past

 Face of MLB.jpg

Last week, I bestowed on you the right to subvert Major League Baseball’s stupid Face of MLB twitter contest and choose the real face of Major League Baseball. While the correct choice would have been to refuse to participate in the sham of a democratic process where your candidates were selected for you, and the only real option was preordained, the plurality of you voted for Deranged Joe Mauer. That, I suppose is, is the best non-correct option, so good for the minority of you who acted appropriately and can now, therefor, impose your will on the masses.

Deranged Joe Mauer is the current face of Major League Baseball! Huzzah, I guess.

But, of course, Deranged Joe Mauer has only been the face of baseball for the last few years. There are literally at least a dozen years where he was not even born and people were playing the game. Who was the face of baseball then?

Fortunately, this does not require your input, which would be garbage. The enlightened despot, who has long existed in my imagination, has chosen for you as a means to demonstrate both his benevolence and God-given mandate to lead. For who can deny a leader this wise, kind, and handsome? His choices, dear friends, begin with the start of the World Series era and mark the most important face in the sport. The title belongs to that player for as long as he is in the league, and then passes on to the holder, except for John Martina in 1924, who wrested the title away from Babe Ruth by force (you will see why), and then returned it the following year:

1903-1913 – John Titus

John Titus

He has the sad droopy mustache of a man disappointed that President McKinley was assassinated.

1914 – 1919 – Joe Jackson

Shoeless Joe

One of the greatest players of his era, and almost destroyed the game itself. Also, a scary Halloween mask.

1921-1923 – Babe Ruth


Young Babe, just after hitting 54 homers and just before hitting 59, before the excesses of the Roaring ’20s.

1924 – Joe Martina

Joe Martina

Gah! That’s never not horrifying.

1925-1935 – Babe Ruth

Old Babe

Old Babe, just before he retired, depressed just like the rest of America.

1936-1942 – Joe DiMaggio


That man was considered not just the best player in baseball, but a sex symbol, and successfully wooed one of the most beautiful women of all time. That guy.

1943-1946 – Mickey Rocco


Rocco played three years as a productive first baseman for Cleveland while everyone was fighting in World War II. He then played one year as a below-average bench bat, and was never heard from again. Intensely Italian.

1947-1956 – Jackie Robinson


Probably doesn’t need an explanation.

1957-1965 – Don Mossi/Wally Moon


Ruled as co-counsels, and retired together.

1966 – Sandy Koufax


A short, but distinctive reign.

1967-1976 – Henry Aaron


The classiest guy ever to play the game?

1977-1987 – Reggie Jackson


The straw that stirs the drink cast the mold of the modern baseball superstar.

1988-1995 – John Kruk


With Krukkie, it’s not just the Fred Flintstone face, it’s the dripping wet mullet.

1996-2007 Barry Bonds’ rapidly expanding face


Symbolic of the entire era. Not passing judgment.

2008-present – Deranged Joe Mauer

Crazed Mauer

It’s not definite, but Joe Mauer might be about to come out of this picture bite off your ear. Don’t make him angry. Long live Deranged Joe Mauer!

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Mike Bates co-founded The Platoon Advantage, and has written for many other baseball websites, including NotGraphs (rest in peace) and The Score. Currently, he writes for MLB Daily Dish on SB Nation. His favorite word is paradigm. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBatesSBN.

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1957-1965: an era of lazy eyes and unibrows.