MLB The Show 20: Legends We Need to See
Thursday was a devastating day for baseball fans, as the league suspended the season until mid-April at the earliest. Many fans have wondered what they would do in the meantime. Quietly in the background, however, the release date for MLB: The Show 20 showed up. Those who preordered the game got to start playing it at midnight Eastern on Friday morning. Could an early release date have been more fortuitous?
In recent years, one feature MLB: The Show has included has been legends. They appear in three legends teams, available in Play Now mode, and through cards in the popular Diamond Dynasty mode. Several new ones showed up this year, including David Ortiz, Mariano Rivera, Mickey Mantle, Gary Sheffield, Todd Helton, John Franco, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine.
There are still some notable absences, however. Here are some players who definitely need to be added.
Why on Earth is one of, if not THE greatest right-handed hitter of all time not on this game yet? For those who need a reminder, Hank Aaron racked up 3,771 hits (third all-time), 755 home runs (the record until 2007, now second all-time), 2,297 RBI (first all-time), and a .305 average. With his power, contact, speed, fielding, and arm, his card would be one of the most heavily coveted on the game. As time passes, he’s becoming underrated. One way to get younger fans to view his greatness with proper perspective would be to get him in this game.
Adding Mantle this year was a great move by San Diego Studios (SDS), the makers of MLB: The Show 20. This leaves Joe DiMaggio as the most famous New York Yankees player who is still not on the game. He has held the record for longest hitting streak – 56 games – for almost 80 years now. Many people consider that record to be unbreakable or at least close to it. With a career batting average of .325, his contact rating would be superb. Plus, he’s one of the most recognizable names in the history of baseball. He certainly needs to be in the game.
Three of the top five in career stolen bases are on this game (or have been recently enough to assume that they will be) – Rickey Henderson, Lou Brock, and Ty Cobb. The two who aren’t are Billy Hamilton (the 19th century one who holds the records for runs scored in a season) and Tim Raines. They are also the only two from the 800 Stolen Bases Club who aren’t on the game. SDS needs to fix this. Raines had solid contact, winning the National League batting title in 1986, and was a stolen base machine. The seven-time-All-Star’s speed and contact ratings will make him a highly-sought-after commodity.
Roberto Clemente, Larry Walker
The two greatest five-tool players of the last 50 years must join the game. Both Roberto Clemente and Larry Walker were line-drive hitters with power, speed, defense, and rifles for arms. They would be a blast to use and would definitely be hot commodities in the marketplace. How fun would it be to have one in right and one in left? On the flip side, how scary would it be to face an opponent who had both? SDS needs to add them post haste.
The most famous Yankee from the Steinbrenner era certainly deserves inclusion. While it’s correct that Derek Jeter‘s defense won’t be as high as a lot of the other legendary shortstops on the game, he certainly wouldn’t be a liability. His clutch rating would be through the roof, as would his contact. After all, he retired holding sixth place on the career hits list. With Rivera and Jorge Posada already being on the game (or in Posada’s case, having been on there, since his card hasn’t been spotted on this year’s edition yet), it’s only a matter of time before The Captain joins them. Hopefully SDS will do that sooner, not later.
Other Position Players
Others who would be fun to have but won’t be described in further detail are Tris Speaker, George Sisler, Eddie Collins, Vince Coleman, and Darryl Strawberry. Speaker, Sisler, and Collins would be tremendous contact threats. Coleman’s speed would make him a pain in the neck on the basepaths. The Straw Man’s five-tool ability would be fun to play from a what-if standpoint, as well.
The missing pitchers all qualify as “glaring omissions.” Imagine these five guys in a rotation. How are they not on the game?
It is baffling that the most intimidating pitcher of all time (sorry, Bob Gibson fans – he isn’t 6’10”) isn’t on MLB: The Show yet. His arm angle would drive people crazy, and that, coupled with his velocity, would make him tough enough. Then, once players think they have it timed, he’d unleash the 93-mph slider with a 30-inch break. Randy Johnson leads all lefties in career strikeouts with 4,875 and is second amongst all pitchers to Nolan Ryan (5,714). Please, SDS, add him soon.
Another baffling omission. Pedro Martinez had three devastating “out” pitches – a fastball, a breaking ball, and a changeup. His ratings in K/9, velocity, and movement will all be off the charts. Maybe he isn’t on the game because a player who had him would have too great of an advantage. Who knows. SDS needs to rectify his absence quickly.
His nickname was “The Left Arm of God.” He is one of only five Hall of Fame pitchers – along with Johnson, Martinez, Ryan, and Trevor Hoffman – who had more career strikeouts than innings pitched. Many people who saw him said that, during his peak, he was the greatest pitcher of all time. Pete Rose once said in an interview that “he had a curveball that broke like this” as he bounced a baseball straight down. “How am I supposed to hit that?” (Rose hit 10-for-57 off Koufax with 10 strikeouts – a .175 average.) Please, please, PLEASE, SDS, put him on the game!
Most people immediately think of Don Drysdale when they think of Koufax, and for good reason. They made quite a one-two punch. Drysdale was one of the most intimidating right-handers of the 1960s. It is well-known through baseball lore that Drysdale would sometimes hit a batter instead of intentionally walking him – it didn’t make sense to Drysdale to take four pitches to do something that could be accomplished with one. With a career ERA of 2.95 and ERA- of 83, run scoring will be at a premium against him. After all, he held the record for consecutive scoreless innings (58 2/3) from 1968 until Orel Hershiser broke it in 1988. He would be a great addition to MLB: The Show, so hopefully players won’t have to wait long to see him in the game.
When Steve Carlton retired, he led all left-handed pitchers in career strikeouts with 4,136. He is now second amongst lefties and fourth all-time. Fifty-five of his 329 wins were complete-game shutouts. Every pitch he threw was nasty, whether it be his fastball, slider, or knee-buckling slow curve. As an added bonus, he wasn’t a bad hitter, either. Philadelphia Phillies fans wouldn’t be the only ones to love having him on the game. He’d be another hot commodity, and it would be a good idea for SDS to add him.
MLB: The Show 20 might see gameplay records as far as time spent due to the MLB season being put on hiatus. Fans of the series would already be playing it like crazy if it weren’t for the outbreak concerns, but with many places shutting down, people will need things to do. SDS has made another great game, and adding these legends will make it even better.
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