After reading about the addition of Harriet Tubman to the 20 dollar bill, I got to thinking: If Major League Baseball had it’s own currency, who’d be on it?
It’s not entirely outlandish. After all, there are Disney Dollars and up in Canada they have Canadian Tire money, it’s not that much out of the realm of possibility that baseball could have it’s own currency that could only be used at ballparks, team stores, and the like. Maybe they could call them “Baseball Bucks”, or something like that.
So… who’d be on these… Baseball Bucks?
$1: Henry Chadwick. The one-dollar Baseball Buck would have to, like George Washington on the US $1, be that of a founding father. While Chadwick can’t be considered as one of baseball’s many possible inventors, he was one of the men who helped promote it and made it a widely-played sport.. He also developed many of the game’s mainstay statistics, such as batting average and ERA. It’s not surprising, really, that some have called him the “Father of Baseball”. So, it feels right that he’d be on the $1 Baseball Buck. On the other side of the $1 Baseball Buck would be a image of the Elysian Fields in New Jersey as it was during the early days of baseball.
$2: Ty Cobb. Thomas Jefferson is a guy who was so great, important, and brilliant that he kind of has to be on money, but who’s life was so full of personal failings and hypocrisy that at times you kind of wish you didn’t have to put him on money. So in some ways it’s good that he’s on the two-dollar-bill, the rarest of all currently-printed banknotes. I’d imagine that a similar arrangement would exist for Baseball Bucks. Ty Cobb was too good and too important of a player to be ignored, but, well, he was Ty Cobb, possibly the meanest son-of-a-gun to ever play the game. He possibly once killed a drifter, he once beat up a crippled man, and his racism is so well-known that it’s entirely possible he was less racist than many people think he was (he was still pretty racist, he just wasn’t as racist as Cap Anson, who was certifiably The Worst). But he also was unquestionably the greatest baseball player of all time before Babe Ruth showed up and still stands as one of the greatest hitters who ever lived, so…. he’s going to be the Baseball Bucks version of Thomas Jefferson. The reverse of the $2 Baseball Buck would be the late Tiger Stadium.
$5: Jackie Robinson. The $1 dollar bill belongs to the father, but $5 dollar bill belongs to the emancipator. Perhaps that is giving Jackie Robinson too much credit- after all, the integration of baseball was ultimately a result of many men (and women!), both black and white- but the fact remains that Jackie Robinson, more than anybody else in baseball history, belongs on money. And I’m talking about real money here, not fake hypothetical baseball money. So, not surprisingly, he’s a shoo-in for being on a Baseball Buck. The reverse of the $5 Baseball Buck would be Jackie Robinson sliding in as he steals home against Yogi Berra and the Yankees during the 1955 World Series.
$10: Ted Williams. I can’t really make any deep connection between Alexander Hamilton and Ted Williams (outside of the fact that they were both workaholic veterans who didn’t have the most stable of family lives growing up and made a bunch of enemies), but… c’mon, he’s Ted Williams. He’d have to be on a Baseball Buck. The reverse of the $10 Baseball Buck would be Fenway Park.
$20: Satchel Paige. There needs to be a pitcher amongst these legends, and while Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Sandy Koufax or Greg Maddux (amongst others) would all have fine claims, none of them were as colorful and legendary as Satchel Paige, who would also provide a nice nod to the great Negro Leaguers. The reverse of the $20 Baseball Buck would be the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City.
$50: John McGraw. There needs to be a manager. John McGraw is the greatest manager of all time (anybody who disagrees is also disagreeing with Connie Mack, who once declared that McGraw was the only true manager in baseball), so he’s it. It would make sense to have him be the $50 Baseball Buck, since the real fifty-dollar-bill has Ulysses Grant- a general- on it. The reverse of the $50 Baseball Buck would be Comiskey Park during the first All-Star Game, which McGraw managed in.
$100: Babe Ruth. It’s all about the Babe. And, just as Ben Franklin excelled in multiple areas and had a infamous appetite for food and women, so did the Bambino… although admittedly pitching and hitting is a bit different than politics and science (and writing, and philosophy, and… you get the idea.) And, much like how Ben Franklin was the first grand American celebrity, Ruth was baseball’s first megastar. Who else could be on the biggest denomination? The reverse of the $100 Baseball Buck would be the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
You may be wondering who’d be on the coins. Well, there wouldn’t be any coins, probably. I mean, Disney doesn’t have any coins in their Disney Dollars, so I don’t think MLB would, either. Maybe I can do that in another post….