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In October, espnWs weekly essay series will focus on heroes. Cheap Air Max 1 Canada For Sale .A runner knows her city: Block by block, she knows where the uptick of a curb tricks her feet, where the slow, mean slope of a final hill can make her lungs heavy.This is how I learned Memphis. Late summer mornings, I ran through our gated neighborhood down a narrow road lined on one side by chain-link and on the other by extraordinary hydrangeas peering atop high, solid wood fences. I traveled patiently, alone, to the crosswalk at the intersection of Poplar and Lafayette, then crossed to a long lawn of yellow grass and the track at East High, a monolith public school I have never set foot in. I looped circle after circle around the black kids playing football, practicing marching band, then weaved my way back through the high fences to home.That was 15 years ago.I learned to run in heat. Salt streaked down our foreheads, we met at closing bell, a row of us girls on a row of houses, feet tottering on the curb. We started with a 2-miler. Our careful line of small, white girls moved in steady puffing breaths down the city blocks. The adults gave us maps, small laminated things that could be held in our hands while we ran, winding the almost-suburbs of east Memphis, continuous loops around our beautiful school, its Bible Belt spiritualism.We could hold it ourselves, our pathway through a city they told us at any wrong turn could be dark. Black.The way we lived in Memphis was on purpose. A white life, something evangelical and wonderful for us -- it is daily decided on. We liked our class differences right between our fingers: in our clothing, our food, our cars, our houses, our booze. New money brought a new God, and year by year we were cleaner and brighter.The woman who taught us French was brought up in Memphis by a mother from New Orleans. White, working-class Catholic Memphians, a small but stalwart clan, their stony churches and thronging, imperfect gardens. Her name was Nanette.In the fall of 2002, Memphis opened its first half-marathon, and Nanette took it upon herself to lead a group of us. For the first time, we had to leave the knot of well-kept residential lanes around our campus for some real distance. We ran through the Tennessee wilderness outside of town at Shelby Farms. We ran through midtown, red and gold leaves making slick the cypress-covered paths of Overton Park. Through downtown, its empty blocks and dead neon signs, crossing Beale Street to where the city opens into the delta, the Mississippi brown and endless, our horizon.After that first race, Nanette and I went on to do New Orleans, this time without the army of girls accompanying us. With my Northern parents and my godlessness, I was no ones favorite in those years. Except hers. Nanette taught me to love these Souths, her homes, this brassy, sturdy woman who ran through, with me by her side. Nanette taught me how to use my body to love a city, to find home by the unfailing rhythm of feet on ground.In the fall of 2005 when we found out she had cancer, the letters came in enormous drifts. When I left school in the afternoons to see her, first at the hospital and then at home, fresh piles came in daily, students from decades past, younger students who hoped to get into her class in the years to come, neighbors, churchgoers, acquaintances.When we buried her one February morning, her South and her God were never more evident. Her priest swung his incense down the stone cathedral aisle, its waft something old. After decades of teaching us and praying to the bright white vaults of our Protestant haven, this time we came to her, droves of us in our pressed clothing, soft hair falling right. Girls she taught. Girls she led on runs.In the days and months that followed her death, my mailboxes too filled up. High, threatening piles of unread emails, card stock I left scattered on the shelves of the East Los Angeles apartment I never cleaned. I opened none of them, turned over no postcards. I was afraid to see the words of prayer of the women I grew up with, ran with. The sadness and the God that belonged to them did not belong to me. The sharp scent of citrus and rind came through my second-story porch windows, my overgrown lemon tree crawling upward through that spring, summer, and then the next fall.I waited 12 years to run the Memphis St. Jude Half Marathon again. This time, I did it with my mother. The faces of my high school classmates and teachers passed by me in uncanny blurs. This marathon was high-tech, massive in scale, a beautiful winding way through Memphis old residential gardens and its rapidly gentrifying downtown blocks. Well-designed, pressure-washed sidewalks and clever storefronts dislodge me from what I knew of that place.When I dont sleep, I conjecture about the somewhere else, as being a child down there taught me to do. What might have happened if it hadnt been that school, that life. That river, that town. Would she have died, and young? Would she have had those years of illness? Moll, she would often say, my oily cafeteria lunch in front of me, her empty classroom, the sounds of girls drifting along the walkway outside. Dont be in the business of comparing one life to another. She twirled in her desk chair, an old, mashed pillow underneath her. No one ever wins.Today on the day that I am writing this and some other day when you are reading this, a woman will run in Memphis. I do not know her. I do not know where she goes, where shes running to. Air Max 1 Canada Sale . Just not the game. Kyle Palmieri scored two straight goals in the third period to rally the Anaheim Ducks past the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Tuesday night. Wholesale Air Max 1 Canada . -- Ken Appleby made 32 saves for his first shutout of the season to lead the Oshawa Generals to a 2-0 win over the Belleville Bulls on Wednesday in Ontario Hockey League action. http://www.discountairmax1canada.com/ .  Aside from the trilogy main event title fight, there are a number of intriguing matchups in the heavyweight, welterweight and lightweight divisions. Do you want big names? Big numbers? Big personalities? Welcome to All-Time #MLBRank, our ranking of the top 100 players in baseball history.To create our list, an ESPN expert panel voted on thousands of head-to-head matchups of 162 players, based on both peak performance and career value.The top 100 will roll out next week. This week, we bring you the top 10 at each position. Thursday brings the top 10 infielders by position of all time, followed by pitchers and catchers on Friday.Have fun!TOP 10 FIRST BASEMENJoin the discussion by using the #MLBRank hashtag, and follow along?@BBTN?and on Facebook.10. David OrtizTeams Minnesota Twins (1997-2002), Boston Red Sox (03-present)Honors 10-time All-Star (2004-08, 10-13, 16), World Series MVP (13), six Silver Sluggers (04-07, 11, 13)Championships 3 -- Boston (2004, 07, 13)Career stats* .286/.380/.552, OPS -- .931, Hits -- 2,400, HRs -- 525, RBIs?-- 1,713*Stats through July 10, 2016The playerNone other than the late Kirby Puckett once said a young Big Papi reminded him of Willie McCovey, but not even McCovey had 600 career doubles in addition to 500 homers. Only Ortiz, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds did that.?-- Scott Lauber, ESPN.com Red Sox reporter There are stats that tell you what David Ortiz has accomplished. You dont need them. There are scouting reports that tell pitchers to fear the Red Sox slugger. You can throw them out. There are critics who question Ortizs legacy. They dont slow him: There are only two words you need to know when you are discussing Ortiz: Big Papi. Hes bigger than baseball. A superstars superstar. The kind of player who makes you hope to have grandkids someday just so you can tell them you saw Big Papi play. -- Dan Mullen, ESPN.com senior MLB editorOK, I get it, we dont consider DH an official position more than 40 years since its invention. That helps Papi here, because he has less than two years of bad defensive play to pull his career value down, making him sort of Harmon Killebrews opposite. But even then, he doesnt crack the all-time top 20 in offensive WAR at first base, so seeing him here seems like understandable sentiment for a great player winding down a superb career. -- Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com senior writerOrtizs career is full of great facts from start to finish, but its his dominance at an advanced age that has made him so special. Hes the only player in history to manage at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in each of his ages 37, 38 and 39 seasons, and as a 40-year-old in 2016, hes on pace for a whopping 41 homers and 134 RBIs. -- Tristan Cockroft, ESPN.com senior writer9. Frank ThomasTeams Chicago White Sox (1990-2005), Oakland As (06, 08), Toronto Blue Jays (07-08)Honors Two-time MVP (1993-94), five-time All-Star (93-97), four Silver Sluggers (91, 93-94, 2000), Hall of Fame (14)Championships 1* -- Chicago (2005)*played for Chicago during 2005 season, but was injured during the playoffsCareer stats .301/.419/.555, OPS -- .974, Hits -- 2,468, HRs -- 521, RBIs -- 1,704The playerThis is the picture of offensive consistency: The Big Hurt had seven consecutive seasons with a .300 batting average and at least 100 walks, 100 runs, 100 RBIs and 20 homers. Ted Williams was the only other player to even have five. -- LauberFrank Thomas stands 6-foot-5. He weighs 240 pounds. He lined up on college football Saturdays before shifting his focus to baseball. He brews his own beer. He answers to The Big Hurt. The first word that should come to mind here is intimidation. But it isnt; its patience. Thomas won an MVP by walking 112 times during a 41-home run season and then he did it again . How many players can say that? -- MullenThomas is the most extraordinary hitter on this list, because he could hit .300 and walk 100 times and slug .550 -- essentially every year over his entire career. Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera couldnt do that. Heck, nobody has since integration. If not for the injuries in his 30s, he could have been No. 1, but he can settle for being the first DH elected to the HOF, spending more than 1,300 of his 2,300 games at DH. -- KahrlWhen Thomas first arrived in the bigs, I cannot remember a single player Id have imagined a pitcher could fear facing more. Had they tracked exit velocity in the early 1990s, hed have surely had gaudy numbers in that department. -- Cockcroft8. Harmon KillebrewTeams Washington Senators (1954-60), Minnesota Twins (61-74), Kansas City Royals (75)Honors MVP (1969), 13-time All-Star (59*, 61*, 63-71), Hall of Fame (84)*Played in two All-Star Games in 59 and 61Championships NoneCareer stats .256/.376/.509, OPS -- .884, Hits -- 2,086, HRs - 573, RBIs -- 1,584The playerKillebrew had eight 40-homer seasons -- only Babe Ruth had more -- and led his league six times in long balls. They called him Killer, but he was viewed as one of the nicest guys in the game, and in some ways set the stage for the modern hitter, trying to hit a home run every time up, even at the expense of strikeouts. The Twins moved him between first base, third base and left field, and maybe that lack of one position has hurt his legacy a bit.?-- David Schoenfield, ESPN.com senior writerIts fun to see Killebrew slip in here. Value metrics like WAR punish him for the Twins ongoing demand that he play a lot of third or left, something he couldnt control or do well. His defense-only WAR of minus-18 career is a big drag on a bat (plus-71.2) that merits inclusion here. -- Kahrl7. Willie McCoveyTeams San Francisco Giants (1959-73, 77-80), San Diego Padres (74-76), Oakland As (76)Honors Rookie of the Year (1959),?six-time NL All-Star (63, 66, 68-71), All-Star Game MVP (69),?MVP (69), Hall of Fame (86)Championships NoneCareer stats .270/.374/.515, OPS -- .889, Hits -- 2,211, HRs - 521, RBIs -- 1,555The playerBecause the Giants came up with him and Orlando Cepeda at the same time, McCovey actually spent the first few years of his career as a part-time player. Hed still manage to hit 521 home runs. His peak was a little shorter than others here (seven great seasons), but he also may have hit 700 home runs had he come up in the 1990s. -- SchoenfieldThe only man in MLB history to get 40+ intentional walks (in consecutive seasons, no less) before Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols came along. McCovey did that during his 1968-70 peak, when he averaged 40 homers and 110 walks per season. A worthy entry here, although Id rate him with Jeff Bagwell and Jim Thome. -- Kahrl6. Hank GreenbergTeams Detroit Tigers (1930, 33-41, 45-46), Pittsburgh Pirates (47)Honors Two-time AL MVP (1935, 40), five-time AL All Star (37-40, 45*), Hall of Fame (56)*Game not playedChampionships 2 -- Detroit (1935, 45)Career stats .313/.412/.605, OPS -- 1.017, Hits -- 1,628, HRs -- 331, RBIs -- 1,274The playerImagine if wed had All-Star voting in the 1930s: For AL first basemen, you would have had to choose from Greenberg, Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx. Good luck. Greenberg didnt have the same career length as those two -- he missed one season with injury and then nearly four full years to World War II -- and at his peak wasnt quite at their level at the plate, but he did hit 58 home runs one year and was a great RBIs man.?-- SchoenfieldIf anything, he is underrated after losing three of his prime years to military service, like other great players of the era. Until Sandy Koufax came along, he was the beacon of hope to sports-loving American Jews. -- Mark Saxon, ESPN.com Cardinals reporterDoes he belong in the top 10? He was good, but was he better than Jim Thome and his 612 HRs? Better than Jeff Bagwell? Thats just for starters, and thats the rub: I suspect Greenberg (whos just 16th overall in offensive WAR among first basemen) drifts up this high because our panel overcorrected a bit on PED accusations, so a guy with an outstandiing, abbreviated career like Greenbergs gets sucked into the vacuum. Air Max 1 Canada Store. -- Kahrl5. Miguel CabreraTeams Florida Marlins (2003-07), Detroit Tigers (08-present)Honors Four-time NL All-Star (2004-07), two NL Silver Sluggers (05-06), four AL Silver Sluggers (10, 12-13, 15), seven-time AL All-Star (10-16), two-time AL MVP (12-13), AL Triple Crown (12)Championships 1 -- Florida (2003)Career stats* .320/.398/.560, OPS -- .958, Hits - 2,429, HRs -- 426, RBIs -- 1,498*Stats through July 10, 2016The playerOne of the most prolific hitters of his generation, Cabrera won the Triple Crown in 2012, the first player to do so in 45 years. Barry Bonds recently praised his prowess from the plate, lauding his baseball IQ as one of the best in the game.?-- Katie Strang, ESPN.com Tigers reporter The modern games answer to Jimmie Foxx: a child prodigy at the plate who won big early, gifted with remarkable plate coverage with power. That 2010-13 run was good for an average of 8 WAR per season, or right around what Albert Pujols averaged for his 11 years with the Cardinals, to put that into perspective. -- KahrlOnly eight players in the history of baseball have had had more .300-30-100 seasons than Cabreras seven, and unlike two of the others, hes not even done yet. From the moment he stepped on a big league diamond you could tell hed be special; debuting at the age of 20 years, 63 days, playing a position, left field, that he had manned only three times previously as a pro, Cabrera hit a walk-off home run in extra innings. -- Cockcroft4. Jimmie FoxxTeams Philadelphia As (1925-35), Boston Red Sox (36-42), Chicago Cubs (42, 44), Philadelphia Phillies (45)Honors Three-time AL MVP (1932, 33, 38), nine-time AL All-Star (33-41), Hall of Fame (51)?Championships 2 -- Philadelphia As (1929, 30)Career stats .325/.428/.609, OPS -- 1.038, Hits - 2,646, HRs -- 534, RBIs -- 1,922The playerReady to rake before he turned 19, Foxx was the offensive star of the 29-31 As team that blew by the Ruth/Gehrig Yankees for three straight pennants, and also the youngest, just 23 in 31. That was his last postseason appearance, but he went on to win three MVPs, set the right-handed HR record (later tied by Greenberg and topped by Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa). The only first baseman not named Gehrig with a 10-WAR season, and the only one who comes close to Gehrig and Pujols for career value or peak value.?-- KahrlPart of the famed 1929-31 Philadelphia Athletics that won three straight AL pennants -- over the Ruth/Gehrig Yankees -- Double X was one of the most feared sluggers in the games history, twice hitting 50 home runs and winning three MVP awards. He wasnt just a power guy, however, winning two batting titles to go with four home run titles. If hed done more in his 30s -- he was essentially done at age 33 -- he would be a candidate for a top 10 or 15 player of all time.?-- Schoenfield3. Albert PujolsTeams St. Louis Cardinals (2001-11), Los Angeles Angels (12-present)Honors NL Rookie of the Year (2001), six NL Silver Sluggers (01, 03-04, 08-10), three-time NL MVP (05, 08-09), two NL Gold Gloves (06, 10), nine-time NL All-Star (01, 03-10), AL All-Star (15)Championships 2 -- St. Louis (2006, 11)Career stats* .310/.394/.574, OPS -- .969, Hits -- 2,749, HRs -- 575, RBIs -- 1,758*Stats through July 10, 2016The playerI get into this elsewhere, but I think were punishing Pujols overmuch for his current fade. That would be a shame, because his initial 11-year run with the Cardinals might have been the best stretch by any first baseman ever. -- KahrlHis production in recent years affects our current view of him, but Ill take Pujols over Lou Gehrig as the greatest first baseman of all time. Pujols put up monster numbers in a tougher era, was an outstanding defensive first baseman and, while not fast, was one of the smartest baserunners Ive ever seen. He led NL position players in WAR six straight seasons from 2005 to 2010. Ill take that.?-- SchoenfieldFor 10 consecutive seasons to begin his career, Pujols managed at least a .300 batting average, 30 home runs and 100 RBIs, easily a major league record. Heck, theres only one other player in history who had more .300-30-100 campaigns in his entire career: Babe Ruth (12). --?CockcroftSome power hitters are HR-on-Demand guys. They always seem to hit home runs in big spots. In this generation, one of the best homer on demand guys is Albert Pujols. In his prime, there was no one better to have up in a situation in which the game was on the line. -- Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Info2. Stan MusialTeams St. Louis Cardinals (1941-44, 46-63)Honors Three-time MVP (1943, 46, 48), 24-time All-Star (43-44, 46-63*), Hall of Fame (69)*played in two All-Star Games in 1959, 60, 61 and 62Championships 3 -- St. Louis (1942, 44, 46)Career stats .331/.417/.559, OPS -- .976 Hits -- 3,630, HRs -- 475, RBIs -- 1,951The playerIs he the most underrated all-time Inner Circle-caliber Hall of Famer? Maybe so, but heres how respected he was while active: He won three MVP awards and finished second in the voting four other times. He played first base, left field, right field and even center early in his career and hustled every second he played.?-- SchoenfieldHe spent most of his career in the outfield, but inviting him into this conversation, he outpoints Gehrig in career offensive WAR , 124.7 to 112.1, and is just behind him for value across his seven best seasons (64.2 to 67.7). The three MVP awards are impressive enough, but he also finished second four times, reflecting his 11-year postwar run with an 1.017 OPS while averaging almost 80 extra-base hits per year. -- Kahrl1. Lou GehrigTeams New York Yankees (1923-39)Honors Two-time MVP (1927, 36), Triple Crown (34), seven-time All-Star (33-39), Hall of Fame (39 -- special election)Championships6 -- New York (1927-28, 32, 36-38)Career stats .340/.447/.632, OPS -- 1.080, Hits -- 2,721, HR -- 493, RBIs -- 1,995The playerDespite playing most of his career in the shadow of Babe Ruth, he ranks third all-time in slugging (.632) and OPS (1.080), fifth in on-base percentage (.447) and sixth in RBIs (1,995). Has there ever been a better sidekick in sports history??-- Lauber?As far as reaching impossible heights, theres Everest, theres Mons Olympus on Mars, and then theres Lou Gehrig. -- KahrlBabe Ruths wing man. A part of Murderers Row. The Streak. The Speech. If those are the first things you think of when you think of Lou Gehrig, its time to flip over the baseball card to understand how someone ranked this high could also be underrated at the same time. Does a .300/.431/.584 season sound like an all-time great to you? Thats Lou Gehrigs 1929. A down year for the Yankees first baseman.?-- MullenPerhaps whats even more remarkable about Gehrigs Iron Man streak of 2,130 consecutive games played is how consistently productive he was during it, totaling 492 home runs and 1,981 RBIs in those contests. Only five players in history had more RBIs and 27 hit more homers in their entire careers, all of which included much more time off than Gehrig received. -- CockcroftMy favorite thing about Lou Gehrig is how modest he was about his accomplishments. He once told a reporter: Why do people make such a fuss about a fellow sticking to a good steady job. I like to play baseball and the Yankees seem to want me in there, so why shouldnt I play every day. -- SimonOf the top six RBI seasons of all time, Lou Gehrig had three of them. In 1927, hitting behind Babe Ruth, who hit 60 homers that year, Gehrig drove in 175 runs. -- Tim Kurkjian, ESPN senior writerFor more about Lou Gehrig and the 1927 Yankees, check out The Diary of Myles Thomas. ' ' '
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