Humility is not a virtue often attributed to pro athletes, particularly superstars. All the more reason to recognize those who do serve as genuine role models.
About Houston Astros superstar Carlos Correa, the team’s assistant to the general manager and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio explains, “Humility is an amazing quality … To be a special player and have humility is not unnoticed by his teammates, the media and fans.” The young phenom’s enormous success and popularity, Biggio has observed, is not a distraction for the player or his teammates.
Correa is a uniquely talented player who’s also humble. Not surprisingly, ballplayers with similarly super/human qualities rank among the game’s favorites — past and present. The online site “Bleacher Report” back in 2011 honored the 40 most respected athletes. Another more recent “BR” list featured the most inspirational players. And an MLB website article offered up the best role models. Players should take great pride in being recognized on any or all of these prestigious lists.
There’s also this new list, inherently modest in nature, that recognizes an even higher standard of excellence. With due humility, based on my critical analyses and personal recollections, here is the field of Major League Baseball’s “Most Humble Valuable Players.”
P Sandy Koufax, Greg Maddox
C Buster Posey, Joe Mauer
1B Lou Gehrig, Hank Greenberg, Albert Pujols, Paul Goldschmidt
2B Jackie Robinson, Rod Carew
SS Ernie Banks, Derek Jeter, Carlos Correa
3B Kris Bryant, Chipper Jones, Adrian Beltre
OF Roberto Clemente, Tony Gwynn, Kirby Puckett, Mike Trout, Ichiro Suzuki, Aaron Judge, George Springer
Granted, humility is not for everyone. In fact, in pro sports it often seems the opposite, conceit, is a prerequisite for popularity and recompence for achieving. But, as teams’ management, rosters and fans show their appreciation for players who do balance their success with humility, such positive role models should become more of an expectation than exception.
Who’d I miss? Comments encouraged …