As the new year draws ever nearer, it’s time to look at ten more MLB legends who should be added to MLB The Show. Today’s list includes three players who were all teammates with the Dodgers in the late 2000s, as well as multiple Cy Young award winners, and an MLB The Show cover athlete who was recently removed from the game.
Andre Ethier may not have been a perennial All-Star player, but he was still an incredibly fun player to watch during the early 2010s. Ethier made his MLB debut in 2006 at the age of 24. He would play his entire 12-year MLB career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. During his career, Ethier accumulated 1367 hits, 162 HRs, 21.5 WAR, and had a career 122 OPS+.
Ethier could have a few different options for Diamond Dynasty cards. Ethier went to two All-Star games in 2010 and 2011, so he could have cards for those appearances. He could also get Awards series cards for his 2009 Silver Slugger and his 2011 Gold Glove.
While Rafael Furcal may not have had the most impressive numbers at the plate during his career, he still made an impact on the field. Furcal debuted in 2000 with the Atlanta Braves. He hit .295 over 131 games and took home NL Rookie of the Year. Over the course of his career, Furcal amassed 1,817 hits, 113 HRs, 39.5 WAR, 314 stolen bases, and a .281 batting average.
Furcal made three All-Star games during his career, so those could be options for his Diamond Dynasty cards. His Awards series Rookie of the Year card would also be a pretty popular option to add to an already stacked Atlanta Braves theme team. No matter what type of card he has, it needs to have great fielding and baserunning attributes. Similar to Ozzie Smith or Ricky Henderson, two of my personal favorites in Diamond Dynasty.
Nomar Garciaparra was one of the faces of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. After bursting onto the scene in his 1997 Rookie of the Year campaign, Nomar finished in the top 10 in AL MVP voting every year from 1997 to 2000. Nomar was named to six All-Star games and won consecutive AL Batting Titles in 1999 and 2000. Garciaparra tallied 1,747 hits, 229 HRs, 44.3 WAR, and a 124 OPS+ during his 14-year MLB career.
Nomar’s Diamond Dynasty cards would have incredible hitting stats. A Retro Finest for his 1998 season would be a contender for one of the best in the game. That year, Garciaparra hit .323 with 35 HRs and 122 RBIs and finished 2nd in AL MVP voting. Also, a Rookie of the Year Awards series card would be an exceedingly popular option. Whatever type of card Nomar has, his batting glove ritual has to be included as an animation. If it can be included in MLB 09 The Show (which the above screenshot of this animation is from) then it can be included now.
When you think of the great power hitters from the 2000s, you think of guys like Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, and Ryan Howard. However, Adrian Gonzalez was right up there with those guys. From 2006 to 2011, Gonzalez averaged 31 HRs and 37 2Bs a season. During his 15-year career, Gonzalez had 2,050 hits, 317 HRs, 43.5 WAR, a .843 OPS, and 129 OPS+. He was also named to 5 All-Star games and won 4 Gold Gloves and 2 Silver Slugger Awards.
The MLB 12 The Show cover athlete would add to an impressive list of elite 1B from this era in Diamond Dynasty. The best option for a Gonzalez card would be a Retro Finest for the 2009 season. That year, Gonzalez hit 40 HRs with a 162 OPS+ and led the league with 199 walks.
Felix Hernandez was one of the most dominant pitchers of the 2010s. From 2009 to 2015, King Felix averaged 15 wins, 228 IP, 221 strikeouts, and had a 2.83 ERA and a 136 ERA+. He was named to 6 All-Star games, won two AL ERA titles, and finished top ten in AL Cy Young voting six times, including winning the award in 2010. In 2012, Hernandez threw the first perfect game in Mariners’ history, and just the 23rd perfect game in MLB history. Hernandez is the Mariners’ all-time leader in both wins and strikeouts and was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in August 2023.
Felix Hernandez cards would be among the most dominant in Diamond Dynasty. A Milestone card for his 2012 perfect game and an Awards series card for his 2010 Cy Young would both be great options. Also, if the Incognito series returns from MLB The Show 23, Hernandez has one of the most recognizable nicknames in baseball, going by simply King Felix.
Ask anyone who watched baseball in the ’90s and early 2000s who the most electric players were, it won’t be long until they mention Andruw Jones. Jones was the best example of what it meant to be a 5-tool player. His highlight reels have millions of views on YouTube and include everything from moonshot homers to diving web gem catches.
Jones played 17 seasons in the MLB, totaling just under 2,000 hits, 434 HRs, 1,289 RBIs, 62.7 WAR, and a .823 OPS. Jones was also a prolific fielder in his time, as he won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves and had 65 defensive runs saved and 24.4 defensive WAR.
Andruw Jones would have some of the most fun cards in Diamond Dynasty. The first option would be an Awards series card based on either his Gold Glove or Silver Slugger seasons. Another option could be Milestone series cards for Jones’s 10 Gold Gloves, as well as one for his 51 HR season in 2005. The best version of Jones would have incredible power, contact, speed, and fielding abilities, making him one of the most popular and powerful cards in the history of the mode.
Speaking of electric outfielders, Matt Kemp was one of the faces of the Dodgers throughout the 2010s. Kemp played 15 years in the big leagues, recording 1,808 hits and 287 HRs. Kemps was a 3-time All-Star and won 2 Gold Gloves and 2 Silver Sluggers.
Kemp would be a fine addition to a Dodgers theme team in Diamond Dynasty. A Retro Finest for his 2011 season would be a juggernaut. That year, Kemp led the NL with 39 HRs, 126 RBIs, and a 172 OPS+ as he finished second in MVP voting to Ryan Braun. Kemp would have great hitting and baserunning ratings, making him a great option for early in your lineup.
Derrek Lee has a good case for one of the most underrated hitters of the 2000s. Lee started as a key piece on the young Marlins squad that won the 2003 World Series. That year, Lee hit 31 HRs and 31 2Bs, along with swiping a career-high 21 bases. That November, Lee was traded to the Chicago Cubs, where he would truly begin to make a name for himself. From 2004 to 2009, Lee averaged 36 2Bs and 27 HRs a season, while posting a .304 batting average and a .923 OPS.
The most obvious choice for an S-tier Derrek Lee card in Diamond Dynasty is a Retro Finest for his 2005 season. In 2005, Lee put up a career-high 50 HRs, as well as a .335 batting average which led the NL. Lee made his first All-Star appearance this year and finished third in MVP voting to Albert Pujols and Andruw Jones.
Lincecum looked like he was set to become one of the greatest pitchers of all time at one point. The Giants ace won back-to-back NL Cy Young awards in 2008 and 2009. He followed that up with All-Star seasons in 2010 and 2011. However, Lincecum seemed to lose something starting in 2012. He posted a 5.18 ERA, and his strikeout numbers dropped significantly. Lincecum went from a 143 ERA+ from 2008 to 2011, to a 72 ERA+ for the rest of his career. Despite this, Lincecum won three World Series with the Giants and is remembered as a legend to Bay Area fans.
Lincecum could be a major pitcher in Diamond Dynasty. He led the NL in strikeouts three straight years, so his cards would have a very high K/9 rating. He also pitched more than 200 innings for four straight seasons, so high stamina would also be necessary. Lincecum threw two no-hitters in his career, so Milestone series cards for these games would be a fun option for him. Another would be Awards series cards for both of his Cy Young-winning seasons.
Hideki Matsui is one of the greatest baseball players to come out of Japan. After ten years of playing professionally in Japan, Matsui signed with the Yankees in 2003. In his first season in MLB, Matsui played 163 games and recorded 42 2Bs and 106 RBIs. Over 10 years in the majors, Matsui had 1,253 hits, 175 HRs, a .282 batting average, and 118 OPS+.
Matsui would be an easy player to include in any series of cards SDS comes up with. However, the one card I, and every other Yankee fan, want to see is one based on Matsui’s 2009 World Series MVP. In the 2009 World Series, Matsui had 8 hits and 3 HRs as the Yankees beat the Phillies in six games to earn the 27th championship in franchise history. This performance solidified Matsui’s permanent status as a Yankees legend.