Earlier this week, the state of Arizona scrapped a plan to temporarily re-brand state Highway 51 after soon-to-be Hall of Famer Randy Johnson because the roadway was already named in honor of fallen Iraq war veteran Army Pfc. Lori Piestewa.
Johnson, who will be inducted into the HOF on July 26, wore No. 51 when he played for the Diamondbacks -- and won a World Series and four Cy Young Awards -- over eight seasons. This isn’t the first time re-branding a road in honor of a ballplayer has backfired. After Mark McGwire hit a record 70 home runs in 1998, the state of Missouri named the stretch of I-70 that passed through St. Louis in his honor. After he later revealed that he took PEDs, the state took his name off the freeway.
Here’s an idea: Rather than name a stretch of road after a guy because his jersey number corresponds with it, or because he achieved his milestones near said street, how about doing so because the route itself reflects the player? For instance, Arizona could name state Highway 79 after the Big Unit. Not because of its number, but because that stretch of road has been ranked the fastest in the country, which would honor Johnson’s amazing fastball. Just make sure there are "Dove Crossing" signs along the side of the road.
Some other road renaming possibilities:
Rechristen Chicago's Dan Ryan Expressway the "Bengie Molina Non-Expressway" because traffic usually moves at a crawl so maddeningly slow that even Molina could outrun the cars.
Actually, most every main highway in every major city could be named after one of the Molina brothers or another slow player. Such as changing the Nimitz Freeway in Oakland to the Billy Butler Freeway or I-405 South near Seattle to the Jesus Montero Freeway or I-93 in Boston to the Big Papi Freeway ...
Call Hawaii's Road to Hana the "Road from Kershaw" because it has so many amazing curves.
Rename Highway 1 on Big Sur "Mike Trout 1" because it is such a jaw-dropping, selfie-inducing gorgeous stretch of road, just like Trout's performance on the field.
Or re-brand New York's Holland Tunnel the "Alex Rodriguez Tunnel" because of the enormous, wallet-cleaning toll drivers must fork over before they drive through it. Even with his record contract, A-Rod would flinch at that $14 toll.