Who deserves to be bronzed?

So we don't have to, Wezen-Ball's Larry Granillo ranks baseball's best statues, by ballpark. Larry says the Pirates have the best statues, and that's even without the forthcoming Mazeroski statue. I've been there, and I think he's right.

Of the 30 franchises, only 20 feature statues depicting actual players. And the Orioles' only statue is Babe Ruth, who didn't actually play for the franchise (of course the Babe was born in Baltimore and did play for the minor-league Orioles in 1914). Four stadiums have generic sort of players, with the Rockies sporting the best of those.

So six teams -- the Rays, Twins, A's, Mets, Marlins, and Dodgers -- don't have statues, and six more are without statues for their own players. One of those is the Mariners, and someone on Twitter wondered which pose the M's should someday use for Ichiro. The obvious answer is something like this, with Ichiro already heading toward first base as bat meets ball.

That's too easy, though, isn't it? Ichiro hits and he bunts and he runs and he fields and he throws. If the Mariners ever decide to erect a monument to Ichiro, they should do something different. They should come up with the first manga-influenced sculpture, or perhaps a hologram that materializes when someone's within 10 feet, and changes poses every five seconds.

Of course, Ichiro probably won't be the first statue to appear outside Safeco Field. He'll have to get in line behind Ken Griffey Jr. and perhaps Edgar Martinez, right? Particularly if Edgar winds up in the Hall of Fame.

With that in mind, let's run through the other candidates for the statue-less ballparks.

What are the criteria? First, I think we're looking for a great player, either a Hall of Famer or just short (and yes, I'm happy to make an exception for home-town guys like Willie Horton and Frank White). And second, when you think of a player, you should think of this franchise (and yes, I'm happy to make exceptions for Ruth in Baltimore and Hank Aaron in Milwaukee). Can the Angels commission a Nolan Ryan statue? Sure. But he won a lot of games for the Astros and Rangers, too (and he's got a statue in Arlington). Can the Diamondbacks erect a bronze version of Randy Johnson? Sure. He won four (straight!) Cy Youngs as a Diamondback. But he won more games as a Mariner.

Here are my top candidates, after just a bit of research:

Orioles - Cal Ripken (why hasn't this happened already?)

Mets - Tom Seaver (ditto)

Twins - Kirby Puckett, Rod Carew, and someday probably Joe Mauer

Dodgers - Sandy Koufax, Sandy Koufax, and Sandy Koufax

Rockies - Todd Helton

Blue Jays - Dave Stieb (yeah, it's a stretch)

Rays - Carl Crawford if they lock him up (and Evan Longoria if they don't)

Marlins - Hanley Ramirez if they lock him up

Athletics - Rickey and Reggie both candidates, but played a lot for other teams

Angels - Garret Anderson? Tim Salmon?? Brian Downing???

Diamondbacks - Randy Johnson, but only if they're desperate

Anyway, most of that's in the distant future. If you leave this discussion with anything, let's try to break someday with the bronze paradigm. Artists are doing amazing things these days with lasers.

Update: My omission of Harmon Killebrew is inexcusable.

Update II: There's already a Ripken statue at Camden Yards. Sort of. Eddie Murray, too. I sorta like these, if only because they're unique (as far as I know). But it's odd that you can't see an image of Ripken outside the ballpark.