Dobbs: Looked up to favorite players
Marlins third baseman takes pride in setting a good example
Growing up, I had three favorite players. Each was different, but was successful in his own right.
Being from California, I guess it was natural for me to gravitate toward local -- or somewhat local -- guys. I was born in Los Angeles and later on moved out to the Inland Empire area. I grew up following both the Dodgers and Angels, but I think I liked the Dodgers a little bit more.
One of my favorites, Will Clark, actually played for the rival Giants. Still, he was always one of my favorite players. He just had the prettiest left-handed swing ever. I am a left-handed hitter myself, so I always identified with him.
I was a huge fan of Brian Downing of the Angels. Simply put, Downing was a specimen. He could do everything. He could hit for average. He could hit for power. He wasn't the typical leadoff hitter. He was big, strong and very fast. He was just very fun to watch.
When it came to the Dodgers, Steve Sax was my guy. Sax could always be counted on to bust his hump on the way to first base. That's one of the big reasons I admired him. He wasn't a very big guy, stature-wise. He wasn't Jose Canseco or Mark McGwire or Pedro Guerrero -- big guys from that era. He was a smaller guy, an infielder who just played the game all out every day, every pitch and every hit. He played the game the way it should be played. I think that's why I gravitated toward him. I had tremendous respect for him.
Now, I am older and I have two children. They are still too young to have favorite players. But when I think of guys playing the game today that I would like my kids to look up to, I always think of my former teammate Raul Ibanez.
Raul, who I played with in Seattle, is a phenomenal human being in every aspect. He's a hard worker, has a tremendous work ethic and he's a wonderful family man. He's one guy that has always stood out to me.
When I was coming up through the Mariners organization, I looked up to guys like Alex Rodriguez and John Olerud. Carlos Guillen, Mike Cameron, Bret Boone, Jay Buhner and Edgar Martinez were all guys who were in the big leagues when I was coming up in that organization. There were a lot of great players and great guys on those teams. It was a real pleasure to watch those guys in Spring Training and take notes from them. To end up being able to play with them is an experience I will never forget.
To this day, I take great pride in trying to set a good example. I think it's important and something that inevitably comes with being a professional athlete. Not only should you take your craft seriously, but you should take seriously the impact you have on kids and others around you.
In his first season with the Marlins in 2011, Greg Dobbs had 439 plate appearances, the most in his eight-year big league career. Dobbs hit .275 and knocked in 49 runs, six shy of his career high.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.