Rachel Levitin: Which Nationals player is worthy of Ring?

Forgive me while I sin momentarily and dream of baseball that has yet to played. And, no, I'm not talking about Washington baseball in October or the remaining games of the 2012 season. I'm talking about way out into the future, decades down the line.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., inducted two new members on July 21. Then a week or so later, a friend and fellow baseball enthusiast packaged the Cooperstown 2012 induction program up and sent it to me in the mail.

While I looked at the faces and skimmed the articles I was overcome with nostalgia for the game. Color me biased for being from Chicago and raised near Wrigley Field, but Ron Santo's induction into the Hall of Fame is a priceless baseball moment. That's what got me thinking about the Nationals and their future in defining how their team is remembered. What legacy will the players leave behind?

Long story short: I started to fantasize about who would end up being the first few Nats to be added to their home park's very own Ring of Honor.

The Ring of Honor, installed and unveiled in August 2010, visually surrounds the seats behind home plate. All 18 players enshrined by the Nats Park Ring of Honor have also been inducted into the Hall of Fame, including the late Gary Carter and Harmon Killebrew, Walter Johnson and 2010 inductee Andre Dawson.

The Ring of Honor, according to a MASNsports.com post when it was unveiled, "is one of the only in-stadium mentions of the Montreal Expos, who are mostly absent form in-stadium sinage." It also creates strong ties to the Grays and Senators, all of whom are of Washington baseball descent.

Not just any Nat will be voted into that Ring of Honor one day. The criteria for being added to the ring include being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and an association to the Washington Nationals organization (and significant years spent with the team are an absolute must).

There are a number of current Nationals who could join that Ring of Honor with some of the most memorable names in Washington baseball history down the line. But the real question is: Who's going to be the first Nationals player added to the list?

Rachel Levitin blogs about the Nationals for We Love DC, and will be sharing her observations about baseball in the nation's capital as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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