I’m on a blogging spree right now.
A few weeks back during a lengthy car ride from Asheville, NC to the research triangle, I put together my all-time team. That’s right, team is italicized. I put it together as if these are the guys that I would want out on the field, on the mound, in my bullpen, and on bench fulfilling different roles.
So I put together a 25-man roster consisting of Major Leaguers past and present. Here they are with some explanation.
Secondbase – Rogers Hornsby
He holds the second highest batting average ever at .358, who else would you want as your leadoff man? He hit over .400 three times and won seven batting crowns. He fell just 70 hits short of the highly regarded 3,000 hit club.
Centerfield – Willie Mays
Power and speed reign in my centerfield as “Say Hey” topped 3,000 hits, 2,000 runs, stole 338 bases, drove in 1,903 runs, and hit 660 homeruns. This one’s really no competition.
Leftfield – Ted Williams
Don’t look at the numbers because he went to war in the middle of his career. Number 9 could rake. Just know that he was the last player to hit over .400 in a season. In my opinion, Williams and my cleanup hitter are the best hitters ever in the game, and the three spot is where you put your best hitter.
Rightfield – Babe Ruth
In his time, no one even came close to his power numbers. Little does anyone know that he also was a career .342 hitter. Do I really need to rattle off the stats? He may be the most highly regarded athlete in history.
Thirdbase – Mike Schmidt
Michael Jack had that lethal combo at the hot corner of power and fielding ability. Along with his 548 career longballs, he won ten gold glove awards. He may be part of that last group of unskepticized power hitters.
Firstbase – Lou Gehrig
Overshadowed by the Babe, Gehrig quietly hit .340 for his career and posted a .632 slugging percentage along with 493 homeruns and 1,995 RBI. Starting Pujols was tempting here, but I stuck him on the bench until further notice.
Catcher – Johnny Bench
He was clutch, great defensively, and won two MVP awards as a catcher.
Shortstop – Derek Jeter
I’m sorry. I needed someone from my generation in the starting lineup. Just kidding. But honestly, the level of hate I have for the Yankees is the level of respect I have for Jeter, ironic? He is the best hitter I have seen at taking the ball the other way. He inside-outs the ball like no other, how could you not want that at the bottom of your lineup?
Righthander – Walter Johnson
“The Big Train” threw hard. 417 career wins on one of the worst teams in baseball history is an impressive feat on its own. Imagine the amount of wins he would get on this team. Yikes.
Lefthander – Sandy Koufax
Yea yea, I know, “he only had a bunch of great years and not a whole career.” The thing is, those years weren’t just great, they were amazing. In a five-year span, Koufax won 111 games, had an ERA under 2.00, struckout a boatload, and threw four no-hitters. Untouchable.
Righthander – Satchel Paige
This is tough because the Negro Leagues didn’t keep statistics really. But the fact that whenever I hear anyone relate what Satchel did on the mound to Walter Johnson, Sandy Koufax, and Nolan Ryan combined and even better. I’m going to trust them. I’ll just say that he did well in the Majors at 60 years of age.
Lefthander – Lefty Grove
He won exactly 300 games in the big-leagues and sported a .680 winning percentage which is the third highest in the Hall of Fame.
Righthander – Cy Young
Well he does have an award named after him. Denton True holds a plethera of pitching records including wins (511) and complete games (749).
Righthander – Dennis Eckersley
He recorded 320 saves as a closer after he turned 32 years of age. I could use him to spot start if I needed to, but given my starters, he would just be coming out of the bullpen for me.
Lefthander – Randy Johnson
It’s my team, so I can put a starter in the ‘pen. Imagine Johnson coming out of the bullpen to face a few lefties.
Righthander – Nolan Ryan
Same story here. He’d be another starter out of the bullpen for me. In a much needed strikeout situation, why not bring in the all-time leader?
Righthander – Rollie Fingers
It would be impossible to keep that mustache and those 341 career saves out of this bullpen.
Setup Man – Trevor Hoffman
The all-time saves leader and his changeup would be my setup man.
Closer – Mariano Rivera
The cutter is absolutely filthy and once he’s retired, he will be considered the best closer of all-time, to me atleast.
Catcher – Ivan Rodriguez
Around a .300 career average hitter, he would be on my bench for his defense. Whenever Bench would need a break, his defense wouldn’t be missed because Pudge’s is amazing as well.
Firstbase – Albert Pujols
359 career homeruns and counting. Around a career .333 average. In each of his first nine seasons in the Majors, Albert has topped 30 homeruns and 100 RBI. He doesn’t turn 30 until next year.
1B/OF – Hank Aaron
Who better to bring up with the game on the line other than the all-time homerun leader?
Infielder – Pete Rose
The Hit King can come off my bench to pinch-hit, I don’t care if he gambles.
Outfielder – Rickey Henderson
Pinch runner extraordinaire. The all-time steals leader would tear up the basepaths late in the game when we need a runner to get into scoring position.
Outfielder – Roberto Clemente
With exactly 3,000 hits and the cannon for an arm that he’s got, he would be a perfect role player for this team, getting starts here and there.