Saturday, July 7, 2012

My All-Time Roster

1927 New York Yankees (110-44)

On Pitching the Gospel most posts are gospel-centered.  Some have had baseball themes but most have been based on topics of scripture and grace in our life.  This one will be different.  Nolan and I have recently been looking at legends of the game, as I stated in a previous post.  That led me to tie in this vintage baseball to God's unchanging, "vintage" gospel. 
Today's post will be about my official All-Time Major League Baseball Roster.  The picture above is the team photo of the '27 Yankees, widely thought of as the greatest team that ever played.  They dominated the whole season, finishing 19 games ahead of the second place team.  Of course they went on to win the World Series by sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates that year.  The roster included 7 future Hall of Famers, if you include manager Miller Huggins.  Highlighted in this lineup were Yankee greats Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.  Since they are the only two that made my starting lineup and played on the same team during their careers, I figured I'd give a shout out to that great ball club of the past. 
I will start off by listing my Starting Lineup.  Although, there shouldn't be too much debate on some of these selections, I know that a couple will be questioned.  I will offer some reasoning on my picks in the summary below.  Also included will be a few subs and the rest of my pitching rotation.

Mitch's All-Time MLB Roster:

1.     Ty Cobb              LF                   Reserves:
2.     Honus Wagner     SS                   Rogers Hornsby     IF
3.     Willie Mays          CF                  Albert Pujols          1B
4.     Babe Ruth            RF                  Stan Musial            OF
5.     Ted Williams        DH                  Hank Aaron          OF
6.     Lou Gehrig           1B                   Ivan Rodriguez       C
7.     Chipper Jones      3B
8.     Johnny Bench       C                    Remaining Rotation:
9.     Eddie Collins        2B                  Christy Mathewson, Greg Maddux,
--     Walter Johnson     P                    Cy Young, Nolan Ryan
CL   Mariano Rivera     P

Playing Left Field and leading off for my starting lineup is Ty Cobb.  I think it is debatable, but he could be the best all-around baseball player of all-time.  Over 4,000 hits and showed some power in the Dead Ball era, he was no doubt one of the best hitters of all time.  Also, his base running and love for the game was unmatched in history.  He is the perfect lead off man for my squad.  It also helps that he is from Georgia!

Batting second is my shortstop Honus Wagner.  He is best known for having the most valuable baseball trading card because of its rarity and age.  He was a very versatile player and was always the best defensive player on the field.  He didn't look athletic, but could run well and play any position.  He led the league in hitting EIGHT times and even Ty Cobb himself said he thought Wagner was maybe "the greatest star to ever take the diamond".

My third hitter is Willie Mays.  This 24 time all-star had it all.  Speed (330 SBs), Power (660 HRs and 1900 RBI) and Average (.302 for his career), and Great Defense (12 gold glove awards).  I'd be pretty happy having him roaming center field for me.

Babe Ruth needs no explanation.  He is THE best power hitter of all time and possibly the best hitter.  He was doing things during his career that no one had ever seen.  He is my clean up hitter and right fielder.

If I get a DH, and I do because this is my team, it is Ted Williams.  A pure hitter with average and power.  He was one of the toughest outs in major league history so I have to put him in my lineup.  His defense is said to be sub-par, so we will just let him bat fifth and watch Cobb, Mays, and Ruth play defense out there.

First baseman Lou Gehrig had maybe the most impressive career of all.  His RBI totals were amazing and had he not had a shortened career due to illness, he may be a career leader in most categories.  I don't think there is any debate that he is the greatest first baseman of all-time.

Batting seventh and playing third base, from YOUR Atlanta Braves, Chipper Jones!  One of my favorite players ever deserves this spot.  His career has been amazing, even including his high number of injuries.  No one can take away that '95 World Series ring either.  Most people would argue that Mike Schmidt deserves this spot, but I just can't agree with that being a given.  Chipper has a career batting average of over .300 and Schmidt's is a lousy .267.  Yes, Schmidt was a little more solid defensively and had more Power than Chipper, but Jones is probably the second or third best switch hitter of all-time.  I want him in my lineup, so he is.

Johnny Bench was the leader of one of the greatest teams of all time, The Big Red Machine.  He was also a great defensive catcher.  Bench was one of the best power hitters during his career as well.  Easy choice behind the dish for me. 

Second base is where I had to do the most research.  The first names that came to mind were Rogers Hornsby, Joe Morgan, and maybe Pete Rose (who played some 2B) but further digging gave me Eddie Collins.  This man was a defensive gem waiting to happen and his career fielding percentage was an outstanding 97%.  He was a part of over 1,200 double plays.  Collins was also a terrific hitter with a career average of .333.  He holds the career record for sacrifice hits, which is important to any team.  He had 512 of them during his career.  To add to all of this great performance, he stole 741 bases and scored over 1800 runs in his career.  We are talking about a ballplayer who was a part of 4 World Series Championship teams.  He wins the spot as my starting second baseman.

My number one starting pitcher had to be Walter "Big Train" Johnson.  He threw sidearm, so I have a little bias to that.  He also played his entire career with the Washington Senators.  He piled up over 400 Wins, 530 complete game, and also a record 110 of those were shutouts.  His career 2.14 ERA is remarkable.  He won over 30 games twice along with two MVP awards.  As you'll see with the rest of my rotation, I like workhorses on the mound.  Walter Johnson may have been the best workhorse ever. 

The closer for this team has to be Mariano Rivera.  Of course his regular season stats are tremendous but nobody comes close to what he did in the post-season.  A champion on and off the field.
The rest of my starting staff is Christy Mathewson (.67 Win%), Greg Maddux (4 CyYoungs & 18 GoldGloves), Cy Young (511 Wins and 749 CGs, both records), and Nolan Ryan (7 No-hitters and over 5,000 career strikeouts).  Like I said they are all workhorses that wanted to throw complete games every time they took the mound.  They all racked up outs, innings, and Wins with very little damage.
My reserves are as follows:  Rogers Hornsby as my utility infielder because of his versatility and great hitting ability (almost a .360 career hitter with over 300 homers!).  My outfield subs are two of the best hitters of all-time and I couldn't leave them off the team, Hank Aaron and Stan Musial.  I had to add one more current star and that is my back-up first baseman Albert Pujols.  The man has hit over .300 with over 30 HRs and 100 RBI in every single season he has played.  He is on his way to being a legend in the game.  Lastly, my back-up catcher is Pudge Rodriguez.  Arguably baseball's best defensive catcher ever.  Plus, he hit over .300 for his career.

There you have it, my All-Time Roster.  Feel free to debate it through the comments.  It was fun to come up with this and I'm sure if I kept looking I'd have the urge to add to or edit possibly.

That is my pitch for the day.  Thanks.

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