Baseball has often been referred to as America's pastime and, as such, it carries a rich history. Perhaps unlike any other sport, fans and historians alike remember the great players of yesteryear, along with the legendary statistics of the game. 56, .406, 4,191, and 755 are all numbers that even casual baseball fans recognize.
As with any sport, it is difficult to compare players from different eras due to changes in the game and to its athletes. With the recent "steroid era" that Major League Baseball is just now emerging from it makes it even more challenging. But here I have attempted to compile my all-time baseball team.
The roster is comprised of a squad of 25 players, with starters listed first and backups at each position. I've attempted to place personal biases aside (which is why you won't see any '84 Tigers yet so many Yankees on the list) and to examine not only career statistical output, but also how a player compared to his peers during the era in which he played. For this list I've decided to include players from the steroid era if they dominated relative to others that played at the same time.
Any list like this will obviously leave out some worthy candidates. But with only 25 slots, there will be some great players not included. Without any further adieu, here's my roster along with some pertinent statistics & awards: (Note: This list was last updated upon the completion of the 2012 season)
Yogi Berra (.285 BA, 2,150 hits, 358 HR, 1,430 RBI, 15-time All-Star, 3 MVP's, 13-time world champion)
Johnny Bench (389 HR, 1,376 RBI, 14-time All-Star, 10 Gold Gloves, 2 MVP's, 2-time world champion)
Lou Gehrig (.340 BA, 493 HR, 2,721 hits, 1,995 RBI, 7-time All-Star, 2 MVP's, 2,130 consecutive games played, 6-time world champion)
Jimmie Foxx (.325 BA, 534 HR, 2,646 hits, 1,922 RBI, 9-time All-Star, 3 MVP's, 2 world championships)
Rogers Hornsby (.358 BA, 2,930 hits, 301 HR, 2 MVP's, 6 batting titles, 1 world championship)
Joe Morgan (2,517 hits, 268 HR, 689 stolen bases, 10-time All-Star, 2 MVP's, 2 world championships)
Alex Rodriguez (.300 BA, 647 HR, 1,950 RBI, 2,901 hits, 15-time All-Star, 3 MVP's, 2 Gold Gloves, 10 Silver Sluggers, 1 world championship)
Mike Schmidt (548 HR, 1,595 RBI, 2,234 hits, 12-time All-Star, 10 Gold Gloves, 3 MVP's, 6 Silver Sluggers, 1 world championship)
Honus Wagner (.327 BA, 3,415 hits, 1,732 RBI, 8 batting titles, 722 SB, 1 world championship)
Cal Ripken, Jr. (3,184 hits, 431 HR, 1,695 RBI, 19-time All-Star, 2 MVP's, 2 Gold Gloves, 8 Silver Sluggers, 1 world championship)
Babe Ruth (.342 BA, 714 HR, 2,873 hits, 2,217 RBI, 2-time All-Star, 1 MVP, 94 wins & 2.28 ERA as a pitcher, 7 world championships)
Hank Aaron (.305 BA, 755 HR, 3,771 hits, 2,297 RBI, 25-time All-Star, 1 MVP, 3 Gold Gloves, 1 world championship)
Willie Mays (.302 BA, 660 HR, 3,283 hits, 1,903 RBI, 20-time All-Star, 2 MVP's, 12 Gold Gloves, 1 world championship)
Ted Williams (.344 BA, 521 HR, 2,654 hits, 1,839 RBI, 17-time All-Star, 2 MVP's, .482 OBP)
Ty Cobb (.367 BA, 4,191 hits, 1,938 RBI, 892 SB, 1 MVP, 12 batting titles, 54 steals of home)
Stan Musial (.331 BA, 3,630 hits, 475 HR, 1,951 RBI, 24-time All-Star, 3 MVP's, 3 world championships)
Barry Bonds (.298 BA, 762 HR, 1,996 RBI, 2,935 hits, 514 SB, 14-time All-Star, 7 MVP's, 8 Gold Gloves, 12 Silver Sluggers)
Mickey Mantle (.298 BA, 536 HR, 1,509 RBI, 2,415 hits, 16-time All-Star, 3 MVP's, 1 Gold Glove, 7 world championships)
Walter Johnson (417 wins, 2.17 ERA, 3,508 strikeouts, 110 shutouts, 531 complete games, 2 MVP's, 1 world championship)
Cy Young (511 wins, 2.63 ERA, 2,803 strikeouts, 7,354 innings pitched, 740 complete games, 76 shutouts, 1 world championship)
Roger Clemens (354 wins, 3.12 ERA, 4,672 strikeouts, 11-time All-Star, 7 Cy Youngs, 1 MVP, 2 world championships)
Warren Spahn (363 wins, 3.09 ERA, 2,583 strikeouts, 14-time All-Star, 1 Cy Young, 1 world championship)
Christy Mathewson (373 wins, 2.13 ERA, 2,502 strikeouts, 79 shutouts, 434 complete games)
Mariano Rivera (608 saves, 2.21 ERA, 1,119 strikeouts, 12-time All-Star, 3x MLB saves leader, 5 world championships)
Dennis Eckersley (197 wins, 390 saves, 3.50 ERA, 2,401 strikeouts, 6-time All-Star, 1 Cy Young, 1 MVP, 1 world championship)
So there's my all-time 25 man baseball team roster. What changes would you make?
Nice job! I agree pretty much, but read Bill James Historical Abstract and you may disagree with yourself! E.G. Cy Young doesn't belong.
Who are your Relievers?
where is Clemente?
Robinson? Alomar?, Suzuki?
Here's my list of players I've WATCHED over the years;
1st base - Albert Pujols. If he proves roid free, he's doing stuff never seen before and plays a good bag.
2nd base - Robbie Alomar. Baseball is in his genes - most instinctive player I've ever seen & only the Wizrd compares with glove at any position. Big time clutch.
3rd base - Mike Schmitt. As far as I see, only no brainer in all time positions.He stands alone.
shortstop - Cal Ripken. Made 3 errors one year.
left - Rickey Henderson. He'd be my all time leftfielder. Every team needs a leadoff hitter and well, duh.
Center - Ken Griffey jr. Pure. What kind of silly numbers would he have had without missing 5 years.
Right - Ichiro. My 2 hitter and what a fielder. Watching him throw is just cool.
Doc Hallady - had to - Jays fan - and his level of excellence is higher than people think.
Mariano Rivera - sorry, not just Mike Schmitt - he's the best.
That's enough of those - middle relief is a toughie - prob list more closers.
Be tough to beat.
The main change I would make is the removal of Hank Aaron, probably for Roberto Clemente. Aaron sort of gets a 'gimme' on these lists because of his longtime holding of the HR record, but the main thing the record shows me is an insane longevity. If you're building a team that you want to compete for the next 25 years, then yeah maybe Aaron's consistency is relevant.
But if you just want to put together the best team possible, it's hard to argue against Clemente. He's probably the second-best *overall* outfielder of all time behind Mays. Career .317 hitter, 12 consecutive Gold Gloves, 12 all-star games, 4 batting titles... and he was still awesome at the untimely end of his cut-short career.
That's a really good point, Jon. Clemente was one of those ones who was difficult to leave off the list. But you've made a good argument. No doubt he's one of the most complete players ever.
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