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Rich Gossage in . . . The Nagging Question

June 1, 2007
 

One thing I think about a lot, especially during times when I probably should be addressing other more vital and pressing issues, is my all-time baseball all-star team. Actually, I have many variations on this line of thinking, coming up at various times with all-time squads for each major league franchise, all-time squads made up of various ethnicities (a few years ago, back in the early screw-around-at-length-for-free days of Whatifsports.com, I pitted my favorite of these squads, featuring Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax, Benny “The Ty Cobb of the Federal League” Kauff, Gabe Kapler, et al, against a series of major league champions from the past for an entire 162-game season, and the Galicia Wiesels—named for the great writer and for the region in Austria-Hungary my father’s parents fled—went 97 and 65 against the likes of the 1927 Yankees, the 1953 Dodgers, and the 1975 Reds, among others), and even specialty all-time squads such as Most Misshapen (John “I’m not an athlete” Kruk, meet Walt “No Neck” Williams), Most Tragic (Lyman Bostock, meet Willard Hershberger), and Most Likely to Be “On Something” (Hit the showers, Pete Alexander, it’s time to hand the game over to Steve Howe). But I’ve always circled back around to the all-time team, making revisions and substitutions, envisioning tape measure shots and astounding catches, and staging entire Lincoln-Douglass debates in my mind over such issues as how many pitchers to carry and who should be the fifth outfielder.

It’s my way of hiding from the world, I guess, and as ways of hiding from the world go I guess it’s not too bad. Still, one of these days The Nagging Question should be “Why am I hiding from the world?” But today’s not that day, probably because I’d rather hide from the world and burrow down deep into that rich cluster of meaningless distinctions and impossible scenarios I call my all-time team. It changes all the time; in fact just today I reduced the pitching staff from ten men to nine and decided on a new backup catcher after years of going with a personal favorite, Mickey Cochrane, for the job. But here’s how I see it today:

Most common starting lineup:
Ty Cobb lf
Rogers Hornsby 2b
Babe Ruth rf
Josh Gibson c
Lou Gehrig 1b
Willie Mays cf
George Brett 3b
Ozzie Smith ss 

Bench:
Honus Wagner, ss
Martin Dihigo, util
Jackie Robinson, util
Ted Williams, of
Hank Aaron, of
Mike Schmidt, 3b
Buck Ewing, c
Oscar Charleston, of

Pitchers:
Lefty Grove
Walter Johnson
Satchel Paige
Sandy Koufax
Pedro Martinez
Hoyt Wilhelm
Rube Waddell
Goose Gossage
Mariano Rivera

I could go on at length about each and every choice on here (and actually I’m hoping the chance to do so will arise in the comments portion of this post), but for right now I’ll just note three recent alterations:

1. As mentioned above, I waved the man who Mickey Mantle was named after in favor of Buck Ewing. I decided I needed a representative from baseball before the 20th Century. It doesn’t seem likely that from all the players who took the field before 1900 there wasn’t a single one who deserves to be part of my all-time roster. Ewing was generally regarded as the best all-around player of that era, a .300 hitter with good speed, dominant defensive skills, and an unsurpassed knowledge of the game.

2. I cut the pitching staff down to nine. This allowed me to cut Roger Clemens, but that’s not why I did it. First, I really, really wanted to add another hitter. Second, the starters I’ve got are going to log a ton of innings, and if for some reason I hit a tough stretch in the schedule where someone is needed to eat up innings, I’ve got the tireless knuckleballer, Hoyt Wilhelm, and beyond that I’ve already got Martin Dihigo, who was a phenomenal pitcher, as one of my two utilitymen. If you haven’t heard of Dihigo, he was a Negro League star whose versatility as a fielder could have made Bert Campaneris and Tony Phillips seem like Greg Luzinski, who hit and played the outfield like Roberto Clemente, and who performed so well on the mound that he was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a pitcher (Bill James, on the other hand, ranks him as the best rightfielder in Negro League history).

3. I dropped Dennis Eckersley and added the man pictured at the top of the page in his pre-goatee days. Eckersley was pretty great for a while, but I started thinking about roles on the staff, and I think the 9th inning has to belong to Rivera, whose post-season success (save for a couple beautiful moments in ’04) earns him the closer role. So who’s going to be the right-handed set-up guy, able to storm into a shaky situation and then go for two or three innings? I’d rather have a reliever from the days of the three-inning save than the king of the one-inning relievers, Eck. Plus, I don’t think any pitcher ever scared me more than the Goose.

But anyway, on to The Nagging Question:

Who makes up your all-time 25-man roster?

53 comments

  1. 1.  Interesting nagging question. I may have to get to you after work as I like to use actual bench players for the bench and it’ll take me a while to compile my list.

    SI did something similar in the 80s and used contempo players. One guy that I would use from that list on my team is Bob Stanley as my long man out of the pen.


  2. 2.  Why do I think that Ty Cobb is going to have a hard time getting along with some of the black players? You better have a manager who can bring people from vastly different backgrounds together. Probably not Cap Anson. May I suggest Bill Clinton?

    My team below. By the way, I like your first 6.

    Ty Cobb lf
    Rogers Hornsby 2b
    Babe Ruth rf
    Josh Gibson c
    Lou Gehrig 1b
    Willie Mays cf
    Mike Schmidt, 3b
    Honus Wagner, ss

    Bench

    Ted Williams
    Barry Bonds
    Oscar Charleston
    Joe Morgan
    Alex Rodriguez
    Johnny Bench
    Pete Rose (util)

    I know I’m a little outfield heavy, but being able to bring in Ted or Barry to pinch hit would be awesome. Charleston can play all 3 outfield positions.
    Morgan, besides backing up Hornsby, would be a great pinch runner.
    ARod can play short or 3rd.
    Bench is right there as the greatest defensive catcher, so bring him in during the 8th.
    Rose can play 5 positions and would give Ty Cobb and Satchel Paige someone to gamble with.

    Pitchers

    Walter Johnson
    Lefty Grove
    Grover Cleveland Alexander
    Satchel Paige
    Tom Seaver
    Christy Mathewson
    Hoyt Wilhelm
    Sandy Koufax
    Randy Johnson
    Mariano Rivera

    This starting 5 rotation can get it done. I liked your idea of using Wilhelm as a rubber-armed knuckleballer.
    In the bullpen is where I get more creative. Can you imagine if Koufax and the Big Unit came out of the pen? Forget about it.
    Rivera is the most consistent, reliable pitcher I’ve ever seen.


  3. 3.  2 I absolutely love that the first name brought up in this discussion of all-time greats is Bob Stanley. Never in a million years would I have guessed that to be the case.

    3 Nice choices, Scott. Just about all of them have at one time or another been members of my roster, too. (Not A-Rod though. I just can’t do it.) I’ve thought about using Rose as the utility guy a lot, too, but decided that Jackie Robinson can play all the positions Rose played. Furthermore, Jackie confronts the Cobb problem you mentioned head on: Jackie’s my player-manager, and either Cobb deals with it or is shown the door (and Rickey Henderson gets called up from the cosmic minors).


  4. 4.  I just realized I have a 6 man rotation. Considering most of my guys pitched in 4 man rotations…this wouldn’t work, so I will use Satchel Paige in between Koufax and Johnson.

    Think about the Big Train pitching through the 4th, then bringing in the knuckleballing Wilhelm to deal with in the 5th. Then back to the heat in the 6th with Koufax. Paige throws his myriad of pitches in the 7th. Back once again to the heat of the Big Unit in the 8th. Then Rivera brings his nasty cutter to close it out. Hey, it’s my fantasy.


  5. 5.  Ricky was the guy I initially had on my list, but I realized I needed another infielder, so I went with Morgan as my pinch runner. If Cobb isn’t on the team, I would have Henderson as my leadoff hitter as well.


  6. 6.  Henderson – LF
    Hornsby – 2B
    Ruth – RF
    Gehrig – 1B
    Mays – CF
    Schmidt – 3B
    Bench – C
    E. Banks – SS

    Leadoff man is key to any productive offense. Nobody better than Henderson. I like Morgan as a number 2 hitter, good walks and great speed, but you just can’t pass up Hornsby when you compare these guys. Hornsby’s lifetime BA and OBP are just so much better than Morgan’s. Ruth is just the best, ever . . . I’d even ask him to pitch. Gehrig is the only one who should be hitting behind the Babe. When I think of the prototypical catcher, I think of Johnny Bench. Damn he was solid. Love Banks as the SS . . . Cubs need some representation. Best pure pinch-runner of all-time??? Larry Lintz. I want that guy on my team; he also can fill some utility spots. I think every major league team needs a pich-runner deluxe. They could win 15 extra games a season, every year. A must. Can’t believe teams don’t use the PR to win those ever important one-run games.

    Bat boys – Barry Bonds and Curt Schilling, just so we can heckle these asses and spit water at them.


  7. 7.  Heh, Josh, I was going to mention Mantle over Mays. But it depends on whether or not you’re looking at the guys entire body of work or at a guy at a particular moment in time.

    As far as the Steamer goes, I could’ve mentioned Manny Mota as the all-EWK pinchhitter, but I had Bigfooton the brain.


  8. 8.  It’s fun to think of role players being lpayed by true role players, meanining it seems odd to think of Pete Rose sitting on the bench waiting to come into the game, or Koufax pitching only the 8th inning to set up Rivera. My favorite setup man was Paul Lindblad. Solid lefty with good control. Despite great numbers, and a long career, he never played the role that would bring him the sexy stats and the notoriety. Best bench players? (besides Johnny, ha! . . . wow, did I really just write that? Weak!) How about Gates Brown as a pinch-hitter, occasional player. Always liked that guy, and the power. I like the Mota suggestion for pinch-hitting.What about defensive replacement type guys? How about Mike Jorgensen 1st base. Infielder . . . how about Mario Mendoza making the all-time team, as a defensive replacement? Outfielder replacement . . . Rick Miller?


  9. 9.  Role player Johnny Blanchard, like him too.


  10. 10.  6: Good calls on Bench and Banks.

    As for pinch-runners, I like the mention of Larry Lintz, but how about a guy who’s proven he can come off the bench and steal a base in a huge spot (he’s also a good fielder): Dave Roberts.

    7: Can’t really argue with choosing Mantle over Mays, but I think Willie was considered a better fielder, maybe the best ever at that key spot. (Plus how many Yankees can you expect a Red Sox fan to have on his all-time team?)


  11. 11.  8 Paul Lindblad … never played the role that would bring him the sexy stats and the notoriety

    Perhaps not, but he does hold the record for pitching in all seven games of a World Series.


  12. 12.  It was Dorold Knowles that pitched in all 7 games of the 1973 series.


  13. 13.  12 Darold Knowles! I knew I should have double-checked that. Same team, same series, same age, same handedness, once traded for each other (sort of), and 9 and 10 on each other’s Similarity Scores.


  14. 14.  The school of thought I have always subscribed to concerning an unstoppable 25 man team is that the bench has to be composed of actual bench/sub/utility players.

    I’d love to list my bench right now, but I just got done with a three beer lunch and I can’t remember who any of them are. I also can’t remember what the standards were for determining who was an actual bench type player. Not Manny Ramirez/Barry Bonds/Harmon Killebrew/etc., that’s for sure.


  15. 15.  14 Actually Harmon Killebrew would make it. Dude played like five positions and three in a season, so he’s on my bench.


  16. 16.  Look at that bullpen of the 1973 A’s . . . is was truly complete, with solid lefties and righties. Here is their performance in the 1973 world series:

    Fingers: 6 games, 13.7 innings, 0.66 ERA, 2 saves.

    Knowles: 7 games, 6.3 innings, 0.00 ERA, 2 saves.

    Lindblad: 3 games, 3.3 innings, 0.00 ERA, 1 win.

    Pina: 2 games, 3 innings, 0.00 ERA.

    Wow. Tough to beat that. And, the opposition faces this fearsome set, only after they faced Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue, and Ken Holtzman.

    To date, I still think that A’s dynasty is the perfect design for the ideal club. Good on base pct., good speed and power, clutch hitting, can play small ball incredibly (I watched one of their world series games recently on VHS . . . they bunted 5 times and won by a run!) Pretty defense, and amazing pitching. Perfect model. They didn’t hit for a high average, for the most part; really the only short coming, yet, with everything else, who needs 5 guys hitiing over .300?


  17. 17.  Joe Morgan 2B
    Honus Wagner SS
    Babe Ruth RF
    Lou Gehrig 1B
    Josh Gibson C
    Oscar Charleston LF
    Willie Mays CF
    Mike Schmidt 3B

    Ted Williams
    Stan Musial
    Henry Aaron
    Ty Cobb
    Roy Campanella
    Jackie Robinson
    Martin Dihigo

    SP Walter Johnson
    SP Lefty Grove
    SP Pedro Martinez
    SP Satchel Paige
    SP Roger Clemens

    P Greg Maddux
    P Randy Johnson
    P Sandy Koufax
    P Pete Alexander
    P Eric Gagne (assuming I get all these guys at peak value)

    If we’re talking about an actual team as opposed to the 25 best players, then I’m taking Robinson because he can play all four infield positions, plus left field, and can pinch run; and Dihigo because he can play 8 positions well including pitcher.

    Sincerest apologies to Jimmie Foxx, Tom Seaver, Mickey Mantle, and Joe DiMaggio.

    So as not to be influenced, I did this team before looking at Josh’s. I see he beat me to the punch on Dihigo and Robinson. What can I say, diseased minds think alike.


  18. 18.  Ack, I forgot Barry Bonds. (Well, actually, he wanted to play, but none of us liked the son of a bitch when he was alive, so we told him to stick it.)


  19. 19.  You read my mind. I have been working on a list all week. Mine is a little different in that I simply wrote down the first player that pops into my head when I picture the position. My Epitome team, if you will:

    Willie Mays CF
    Mike Schmidt 3B
    Barry Bonds LF
    Babe Ruth RF
    Yogi Berra C
    Steve Garvey 1B
    Ryne Sandberg 2B
    Ozzie Smith SS

    Sandy Koufax P

    I guess if I were to expand this past 9, I would add:

    Johnny Bench C
    Lou Gehrig 1B (he’d probably end up winning the job over Garvey)
    Jackie Robinson Util
    Barry Larkin SS
    Pete Rose OF, Util*
    Rickey Henderson OF
    Hank Aaron OF

    * Baseball Reference lists Paul Molitor as the player who best compares to Pete Rose with a similarity score of 674. I challenge you to find someone with a lower “highest similarity score”. Seriously. It’s uncanny. Pete Rose had a career that was beyond compare.

    Rotation:
    Satchel Paige S
    Walter Johnson S
    Nolan Ryan S
    Bob Gibson S
    Pedro Martinez R
    Lefty Grove R
    Eric Gagne R*
    Goose Gossage R
    Mariano Rivera C

    * I have a soft spot for this guy and am assuming we get these players at their peak.


  20. 20.  17 – I see you also have a soft spot for Gagne. Also, I have never heard of Charleston and BR has no stats for him. What is his story?


  21. 21.  17: Another vote for Dihigo! This guy fascinates me, not least for having the coolest nickname ever: El Maestro. I don’t think there’s been a book written about him, and there should be. I was even thinking about pursuing such a project, but it would probably best be tackled by somebody who could speak Spanish and in turn get the most possible out of research trips to Cuba, where he was from and is a legend, and Mexico, where he is also a legend.

    Also, I totally see the logic in some folks’ choosing true bench players for the bench, but I’m with Eric on this–the bench should be for stars who you could imagine filling certain roles, e.g., Jackie Robinson as an all-purpose fill-in, Ted Williams as the best left-handed pinch-hitter possible, etc.

    Glad to see Musial getting some love. He always seems to be the forgotten man in these kinds of discussions.

    19: I like the “epitome” method of choosing.

    20: Charleston is considered by most to be the best all-around player in Negro Leagues, and also a Cobb-like competitor.


  22. 22.  Some more on Charleston:

    http://www.nlbpa.com/charleston__oscar.html


  23. 23.  I’m tempted to add a platoon combo like Bauer and Woodling. Maybe on the Triple AAA farm team.


  24. 24.  22. Thanks

    23. – Yes. Jack Bauer would be a tremendous addition to the club.


  25. 25.  21 There actually is a biography of Dihigo, but it was written in Spanish and published in Havana, so very few in this country have seen it. I have a copy in storage somewhere.

    http://tinyurl.com/ytada3


  26. 26.  I can’t believe I’m the only one who picked Clemens.


  27. 27.  When I get around to it, Eric, I think that Clemens will be on the pitching staff.


  28. 28.  I didn’t choose Clemens, as I knew the rest of the team wouldn’t go for him only being with the team on days he pitches.


  29. 29.  26: Some have made the case for Clemens being the best pitcher ever. I can’t refute such arguments, but I guess it’s just easier for me to go with four other unbelievably well-qualified starters for my rotation when I have memories of Clemens imploding for the Red Sox on the more than one occasion in post-season starts. He just seemed to get too keyed up for those big spots (in all his Red Sox years he had exactly one win in the post-season). I thought about choosing him as my fifth starter/long man but I chose Pedro instead, who turned in one of the most phenomenal pitching performances I’ve ever seen in relief, against the Indians in the ’99 playoffs (Pete Alexander also got a lot of consideration for this spot, having an even more legendary relief appearance in the ’26 World Series, but I decided to go with the guy who put up deadball era pitching numbers in the steroid years).


  30. 30.  1) Henderson – CF
    2) Morgan – 2B
    3) Bonds – RF
    4) Schmidt – 3B
    5) Ruth – LF
    6) Wagner – SS
    7) Brett – 1B
    8) Bench – C
    9) Pitcher

    On the bench: Gehrig, Mazeroski, Ozzie Smith, Mays, Mantle, and Berra

    Starting rotation: Maddux, Grove, Mathewson, Koufax, and Walter Johnson

    Bullpen: Randy Johnson, J.R. Richard, John Franco, Nolan Ryan, and Pedro Martinez

    Closer: Bruce Sutter


  31. 31.  I do the same thing, usually when I’m in a dentist’s chair, because it is one of the rare times when I can’t bring a book to read.

    In one of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels, he has Spenser do it while he’s doing some surveillance, and thus can’t read a book.

    LF-Henderson
    2B-Morgan
    RF-Ruth
    CF-Mays
    1B-Gehrig
    C-Gibson
    3B-Schmidt
    SS-Jeter

    Bench-Musial, Williams, Cool Papa Bell, Willie Wells, Rodriguez, Ripken, Bench

    Pitchers-
    Gibson, SP
    Koufax, SP
    Walter Johnson, SP
    Clemens, SP

    Long Men-Wilhelm, Paige
    Middle Relief-Bob Feller, Chet Brewer
    Short Relief-Trevor Hoffman, Sparky Lyle

    Yeah, I know, Jeter. Seriously, though, the man knows how to win baseball games.


  32. 32.  My favorite great players.

    2B – L – Joe Morgan
    CF – R – Willie Mays
    LF – L – Ted Williams
    Ca – R – Josh Gibson
    1B – L – Lou Gehrig
    RF – R – Roberto Clemente
    3B – L – George Brett
    SS – S – Ozzie Smith

    Bench – OF Tim Raines (S), OF Tony Gwynn (L) IF Jackie Robinson (R), IF/OF Paul Molitor (R), 1B/SS Ernie Banks (R), C Ivan Rodriguez (R)

    Starters:
    RHP Bob Gibson
    LHP Sandy Koufax
    RHP Pedro Martinez
    RHP Greg Maddux
    LHP Johan Santana

    Bullpen:
    Closer – RHP – Mariano Rivera
    Long man – RHP Mordecai Brown
    Setup – RHP John Smoltz, RHP Rich Gossage, RHP Dennis Eckersley, LHP Sparky Lyle

    Do I need more LHP in the bullpen? Maybe I should have found room for Babe Ruth.


  33. 33.  32 “Maybe I should have found room for Babe Ruth”

    Well, at least we’ve finally found a winner in the Understatement of the Century contest!


  34. 34.  Now this is fun.

    1b – Gehrig
    2b – Morgan
    ss – Wagner by a mile.
    3b – Schmidt
    lf – I’ll hold my nose and let Barry in.
    cf – Charleston
    rf – Ruth
    c – Gibson

    sp – Clemens
    sp – Walter Johnson
    sp – Grove
    sp – Paige
    sp – Seaver

    rp – Rivera
    rp – Gossage
    rp – Eckersley
    rp – Sutter
    rp – Wilhelm

    UTIL – Rose and Robinson

    Bench – Mantle, Mays, Cobb, Williams, Berra

    Favorite player of all-time: Hank Aaron. Just had to say it.

    Manager: Joe McCarthy

    NOTES: I’ve got three guys who can play anywhere on the diamond and play well (Wagner, Rose, Robinson). I’ve got a loaded bench, a bullpen with the best closers who ever lived (Wilhelm is the long man), five starters all of whom can reasonably considered to be the best pitchers ever and a lineup that is a sabermetricians wet dream.

    Barry Bonds will be allowed to have three lockers just like he has now but they will be surrounded by a soundproof wall. He is allowed in the dugout only when he is the on-deck hitter. While in the clubhouse, he must prepare the postgame spread.


  35. 35.  30: Hello, John Franco!

    31: Hello, Sparky Lyle!

    32: Tough luck, Babe!

    I would venture to say that the lefty reliever spot (if there needs to be such a thing; didn’t the Angels win in ’02 with no lefties in the pen?) has the weakest pool to draw from for the sake of this squad. That’s not a slam on Lyle and Franco, whose excellence in their roles should probably rate them entrance into the HOF, sez I. In the past, I’ve decided to fill that slot in the bullpen with Randy Johnson (remember his heroics out of the pen for the Mariners during the ’95 playoffs against the Yankees?); this time I switched in fellow lefty smoke-thrower Rube Waddell for the dour Johnson, mainly for the sake of overall team harmony and enjoyment. But I do wonder who is the best lefty reliever in baseball history. (And is Billy Wagner within striking distance?)


  36. 36.  Hey Bruin-

    Ever hear the joke McCarthy used to tell? He’s dead and in heaven, and Satan calls to challenge him to a baseball game. McCarthy looks around at Ruth, Mathewson, Young, and Gehrig, and says “Sure, but I don’t know how you’re going to win. I have all the players.”

    “Yes,” Satan replies. “But I have all the umpires.”


  37. 37.  36 :)


  38. 38.  35 I spend 5 minutes poking around Baseball-Reference looking for LH relief before I posted my team and considered Billy Wagner. Wagner has been a lot better than I would have guessed. Another thing I found when trying to fill out my bench is that Derek Jeter has already played something like 595 more career games at SS than Ernie Banks.

    I almost put Jim Eisenreich on my team as a bench player but I thought it would take too long to explain myself. I should have done it. Eisenreich didn’t know he had Tourette’s Syndrome until he was 27 years old and up until that point it was thought he was too nervous or odd to hack playing in the big leagues. Eisenreich is one of my all-time favorite players. He put up some stout numbers as a part-time player late in his career including a stout .500/.636/.875 in the ’97 WS. OK it was only 8ABs but I still like Eisenreich.


  39. 39.  LF-R. Henderson
    2B-J. Morgan
    RF-B. Ruth
    CF-M. Mantle
    1B-M. McGwire
    3B-M. Schmidt
    C-J. Bench
    SS-O. Smith

    Bench:
    C-I. Rodriguez
    Util-P.Rose
    Util-J. Robinson
    OF-T. Williams
    OF-W. Mays

    SP-B. Gibson
    SP-P. Martinez
    SP-S. Koufax
    SP-G. Maddux
    SP-R. Clemens

    Closer-D.Eckersley
    Setup-M.Rivera
    RP-D. Quisenberry
    RP-R. Fingers
    RP-S. Paige
    RP-H. Wilhelm
    P-J. Santana


  40. 40.  This is a lot of fun!

    19 I have a soft spot for this guy and am assuming we get these players at their peak. — This guided my attempt, as in the early 80s, there was a game from SSI called Computer Baseball, and it would be exactly this kind of thing I’d do: put in stats from the best years of the best players and see how consistently they’d stomp any other team.

    So, I relied heavily on BP’s DT Cards, using all-time adjusted WARP3s, EQAs and DERAs to guide my choices.

    Player, ‘Yr : WARP3 / EQA
    C Piazza, ’97 : 12.1 / .360
    1B Gherig, ’27 : 13.8 / .375
    2B Hornsby, ’24 : 16.0 /.378
    SS Wagner, ’08 : 15.4 / .356
    3B Schmidt, ’81 : 13.3 / .360
    LF Williams, ’46 : 15.6 / .392
    CF Mays, ’55 : 13.9 / .346
    RF Ruth, ’23 : 18.3 / .401

    C Bench, ’72 : 12.9 /.332
    1B Pujols, 2006 : 13.0 / .356
    2B Morgan, ’75 : 14.2 / .355
    SS Rodriguez, 2000 : 15.4 /.346
    UT Robinson ’51 : 14.1 / .331
    OF Cobb, ’17 : 14.3 / .360
    OF Mantle, ’57 : 14.5 / .400
    OF Henderson, ’90 : 13.8/ .374

    Player, ‘Yr : WARP3 / DERA
    RSP Gibson, ’68 : 13.9 / 2.49
    LSP Koufax, ’66 : 12.4 / 2.72
    RSP Johnson, ’13 : 18.3 / 2.35
    LSP Carlton, ’72 : 15.4 / 2.66
    RSP Martinez, P. 2000: 14.4 / 1.75

    RRP Gagne, ’03 : 10.2 / 1.62
    RRP Rivera, ’01 : 9.0 / 2.45
    RRP Sutter, ’77 : 9.0 / 1.76
    LRP Wagner, 2003 : 8.1 / 2.13

    I suppose this would be more formulaic if I had an all-time database listing players by annual WARP3 performance, so it was a bit of who I like and how they performed. I think I used the numbers to validate thoughts as much as to determine who…

    I put Rickey Henderson on the roster last, primarily to have one tactical option if I wanted a stolen base if Cobb was feeling crabby.

    The pitching staff is comprised on the notion that the only starter who won’t go at least 8 innings is Pedro, or, that if there was a pitcher who could only go six, I’d have three one-inning specialists and a LOOGY to close out the game. I love the idea of breezing into town for a four game series, knowing the opponent has to face Walter Johnson and Steve Carlton after getting beaten by Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax… He he!

    Lastly, I just… could… not… bring… myself… to… add: Bonds, ’01 : 16.2 / .427


  41. 41.  Keep the rosters comin’. At some point I’ll tally up the lists and come up with a consensus team.

    As of now, it looks like Barry Bonds might not make such a consensus squad. The thing that’s always made it a little easier for me to avoid him leave him off is that I’ve got the following two guys ahead of him in left field: Cobb, who was widely considered the greatest player ever for the better half of the 20th Century (I think that’s correct, anyway, that it took Ruth a while to pass Cobb in the general thinking), and Ted Williams, arguably the greatest hitter who ever lived. (And then there’s Rickey Henderson, the perfect leadoff man.) For a few years there, though, Bonds was more dominant than anyone has ever been, except maybe the Babe. I wonder how people are going to think about him in 50 years, when the impact of his shady aura and repellent personality have been diminished by time.

    38: I always rooted for Eisenreich, too.


  42. 42.  41 Excellent point about Bonds’ “shady aura and repellent personality”. Consider Ty Cobb’s! Not having to live through it makes it easier for me to put Cobb on my roster.

    I wonder how much I’d be concerned about leading off with a guy like Henderson when I can’t even figure out what the middle of the order should be like, with so many mashers there! Hm. Hornsby, Mays, Williams, Ruth, Gherig, Piazza, Schmidt, Wagner, pitcher. Holy cow, I just put Piazza and Schmidt at 6th and 7th, and a guy whose translated OPS is 1.19 hitting eighth. Who the heck are these mythical teams going to play against, anyway? Aliens?


  43. 43.  42 Who the heck are these mythical teams going to play against, anyway? Aliens?

    LOL.


  44. 44.  One of these days, I’ll compile my team Josh. I’ll probably mention it in a completely unrelated thread.

    Off the cuff version:

    C Gibson
    1b Gehrig
    2b Morgan
    3b Brett
    SS Wagner
    LF Bonds
    CF Mantle
    RF Ruth
    DH T Williams

    SP Clemens
    SP Grove
    SP Johnson
    SP Koufax

    C Elston Howard
    IF Tony Phillips
    OF John Lowenstein
    PH Manny Mota
    PH-C Smoky Burgess
    PR Bert Campineras (can alo fill in everywhere)

    Longman/Swingman Steamer Stanley
    Situational Lefty Sparky Lyle.
    RP Hoyt Wilhelm
    RP Satchel Paige
    RP Jim Creighton
    RP Sidd Finch


  45. 45.  I’m not sure if any of you saw this on Ken Jenning’s blog (http://www.ken-jennings.com/blog/), but he has a neat baseball trivia question:

    ” Consider the universe of baseball statistics. Forget about ones that are averages, and thus a player’s score can go up or down over time — batting average, ERA, slugging percentage, and the like. Focus on the ones that accumulate. Also, forget about statistics that nobody tracks, like ground rule doubles in extra innings under a full moon on astroturf. Stay with statistics that people have actually heard of.

    Now consider that among such statistics there’s the concept of one category being a special case of another. If you do one, you necessarily do the other, but not vice versa (otherwise two statistics would be called “synonyms”). A perfect game is a special case of a no-hitter. A double is a special case of a hit. An at-bat is a special case of a plate appearance. A save is a special case of a game played, but a hit is not because you can have any number of hits in a game.

    At last, the question. There are two statistics, one of which is a special case of the other. The career leaders in the two categories — the guys who did each the most times — are different men with the same first and middle names. Who are they?”

    Someone told me the answer, so I’m ineligible.


  46. 46.  Henry Louis Aaron – Home runs
    Henry Louis Gehrig – Grand slam home runs


  47. 47.  I have a similar trivia question to 45 without the star power.

    Two players with the same first and middle name. One started his career with the Dodgers, one ended his career with the Dodgers. As a rookie, the younger man was managed by the older man. As a rookie, the older man was a teammate of the man who managed the younger man’s last season. Who are the two men?

    clue – You can’t spell the older man’s last name in Welsh.


  48. 48.  45: Great question. I thought of the answer while drifting off to sleep, then when I got up Bob had beaten me to it.

    Yet another reason why I’ll be sad when Hammerin’ Hank is no longer at the top of the homer heap. (I think Manny’s creeping up on Gehrig’s record, too.)

    47: I’m stumped.


  49. 49.  So I tallied up the votes. If anybody still feels like adding their rosters, please do so, and I’ll recount, but as of now, here’s the consensus for the first 24 of the 25-man roster to face off against the aliens (note: I used total votes as the deciding factor, but noted the breakdown of starter versus bench-player votes each player received; the one player who benefitted from this the most is Ted Williams, who got only 2 starting votes but tied for Mays and Ruth for most votes of any player):

    Starters:

    Ruth, OF: 11 votes (11 starter, 0 bench)
    Mays, OF: 11 votes (8 starter, 3 bench)
    Williams, OF: 11 (2s, 9b)
    Schmidt, 3B: 10 (9s, 1b)
    Gehrig, 1B: 10 (8s, 2b)
    Morgan, 2b: 9 (7s, 2b)
    J. Gibson, C: 8 (8s)
    Wagner, SS: 7 (6s, 1b)

    Reserves:
    J. Robinson, util: 7 (7b)
    Bench, C: 7 (3s, 4b)
    Henderson, OF: 6 (4s, 2b)
    Smith, SS: 5 (4s, 1b)
    Bonds, OF: 5 (4s, 1b)
    Cobb, OF: 5 (2s, 3b)
    Mantle, OF: 5 (2s, 3b)

    Pitchers:
    Koufax, 10 votes
    W. Johnson, 9
    Paige, 8
    Grove, 7
    Martinez, 7
    Rivera, 7
    Wilhelm, 6
    Clemens, 5
    B. Gibson, 5

    So those are 24 guys. Fighting for the last roster spot are four hitters and two pitchers with 4 votes each: Brett (4s), Hornsby (4s), Charleston (2s, 2b), Rose (4b), Maddux, and Gossage.

    My favorite in the extensive “also received votes” category is Jim Creighton, the legendary pitcher from the very earliest days of pro baseball.


  50. 50.  In a baseball sim I like for fun, I just faced off the ’78 Yankees (for no good reason other than to beat up on them) against the all-time team I posted above).

    With Dick Tidrow giving up 7 runs in the first 1 1/3 innings, the computer manager just brought in:

    Rich Gossage!


  51. 51.  So next is worst team ever right?


  52. 52.  late to the party, sort of:

    R. Henderson CF
    J. Morgan 2b
    L. Gehrig 1b
    G.H. Ruth RF
    Ba. Bonds LF
    H. Wagner SS
    A. Rodriguez 3b
    L. Berra C

    S. Koufax SP
    R. Clemens SP
    P. Martinez SP
    B. Gibson SP
    S. Paige SP

    J. Bench
    J. Robinson
    H. Killebrew
    R. Yount
    H. Aaron
    S. Musial

    M. Rivera RP
    R. Gossage RP
    H. Wilhelm RP
    B. Sutter RP
    R. Fingers RP
    J. Smoltz RP

    Sort of breaking my own rule. Screw it.


  53. 53.  52: That ballot settles the 25th man issue raised in 49: it’s the man who kicked the whole discussion off in the first place, the Goose!



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