When a team breaks through and wins a championship after decades of trying and failing, the decades of trying and failing are transformed into one long season, a championship season that just took a little longer than most. The roster of the 2010 World Series Champions already seemed unusually voluminous throughout the playoffs, a product of the team’s reliance on all its parts, and now, with last night’s title-clinching win over the Rangers, it includes every last Giant ever to pass through San Francisco.
So with congratulations to the Giants and all their fans, and a special nod to Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, who has entertained me for years as a screaming-himself-hoarse loose cannon sports radio host (and who is a rabid Giants fan and Chris Speier idolizer from childhood), I thought I’d try to name some of the bygone guys coming along for the ride when the 2010 Giants parade through their city as champs. Here’s my stab at coming up with an all-time franchise all-star team for the San Francisco Giants, off the top of my head (it’s more fun that way), and with some notes and one prefatory remark in celebration of this year’s amazing collection of odds and ends: not a single player from the team that finally won it all could make the franchise’s all-time all-star starting nine.
C: Dick Dietz. The current Giants catcher, Buster Posey, is a spectacular talent, but it doesn’t seem fair to me to place him on the all-time franchise all-stars after just one season. Dietz had a relatively short career but packed it full of productive offensive seasons. He drew a ton of walks and had decent power.
1B: Willie McCovey. An easy call, though it bumps another all-time Giant great, Will Clark, to the bench.
2B: Jeff Kent
SS: Chris Speier. The back of the card at the top of this page testifies to Speier’s one-time and long forgotten status as an elite player in the game: “Chris has been on the past 3 N.L. All-Star Squads.” Speier was a good fielder and, at that time (possibly the low point in baseball history in terms of the hitting abilities of shortstops), among the best offensive threats at his position. He would never make another all-star squad, but he’d go on to have enough good seasons for his next team, the Expos, that a certain blogger would argue for his inclusion on the Expos’ all-time franchise all-star team, too.
3B: Matt Williams
LF: Barry Bonds
CF: Willie Mays
RF: Bobby Bonds
SP: Juan Marichal
RP: Rod Beck
Human victory cigar: Johnnie LeMaster. This category in the All-Time Franchise All-Stars feature was formerly known as the “wild card”; I’ve renamed it in honor of the Giants’ triumph, in that this slot is really reserved for the guy not named above whom you’d most like to see riding in the victory parade. How can you not want to see the player once known as Johnny Disaster bathed in the light of redemption?