Ever wonder what the greatest team of all time would be? Many people have tried and each and everyone has a little bit different lineup or pitching staff. Whether it be from hometown teams or from your favorite player growing up, there is always someone that will be on your team that everyone else disagrees with.
I will preface my list with the fact that I grew up outside of Kansas City where George Brett was king. So you can guess who my starting third baseman is. I truly believe that Brett was the best to ever play third and that is my opinion, and we can agree to disagree. Other than that I tried to make as fair a list as possible. I may have reached on a few but overall a good list. Well here goes....
The best all-around catcher to ever play the game. During his 17 years in the league he spent 1742 games behind the plate while only missing 85 total games (all in 1981) on the DL. He had all of the skills needed to set up behind the plate: A Great arm, blocked the plate well, and called a great game. Offensively he was as solid as they came. Batting .267 with 389 home runs and 1376 RBIs. Bench was what Bill James calls “the best of the pure catchers.”
“The Iron Horse” is well known for his consecutive games streak that lasted till Cal Ripken Jr. broke the record. What he isn’t known for is that during an era where boozing and carousing were common place, Gehrig led a decent and clean life. He played 17 seasons and 2164 games with an outstanding batting average of .340. He blasted 493 home runs and drove in 1995 runs. If total bases is your favorite statistic, he reached 400 total bases five times, The Babe only did that twice. The most amazing stat for Gehrig is his World Series line. In 34 games, he hit .361 with 10 homers and 35 RBIs.
“Rajah” played 23 seasons from 1915 when the Cardinals purchased his contract for $500 until 1937. The first season for Hornsby was a disappointment until the Cardinals changed his approach at the plate. His career blossomed after the change. He hit over .300 19 times and ended his career with an average of .358. He had 450 total bases in 1922 with 250 hits, 42 homers and 152 RBIs. He may have been a total jerk but this isn’t about the nicest players but the best.
Most people consider Mike Schmidt to be the best third baseman of all time, but Brett took Kansas City from back water to World Champion. He is the best player to ever play for the Royals by a country mile. Everyone outside of Kansas City remembers the “Pine Tar Incident” but he should be known for his 1980 season where he hit .390, the highest batting average by a third baseman in the 20th century. That season was also memorable for Brett hitting 24 homers with only 22 strike outs. He ended his career with 3,154 hits, 1,583 runs, 1,595 RBI, 317 home runs, and a .305 average.
Robin had to decide at age 22 whether he wanted to play professional golf or baseball. I think he made the right decision.
Playing for the small market Brewers he became the face of the franchise. In 1980 he totaled 317 bases, which is the third highest total for a shortstop. Yount finished his career with 3,142 hits, 1,632 runs, 1,406 RBI, 241 home runs, and a .285 average. I know that most people won’t agree with me on this one but the contribution that he made to the city of Milwaukee can’t be argued.
My personal favorite is "The Flying Dutchman" but I thought I would give a nod to the Brew Crew.
“The Man” began his career with St. Louis as a pitcher a la Rick Ankiel. He hurt his shoulder and was given a chance to play outfield everyday. Musial is known as the best player in Cardinals history but may lose that spot to Albert Pujols one day. Musial had 3,360 hits, 1,949 runs, 1,951 RBI, 475 homers and hit .331 over his career. Musial holds several other records, including hitting .330 in 1962 which is the third-highest average for a player over 40 and he was elected to 24 All-Star games in 22 years, yes 24 in 22 years, there were two All-Star games a year from 1959 to 1962.
“The Commerce Comet” is the best switch-hitter in the history of the game. In that aspect alone he deserves to be on this list. Mantle suffered many injuries during his playing career that significantly cut his career but still managed to put up monster numbers. In 1956 he won both the AL MVP and Triple Crown when he hit .353 with 52 home runs, 130 RBIs and scored 132 runs. Mantle is one of the most recognizable and great Yankees of all time.
“The Babe,” “The Bambino” or “The Sultan of Swat” really needs no more reasons to be on this list. Enough said.
The best pitcher the Milwaukee Braves have ever had. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943 until being discharged in 1946, losing what could have been a very productive couple of years. Spahn had many great years including 1947 when he went 21-10 with 22 complete games, 7 shutouts and a 2.33 ERA. 1953 was another great year for Spahn that saw him finish with a 23-7 record,, with 24 complete games, five shutouts and a 2.10 ERA. He ended his career with 356 wins, 229 losses, 3.05 ERA, 2,493 strikeouts, and 63 shutouts.
“Tom Terrific” or “The Franchise” won the NL Rookie of the Year award in 1967 while going 16-13 for one of the worst Mets teams ever. Just two years later in ’69 he went 25-7, a 2.21 ERA, 18 complete games, 5 shutouts, and 208 strikeouts. Seaver led the league in ERA 3 times and in strikeouts 5 times. He won the Cy Young award three times. Seaver finished his career with 198 wins, 124 losses, 2.57 ERA, 2,541 strikeouts, and 44 shutouts.
Koufax was one of the best pitchers to ever play the game. His reputation was tarnished by the fact that the Dodgers lacked an offense during his time there and it really hurt his overall stats.
In 1960 he held the league in opponents batting average at .207, but only won eight games. He really began to live up to his potential in 1961, largely due to a change in his delivery and grip and he went 18-13 with 269 strikeouts. Koufax led the league in opponents average seven times, in ERA five times and strikeouts four times. He retired after the 1966 season with no warning telling reporters, “When I’m done playing baseball, I want to be able to comb my hair.” He ended his career with 165 wins, 2.76 ERA, 2,396 strikeouts, and 40 shutouts.
“Mo” although still playing has a chance to become baseball’s all time saves leader. He has led the league in saves three times and had a ridiculously great ERA in 2005, finishing the year at 1.38. The jury is still out on Rivera, he certainly has a presence on the mound that makes him the best closer in the game.