The All-Decade Team: 1990-1999
The 1990's brought us teenie music groups, the O.J. Simpson case, Monica Lewinsky and, worst of all, a baseball strike.
But the 1990's also brought us some terrific fall classics.
Who can forget the battle between the Twins and Braves in the 1991 World Series, or the Joe Carter home run off "Wild Thing" Mitch Williams in 1993?
The 90's also featured some outstanding players who were able to produce stats that you could have compiled on your favorite arcade game (e.g. RBI, Tecmo Baseball, or Baseball Stars).
This slideshow will feature the best of the best, during this decade, by position.
For this article, we are going to make believe that stats were produced naturally; so, basically, we are going to be Bud Selig as we read.
Hope you voice your opinion.
Catcher: Mike Piazza
It's amazing that the best catcher ever was drafted in the 62nd round...and only as a favor.
All Mike Piazza did was hit 240 home runs, win Rookie of the Year, be selected to seven All-Star games and finish in the top-10 in the MVP ballot six times.
All this was completed in his first seven seasons.
Mike Piazza's 1997 stats (104 runs - 201 hits - 40 home runs - 124 RBI - .362 BA) is labeled as the best catching stats ever for one season.
First Base: Mark McGwire
Since we are acting as Bud Selig, we are going to dismiss the bulging muscles and only state the facts.
Mark McGwire started his career with a bang by hitting 49 home runs in his rookie season.
The power continued during the 90's.
McGwire smashed a decade high 405 home runs, and this figure was compiled even though there were two seasons that he combined for a total of 219 at bats.
That is power!
Second Base: Roberto Alomar
As I began to list players who jumped out to me, my initial thought was that Roberto Alomar was a no-brainer.
But, as I began to research and compare stats, it was determined that Alomar and Craig Biggio's stats were so close that I was about to flip a coin to decide.
The deciding factor was that Alomar was selected to the All-Star team every year, to Biggio's impressive seven.
I also factored in Alomar's two World Series rings, and the fact that he finished in the top 10 in the MVP ballot 4 times to Biggio's 2.
Below are the comparing stats:
Biggio: 136 HR - 641 RBI - 319 SB - 4 times he batted over .300
Alomar: 135 HR - 732 RBI - 311 SB - 7 times he batted over .300
Shortstop: Cal Ripken Jr.
Cal Ripken Jr. went on to win his second MVP in 1991. He was also selected to the All-Star game every year during the decade.
Third Base: Matt Williams
There were many choices for this position, including Chipper Jones (selected for this position for this current decade), Jim Thome and Wade Boggs.
Matt Williams (SF, Clev., Ariz.) was an RBI machine, as illustrated in 1999 when he drove in 142 runs.
Matt compiled 300 HR and 960 RBI during the decade. He also was selected to five All-Star games, and finished in the top-10 in the MVP ballot four times.
Aside from his offensive stats, Williams won all five of his Gold Gloves during the 90's.
Outfield: Ken Griffey Jr.
My choice for Player of the Decade.
Ken Griffey Jr. slammed 382 home runs, drove in 1,091 runs and batted .300 or better six times.
Griffey also appeared in the All-Star game every year. He finished in the top-10 in the MVP ballot six times.
Ken Griffey Jr was the 1997 MVP after hitting 56 HR to go along with 147 RBI.
Outfield: Barry Bonds
Yes, the Omar Moreno look-a-like is Barry Bonds.
Even prior to his uncanny head growth, Bonds was a hitting machine who won the MVP three times in four seasons; and should have won the award in 1991.
The speedy Bonds stole 343 bases, was a member of the 30/30 club four times and the 40/40 club once. The speedster hit over .300 six times, including a .336 average in 93'.
Oh yeah, this speedster was also a home run machine. Bonds hit 361 of his 762 career home runs during this decade.
Outfield: Albert Belle
To decide who was the third outfielder, there was a tense debate at work.
Trust me, it would have been easier to make the decision based on a sloth race.
The debate was between "Igor" Juan Gonzalez and Albert "Don't Call Me Joey" Belle.
Albert hit 351 home runs to Juan's 340. Belle drove in 1,099 runs to Gonzalez's 1,068. "Don't Call Me Joey" hit .300 or better four times, as well as Igor.
Basically, you can say the numbers compiled were close. But, even with Juan Gonzalez winning two MVP awards, the idiots (my colleagues) chose Belle.
Either player would do, as both are deserving.
Starting Pitcher: Greg Maddux
Pitcher of the Decade: Greg Maddux
Maddux compiled a record of 176-88, which won him four Cy Young awards and six trips to the All-Star game.
The amazing stat is that Greg's ERA during 1992—1995 was less than 2. This was the ERA when the run totals were dramatically increasing.
Simply amazing, especially when this man—dubbed genius by scouts—struck out anywhere from 130 to 190 players a season.
His philosophy was that success is not determined by how hard you throw, but where.
Starting Pitcher: Tom Glavine
I guess it is safe to say that the Atlanta Braves dynasty was derived from pitching.
Not to be greatly outdone, Tom Glavine compiled a 164-87 record, which included 2 Cy Young awards and six All-Star games.
The Braves would total seven Cy Young awards during this decade, including John Smoltz's 1996 award.
Starting Pitcher: Roger Clemens
"The Rocket" was the man in the American League.
Clemens won three Cy Young awards and averaged 210 strikeouts during the decade.
Starting Pitcher: Randy Johnson
The "Big Unit" is one of the most fearsome figures to touch a major league rubber.
Standing approximately 6'10'', Randy Johnson struck out an average of 254 batters per year during the decade; which also included three seasons where he struck out more than 300.
Johnson had a record of 150-75, which included two Cy Young awards and six All-Star games. He was also chosen for the All-Decade Team: 2000-2009.
Starting Pitcher: Pedro Martinez
Standing a foot shorter than Randy, Pedro Martinez averaged a record of 17-7 and 217 strikeouts during the decade.
Pedro won two Cy Youngs and was selected to four All-Star games out of his first seven seasons.
Pedro Martinez was barely selected over John Smoltz.
Relief Pitcher: Dennis Eckersley
Dennis Eckersley was one unpredictable Hall of Famer.
After not receiving sustainable success as a starter, Tony LaRussa talked "Ecks" into becoming a closer.
"Ecks" would compile elite figures in the role, which included 293 saves during the 90's (nine seasons).
Dennis Eckersley also won the MVP, and Cy Young, in 1992 after saving 51 games to go along with an ERA of 1.91.
Due to the above awards and stats, Dennis won the Fireman Award for the 1990's, over some others like Rod Beck and Rob Nen.
Bench: Honorable Mention
Players who received consideration were: