This is the second part of a three-piece story. It examines what an All-Star team made entirely of players who have never been implicated in steroid use, yet played in baseball's steroid era, would look like. The first part looked at what a team comprised entirely of players associated with steroids would look like.
The next and final part will examine which All-Star team has the advantage.
Starter: Joe Mauer
Joe Mauer is the Minnesota Twins catcher with a sweet swing. In 2006 he became the first catcher in the AL to win a batting title and in 2008 he repeated that feat. He is a two-time All-Star, a two-time Silver Slugger, and a two-time AL batting champion. His 2006 season was marked by a .347 average, 13 HRs, and 84 RBI.
Jorge Posada’s career accolades actually look better than Mauer’s, but talent wise Mauer is the better player. Posada is a five-time All-Star, and a five-time Silver Slugger. Perhaps most impressive is that he has played for a World Series champion team four times.
His best year came in 2007 when he hit 20 HRs, had a .330 average, and 90 RBI. He is the only catcher in history to .330, with 40 doubles, 20 HRs, and over 85 RBI in a single season.
Starter: Albert Pujols
There was quite a fuss when I put Pujols on my “juiced” team. I explained that I put Pujols on there because of the speculation around him that will never stop. But because no evidence has ever come out proving Pujols has used, he also deserves a spot on this team.
Albert has won two of the last four NL MVP awards with numbers that were just off the charts. In 2005 he hit 41 HRs, had a .330 average, added 117 RBI, and 16 stolen bases (which was tops for all first basemen in 2005).
Pujols has been an All-Star in seven of his eight seasons and has won four Silver Sluggers, and one Gold Glove. He was also named Rookie of the Year in 2001 and the 2004 NLCS MVP.
Ryan Howard is the first basemen for the world champion Phillies. If he were not playing in the same era as Pujols he would probably be even more respected than he is. Howard has been awarded Rookie of the Year, MVP, and is a one-time All-Star.
He has also won a Silver Slugger, a Hank Aaron award, and has led the NL in home runs twice. In his MVP season he hit 58 HRs, had 149 RBI, and a .313 average.
Justin Morneau is another great first basemen. Morneau is a two-time All-Star, a two-time Silver Slugger, and a one-time MVP. His MVP season came in 2006 when he hit for a .321 average, 34 HRs, and 130 RBI.
Frank Thomas a.k.a “The Big Hurt” was huge in the 1990’s. He won two MVP awards, which came back to back in ‘93 and ‘94. He has won four Silver Sluggers, is a five-time All Star, and has 521 career HRs. He also won one batting title.
The guy finished in the top 10 in MVP voting from 1991-1997. All in all he had an impressive career and may be one of the best first basemen to ever play the game.
Todd Helton is another stud first basemen who had the majority of his success in the early 2000’s. Hitting in Coors field he won four Silver Sluggers and is a five-time All-Star. He also has won three Gold Gloves. Helton is a career .328 hitter making him third in all active players, only behind Ichiro Suzuki and Pujols.
Starter: Jeff Kent
The thing that makes Jeff Kent stand above the other two second basemen listed is his 2000 MVP award. Kent is a five-time All-Star and a four-time Silver Slugger. In 2000 he hit 33 HRs, had 125 RBI, and a .334 average. Kent is one of the few second basemen in the league who has hit consistently for power.
Craig Biggio should probably be the starter on this team. I like him more than Jeff Kent, but the statistics support Kent more than Biggio. Biggio is a seven-time All-Star, a four-time Gold Glover, and a five-time Silver Slugger.
The guy is probably one of the more consistent players to have played the game. In his prime the guys average rarely fell below .280. He was fun to watch and he did it all with the Astros.
Chase Utley is a relatively young player, but he is already making an impact on the game. He is a three-time All-Star and a three-time Silver Slugger. By the end of his career he may surpass the two guys ahead of him, but as of right now he just has not compiled the same credentials as Kent or Biggio.
Starter: Cal Ripken Jr.
Cal Ripken Jr. did some pretty crazy things. He set the record for most consecutive games played at 2,632 games over seventeen seasons. He made 19 All-Star appearances, won eight Silver Sluggers, and two Gold Gloves.
He was also Rookie of the Year in 1982. More importantly he has won two MVP awards, one in 1983, the other in 1991. In that ‘91 campaign he hit .323 with 34 HRs and 114 RBI.
Yeah, Barry Larkin was kind of the obvious choice. A twelve-time all star, a three-time Gold Glover, and a nine-time Silver Slugger. In 1995 he won the MVP award by having 15 HRs, 66 RBI, and a .319 average. Larkin had an amazing career and was known for his hard work. He started and ended his career with the Cincinnati Reds.
Derek Jeter has become the epitome of clean baseball as more and more stars are revealed to be users. He had to shake his head in dismay at the press conferences of his teammates as they apologized to fans.
I was never a Derek Jeter fan until I saw the pained looks on his face as he saw how steroids were ruining the game around him. The guy is a nine-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger, and the 1996 AL Rookie of the Year. He has also been on four World Series champion teams.
Considerable Mention: Michael Young
Starter: Chipper Jones
Chipper Jones is a solid starter at the hot corner with a career .311 average. The guy can rip a ball from either side of the plate. He is a six-time All-Star and a two-time Silver Slugger. His 1999 season earned him an MVP award when he had a .319 average, 45 HRs, and 110 RBI.
David Wright is only starting his fifth season in the major. Yet he is already collecting plenty of awards. He is a three-time All-Star, a two-time Gold Glover, and a two-time Silver Slugger. As long as he stays healthy he is going to add a lot more to his trophy case.
Ken Griffey Jr.
Ken has always had one of the sweetest swings in baseball. If he had been healthier throughout his career its crazy to imagine what he could have accomplished.
Even with his injuries he managed 13 All-Star appearances, 10 Gold Gloves, and seven Silver Sluggers. His 1997 season earned him the honor of being named MVP. Ken has always been a fun guy to watch. Good luck to him finishing out his career in Seattle.
We go from a guy with a sweet swing to a guy with an incredibly powerful swing. During his prime the ball few off this guy’s bat like no other. He has found his way onto eight All-Star teams, won seven Silver Sluggers, and was named the 2004 AL MVP. Like I said before, there are few bats as powerful as his.
I really love the bats this outfield has. Next up is Manny Ramirez. The best pure hitter in baseball, in my opinion. You will not find any Gold Gloves here but he is a 12-time All-Star, a nine-time Silver Slugger, and a two-time Hank Aaron award winner. He also has one AL batting title and a home run title.
Alfonso Soriano is a seven-time All-Star and four time Silver Slugger. It is a wonder he did not win the AL MVP in 2002 when he led the league in stolen bases, runs, and hits.
Ichiro Suzuki has only spent about half his professional playing days in the MLB, yet he has still managed to compile a bunch of awards. While rarely hitting for power he has been an All-Star eight times and won eight Gold Gloves. He is a two-time Silver Slugger and in his inaugural season he was voted both Rookie of the Year and MVP.
Larry Walker is a guy I almost forgot about. He quietly compiled a very solid career. He was a five-time All-star and won seven Gold Gloves. He also won three Silver Sluggers and the 1997 NL MVP.
Ace: Johan Santana
I feel like I am partial to Johan, but it seems like all these guys are equally deserving. Johan has won two Cy Young awards and will probably win a few more before his career is over.
He is a three-time All-Star and won the pitching Triple Crown in 2006. I have never seen a guy lose more games than Johan when giving up less than two runs but it sure as hell seems to happen a lot to him. He stills wins over 67% of his decisions.
Rest of the Staff
To keep teams off balance I will go with a hard throwing next. That leads me to Roy Halladay. He is a five-time All Star and he has won one Cy Young. He also wins over 67% of his starts.
Next up is a hard throwing lefty. Randy Johnson will be third up in this rotation. He is a five-time Cy Young winner and a 10-time All-Star. In his prime he may have been the most dominant pitcher of his era.
Next would be a hard choice between Greg Maddux and Pedro Martinez. Maddux is an eight-time All-Star and an 18-time Gold Glover. He also won four Cy Young awards. Martinez is an eight-time All-Star and a three-time Cy Young winner. He won the AL Triple Crown in 1999.
C.C. Sabathia is a three-time All-Star and has won one Cy Young award. Not a bad backend of the rotation type guy.
Closer: Mariano Rivera
Mariano Rivera is a solid closer. He is a nine-time All-Star and four time Relief Man of the Year.
He has been a part of four World Series winners and has a career 2.28 ERA.
Now lets see what the All-Clean team combined for as a group:
55 Gold Gloves
90 Silver Sluggers
Three Rookie of the Years
Three Hank Aaron awards
16 Cy Young awards
168 All Star appearances
I’m glad to see how well this team turned out. There are a lot of solid players who were fun to watch in what has now become the steroid era. A lot of these guy were exemplified by their hustle, minus Manny Ramirez, and an odd trend that began to appear was how many of these guys started and ended their career with their same team.
Maybe this a sign that people who are willing to stay with the same team have a better moral compass than those who shop around for the high price.
Keep an eye out for the final decision on which team is better. Will the big boppers of the steroids team prevail, or will the guns of the clean pitchers keep ‘em swinging for the fences?