I challenge anyone to put together a one-team roster with more MVPs, a higher OBS, or less range at the middle infield positions. Without further delay, I present the all-time San Francisco Giants lineup:
1. Barry Bonds - LF
Say what you want to say about "cheating". At the plate, Bonds has been the most productive player since Ted Williams. 2001 was the first season in the greatest four-year stretch of any player's career in MLB history.
Thankfully, there's so much power behind Bonds in this lineup that I can "afford" to lead off with his .515 OBP (he followed up with .582, .529, and .609 the next three seasons). And back in '01, Barry was still putting up double-digit stolen base numbers.
Looking ahead, Bonds is protected by Willie Mays. Is there even a hint of a doubt that he hits 100 home runs? Of course not...let's move on.
2001 Season: 129 R, 156 H, 73 HR, 137 RBI .328 BA, .515 OBP, .863 SLG, MVP
2. Willie Mays - CF
Is anyone is baseball history more fixed on one roster at one position than Willie Mays in center field for the Giants?
Simply put, Mays is the best all-around player (and the most exciting) in the history of the game.
Like Bonds, the "Say Hey Kid" ran better in the early days of his career. By the early 60s, he was still stealing close to 20 bags a year, which again, we're not concerned with.
1962 Season: 130 R, 189 H, 49 HR, 141 RBI, .304 BA, .384 OBP, 614 SLG
3. Willie McCovey - 1B
Prior to the late 90s, McCovey was perhaps the most prolific left-handed power hitter in the history of the National League. He imposed a Ryan Howard-like reign of terror over the course of the 1960s, and couldn't help but drive in 150+ runs hitting behind Bonds and Mays.
He also has very large hands...very large.
1969 Season: 101 R, 157 H, 45 HR, 126 RBI .320 BA, .453 OBP, .656 SLG, MVP
4. Orlando Cepeda - RF
To the best of our knowledge, the "Baby Bull" preceded the performance-enhancing craze—but he's no stranger to banned substances.
Cocaine or marijuana, take your pick. Either way, Orlando was born to play on the 1985 Mets.
Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be, and the one-time National League MVP will have to settle for hitting cleanup for the all-time Giants.
He spent more of his career in left field, but was well versed on the first-base side as well.
1961 Season: 105 R, 182 H, 46 HR, 142 RBI .311 BA, .362 OBP, .609 SLG
5. Jeff Kent - 2B
What does Jeff Kent have in common with Terry Pendleton? They're both in possession of an MVP award that belongs to Barry Bonds.
Though a consummate sucker for the outside slider, Kent could get into grooves rivaled by few in the past two decades. He is also the most prolific hitter at second base since Rogers Hornsby. Cubs fans, check out the stats:
Ryne Sandberg: http://www.baseball-reference.com/s/sandbry01.shtml
2000 Season: 114 R, 196 H, 33 HR, 125 RBI .334 BA, .424 OBP, .596 SLG, MVP
6. Matt Williams - 3B
In the strike-shortened year of 1994, Matt Williams had 43 home runs with 47 games remaining on the Giants' schedule. He was as talented as they come with the glove and had power to spare.
1993 Season: 105 R, 170 H, 38 HR, 110 RBI .294 BA, .325 OBP, .561 SLG
7. Rich Aurillia - SS
Talk about a weak link.
It's not easy when you're choosing between Tito Fuentes, Chris Spier, Jose Uribe, Royce Clayton, and a 45 year old Omar Vizquel. Thankfully, Aurilia had a career year of all career years in 2001—and fits nicely into this lineup.
2001 Season: 114 R, 206 H, 37 HR's, 97 RBI, .324 BA, .369 OBP, .572, SLG,
8. Dick Dietz - C
Talented player whose career was cut short by injuries and his involvement in the MLB labor union disputes. It's tough to find a more productive season at the plate in the '60s or '70s by a catcher in the National League.
1970 Season: 82 R, 148 H, 22 HR, 107 RBI .300 BA, .426 OBP, .515 SLG
9. Livan Hernandez - P
12 hits in 13 at-bats. Need I say more?
The Giants have had some great hitting pitchers during my lifetime (Don Robinson comes to mind), but Livan and his 25 pounds of baby fat take the cake.
I'd rather have him set the table for Barry Bonds than Ray Durham or any of the other jokers we're throwing out these days.
2001 Season: 24 hits, .294 BA, .294 OBP (the guy liked to hack)