Baseball is a unique sport in many ways. For one it is the only sport where the defense has the ball. There is no time limit to a baseball game, which is why we get to enjoy the occasional twenty-inning ball game.
The players from every era (excluding the steroid era) really do look the same. Many baseball historians believe that a Hall of Fame player from the 1920s would be a Hall of Fame player in the 1990s. It is that premise that makes the creation of an all time baseball team such a joy to create and debate.
Since this is my team, I am going to cheat a little and do a first and a second string. You could say that by doing two strings of all-time players, I am all juiced up for this baseball team.
The starter would be Johnny Bench, who revolutionized the position of catcher. Bench was a two-time NL MVP, a World Series champion as a key part in the Big Red Machine, and a Hall of Fame player.
Backing up Bench would be Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez. Although Rodriguez has bounced around from team to team toward the end of his career, he is still known as the greatest defensive catcher of all time. He won a World Series with the Florida Marlins and was a staple in the All-Star Game as a Texas Ranger.
Albert Pujols is my starter and one of the few current players to make the team. Already a World Series champion, he could run off a string of NL MVP awards on his way to the Hall of Fame.
Lou Gehrig was known as the Iron Horse after he subbed in for an injured Wally Pipp. He won numerous World Series titles as a key member of the Yankees when they began their century of dominance. As great as his numbers were, there is reason to believe he was sick during most of his career with the disease that would later take his name.
Joe Morgan was another integral cog in the Big Red Machine. Morgan made the second base position one of power, speed, and defense. He did bounce around toward the end of his career as well, finding his way into the postseason and making clutch plays and getting key hits.
Rogers Hornsby put up some of the greatest numbers a second basemen ever has. He is an example of a player that could transcend eras and be an All-Star in every one of them.
Honus Wagner was one of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game. He defined excellence while playing one of the toughest positions in baseball.
Cal Ripken revolutionized the position in the modern era, making the idea of a power hitting shortstop a feasible one. He broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak, won a World Series title, and is a Hall of Famer.
Mike Schmidt was the perfect combination of defense and power. A World Series Champion and Hall of Famer. He won twelve gold gloves and hit over five hundred home runs. The only mystery is why did Philly fans boo him?
Brooks Robinson was also a great combination of defense and hitting. He had some of his greatest moments int he World Series and was a key part of an Orioles team that was always in contention for the World Series in the 1960's.
Ted Williams was the last player to hit over .400 for a season. As great as his career was, he lost four years to the service in World War II. It is safe to believe that if he had played those four years that his numbers would have looked like a video game stat sheet.
Rickey Henderson was the greatest leadoff hitter the game of baseball has ever seen. his talent was only topped by his quirkiness. His space cadet mentality saw him play for many teams and his talent saw him as a winner at most of his stops.
Willie Mays was the first player to show the type of power and defense that created the term five-tool player. In his prime, Mays could rival any player in baseball as the best to ever play the game.
Ken Griffey, Jr. was a dynamic talent. One of the few guys on this team to not win a World Series, injuries took a toll on his career but he will still be a Hall of Famer. In his prime there were few who could do what he made look so easy and natural on the playing field.
Babe Ruth brought baseball into its first modern era. He became the home run king with a little over 150 big flies and pushed the record past 700. He was also one of the better pitchers to play the game as well but I would play him in right field.
Hank Aaron is the home run king. He had over 3,700 hits. It is mind-boggling that he almost had 3,000 hits without counting any of his 755 home runs.
Walter Johnson pitched before the days of pitch counts and he was a winner. If momentum is the next day's starting pitcher then the phrase began with Johnson. He won twenty games for ten years in a row and won thirty games twice.
Cy Young won 511 games and he played a portion of his career in Cleveland. The best pitchers every year are rewarded with a trophy that bears his name.
Left Handed Pitcher
Lefty Grove was an all-time pitcher. On two separate occasions he struck out the side on nine pitches. An ace on every team he played for, Grove was another of those momentum pitchers.
Randy Johnson might be the most imposing pitcher to ever hurl the ball. At his height, it looked like he was on top of batters when he finished his follow-through. As his career winds down, he is still winning ball games and still an imposing figure on the mound.
Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens have the cloud of steroids hanging over their heads. As great as they all were or are, it is hard to include them in an all-time team with their numbers possibly being inflated by cheating.
Ty Cobb and Pete Rose were the only players to get over 4,000 hits. They both proved the adage that good players didn't have to be good guys.
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