Ranking Every MLB Team by Its All-Time Starting Lineup

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2020

Ranking Every MLB Team by Its All-Time Starting Lineup

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    Associated Press

    Which MLB team has the best all-time lineup?

    It's a simple question, but finding an answer was decidedly more difficult.

    First things first, some ground rules are needed for constructing the all-time lineups:

    • Lineups: A standard starting nine (C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, LF, CF, RF, SP) was selected for each team, along with a DH spot for both AL and NL franchises. The DH spot was filled with the best remaining position player after the starting lineup was filled out. That leveled the playing field between AL and NL teams.
    • Team Eligibility: A player must have appeared in at least 500 games or pitched 800 innings to be eligible for inclusion on a team's all-time lineup. Those numbers were cut in half for the four most recent expansion teams (Arizona, Colorado, Miami, Tampa Bay).
    • Position Eligibility: A player must have appeared in at least 150 games at a position in his career to be slotted there on a team's all-time lineup. The exception was the two corner outfield spots, which were treated as interchangeable.

    While WAR is a statistic that will be featured prominently in this article, it was not the end-all, be-all statistic in determining who made the all-time lineup. Rather, it was used as a tool to narrow the field of candidates, before a decision was made based on each player's full statistical body of work.

    Once each team had an all-time lineup in place, all 30 teams were then ranked based on the quality of that lineup. Quantity of Hall of Fame talent and overall balance top-to-bottom were among the biggest factors in determining where each team ranked, though a healthy amount of subjectivity played a part as well.

    Let the debate begin!

30. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Evan Longoria
    Evan LongoriaJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. LF Carl Crawford
    2. 2B Ben Zobrist
    3. 3B Evan Longoria
    4. 1B Carlos Pena
    5. DH Fred McGriff
    6. RF Melvin Upton Jr.
    7. CF Kevin Kiermaier
    8. SS Julio Lugo
    9. C Toby Hall
    SP David Price


    • Catcher is a glaring weakness for this team. Toby Hall (586 G, 5.7 WAR) earned the spot by default over John Jaso (273 G, 4.0 WAR) and one-time All-Star Dioner Navarro (458 G, 1.9 WAR).
    • An aging Fred McGriff (577 G, 122 OPS+, 99 HR, 9.0 WAR) edged out Aubrey Huff (799 G, 116 OPS+, 128 HR, 11.9 R) for the DH spot. In 1999, McGriff hit .310/.405/.552 (142 OPS+) with 32 home runs and 104 RBI in one of the best offensive seasons in franchise history.
    • That said, there was serious consideration given to slotting the versatile Ben Zobrist in right field to open up a spot for Logan Forsythe (390 G, 9.4 WAR) at second base. That would have bumped Melvin Upton Jr. to DH and Fred McGriff off the roster.

29. San Diego Padres

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    Tony Gwynn
    Tony GwynnGeorge Gojkovich/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. RF Tony Gwynn
    2. LF Brian Giles
    3. CF Dave Winfield
    4. 1B Adrian Gonzalez
    5. 3B Phil Nevin
    6. DH Nate Colbert
    7. C Gene Tenace
    8. SS Garry Templeton
    9. 2B Bip Roberts
    SP Jake Peavy


    • The toughest decision came at third base, where Phil Nevin (806 G, 129 OPS+, 17.8 WAR) narrowly edged out 1996 NL MVP Ken Caminiti (557 G, 147 OPS+, 17.5 WAR) thanks to a larger body of above-average work. Chase Headley (935 G, 111 OPS+, 18.2 WAR) was also in the mix.
    • Nate Colbert played for the Padres from 1969 to 1974 and still stands as the franchise's all-time leader with 163 home runs. He was a three-time All-Star and had a pair of 38-homer seasons.
    • The glaring weakness for the Padres is starting pitching. Jake Peavy won NL Cy Young honors in 2007 and was briefly among the best pitchers in baseball. However, the fact that he leads all Padres starters with 24.8 WAR speaks to the franchise's lack of elite options.

28. Miami Marlins

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    Gary Sheffield
    Gary SheffieldScott Halleran/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. 2B Luis Castillo
    2. SS Hanley Ramirez
    3. DH Gary Sheffield
    4. RF Giancarlo Stanton
    5. 1B Miguel Cabrera
    6. CF Christian Yelich
    7. 3B Mike Lowell
    8. LF Jeff Conine
    9. C J.T. Realmuto
    SP Kevin Brown


    • Kevin Brown went 33-19 with a 2.30 ERA and a 170 ERA+ in his two seasons with the Florida Marlins. He was an All-Star both years and finished second in NL Cy Young voting in 1996. That was enough to earn him the nod over Dontrelle Willis, Josh Johnson and Jose Fernandez.
    • At the catcher spot, four-time Gold Glove winner Charles Johnson received some serious consideration. He was the team's inaugural first-round pick in the 1992 MLB draft.
    • Miguel Cabrera technically spent his entire Marlins tenure playing third base and the corner outfield spots. Moving him to first base, where he would later wind up in Detroit, opens the door for Mike Lowell to claim a roster spot. Lowell ranks fourth in home runs (143) and second in RBI (578) on the franchise leaderboard.

27. Colorado Rockies

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    Larry Walker
    Larry WalkerVincent Laforet/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. CF Charlie Blackmon
    2. RF Larry Walker
    3. 3B Nolan Arenado
    4. 1B Todd Helton
    5. DH Andres Galarraga
    6. LF Matt Holliday
    7. SS Troy Tulowitzki
    8. 2B DJ LeMahieu
    9. C Chris Iannetta
    SP Ubaldo Jimenez


    • How much longer before Trevor Story (544 G, 18.6 WAR) overtakes Troy Tulowitzki (1,048 G, 39.5 WAR) as the best shortstop in Colorado Rockies franchise history? What could have been if Tulowitzki was able to stay healthy.
    • It was tough to omit memorable 1990s sluggers Vinny Castilla (239 HR) and Ellis Burks (115 HR), as well as sweet-swinging Carlos Gonzalez (three-time All-Star). In the end, the DH spot went to Andres Galarraga (126 OPS+, 172 HR, 14.5 WAR), who was the team's first true superstar.
    • Chris Iannetta (620 G, 7.0 WAR) won the catching spot by default over guys like Jeff Reed (365 G, 4.2 WAR), Wilin Rosario (447 G, 1.6 WAR) and Joe Girardi (304 G, 1.0 WAR).

26. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Randy Johnson
    Randy JohnsonRob Leiter/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. CF Steve Finley
    2. 2B Ketel Marte
    3. 1B Paul Goldschmidt
    4. LF Luis Gonzalez
    5. RF Justin Upton
    6. 3B Matt Williams
    7. DH Mark Reynolds
    8. C Miguel Montero
    9. SS Nick Ahmed
    SP Randy Johnson


    • There are few pitchers in MLB history who compare to Randy Johnson in his prime. He won four straight NL Cy Young Awards with the Diamondbacks, and the trio of Luis Gonzalez, Steve Finley and Matt Williams joined him in leading the team to an unlikely World Series title in 2001.
    • Outfielders A.J. Pollock, David Peralta and Chris Young all received serious consideration. Young (2010) and Pollock (2015) were both All-Stars, while Peralta has a Silver Slugger (2018) and a Gold Glove (2019) on his resume.
    • A 44-homer season in 2009 that stands as the second-highest single-season total in D-backs history earned Mark Reynolds the DH spot. His 121 total home runs are also good for fifth in the franchise record books.

25. Kansas City Royals

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    George Brett
    George BrettAnonymous/Associated Press

    All-Time Lineup

    1. CF Amos Otis
    2. RF Carlos Beltran
    3. 3B George Brett
    4. 1B Mike Sweeney
    5. DH Hal McRae
    6. LF Alex Gordon
    7. C Salvador Perez
    8. 2B Frank White
    9. SS Freddie Patek
    SP Kevin Appier


    • Another team, another Willie Wilson snub. In 1,787 games with the Royals, he posted a 95 OPS+ with 612 steals and 1,968 hits. His 42.4 WAR is good for third in franchise history among position players, but still puts him behind Amos Otis for the center field spot.
    • Frank White and Freddie Patek were teammates from 1973 through 1979. During that span, they each made two All-Star teams, and White took home three Gold Glove Awards. Their offensive numbers were nothing to write home about, but they were rock solid up the middle.
    • Kevin Appier (1,843.2 IP, 130 ERA+, 47.1 WAR) edged out two-time Cy Young winner Bret Saberhagen (1,660.1 IP, 128 ERA+, 40.7 WAR) by the slimmest of margins for the starting pitcher nod.

24. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Carlos Delgado
    Carlos DelgadoBrad Mangin/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. 2B Roberto Alomar
    2. 3B Jose Bautista
    3. DH Carlos Delgado
    4. 1B Edwin Encarnacion
    5. LF George Bell
    6. RF Jesse Barfield
    7. CF Vernon Wells
    8. SS Tony Fernandez
    9. C Ernie Whitt
    SP Roy Halladay


    • The Roy Halladay (2,046.2 IP, 148-76, 133 ERA+, 48.4 WAR) vs. Dave Stieb (2,873 IP, 175-134, 123 ERA+, 56.9 WAR) decision was a tough one. In the end, the superior performance of Halladay won out over the longevity of Stieb.
    • Another tough choice was Vernon Wells (1,393 G, 28.7 WAR) or Devon White (656 G, 22.3) in center field, and it seems wrong that John Olerud (920 G, 22.6 WAR) did not find his way onto the roster in some capacity.
    • Third baseman Josh Donaldson only played in 462 games for the Blue Jays, so he was not eligible for inclusion. Otherwise, he would have replaced Jesse Barfield on the roster, with Jose Bautista shifting from third base to right field.

23. Texas Rangers

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    Juan Gonzalez
    Juan GonzalezRon Vesely/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. 2B Ian Kinsler
    2. C Ivan Rodriguez
    3. RF Juan Gonzalez
    4. 1B Rafael Palmeiro
    5. 3B Adrian Beltre
    6. DH Frank Howard
    7. CF Josh Hamilton
    8. LF Rusty Greer
    9. SS Michael Young
    SP Nolan Ryan


    • While Juan Gonzalez (372 HR) and Rafael Palmeiro (321 HR) might be the most recognizable sluggers in Texas Rangers history, towering 6'7" slugger Frank Howard (246 HR) also belongs in that conversation as a standout from the Washington Senators days.
    • Left fielder Rusty Greer (1,027 G, 119 OPS+, 22.4 WAR) might be the most underrated player in franchise history. He claimed the final outfield spot over Ruben Sierra (1,190 G, 116 OPS+, 20.2 WAR) and Nelson Cruz (796 G, 114 OPS+, 12.1 WAR).
    • Alex Rodriguez played in just 458 games with the Rangers, so he did not qualify for inclusion. He led the AL in home runs in each of his three seasons with the team and won 2003 AL MVP honors for a team that went 71-91.

22. Washington Nationals

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    Vladimir Guerrero
    Vladimir GuerreroFocus On Sport/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. LF Tim Raines
    2. 3B Anthony Rendon
    3. RF Vladimir Guerrero
    4. CF Andre Dawson
    5. DH Bryce Harper
    6. 1B Ryan Zimmerman
    7. C Gary Carter
    8. SS Ian Desmond
    9. 2B Jose Vidro
    SP Max Scherzer


    • During the four-year stretch from 1981 through 1984, the Montreal Expos had three future Hall of Famers in Gary Carter, Andre Dawson and Tim Raines on the same roster.
    • Those teams also featured Tim Wallach (105 OPS+, 204 HR, 905 RBI), who was by far the toughest omission. The five-time All-Star stands as the franchise leader with 1,767 games played, and his 37.0 WAR is good for fifth in team history. In the end, he didn't quite have the peak of Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon or Bryce Harper.
    • Current shortstop Trea Turner has played just 482 games in his MLB career, so he was not eligible for inclusion. Otherwise, he would have been the choice over Ian Desmond.

21. Los Angeles Angels

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    Mike Trout
    Mike TroutJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. 2B Bobby Grich
    2. CF Mike Trout
    3. RF Vladimir Guerrero
    4. 3B Troy Glaus
    5. DH Tim Salmon
    6. LF Brian Downing
    7. 1B Darin Erstad
    8. SS Jim Fregosi
    9. C Bob Boone
    SP Chuck Finley


    • Mike Trout (72.8) is already the franchise's all-time leader in WAR by a wide margin. The next-closest player is Chuck Finley (52.0), while the second-highest total for a position player belongs to Jim Fregosi (45.9).
    • The left field battle between Brian Downing (1,661 G, 126 OPS+, 222 HR, 846 RBI) and Garrett Anderson (2,013 G, 105 OPS+, 272 HR, 1,292 RBI) was extremely close.
    • Chuck Finley over Nolan Ryan? While there is little question Ryan was the bigger star, it's Finley who holds the advantage in WAR (52.0 to 40.0), ERA+ (118 to 115) and innings pitched (2,675 to 2,181.1).

20. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Robin Yount and Paul Molitor
    Robin Yount and Paul MolitorRon Vesely/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. SS Robin Yount
    2. DH Paul Molitor
    3. RF Ryan Braun
    4. 1B Cecil Cooper
    5. LF Geoff Jenkins
    6. CF Gorman Thomas
    7. 3B Don Money
    8. C Jonathan Lucroy
    9. 2B Jim Gantner
    SP Teddy Higuera


    • Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Cecil Cooper, Jim Gantner, Gorman Thomas and Don Money were all teammates on the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers. That remains the only time in franchise history the Brewers reached the World Series.
    • Another member of that '82 team, left fielder Ben Oglivie (1,149 G, 124 OPS+, 176 HR, 685 RBI), was arguably the biggest snub from this all-time roster. In the end, Geoff Jenkins (1,234 G, 116 OPS+, 212 HR, 704 RBI) had a slightly better resume playing for some bad Brewers teams in the early 2000s.
    • The pitcher spot came down to Teddy Higuera (1,380 IP, 117 ERA+, 30.3 WAR) or Ben Sheets (1,428 IP, 115 ERA+, 25.6 WAR) in perhaps the weakest field of starting pitching options for any team.

19. Houston Astros

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    Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell
    Craig Biggio and Jeff BagwellRon Vesely/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. 2B Jose Altuve
    2. C Craig Biggio
    3. 1B Jeff Bagwell
    4. DH Lance Berkman
    5. 3B Alex Bregman
    6. RF George Springer
    7. CF Cesar Cedeno
    8. SS Carlos Correa
    9. LF Jose Cruz
    SP Roy Oswalt


    • It might seem like cheating to use Craig Biggio at catcher, but he actually spent the first four seasons of his career behind the plate. He won a Silver Slugger in 1989 and made his first All-Star team in 1991 before he moved to second base. All told, he caught 428 games in his career.
    • Carlos Correa (546) and Alex Bregman (517) just barely surpassed the 500-game cutoff for inclusion. Otherwise, it would have been Dickie Thon at shortstop and Ken Caminiti at third base.
    • Center fielder Jim Wynn is a tough omission. In 1,426 games with the team, he posted a 131 OPS+ with 223 home runs and 719 RBI en route to 41.5 WAR, and there's certainly a case to be made for him earning a spot in the outfield over George Springer.

18. New York Mets

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    Tom Seaver
    Tom SeaverUncredited/Associated Press

    All-Time Lineup

    1. SS Jose Reyes
    2. 3B David Wright
    3. C Mike Piazza
    4. RF Darryl Strawberry
    5. CF Carlos Beltran
    6. DH Howard Johnson
    7. 1B Keith Hernandez
    8. 2B Edgardo Alfonzo
    9. LF Cleon Jones
    SP Tom Seaver


    • The only real debate here was left field, where Cleon Jones (1,201 G, 111 OPS+, 18.1 WAR) topped Kevin McReynolds (787 G, 120 OPS+, 15.8 WAR) by a narrow margin.
    • That said, speedster Mookie Wilson (1,116 G, 100 OPS+, 281 SB, 20.8 WAR) was the toughest omission from the roster. With Carlos Beltran as the clear choice in center field and both David Wright and Howard Johnson no-brainers for the roster, he was left on the outside looking in.
    • It's hard not to wonder if Dwight Gooden would have given Tom Seaver a run for his money had he avoided the substance abuse issues that derailed what looked like a Hall of Fame trajectory.

17. Seattle Mariners

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    Ken Griffey Jr.
    Ken Griffey Jr.Focus On Sport/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. RF Ichiro Suzuki
    2. SS Alex Rodriguez
    3. CF Ken Griffey Jr.
    4. DH Edgar Martinez
    5. 2B Robinson Cano
    6. LF Jay Buhner
    7. 1B Alvin Davis
    8. 3B Kyle Seager
    9. C Dan Wilson
    SP Randy Johnson


    • Considering they have only been a franchise since 1977, the Seattle Mariners have quite the collection of talent, including three Hall of Famers in Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez and Randy Johnson. There's a good chance Alex Rodriguez, Ichiro Suzuki and perhaps Robinson Cano will eventually join that group.
    • Another option for roster construction was to slot Edgar Martinez at third base where he played 564 games. That would have opened the door for someone like Mike Cameron (610 G, 18.4 WAR) or Nelson Cruz (606 G, 17.0 WAR) to earn a spot. However, Kyle Seager (1,261 G, 32.5 WAR) has a strong enough resume to justify his inclusion.
    • Felix Hernandez is Seattle's all-time leader in wins (169), strikeouts (2,524) and WAR for pitchers (50.3). However, Randy Johnson holds the advantage in ERA+ (128 to 117) and owns the two best single-season performances in 1995 (8.6 WAR) and 1997 (8.0 WAR).

16. Chicago White Sox

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    Frank Thomas
    Frank ThomasFocus On Sport/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. 2B Eddie Collins
    2. SS Luke Appling
    3. DH Frank Thomas
    4. 1B Paul Konerko
    5. RF Magglio Ordonez
    6. CF Minnie Minoso
    7. 3B Robin Ventura
    8. LF Harold Baines
    9. C Carlton Fisk
    SP Ed Walsh


    • Eddie Collins (1,670 G, 66.6 WAR) and Luke Appling (2,422 G, 77.1 WAR) were fairly easy choices at the middle infield spots. However, that did leave a pair of Hall of Famers in Nellie Fox (2,115 G, 44.5 WAR) and Luis Aparicio (1,511 G, 35.3 WAR) on the outside looking in.
    • It's a crime that Minnie Minoso is not in the Hall of Fame. The Cuba-born standout hit .304/.397/.468 for a 133 OPS+ with 135 home runs and 171 steals in 1,373 games with the White Sox.
    • Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko and Magglio Ordonez were teammates from 1999 through 2004, giving the White Sox one of the most potent lineups in baseball during that stretch.

15. Baltimore Orioles

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    Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr.
    Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr.Focus On Sport/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. DH George Sisler
    2. 2B Bobby Grich
    3. RF Frank Robinson
    4. 1B Eddie Murray
    5. LF Boog Powell
    6. SS Cal Ripken Jr.
    7. 3B Brooks Robinson
    8. C Chris Hoiles
    9. CF Paul Blair
    SP Jim Palmer


    • There were only two spots for George Sisler, Eddie Murray and Rafael Palmeiro since all three are limited to first base or designated hitter. In the end, Palmeiro simply didn't stack up against a pair of Hall of Famers, one who hit over .400 twice (Sisler) and one who played 884 more games in Baltimore (Murray).
    • Boog Powell (1,763 G, 135 OPS+, 303 HR, 1,063 RBI) is sometimes lost in the historical shuffle, but he was an integral part of two World Series winners alongside Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer. The 1970 AL MVP spent most of his career at first base but played 430 games in left field to qualify there.
    • Defensive standout Paul Blair (1,700 G, 39.7 WAR) won eight Gold Glove Awards in 13 seasons with the Orioles. That was enough to push him ahead of Adam Jones (1,613 G, 32.2 WAR) and Brady Anderson (1,759 G, 34.9 WAR) for the center field spot.

14. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Mike Schmidt
    Mike SchmidtAnonymous/Associated Press

    All-Time Lineup

    1. CF Richie Ashburn
    2. 2B Chase Utley
    3. RF Bobby Abreu
    4. 3B Mike Schmidt
    5. 1B Ryan Howard
    6. DH Dick Allen
    7. LF Ed Delahanty
    8. SS Jimmy Rollins
    9. C Darren Daulton
    SP Steve Carlton


    • Who is Ed Delahanty? The Dead Ball Era star hit over .400 three different times, including a .410 average in 1899 when he also led the league in OPS+ (189), hits (238), doubles (55) and RBI (137). His 60.9 WAR trails only Mike Schmidt (106.9) and Chase Utley (62.0) among all Phillies position players.
    • With just 14.7 WAR for his career, there are more valuable first basemen in Phillies history than Ryan Howard. However, his 382 home runs rank second in franchise history, and he was an integral part of their success during the 2000s.
    • Hall of Famer Chuck Klein was a tough omission in the outfield. He won NL MVP honors in 1932 and won the Triple Crown the following year when he hit .368/.422/.602 with 44 doubles, 28 home runs and 120 RBI in a 7.9-WAR season.

13. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Willie Stargell
    Willie StargellRich Pilling/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. LF Paul Waner
    2. RF Roberto Clemente
    3. SS Honus Wagner
    4. 1B Willie Stargell
    5. DH Ralph Kiner
    6. CF Barry Bonds
    7. 3B Pie Traynor
    8. C Jason Kendall
    9. 2B Bill Mazeroski
    SP Babe Adams


    • Barry Bonds spent the vast majority of his MLB career manning left field, where he won eight Gold Glove Awards. In order to get the best possible lineup on the field, he was shifted to center field. He played 171 games there in his career and served as the everyday center fielder during his rookie season in 1986.
    • That decision pushed 2013 NL MVP Andrew McCutchen (1,346 G, 40.4 WAR) out of the picture. That said, he was far from the biggest snub. Hall of Fame shortstop Arky Vaughn (1,411 G, 67.8 WAR) also wound up on the outside looking in.
    • While the offensive side of Pirates history is stacked with Hall of Famers, the team has never had a truly dominant starting pitcher. The decision eventually boiled down to Babe Adams (2,991.1 IP, 118 ERA+, 50.4 WAR) or Wilbur Cooper (3,199 IP, 120 ERA+, 48.2 WAR).

12. Cleveland Indians

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    Manny Ramirez
    Manny RamirezDAVID MAXWELL/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. LF Kenny Lofton
    2. 2B Nap Lajoie
    3. CF Tris Speaker
    4. 1B Jim Thome
    5. RF Manny Ramirez
    6. DH Earl Averill
    7. 3B Al Rosen
    8. C Carlos Santana
    9. SS Lou Boudreau
    SP Bob Feller


    • With Dead Ball Era standouts Nap Lajoie and Tris Speaker joining the 1990s trio of Kenny Lofton, Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome, this is a dangerous Cleveland Indians all-time lineup.
    • Albert Belle (150 OPS+, 242 HR) was an extremely difficult omission, especially considering he was the face of that legendary 1995 offense. In the end, Manny Ramirez (152 OPS+, 236 HR) had slightly better overall numbers, while Kenny Lofton nearly doubled him in overall value (27.4 to 48.6 WAR). The DH spot went to Hall of Famer Earl Averill.
    • It's easy to forget that Carlos Santana (1,274 G, 28.9 WAR) began his career as a catcher. He caught 319 games over his first four MLB seasons and easily beat out Sandy Alomar (985 G, 13.3 WAR) for that roster spot.

11. Minnesota Twins

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    Harmon Killebrew
    Harmon KillebrewHarry Harris/Associated Press

    All-Time Lineup

    1. 2B Rod Carew
    2. C Joe Mauer
    3. CF Kirby Puckett
    4. 3B Harmon Killebrew
    5. 1B Kent Hrbek
    6. RF Tony Oliva
    7. LF Goose Goslin
    8. DH Sam Rice
    9. SS Joe Cronin
    SP Walter Johnson


    • Harmon Killebrew provided some useful defensive versatility with significant time spent at first base (969 games), third base (791 games) and in left field (471 games). That allowed Kent Hrbek to find his way onto the roster as the starting first baseman.
    • Underrated 1960s slugger Bob Allison (1,541 G, 127 OPS+, 256 HR) narrowly missed the cut in the outfield. He spent his entire 13-year career in the organization, with which he was a three-time All-Star and the 1959 AL Rookie of the Year.
    • Rod Carew (seven) and Joe Mauer (three) won a combined 10 batting titles during their time with the Twins. Not a bad way to set the table.

10. Cincinnati Reds

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    Johnny Bench
    Johnny BenchAssociated Press

    All-Time Lineup

    1. 2B Joe Morgan
    2. LF Pete Rose
    3. 1B Joey Votto
    4. C Johnny Bench
    5. RF Frank Robinson
    6. 3B Tony Perez
    7. DH George Foster
    8. SS Barry Larkin
    9. CF Vada Pinson
    SP Jose Rijo


    • Right-hander Jose Rijo (1,478 IP, 138 ERA+, 36.4 WAR) is rarely mentioned among the elite pitchers of his era—an elbow injury essentially ended his career at the age of 30—but he was nothing short of dominant at his peak. In fact, he claimed the pitching slot rather easily over Hall of Famer Eppa Rixey (2,890.2 IP, 118 ERA+, 40.9 WAR) and Dead Ball Era standout Noodles Hahn (1,987.1 IP, 134 ERA+, 45.8 WAR).
    • It's no surprise to see the "Big Red Machine" well represented with Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, Tony Perez and George Foster all finding their way onto the roster.
    • The fact that Perez began his career as a third baseman and played 760 games there created a path for him to make the roster. He lost out to Joey Votto for the first base spot by a sizable margin.

9. Oakland Athletics

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    Rickey Henderson
    Rickey HendersonSPX/Diamond Images/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. LF Rickey Henderson
    2. 2B Eddie Collins
    3. CF Al Simmons
    4. 1B Jimmie Foxx
    5. DH Mark McGwire
    6. RF Reggie Jackson
    7. C Mickey Cochrane
    8. 3B Sal Bando
    9. SS Bert Campaneris
    SP Lefty Grove


    • The biggest debate here was Sal Bando (1,468 G, 127 OPS+, 52.1 WAR) or Home Run Baker (899 G, 152 OPS+, 42.2 WAR) at third base. The counting stats and Hall of Fame recognition favor Baker, but Bando was one of the leaders of the teams that won three straight World Series titles from 1972-74.
    • Hall of Famer Eddie Plank won 284 games in 14 seasons with the Athletics, and he leads all pitchers in WAR. However, Lefty Grove bested him by a wide margin in ERA+ (151 to 120), and he nearly closed the WAR gap (68.4 to 74.6) in roughly 1,400 fewer innings.
    • Mark McGwire (363 HR), Jimmie Foxx (302 HR) and Reggie Jackson (269 HR) all started their careers with the Athletics, laying the foundation for eventually joining the 500 home run club.

8. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Duke Snider and Roy Campanella
    Duke Snider and Roy CampanellaJohn Rooney/Associated Press

    All-Time Lineup

    1. 2B Jackie Robinson
    2. SS Pee Wee Reese
    3. CF Duke Snider
    4. DH Gil Hodges
    5. C Roy Campanella
    6. LF Zack Wheat
    7. 1B Steve Garvey
    8. RF Pedro Guerrero
    9. 3B Ron Cey
    SP Clayton Kershaw


    • No Mike Piazza (726 G, 160 OPS+, 32.0 WAR)? It came down to him and Steve Garvey (1,727 G, 122 OPS+, 36.7 WAR) for the final spot, with four-time Gold Glove winner Garvey slotted at first base and Gil Hodges shifted to the DH spot.
    • The corner outfield options were surprisingly limited. Zack Wheat (2,322 G, 130 OPS+, 59.6 WAR) and Pedro Guerrero (1,036 G, 149 OPS+, 32.7 WAR) ultimately beat out Carl Furillo, Dixie Walker, Matt Kemp and Gary Sheffield.
    • There's no right answer to the Sandy Koufax (2,324.1 IP, 131 ERA+, 53.1 WAR) vs. Clayton Kershaw (2,274.2 IP, 157 ERA+, 65.3 WAR) debate. One had his career shortened by injuries, the other has struggled in the postseason and both are all-time greats. Take your pick.

7. Atlanta Braves

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    Hank Aaron
    Hank AaronAssociated Press

    All-Time Lineup

    1. SS Rafael Furcal
    2. 1B Freddie Freeman
    3. RF Hank Aaron
    4. 3B Eddie Mathews
    5. DH Chipper Jones
    6. CF Andruw Jones
    7. LF Dale Murphy
    8. C Joe Torre
    9. 2B Rabbit Maranville
    SP Greg Maddux


    • The decision to give NL teams a DH spot stemmed largely from the borderline impossible decision between Chipper Jones (2,499 G, 85.3 WAR) and Eddie Mathews (2,223 G, 94.1 WAR) at third base for the Braves.
    • Joe Adcock (1,207 G, 131 OPS+, 26.6 WAR) was the all-time team answer at first base for years until Freddie Freeman (1,346 G, 137 OPS+, 35.7 WAR) came along. That said, Adcock deserves a mention, and his 239 home runs are still good for sixth on the franchise list.
    • All due respect to Kid Nichols (4,549 IP, 143 ERA+, 107.4 WAR) and Warren Spahn (5,046 IP, 120 ERA+, 91.9 WAR), but there was never a question of who was going to be the starting pitcher.

6. Chicago Cubs

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    Ernie Banks
    Ernie BanksAssociated Press

    All-Time Lineup

    1. 1B Cap Anson
    2. 2B Ryne Sandberg
    3. SS Ernie Banks
    4. RF Sammy Sosa
    5. LF Billy Williams
    6. CF Hack Wilson
    7. 3B Ron Santo
    8. DH Stan Hack
    9. C Gabby Hartnett
    SP Mordecai Brown


    • The first base position provided three solid options in Hall of Famer Cap Anson (2,277 G, 84.8 WAR), Hall of Famer Frank Chance (1,275 G, 45.7 WAR) and 1990s hit leader Mark Grace (1,910 G, 44.2 WAR).
    • Hall of Famer Hack Wilson (850 G, 155 OPS+, 31.0 WAR) has a small body of work compared to the other players on this list. That said, he led the NL in home runs four times during a five-year span that culminated in a 56-homer, 191-RBI season in 1930.
    • Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ron Santo were all teammates from 1960-71, and they didn't play a single postseason game together.

5. Boston Red Sox

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    Ted Williams
    Ted WilliamsAssociated Press

    All-Time Lineup

    1. CF Tris Speaker
    2. 3B Wade Boggs
    3. LF Ted Williams
    4. 1B Carl Yastrzemski
    5. DH David Ortiz
    6. C Carlton Fisk
    7. SS Nomar Garciaparra
    8. RF Dwight Evans
    9. 2B Dustin Pedroia
    SP Pedro Martinez


    • The Dustin Pedroia (1,512 G, 113 OPS+, 51.6 WAR) vs. Bobby Doerr (1,865 G, 115 OPS+, 51.1) debate at second base is a compelling one. Pedroia's three World Series rings and 2008 AL MVP ultimately gave him the edge.
    • Hall of Famer Jim Rice (2,089 G, 128 OPS+, 47.7 WAR) ends up on the sidelines in favor of teammate Dwight Evans (2,505 G, 127 OPS+, 66.5 WAR) for the final spot in the outfield. How is Evans not enshrined?
    • Cy Young (2,728.1 IP, 147 ERA+, 64.4 WAR) has an award named after him. However, Pedro Martinez (1,383.2 IP, 190 ERA+, 53.8 WAR) had arguably the greatest peak of any pitcher in baseball history, and he did it at the height of the Steroid Era.

4. Detroit Tigers

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    Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker
    Alan Trammell and Lou WhitakerRich Pilling/Getty Images

    All-Time Lineup

    1. CF Ty Cobb
    2. DH Charlie Gehringer
    3. RF Al Kaline
    4. 3B Miguel Cabrera
    5. 1B Hank Greenberg
    6. LF Harry Heilmann
    7. SS Alan Trammell
    8. 2B Lou Whitaker
    9. C Bill Freehan
    SP Hal Newhouser


    • While Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer is the clear choice at second base, it seemed like sacrilege to break up the Lou Whitaker-Alan Trammell double-play combination. Whitaker ended up being the best player left over after the starting lineup was chosen, so Gehringer was shifted to DH to accommodate the most lauded middle infield tandem in MLB history.
    • A crowded outfield left Hall of Famer Sam Crawford (2,114 G, 145 OPS+, 63.6 WAR) on the outside looking in. He was one of the better players excluded from any team's all-time lineup.
    • Hal Newhouser (2,944 IP, 130 ERA+, 58.7 WAR) gets the nod on the mound over Justin Verlander (2,511 IP, 123 ERA+, 56.1 WAR) in a close race.

3. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Bob Gibson
    Bob GibsonUncredited/Associated Press

    All-Time Lineup

    1. LF Lou Brock
    2. 2B Rogers Hornsby
    3. CF Stan Musial
    4. 1B Albert Pujols
    5. DH Mark McGwire
    6. RF Enos Slaughter
    7. 3B Ken Boyer
    8. C Yadier Molina
    9. SS Ozzie Smith
    SP Bob Gibson


    • Another option for the roster alignment would have been to go with Jim Edmonds in center field, Stan Musial at first base and Albert Pujols as the designated hitter. In the end, the impact Mark McGwire had on the franchise was too significant to exclude him.
    • Newly minted Hall of Famer Ted Simmons (1,564 G, 45.0 WAR) certainly has a case for the catcher spot. That said, the defensive excellence (nine-time Gold Glove winner) and impressive longevity of Yadier Molina (1,983 G, 40.1 WAR) ended up winning out.
    • For those of you wondering about Scott Rolen (661 G, 127 OPS+, 25.9 WAR), his relatively small body of work left him quite a ways behind Ken Boyer (1,667 G, 119 OPS+, 58.1 WAR) at third base.

2. San Francisco Giants

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    Willie Mays, Juan Marichal and Willie McCovey
    Willie Mays, Juan Marichal and Willie McCoveyROBERT H. HOUSTON/Associated Press

    All-Time Lineup

    1. CF Willie Mays
    2. C Buster Posey
    3. LF Barry Bonds
    4. RF Mel Ott
    5. 1B Willie McCovey
    6. DH Bill Terry
    7. 3B Matt Williams
    8. 2B Jeff Kent
    9. SS George Davis
    SP Christy Mathewson


    • It's hard to argue with a lineup that has four members of the 500 home run club, and they all did the bulk of their damage in a Giants uniform. Willie Mays (646), Barry Bonds (586), Mel Ott (511) and Willie McCovey (469) hit a combined 2,212 home runs during their time with the team.
    • Hall of Famers Juan MarichalCarl Hubbell, Orlando Cepeda, Johnny Mize, Buck Ewing, Roger Connor and Travis Jackson were among the notable omissions, along with 1990s star Will Clark.
    • Second base was a tough call between Jeff Kent (900 G, 136 OPS+, 31.6 WAR), Frankie Frisch (1,000 G, 116 OPS+, 37.6 WAR) and Robby Thompson (1,304 G, 105 OPS+, 33.9 WAR). The offensive excellence of Kent won out in the end.

1. New York Yankees

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    Tony Lazzeri, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig
    Tony Lazzeri, Babe Ruth and Lou GehrigAssociated Press

    All-Time Lineup

    1. SS Derek Jeter
    2. LF Joe DiMaggio
    3. RF Babe Ruth
    4. 1B Lou Gehrig
    5. CF Mickey Mantle
    6. 3B Alex Rodriguez
    7. DH Bernie Williams
    8. C Yogi Berra
    9. 2B Tony Lazzeri
    SP Whitey Ford


    • Here's a lineup you can build with the players who didn't make the Yankees' all-time team: C Bill Dickey, 1B Don Mattingly, 2B Robinson Cano, SS Phil Rizzuto, 3B Graig Nettles, LF Roy White, CF Earle Combs, RF Reggie Jackson, DH Dave Winfield, SP Ron Guidry. A true embarrassment of riches.
    • The biggest debate came at second base, where Tony Lazzeri (1,659 G, 120 OPS+, 45.9 WAR) was chosen over Willie Randolph (1,694 G, 105 OPS+, 54.0 WAR), Joe Gordon (1,000 G, 120 OPS+, 36.8 WAR) and Cano (1,374 G, 126 OPS+, 44.4 WAR).
    • Outfielder Bernie Williams ranks sixth in team history with 2,076 games played, during which time he hit .297/.381/.477 for a 125 OPS+ with 287 home runs and 1,257 RBI while winning four World Series titles. There was no shortage of options for the DH spot, but it's hard to argue he's not deserving.


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, unless otherwise noted. Complete team statistics for position players are linked to the "Notes" header on each slide, while pitching statistics are individually linked.