I have found that writing the All Star teams takes a very long time. Usually, I am taking up over an hour on each team, so starting next blog, I will start with a new header.
All Time Team
It's the last time I'm going to make, so here is the big one: my all time team. Career stats, years active in parentheses. Steroid users are not included.
C: Josh Gibson (Negro Leaguer, stats not available, active 1930-1946)
1B: Lou Gehrig (493 HR, 1995 RBI, .340 AVG, 102 SB, active 1923-1939)
2B: Rogers Horsnby (301 HR, 1584 RBI, .358 AVG, 135 SB, active 1915-1937)
SS: Honus Wagner (101 HR, 1732 RBI, .329 AVG, 722 SB, active 1897-1917)
3B: Chipper Jones (468 HR, 1623 RBI, .303 AVG, 150 SB, active 1993-2012)
LF: Babe Ruth (714 HR, 2213 RBI, .342 AVG, 123 SB, active 1914-1935)
CF: Willie Mays (660 HR, 1903 RBI, .302 AVG, 338 SB, active 1951-1973)
RF: Ty Cobb (117 HR, 1938 RBI, .366 AVG, 892 SB, active 1905-1928)
SP: Satchel Paige (28-31, 3.29 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 288 K's in 476 innings, active 1948-1965)
SP: Walter Johnson (417-279, 2.17 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 3508 K's in 5914.1 innings, active 1907-1927)
SP: Pedro Martinez (219-100, 2.93 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 3154 K's in 2827.2 innings, active 1992-2009)
RHR: Mariano Rivera (76-58, 2.21 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 608 saves, 1119 K's in 1219.2 innings, active 1995-present)
LHR: Billy Wagner (47-40, 2.31 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 422 saves, 1196 K's in 903 innings, active 1995-2010)
Honorable Mentions: Johnny Bench (C), Sadaharu Oh (1B), Hank Aaron (OF), Ted Williams (OF), Mickey Mantle (OF), Sandy Koufax(SP), Christy Mathewson (SP), Hoyt Wilhelm (RHR)
The team starts behind the plate with Josh Gibson. Though he never played a major league game, he beats out Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra for the greatest catcher of all time. His power was other-worldy. He is the only player to hit a fair ball out of Yankee Stadium. Since stats were not accurately recorded in the Negro Leagues, we know very little about his actual stats, but it is estimated that he hit more than 800 home runs and batted over .350 between leagues such as the Negro Leagues, Cuban League, Mexican League, and others. Lou Gehrig beat out Japanese legend Sadaharu Oh for first base, doing so with his 493 home runs, .340 career average, and of course, his 2,130 consecutive games played. During the Yankees' banner year, 1927, Gehrig backed up Babe Ruth by hitting 47 home runs, knocking in 175 runs, batting .373, and scoring 149 times. From 1926-1938, a span of 13 seasons, he never had less than 112 RBI and never scored less than 115 runs. At second base is Rogers Hornsby, the outspoken Texan who kept getting traded because the managers hated him. But he could play. In 1922, he had one of the best years ever, hitting 42 home runs, knocking in 152 runs, and batting .401 with 17 stolen bases. In fact, from 1921-1925, he batted .402 with 144 home runs and 598 RBI. By the time he hung up his spikes, his career average sat at .358, the second highest mark ever, just behind Ty Cobb's .366 mark. Honus Wagner, the famed shortstop from Pittsburgh, batted .327 over his 21 year career and knocked 101 home runs during the dead ball era. He also stole 722 bases, a record for shortstops. He had 17 straight years of batting at least .300 and 12 straight years of at least 30 doubles. His 252 triples are third all time, his 3430 hits sixth, his 640 doubles ninth, and his 722 stolen bases tenth. At third base is Chipper Jones, who beat out Mike Schmidt and Alex Rodriguez (who I have a general bias against) for the hot corner. A leader on a Braves team that won fourteen straight division titles, Chipper crushed 468 home runs and batted .303 for his career. Back in 1999, when he won the NL MVP, he hit 45 home runs, batted .319, and stole 25 bases. Even in 2008, at the age of 36, he managed to lead the majors in average at .364. Babe Ruth, arguably baseball's greatest hitter of all time, and its most well known, takes left field. In 1919, he set a Dead-Ball Era record with 29 home runs, then hit 54 the next season. In 1927, he set a record with 60 home runs that would stand for 34 years until Roger Maris hit 61 in 1961. His 714 home runs also remained a record for 39 years after he retired until Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run in 1974. Willie Mays, who I think is the greatest player of all time, takes center field. The Giants superstar hit 660 home runs in his career, despite playing his home games in Candlestick Park, an extreme pitchers' park. He was also a speedster on the base paths, stealing 40 bases in 1956 and 38 the following year. On defense, he was one of the best to ever man the outfield, winning the MLB Gold Glove in 1957 and consistently making highlight reel catches. In right field is the colorful Ty Cobb, who owns the all time batting average record at .366. Other than his rookie year, when he batted .240, Cobb did not once bat below .320 in his entire career. He had his best year in 1911, batting .420 with eight home runs, 127 RBI, 83 stolen bases, and 147 runs scored in 146 games.
Satchel Paige headlines the pitching. 40 years separated his first and last professional appearances. Many professional baseball players, including Joe DiMaggio, Bob Feller, and others, claimed Paige to be the best pitcher ever. According to Wikipedia, his career record was roughly 232-89. From 1931-1936 in the California Winter League, he went 50-2 and struck out 622 batters in 456 innings. Over two years in the North Dakota League, he was 35-2 with a 1.79 ERA and 440 K's in 301.2 innings. Even at the age of 45-46 in 1952, he went 12-10 with a 3.07 ERA for the St. Louis Browns in the major leagues. Walter Johnson, the greatest major league pitcher of all time, takes the second spot in the rotation. He won 417 games over his 21 year career, second only to Cy Young's 511, and did so while pitching for the perennial worst team in baseball. From 1910-1916, he pitched seven straight years with an ERA of 1.90 or below. His best year was 1913, when he was 36-7 with a 1.14 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, and eleven shutouts in 48 games (36 starts). Of course, when the ball was changed in 1920, when he was 32, he hadn't had a season with an ERA over 2.22 in his 13 years, but would not drop it below 2.72 for the rest of his career. That would be 1924, when he was 23-7 with a 2.72 ERA, helping the Senators win their only World Series. Pedro Martinez, the great pitcher from the '90's and '00's, is the last player to make the rotation. The famed strikeout artist was mowing down hitters at a time where home runs were commonplace. From 1997-2003, his ERA did not go over 2.89, and in 2000, he had one of the best years ever for a pitcher, relative to the rest of the league. 2000, which can be known as the year of the hitter as many players experienced the best years of their careers, was Pedro's best year too. Facing some of the toughest competition ever faced by a pitcher in Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Carlos Delgado, Frank Thomas, Jason Giambi, and more, Pedro went 18-6 with a 1.74 ERA, which lead the majors by an astounding 0.84 runs over Kevin Brown's 2.58. His 0.74 WHIP was 0.25 better than Brown's 0.99, and his .167 BAA .046 better than Brown's .213. And all of that was following a year in which he was 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA. Martinez finished his career 219-100 (.686 WPCT) with a 2.93 ERA and 3154 strikeouts. In the closer's spot is Mariano Rivera, the Yankee cutter artist who has saved a major league record 608 games. His best year was 2008, at the age of 38, when he went 6-5 with a 1.40 ERA, 39 saves, a .165 BAA, and a minuscule 0.67 WHIP. In the postseason, he has been even better. Over 96 appearances, he is 8-1 with a 0.70 ERA and 42 saves. The last player on the list is the greatest left handed closer of all time, Billy Wagner. The Virginian saved 422 games over his 16 year career, including 37 in his final year at age 38-39. He had five seasons with ERAs under 1.80, including that magic final year where it sat at 1.43.
Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera (44 HR, 139 RBI, .330 AVG, 4 SB) won the AL MVP award.
Giants catcher Buster Posey (24 HR, 103 RBI, .336 AVG, 1 SB) won the NL MVP award.
The Blue Jays are close to signing Melky Cabrera.
The Phillies have stated that signing B.J. Upton is a priority.
Closer Brian Fuentes decided to retire after twelve years in the majors. He is 37 and has saved 204 games.
Free Agent Signings
Tigers signed Torii Hunter (16 HR, 92 RBI, .313 AVG, 9 SB, 2013 age: 37-38) to a two year, $26 million deal ($13 million per season).
Giants resigned Jeremy Affeldt (1-2, 2.70 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 3 saves, 2013 age: 34) to a three year, $18 million deal ($6 million per season).
Braves signed Gerald Laird (2 HR, 11 RBI, .282 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 33) to a two year deal.
Cubs signed Dioner Navarro (2 HR, 12 RBI, .290 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 29) to a one year, $1.75 million deal.
Mets signed Brian Bixler (2 HR, 7 RBI, .193 AVG, 3 SB, 2013 age: 30) to a minor league deal.
Royals signed Brian Sanches (0-1, 9.95 ERA, 2.37 WHIP, 2013 age: 34) to a minor league deal.
Brewers signed Blake Lalli (0 HR, 2 RBI, .133 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 30) to a minor league deal.
Torii Hunter, one of my favorite non-Nationals, has signed on to be Delmon Young's replacement in the outfield. Hunter, who at one point won nine straight Gold Gloves, set a career high last year with a .313 average. The Arkansas native will bat somewhere near the middle of the order and provide a leadership role in the clubhouse. His best year was 2002, when he hit 29 home runs, knocked in 94, and batted .289 with 23 stolen bases. He has been very consistent since then, twice reaching 100 RBI and hitting 31 home runs in 2006. Over his career, which will make an interesting case for the Hall of Fame vote, the four time All Star has hit 297 home runs, knocked in 1143, and batted .277 with 186 stolen bases and nine Gold Glove awards.
A's traded Tyson Ross (2-11, 6.50 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, 2013 age: 26) to the Padres for Andy Parrino (1 HR, 6 RBI, .207 AVG, 1 SB, 2013 age: 27) and Andrew Werner (2-3, 5.58 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 2013 age: 26).
The Padres acquired another arm in this trade, albeit an inconsistent one. Tyson Ross, who showed promise by going 6-2 with a 2.99 ERA over 15 games (13 starts) for AAA Sacramento this year, took a step backwards with his eleven losses and 6.50 ERA. Over his three year career, he is 6-18 with a 5.33 ERA over 53 games (21 starts) for Oakland, and figures to get a shot at San Diego's rotation in 2013.
The A's got two rookies in return for Ross. Andy Parrino is a second baseman out of Upstate New York who has had a promising minor league career. In 2011 at AA San Antonio and AAA Tucson, he hit 12 home runs and batted .315 over 88 games. In the majors that year, however, he batted just .182 over 24 games. His power disappeared in 2012 for Tucson, where he hit just one home run in 65 games. He did, however, knock 23 doubles and bat .328, earning him a 55 game stint in San Diego, where he batted .207 with a home run. Andrew Werner is a lefty out of Peoria, Illinois, who has very little minor league experience. Over two years, rising all the way from High Class A Lake Elsinore in 2011 to the majors by 2012. Along the way, he was 12-18 with a 3.46 ERA over 47 starts, and he got his chance in the majors on August 22nd. Over eight starts, he was 2-3 with a 5.58 ERA.
Teams followed in this update: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies
If your team is not included, please leave a comment.
HR: home runs. RBI: runs batted in. AVG: batting average. SB: stolen bases. ERA: earned run average. WHIP: walks/hits per innings pitched. K's: strikeouts. WPCT: winning percentage