One of the recipients of my blog just created his own website that gives breaking news about the Hot Stove Season. It is really cool, and if you have time, please check it out. Here is the link: http://coverthebases.weebly.com/
All Time African American Team
Here is the All Black team. It includes some of the greatest players of all time, and could rival an All White team. I do take a strong stand against steroids, so you won't see Barry Bonds on this list, though his numbers would put him right at the middle of the order. Negro Leaguers are included, but taken with a grain of salt. Career major league stats are shown in parentheses.
C: Josh Gibson (Negro Leaguer)
1B: Willie McCovey (521 HR, 1555 RBI, .270 AVG, 26 SB)
2B: Joe Morgan (268 HR, 1133 RBI, .271 AVG, 689 SB)
SS: Ernie Banks (512 HR, 1636 RBI, .274 AVG, 50 SB)
3B: Jackie Robinson (137 HR, 734 RBI, .311 AVG, 197 SB)
LF: Hank Aaron (755 HR, 2297 RBI, .305 AVG, 240 SB)
CF: Willie Mays (660 HR, 1903 RBI, .302 AVG, 338 SB)
RF: Ken Griffey Jr. (630 HR, 1836 RBI, .284 AVG, 184 SB)
SP: Satchel Paige (28-31, 3.29 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 288 K's in 476 innings)
SP: Smokey Joe Williams (Negro Leaguer)
SP: Bob Gibson (251-174, 2.91 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 3117 K's in 3884.1 innings)
RHR: Lee Smith (71-92, 3.03 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 478 saves, 1251 K's in 1289.1 innings)
LHR: Arthur Rhodes (87-70, 4.08 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 33 saves, 1152 K's in 1187.2 innings)
Honorable Mentions: Frank Thomas (1B), Willie Stargell (1B/OF), Ozzie Smith (SS), Bill Madlock (3B), Rickey Henderson (OF), Cool Papa Bell (OF), Lou Brock (OF), Jim Rice (OF), Vida Blue (SP), Fergie Jenkins (SP)
The start of this conversation is Josh Gibson. His home run power is literally the stuff of legends, as he is said to have hit over 800 home runs and batted over .350. One day, it is said that he hit a ball so far out of the stadium that nobody saw it land. The next day, a ball flew in from out of nowhere and landed in the stadium, precisely in one of the fielder's gloves. "Gibson, you're out, from yesterday!" said the umpire, as legend has it that the ball travelled around the world. In a more realistic story, he is the only player ever to hit a ball out of the old Yankee Stadium, doing so in an exhibition game. Willie McCovey takes first base over a slew of options: Willie Stargell, Frank Thomas, Eddie Murray, and Fred McGriff. McCovey simply left behind the greatest trail of excellence, leading the group in home runs while batting in the same lineup as the legendary Willie Mays. At second, Joe Morgan takes the position as Jakie Robinson was forced to move to third due to a lack of third basemen. Bill Madlock was the only other option I had at the hot corner. Mr. Cub Ernie Banks narrowly squeezed out a victory over the Wizard of Oz Ozzie Smith, with Banks' offensive prowess outweighing Smith's incredible defense. The outfield is the pride of the team. Players such as Rickey Henderson, Cool Papa Bell, and Lou Brock had to be cut to make room for the big three. Hank Aaron, the all time home run king until Barry Bonds came around, absolutely had to be given a spot, as well as, in my opinion, the greatest player of all time, Willie Mays. Mays was not only an incredible power hitter in an extreme pitchers' park at Candlestick, but he could fly around the bases and was one of the greatest defensive whizzes that baseball has ever seen at any position. Ken Griffey Jr. may be a cut below the other two members of my outfield, but he was flat out fun to watch. He could pop a home run, steal a base, or rob a home run. He even had one of the best personalities in baseball. His all out style of play was game-changing, and he barely edges Henderson.
The pitching starts with Satchel Paige, the greatest pitcher of all time. He, like all Negro Leaguers, possesses some of baseball's greatest legends. One day, it is said, he had two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning and his arm suddenly went dead. Wanting to finish the game, he devised a plan with his catcher. This plan was for the catcher to hold the ball, and Satchel would pretend to pitch. He threw so hard anyways that it was not uncommon for his fastball to move so fast that the human eye could not pick it up. Satchel winded for the "pitch", and threw the imaginary baseball. The catcher pounded his glove and revealed the ball, as the umpire yelled "Strike Three. Your'e out!". "What!?" the batter complained, "It was high!". Smokey Joe Williams is the lesser known of the two great negro league pitchers, but some Negro League buffs argue that he was better than Paige. He pitched 27 years professionally, and one year, he went 20-2. As a barnstormer, he beat such superstars as Walter Johnson, Grover Alexander, and Chief Bender in exhibition games. The last starter is Bob Gibson, who will forever be known for a magnificent 1968 season, where he was 22-9 with a 1.12 ERA. Allowing just 38 earned runs in 304.2 innings, he blasted his way to superstardom, and finished his career with a 2.91 ERA. He barely edged Fergie Jenkins and Vida Blue from the list. In the bullpen, the former all time saves leader Lee Smith leads the way, and is backed up by lefty Arthur Rhodes. Rhodes' best year came in 2001 with the Mariners, where he was 8-0 with a 1.72 ERA for the team that would win 116 games on the year.
The Silver Sluggers were announced, and they are as follows:
AL: A.J. Pierzinski (C), Prince Fielder (1B), Robinson Cano (2B), Derek Jeter (SS), Miguel Cabrera (3B), Mike Trout (OF), Josh Willingham (OF), Josh Hamilton (OF), Billy Butler (DH)
NL: Buster Posey (C), Adam LaRoche (1B), Aaron Hill (2B), Ian Desmond (SS), Chase Headley (3B), Andrew McCutchen (OF), Jay Bruce (OF), Ryan Braun (OF), Stephen Strasburg (P)
The Nationals lead all of baseball with three Silver Slugger winners: Adam LaRoche, Ian Desmond, and Stephen Strasburg.
The Rockies announced that their new manager will be Walt Weiss.
The Dodgers announced that their hitting coach will be Mark McGwire.
The Diamondbacks have made Justin Upton a possible trade candidate.
Free Agent Signings
Blue Jays signed Maicer Izturis (2 HR, 20 RBI, .256 AVG, 17 SB, 2013 age: 32) to a three year, $10 million deal ($3.33 million per season).
A's resigned Bartolo Colon (10-9, 3.43 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 2013 age: 40) to a one year, $3 million deal.
In the first notable free agent signing of the season in which a player changes teams, Maicer Izturis leaves Los Angeles, his home of eight years, and joins Toronto. The 5'8" infielder, who's brother Cesar also plays major league baseball, has gradually slowed down since his best year in 2009. Over 114 games, he hit eight home runs and batted .300 with 13 stolen bases. This year, his two home runs and 20 RBI were his lowest totals since 2005, but he set a career high with 17 stolen bases, and was only caught twice for a success rate of 89.5%. The Blue Jays will hope to see 2011 Maicer, who hit five home runs and batted .276, all while clobbering 35 doubles. He will help out as a backup infielder, and may assume the second base job if Kelly Johnson does not return.
Royals traded Jeremy Jeffress (0-0, 6.75 ERA, 2.40 WHIP, 2013 age: 25) to the Blue Jays for cash considerations.
Jeffress, who has battled marijuana issues, will join the Blue Jays. First traded to the Royals as a piece of the deal that sent Zack Greinke to the Brewers, Jeffress has seen limited action in the majors for Kansas City. Eleven games into his 2012 season, in late September, his ERA sat at 0.87, but two bad outings and he finished the year at 6.75. The two games, both against Cleveland, combined to show three innings and nine earned runs. A low cost, high reward type player, the South Boston, Virginia native hopes to jumpstart his career in the Toronto bullpen, alongside newly acquired Esmil Rogers.
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