Friday August 15, 2003
I apologize for the delay in posting yesterdayís edition of Seth Speaks. We were experiencing some technical difficulties. If you didnít see yesterdayís post on some of the players of the Negro Leagues, please click here.
All-Time Best Lineups
Itís Friday and that means itís time again to see what the responses are to the current Discussion Question of the Week. This weekís question was:
If you ran a baseball team, and had all of the players ever to have played the game at your disposal (in their primes, not at the current age or living status), what lineup would you put on the field?
I got some really good, really interesting lineups. So thank you to those who sent me their all-time lineups. If you have any ideas for next weekís Discussion Question of the Week, send me an e-mail and weíll come up with a good one and post it on Monday.
The question actually came from a friend, Mike, so letís start out with his lineup.
Ty Cobb (RF)
I know he is listed as a CF for the Hall of Fame, but I have seen him listed as OF/1B. I think he was the greatest hitter of all-time. .367 lifetime BA, 4191 hits, 12 batting titles including 9 in a row, 892 SB, 23 straight seasons of hitting over .300 with three season over .400.
Honus Wagner (SS)
. 329 lifetime BA, 17 season over .300 and 722 SB
Ted Williams (LF)
.344 lifetime BA, two triple crowns, 500+ HR
Willie Mays (CF)
.302 lifetime BA, 660 HR
Jimmie Foxx (1B)
.325 lifetime BA, 2 time MVP and a triple crown
Babe Ruth (P)
I know the Babe was an outfielder, but was also a very good pitcher so I am going to put him there as the best hitting pitcher ever with an ERA of 2.28, .342 lifetime BA, 714 HR
Tony Gwynn (3B)
My only non HOF, but definite future HOF. I loved watching him hit. .338 lifetime BA with 7 batting titles
Bill Dickey (C)
This is my surprise pick. Over shadowed by the Babe and Gehrig on the mighty Yankee teams, .319 lifetime BA and caught 100+ games in 13 straight seasons.
Rogers Hornsby (2B)
.358 lifetime BA, 7 batting titles including 6 in a row with one triple crown. He hit .424 in 1924 (He will probably be mad at me for batting him ninth!)
SETHíS ANALYSIS -
Very solid lineup! I never thought of it, but putting Babe Ruth in as the pitcher was brilliant. Forget the DH! Heíll hit for himself! I guess my one worry would be the defense at third base!! I may be wrong, but I donít think Tony Gwynn ever played third base in his career. For that matter, has there ever been a left-handed thrower play 3B in Major League Baseball history? (if you know the answer, let me know) However, as we learned in Moneyball (LINK), if Gwynn can add more runs per game than his defense would give up, heís worth it. And, Tony Gwynn can hit, so it just might work!
Iíve mentioned a couple of times that my cousin wrote in and introduced me to the name of Pop Lloyd. Because of that, I went through a lot of extra effort to research Lloyd, and ended up writing a long ďGleeman-likeĒ posting on players of the Negro Leagues. So, hereís the rest of his starting team:
Rickey Henderson DH
The greatest leadoff hitter of all time.
Cool Papa Bell 2B
So good, so fast, you have to have him on the team somewhere.
Ted Williams LF
I wish his head would come alive and slapped his son.
Babe Ruth 1B
As long as John Goodman has nothing to do with this.
Josh Gibson C
Imagine the fear a pitcher would have facing Babe then Gibson.
Willie Mays CF
Say hey, how did he end up batting 6th?
Ken Griffey Jr RF
In his prime before Cincy, was gonna be the best hitter ever.
Pete Rose 3B
This was a tough call, but ya gotta love the attitude.
John Henry Lloyd SS
I'll take him over Honus and anybody today, anytime.
SETHíS ANALYSIS -
I really wanted to put Henderson as my leadoff hitter. Youíll see below how I did that below! After doing the research on the Negro Leagues, the inclusions of Bell, Gibson and Lloyd certainly make sense. I completely agree on the Ted Williams analysis. As much as I agree with that, I have to disagree with the Rose analysis. I really donít love anything about Rose. Any lineup where Mays is hitting 6th is very impressive!
CF TY COBB
1B PETE ROSE
SS ALEX RODRIGUEZ
RF BABE RUTH
LF BARRY BONDS
3B MIKE SCHMIDT
2B ROGER HORNSBY
C JOHNNY BENCH
SP STEVE CARLTON
RP DENNIS ECKERSLY
SETHíS ANALYSIS -
Finally we see our first current players, and A-Rod and Bonds are two that canít really be argued too vehemently. Also, we see a couple of pitchers, and I like both of them!
CF - Ty Cobb
2B - Rogers Hornsby
LF - Ted Williams
RF - Babe Ruth
DH - Barry Bonds
1B - Lou Gehrig
3B - Mike Schmidt
C - Mickey Cochrane
SS - Alex Rodriguez
Too many right handers on the bench already or else Joe Dimaggio and Roberto Clemente may have taken the 4th and 5th Outfielder spots. It was also really hard to pass on Brooks Robinson as he is the best fielding third baseman of all time, but Schmidt's just a much better hitter and did win 10 gold gloves himself. The lineup is pretty left handed dominant but these are the best hitters of all time so not too many left handed pitchers would scare them. Very easy to give Gehrig or Bonds a day off with Foxx on the bench and Musial and Mantle can fill in for Cobb when he gets suspended for fighting or if Williams' back acts up. Cobb and Hornsby play the table setters with their averages and OBP just off the charts and then that gets followed by probably the four best hitters of all time in Williams, Ruth, Bonds, and Gehrig. While this team isn't slackers in the field it was definitely put together with the offensive numbers in mind.
SETHíS ANALYSIS -
Yeah, 3-6 are some pretty good hitters. When I did my research on the 8 greatest players of all-time, Williams, Ruth and Bonds were all Top 5. I didnít include Gehrig in the analysis, but with Stan Musial, if I ever update that list, they will be added. I like the bench as is. Having the switch-hitting Mantle coming of the bench is a good thing, especially considering how left-hand dominant your team is. But, as you said, these guys wouldnít have a problem with it!
1) Roberto Clemente RF
2) Willie Mays SS
3) Ted Williams DH
4) Barry Bonds CF
5) Harmon Killebrew 3B
6) Johnny Bench C
7) Joe Morgan 2B
8) Pete Rose 1B
9) Carl Yastrzemski LF
SETHíS ANALYSIS Ė
Great lineup! I added the positions to this, and with the plethora of outfielders, I moved Willie Mays to SS! Again, defense doesnít matter when a lineup can score as many runs as this one could!
That brings us to what Iím sure all of you have been waiting for; My All-Time Lineup. In thinking through this, I wanted to do a few things. First, I wanted to put players in positions they actually played. Second, I wanted a somewhat balanced lineup; some power, some on-base guys, some speed, some defense, some lefties and some righties. But, in the end, I just put the players that I felt were the best at their positions and tried to come up with a lineup that just made some sense. It wasnít an easy project, by any means! So, here we go:
Rogers Hornsby - 2B - (1915-1937)
The man hit .358 with 301 home runs! He led his league in batting average seven times, on-base percentage nine times, and slugging percentage nine times.
Willie Mays - CF - (1951- 1973)
My favorite vintage player! 660 homers! We want to be strong defensively up the middle and his 12 Gold Gloves in center field do the job. His power/speed combination is great!
Barry Bonds - LF - (1986-current)
650 career home runsÖ and counting! The 5-time MVPís batting eye is incredible. It would be fun to see him in this lineup, with hitters behind him. He might actually get some pitches to hit! 650 homers/500 steals, the most amazing power/speed combination ever! Oh, and heís in left field because he can play defense too, as his eight Gold Gloves can attest to.
Josh Gibson - C - (Negro Leagues)
There are a few good catchers in the Hall of Fame now, but none can match the offensive proficiency of Gibson. It is really unfortunate that he wasnít able to play in the major leagues. His power is as good as anyoneís!
Babe Ruth - DH - (1914-1935)
He ranked #1 on my all-time list, primarily because of his dominance versus his era. Led his league in OPS 13 consecutive years and is #1 on that career list. 714 home runs, and a great batterís eye. As Mike wrote above, he could pitch for this team too. Sure, there are about 50 other pitchers I would take instead of him, but I think he could pitch well enough to give up less runs than this lineup could score.
Hank Aaron - RF - (1954-1976)
Baseballís Home Run King with 755 homers, Aaron was a model of consistency. All-time leader in Total Bases and RBI as well. 3 Gold Gloves, the Hammer could play some defense too!
Lou Gehrig - 1B - (1923-1939)
The Iron Horse won 2 MVP awards and the 1934 Triple Crown. Plus, I can count on him playing every day! Led the league in OPS 3 times, usually finishing second to Babe Ruth!
Mike Schmidt - 3B - (1972-1989)
The three-time MVP hit 548 career home runsÖ and heís hitting 8th in this lineup!!! As mentioned above, he also won 10 Gold Gloves. Led his league in home runs 8 times! He did strike out a lot though!
Alex Rodriguez - SS - (1994-current)
My initial thought was to play Ernie Banks as my shortstop, but Banks actually played more career games at 1B. A-Rod combines amazing power, with speed, and underrated defense. Yeah, heís maybe too young to put on this list, but Iím ok with it. Assuming he can stay healthy, he could pass a lot of players on all-time lists!
So, what do you think of my lineup? (send me an e-mail) I donít see it ever losing! I really think that I could manage this team to a World Series championship. No one could screw them up. Well, maybe the combination of Ron Gardenhire and Scott Ullger, but weíll keep them away from this team! Rumor has it that they would try to sneak Dustan Mohr into the lineup!
Well, if I want to give it any competition, a team to scrimmage against that could give it a run, I might as well set up a second team too, right? So, Iím going to put together a second teamÖ I can do it, itís my web site, right? So, who just missed the first team?
Sethís #2 Lineup:
Rickey Henderson - LF
I agree, best leadoff hitter of all time. All-time leader in walks, plus 3,000 hits, meant he was on base a lot, leading him to the all-time leadership of the runs column too! Power/Speed combo!
Ty Cobb - CF
Could lead off too. He actually finished second on my list of best all-time hitters!
Ted Williams - DH -
He finished third on my list. Just wasnít a good left fielder, thatís why heís not in the field!
Frank Robinson - RF
586 home runs! I think he might be the most underrated player in major league history!
Harmon Killebrew - 1B
573 homers for the Senators, Twins, and a couple with the Royals. Could play 3B too.
George Brett - 3B
I never liked Brett as a player, but he could hit! That .305 career average and over 3,000 hits are tough to ignore.
Ernie Banks - SS
I decided to play Banks and his 512 career homers on my second team!
Johnny Bench - C
Low average, but a good hitting catcher for his era. Also a great defensive catcher with a very strong arm.
Rod Carew - 2B
I couldnít justify him leading off or hitting second in front of the 2 Iíve got up there, so heíll hit ninth!
OK, so the #1 team is clearly better than #2, but thatís how it should be, right?
Again, if youíve got ideas for the next Discussion Question, please e-mail me and let me know!
I donít really want to write about the Twins. Yesterday afternoon, after learning that the Twins managed to lose for a third consecutive game to the terrible Cleveland Indians, I was heard telling people, ďI hope they get swept in Kansas City this weekend; put them out of their misery! Put us (their fans) out of our misery!Ē I didnít have many people disagreeing with me.
I would encourage everyone to read Jim Souhanís article in todayís Star Tribune. He actually writes with some fire, being brutally honest about how poorly the Twins played, how little effort it appears most of the Twins put in.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said, ď"It was a bad day. Embarrassing. We embarrassed ourselves, we embarrassed our fans. You don't go out and play like that. We did. It looked like we didn't show up. That's two days in a row. We didn't hit the ball until the end of the game. That's embarrassing. We're in a pennant race, and we're not acting like a lot of guys understand that. That's very disappointing for a manager."
Absolutely true!! They played horribly! But, I think Mr. Gardenhire needs to look in the mirror for a little while. Heís the one who continues to not give days off to Doug Mientkiewicz. Heís the one who continually put Jacque Jones into the batting order, despite a groin injury. Heís the one who continues to pitch JC Romero in important situations. Heís the one who apparently wanted James Baldwin to stay on the team! Heís the one who refuses to drop Torii Hunter further down the batting order than 6th. Heís the one who keeps putting Dustan Mohr into the lineup.
Michael Restovich is another story of Gardenhire and Ullger messing up a prospect! Letís look at this again:
Michael Cuddyer was given the right field job. He got about 50 at bats as the starter, then Dustan Mohr was re-inserted as the starter. Cuddyer sent down.
Justin Morneau was given the DH job. Got about 60 full-time at bats. Then sat on the bench and only pinch hit occasionally before being sent back down to the minors.
Michael Restovich was given the RF job for about 8 games. Then Dustan Mohr was re-inserted as the starter. Restovich is getting late-inning situational at bats.
Itís just dumb!! Why isnít Ron Gardenhireís name being mentioned as being Ďon the hot seatí?
This team is really frustrating. As I said yesterday, ďThe fact is that if the Twins are as good as we want to think they are, as good as they think they are, well, then they canít continue losing games to bad teams. The Cleveland Indians should not be beating the Twins, yet they have won 7 out of 10 games this season.Ē
A part of me wants to start cheering for the Royals. What we loved about watching the Twins the last 3 or 4 years, their effort, is exactly how the Royals win games this year. How did the Twins lose that?
No, I donít really want the Twins to get swept by the Royals this weekend! I hope the Twins win all three games and are right back in the race. But, some changes need to be made for that to happen. Designating James Baldwin for assignment is a good step forward. Calling up Grant Balfour is a great move! But more needs to be done! And time is running out!
If you have any further thoughts on the Twins, the All-Time Lineups, or any other questions you may have for me, please send me an e-mail and I will reply to you!! Thanks for stopping by this web site. I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, please recommend it to your friends and other sports fans you know. Also, be sure to check out the Archives page, and take a look at what other stories Iíve written. Be sure to check out yesterdayís article on some of the Negro League players!
And, be safe, and have a great and enjoyable weekend!
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