Who'd be on your All-Star Team? That's the question I'd like to address in this entry. If I had to win a series or a season, what players would I want on my team. Not, "who are my favorite players" but the players I deem best. For this exercise, the team will include only those players I actually saw play while at their peek. Thus, while Johnny Bench was a great catcher, I remember him at the very end of his career. He would not be a candidate. Also, I am thinking of these players in terms of their peak value: their talent at their highest level of play.
So here they are: the team I think would consist of the best players from recent history, with some commentary. Feel free to comment upon the selections. Alternates are in parenthesis.
That's a tough call. I've seen Fisk, Munson, Boone and Carter. My memories of Fisk, Bench and Munson are sketchy at best. Pudge, with his arm, agility and bat can stand toe-to-toe with anyone in recent history. Piazza is a great hitter, not a great catcher. (Fisk)
This is a no brainer for me. I clearly remember Mattingly at his best. With the bat, with the glove, no one was better. Some had equal talent, but for three or four years, no one was better. Mattingly's only weakness was speed. I could live without that skill if I could have Mattingly. My back-up, or contenders would be Will Clark and Mark Grace. I'd take Clark over Hernandez but Hernandez over Grace. (Will Clark)
Sanberg's abilities speak for themselves. What other second baseman in the 1980's gave you speed, power, defense, a decent walks to strikeout ratio and a good average? Not many. (Lou Whittaker)
Initially, I was thinking Ozzie Smith or Alex Rodriquez. However, Jeter is a clutch player who can impact a game like few I have ever seen. In the field or at the plate, I want Jeter in a close ball game. Yes, more than Ripkin, Rodriquez or Smith. He's similar to Sandberg in many ways, but I could do without so many strikeouts. (Smith)
Any questions? (George Brett)
I don't want to analyze the steroids issue for my purpose here. Bonds may or may not use steroids. Ignoring that issue for now, Bonds is the best all-around player I have ever seen. Rickey Henderson is a no-brainer for my second choice.
It's tough, setting aside men like Puckett, Lynn and Bernie Williams, but for awhile, Griffey had it all: speed, power, average and defense. I hope he eventually comes back. (Fred Lynn)
A five category player, today Winfield would have 40-40 capabilities. Combine that with his average and Gold Gloves and he's the guy that's in right field. (Tony Gwynn)
Dennis Eckersley (Mariano Rivera)
People may disagree with some or all of my choices, but I think this team might win a few ball games