Torsten’s take on his picks 6-10:
6) Josh Gibson – C – Looking back, since Shaun already grabbed Johnny Bench, I probably could have waited on the Negro League legend. That said, even though much of the history on Gibson is anecdotal, his offensive exploits are borderline mythical. Some of his estimated stats (nearly 800 home runs) may be on the high end, and potentially bloated by exhibition games against lesser competition, but you can also argue that since he died at the age of 35, four years after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, he didn’t get to fully experience the tail end of his prime years.
7) Willie Mays – CF – This (brilliant, if I do say so myself) pick by me accomplishes two things. It allows me to have one of the greatest defensive players in the history of baseball patrolling center field, and it allows me to move Rickey Henderson to left. Of players who didn’t cheat, only Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron hit more than his 660 Major League home runs.
8) Mariano Rivera – CL – Shaun took an early run at the starters so I’ll build my staff in reverse. Mo is in his own category of excellence. By time he hangs up the spikes at the end of this year, he will have in the neighborhood of 700 saves, counting the post-season. At 43 years old, he’s on his way to posting his 12th season with an ERA of less than 2. Not counting his rookie year, he’s had exactly one season where is ERA was over 3. That was in 2007 when it was 3.15, and he still saved 30 games. His cut fastball is the single greatest pitch in history. Need proof? He’s thrown it 99% of the time over a 19 year career and big league hitters still can’t hit him.
9) Miguel Cabrera – 1B – I don’t adore picking active players in exercises like this, but he’s our generation’s greatest hitter, and a Triple Crown winner. That, and his first base eligibility based on our 100 game minimum criterion, allowing me to go after a better defender to play 3rd, makes him a steal. The scary thing about him, he keeps getting better, maintaining his elite power while his strikeout totals drop. His gaudy batting average is made even more impressive by the fact that he’s righty, and with his portly physique, he’s not exactly out there legging a bunch of worm killers out.
10) Chipper Jones – 3B – Close call here between Chipper and Mike Schmidt. I’d love Schmitty’s 10 gold gloves manning the hot corner, but ultimately, Chipper’s switch hitting and superior average wins out. Could be a generational thing too, but ask any of my contemporaries who are not under the influence of anything, and Chipper is the best third baseman of this era. Want confirmation? Ask any Mets fan who their biggest nemesis was between, say, 1996 and 2008.
Shaun’s take on his picks 6-10:
6) Ken Griffey Jr. – CF – Yes, I took Ken Griffey Jr. over Willie Mays, and I feel good about it. Mays was incredible, and will not argue with those who say he is the greatest center fielder of all-time, but I want “The Kid” to patrol center for my team. Nobody played the game harder on D, I still cringe thinking of the time he snapped his wrist leaping into the wall. He also had the prettiest swing I have ever seen.
7) Bob Gibson – SP – After I got Koufax early, I looked at Bob Gibson and knew how I wanted my staff to work. I want lefty-righty-lefty-righty power pitchers that can scare the crap out of a hitter, then finish it off with a guy that will outsmart everyone. Gibson is the most intimidating man to ever step onto a pitcher’s mound. Championships are won with pitching and defense, and I am well ahead on the pitching category with this pick.
8) Joe Morgan – 2B – Morgan might be a bit overrated because he was on so many championship teams loaded with hall of famers, then had an great run on Sunday Night Baseball, but he was a damn good second baseman. He will provide some pop on the back side of my lineup and will be a great glove when turning two.
9) Stan Musial – 1B – His name is not Stan Musial, it is Stan “the man” Musial, because he is just that, the man. He played in the perfect city for him in St. Louis and was an incredible ambassador for the game all the way up to his death. On the field though, all he did was rake, which is reflected in his triple slash line of .331/.417/.559.
10) David Ortiz – DH – I mentioned in the last installment that I feel this is too early for a DH, but with Torsten taking Edgar Martinez to lead us off, I had to secure Big Papi for fear of Torsten completely screwing my lineup and picking him as those are the only two DH’s worthy of making either team. Ortiz is the greatest DH ever, so I can’t complain about getting him here at 10. He holds all the records for the position, and has even flashed some speed this year with a career high 4 steals.
Torsten’s take on Shaun’s picks:
Shaun landed a couple of my favorites with Stan Musial and Ken Griffey Jr. And the front end of his rotation is rounding out nicely with Bob Gibson following Sandy. I’m also not against the Big Papi pick. Because of the DH not being around all that long, he’s really the only other guy in Edgar Martinez’s zip code. Who else was there really? Chili Davis? If I have a criticism of any of his 6-10 picks, it’s Joe Morgan. I’ve always thought he wasn’t as good as he got credit for. Nice player who came up big in the clutch? Absolutely. In the same echelon as Roberto Alomar, who I would have taken if Shaun had swiped Hornsby from me? Not in my book.
So far, I like how it’s looking for me. I’ve got all of my starting position players lined up and I literally got all 8 guys I wanted. Shaun’s got the head start on pitching, as I’d love to have ended up with either Sandy or Gibson, but there’s still plenty of talent there to be scooped up, and you can bet I’m addressing that in my next five picks.
Shaun’s take on Torsten’s picks:
Torsten started off well. Josh Gibson is the greatest offensive catcher to ever play and it is an absolute shame he never played a game in the Major Leagues. Stories about Gibson are incredible, from a 580 foot home run in Yankee Stadium to the near 800 he hit in the Negro Leagues, he was incredible, and a little jealous he is not on my team. I let my feelings on Willie Mays be known when defending my Griffey Jr. pick, he was simply terrific. Mo Rivera is the greatest reliever of all-time, and there is nobody close so a solid pick there. I am not in love with his last two picks of this sequence. Miggy is a beast, and who knows where he will fall in the all-time first baseman list, but I doubt it will be ahead the likes of Gehrig and Foxx. I like Chipper, and I do like adding a switch hitter to the lineup, but too early for him. He was not even on my list, Schmidt would be a better selection, as would George Brett or Eddie Mathews.
At this point, I feel my team is superior, but am nervous on one position. After Torsten took Mariano Rivera, I know his team will win on the rare occasion they get to the ninth with a lead, I looked and realized there really isn’t another closer I can rely on, so I need to build a strong bullpen.