Saturday, October 31, 2009

All-Time Detroit Tigers, Modern: 1950-2009

World Champions: 1968, 1984
American League Champions: 2006
Division Winners: 1972, 1987

BILL FREEHAN: Do you know how many eligible Catchers with five Golden Gloves and eleven Star-Selections are NOT in the Hall of Fame? Only one.

LANCE PARRISH: A prdoigous slugger from behind the plate, Parrish still ranks fifth in career Home Runs by a Catcher. His marks of 32 and 33 Home Runs in a season were both single season records at the time. Three times he took home both the Golden Glove and the Silver Slugger at Catcher in the same season.

IVAN "PUDGE" RODRIGUEZ: It is perhaps a testament to how good he was in his prime that even after both his offensive and defensive skills had declined, that he remianed among the league's elite Catchers throughout his time in Detroit.

NORM CASH: If you compare Cash to the latest three first baseman to be elected to the Hall of Famers (Tony Perez, Orlando Cepeda, and Eddie Murray) Stormin' Norman in higher in terms of career OPS, OPS+, Runs Created per Game and Offensive Winning Percentage. Like Freehan, another of the great late-60's, early 70's Tigers than never got the Hall of Fame look that they deserved.

LOU WHITAKER: One half of the most prolific double play combination in history.

DAMION EASLEY: A lot of fans will think I'm crazy for not giving this spot to Polanco. Statistically speaking their probably a lot closer than you think. Planco wins on Average and Fielding, Easley on Power and Speed. Personally, I think the biggest strike against Easley is that he played for such lousy teams. If Polanco sticks around, one or two more GOOD seasons would make him a lock. If he's gone next year... I'm sure the debate will rage on!

ALAN TRAMMELL: One half of the most prolific double-play combination in history.

AL KALINE: The most beloved Tiger of all time. In addition to leadership, performance and class, Kaline was so well know for sportsmanship and community involvment that he is the only player to win the Hutch Award (for fighting spirit and competitive dirve), Lou Gehrig Award (for charecter and integrity on and off the field) AND the Roberto Clemente Award (for exemplary sportsmanship, community involvement and individual contribution to his team.)

KIRK GIBSON: A born spark-plug if ever there was one. A blue-collar Reggie Jackson in the clutch. Years before he chanelled Roy Hobbs against Dennis Eckersley in '88 (for LA) he was making Hall of Famer Goose Gossage wish he had listened to his manager and walked him. The guy just WAS a tiger!

BOBBY HIGGINSON: It would have been pretty easy to put Curtis Granderson or Magglio Ordonez in this spot. If Mags goes on a tear the nenxt two years? He's in. If he continues to decline, he's not even chalenging for Steve Kemp's spot. As for Granderson, given time he will probably take this post eventually. In the meantime, I wanted to honor Higgy, who alwasy gavce 110%, stayed loyal to the team and involved in his community. Too bad he got hurt and retired the year before the Tigers finally got GOOD! And I always say: Don't fault a fine ballplayer just because he got stuck on lousy teams.

MARK FIDRYCH: This team's purely sentimental pick. Recurring injuries prevented him from recapturing the effectiveness of his rookie season, but "The Bird" remained a perennial fan favorite.

JOHN HILLER: How many guys, after having a heart attack and missing a year, come back better than ever and start setting records? 38 saves in a season may seem almost quaint by today's standards, but it was the American League record at the time.

TODD JONES: Good old, Roller-Coaster Jones. He might have given fans regular 9th-Inning heart palpitations, but the fact remains: No man got the job done more often for the Tigers than Todd Jones.

"FRANK LARY. The Yankee-Killer. The Tigers' pitcher who, for a seven-year period from 1955-61, was the major source of delight for all Yankee-Haters. The one pitcher who had the Yankees' number. The force that Yankee-Haters could count on, as everything else failed, to prove that the Yankees were mortal." - Moss Klein, Newark Star-Ledger (Baseball Digest, July 1978)

MICKEY LOLICH: Three victories in a single World Series, one coming against Bob Gibson. You just don't get any more more heroic than that.

DENNY McLAIN: Far and away the single most despicable human being on the team but at his peak arguably the best pitcher in Tiger history. The last pitcher to win 30 games in a season, and very likely to be the last.

JACK MORRIS: The winningest Pitcher of the 1980's and absolute money in the big games. Can someone please tell why this man is not in the Hall of Fame yet?!

SPARKY ANDERSON: To date, the only Hall of Famer on the 1984 Tigers: World Champions and the winnigest American League team of the 1980's.

Friday, October 30, 2009

All-Time Florida Marlins

Sorry, I don't have a full roster for Florida yet. I just really felt like doing Gary Sheffield's card, which is very odd, because I don't even like Sheffield!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

All-Time Boston Red Sox, Classic: 1901-1949

World Champions: 1903, 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918
American League Champions: 1946
Also known as Boston Americans, from 1901-1907.

RICK FERRELL: His Hall of Fame candidacy was controversial at best, and his time in Boston was about as short as it could be while still qualiifying. But every year that he wore a Red Sox uniform, he made the All-Star team. Every year. Only Fisk had more.

BILL CARRIGAN: In addition to Catching for three World Championships, he also served as Manager for two of them.

CHARLIE BERRY: Cathers were few and far between in these years, I'm afraid. Among those that qualified, Berry was not only one of the better hitters, but an interesting all-around sportsman. He played both Baseball and Football professionally, and went on to become an Umpire/Referee in both sports as well.

JIMMIE FOXX: Double-X. The Beast. One of the first really SCARY hitters to come along after Ruth. He was the just second player in history to reach 500 Home Runs, and, until Alex Rodriguex, also the youngest to reach the mark. Held the Club's single-season Home Run record until 2006, when it was broken by David Ortiz.

JIMMY COLLINS: The first third baseman to be inducted to the Hall of Fame. A fine fielder and hitter as well as manager for the first-ever World Series Champions.

JOE CRONIN: One of the best hitting shortstops of the 20th Century. Went on to manage to club to it's first pennant in 28 years in 1946.

JOHNNY PESKY: One helluva ball player and one helluva gentleman. Pesky has served the Red Sox organization as a player, manager, scout, coach and in other capacities for going on seventy years now. His record of four consecutive 200-hit season to start his career stood until 2004, when it was broken by Ichiro Suzuki. (And he absolutely DID NOT hold onto to the throw home in 1946! Slaughter just ran like a madman and got lucky!)

FREDDY PARENT: I'm guessing most people figured Everett Scott would take the third Shortstop position. Scott was more well-known, and played in more World Series, but Parent was strait-up, a MUCH better hitter than Scott: 103 *OPS+ to Scott's anemic 69, not to mention at least SOME grey-ink in Batting and Slugging, where as Scott was never close.

TED WILLIAMS: Since he always wanted to hear people say it, I'll go ahead and say it: There goes the greatest hitter that ever lived!

DUFFY LEWIS: Along with Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper, made up what is considered to be the best defensive Outfield of all-time.

TRIS SPEAKER: You see all those grey squares? A lot of those would have been black, if not for a certain Outfielder playing over in Detroit about the same time... Ty... something? In addition to consistently being almost as good as Cobb, he was widely regarded as the best defensive Center Fielder in history until WIllie Mays came along. And even Mays never had the range that allowed Speaker to play shallow enough to practically double as a fifth infielder. Trading Speaker to Cleveland (for a warm body or two) ranks up there with the Ruth sale a few years later as one of the worst deals Boston ever made.

DOM DiMAGGIO: The only one of the "Four Friends" to not have his number retired. While his more famous brother Joe played for New York, Dom was a solid and consistent hitter in his own right, and generally considered the BETTER defender and one of the very best of his era.

CHICK STAHL: Other than his being a solid hitter and serving as the team's manager for one year, there is not much more I can add about Stahl. If you're wondering, I'll save you trouble: His death in 1907 was the result of suicide, having drunk four ouces of carbolic acid. He left a note to his teamates reading, "Boys, I just couldn't help it. It drove me to it." but it was never discovered exactly what "it" was.

DOC CRAMER: Along with Jimmy FOxx and Lefty Grove, one of the talented veterans peeled away from Philadelphia by Tom Yawkey in his bid to reduild the team in the mid-1930's. Cramer was an excellent fielder, and consistent .300 hitter at a time when that alone would brand you a successful hitter.

HARRY HOOPER: Along with Duffy Lewis and Tris Speaker, made up what is consdiered to be the best defensive outfield of all time. One of the few Hall of Fame Outfielders inducted more for defense.

BUCK FREEMAN: The Club's first real slugger and the star of the League's first World Series winner.

LOU FINNEY: An All-Star from the War years.

BILL DINNEEN: Three 20-win seasons to go with 3 wins in the first ever World Series. "Big Bill" was a strong second after team ace, Cy Young.

BOO FERRISS: I had the privelidge of attending a pitching clinic with Mister Ferriss about 20 years ago. In addition to learning a thing or two about the game, I found him to be a fine gentleman and truly funny character. (Great stories!) He was the second 20-game winner on the '46 pennant winners, behind ace Tex Hughson, and also the last Red Sox pitcher to win 25 games in a season.

LEFTY GROVE: Four of the record nine years that he won the league's ERA title were in Boston.

TEX HUGHSON: The Sox ace of the 1940's.

SAD SAM JONES: Another 20-Game Winner in Boston who later won 20-Games in New York. Ironically, he also had a 20-loss season in both cities.

DUTCH LEONARD: Hold the 20th Century's single season ERA record. Only one other pitcher in history (Hall of Famer Tim Keefe) finished a full season with an ERA uner 1.00.

CARL MAYS: Add Mays' name to list of Pitchers who starred in Boston, and were traded to New York for warm bodies and pocket change, only to go on to multiple 20-win seasons in New York. Threw hard, with a submarine-style delivery. Was involved in the fatal beaning of Cleveland Shortstop Ray Chapman in 1920.

FRITZ OSTERMUELLER: Yeah... if there's a truly unremarkable choice on this team, it's Fritz. I'd have taken Shore or Ehmke, but they didn't have the requisite five years on the team. The only other pitcher of note that qualified was (future) Hall of Famer Red Ruffing, who was utterly gawd awful in his Boston years. (Far worse than Ostermueller, actually.) So if you can find anyone you think belongs that I left out, this guy is definitely the one on the bubble!

HERB PENNOCK: One of the few players to lose playing time due to service in the FIRST World War, very little of Pennock's Hall of Fame potential was realized in Boston. To be fair though, by the time he was made a regular starter, most of the team's talent had been sent to where he would soon go: the YANKEES. Pennock is yet one more of several pitchers to follow up their modest success in Boston with multiple 20-win seasons in New York. The "Curse of Ruth" had to do with a LOT more than just Ruth!

BABE RUTH: One All-Time Sox pitcher had an award named after him, this one had a curse. A two-time twenty game winner who set the first of four single-season home run records in Boston. His sale marked and, to a great extent, caused the beginning of 14 years of the Red Sox finishing in the second division. They would not finish .500, or as high as 4th until 1934 - Ruth's last year in New York.

"SMOKEY" JOE WOOD: At his best he was comparable to Walter Johnson, and even beat him 1-0 in one 1912 game that was promoted as if it were a prize fight. Injuries kept him from repeating that level of dominance, but he recovered well enough to capture his first ERA title three years later.

CY YOUNG: His very name is synonymous with excellence in pitching.

JOE CRONIN - His racism may have cost the Sox a couple of prospects named "Robinson" and "Mays" but he remains the Winningest manager in Club history, and the longest serving. He'll get help anyway: Jimmy Collins, Jake Stahl, and Bill Carrigan all served as Player-Managers for World Champions and both Cy Young and Chick Stahl also served stints as Player-Managers.