All Time AL & NL All Star Rosters

July 16, 2017
All Star Games are (mostly) about fun.  In that spirit, I decided to try a "fun" exercise.
 
In my younger days, one of my annual rituals was to put myself in the place of the All-Star managers and go through the task of selecting the reserves and pitchers for each team.  Did you ever do that?  The fans would vote for the starting 8, of course, and then the managers would fill out the remaining roster spots, ideally trying to pick the most deserving players while also filling the requirement of having at least one player from each franchise represented on the roster.
 
I haven’t done that in a while, so I thought I’d try it this year, but with a twist.  Rather than looking at just the current year, I was wondering what might happen if you tried to pick all time rosters for both the NL and AL, but using current All-Star selection guidelines.  We would revive the deceased and bring back the retired players, restoring them to full skill level and status.  So, let’s begin the exercise, and make note of where you might disagree.
 
To level set this, here’s a quick review (courtesy of Wikipedia) of the current selection process, effective 2010:
 
  • Rosters size is 34 players.
  • The designated hitter will be used in all games, even in National League ballparks.
  • Fan voting (8 starting positional NL players; 9 AL players (8 positional plus DH))
  • Player voting (16 players): Eight pitchers (five starters and three relievers) and one back-up player for each position are elected by the players, coaches, and managers.  If the top vote-getter at a position has also been selected via fan voting, the second-place finisher in this category is selected.
  • Manager selection (9 NL players; 8 AL players): The manager of each league's All-Star team – in consultation with the other managers in his league and the Commissioner's Office – will fill his team's roster up to 33 players. The NL manager will also select his team's designated hitter.  At this point, it is ensured that every team is represented by at least one player.
  • Final vote (1 player): After the list of 33 players for each league is announced, fans vote for one additional player, chosen from a list of 5 players that is compiled by the manager of each league's team and the Commissioner's Office.
 
I decided to include all 30 current MLB franchises even though some of them are fairly recent and don’t have much in the way of historical greats.   That’s part of what makes this fun….we have to find some way to represent all teams. 
 
Also, for the purposes of this exercise, the (really old) Washington Senators are considered as part of the Minnesota Twins franchise, the (not as old) Washington Senators are part of the Texas Rangers, the Montreal Expos are part of the Washington Nationals, etc.
 
One other twist….the Houston Astros greats (Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, etc.) were mostly NL players, but the franchise is now in the AL, so they will be considered for the AL roster.  Similarly, the Milwaukee Brewers greats (Robin Yount, Paul Molitor) had their success in the AL, but since the franchise in now in the NL, they will be considered for NL selections.  It feels odd, but I think it has to be that way.
 
Players can only be linked to a single franchise.  Mostly, I went by time spent with the franchise, although sometimes I went by how much success a player may have had.  For purposes of this exercise, Frank Robinson is a Red, not an Oriole.  Eddie Collins is with the White Sox, not the A’s, although it’s really close. Alex Rodriguez is a Yankee, not a Mariner.  However, Randy Johnson is considered a Diamondback rather than a Mariner, even though he had more years and more wins with Seattle.  I gave great weight to the fact that 4 of his 5 Cy Youngs were achieved with Arizona.  Also, even though he had more seasons with Houston, Nolan Ryan will be considered as an Angels player.  Anyway, with most players, it’s pretty obvious who they should be affiliated with.
 
Also, unfortunately the Negro League greats like Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, Cool Papa Bell, etc., don’t really have a way to be included in this exercise, although I suppose you could argue that Paige could have a path as a member of the Indians or the Browns/Orioles franchises.  Still, I decided that, while acknowledging that the Negro League greats certainly belong, I would limit this to players who had their success within the scope of Major League Baseball.
 
Managers
 
Step 1 is naming the managers.  Normally, this would be determined by the previous season’s World Series teams, but this is a special exercise, so apologies to Joe Maddon and Terry Francona. 
 
For this process, I’m going to use my executive privileges and name John McGraw and Connie Mack to manage the NL and AL teams, respectively.  You can make a case for Walter Alston, Bobby Cox, or Ton La Russa for the NL (although La Russa actually managed more total years in the AL), and Casey Stengel or Joe McCarthy for the AL.  If you go by total pennants won, Stengel had 10, while Mack and McCarthy had 9.  McGraw had 10, Alston 7.  So, it’s not clear cut.  Still, I consider McGraw and Mack the top 2 managers of all time, and for this particular event, we have the happy coincidence that they were the opposing managers in the inaugural All Star game in 1933.
 
So, it’s McGraw for the NL and Mack for the AL.  Done.
 
Fan Voting
 
Step 2 is the fan vote.  The fans vote for the 8 positional players in each league, plus the DH in the AL.  In determining who the fans might vote for, I leaned heavily (though not exclusively) on the 1999 MLB All-Century team voting results.  Yes, it’s a little dated, and I made logical adjustments as I saw fit, but it still gives some insight as to how the fans might favor certain players.  The results of that vote is here if you wish to review.
 
Let’s do the NL starters first.  I believe 5 of the 8 NL starters would easily win the fan vote.  Those would be:
 
C – Johnny Bench – Reds
1B – Albert Pujols – Cardinals
3B – Mike Schmidt – Phillies
OF – Willie Mays – Giants
OF – Hank Aaron – Braves
 
I think these are easy selections.  All of these players easily outpaced their closest NL competition in the All Century voting except for Pujols, who had not yet started his career at that time.
 
Bench’s closest competition at catcher would come from Mike Piazza, Roy Campanella, and Gary Carter.  I think Bench wins easily.
 
Pujols was not part of the All Century voting, but he would easily win this vote.  There really isn’t much competition.   Even Jeff Bagwell isn’t any competition, as Houston is now an AL franchise.  Willie McCovey is probably the next best bet among NL first basemen.  Pujols wins in a landslide.
 
Schmidt would easily win the NL 3B fan vote.  The top competition would come courtesy of the Braves organization with Eddie Mathews and Chipper Jones, but Schmidt should easily win this vote.
 
In the OF, 2 of the 3 are pretty clear.  Mays and Aaron, much as they did on the All-Century team, should easily gain the most votes. 
 
So, that leave 2B, SS, and the other OF slot.  Let’s look at those.
 
At 2B, I think most "experts" would opt for either Rogers Hornsby or Joe Morgan.  However, I think the fans would vote for Jackie Robinson.  Robinson outpolled Hornsby and Morgan in the All-Century voting, although it was a pretty competitive race.  Still, I think Robinson really resonates with fans, and he’s certainly a first class talent as well.  The main thing working against Robinson in most analytical rankings is that his career was so short.  But, we’re not really evaluating careers here….we’re trying to determine who the fans would vote for.  And I think Robinson would win this vote.
 
At shortstop, the first impulse is that Honus Wagner would be the most deserving.  He’s certainly the consensus top SS of all time by most rankings.  However, in a fan vote, I think it would be a tight race among Wagner, Ernie Banks, and Ozzie Smith.   The 3 of them were in a pretty tight race for the All-Century team, with Banks slightly outpolling Ozzie, and Wagner finishing third.  I think if we held the voting today, 18 years later, Ozzie would take the prize, so I am projecting him as the winner.
 
The third OF slot after Mays and Aaron I think would come down to Barry Bonds, Stan Musial, and Roberto Clemente.  In 1999, the 3rd highest vote total among NL outfielders actually belonged to Pete Rose.  However, this was about 5 years before he finally admitted his wrongdoing.  I still think Rose has a ton of support out there (which I’ll return to later), and he might actually have enough support to take home the third OF slot, but I think he may have turned enough people off that he would probably do no better than 5th or 6th, and there are other strong candidates for voters to opt for.  Similarly, Bonds may have also turned enough people against him that he would probably finish outside the top 3 despite his overwhelming stats.
 
Clemente and Musial were neck and neck in the All-Century voting, with Clemente slightly ahead.  I think it’s a coin flip among the fans, but I’m going to project Musial as the 3rd NL outfielder.
 
So, that makes the NL starters, by way of the fan vote:
 
C – Johnny Bench – Reds
1B – Albert Pujols – Cardinals
2B – Jackie Robinson - Dodgers
3B – Mike Schmidt – Phillies
SS – Ozzie Smith - Cardinals
OF – Willie Mays – Giants
OF – Hank Aaron – Braves
OF – Stan Musial - Cardinals
 
Let’s do the AL next.   I believe 3 of the 9 AL starters would easily win the fan vote.  Those would be:
 
1B – Lou Gehrig – Yankees
OF – Babe Ruth – Yankees
OF – Ted Williams – Red Sox
 
Let’s look at the other positions:
 
At catcher, Yogi Berra was easily the top AL vote recipient for the All-Century team.  However, Ivan Rodriguez was in mid-career at that point and was not under consideration.  I think Rodriguez would provide strong competition for Yogi, but I think Berra would still win.  Carlton Fisk would probably finish third, with Mickey Cochrane and Bill Dickey finishing further back.
 
At 2B, I think most experts would opt for Eddie Collins.  However, I think Rod Carew would win the fan vote.  He easily outpolled Collins, Nap Lajoie, and Charlie Gehringer in the All-Century voting.  No doubt a lot of that is generational bias, but I think that’s the reality.  By the way….did you know that Carew was an All-Star in each of his first 18 seasons?  He only missed in his final season, when he was 39 years old.  I believe that’s the highest percentage of "years made All Star team" in history.
 
At 3B, I think it would be a close battle between George Brett and Brooks Robinson.  Robinson outpolled Brett by about 16% in the All-Century voting, but it might be closer now.  Most analysts and experts would likely place Brett higher, but I think the fans might still opt for Robinson.  His name is still synonymous with the position.  So, even though I don’t have a ton of confidence about it, I’m going to project Robinson as the winner.
 
Cal Ripken was by far the leading vote recipient among AL shortstops in the All-Century voting.  However, Derek Jeter was still early in his career at that time, as was Alex Rodriguez.  I think it would be a lot closer now.  However, I’m still going to project that Ripken would win a fan vote.
 
The battle for the third AL outfield slot would likely come down to the two Yankees CF legends, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle, with Ty Cobb and Ken Griffey Jr. also providing strong competition.  DiMaggio outpolled Mantle by about 7% in the All-Century voting, and his name still resonates.  However, I’m projecting that, nearly 20 years later, Mantle might get the edge this time.
 
At DH, I think it comes down to David Ortiz, Frank Thomas, and Edgar Martinez.  They’re all popular players with the fans, but I think Ortiz would win the vote.
 
So, that makes the projected AL starters by way of the fan vote:
 
C – Yogi Berra - Yankees
1B – Lou Gehrig – Yankees
2B – Rod Carew – Twins
3B – Brooks Robinson – Orioles
SS – Cal Ripken - Orioles
OF – Babe Ruth – Yankees
OF – Ted Williams – Red Sox
OF – Mickey Mantle – Yankees
DH – David Ortiz – Red Sox
 
Player/Coach/Manager Voting
 
Step 3 is picking 16 players for each roster (one backup per position, 5 starting pitchers, and 3 relief pitchers) via the player/coach/manager voting.  If the leading vote getters were already selected by the fans, we go to the next highest finisher.  For the purpose of this exercise, I’m assuming that the player/coach/manager voting will come from all players/coaches/managers in history (even the deceased), so we will have a wide spectrum of opinion.
 
Let’s start with the NL, and let’s start with the pitchers.
 
I think the top vote getters for NL pitchers would be:
 
Starters
Tom Seaver – Mets
Christy Mathewson – Giants
Pete Alexander – Phillies
Greg Maddux – Braves
Sandy Koufax - Dodgers
 
Relievers
Trevor Hoffman – Padres
Bruce Sutter – Cubs
Lee Smith – Cubs
 
Note – Billy Wagner might have been a viable option for one of the three reliever slots, but, again….Houston’s in the AL now.
 
There are some tough omissions from the starting pitchers pool, but I think those 5 would lead the way in a player/coach/manager poll.  There will be others named by the manager later.
 
Here’s how I see the position backups working out:
 
Backup C would be a tough battle among Mike Piazza of the Dodgers (actually had more time with the Mets, but had better years with the Dodgers), Gary Carter of the Expos/Nationals, and Roy Campanella of the Dodgers.  I’m going to project Carter, but I think it would be close.
 
Backup 1B I believe would be Willie McCovey of the Giants, with apologies to Johnny Mize and Cap Anson (remember, Jeff Bagwell would be AL due to Houston now being an AL franchise)
 
Backup 2B will go to Rogers Hornsby of the Cardinals in a tight battle over Joe Morgan, although I don’t have a lot of confidence about that one either.  Morgan might be the preferred option by players/coaches/managers.  But, I’ll stick with Hornsby for now.
 
Backup SS will go to Honus Wagner of the Pirates.
 
Backup 3B will go to Eddie Mathews of the Braves.
 
The 3 backup outfielders I believe would be Roberto Clemente of the Pirates, Barry Bonds of the Giants, and Frank Robinson of the Reds.  Rose misses the cut at this stage.
 
So, at this point the roster looks like this:
 
C – Johnny Bench – Reds
1B – Albert Pujols – Cardinals
2B – Jackie Robinson - Dodgers
3B – Mike Schmidt – Phillies
SS – Ozzie Smith - Cardinals
OF – Willie Mays – Giants
OF – Hank Aaron – Braves
OF – Stan Musial – Cardinals
 
SP - Tom Seaver – Mets
SP - Christy Mathewson – Giants
SP - Pete Alexander – Phillies
SP - Greg Maddux – Braves
SP - Sandy Koufax - Dodgers
 
RP - Trevor Hoffman – Padres
RP - Bruce Sutter – Cubs
RP - Lee Smith – Cubs
 
Reseves:
C – Gary Carter – Expos/Nationals
1B – Willie McCovey – Giants
2B – Rogers Hornsby - Cardinals
3B – Eddie Mathews – Braves
SS – Honus Wagner - Pirates
OF – Barry Bonds – Giants
OF – Roberto Clemente – Pirates
OF – Frank Robinson – Reds
 
So, that’s 24 players selected.   McGraw will select 9 more, and the fans will vote on the final slot.
 
At this point, 11 NL franchises have representation:
Reds
Cardinals
Phillies
Dodgers
Giants
Mets
Braves
Padres
Cubs
Expos/Nationals
Pirates
 
NL franchises still needing a player include:
Diamondbacks
Rockies
Marlins
Brewers
 
McGraw will have to make sure he represents those franchises with his 9 remaining picks.
 
Time for the 8 AL backups, 5 starting pitchers, and 3 relievers.  I believe the players/coaches/managers would elect:
 
Starters
Walter Johnson – Senators (Twins)
Roger Clemens – Red Sox
Lefty Grove – A’s
Cy Young – Red Sox
Bob Feller - Indians
 
Relievers
Mariano Rivera – Yankees
Dennis Eckersley – A’s
Hoyt Wilhelm – White Sox
 
Note – Part of me thinks that Rollie Fingers would outpoll the likes of Rich Gossage and Hoyt Wilhelm among the players/coaches.  Remember, this is not a "sabermetric" selection….it’s who I think the players/coaches/managers would vote for.   I think Fingers still holds a bit of an "aura" around the relief position within baseball.  But, I’m not completely sure of it, so I went with Eckersley and Wilhelm after Rivera.
 
Here’s how I see the position backups working out:
 
Lots of good backup catchers, but I think Ivan Rodriguez of the Rangers would outpoll Carlton Fisk, Bill Dickey, and Mickey Cochrane.
 
Backup 1B should go to Jimmie Foxx of the A’s.
 
Backup 2B will go to Eddie Collins of the White Sox, although I think Nap Lajoie and Charlie Gehringer might give him a good battle
 
Backup SS I think would go to Derek Jeter over Alex Rodriguez.   Again, this is a poll of the players/coaches/managers.  I think they might favor Jeter over the more glitzy numbers of A-Rod.
 
Backup 3B will go to George Brett of the Royals, although Wade Boggs might get decent support as well.
 
The 3 backup outfielders I believe would be Joe DiMaggio of the Yankees, Ty Cobb of the Tigers, and Tris Speaker of the Indians.  Some tough omissions here, but we’ll cover those later.
 
So, at this point the roster looks like this:
 
C – Yogi Berra - Yankees
1B – Lou Gehrig – Yankees
2B – Rod Carew – Twins
3B – Brooks Robinson – Orioles
SS – Cal Ripken - Orioles
OF – Babe Ruth – Yankees
OF – Ted Williams – Red Sox
OF – Mickey Mantle – Yankees
DH – David Ortiz – Red Sox
 
SP - Walter Johnson – Senators (Twins)
SP - Roger Clemens – Red Sox
SP - Lefty Grove – A’s
SP - Cy Young – Red Sox
SP - Bob Feller - Indians
 
RP - Mariano Rivera – Yankees
RP - Dennis Eckersley – A’s
RP - Hoyt Wilhelm – White Sox
 
Reseves:
C – Ivan Rodriguez – Rangers
1B – Jimmie Foxx – A’s
2B – Eddie Collins – White Sox
3B – George Brett – Royals
SS – Derek Jeter - Yankees
OF – Joe DiMaggio – Yankees
OF – Ty Cobb – Tigers
OF – Tris Speaker – Indians
 
So, that’s 25 players selected.   Mack will select 8 more, and the fans will vote on the final slot.
 
At this point, 10 AL franchises have representation:
Yankees
Twins
Orioles
Red Sox
A’s
Indians
White Sox
Rangers
Royals
Tigers
 
AL franchises still needing a player include:
Rays
Blue Jays
Astros
Angels
Mariners
 
Mack will have to make sure he represents those franchises with his 8 remaining picks.
 
Manager Selections
 
For the NL, McGraw has 9 picks remaining.  With 4 of them, he needs to cover the franchises without a player so far:
 
Diamondbacks
Rockies
Marlins
Brewers
 
The Diamondbacks is easy.  McGraw selects Randy Johnson.
 
For the Rockies, I think it comes down to Larry Walker or Todd Helton.   I think Walker was a little better player, but Helton was with the Rockies for his entire career, and the NL doesn’t have a lot of 1B depth.  McGraw opts for Helton.
 
For the Marlins, I’d love to do a "cheat" and pick Miguel Cabrera – he’s an all-time great hitter, and he did have 5 pretty good years (and 4 All-Star seasons) with the Marlins.  However, I can’t do that….he’s already got 10 years with the Tigers, and they were by far his more well known seasons that included all 4 of his batting titles and both of his MVP seasons.  So, even though he would be a great addition to the team, McGraw has to go a different direction.   
 
I think the most qualified Marlin for this team would be Giancarlo Stanton.   Stanton already has accumulated more rWAR than any other Marlin in history, and the gap figures to get even bigger, as it appears he could be a Marlin for a very long time.  Stanton could be on his way to a very impressive career HR total.  2017 is his age 27 season, and he already has 234 career HR’s.  If he can get to 250 by the end of this season, which certainly seems plausible, he’ll be only the 12th player in history to reach that by the end of his age 27 season.  Here are the players currently ahead of him at that age, bearing in mind that Stanton still has the rest of this season to move up the list.  With a little luck and a good 2nd half, he might crack the top 10.
 
Rk
Player
HR
1
Alex Rodriguez
345
2
Jimmie Foxx
302
3
Eddie Mathews
299
4
Ken Griffey
294
5
Albert Pujols
282
6
Mickey Mantle
280
7
Mel Ott
275
8
Frank Robinson
262
9
Juan Gonzalez
256
10
Hank Aaron
253
11
Andruw Jones
250
12
Miguel Cabrera
247
13
Johnny Bench
240
14
Adam Dunn
238
15
Jose Canseco
235
 
Not a bad list.  9 of the top 10 exceeded 500 career home runs.  That’s certainly a figure that’s within reach for Stanton, especially if he can stay healthy.  At this point, his seasonal notation shows him at an impressive 41 home runs per 162 games played.  He’s not an all-time great yet…….but he could eventually be, and he certainly is a "star".  I think he’ll have to be the Marlins’ representative.
 
For the Brewers, McGraw would likely choose between Robin Yount and Paul Molitor.  That’s a really close call.  I have a hunch McGraw might prefer Molitor, but you cant’ go wrong either way.
 
Having satisfied all the roster requirements, McGraw has 5 picks remaining.  With 2 of them, I think he needs to add starting pitchers Warren Spahn and Steve Carlton.  Hard to leave them off any NL team. 
 
It’s also hard to leave Ernie Banks off any NL all-time squad.  McGraw will add him. 
 
With the final 2 selections, I think McGraw would select Mel Ott and Joe Morgan
 
That would make the roster at this point:
 
C – Johnny Bench – Reds
1B – Albert Pujols – Cardinals
2B – Jackie Robinson - Dodgers
3B – Mike Schmidt – Phillies
SS – Ozzie Smith - Cardinals
OF – Willie Mays – Giants
OF – Hank Aaron – Braves
OF – Stan Musial – Cardinals
 
SP - Tom Seaver – Mets
SP - Christy Mathewson – Giants
SP - Pete Alexander – Phillies
SP - Greg Maddux – Braves
SP - Sandy Koufax - Dodgers
SP – Randy Johnson - Diamondbacks
SP – Warren Spahn - Braves
SP – Steve Carlton - Phillies
 
RP - Trevor Hoffman – Padres
RP - Bruce Sutter – Cubs
RP - Lee Smith – Cubs
 
Reseves:
C – Gary Carter – Expos/Nationals
1B – Willie McCovey – Giants
1B – Todd Helton - Rockies
2B – Rogers Hornsby – Cardinals
2B – Joe Morgan – Reds
3B – Eddie Mathews – Braves
3B – Paul Molitor - Brewers
SS – Honus Wagner – Pirates
SS – Ernie Banks – Cubs
OF – Barry Bonds – Giants
OF – Roberto Clemente – Pirates
OF – Frank Robinson – Reds
OF – Mel Ott – Giants
OF – Giancarlo Stanton – Marlins
 
So, that completes 33 of the roster slots for the NL.
 
For the AL,  Mack has 8 picks remaining, and he needs to use 5 of them to cover the franchises without a player so far:
 
Rays
Astros
Angels
Mariners
Blue Jays
 
For the Rays, I think there’s only 1 viable option:  Evan Longoria.  He gets the nod from Mack.
 
For the Astros, Mack will go with Jeff Bagwell, with apologies to Craig Biggio.
 
For the Angels….well, we should definitely consider Mike Trout.   He’s accomplished a tremendous amount in 7 years, and I think you can make a strong case.  However, I think Nolan Ryan will fit the bill for this purpose.  Ryan played quite a bit for the Astros and the Rangers as well, but he is considered an Angel for this exercise.  So, I think Trout will have to wait a little longer.
 
For the Mariners, while Ichiro Suzuki would be a decent option, Mack will opt for Ken Griffey Jr.
 
Finally, for the Blue Jays, I think the best option is Roberto Alomar.  Now, not everyone may consider him as a Blue Jay, but he played more seasons (5) with the Blue Jays than he did with any other franchise, and he was on 2 championship teams with them.  I think he’s got a stronger affiliation with the Blue Jays than with the Indians, Padres, or Orioles, each of which he played 3 seasons for.  I think he’s the best option.
 
That leaves Mack with 3 open slots.  I think one has to go to Rickey Henderson.  Hard to leave him off.
 
Mack only has 9 pitchers.  I think he needs at least one more.  He might be tempted to pick one of his early star pitchers like Eddie Plank, but I think he’ll opt for Pedro Martinez.
 
Finally, I think he has to pick Alex Rodriguez.  Too much to ignore there.  I think he would have to go in as a Yankee rather than a Mariner.
 
So, that leaves the AL looking like this after 33 selections:
 
C – Yogi Berra - Yankees
1B – Lou Gehrig – Yankees
2B – Rod Carew – Twins
3B – Brooks Robinson – Orioles
SS – Cal Ripken - Orioles
OF – Babe Ruth – Yankees
OF – Ted Williams – Red Sox
OF – Mickey Mantle – Yankees
DH – David Ortiz – Red Sox
 
SP - Walter Johnson – Senators (Twins)
SP - Roger Clemens – Red Sox
SP - Lefty Grove – A’s
SP - Cy Young – Red Sox
SP - Bob Feller - Indians
SP – Nolan Ryan - Angels
SP – Pedro Martinez – Red Sox
 
RP - Mariano Rivera – Yankees
RP - Dennis Eckersley – A’s
RP - Hoyt Wilhelm – White Sox
 
Reseves:
C – Ivan Rodriguez – Rangers
1B – Jimmie Foxx – A’s
1B – Jeff Bagwell – Astros
2B – Eddie Collins – White Sox
2B – Roberto Alomar – Blue Jays
3B – George Brett – Royals
3B – Evan Longoria – Rays
3B/SS – Alex Rodriguez - Yankees
SS – Derek Jeter – Yankees
OF – Joe DiMaggio – Yankees
OF – Ty Cobb – Tigers
OF – Tris Speaker – Indians
OF – Ken Griffey Jr. – Mariners
OF – Rickey Henderson – A’s
 
Fan Vote – Final Five
 
The last roster slot will be elected by a fan vote with from 5 players named by each league’s manager and the Commissioner’s office.  I think they would try to find the biggest names and most popular players they could to generate maximum interest.  Here is who I would anticipate as the NL final five:
 
SP – Bob Gibson – Cardinals
C – Mike Piazza – Dodgers
OF – Pete Rose – Reds
3B – Chipper Jones – Braves
OF – Tony Gwynn – Padres
 
And, here’s the AL final five:
 
3B – Wade Boggs – Red Sox
OF – Carl Yastrzemski – Red Sox
OF – Al Kaline – Tigers
OF – Joe Jackson – Indians
OF – Reggie Jackson – A’s
 
Tough choices.  In the AL, I think the fans might elect Yastrzemski, who had 18 All-Star seasons, one of the highest totals ever, although Shoeless Joe would be a real wild card, and he actually did pretty well in the All-Century voting. 
 
In the NL….well, I really think Rose would win, despite the many people he’s alienated.  I think he would generate the greatest number of fan votes at this stage.  Despite the strong feelings against him, he retains a high level of popularity among fans.  As a side note, I think Rose and McGraw would actually get along OK.  They were both pretty fond of horse racing, a topic they could discuss when not plotting how to defeat the Junior Circuit.
 
Recap
 
Here then, is the NL roster:
 
Mgr – John McGraw – Giants
 
C – Johnny Bench – Reds
1B – Albert Pujols – Cardinals
2B – Jackie Robinson - Dodgers
3B – Mike Schmidt – Phillies
SS – Ozzie Smith - Cardinals
OF – Willie Mays – Giants
OF – Hank Aaron – Braves
OF – Stan Musial – Cardinals
 
SP - Tom Seaver – Mets
SP - Christy Mathewson – Giants
SP - Pete Alexander – Phillies
SP - Greg Maddux – Braves
SP - Sandy Koufax - Dodgers
SP – Randy Johnson - Diamondbacks
SP – Warren Spahn - Braves
SP – Steve Carlton - Phillies
 
RP - Trevor Hoffman – Padres
RP - Bruce Sutter – Cubs
RP - Lee Smith – Cubs
 
Reseves:
C – Gary Carter – Expos/Nationals
1B – Willie McCovey – Giants
1B – Todd Helton - Rockies
2B – Rogers Hornsby – Cardinals
2B – Joe Morgan – Reds
3B – Eddie Mathews – Braves
3B – Paul Molitor - Brewers
SS – Honus Wagner – Pirates
SS – Ernie Banks – Cubs
OF – Barry Bonds – Giants
OF – Roberto Clemente – Pirates
OF – Frank Robinson – Reds
OF – Mel Ott – Giants
OF – Giancarlo Stanton – Marlins
OF – Pete Rose – Reds
 
And, the AL:
 
Mgr – Connie Mack – A’s
 
C – Yogi Berra - Yankees
1B – Lou Gehrig – Yankees
2B – Rod Carew – Twins
3B – Brooks Robinson – Orioles
SS – Cal Ripken - Orioles
OF – Babe Ruth – Yankees
OF – Ted Williams – Red Sox
OF – Mickey Mantle – Yankees
DH – David Ortiz – Red Sox
 
SP - Walter Johnson – Senators (Twins)
SP - Roger Clemens – Red Sox
SP - Lefty Grove – A’s
SP - Cy Young – Red Sox
SP - Bob Feller - Indians
SP – Nolan Ryan - Angels
SP – Pedro Martinez – Red Sox
 
RP - Mariano Rivera – Yankees
RP - Dennis Eckersley – A’s
RP - Hoyt Wilhelm – White Sox
 
Reseves:
C – Ivan Rodriguez – Rangers
1B – Jimmie Foxx – A’s
1B – Jeff Bagwell – Astros
2B – Eddie Collins – White Sox
2B – Roberto Alomar – Blue Jays
3B – George Brett – Royals
3B – Evan Longoria – Rays
3B/SS – Alex Rodriguez - Yankees
SS – Derek Jeter – Yankees
OF – Joe DiMaggio – Yankees
OF – Ty Cobb – Tigers
OF – Tris Speaker – Indians
OF – Ken Griffey Jr. – Mariners
OF – Rickey Henderson – A’s
OF – Carl Yastrzemski – Red Sox
 
NL Players by Team:
 
Team
Players
Giants
5
Braves
4
Cardinals
4
Reds
4
Cubs
3
Phillies
3
Dodgers
2
Pirates
2
Brewers
1
Diamondbacks
1
Expos/Nationals
1
Marlins
1
Mets
1
Padres
1
Rockies
1
 
AL Players by Team:
 
Team
Players
Yankees
8
Red Sox
6
A's
4
Senators/Twins
2
Orioles
2
Indians
2
White Sox
2
Angels
1
Rangers
1
Astros
1
Blue Jays
1
Royals
1
Rays
1
Mariners
1
Tigers
1
 
The NL’s batting order would look like this (I believe McGraw would name Bonds as the DH):
2B – Jackie Robinson - Dodgers
DH – Barry Bonds - Giants
OF – Willie Mays – Giants
OF – Stan Musial – Cardinals
OF – Hank Aaron – Braves
1B – Albert Pujols – Cardinals
3B – Mike Schmidt – Phillies
C – Johnny Bench – Reds
SS – Ozzie Smith – Cardinals
 
For the AL, I think Mack would go with this batting order:
 
2B – Rod Carew – Twins
OF – Mickey Mantle – Yankees
OF – Babe Ruth – Yankees
OF – Ted Williams – Red Sox
1B – Lou Gehrig – Yankees
DH – David Ortiz – Red Sox
C – Yogi Berra - Yankees
SS – Cal Ripken - Orioles
3B – Brooks Robinson – Orioles
 
For the starting pitchers, I think McGraw would go with his ace Christy Mathewson, and I think Mack would tempted to counter with his own ace in Lefty Grove, but would probably have to go with Walter Johnson.
 
Who would win?  Well, I haven’t gotten that far.  This was enough fun for one exercise.  As you might have heard, the All Star Game series is tied at 43-43-2.  I say we play this one to break the tie and declare a winner.
 
Hope you enjoyed reading.
 
Dan
 
 
 

COMMENTS (22 Comments, most recent shown first)

ventboys
I'm way late to the party Dan - sorry about that - but I loved it! I'm a sucker for any sort of theme-team, and you put together one of the best concepts I've seen.

Jack's point about opinion - that an opinion piece should be your own opinion - is reasonable, but not necessarily correct. We spent years on the GOR, and the original premise was "what would the writers do?" - not "what would I do?" I prefer to analyze the opinions of others over my own; analyzing your own opinions seems too much like showing baby pictures to strangers. They don't care, because they have no idea why your opinion is special.
7:37 AM Jul 24th
 
garywmaloney
Your inclusion of Warren Spahn echoes the report about Sandy Koufax and the All-Century Team. Deeply desirous of persuading Koufax to appear in Fenway, the organizers told him of the event and the other team selections. "I'm not going to any team like this that doesn't include Warren Spahn," he replied.

Whereupon, the organizers suddenly found they did have some extra space on the All-Century roster. Koufax did appear, and Spahnie -- who had to be helped out of the dugout onto the field -- was beside himself with joy at the recognition. (Look at the video sometime.)

Spahn's consistent excellence over such a long period -- 23-7 at age 42, in an era when older pitchers did not fare so well -- often gets overlooked. Good to include him here.
7:24 AM Jul 18th
 
JackKeefe
Just to clarify, there are no wrong opinions here. I believe that John McGraw would have picked stars from his era, the turn-of-the-century and before (heck, he didn't even like Babe Ruth), but for all I know he'd love Giancarlo Stanton. Who's to say?
12:18 AM Jul 18th
 
OwenH
Great article, Dan; i enjoyed it a lot. A fun exercise. With the lefty-heavy AL lineup, and the righty-heavy NL lineup, I'd sure be tempted to start Koufax or Randy Johnson for the NL, and Clemens or Walter Johnson (or maybe Pedro) for the NL. Those would be some kind of battles ...
4:19 PM Jul 17th
 
brian14leonard
This was fun and a good job, but I can't believe no one has pointed out that the selection rules were changed for 2017. The reserves are picked by players and the Commissioner's office now--not by the managers. The managers now "only" get to function as they would in a normal game.
Brian L.
12:37 PM Jul 17th
 
bearbyz
Fun, the American League would win 5 times out of 10.
11:23 AM Jul 17th
 
JohnPontoon
Truly irrelevant nitpick, I know, but I don't see why A-Rod gets put on the Yankees rather than the Mariners. His most valuable seasons were certainly with Seattle (except maybe with one or two Rangers seasons,) he (almost?) never played SS with NY, and as for fan voting, he was quite popular while in Seattle, whereas during his time with the Yanks he became regarded as History's Greatest Villain.

Quibble aside, very nice and fun article, sir!
8:35 AM Jul 17th
 
DMBBHF
Thanks for all the comments.

Jack,

I never said I "know" how people would vote. As MarisFan said, it's my guesses. I'm speculating.

McGraw couldn't select Lajoie specifically, since Lajoie would be considered AL. But you did also say "guys like that", so maybe you didn't mean Lajoie specifically?

Re: Musial. Yes, he was 11th among OF'ers in the Century vote, and was named by a panel (along with 4 others) to complete a 30-man team (the fans voted for the first 25). But, the question here is how would he finish among NL outfielders, specifically. In the Century voting, he was 5th among NL outfielders, one of whom was Rose, who I guessed would slide down some since the vote was before he admitted his wrongdoing. Musial and Clemente were very close. I'm just guessing that Musial could have been the 3rd NL outfielder. It certainly could have been Clemente or Bonds or even Rose. It's just speculation.

That was really the whole point of this, an exercise in guessing and speculating.
I thought that was clear. Of course I don't "know". And, I wasn't giving MY picks. I could have gone that way....but this was the way I chose.

Dhandforth,

Maris is right. These aren't my picks and preferences. I'm trying to simulate what might have happened with a fan vote and the subsequent player/coach/manager voting and the manager selections. That's all.

Steve,

Fair question on the "dead fan" vote. I considered that, but decided that this particular vote was better left to the here and now, especially since it's so dependent on the internet, and I know how old people are when it comes to that. I can only imagine the difficulties dead voters would have with it :)

I don't see Gibson ahead of Alexander, but OK. I think Gibson vs. Carlton is a close call, but, sure, I can see that as well.

Points from Jolly and Steve about Reggie are well taken. I could see him winning that vote, although I don't think it's clear cut. He did outpoll Yaz in the Century voting, although Shoeless Joe outpolled Reggie, so anything's possible.

Thanks,
Dan
6:51 AM Jul 17th
 
steve161
Why only current fans? Why shouldn't dead fans have a chance to vote for dead players?

I'd reconsider the NL fan vote. First, Gibson isn't on the list because he's already on the roster ahead of Carlton or Alexander. Second, while I agree that Rose will always have his diehard supporters, I have just enough faith in humanity to believe that his ongoing mendacity since 1999 will cost him support. I believe Tony Gwynn squeaks through.

And Jack Keefe certainly has a point: the voting for the All-Century team doesn't inspire one with confidence in the fans' knowledge of baseball history. Perhaps the imagined electorate should be neither current fans nor current-plus-dead fans, but rather idealized fans.

And I agree with Dodger about Jackson on the AL side.​
6:28 AM Jul 17th
 
MarisFan61
Dhan: Remember, this isn't Dan picking what he thinks would be the best lineups, but guessing who current fans would vote onto the teams!
2:04 AM Jul 17th
 
Dhandforth
Thanks for this. I like the picks and lineups (not too controversial), except it's clear that you prefer power over speed.

Suggest that in a one game competition featuring Mathewson vs. Johnson, teams are more likely to win with speed (and preferable higher OBP) rather than power. For their careers, Mattie gave up on average (5.3 HR per season) vs. the Big Train's (4.6 HR per season). By contrast, Matthewson conceded (a still stingy) 1.3 walks per game to Johnson's 1.7 walks per game. Under the right runner's feet, those walks could either be converted to runs, or could be the difference between a solo blast and a two run round tripper.

So suggest that the AL's best lineup would replace Rickey Henderson (.401 OBP/1406 SB) for David Ortiz (.380 OBP/17 SB). And the NL could change Albert Pujols (.389 OBP/108 SB) for somebody like Billy Hamilton (.455 OBP/914 SB) (who is not on your list)

Of course, the actual lineups will also need to be adjusted. Rickey is the best leadoff hitter in the history of the game with both speed and power.


1:36 AM Jul 17th
 
MarisFan61
What are you mad about? :-)

Of course it's just guesses. I think they're very, very good ones.
12:11 AM Jul 17th
 
JackKeefe
You certainly don't know how the fans would vote. As I recall, Stan Musial didn't even get voted to the All Century team, and had to be inserted by the Commissioner. He's a long shot to be voted in by fans here. And you have no way in hell of knowing who McGraw would pick (probably Nap LaJoie at 2nd base, guys like that). It's basically a bunch of wild guesses strung together, which is a pity, because it's an interesting topic.

Rather than speaking for others, I want to know who your All-Time All-Star team is, with at least 1 person from each team. That's a fun exercise, and you can be certain of your own opinions.
11:09 PM Jul 16th
 
jollydodger
Very fun, great job.

Although in the AL final fan vote, I think Reggie wins in a walk.
10:34 PM Jul 16th
 
pgaskill
Actually, 77, I think you're mixing apples and oranges here. If there have been 270 ML seasons (which there have been), that's LEAGUE-seasons, whereas the DH then has existed for 90 of them (2 leagues x 45 years). Your point is still valid, just not quite as valid as you were saying.
6:48 PM Jul 16th
 
MarisFan61
(Oh -- the "I don't think so" isn't to DMB, but to the comment below his. We were typing at the same time.)
4:40 PM Jul 16th
 
MarisFan61
I don't think so, because the voting fan base would be current fans.

You have to keep your audience in mind. If you omitted DH, they'd feel deprived, they'd squawk, and they'd participate less.

I know that the basic thing is imaginary, and so far the whole thing is imaginary, but, well, we have to imagine it. :-)
4:39 PM Jul 16th
 
DMBBHF
77royals,

Sorry - But this exercise required that I select DH' s. Those are the current All Star rules, and that was the premise of the exercise and the guidelines I was following.

Dan
4:37 PM Jul 16th
 
77royals
There have been 270 major league seasons. The DH has existed for 45 of them. 17% of them.

The need for every one to add a DH to everything just because it is happening now when it hasn't existed for the majority of baseball is silly and unnecessary.

This would be a good exercise, but adding the DH just ruins it.
4:12 PM Jul 16th
 
DMBBHF
Hi MarisFan,

Thanks for the replies. Yeah, I figured you would notice that.....I truly was trying to avoid leveraging metrics or numbers other than things like looking at the All-Century vote totals and looking at prior All-Star game selections, things like that. I do think that, when it comes to who fans would vote for and really even who other players, coaches, and managers would vote for, it would probably tend to be more along the lines of "I think this guy really deserves it" or "I really like this guy" as opposed to what someone's numbers are. And, I certainly don't think metrics like WAR would be looked at much either. It's All-Star related....and people want to vote for their favorites.

I hear what you're saying about Jeter. I could certainly see him winning the AL SS vote.

Thanks,
Dan
1:45 PM Jul 16th
 
MarisFan61
.....and good job putting Jackie in the leadoff spot.
Especially since you're proposing to actually play this game and have it settle the N.L.-A.L. tie. :-)

If I'm picking an all-time team to play a game and win it, Jackie is my leadoff man.

Stengel seemed to have somewhat of a 'philosophy' about the leadoff spot, that you put your "toughest" guy there -- send him up there to set a tone. I never heard or read anything about it, just my impression from his using Hank Bauer so often there, and (bias again acknowledged) wanting originally to use Maris as his leadoff man.

I send Jackie up there right away, and not just because his numbers make him not a bad leadoff man.
12:28 PM Jul 16th
 
MarisFan61
Interesting, and terrific job.

What I probably like about it most: You don't do it at all by metrics :-) nor by any numbers, which I realize would be pretty impossible anyway.
You do it by thinking and judging.

In case I ever had any illusions of being an expert, you destroyed it: :-) :-)
"At 2B, I think most "experts" would opt for either Rogers Hornsby or Joe Morgan. However, I think the fans would vote for Jackie Robinson."

I think you're right on all counts there.
I would firmly pick Jackie as the #1 second baseman of all time, even trying to think as an expert :-) .....and funnily, I don't think I'd dare do it if not for metrics, particularly what Bill has shown about how Jackie comes out on Fielding Win Shares, not just at 2B but almost everywhere else they put him.

I differ mildly on one thing (just 1) that you came up with, and yeah, I'm sure I can't eliminate my own bias. If we're talking about current-day fans for the voting, and I guess we are, I think Jeter would come out #1 for shortstop. I think it would be the most interesting vote, among Ripken, Ozzie, and Jeter.
12:23 PM Jul 16th
 
 
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