26 Jan 2015
We haven’t yet arrived at Spring Training but baseball is around the corner. That got me to thinking about the Red Sox line-up and that got me to think about the best line-up ever.
Let us know your best line-up ever. Price is not an issue. The players in your line-up need not be living. And in a nod to baseball purists, perhaps things like personality, effort and other intangibles can be included. After all, a team of Ty Cobbs might all be murdered by season’s end, a team of Pete Roses in trouble with a bookie and a team of Barry Bonds unable to fit their heads through a door.
We are looking for the line-up order too.
Hers is my first crack at it and I’m using a DH:
1.) Rickey Henderson – DH – The best lead-off hitter of all time. A blend perfect blend of on-base skill and speed.
2.) Rogers Hornsby – 2B – Hit .400 or more 3 times with a career 1.010 OPS.
3.) Ted Willams – LF – Not much of a fielder but you can hide that in left field at Fenway, but his hitting was otherworldly.
4.) Babe Ruth – RF – Best baseball player of all-time.
5.) Willie Mays – CF – Tough choice between Mays and Mantle, but I think the defense here is too much to ignore.
6.) Lou Gehrig – 1B – Impossible to get out and I realize it is insulting to him to have him bat 6th, but so be it.
7.) Mike Schmidt – 3B – A brilliant combo of power and fielding.
8.) Johny Bench – C – Not quite the hitter Mike Piazza was but 10 times the fielder, the only person to consider at catcher.
9.) Honus Wagner – SS – Ozzie Smith was considered here as his defense was better but offensively, no comparison. I had to hit someone 9th.
Some interesting notes, it is very difficult to gauge defensive value with old-timey players as they used far different equipment and as a result their fielding percentages were almost always lower when compared to modern players using modern equipment. And the ability for defense to be evaluated using visual evidence is something not afforded older players, so reputation is playing a part here for me.
But getting past the fine print, how great would this line-up be? Putting 2 lefties in Williams and Ruth back to back isn’t ideal, but hey, it’s Williams and Ruth and I think they’ll be just fine. There are some defensive liabilities in this group, but the offense just cannot be overlooked.
What does your line-up look like?