Batter Up! - MLB Opening Day All Time Fantasy Line-up

Clockwise from upper left; Nolan Ryan, Johnny Bench, Sandy Koufax, Al Kaline, Hank Aaron, Mariano Riviera, Willie Mays, Ozzie Smith, Roberto Clemente; center top Brooks Robinson and Jackie Robinson. |  


Like everything in American life, opening day festivities for Major League Baseball have been postponed. While we all shelter in place, one of our readers and contributors, Steve Lee, suggested an exercise in lieu of those festivities. 

Steve texted us his fantasy opening day lineup and suggested this might be fun for others as well. We reached out to several baseball fans and asked for their lineup card.

As you go through the lists you'll see a wide variety of players from different eras. Also, some participants added some extra designations to their cards which brought an interesting dimension.

Since Steve is the person who got things rolling, we'll start with his straightforward lineup.

Don't forget to scroll to the bottom to answer one of baseball's most pressing questions, and listen to EGN Podcast contributor Dan Schmitt's Baseball - The Game of Life. 

***

Willie Mays before the Giants moved west. 
Steve Lee

A lifelong San Francisco Giants fan, Steve has such a depth of knowledge of teams and players such that it would never be advisable to get in a bar wager with him because chances are he'll win the bet. The BakersfieldKid knows the lineup for the 1968 Detroit Tigers like he grew up in Motown!  

C- Yogi Berra
1B- Lou Gehrig 
2B- Pete Rose
3B - Brooks Robinson
SS- Derek Jeter
LF- Ricky Henderson
CF- Wiilie Mays
RF- Hank Aaron
SP- Bob Gibson 
RP- Mariano Rivera 


***

Sandy Koufax. 

Connie Conley

Since we started with the originator of this exercise who is a Giants fan and being in California, we'll follow things up with a lifelong Los Angeles Dodgers fan. The Giants moved their rivalry from New York-Brooklyn to the west coast in the late 50s and if anything, the rivalry has grown in California. 

C - Yogi Berra
FB - Lou Gehrig
SB - Tie Joe Morgan (even though he knocked the Dodgers out of the playoffs with his home run in 1992. I was in the stand at Candlestick when he hit it. I sat in my seat and cried!)
Jackie Robinson "A life is not important except in the impact it has on others lives." 
SS - Cal Ripken Jr.  
TB - Brooks Robinson
LF - Stan Musial 
CF - Willie Mays (with an honorable mention of Mickey Mantle) 
RF - Hank Aaron
SP - Sandy Kofax (Nolan Ryan gets an honorable mention; but if I didn’t pick Sandy, I would lose my Dodger fan status!)
RP - Mariano Rivera 

***
Greg Vaughn. 

John Hull

The former sports editor for the Elk Grove Citizen and current journalism instructor at CRC, John's lineup has a uniquely Elk Grove flavor. John covered many, if not most of the players on his card when they were playing high school baseball in Elk Grove. Any lineup who has a bunch of Detroit Tigers on their card is fine by us!

C - Buck Martinez (Brewers)/ David Freitas (Brewers)
1B - Rowdy Tellez (Blue Jays)
2B- Mike Fischlin (Indians, Yankees)
SS - Nick Madrigal (White Sox)
3B - J.D. Davis (Mets)
LF - Greg Vaughn (Padres, Brewers)
CF - Dylan Carlson (Cardinals)
RF - Derek Hill (Tigers)
LHP - Jason Jimenez (Rays)
RHP - David Hernandez (Reds, D-Backs)
Mgr - Jeff Carlson 
PH - Ken Hottman (White Sox)
RP - Brad Kilby (A’s)
RHP - Matt Manning (Tigers)

John added the following note:

I just remembered and I could kick myself because I have known David Freitas since he was 10-years-old! He is a reserve catcher right now with the Brewers! Add him, as a backup to Buck Martinez on my all-Elk Grove opening day roster. 

Dom Nunez is a reserve catcher right now with the Rockies. 

We’ve had a bunch of EG boys travel through the minors, so my guys in this lineup all had or have MLB experience. Madrigal, Hill, and Carlson would be rookies this year, if or when the season begins. I have also added Matt Manning to the list because he was likely on his way to Triple-A, but went to spring training this spring in the Major League camp with the Tigers. 

And, Jeff Carlson is worth a mention as an honorary manager, even though he has just coached on the high school level. He coached most of the guys on this list.

***
Deja vu all over again with Yogi Berra!


Whitney in New York City

A man of few words, Whitney would love to bench manage this lineup. Who wouldn't! 

Manager - Whitney
SP - Sandy Kofax
C - Yogi Berra
FB - Hank Greenberg
SB - Rod Carew
SS - Honus Wagner
TB - Mike Schmidt
LF - Willie Stargell
CF - Ted Willians
RF - Hank Aaron
PH - Willie Mays

***

The vacuum cleaner also known as Brooks Robinson. 

Suzanne Gougherty

We'll head north and east for our next list that comes from a lifelong Detroit Tiger fan.

P - Roger Clemens
C - Johnny Bench
FB - Miguel Cabrera
SB - Jackie Robinson
TB -  Brooks Robinson
LF -  Willie Horton
CF  -Ty Cobb
RF -  Babe Ruth 
PH  - Rusty Staub
RP -  Willie Hernandez

Suzanne, it should be noted shares a little bit of history in the Detroit Tigers 1968 World Series Championship. When the Tigers beat the Cardinals in a Game 7 midweek afternoon game (remember those!), as a recent high school grad, she was working at City National Bank in downtown Detroit and took to the streets in celebration. Along with two co-workers, a photographer for the Detroit Free Press captured the three of them jumping mid-air. In their first edition that day (again, remember when newspapers had several editions each day) that photograph was on the front page. By the final edition, the picture made its way to the backplate, perhaps the second most viewed page.    

***
Rod Carew. 

Lynn Wheat

A California Angels fan, Lynn noted the expansion team was not very good in their early years. Lynn had one entry on her lineup card for the catcher, San Franciso Giants Buster Posey, so we took the liberty of adding two other Hall of Famers who spent time with the Angels. 

SP - Nolan Ryan
C- Buster Posey
SB - Rod Carew

***

One of Michigan's finest. 
Lisa McGraw

Yet another Tigers fan, Lisa is going with an almost entire Bengal lineup with the one non-Tiger with strong Michigan ties, Derek Jeter, the pride of Kalamazoo. Jeter was also offered a full baseball scholarship to the University of Michigan. He chose the Yankees instead, and the rest, as they say, is history.  

SP - Max Sherzer
C-  Pudge Rodriguez  
1B - Miggy
2B  - Lou Whittaker 
3B - Brandon Inge (in his prime)
SS-  Derek Jeter (I know...but he's from Michigan)
LF - Willie Horton
CF - Mickey Stanley 
RF - Magglio Ordonez 
RP - Willie Hernandez 

***
Cal Ripken. 

Don Hazen

Don noted he was going with a mostly modern line-up. Like most of us, this is probably a modern line-up of greats, but Millenials might disagree they are "modern!" 

C - Johnny Bench
1B - Mark McGwire
2B - Joe Morgan
3B - Brooks Robinson
SS - Cal Ripken
LF - Barry Bonds
CF - Willie Mays
RF - Hank Aaron
SP - Randy Johnson
RP - Goose Gossage

Don noted the asterisk * in any MLB discussion and said the following:

I'm gonna go mostly with more modern players here, because I think the modern era players have more athleticism (steroids be damned!) and would have outshined most of the players from the early days. I also have more bias towards the great power hitters who played their positions well.

***
Hank Greenberg. 
Dan Gougherty

Even though a lifelong Tigers fan, I tried to spread the wealth around. I can't forget my favorite Tiger of all time, Al Kaline. Think about this - Al Kaline graduates from high school in Baltimore and within days he is on the Tigers roster. No minor league stops for that kid. A low-key guy, Kaline spent his entre 22-year in Detroit and reaches the magical 3,000 base hit mark. 

C - Johnny Bench
SP - Nolan Ryan
FB - Hank Greenberg
SB - Rod Carew
SS - Ozzie Smith
TB - Brooks Robinson
LF - Ted Williams
CF - Willie Mays
RF - Al Kaline
RP - Dennis Eckersley 
Manager - Tris Speaker

Years ago I worked with a grandson of Tris Speaker who's name was Tris Speaker. I should have asked him if the family went Larry, Darryl, and Darryl or George Foreman with naming! 


***
Cy Young. 

Kathy Lee

A Giants and Pirates fan, Kathy's lineup included another great fielder, Roberto Clemente. For those of old enough to remember, when Roberto tragically died on a humanitarian mission, it dominated the news for several days. And remember, this was 25 years before the earliest versions of the internet and the constant news feeds we have today.

Unlike most of us, Kathy goes back in history for some of her selections.

C - Johnny Bench
FB - Lou Gehrig
SB - Joe Morgan  & Jackie Robinson (you can't blame me for this, too tough to pick just one)
SB - Brooks Robinson
SS - Ozzie Smith
LF - Hank Arron
CF - Willie Mays
RF - Roberto Clemente
SP - Walter Johnson & Cy Young
RP - Goose Gossage
DH -  Babe Ruth

***

Michael Monasky

A Cleveland northeastern Ohio native, Michael noted that he would slate Rob "Bullet Bob" Feller as his starting pitcher. He noted: 

Bob Feller. 
Then there’s Robert “Bullet Bob” Feller, Hall of Fame recipient who pitched three no-hitters, 11 shutouts, and might have won well over 300 games had he not served in WW II. 

He broke all the rules, in a good way: he drew players to Negro Leagues exhibition games, as well as games in Cuba; and he pushed for free agency and a cut of the gate receipts for players, while playing for Cleveland 18 seasons. He led the team to the only World Series it won in 1948. 

My father ran into him years ago at a hardware store in Northeastern Ohio”; Feller moved from Van Meter, Iowa to Gates Mills, Ohio where he lived most of his life. 

“The Heater from Van Meter.”

***

Ted Williams. 
Dan Schmitt

A retired Elk Grove teacher, Dan currently is a 1st base coach and for many years been involved in high school baseball coaching in Elk Grove most recently with Franklin High School. 

C - Johnny Bench
SP - Sandy Koufax
FB - Lou Gehrig
SB - Joe Morgan
SB - Brooks Robinson
SS - Ozzie Smith
LF - Ted Williams
CF - Willie Mays
RF - Hank Aaron
RP - Mariano Rivera
Manager - Casey Stengel
Best Babe Ruth 1st base coach - Dan Schmitt!

***


Carl Yastrzemski. 

Rob McGraw


Perhaps in an indication of the still-fresh controversy of the so-called steroid era, Rob joins Don Hazen with the inclusion of sluggers from that era. Rob's list includes home run leader Barry Bonds. 


C - Yadier Molina
1B - Hank Greenberg
2B - Charlie Gehringer
3B - Mike Schmidt
SS - Derek Jeeter
LF - Barry Bonds
CF - Carl Yastrzemski
RF - Babe Ruth
SP - Sandy Koufax
RP - Dennis Eckersley

***

Honus Wagner. 
Jack & Norma Lee

Now they go deep and remind us of some baseball greats from years ago. Now if they only had the Honus Wagner baseball card! 

C    Buster Posey
1B  Stan Musial
2B  Roger Hornsby
3B  Mike Schmidt
SS  Honus Wagner
LF  Babe Ruth
CF  Willie Mays
RF  Hank Aaron
SP  Roger Clemens
RP  Walter Johnson

 ***

Extra inning Bonus


Below is a podcast from contributor Dan Schmitt and his program Ya Gotta Be Schmittin' Me. This edition, which was first posted on February 3 is titled Baseball - The Great Game of Life.



Who is on your list?

And finally, should Pete Rose's lifetime ban be lifted?

Batter Up!

Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2020. All right reserved.










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4 comments

Steve L said...

Thanks Dan for posting these lineups, each with their own biases and points of view. What a wonderful way to reminisce of our childhoods. I already miss the games and it's only opening week.

As for your inquiry re: Pete Rose's ban. I have always stood by the premise that if you cheat or break the rules you should be punished.

I have always been totally against the steroid players getting into the hall and I remain staunch in my beliefs on this. As much as I'm a Giants fan, Barry Bonds, arguably the greatest pure hitter since Williams, does NOT belong in the hall. The same for Clemens.

As for Rose, the game's all-time hit leader and a role model for every kid growing up in the 60's and 70's with his unrivaled hustle and love of the game. He did bet on baseball, a horrible violation of the basic rules, I believe he has paid his penance and should be worthy of consideration for the hall. That doesn't mean his election, just his consideration.

There is no evidence that he ever threw a game (i.e 1919 Black Sox) and I don't believe someone that competitive would ever bet against his team.
His ban allowed him to seek reinstatement after one year. His failure to show contrition for so long hurt any chance of that occurring. He has since showed some degree of contrition and he's admitted his wrongdoing. He's paid a steep price, banned for 31 years now. He's an old man now. He's also one on the games greatest players and a stellar role model until the gambling fiasco caught up to him.

Consider also, the NFL has moved a franchise to Vegas. Can MLB be far behind? The Supreme Court has ruled states may now allow legalized sports gambling. Do you think ALL PLAYERS with their inside information, won't be temped to place bets? It's time to allow Rose onto the ballot. The times, they are a changin.

EGN said...

I tend to agree with your assessment regarding the steroid issue.

As for Rose, your analysis is spot on. I mean the guy has over 4,000 base hits, or as he said, 200 hits in 20 years.

Not showing contrition and digging in his heels hurt his cause. I suspect if he had come clean long ago and admitted the error of his ways, he would have been reinstated by now and in the Hall. It is never too late for him, but as you note, Rose has to be in his late 70s by now.

Dan

Ace of Spades said...

Unfortunately, the genie is out of the bottle and can never be put back in. We don't know performance enhancing players from clean players. We even have juiced balls and bats now. Even the line between women and men athletes is blurred now. We have women track stars with testosterone levels that would classify them as men! What can you do...

Connie said...

After what those cheating Astros did in the 2017 World Series to my beloved Dodgers, I am a little more forgiving of Pete Rose. Rose paid the ultimate price while some of the cheating Astros players weren’t banned from baseball. Yes, managers and general managers lost their jobs, but what about the players?

In the Olympics, if you are caught cheating, you lose your medal. Astro players got off easy if you ask me. They still have their rings!

We Dodger fans waited over 30 years for another World Series win. All the while, our pitchers were ridiculed for choking while pitching in Houston. The Dodgers didn’t play that well in the Series; yet we took it to seven games, even with the Astros cheating!

The Dodgers will be back and we will win it the right way!

However, in this case, with this Dodger fan, there was crying in baseball!

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