Saturday, October 06, 2012

My All-Time All-Star Baseball Team

Ted Williams

With its unlimited ways of surprising us, baseball can be heartbreaking like no other sport I’ve followed. Failure is so integral to baseball's rhythms, no one who loves it properly escapes its natural cruelty.

Last night, playing on their home field, the Atlanta Braves lost Major League Baseball’s first-ever Wild Card Playoff Game. The St. Louis Cardinals won it by a score of 6-to-3. Who knew about baseball's outfield fly rule?

Yes, much has been/will be said about that game, which seemed at times like an episode of Twilight Zone. And, that’s all I have to say about Chipper Jones' last game in a Braves uniform.

Instead, I’m going to make a list of my favorite all-time team. It includes a player at each defensive position and two pitchers -- one righthander and a southpaw. None of them are active players. I saw all of them play on television. Those on my list were great players, but the reason they made the cut, over others perhaps just as deserving, is that I liked their style, the way they carried themselves as they played the game. 

The 10 men on the list aren’t being offered as model citizens, or even nice guys. Hey, they were baseball players! They are simply my favorites at their positions.

LHP: Sandy Koufax
RHP: Greg Maddux
C: Yogi Berra
1B: Eddie Murray
2B: Ryne Sandberg
3B: Eddie Mathews
SS: Ozzie Smith
LF: Ted Williams
CF: Willie Mays
RF: Roberto Clemente

-- Hat-tip to Mac Calhoun for "outfield fly rule."

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