Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Top 10: Positioned All-Stars

With the 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Game kicking off tonight, I figured I would do my Top 10 list a little different this week.

I have put together a list of my favorite players at each position in my time as a sports fan (I have noted before I am not the biggest baseball fan, but still).

So, here is my list of a player at each position - in no real particular order:

Catcher - Mike Piazza
Synopsis: When thinking of catchers during my time, only two come to mind - Piazza and Pudge Rodriguez. Piazza is not particularly known for his defense, but it was with his bat that he was so spectacular - becoming one of the best hitting catchers of his time.

First Base - Sid Bream
Synopsis: Bream was my childhood hero. I met him twice when he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and when he was traded to the Braves, my allegiance followed him there. The above picture is from his most infamous slide - defeating the Pirates in 7 games to reach the World Series.

Second Base - Craig Biggio
Synopsis: Despite coming into the league as a catcher, Biggio blossomed with his chance to become a second baseman. He was a player that would do anything for the team, even moving to the outfield when the Astros got Jeff Kent. Biggio finished his career with over 3,000 hits.

Third Base - Chipper Jones
Synopsis: When Bream retired, Jones was just up-and-coming for the Braves, so I immediately gravitated towards him. And he hasn't really let me down. Despite his injuries weighing him down, he has been one of the best third basemen in the league today - and is even flirting with hitting .400 this season.

Shortstop - Nomar Garciaparra
Synopsis: Garciaparra was one of the best shortstops in his 'class'. He came up along with A-Rod, Jeter and Miguel Tejada, and was considered in his prime to be the best of the bunch. Injuries, however, have derailed his career - although he has resurfaced in Los Angeles, he probably will never be the superstar he was in Boston.

Outfield - David Justice
Synopsis: Justice is another of my favorite players from the Atlanta Braves. It was thanks to him that I was able to see them finally win a World Series title, and not be the Buffalo Bills of the MLB. He was traded to Cleveland and I still followed him, but when he signed with the hated Yankees, I lost a little bit of respect.

Outfield - Ken Griffey Jr.
Synopsis: The Seattle Mariners could have been something special. They had all of the promise with Randy Johnson, A-Rod and Griffey - but it fell apart before it could ever get going. Griffey was A-Rod before there was an A-Rod. He was the superstar that would break all the records, but injuries again would be his Achilles heel, although he has had a pretty good season this year.

Outfield - Vladamir Guerrero
Synopsis: I was lucky enough to witness the emergence of Guerrero before the Expos disbarred and Guerrero flew to Los Angeles. His home runs were epic, and his old school style of hitting (see lack of batting gloves) was something to see. But, it was his arm strength and accuracy that was truly a marvel to watch.

Designated Hitter - David Ortiz
Synopsis: He is one of the most clutch baseball hitters in the history of the MLB. And, he is one of the most fun loving players in baseball today. The designated hitter is a much discussed position in baseball - but Ortiz has certainly owned the position. He was even mentioned for MVP despite not playing a field position.

Pitcher - Pedro Martinez
Synopsis: Martinez was THE power pitcher of my generation. Due to the surliness and steroid allegations of Roger Clemens, I could not consider him for this spot. Martinez has always played with a certain joy - much like Manny Ramirez. And his dominance while on the Red Sox was a sight to see.

1 comment:

  1. I was all set to give you a hard time for some of your choices (too many "big market" teams, too many big names), but I can't think of many different choices.

    When I was very young, I was a Steve Garvey fan, though I have no idea why. Right when I was around 10, Will Clark came into the league and he was favorite player until he retired (I can tell you his middle name is Nuschler off the top of my head - baseball cards played a role).

    I've followed baseball my whole life, but I'd have a hard time coming up with a number of individual favorite players that I've gravitated towards. Weird.