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Earlier this week, we took up a Reader Challenge to find "the greatese single Franchise Position in baseball history" ... after a variety of responses, including a Magpie Chart (always a sign of worthiness!) we have found candidates for every position on the diamond (including DH!) except second base.

Let's review and answer the following questions ...

  • Do the Tigers (Gehringer, McAuliffe, Whitaker) deserve the 2B (or not 2B, that is the question) nod?
  • What, if any, other historical team positions should bump one of those listed above?
  • We need some pitching. Anyone want to take a stab at Rotation, Bullpen and Closer? (Off the top of my head, my nominees there would be Dodgers, Reds and Athletics, but that's just a wild guess ...)
That said, here are the current teams filling each position ...
  • C: NYY (Dickey, Berra, Howard, Munson, Posada)
  • 1B: STL (Pujols, McGwire, Guerrero, Clark, Hernandez, Torre, Cepeda, B. White, Musial, Mize, Bottomley)
  • 2B: TBD!
  • SS: SLB/BAL (Wallace, Wallace, Stephens, Aparicio, Belanger, Ripken, Bordick, Tejada)
  • 3B: CHC (Anson, Williamson, T. Burns, Steinfeldt, Zimmerman, Hack, R. Jackson, Santo, Madlock, Cey, A. Ramirez)
  • LF: BOS (D. Lewis, T. Williams, Yastrzemski, Rice, Greenwell, Ramirez)
  • CF: NYY (Combs, DiMaggio, Mantle, Murcer, Henderson, B. Williams)
  • RF: DET (Crawford, Cobb, Heilmann, Wertz, Kaline, Gibson, Ordonez)
  • DH: OAK (F. Thomas, Durazo, Jaha, Stairs, Berroa, Neel, Baines, Kingman, Burroughs)
  • SP: TBD!
  • CL: TBD!
  • RP: TBD!
Other historical team positions that drew mention and consideration in preparing the "lineup" above included:
  • 1B NYY (Gehrig, Skowron, Chambliss, Mattingly, T. Martinez, Giambi)
  • 1B NYG/SFG (Connor, Merkle, G. Kelly, Terry, Mize, Cepeda, McCovey, W. Clark)
  • SS PIT (Wagner, Vaughan, Groat ... then nothin'!)
  • 3B PHA/KCA/OAK (L. Cross, J. Collins, F. Baker, Higgins, E. Charles, Bando, Lansford, Chavez)
  • LF PIT (Clarke, Carey, Kiner, Skinner, Stargell, Bonds, A. Martin, B. Giles, Bay)
  • RF MON (Dawson, Guerrero, Staub, Valentine, Walker)
Bauxites ... over to you!
Franchise Positions: Taking the Challenge Further | 20 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
ChicagoJaysFan - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 01:04 PM EDT (#186489) #
Boston has been solid on the starting pitching front, but had a big gap of about 30 years.  Recently, you have Schilling, Martinez, and Clemens.  That takes you back to the early 80s with Clemens and Martinez each having a stretch of absolute dominance in there.

Early on, you had Lefty Grove, Tex Hughson, and Mel Parnell.

But between those two ... maybe pre-AA Eckersley, but that's about it.

ChicagoJaysFan - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#186491) #
I think Oakland for closers - even though they seem to go through closers quite frequently and have a reputation for not valuing them.

Right now, they've got Street.  Before that it was Foulke, Koch, Isringhausen, then Taylor.  Some stellar years by those individuals while in Oakland even though none is a HoF or anything.

Prior to those, you had Exckersley for quite a run finishing off his HoF career with some incredible seasons (5 ER in 73+ innings one year).

They also started the whole closer thing with Fingers.

I don't think they really used much in closers between Fingers and Eckersley, but given the recentness of the position, I think Fingers, Eck, TaylorIsringhausenKochFoulke, and Street will probably hold up pretty well.

Mike D - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 01:35 PM EDT (#186492) #

I think the Braves have the best historical strength at starting pitching.  Glavine/Smoltz, Maddux at his historical best, Niekro, Burdette, Spahn and Sain, Kid Nichols and Vic Willis.  The Red Sox have had some amazing starting pitchers, but many of them accomplished plenty elsewhere as well.  These Braves greats spent most or all of their peak years as Braves.

They're my pick.

Mike Green - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 01:46 PM EDT (#186493) #
For starting pitchers, I think of the Braves and Dodgers. The Braves offer Maddux, Spahn, Smoltz, Glavine and Niekro, but also Burdette, Sain, Kid Nichols and Radbourn.  The Dodgers are very, very deep with Koufax, Dazzy Vance, Hershiser, Newcombe, Sutton, Valenzuela, Drysdale, Kevin Brown, Reuss, Welch, Grimes, Preacher Roe, Podres, Nomo,Penny....

It seems to me that if you're looking at least 4-5 deep for shortstops, you should be looking 15-20 deep for starters, and by that count, the Dodgers probably win.  The Red Sox are, of course, strongest at the very top (although Grove's best years were with the A's).  The A's list is pretty good too (Grove, Plank, Waddell, Bender, Blue, Hunter, Holtzman, Stewart, Hudson).

Mike D - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#186494) #
After a bit more research...A Grove/Pedro/Clemens/Cy Young/Schilling rotation would be impossible to beat, but they collectively pitched only 40 seasons with the Red Sox.  Maddux/Spahn/Nichols/Smoltz/Glavine pitched 80 seasons wwih the Braves.  I didn't even include Niekro's 20 seasons as a Brave.
ChicagoJaysFan - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 02:03 PM EDT (#186497) #
I guess it depends on what we're looking for in the SP category - I was looking at it singular (in other words, who was the team's best SP at that time, not the rotation).  I think of it almost like the flip of the closer and was judging teams by their run of aces.  Even still, the Red Sox might come up a bit short, but the Maddux & Glavine combo doesn't do much better, if at all, than the Clemens / Martinez / Schilling run - as they cover essentially the same years.
Magpie - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#186501) #
For Relief Ace/Closer, I'd be inclined to go with the Yankees, because they were one of the first times to have one. Some of these guys were one year wonders, but the line goes back to the Ruth-Gehrig teams: Wilcy Moore, Johnny Murphy, Joe Page, Ryne Duren, Luis Arroyo, Pedro Ramos, Sparky Lyle, Rich Gossage, Dave Righetti, John Wetteland, Mariano Rivera. And whoever I'm forgetting.

For SP, I don't know if you want a staff or an ace. I was thinking Dodgers. There's something of a gap between Dazzy Vance and Don Newcombe, but since then - Drysdale, Koufax, Sutton, Valenzuela, Hershiser, Brown. Not bad, anyway.

Mike Green - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 02:52 PM EDT (#186502) #
The Yankees definitely win the closer position. 
Magpie - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 03:42 PM EDT (#186505) #
If it comes to rotations, I tend to think this must be the Yankees as well. I say this without even examining the issue. But they've had very good teams for most of the last century, so they must have had some pretty good rotations along the way? Even if they don't hit some of the high points that the Braves, Dodgers, and Red Sox manage.

Hmmm...  in the days before the Dynasty they had Jack Chesbro, and Carl Mays was awfully good. And since then:

In the 1920s you've got Shocker, Pennock, Hoyt, Jones, Shawkey
In the 1930s, there's Gomez, Ruffing, Chandler
In the 1940s - kind of a transition period. The war messes things up. Chandler's still around. Bonham, Bevens, Byrne fill in. And by the end of the decade, Reynolds, Lopat and Raschi are on the scene
In the 1950 - Ford, Turley, and a whole bunch of guys that Berra and Stengel squeezed a year of glory from.
In the 1960s - tough times. But Mel Stottlemyre was outstanding. Fritz Peterson was pretty good. The young guys with promise - Bouton, Downing - didn't work out as hoped
In the 1970s - Guidry, Catfish, Figueroa. Even Doc Medich! And the free agents. Tommy John, Don Gullett.
In the 1980s - not so much. Guidry and Righetti for a while. But lots of Shane Rawley and Richard Dotson and Rick Rhoden.
In the 1990s - Pettitte, Cone, Wells, Hernandez. OK.
In the 2000s - Pettitte, Clemens, Mussina, Brown - although all beyond their Best Buy date.

Probably forgetting some guys.

Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 03:43 PM EDT (#186506) #
What about Expos for closer?  Marshall, Reardon, Burke, Wetteland, Rojas, Urbina, Cordero.. that's a really strong group.
Mike Green - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 03:58 PM EDT (#186507) #
It would be fun to do a top 15 Dodgers vs. Yankees starters (cue the late great Bo Diddley for the appropriate music)

1. Koufax vs. Ford...Koufax
2. Vance vs. Gomez...probably Vance
3. Drysdale vs. Guidry...probably Guidry
4. Sutton vs. Pettitte...probably Sutton

It's closer than I thought, but I still think that the Dodgers win.

seeyou - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 04:15 PM EDT (#186510) #
I'd lean towards the Cubs over the Tigers for 2B.   HOFers Johnny Evers and Billy Herman each manned the position for 10+ years in the early days, a big gap, and then Ryne Sandberg was clearly the franchise player of the Cubs in the 80s and 90s.  Plus, although seen more as a Cardinal than a Cub, you've got Rogers Hornsby there for a three year period between Evers and Herman.
Magpie - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#186515) #
Well done, seeyou, just to spare us the prospect of yet another Yankees claim (Lazzeri, Gordon, Martin, McDougald, Richardson, Randolph).  Not to mention the immortal Horace Clarke, after whom an entire era of Yankees ball is affectionately remembered. By the rest of us, Mick.

And Glenn Beckert and Manny Trillo were decent fill-ins along the way.

Brian W - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 05:01 PM EDT (#186517) #
For DH I would throw the White Sox into the mix. Luzinski - Baines - Bell - Thomas - Thome (with cameos from Kruk, Canseco, Franco, etc). The Red Sox are also a possibility, but most of their DHs have been great players at the end of their careers (Yastrzemski, Rice, Evans, Dawson, Canseco) with Ortiz holding down the last few years.
zeppelinkm - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 05:07 PM EDT (#186520) #

Magpie: Mariano Duncan was alright at 2b for the Yankees, and well, Knoblauch was past his peak but still a good player for them. And Soriano at 2B, then Cano?

I'm glad somebody came up with another team that had some great 2B men because I didn't want the Yankees in at another position either.

Mike Green - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 05:19 PM EDT (#186522) #
The Indians are pretty good at second base with Lajoie, Gordon, Avila, Bernazard, Baerga and Alomar. 
Mick Doherty - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 05:34 PM EDT (#186525) #

Mags, I believe I have referred to The Horace Clarke Era in more than one of my Yankee Season previews of Box yore.

I actually hadn't considered NYY at 2B, though that'd make a nice C-2B-CF "up the middle" Bronx connection. But what about shortstop? The Yanks had a Hall of Famer in Rizzuto! And another someday in Jeter! And Tony Kubek! And, um, Fred Stanley and Jim Mason! And Bucky Dent and Andre Roberston! Oh ... never mind ...

Ironic, for a team that currently employs The Greatest Shortstop to Ever Play the Game (and no, I don't mean Jeter) ...

Magpie - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#186526) #
I don't have a good Method for doing this - Gehringer and Whitaker just popped into my head. But it did seem to make some kind of sense to think of the greatest player to ever play the position and then loo9k and see what else his team had there over the years.

So at 2b, I naturally thought of the Reds. Before Morgan, they had a fella named Rose. And Johnny Tempe and Ron Oester and Bret Boone and Mariano Duncan. Some talent there.

And I took a random look at the 1905 Reds and... Miller Huggins? Who was a very good player.

But between Huggins and Temple... yikes.

ChicagoJaysFan - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 06:12 PM EDT (#186529) #

So at 2b, I naturally thought of the Reds. Before Morgan, they had a fella named Rose. And Johnny Tempe and Ron Oester and Bret Boone and Mariano Duncan. Some talent there.

Bit hard to give them Rose at 2b - he didn't play there long and it wasn't until he moved to the OF that he was special.  Tommy Helms was the pre-Morgan 2B.

Although I guess I did push for Rickey Henderson as a CF for the Yanks and Rose at 2B for the Reds isn't too different.
Magpie - Wednesday, June 04 2008 @ 06:21 PM EDT (#186530) #
The Yankees also had Pat Kelly at 2b, in the interregnum between Randolph and Knoblauch.

He's not to be confused with the original Pat Kelly, a LH outfielder who ended up with the Orioles. By which time he had found Jesus, and possibly lost some of his edge. Leading to this memorable exchange with his manager:

Kelly: Skip, don't you want me to walk with the Lord?
Weaver: I'd rather you walk with the bases loaded.

Franchise Positions: Taking the Challenge Further | 20 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.