Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Dodgers Franchise Deep Six

And the last of the classic eight National League franchises is off the board! And there's only one classic AL team to do after this one! So how do the boys from Brooklyn and L.A. look?

1stDazzy VanceMike PiazzaGil HodgesJackie RobinsonRon CeyPee Wee ReeseZack WheatDuke SniderCarl Furillo
2ndSandy KoufaxRoy CampanellaDolph CamilliDavey LopesAdrian BeltreBill DahlenJimmy SheckardWillie DavisDixie Walker
3rdDon DrysdaleMike SciosciaJack FournierJim GilliamGeorge PinkneyMaury WillsGary SheffieldMike GriffinReggie Smith
4thClayton KershawJohn RoseboroSteve GarveyTom DalyJoe StrippBill RussellDusty BakerMatt KempShawn Green
5thNap RuckerPaul Lo DucaJake DaubertEddie StankyRed SmithRafael FurcalPedro GuerreroPete ReiserBabe Herman
6thJeff PfefferRussell MartinWes ParkerSteve SaxCookie LavagettoGermany SmithWally MoonBrett ButlerWillie Keeler

Pretty good indeed! Three of their four infield spots on the 1st Team are from the Boys of Summer era, as are two of the three outfield spots. Is it safe to say that was the greatest period in Dodger history?

Some people might be upset that I named Dazzy Vance starting pitcher for the 1st Team over Sandy Koufax, but I thought the numbers merited it. Koufax had an incredible peak, but Vance's was plenty dominant as well. The main difference is that Koufax is a legend of living memory, while Vance played in the 1920's for the Daffiness Boys. Clayton Kershaw is making his way up the list too, so this generation may have its own immortal Dodger hurler to tell their grandchildren about.

Third base was definitely the weakest position here. I never realized how few great third basemen the Dodgers have had. I wasn't familiar with George Pinkney, the 3rd Team third sacker, until I compiled this list. And to think he was the greatest Dodger third baseman until the 1970s.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Indians Franchise Deep Six

After doing these pretty steadily for a while, I guess I got preoccupied in the last month. But I'm back, and I have a new Deep Six for you, my beloved audience! Today we shall look at the Cleveland Indians!

1stBob FellerVictor MartinezJim ThomeNap LajoieAl RosenLou BoudreauAlbert BelleTris SpeakerJoe Jackson
2ndStan CoveleskiSteve O'NeillHal TroskyRoberto AlomarBill BradleyJoe SewellCharlie JamiesonKenny LoftonManny Ramirez
3rdAddie JossCarlos SantanaAndre ThorntonJoe GordonKen KeltnerTerry TurnerJeff HeathLarry DobyElmer Flick
4thSam McDowellJohn RomanoEd MorganBobby AvilaBuddy BellRay ChapmanJoe VosmikEarl AverillRocky Colavito
5thGaylord PerryRay FosseGeorge BurnsCarlos BaergaGraig NettlesOmar VizquelDale MitchellGrady SizemoreShin-Soo Choo
6thMel HarderJoe AzcueMike HargroveJason KipnisToby HarrahAsdrubal CabreraMichael BrantleyBrett ButlerBraggo Roth

The Indians are pretty darn good at starting pitcher. Gaylord Perry wasn't an Indian for very long, but he wore the uniform long enough, and was dominant enough to make it.

Center field and shortstop were probably the deepest fielding positions, and third base was a lot stronger than I expected it would be. Right field ain't too shabby neither.

Catcher and first base were weaker than perhaps you realized. Victor Martinez and Carlos Santana, both current-day players who were pretty good for a while crack the Top 3 catchers. Hal Trosky was a fine first baseman who had the misfortune of playing in the American League at the same time as Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, and Hank Greenberg. He's a solid 2nd Teamer behind the great Jim Thome. After those two, there's not a lot to write home about.

Second base was the position where stars burnt briefly but brightly. Lajoie was an easy choice for the 1st Team, but the two Hall of Famers who follow him down the column, Roberto Alomar and Joe Gordon, played only three and four years, respectively, with the Tribe. But oh, how great they were. I wanted to give Bobby Avila some extra credit for his longevity, but in the end, I just thought those two deserved to be ahead of him. Jason Kipnis has been impressive so far, and is already close to passing up Baerga. Can he continue his ascent?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Reds Franchise Deep Six

Back for another Deep Six, this time for a franchise that was frustrating to compile. The lower levels of several of these positions were so mediocre that trying to pick the right guys was tough. I hate it when it's a close call.

1stNoodles HahnJohnny BenchJoey VottoJoe MorganHeinie GrohBarry LarkinGeorge FosterVada PinsonFrank Robinson
2ndJim MaloneyErnie LombardiTed KluszewskiBid McPheeTony PerezDave ConcepcionPete RoseEric DavisKen Griffey
3rdBucky WaltersEd BaileyJohn ReillyLonny FreyChris SaboRoy McMillanBob BescherEdd RoushIval Goodman
4thJose RijoBubbles HargraveJake BeckleyBrandon PhillipsTodd FrazierLeo CardenasKal DanielsCy SeymourReggie Sanders
5thFrank DwyerJohnny EdwardsFrank McCormickMiller HugginsHans LobertBuck HerzogCharley JonesBobby TolanCurt Walker
6thEppa RixeyLarry McLeanLee MayJohnny TempleArlie LathamFrank FennellyAdam DunnBug HollidayJay Bruce

Yes, friends, Joey Votto is already the greatest Reds first baseman of all time. First base was a strong position for this franchise, with lots of very good players but few great ones. You have to love the consistency of it. Just missing the cut was "the Mayor," Sean Casey.

Did you realize the Reds haven't had that many dominant pitchers in their history? Now you do. They've never had a Cy Young winner either.

Tony Perez is better known as a first baseman, but his greatest years while playing third base forced me to put him there. Also at the hot corner, Todd Frazier is quickly working his way up the list. Appreciate what you're seeing, Cincy fans. He's a special one.

The most disappointing part of this was Pete Rose. He played all over the field, and I felt that his best years were in left. However, if you rank him purely as a left fielder, he comes in behind George Foster. There was no way he was going to beat out Votto, Morgan, Groh, or Robinson at their positions either. While he may be the ultimate Cincinnati Red, there wasn't a way to get him on the 1st Team. But I suppose Rose has some experience with being excluded.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Tigers Franchise Deep Six

Has it been almost a week? Fear not! I have another Deep Six for you! Let's take a look at the Detroit Tigers!

1stHal NewhouserBill FreehanHank GreenbergCharlie GehringerGeorge KellAlan TrammellBobby VeachTy CobbAl Kaline
2ndTommy BridgesLance ParrishMiguel CabreraLou WhitakerRay BooneDonie BushWillie HortonChet LemonHarry Heilmann
3rdJustin VerlanderJohnny BasslerNorm CashDick McAuliffeBrandon IngeBilly RogellRocky ColavitoAustin JacksonSam Crawford
4thBill DonovanMickey CochraneRudy YorkPlacido PolancoTravis FrymanCarlos GuillenBobby HigginsonCurtis GrandersonKirk Gibson
5thJim BunningMickey TettletonDarrell EvansDamion EasleyGeorge MoriartyTopper RigneyCharlie MaxwellRon LeFloreVic Wertz
6thDizzy TroutIvan RodriguezLu BlueFrank BollingMarty McManusHarvey KuennSteve KempJimmy BarrettMagglio Ordonez

How about those right fielders, eh? The top three are all solid Hall of Famers! After them it's a bit iffy, but Sam Crawford on your 3rd Team? Wow.

Catcher is a bit interesting, because none of the top three are Hall of Famers, but the guy on the 4th Team is, and the guy on the 6th Team probably will be. Drat that lack of longevity!

Third base and left field are probably the weakest positions here. The Tigers have had several fine players at third, but none were great for a long time. Aurelio Rodriguez and Don Wert, the two Tigers with the most games at third base, didn't even make the list. Bobby Veach was an underrated but not great player, but no one else is even close to being the ultimate Tigers left fielder.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Giants Franchise Deep Six

And already we have another one! For some reason I got through the Giants pretty quickly. I guess they had so much depth that I didn't feel the need to agonize about the exact rankings as much. For less-deep teams, you have to nitpick which player is less mediocre than the other. Let's see how the Giants come out:

1stChristy MathewsonBuck EwingRoger ConnorJeff KentArt DevlinArt FletcherBarry BondsWillie MaysMel Ott
2ndAmos RusieBuster PoseyWillie McCoveyFrankie FrischMatt WilliamsGeorge DavisGeorge BurnsGeorge Van HaltrenBobby Bonds
3rdCarl HubbellRoger BresnahanBill TerryLarry DoyleJim Ray HartTravis JacksonMonte IrvinBobby ThomsonMike Tiernan
4thJuan MarichalChief MeyersJohnny MizeRobby ThompsonFreddie LindstromDave BancroftKevin MitchellBrett ButlerJack Clark
5thMickey WelchTom HallerWill ClarkDanny RichardsonPablo SandovalAl DarkJo-Jo MooreBenny KauffRoss Youngs
6thTim KeefeHarry DanningOrlando CepedaRon HuntHank ThompsonDick BartellGary MatthewsFred SnodgrassFelipe Alou

First base and pitcher were the truly outstanding positions here. Right field and shortstop weren't too shabby either.

While Frankie Frisch and George Davis were greater players than Jeff Kent and Art Fletcher, respectively, they ended up on the 2nd team due to the fact that their resumes at those positions as members of the Giants weren't quite as good. Frisch spent a lot of his best years with the Cardinals, and Davis his with the White Sox.

Left field and center field were impressive for the dropoffs after the 1st Team. It's not just that the guys on the 1st Team were each arguably the greatest ever at their position (though that helped), but that Georges Burns and Van Haltren were not even borderline greats.

As with several other franchises we've seen so far, we have an active player working his way toward the top at one position. Can Buster Posey eventually become the Giants' #1 all-time catcher? He'll have to keep producing for several more years, but it's hardly out of the question.