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The Field of Dreams Fantasy Draft

At Not in HD, we try to create with the purpose of blowing your mind. As many of you may recall, about two months ago our staff of writer-extraordinaires put together a hilariously fascinating concept: The History of Sports Fantasy Draft. We had a blast doing so, and by the feedback I received from our readers, you were thoroughly entertained.

Because we aim to please – and because I am a huge sports nerd – I buried my head in the history books and came up with an idea for a sequel which was to be pure delight: A baseball draft, with everyone in the history of the sport in play. Japan and Negro Leagues included. And thus The Field of Dreams Fantasy Draft was born.

Of course, to make things interesting and unlike anything you have ever seen, certain draft regulation modifications had to be made.

(You just KNEW that wrinkles would be applied to the equation. You could probably smell it in the air. That or Nick Nevares’ post garden planting sweat-stink, which is also in the air. Frequently.)

Draft Rules and Regulations:

Positions Drafted: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LF, RF, CF, SP, RP, Manager, Ballpark

We were to essentially draft a starting National League team, adding in a relief pitcher, a manager and a home ballpark.

You will notice that unlike a fantasy team, left, right and center-field had to be specifically chosen. The minimum games-played required to slot a player at a particular position, was set at 162. Anything less and the player would be ineligible.

The tough part about the position eligibility rule – as our very own Britton Dennis pointed out – is that MLB did not start keeping records for specific outfield positions until 1954. Grace would be given to those who could provide reasonable evidence, which suggested that their outfielder might have played a significant number of games at one of the outfield positions he was not primarily known for.

Should one of our draft GM’s ignore this rule and place a player out of position? When judging teams, GMs were advised to consider the player to be a fish-out-of-water, creating a black-hole in their defense.

Also, a player’s position did not have to be announced when drafted, to keep alive the elements of surprise and flexibility. All of us were to put together a lineup after the draft, complete with a 150-word explanation of why others should vote for our team.

The position eligibility rule was destined to come into play later, only none of us knew it at the time.

Defense Matters:

Enough said.

Lineup Flexibility Matters:

Teams were advised to mix power, speed and average, as well as lefties and righties. Creating mismatches for the opposing team in late game situations, was a must.

Marketability Matters:

The key here being how a player is or would be perceived in 2010. (ie: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Pete Rose would all be virtually unmarketable; while guys like Cal Ripken Jr., Yogi Berra, Derek Jeter and Babe Ruth would sell tons of tickets, merchandise and commercials.)

Think The Babe wouldn't sell out a ballpark in 2010? Think again.

Player Productivity:

Probably the most important draft rule of all. Also, the toughest to determine. Should it be by a single season? Career numbers? Five-year stretch? How a guy produced in his prime?

As the creator of the draft, and the czar of our rules and regs, I ultimately decided on single season averages over the course of a career. Averages over the course of a 162 game season, to be precise.

(Baseballreference.com does an incredible job of sorting career stats and 162-game averages are no exception. I make this site my home for nearly anything MLB stat related, for what it’s worth.)

The 162-game average measuring stick was to be applied to both offense and defense. If a player won seven Gold Gloves to start his career and then completely fell off the map for his next seven seasons, he was to be considered an average defender. Nothing more, nothing less. Bonds is another great example for this one, too.

But would he be drafted?

(Everyone’s pre-draft money was on Nick Nevares taking Bonds. We were bracing for Round Three or Four, but ready for anything, because everything is in play when dealing with Nick.)

Team Chemistry:

It was to matter, to an extent, as you can’t completely predict how a player from 1920 would relate to one from 2005. My exact words were: “You might want to reconsider putting Jackie Robinson and Ty Cobb on the same team.”

(Funny story…)

Voting on the Teams:

The voting was similar to the way ballots were scored for our previous masterpiece, The History of Sports Fantasy Draft. GMs were to rank each team 1-4 (not including their own team, making things fair), with a first place vote receiving four points and a fourth place vote receiving one point. You get the picture.

The major change was instead of just subjectively ranking each team 1-4 overall, we all voted on three specific categories, tallying up the total points to determine our winner.

Category No. 1 – Offense:

-Power

-Average

-Speed

-Lineup flexibility

Category No. 2 – Deffense:

-Pitching

-Gold Gloves

-Arm strength and accuracy

-Range

Category No. 3 – Marketability:

(Includes the ballpark and manager.)

-Potential revenue

-Potential commercials

-Chemistry

-Awe-factor (Would you be on the edge of your seat with every at-bat or pitch thrown? Not really? Well then, your team fails the awe-factor test.)

So there you have it. Now you know what all of the Not in HD writers knew going into this life-changing experience. Let’s go to the draft board, with the recaps and voting results to follow.

I’m getting goose bumps all over again.

(Pipe down R.L. Stine. No one is talking about you or your mediocre books. Which I couldn’t get enough of when I was nine.)

The draft order was determined by the complete randomness of the list organizer on random.org. Non-snake order, because snake drafts are everything that encompass evilness. It’s time to play with fire people. Shall we begin?

ROUND ONE:

1.) Dan Miller: Babe Ruth

Was Josh Gibson the black Babe Ruth, or was Ruth the white Gibson?

2.) Cory Ritzau: Willie Mays

3.) Ben Bates: Josh Gibson

4.) Britton Dennis: Ted Williams

5.) Nick Nevares: Sandy Koufax

Round One Recap:

Absolutely no surprises with the first two picks of the draft by Dan and Cory. The Babe and Say Hey Kid were destined to be one and two, in some order. In this draft, without a DH, it would seem that Ruth would be the obvious choice for Dan, because of his ability to pitch, thus removing Dan of a weak bat in the lineup. I suppose the question he would have to fight over, would be whether or not the upgrade in Ruth’s offense over the average pitcher, would be worth the defensive hit on the mound Dan would likely take from voters concerned that the Bambino didn’t pitch long enough (only five full seasons), to really be considered excellent.

If it had been me, I would absolutely have taken the Sultan and let him waddle out to the mound. We wouldn’t know Dan’s decision until much later…

Josh Gibson: Great decision or bone headed, over-thinking-it pick? Hmm. A brain-buster.

Taking Gibson over Teddy Ballgame took some serious marbles of steel on my part, and could easily be questioned. Here’s why I did it…

The stats match up well. While it is difficult to tell facts from legend when it comes to Negro League players – which adds to the mystique and allure to be sure – Gibson is said to have hit over .350 with nearly 800 home runs in his career (barnstorming included). All that accomplished before his early death, at the tender age of 35.

Plus, I was able to nail down some serious offensive numbers at the catcher position, without having to sacrifice defense in a huge way, like I would have done had I drafted, say, Mike Piazza.

Even so, after the fact I asked Britton if he had held the No. 3 overall pick, would he have gone Gibson over Williams. He said no. My decision was brash, but there was no going back.

I feel uncomfortable even discussing Nick taking Koufax – as great as he was – over four of the players to come off the board in Round Two. Love Koufax as a player and would have relished having him on my squad, but I never would have even considered him in the first couple of rounds.

ROUND TWO:

Dan: Rogers Hornsby

Pujols could retire right now, after only nine seasons and he'd be enshrined in Cooperstown in five years.

Cory: Lou Gehrig

Ben: Hank Aaron

Britton: Albert Pujols

Nick: Ichiro Suzuki

Round Two Recap:

Dan’s one-two-punch of Ruth-Hornsby is fierce. In Cory’s e-mail to the masses, declaring the selection of his own second baseman later in the draft, he identified his choice as the greatest second baseman ever. We all laughed hysterically. Sometimes Cory is on drugs. There will never be another two-bagger as talented as Hornsby. In 1922 Rajah hit .401 with 42 homers, 152 RBI and 141 runs scored; in 154 games played!

Ridiculous.

(*Side note: A buddy of mine, who is a frequent commenter on this site, urged me to include a joke about Hornsby’s first name. The gag being the fact that guys with a first name for a last name is great enough, but a guy with a first name in the plural form is nearly unheard of and too good to be true. Personally, I think he reads too much Matthew Berry. And as I’ve stated before, you should NEVER read Matthew Berry. Though my buddy might have a point. I’ve yet to hear of another person named Rogers.)

Cory went with the Iron Horse and while from a marketing standpoint I completely understood his pick and do not knock it in the least (for now, anyway), I’d have personally either waited another round to try for Pujols, or have manned-up and taken Pujols right then and there. I am on record as saying Albert is going to wind up being remembered as the greatest first baseman of all-time and possibly the best hitter PERIOD.

And yet I too passed on him, opting for Hammerin’ Hank. I was shooting for the stars hoping for Pujols in the third. It wasn’t to be.

My general philosophy when picking players, or advising others, was to just take the guy you’re high on, regardless of his potential slotted value. Roughly translated: TAKE A PLAYER WHEN YOU CAN GET HIM.

But Nick taking Ichiro in the second round felt like we were all riding a ferris wheel together and once Nick got to the top, with his cart hanging just above the rest of us, he began peeing uncontrollably over the side, cackling like a maniac, while hosing us all with his nasty urine.

It just felt wrong.

And stunk of asparagus.

I didn’t even have Ichiro on my draft board and I’m pretty sure no one else did either. Nick wanted Ichiro for marketing and defensive reasons, but he literally could have had him in any round he desired.

I would dub the Ichiro pick my, MacGruber: Worst Call of the Draft, if not for something horrific, yet to come…

ROUND THREE:

Dan: Stan Musial

Cobb briefly considered a career on Broadway, before thinking better of it...

Cory: Walter Johnson

Ben: Ken Griffey Jr.

Britton: Ty Cobb

Nick: Joe Mauer

Round Three Recap:

At some point in time Britton confessed to me that anyone but Dan winning the draft would be a total shock, due to Miller having the pick of the litter at the top of each round. My response was that I felt confident I could win, even with the last pick in the draft. The point being, it was more about the mind than the draft-slot.

The point also being, my ego cannot be harnessed.

But Dan being able to snag Musial in the third round was a great example of the competitive advantage Britton was talking about.

(Of course that was in part due to the Ichiro and Koufax picks…)

For those of you scoring at home, Dan was starting his draft with a trio of Ruth-Hornsby-Musial. Good God almighty. I feel like laughing out loud. No one is beating that core on offense.

The Big Train was a very interesting pick by Cory. A good one to be sure, but while his 162-game averages were off the chart (2.17 ERA, 1.06 WHIP) Walter Johnson did have his downfalls, for this draft’s purposes at least: He spent a predominate portion of his career pitching in the dead-ball era, he benefited from mound heights of 15-20 inches (the mound was lowered to ten inches in 1969) and his strikeout rate was strangely low, 5.4 K/9.

Griffey Jr. shouldn’t be a big shocker. Terrific defense, power, speed and he has proven to be one of the most marketable figures in the history of baseball. Plus, he’s left-handed, something my lineup was starting to need for balance sake.

Britton went with Ty Cobb’s bat in Round Three and while the easy route here, would be to sling around a bunch of jokes in reference to Cobb’s renown racism, I’ll take the high-road and steer clear.

Mauer was yet ANOTHER head-scratching pick from Nick. Not that it was a bad one, just that with Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra still on the board, it baffled the rest of us. On the plus side, Nick got a rare left-hand-hitting catching gem. And while Mauer doesn’t have the defensive ability of Bench or Berra, he’s certainly not bad.

You are lying if you're telling us you wouldn't pay to see Rickey steal the show.

ROUND FOUR:

Dan: Jimmy Foxx

Cory: Sadaharu Oh

Ben: Rickey Henderson

Britton: Hanley Ramirez

Nick: Alex Rodriguez

Round Four Recap:

If you say nothing else for Dan’s drafting prowess, say this: He hasn’t reached for anyone at this point, just taking the best player off the board in each round. This time he opted for three-time MVP, Jimmy Foxx. Sadly for him, Dan JUST missed securing a second phenomenal stick at a historically weak hitting position (Ruth at pitcher was his first), as Double X caught in nine different seasons, but logged only 118 games played behind the plate.

And now we’ve finally come to my MacGruber: Worst Call of the Draft.

At first glance, taking Sadaharu Oh was a savvy, outside-the-box selection by Cory. As a matter of fact, after he sent it in, I announced it without even realizing the goof. Taking the most heralded Japanese ballplayer of all-time would have been a great move, if not for Cory already rostering Gehrig… who also played played first base and nothing else.

Once we all realized the mistake, Cory was reminded that he had three choices:

A.) Trade either Oh or Gehrig for a draft pick or another player. At this point in time, only Nick and I didn’t have a first baseman.

B.) List Oh as his manager. (He managed in Japan for several seasons.)

C.) Take the hit defensively, by playing Oh or Gehrig completely out of position. Which was against the rules.

Cory, of course, tried his best to convince us that since Japan does not tally specific fielding stats, like MLB does, it’s totally possible Oh played a 162 games at another position. But it was a weak plea at best, as most Japanese baseball sites do list multiple positions played for those who did so. By all accounts, Oh was signed as a pitcher, but switched to first base where he finished his career. Minus two games in the outfield in 1977 that is.

Ritz was licked, and he knew it.

On top of it all, while Oh is Japan’s career home run record holder, you really have to question how effective he would have been in the majors. Think about it, since MLB started poaching ballplayers from Japan, most have hit for no more than a third of their average Japan League season homer total, in the U.S.

(Think Kazuo Matzui, Hideki Matsui, Kosuke Fukudome and Akinori Iwamura. Are you SURE Sadaharu Oh’s stats would have translated? I’m not.)

I was pleased to find that once I chose Rickey, it completely threw Britton off his game and into panic mode. He was set to take Henderson next and didn’t have a back-up pick ready. Apparently Dan was also hoping to make my pick his, at the top of the next round as well. JACK POT!

When Britton took Hanley Ramirez, Ty Cobb/racist jokes started flying again, which I should note that when we began making them after he originally took Cobb, Britton felt led to write a page-long, lawyer-like defense of his case for choosing Cobb. He believed Cobb wouldn’t be a racist in today’s game, and even if he was, he wouldn’t be dumb enough to go all John Rocker on us.

Maybe, maybe not. The votes will tell the story.

Nick taking A-Rod was a clear message that pariahs were fine with his club. And that he was planning on providing, “leaded” and “unleaded” coffee in his clubhouse. And probably candy dishes full of greenies too. Since marketing was to play a major role in the voting, I am incredibly doubtful anyone else would have taken A-Rod.

After A-Rod, we were all bracing for the inevitable Nevares/Bonds unholy union of matrimony, even more than we were before. We could smell the combo cooking from miles away. It was going to be awful, like one of those farts you leave behind in the car, only to come back to hours later. Just as unbearable as it was originally, if not more so from the musty staleness.

Any sentence that starts with, "Yogi said..." is believable.

ROUND FIVE:

Dan: Pedro Martinez

Cory: Johnny Bench

Ben: Mike Schmidt

Britton: Yogi Berra

Nick: Roberto Clemente

Round Five Recap:

FINALLY A REACH FOR DAN! WHOO-HOO!!!

(Sadly, it wasn’t even THAT much of a reach and still it was a cause for celebration. Stupid Dan and his stupid good picks.)

Everyone else went with rock-solid selections. Bench, Schmidt, Berra and Clemente couldn’t be argued with.

Nick especially helped out his team, by piggy-backing the A-Rod mess with a public hero in Clemente.

ROUND SIX:

Dan: Mickey Mantle

Cory: Honus Wagner

Ben: Mariano Rivera

Britton: Jackie Robinson

Nick: Hank Greenberg

Round Six Recap:

In Mantle, Dan collected a switch-hitting drunk, with bad knees. Lucky for him, I hear Mantle won’t have to play on turf in Dan’s home park, and that the stadium will have a zero-tolerance policy regarding alcohol. But switch-hitting Yankee legend or not, I’d have passed on the Mick and gone with Joe DiMaggio. I actually had seriously considered passing on Hank Aaron for Pujols, then getting Griffey to play right field, only to snatch Joltin’ Joe later in the draft. But I got cold feet. Did I goof? Will my actual 1B-CF-RF combo be better than Pujols-Griffey-DiMaggio?

Was I nuts to take a relief pitcher in the sixth round?

Will Jackie Robinson and Ty Cobb start a royal rumble in Britton’s clubhouse?

Gun to his head, would Nick even be able to tell you what team Greenberg primarily played for?

Come to think of it… is Nick a REAL person, or just an alter-ego of mine, created as an excuse to write about relationships and video games for the site?

So many unanswered questions in the sixth round…

Odds are Chipper was a lot better than you remember him being.

ROUND SEVEN:

Dan: Derek Jeter

Cory: Frank Robinson

Ben: Chase Utley

Britton: Chipper Jones

Nick: Ernie Banks

Round Seven Recap:

Truth be told, I was hoping for Derek Jeter all along, with the shortstop I ended up taking reserved as a back-up choice. Dan beat me to the punch.

Cory and Britton got two of the best values in the draft with Frank Robinson and Chipper Jones. I’m willing to bet you read the name ‘Chipper Jones’ and thought Britton was either totally joking, or momentarily handicapped. But check his career numbers. IMPRESSIVE. Especially when you consider that Jones has great power from both sides of the plate. Sure he’s had some injury troubles of late, but so has Ken Griffey Jr. That doesn’t stop you (assuming you are at least 23 years old) from remembering him as an all-time great. So why don’t people tend to think of Chipper in the same light? He did hit over 25 home runs in a season ten times, after all.

Chipper is basically Mickey Mantle, only at third base. I’m not sure why that’s a bad thing.

Nick finally took a break from aiming solely for defense, by taking Ernie Banks at what we can only assume will be shortstop. Based on how Nick appeared to be constructing his team, I was a bit surprised we didn’t see Brooks Robinson come off the board here.

ROUND EIGHT:

Dan: Dennis Eckersley

Cory: Brooks Robinson

Ben: Greg Maddux

Britton: Billy Wagner

Nick: Joe Morgan

Round Eight Recap:

With Mo off the board, Dan went with the most obvious of second fiddles with the Eck. While his career 3.50 ERA is a bit tough to swallow, it was largely because of all the innings he logged with the Red Sox as an average starter. Once LaRussa got a hold of the side-arm slinging righty with the greatest mullet baseball has ever seen (apologies to Randy Johnson), he helped turn Eckersley into the menacing, power-presence that we remember him as.

The Eck is throwing with ONE EYE CLOSED PEOPLE! My God what a mullet. And mustache. Eck, you are just a delight sir.

(“We” being everyone with the exception of Kirk Gibson, who positively OWNED that 1990 fastball.)

To me, Greg Maddux always looked like a cross between a librarian and Charlie Sheen’s Rick “The Wild Thing” Vaughn character from the Major League series. It was his seemingly quiet and reserved demeanor, out-of-control hair – which Maddux ALWAYS covered with a hat – and his ultra-competitiveness. Instead of a rosin bag, Maddux should have kept a reference book of some sorts, on the back-side of the mound.

And he definitely should have jogged onto the field in the first inning to the, “Wild Thing” song. I’m also not convinced Mad Dog never accidentally slept with Terry Pendleton’s wife or girlfriend. I could totally see Maddux as a maverick of sorts.

Speaking of mavericks, I also could have seen Maddux (Maverick) and Glavine (Goose) playing topless, oiled-up, beach volleyball together in the Atlanta summer sun. They did do that, “Chicks dig the long-ball” commercial after all…

“How long are they gonna’ worship this guy?”

“HEY! We’ve got Cy Young winners over here!”

“PULL!”


“STEP INTO IT!!!”

(Subsequently, you now have to wonder what exactly was in those cups of magic potion they were drinking in the sauna. Especially after the, “Feel bigger?” line. That’s what the late ’90s and early 2000’s have done to us. Wondering about a spoof commercial featuring two minuscule pitchers. Thanks a lot McGwire, Bonds and Sosa. We REALLY appreciate it.)

“Hey, have you guys seen Mark?”

I sort of wish I hadn’t.

ROUND NINE:

Dan: Ivan Rodriguez

Cory: Eddie Collins

Ben: Yankee Stadium

Britton: Connie Mack

Nick: Joe Torre

Round Nine Recap:

This would be that aforementioned time when we all laughed at Cory for proclaiming Eddie Collins as the greatest second baseman of all-time. The very same Eddie Collins who hit only 47 career home runs. And don’t blame the dead ball era. In nine full MLB seasons after 1919, Collins hit only 22 homers.

Yeah, but Connie Mack (taken in this round by Britton) thought that Collins was the best ever!

Ok, but you also can’t fully convince me that Mack wasn’t drunk at least 23 percent of the time. This in spite of all accounts that Connie never took a drink in his life. I don’t believe it. You don’t trade away Shoeless Joe without taking a few pulls from a flask filled with your spirit of choice.

Personally, I always picture Mack as being the Billy Beane of his day (only with World Series banners of course). Totally full of himself and his ideals, attempting to convince everyone of his genius. Mack trying to convince us that Collins was better than Hornsby, and Beane of course trying to convince us that Eric Chavez was actually a good hitter. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

(Beane also tried to convince us that not keeping good players, or using a few of the millions upon millions of dollars worth of team profit, to be spent in free agency, is a great way… wait, not just great… the BEST way, to run a baseball team. Please, kill me now. Call it death by green elephant.)

I can’t let this round’s recap pass us by without at least pointing out that while Dan took one of the best defensive catchers ever, and a surprisingly potent offensive one, Pudge was also a suspected steroid user.

Kind of funny that in 1999, he nearly DOUBLED his previous season’s home run total, by hitting 35. The year after McGwire and Sosa thrilled America, might I add.

I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’.

Sparky Anderson: the only manager in MLB history to win a World Series in both leagues.

ROUND TEN:

Dan: Sparky Anderson

Cory: Goose Gossage

Ben: Casey Stengel

Britton: Tim Lincecum

Nick: Shoeless Joe Jackson

Round Ten Recap:

In honor of the recently deceased Dennis Hopper, let’s retroactively take it to him (Billy) and Jack Nicholson (George Hanson) live, in a scene from one of the best films ever (Easy Rider), for the theme of Round Ten…

George Hanson: You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can’t understand what’s gone wrong with it.

Billy: Man, everybody got chicken, that’s what happened. Hey, we can’t even get into like, a second-rate hotel, I mean, a second-rate motel, you dig? They think we’re gonna cut their throat or somethin’. They’re scared, man.

George Hanson: They’re not scared of you. They’re scared of what you represent to ’em.

Billy: Hey, man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut.

George Hanson: Oh, no. What you represent to them is freedom.

Billy: What the hell is wrong with freedom? That’s what it’s all about.

George Hanson: Oh, yeah, that’s right. That’s what’s it’s all about, all right. But talkin’ about it and bein’ it, that’s two different things. I mean, it’s real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Of course, don’t ever tell anybody that they’re not free, ’cause then they’re gonna get real busy killin’ and maimin’ to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they’re gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it’s gonna scare ’em.

Billy: Well, it don’t make ’em runnin’ scared.

George Hanson: No, it makes ’em dangerous. Buh, neh! Neh! Neh! Neh! Swamp!

Freedom. That’s what we’re talking about here in Round Ten.

Nick just wanted to bring Shoeless Joe to our virtual Field of Dreams (draft), setting him free from the ghosts that haunt him and the rest of the 1919 Black Sox.

(Shockingly Nick proved us all wrong by taking Jackson over Bonds. I’ll admit it when I’m wrong. I called-out Nick’s integrity for nothing. I’m sorry Nevares. Please forgive me.)

(Then again, he did still take A-Rod. Consider that apology rescinded.)

Britton just wanted to be free to draft a starting pitcher with only two full years of Major League experience under his belt, over guys like Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan, Bob Feller, Christy Mathewson, Lefty Grove, Satchel Paige and too many other ridiculously talented legends to name. Two great years, but still, only two.

Dan and I wanted the freedom to draft spark-plug managers, just as likely to severe your head with a fungo, as send you up to bat as a pinch hitter.

And Cory just wanted to be free from the judging chains of drafting two first basemen by mistake. But sadly, that fact is unlikely to be forgotten, by a man named Goose, or anyone else.

Someplace, somewhere, George Brett is applying extra pine-tar on something.

ROUND ELEVEN:

Dan: George Brett

Cory: Tommy Lasorda

Ben: Johnny Mize

Britton: Mel Ott

Nick: Rollie Fingers

Round Eleven Recap:

If I gave you two words, with which to play word-association with George Brett, I’m betting you wouldn’t say things like, great hitter,  third base or home run. No, you’d say PINE TAR. One of the most memorable player/umpire confrontations EVER.

Funny though, I doubt more than 25 percent of fans remember that the homer-called-back, later counted, as MLB reversed the call made on the field, forcing the Yankees and Royals to resume play three weeks later (the Royals won). Somehow that always seems to get lost in the magnificent horror of watching Brett charge home plate, like a maniacal rhinoceros would an unsuspecting safari tourist.

Color me let-down regarding Britton’s eleventh choice. He gave the hard sell for days prior, that he was taking someone who would shock me, someone unconventional, a surprise somewhat akin to taking Rupaul out on a blind date, without knowing who she/he was beforehand.

Britt had me thinking Vlad Guerrero, Larry Walker (who actually had better offensive numbers than Ott, surprisingly enough), David Justice, Darryl Strawberry or Paul O’Neill. Instead he went with the most conventional choice left on the board.

Don’t get me wrong, as a baseball fan, I applaud his choice of Ott. It was the right move. But for the element of surprise, as he led me to expect, Britton gets an F.

ROUND TWELVE:

Dan: PNC Park

Cory: Wrigley Field

Ben: Cal Ripken Jr.

Britton: Los Angeles Coliseum

Nick: Polo Grounds

Round Twelve Recap:

Dan shocked the world, leaving historic parks like Wrigley (which Cory took next) and Fenway (undrafted) on the board, to take a park which the Pittsburgh Pirates can’t even currently get their own fans to go to.

Britton also passed over Fenway, but you can see what he was going for: the almighty dollar bill. He sees visions of gate receipts from 100,000-plus, day-in and day-out.

Nick fielded a defensive team and thus wanted a park which would play well to his strengths, thus enter the Polo Grounds.

But while everyone else was thinking stadium (I had mine out of the way by drafting the original Yankee Stadium early), I was busy going with the most famous and noteworthy shortstop of all-time, the Iron Man.

Was he the best offensively? No. The best defensively? Certainly not. But he was pretty good at both and helped save baseball from the ’94-95 strike long before McGwire and Sosa took turns delighting unsuspecting crowds by steroiding (Yes I just turned ‘steroid’ into a verb. It’s my column, I am allowed to do things like that) balls out of ballparks everywhere, in the Summer of Fraud.

So score one for marketing, here in the final round.

Alright folks. Before I show you the voting results, I’d be doing our team owners a grave injustice, if I didn’t trot out their submitted lineups first. In order of draft position…

Dan’s Final Lineup:

1.) Derek Jeter, SS
2.) Rogers Hornsby, 2B
3.) Babe Ruth, RF
4.) Jimmie Foxx, 1B
5.) Stan Musial, LF
6.) Mickey Mantle, CF
7.) George Brett, 3B
8.) Pudge Rodriguez, C
9.) Pedro Martinez, P

RP – Dennis Eckersley
Manager – Sparky Anderson
Ballpark – PNC Park

Cory’s Final Lineup:

1.) Honus Wagner, SS
2.) Eddie Collins, 2B
3.) Lou Gehrig, LF
4.) Willie Mays, CF
5.) Sadaharu Oh, 1B
6.) Frank Robinson, RF
7.) Johnny Bench, C
8.) Brooks Robinson, 3B
9.) Walter Johnson, P

RP – Goose Gossage
Manager – Tommy Lasorda
Ballpark – Wrigley Field

Ben’s Final Lineup:

1.) Rickey Henderson, LF
2.) Ken Griffey Jr., CF
3.) Josh Gibson, C
4.) Hank Aaron, RF
5.) Johnny Mize, 1B
6.) Mike Schmidt, 3B
7.) Chase Utley, 2B
8.) Cal Ripken Jr., SS
9.) Greg Maddux, SP

RP – Mariano Rivera
Manager – Casey Stengel
Ballpark – Yankee Stadium (original)

Britton’s Final Lineup:

1.) Hanley Ramirez, SS
2.) Ty Cobb, CF
3.) Ted Williams, LF
4.) Albert Pujols, 1B
5.) Mel Ott, RF
6.) Chipper Jones, 3B
7.) Yogi Berra, C
8.) Jackie Robinson, 2B
9.) Tim Lincecum, SP

RP – Billy Wagner
Manager – Connie Mack
Ballpark – Los Angeles Coliseum

Nick’s Final Lineup:

1.) Ichiro, CF
2.) Joe Morgan, 2B
3.) Joe Mauer, C
4.) Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5.) Hank Greenberg, 1B
6.) Roberto Clemente, RF
7.) Ernie Banks, SS
8.) Joe Jackson, LF
9.) Sandy Koufax, SP

RP – Rollie Fingers
Manager – Joe Torre
Ballpark – Polo Grounds

So there you have it people; the greatest MLB teams the five of us could compile upon first effort, under the zany rules I created. Who had the best team? Who had the worst?

Can anyone defeat Dan Miller?

Let’s check the tape…

VOTING RESULTS (total points)

Again, voters were asked to rank their four competitors — excluding their own team — 1-4, in each of the three ballot categories (offense, defense and marketability). A first place vote gave a team four points, a second – three, a third – two and a fourth – one.

Offense:

1.) Dan (15 points)

2.) Britton (13)

3.) Ben (11)

4.) Cory (7)

5.) Nick (4)

Defense:

1.) Ben (13 points)

2.) Nick (12)

3.) Britton (9)

4.) Dan (8)

5.) Cory (6)

Marketability:

1.) Dan (14 points)

2.) Ben (12)

3.) Cory (9)

4.) Britton (8)

5.) Nick (7)

FINAL DRAFT RANKINGS:

1.) Dan (37)

2.) Ben (36)

3.) Britton (30)

4.) Nick (23)

5.) Cory (22)

Agree? Disagree? Think you could do better? That’s what the comment section is for. Or my inbox.

Thanks for all the great ideas for future drafts everyone and keep sending them in. This was a lot of fun.

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  1. hopeinglory
    June 6, 2010 at 3:03 PM

    Matthew Berry sucks.

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