I was born in 1986, and I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Okay, actually I was thinking about it this afternoon during history class…but, still. I’ve decided to compile a starting lineup of the best players who have played during my lifetime. Of course, I left out players who retired shortly after I was born and tried to only include players that I can remember seeing, or players that I grew up watching. I also intentionally left out any player who has either admitted to using PEDs or has been linked to them. Based on my 24 years on earth, this is “The Team of My Life.”
Catcher Ivan Rodriguez-Despite the last four sub-par seasons, Pudge has a .299 average and a career .807 OPS with over 300 homeruns and 1200 RBIs
First Base Albert Pujols-A career .334 average, 1.055 OPS, 366 homeruns, and 1112 RBIs. In 9 seasons. Wow.
Second Base Ryne Sandberg-.285 average, 282 homeruns, over 1000 RBIs, and enough Gold Gloves to field an entire team.
Third Base Chipper Jones-Despite a terrible 2009 season, Jones has a .307 average, a .947 OPS, and is just within reach of the 500 homerun plateau if he plays another three seasons or so. Probably not gonna get there, but a great player nonetheless.
Shortstop Cal Ripken Jr.-The Iron Man, played in 2,632 consecutive games, which broke Lou Gherigs record. He had a career .276 average, 431 homeruns, and nearly 1700 RBIs.
Outfield Ken Griffey Jr.-“The Kid” is the greatest outfielder I’ve ever seen. Junior currently has a .285 average, a .912 OPS, 630 homeruns, 1829 RBIs, 10 Gold Gloves, and an AL MVP award.
Outfield Rickey Henderson-The commercial from childhood is still fresh in my mind-“Wow-wee, ‘Wickey Henderson!” 1406 stolen bases and three seasons with 100 or more steals for “The Man of Steal.” A record that will probably never be touched.
Outfield Andruw Jones-When Jones was great, he was great. No super-flashy numbers, but 8 consecutive Gold Gloves for the Braves great. Eventually the wheels fell off, but he was fun to watch back in the day.
Frank Thomas-The Big Hurt, Thomas had a few less than stellar seasons at the end of his 19 year career, but had 521 homeruns and over 1700 RBIs, mostly for the Southsiders (White Sox)
Ozzie Smith-The Wizard of Oz had 13 consecutive Gold Gloves and 15 All Star appearances in his long career. And he could do flips!
Scott Rolen-He struggled with injuries (and Phillies fans), but when he was healthy, he was good. He wasn’t “the next Mike Schmidt” as many fans had hoped, but he was good.
Jim Edmonds-A great defensive outfielder, Edmonds finished his career with 382 homeruns and nearly 1200 RBIs, with a .284 average and a .905 OPS.
Mike Piazza-A career .308 hitter with over 400 homeruns, Piazza’s defense is what kept him out of the starting lineup on this team.
And of course, the sentimental pick for me, John Kruk. Krukky was my favorite baseball player as a kid, and he’s the reason that I grew up as a Phillies fan in Indiana. That mullet, beard, and gut just drew me in as a 5 year old kid…
Honorable Mentions: Jeff Kent, Derek Jeter, Vladimir Guerrero, Jeff Bagwell.
Starter Nolan Ryan- 5,714 strikeouts, 9.5 K/9, 773 games started, and a Major League record 27 seasons played. Ryan also threw 7 no-no’s in his career
Starter Randy Johnson-The Big Unit retired with 303 wins, 4,875 strikeouts, and 4 consecutive Cy Young awards.
Starter Pedro Martinez-Martinez has a career 2.93 ERA was absolutely dominant for a period from the late 90’s until the early 2000’s.
Starter Greg Maddux-For a long stretch, Maddux was as good as they get. His last few years with the Cubs and the majority of his career with the Braves was spectacular. Maddux pitched over 5000 innings and had a career 3.16 ERA.
Starter Roy Halladay-In 11 seasons, Halladay has thrown 49 complete games while pitching in the best offensive division in baseball. Halladay has racked up 148 wins in his career already, and has a solid 1.198 WHIP with a 3.43 ERA
Reliever Mariano Rivera-Rivera has earned 526 saves through his 15 season career in New York, with a stellar 2.25 career ERA.
Reliever Trevor Hoffman-The long-time Padre has a MLB record 591 saves and a career 2.73 ERA, while pitching 1042 innings. Last season, at age 41, Hoffman continued his greatness, earning 37 saves while pitching to a 1.83 ERA.
Honorable Mentions: Curt Schilling, Tom Glavine, Johan Santana, John Smoltz
Of course, this is just my opinion. Feel free to share your opinions, or to tell me how stupid I am for missing or forgetting a certain player. Obviously, if it weren’t for the PEDs, Bonds, A-Rod, McGwire, Clemens, Manny, and others may have made the list. But this is my list, so they didn’t.