MLB is celebrating 09/09/09 by inviting all baseball fans to select their team's top 9, the dream lineup from their team's all-time roster. They have you select individual seasons rather than the player on the whole, which actually makes it tougher in my opinion. How do you pick Andre Dawson's 1987 post-astroturf knees over Sammy Sosa's 1998 pre-drug-testing bat? Would you really rather have a 1990 Sandberg (.306, 40 HR, 100 RBI, 116 R) over a 1929 Rogers Hornsby (.380, 39 HR, 149 RBI, 156 R)?
I decided to go with 60% heart and 40% brains on these decisions. If I went total heart, Jody Davis and Shawon Dunston would be on the squad. If I went all brains, I might not recognize half the team. So here's my squad:
This team doesn't have a lot of speed, and Sandberg easily leads the stolen-base category. That's why he's hitting leadoff. But that's not why he made the team over Hornsby. Sandberg's here because I love him. There. I said it.
Ernie Banks could have played two positions on this team, and if the rules allowed multiple manifestations of the same player, Mr. Cub would finally get his wish and "play two!" But he wasn't an option, and Lee was the obvious winner. He's also a luxury in the #2 spot in the batting order. I like it.
The only tough part about this decision was where to put Ernie in the lineup. But in an all-time Cubs scenario, Ernie Banks is hitting in the first inning. End of discussion.
The outfield situation is a bit muddled. I would have like to put Kiki Cuyler out there in center, but this is a dream lineup. None of my dreams have Kiki Cuyler in them. Hack Wilson was a terrible outfielder, but I think I can get used to a poor fielder in left. Something tells me I don't have to dream to find that. Hack drove in 191 RBI. He's on the team, and we'll just tell Fergie to pitch the right-handed hitters away.
Sweet swinging Billy needed every ounce of sweetness to make this team. He did, and I'm at peace with it.
Sammy Sosa would have been a much more powerful hitter in this lineup. And Sammy still holds a special place in my blue-blood-pumping heart. But all of Sammy's showmanship can't steal the spotlight from the toughest hombre I ever saw hit a baseball, and that's the Hawk. The dude could throw guys out at 1st on a would be single to right. He had no knees and still stole 11 bases. He was the scariest looking hitter to ever stand in the box, and when Eric Show hit him, I thought Eric Show was gonna die. I just hope the dream-team field is easier on the cartilage.
Another old school pick and one of the greatest catchers of all time. Jody Davis, Geovany Soto, and Rick Wilkins were the only other choices. This one was a no-brainer, although my heart would have been singing "Jody Davis" if I let it.
Statistics aside, Ronnie's on this team because I think he would have enjoyed playing this game (albeit on an alternate theoretical metaphysical plane) more than anybody. And I would love to watch it.
You can't go wrong with Fergie, at the plate or on the mound.
So, what do you think? What would you have changed? You can vote here on the All-Time 9 site or just post your dream 9 in the comments or tweet it to the left.