Baseball: Past and Present

Edit 2.28.12, 10:40 a.m. PST: 25 responses and counting. If you haven’t voted, please email me at thewomack@gmail.com for a ballot or go here.

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They’re the greatest baseball debates in history, timeless arguments that continue unabated and still capture public imagination. It’s the age-old question of who’s better: Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle? Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron? Ted Williams or Joe DiMaggio? And the list goes on.

Now, those debates are coming to Baseball: Past and Present.

It is my pleasure to kick off a new project here. We’re calling this one, “The BPP All-Time Dream Project.” It’s pretty simple, really. Imagine a one-off sandlot game and choose any nine players from baseball history: eight position players and one pitcher. There are no designated hitters, relief pitchers, or bench players to be recruited here, no manager to enlist, no 25-man roster to be filled. This is simply about choosing nine players to win a game.

I’ll be providing a check-able ballot with 20 players at each position, which I’ll start sending out this evening via Google Docs Forms, but as always, write-ins are welcomed and encouraged. Any player is eligible, and to keep things interesting, I’ll refrain from campaigning for any players. As always, anyone who’s interested is welcome to participate, and I’ll provide a link in my results post to any baseball blogger who takes part.

Ballots are due by 9 p.m. PST, Tuesday, March 27, the day before the regular season begins. I’ll publish the results on April 15, Jackie Robinson Day, as good a day as any in my book to celebrate the best of baseball history. I’m allowing that much time in between because each of the nine players will be illustrated by Sarah Wiener, known to the Twitter crowd @for_the_sarah, aspiring illustrator extraordinaire.┬áPlease feel free to contact me with any questions or feedback between now and April 15.

It may sound as though I’m creating some tough choices for people. The center field portion of the ballot alone will feature Mays, Mantle, and DiMaggio as well as Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, and Ken Griffey Jr., among others. I have a confession: This is exactly what I’m aiming for.



29 Comments so far

  1.    junius worth on February 27, 2012 9:44 am      

    This is cake and ice cream for me. I’ve thought about this for years. My list is clearly debeatable though.

  2.    junius worth on February 27, 2012 9:46 am      

    oops. debatable.

  3.    Baseballs Deep on February 27, 2012 10:52 am      

    All-time lineup
    C – Carlton Fisk
    1B – Lou Gehrig
    2B – Rogers Hornsby
    SS – Cal Ripken Jr.
    3B – Mike Schmidt
    LF – Barry Bonds
    CF – Willie Mays
    RF – Ken Griffey Jr. – yeah, I cheated a little here. It cost me Aaron, Ruth and Clemente, but I got Mays and Junior
    P – Tom Seaver – hardest call for me. I went with my heart but I almost went to Pedro Martinez with Maddux, the Unit and Clemens right there as well.

    Lineup of players I’ve actually seen play (AKA those who played most of their careers since my birth year, 1967)
    C – Carlton Fisk
    1B – Eddie Murray
    2B – Roberto Alomar
    SS – Cal Ripken Jr.
    3B – Mike Schmidt
    LF – Barry Bonds
    CF – Ken Griffey Jr. – I considered Jim Edmonds here with Junior in right again
    RF – Reggie Jackson narrowly over Dave Winfield
    P – Seaver, see above

  4.    Baseballs Deep on February 27, 2012 11:05 am      

    Oops. Sorry. I just read the part about you putting out a ballot.

    My bad.

  5.    David on February 27, 2012 11:43 am      

    I’d love a ballot – even just to see it, to see who the 20 players at each position are! Good idea for a project. I’m interested to see how much variation there is, because I wouldn’t think there would be much. But I could definitely be proved wrong.

  6.    chris papas on February 27, 2012 12:46 pm      

    I did a radio show featuring the best player at each position. II would be happy to join in.

  7.    Tim Newey on February 27, 2012 3:22 pm      

    Great idea Graham! It would be interesting to chart the age group of the people voting. Although, I don’t mean to create anymore work for you as you are already extremely generous with your time.

  8.    E on February 27, 2012 6:00 pm      

    Ballot? What Ballot? Count me in. Sounds good to me.

  9.    Eugene Freedman on February 27, 2012 6:17 pm      

    Please add me to the list.

  10.    AndrewJ on February 27, 2012 6:28 pm      

    I’d like a ballot, too.

  11.    Thomas on February 27, 2012 6:42 pm      

    Hit me.

  12.    Aaron Somers on February 27, 2012 7:39 pm      

    Count me in Graham. Thanks.

  13.    TomH on February 27, 2012 7:51 pm      

    I’ll take one.

  14.    Jim Detry on February 27, 2012 10:50 pm      

    I’d like a ballot please.

  15.    RantsMulliniks on February 28, 2012 5:07 am      

    Ballot please.

  16.    Brian on February 28, 2012 5:56 am      

    Ruth needs to be included as a pitcher. In a 9 man, no DH game, he’s the best choice to pitch. An ERA+ of 122 and an OPS+ of 206 is way better than an ERA+ of 154 and an OPS+ of -32

  17.    David on February 28, 2012 6:40 am      

    Graham, I have to say, I’m a little disappointed by the ballot at 2B. You missed someone HUGE. Here’s a hint: he played for the same team his whole career, managed 3000 hits, is inseparable from a teammate, and may go into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot next year. I’m surprised you forgot him. It’s not that I would have voted for him, but it’s surprising to see players of a much lower quality while leaving him off. Other than that, though – stellar job!!! I don’t mean to be too picky; I was just surprised.

    The only other real disappointment I had was regarding another player on the current HOF ballot – but as a DH. I would have liked to have seen him listed as a 3B, since that’s where he played in the field. And I think his credentials merit inclusion. But I suppose there are a thousand people could debate you on down-ballot. It seems you pretty much got all the major players. Anyway, thank for your hard work, and I eagerly await the results!

  18.    Brendan on February 28, 2012 7:03 am      

    I’ll join the fun. Please send a ballot.

  19.    chris papas on February 28, 2012 7:21 am      

    He may be the best left handerr of all time. But not the best pitcher, that goes to Walter Johnson. 110 shut outs with a perenial second division ballclub.

  20.    Alvy on February 28, 2012 8:58 am      

    I’m in! : )

  21.    Jonathan C. Mitchell on February 28, 2012 9:03 am      

    Man, choosing for a one-game playoff makes this much harder.

  22.    Graham Womack on February 28, 2012 9:59 am      

    @David– argh, Biggio is my major omission so far. Nothing personal, I assure you.

    To everyone: Please feel free to write anyone in, be it Biggio at second, Edgar Martinez at third, or Babe Ruth at pitcher. Merely select the write-in option on your ballot and email me whoever you’re writing in.

  23.    Diane on February 28, 2012 10:24 am      

    count me in

  24.    Adam Darowski on February 28, 2012 10:49 am      

    DEACON WHITE IN THE HOUSE (interesting! at catcher!)

  25.    Graham Womack on February 28, 2012 10:54 am      

    Yeah, it’s where he shows up in the Hall of Merit.

  26.    Hartvig on February 29, 2012 6:44 am      

    Just wanted to point out to everyone who’s asking to have a ballot sent to them that if you look closely at the first sentence of the post and click on the red “go here” at the end of the sentence it will take you to the on-line ballot and you can easily do your voting that way.

    I think a few people have missed that.

  27.    Graham Womack on February 29, 2012 7:06 am      

    @Hartvig– I’m actually the one at fault. I added the link as a late update to this post, as I didn’t realize I could send people directly to the ballot. Traditionally, stuff here has been done with me sending out ballots.

  28.    Lawrence Azrin on March 1, 2012 7:57 am      

    Great idea, I’ve been enjoyiong your writing here at BPP for a while, I also like when you comment on baseballthinkfactory

  29.    Graham Womack on March 1, 2012 7:59 am      

    Cool, thank you Lawrence. Just saw your votes– you are the 353rd person to participate in the poll!

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