I read a post on Seamheads.com that offered a lineup of ballplayers not in the Hall of Fame. It got me thinking, and I have compiled my own goon squad of non-inducted greats that I believe could run roughshod in a one-game playoff over the Seamheads 9.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting each player here is the best at his position who’s not in the Hall of Fame. This is strictly about creating the best possible team. I invite anyone to offer their own lineup.
Here’s my roster card:
1. SS – Maury Wills: He’s far from the best shortstop not in the Hall of Fame, but if we’re putting together a one-shot, winner-takes-all lineup, I could use Wills leading off. He’s a threat to steal every time on base and a Gold Glove fielder to boot.
2. 2B – Roberto Alomar: In his prime, Alomar regularly hit above .300, accumulated more than 200 hits, and was a stellar defensive second baseman. Had he not fallen off dramatically near the end of his career, he’d have been a first ballot Hall of Famer.
3. LF – Shoeless Joe Jackson: On sheer talent, Shoeless Joe may be the best baseball player not in the Hall of Fame. Because of his involvement in fixing the 1919 World Series, Jackson may never receive a plaque, though I’m happy to offer a lineup spot.
4. DH – Albert Belle: The only player boasting 50-home-run power on this team, Belle’s .933 career OPS is third-highest out of eligible players not in the Hall of Fame. The two players in front of Belle are Lefty O’Doul, who has less power and Mark McGwire, who recently admitted to using steroids.
5. RF – Dave Parker: A superb player whose Cooperstown candidacy suffered for well-documented drug problems, Parker is on my list of the 10 best players not in the Hall of Fame.
6. 1B – Don Mattingly: Were more power needed, I might go with Gil Hodges, and I was also tempted to tap my childhood hero, Will Clark, but I chose Donnie Baseball who offers the best combination of average, power, and defense.
7. C – Thurman Munson: I originally chose Joe Torre but saw he was the starting backstop for Seamheads, and I switched to Munson. The career of the iconic Yankees captain ended when he died in a plane crash at 32 in August 1979, though prior to that, he was one of the best catchers of the 1970s.
8. 3B – Pete Rose: The all-time hits leader could probably occupy most any spot in the batting order or field for this club and he’d be a valuable clubhouse presence as well. I should add that I believe Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame, Jackson too.
9. CF – Spottswood Poles: I’ve written before about Poles, described elsewhere as “the black Ty Cobb.” Most recently, I included Poles among a group of old-timers who deserve mass induction.
P – Jack Morris: He probably isn’t the best pitcher currently outside of the Hall of Fame (see: Bert Blyleven) but Morris owned Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. I give him the game ball hoping there’s another 10-inning, championship-winning masterpiece in him, if necessary.
RP – Sparky Lyle: I interviewed former ballplayer Ken Henderson in July, and he said Lyle and Steve Carlton were two of the toughest pitchers he faced. Lyle was a pioneering reliever, the second to win a Cy Young award. In 16 seasons from 1967-1982, he went 99-76 with a 2.88 ERA and 238 saves.
Manager – Billy Martin: What non-inducted manager could better handle this team’s star power than the Bronx Zoo skipper?