This is going to be a long post. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it.
While I was driving to Wichita today, I decided to create my all-time baseball team. The rules are of course not simple. This isn’t the player who is the best at each position, rather, this is a team I would create of players in history. To qualify, a player has to have played not only the position, but also the role in mind for at least one year. In other words, I can’t choose Jeff Bagwell to back up Lou Gehrig because Bagwell wasn’t really a backup in the majors. I am also saying that players who are currently extremely young can be chosen for backup roles, catcher will provide the obvious example for this rule.
Anyway, here it is. I suspect there will be a lot of differences of opinion on this. This list was not created from any exhaustive search so I’m sure I’m going to miss someone, but here it is.
I’m going to make an exception to my rule of each player fitting their role immediately at catcher, but I believe I can justify it. I’m picking Yogi Berra, but not just at catcher. I’m going to take advantage of his versatility and play him at C, 1B, LF and DH. In other words, he’s likely to be in the lineup most days, just not necessarily in the same position. This allows me to have another starting catcher in my mind because both will get enough playing time that they won’t complain. That other starting catcher is Pudge Rodriguez. I agree that Johnny Bench is probably better, but I chose IRod because I wanted to have one Texas Ranger on the team and because IRod has shown a wide variety of skills, including stealing bases.