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Adam Watts: All-time baseball draft filled with legends

We had so much fun with our all-time football draft last week that we decided we should do an all-time baseball draft. So sports editor Doug Wolter, editor-in-chief Ryan McGaughey, reporter Karl Evers-Hillstrom and I reconvened in The Globe's con...

We had so much fun with our all-time football draft last week that we decided we should do an all-time baseball draft. So sports editor Doug Wolter, editor-in-chief Ryan McGaughey, reporter Karl Evers-Hillstrom and I reconvened in The Globe’s conference room to try to build the best possible teams out of the greatest ballplayers of all time. We conducted a 14-round snake-style draft and selected one player for all eight fielding positions, four starting pitchers, a relief pitcher, and a designated hitter.

As with the football draft, we each had a different focus while building our squads that made each team unique. Doug’s team is fiery and competitive, Karl’s team has incredible offensive power, Ryan has several greats from the 1900s mixed in with players from every era, and I focused heavily on defense and power pitching.

Unsurprisingly to any of us who know Doug, he made his favorite player, Ty Cobb (and his .366 career batting average and 897 stolen bases), the first overall selection. I drafted Willie Mays second. Karl took Babe Ruth third. Ryan took Ted Williams fourth, and doubled down on outfield with the fifth pick and selected Hank Aaron. Karl gave himself one heck of a powerful duo in the middle of his lineup, selecting all-time home run king Barry Bonds with the sixth pick to join Ruth. I selected Walter Johnson -- the first pitcher drafted -- with the seventh selection. And Doug finished off the second round by taking Phillies legend Mike Schmidt.

Outfielders dominated the early part of the draft, as eight of the first 10 picks patrol the grass, and three of us selected outfielders as our designated hitter. Karl made Frank Thomas the only non-outfielder DH when he selected him in the 13th round.

Karl has three of the four most prolific home run hitters of all time as Bonds is first with 762, Ruth is third with 714, and Alex Rodriguez is fourth with 696. The Big Hurt is no slouch either with 521, and Lou Gehrig hit 493 of his own. Those guys are going to hit a lot of long balls. His pitching is pretty darn good too, as he drafted three of the most dominant pitchers of recent times with Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux and Clayton Kershaw to go with fourth starter Tom Seaver.

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I built my team around defense and the powerful arms of Walter Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, and Roger Clemens. All four could near or exceed 100 miles per hour and brought grit and nastiness to the mound. And if anybody actually does manage to make contact off my fireballers, they’re in trouble as my defense compiled a combined 75 Gold Glove Awards during their careers. The defense is anchored by six players who won the fielding award 10 or more times: Brooks Robinson (16), Ozzie Smith (13), Mays (12), Ken Griffey Jr. (12), Roberto Alomar (10), and Ivan Rodriguez (10).

And even if I didn’t build a winner, my squad definitely has the best nicknames with The Big Train, The Big Unit, Big Mac, The Kid, The Say Hey Kid, The Wizard of Oz, The Human Vacuum Cleaner, The Man of Steal, The Rocket, The Ryan Express and Pudge.

Doug’s team is definitely going to be the most competitive, and he has no shortage of leaders. He has all-time competitors up and down the roster with Cobb, Frank Robinson, Derek Jeter, Mickey Cochrane, Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio, Bob Feller and Bob Gibson.

He will certainly have quite a bit of continuity as Cochrane, Eddie Collins, and Jimmie Foxx won back-to-back World Series titles as teammates with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1929-30. Doug was the only one of us to select a closer before the last round as he took Mariano Rivera in the fifth round -- two rounds before he selected his first starter.

Ryan dove deep into the history books as he selected three players whose careers began in 1900 or earlier (Cy Young 1890, Honus Wagner 1897, and Christy Mathewson 1900). Five other players debuted in 1951 or earlier: Rogers Hornsby (1915), Mel Ott (1926), Ted Williams (1939), Warren Spahn (1942), Yogi Berra (1946), and Mickey Mantle (1951). In order to balance out the eras on his club, Ryan selected Albert Pujols -- the only active position player taken in the draft -- in the eighth round. The only other active players take were pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Aroldis Chapman, selected by Karl in the 10th and 14th rounds.

I wish we could take these players out to the ballfield and see whose team would win. But since we can’t, we’ll just have to sit around the office and bicker with each other about which is best.

If you have on opinion on who has the best team, email us at dgsports@dglobe.com .

 

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DOUG: 1, Ty Cobb, OF. 2, Mike Schmidt, 3B. 3, Stan Musial, OF. 4, Jimmie Foxx, 1B. 5, Mariano Rivera, RP. 6, Joe DiMaggio, OF. 7, Bob Gibson, SP. 8, Bob Feller, SP. 9, Sandy Koufax, SP. 10, Lefty Grove, SP. 11, Frank Robinson, OF. 12, Mickey Cochrane, C. 13, Derek Jeter, SS. 14, Eddie Collins, 2B.ADAM: 1, Willie Mays, OF. 2, Walter Johnson, SP. 3, Ken Griffey Jr., OF. 4, Brooks Robinson, 3B. 5, Ozzie Smith, SS. 6, Nolan Ryan, SP. 7, Randy Johnson, SP. 8, Roberto Alomar, 2B. 9, Roger Clemens, SP. 10, Rickey Henderson, OF. 11, Ivan Rodriguez, C. 12, Mark McGwire, 1B. 13, Harmon Killebrew, DH. 14, John Smoltz, RP.KARL: 1, Babe Ruth, OF. 2, Barry Bonds, OF. 3, Lou Gehrig, 1B. 4, Johnny Bench, C. 5, George Brett, 3B. 6, Alex Rodriguez, SS. 7, Joe Morgan, 2B. 8, Pedro Martinez, SP. 9, Greg Maddux, SP. 10, Clayton Kershaw, SP. 11, Tom Seaver, SP. 12, Tris Speaker, OF. 13, Frank Thomas, DH. 14, Aroldis Chapman, RP.RYAN: 1, Ted Williams, OF. 2, Hank Aaron, OF. 3, Rogers Hornsby, 2B. 4, Honus Wagner, SS. 5, Cy Young, SP. 6, Mickey Mantle, OF. 7, Christy Mathewson, SP. 8, Albert Pujols, 1B. 9, Mel Ott, OF. 10, Warren Spahn, SP. 11, Yogi Berra, C. 12, Cal Ripken Jr., 3B. 13, Steve Carlton, SP. 14, Trevor Hoffman, RP.

Related Topics: BASEBALL
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