Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

July 4, 2013

Baseball Debate: Aligning Stars of the Past 50 Seasons

Staff writers break last half-century into three eras

(Continued)

ASHLAND —

SNYDER (1996-present)

THE ORDER    BA    HR    RBI    More

1. RF Ichiro Suzuki**    .321    109    679    *10 cons. 200-hit yrs.*, 10 GGs

2. SS Derek Jeter**    .313    255    1,254    3,304 hits, 13-time All-Star

3. LF Barry Bonds    .298      *762*    1,996    *7 MVPs*, *2,558 walks*

4. 1B Albert Pujols**    .321    488    1,483    3 MVPs, 99-plus RBIs 12x

5. CF Ken Griffey Jr.    .284    630    1,836    10 GGs (all in row), 56 HRs 2x

6. 3B Miguel Cabrera**    .321    347         1,208        Triple crown (’12), 100+ RBIs 9x

7. DH Edgar Martinez    .312    309    1,261    5 SSs, .418 OBP

8. C Ivan Rodriguez    .296    311    1,332    13 GGs, 7 SSs

9. 2B Craig Biggio    .281    291    1,175    3,060 hits, 668 2Bs, 285 HBP

THE STARTERS    W-L    ERA    More

Randy Johnson    303-166    3.29    4,875 Ks in 4,135 IP, 5 CYs    

Pedro Martinez    219-100    2.93    Sub-2 ERA 2x, 3 CYs

Greg Maddux    355-227    3.16    4 CYs, 5x IP leader, 18 GGs

Roy Halladay    201-104    3.37    2 CYs, 7x CG leader

Tom Glavine    305-203    3.54    2 CYs, 5x 20-game winner

THE CLOSER    Saves    ERA    More

Mariano Rivera    *635*    2.20    Sub-2 ERA 11x, *926 Gs finished*

THE MANAGER    W-L    Pct.    More

Joe Torre    2,326-1,997    .538    6 pennants, 4 WS titles

*=MLB record, **=Active

The VanKirk Era (1980-95)

In a decade full of Ronald Reagan, the Cold War and rock ’n’ rollers who teased their hair and dressed up like girls, thank goodness I had baseball growing up!

The big leagues in the 1980s were still pure for a youngster — and for baseball — before the juice and 500-foot home runs. They knew how to pitch, field, hit-and-run and take an extra base — all the “little things” — better than they do now; and better than the era before them (check Maynard’s era).

Because it certainly was a different game in my era, my team isn’t loaded with power hitters like Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey and Barry Bonds. In putting the 1980-95 lineup together, I thought less about hitting long balls and more about fielding a team that would max out on wins over a 162-game season.

Players are in spots in my lineup that simply make it work. And every position player on my team was a gold glover.

So bring it on! We’ll get Rickey Henderson (baseball’s all-time steals leader) on to lead off the game and steal second. Then we’ll follow that with a Tony Gwynn (career .338 hitter) opposite-field hit and be up 1-0 before an out is ever made.

Court is in for the cookie cutters!

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