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The All-Time MLB Team, designated hitter: nominations and ballot

A second chance for some very deserving names

Baseball Player Mickey Mantle

These names have all been on the ballot before, so I’m going to save time and copy-paste what I wrote about them previously! Hey, it’s Friday evening and I have other things I’d quite like to be doing... :) However, I did stretch the ballot and include six players for you to choose from.

Henry Aaron

Ruth’s record of 714 career home-runs seemed untouchable. But Aaron proved otherwise, posting a tally 41 higher, surpassing the Babe on April 8, 1974, in the Braves’ home opener. But he still walked more often than he struck out over his career. Hank’s consistency was epic: from 1956 through 1969 inclusive, he was worth than seven bWAR in just one season: Aaron was worth 6.8 bWAR that year. He holds the all-time MLB mark for RBI (2,297) and total bases (6,856). During his final season of 1976, he was the last Negro League player on a major-league roster, having played for three months with the Indianapolis Clowns as an eighteen-year old.

Ty Cobb

Cobb was the Barry Bonds of his day: undeniably talented, but with a dreadful reputation. While some of that has been discredited as fictional... I’ll just leave this here. However, over eight years from 1910-17, he averaged nine bWAR per year, peaking at 11.3 in his 1917 campaign, where he batted .383/.444/.570. His HR tally, of 117 over 24 seasons, seems paltry by later standards. But he played much of the time in the appropriately-named deadball era: his nine HR were enough to lead the league in 1909. As Chuck said, “Every once in awhile you’ll see a question on social media like, If you could see one player from history play one game who would it be? For me that answer has always been Ty Cobb.”

Josh Gibson

Jack Sommers: “Career 215 OPS+. 39 WAR in 2511 PA. 10 WAR per 650 PA. Led the Negro National League in WAR 10 times, in HR 11 times, in OPS 9 times, in RBI 7 times…. In short, he was the greatest player in Negro League History. And he was a catcher. Before he spent seven seasons in Major League Baseball, Hall of Fame outfielder Monte Irvin played nine years in the Negro Leagues. As an MLB star, Irvin played alongside Willie Mays and against Hank Aaron. In the Negro Leagues, he played against Gibson.”

”They were tremendous players,” Irvin was quoted as saying long ago about Aaron and Mays. “But they were no Josh Gibson.” He reiterated that thought to San Francisco Chronicle writer Ron Kroichick in a story in 2006. “Oh, yeah, Josh was better than those two.” Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson described Gibson’s defensive style as so smooth that he “might as well be sitting in a rocking chair.”

Rickey Henderson

While respectable, Henderson’s career OPS+ of 127 pales beside many of those we’ll be discussing here. But that doesn’t reflect his greatest asset: Rickey’s speed. In the eighties he averaged 84 stolen bases per season, and his career total of 1,406 is #1 all-time, almost half as many again at the runner-up, Lou Brock. In 1982, Henderson stole 130 bases. For context, no NL team has stolen 130 bases in any of the last five seasons. But he was no Billy Hamilton. Rickey won three Silver Sluggers, led the league in walks four times, and had more walks than strikeouts in 19 seasons. He was the American League MVP in 1990, one of two occasions in which Henderson posted an OPS above a thousand.

Mickie Mantle

From Michael: “Over 100 career bWAR (79 WAA), would have had a greater career if not for a freak injury at 20. Mays was exclusively a RHH, but Mantle hit from both sides and was the first dominant switch hitter that I can recall in MLB history.” He won three MVP awards, and came in runner-up three more times - with a good case for arguing he was better than winner and teammate Roger Maris in both 1960 and 1961. But no doubt his peak years were certainly MVP worthy, posting back-to-back seasons of over 11 bWAR in 1956 and 1957. Walked more than he struck out, even in the two years where he hit over fifty homers, and his career was cut short, ending when he was only 36.

Ted Williams

As Jack noted, Williams’ career numbers would look even more stellar, if he’d been serving his country at his age 24-26 season, during World War II. Based on the two seaons before and after that absence, we’d likely be looking at least at another 100 home-runs and 30+ additional bWAR. Ted was the last qualifying batter to hit .400 in the majors, batting .406 in 1941. [Over the 80 years since, only three others have reached even .380] But his plate discipline was legendary. He never K’d more than he walked in a season, ending with close to three times as many walks as strikeouts, and an all-time high career on-base percentage of .482. With 521 home-runs, he was truly a triple threat.

Poll

Who deserves the DH spot in our All-time lineup

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Henry Aaron
    (24 votes)
  • 6%
    Ty Cobb
    (4 votes)
  • 6%
    Josh Gibson
    (4 votes)
  • 3%
    Rickey Henderson
    (2 votes)
  • 10%
    Mickie Mantle
    (7 votes)
  • 36%
    Ted Williams
    (24 votes)
65 votes total Vote Now