Tuesday, March 17, 2009

All Time Rangers Squad

Inspired by reading Jamey Newberg's all time squad.

Picked players I personally enjoy; players who would mesh well during a long season; players who would be mentally tough in pressure cooker playoff moments.

These whiners/cancers are out: 

Jeff Burroughs
Kevin Brown
Kenny Rogers
Rafael Palmiero
Alex Rodriguez
Mark Teixeira

In a tough, tough call: Mike Hargrove lost out to Willie Horton for the pinch hitter's role.  Only had room for one of them.  Willie Horton had a giant smile, was fiercely loyal to his teammates in all situations, and was both fearless and fearsome in bench clearing brawls.  When Willie Horton moved to the top step of the dugout, opposing pitchers abstained from chin music. Horton was one of baseball's finest all time pinch hitters. He also did some catching, and therefore would serve the team as a third catcher.  Willie Horton enjoyed trash talking.  It's a teamwide theme: have selected several trash talkers.

Juan Gonzalez gave me pause.  I kept him b/c 
1) he is deserving: he was the bell cow of the franchise's only playoff teams 
2) the team has good leadership around to keep him focused and in line.

Ruben Sierra: I put young the Sierra's skill behind only Josh Hamilton's in Rangers team history. Young thin Sierra was breathtaking:  he could run and throw, he had slashing bat quickness from both sides.  I enjoyed watching him as much as I've enjoyed watching any player.

Mickey Rivers has to be on the team:  comic relief, card games, racing tips, guile, getting on base, stealing bases, outfield depth, illogical and hilarious trash talking of teammates and opponents. This stuff is important.  It's a long season.

Mark DeRosa:  Utility.  Class.  Mental toughness.  Clutch bat.  Plays 6 positions - including SS.  I took him over Mark McClemore.  McClemore is also class, mental toughness, versatility, with switch hitting thrown in.  Tough call.  Two wonderful guys to have on any squad.  Their intangibles add up to more than Alex Rodriguez' tangibles.

My Rangers would roll out crusty coot starting pitchers in Playoffs and World Series:

Nolan Ryan
Ferguson Jenkins
Charlie Hough
Gaylord Perry
Jim Bibby

Let the opposition battle that coffee breath, cigarette breath, gray whiskers, old man smell, and all around guile, mental toughness, and willfulness.

I have Billy Martin, Bobby Valentine, and Eddie Stanky heckling opposition from our dugout.  Eddie Stanky* (nickname: "the brat") legendarily managed the Rangers for one day and then resigned.  We HAVE to have him.  His career embodies this franchise better than anyone's.  Bonus:  Stanky was a famously ill-tempered and snappish heckler of all players:  both his players and opposition.  We HAVE to have that!  All this is important for a team. 

Frank Lucchesi as First Base Coach: we need his familial and feisty Italian personality on team charters; plus he deserves some acknowledgment; plus he can sort of keep Billy Martin out of trouble; plus he can heckle when Billy Martin is too hungover to make loud noises.

It was really hard to leave Whitey Herzog off this coaching staff.  He is more deserving than, for instance, Bobby Valentine.  However, Valentine is a top notch 3B coach, and has entertainment value in myriad ways.


All Time Rangers Team:

Owner: G.W. Bush Group
President: Tom Schieffer
GM: Doug Melvin
Manager: Johnny Oates
Bench Coach: Billy Martin (a bench coach can sleep it off if he needs to)
First Base Coach: Frank Lucchesi
Third Base & OF Coach: Bobby Valentine
Pissed Off & IF Coach:  Eddie Stanky
Batting Coach: Rudy Jaramillo
Pitching Coach: Dick Bosman

Nolan Ryan
Ferguson Jenkins
Charlie Hough
Gaylord Perry
Jim Bibby

John Wetteland
Goose Gossage
Jeff Zimmerman
Sparky Lyle
Tim Crabtree
Danny Darwin
Mitch Williams

1. Greer LF
2. Kinsler 2B
3. Hamilton CF
4. Gonzalez DH
5. Sierra RF
6. Clark 1B
7. Young SS
8. Bell 3B
9. Pudge C


Bring on your Yankees all time team. We've got coot pitchers. 
Ruth's bulk has nuthin on Willie Horton. 
Thurman Munson's grumpy has nuthin on Will Clark.  
Josh Hamilton = first guy ever to legitimately be "the next Mickey Mantle".  
DiMaggio?  Bah.  Greer!
Michael Young is a Derek Jeter clone.

I will say this about Yogi Berra:  he won and won and won and won much more.   He was the greatest winner of all time.  No one compares with Yogi Berra in this area.  Salute.


His Giants manager Leo Durocher once summed up Stanky's talents: "He can't hit, can't run, can't field. He's no nice guy... all the little SOB can do is win." Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto still complained years later about a play during the 1951 World Series where Stanky kicked the ball loose from Rizzuto's glove. One season, whenever he was the runner on third base, Stanky developed the habit of standing several feet back of the bag, in left field. If a fly ball was hit, he would time its arc, then take off running so as to step on third base just as the catch was being made. In this way he would be running towards home at full speed from the beginning of the play, making it almost impossible to throw him out. This tactic was made illegal following the season. Stanky was also (in)famous for what came to be called "the Stanky maneuver", where he would take advantage of his position on second base to distract opposing batters by jumping up and down and waving his arms behind the pitcher.


SpecialK said...

This is the stuff you come up with in your notebook? Pretty impressive!

gcotharn said...

Exactly! It's time for bed, so I'll be conjugating more drivel!

Southern Brother said...

Where is Al Oliver?

gcotharn said...

I agonized over Al Oliver!

In a numbers crunch, and in the cause of a team meshing together, Al Oliver got bumped. It finally came down to him or Juan Gonzalez. I had all the other spots filled, except for that spot. In a tough call, I decided Gonzalez' big seasons during playoff years made him more deserving. Gonzalez could get hot and carry an offense for weeks at a time. Still, I feel kind of sick about it, b/c I love Al Oliver. Maybe should get rid of Sierra...?

Rusty Greer has to stay. Most underrated Ranger ever. Lifetime .387 OBP. Most game winning hits of any Ranger ever. Rugged defender. Toughness and grit were off the charts. John Wetteland said the chance to play with Rusty Greer was a factor in his signing with Texas. It's no accident the Rangers won division championships during Greer's career.

Revised Lineup with Sierra bumped:

1. Greer LF
2. Kinsler 2B
3. Hamilton CF
4. Gonzalez RF
5. Oliver DH
6. Clark 1B
7. Young SS
8. Bell 2B
9. Pudge C

In this scenario: Oliver's baseball gravitas trumps young Sierra's electricity + flakiness.

I'm completely torn. Didn't realize how emotionally invested I am in certain Rangers players. It's all I can do to leave off Oddibe McDowell: team mascot. And Julio Franco. And Mike Hargrove.