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The All-Dead team

Jan 26, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Field of Dreams Guys

Jonathan Bernstein — a political blogger who sometimes strays into baseball — took the occasion of Stan Musial’s passing to name his “All-Dead Team.” Which I like way better than an “All-Time Greats” team, because it’s way easier to imagine them playing in Valhalla together. If you put the alive guys with the dead guys it’s just awkward.

Musial just makes the cut as a bench outfielder and backup first baseman. Which, while it may seem harsh on the surface, makes sense given that Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig are starting.

The one question I have is George Davis as a backup/utility guy. I don’t get that at all. I mean, I know he played everywhere, but I think the team would be better off with straight backups at most positions and a smaller pitching staff in order to make room. I think Walter Johnson and those guys can do without a few extra relievers hanging around.

Anyway, fun post. See if you can do better.

  1. Old Gator - Jan 26, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    “All Dead” sounds a bit awkward. “Immortal, though Dead” sounds better.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 26, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      How about just the Immortals?

      • Old Gator - Jan 26, 2013 at 5:18 PM

        Well OK, excep’ you gots to be dead in baseball before dey will call you dat.

        (Sorry, been reading Vaughan Bode’s Deadbone Erotica compilation today.)

  2. paperlions - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    I think some of those guys might only be mostly dead.

    • stex52 - Jan 26, 2013 at 3:43 PM

      Obligatory Princess Bride reference. We’ve been getting fewer lately. Stuck on Firesign Theatre.

    • stex52 - Jan 26, 2013 at 3:44 PM

      Are they “Getting Better?” Har har har.

  3. steelers88 - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    For some reason I find this creepy.

    • Old Gator - Jan 26, 2013 at 11:28 AM

      Not me. If your team owner were Scrooge McLoria, you would have set the bar for creepy much higher by now.

    • Glenn - Jan 26, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      It is especially creepy when it is placed next to a picture of a recently deceased infant. Not intentional, I am sure, but creepy.

      • Old Gator - Jan 26, 2013 at 5:23 PM

        Now that is creepy. Coincidence tends to be creepier than intentionality. Years and years ago there was a double billboard on the hill on NY route 52 just climbing out of the intersection with US 209 heading west of Wurtsboro. The left billboard was an anti-domestic violence ad that proclaimed, “Not One More Dead Child!” The one on the right was an anti-drinking and driving ad with a picture of a little girl on it that said “Mary Smith, Age 7, Killed by a Drunk Driver.” I took a photo of those billboards and used it in my critical reading and writing courses to illustrate the importance of syntactical sequence in constructing meaning.

        Some folks just don’t think about what they’re doing.

  4. Jack Marshall - Jan 26, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    DiMaggio over Speaker seems an obvious upgrade. Lots of better picks than Davis…why not have Jimmy Foxx as a reserve? He was versatile. Nap Lajoie could be a reserve.

    • kirkvanhouten - Jan 26, 2013 at 10:29 AM

      “DiMaggio over Speaker seems an obvious upgrade”

      Was DiMaggio better than Speaker? Speaker ended his career with a higher OPS+, played until he was 40 (DiMaggio was out at 36), topped 8 WAR six times (DiMaggio did twice). I mean, I know DiMaggio lost prime years to WWII, but I doubt he had 4 8 WAR seasons in those three years!

      It’s close, but certainly not obvious. In fact, I’d probably say Speaker was better.

      • evanhartford - Jan 26, 2013 at 10:41 AM

        I think you’re better off sticking with “All Decade” teams instead of trying to compare guys that played during World War I with guys that played during Beatlemania…

      • Jack Marshall - Jan 26, 2013 at 11:03 AM

        I saw that coming. It’s nice to play baseball entirely on paper, but players were better when Joe played, and I’ll take the homeruns. Several statistical workups have DiMag as the second best offensive center fielder (with Speaker 4th or lower), and dinging DiMaggio as being defensively inferior seems absurd to me. I like Spoke. Joe was better.

      • kirkvanhouten - Jan 26, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        “but players were better when Joe played, and I’ll take the homeruns”

        Well, this is basically true of an era in any sport. I mean, Jesse Owens may have been the greatest athlete of all time…but his best time wouldn’t have ranked him in the top 8 in the 2012 Olympics. This doesn’t mean he wasn’t amazing, it just means that you judge people by their competition they played against, not over the view of history.

        I mean, saying players were better as an excuse to take DiMaggio….I could easily say that we should probably take Jim Edmonds since he was probably better than DiMaggio! I have little doubt that if you got a time machine, sent Joe DiMaggio to 2004 and put him in center field, he’d have a much harder time than Jim Edmonds would in 1941. DiMaggio was absolutely better than Edmonds compared to their competition and it’s not even close. But Edmonds came up in an era with much greater emphasis on conditioning, players were in better shape, he faced a much wider variety of pitches with more international competition, no segregation and 60 additional years of information that had been built up that DiMaggio wasn’t privy too.

        But we would never say “Jim Edmonds” is better. Should Joe DiMaggio be punished in the eyes of history because he lacked 60 additional years of information that had been built up? No! Of course not! Because we compared DiMaggio with the players he played with…ergo, Joe DiMaggio is better than Jim Edmonds. And Tris Speaker was (possibly) better than Joe DiMaggio

      • stex52 - Jan 26, 2013 at 3:46 PM

        I like the idea of decades, or maybe 20 year periods, per Evan. More apples to apples.

  5. hotkarlsandwich - Jan 26, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Too Soon?

  6. greej1938l - Jan 26, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    This is wierd…..awkward…disturbing….creepy..

  7. cintiphil - Jan 26, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Every thing is debatable. You say DiMag and Williams take a front seat to Musial. However, how many skills did Williams have? Other than the last guy to hit .400, he was not known for too much else. I believe he was the best hitter of all time (I did see him play). He was the best hitter in my view, as he was a strict pull hitter who hit a lot and with power. That would be impossible for any other player. After that, there is no reason to advance him above Musial. Stan (I saw him play) was much better in the field and on the bases. Also, he was a much better person who was loved by all players. Joe D. also had many fans and players admire him, but not like Stan. Overall, I would pick Joe D over Stan, but not Williams. I am not sure, but when he retired, Musial held about 16 batting records. How many did Williams have?

  8. xpensivewinos - Jan 26, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    DiMaggio played 13 seasons (and was cheated out of three more due to WWII) and hit 361 home runs. He also only struck out 369 times. He had five seasons where he hit more home runs than he struck out. In 1941 he had 622 plate appearances and struck out 13 times. In 1937 he hit 46 home runs and struck out 37 times. He also averaged 118 rbi’s a year over the course of his career.

    You factor that in with the cup of coffee that dude could make and he’s on my “All-Whatever Team.” His career statistical output was like a video game. I think his celebrity over time has diminished how amazing he was as a player.

    • cackalackyank - Jan 26, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      LOL I can’t help but look at Joe D’s strikeout #’s and think of the guy that currently patrols center field for the NYY. There are days I think Granderson is trying to strikeout 369 times in a season, nevermind career.

    • cintiphil - Jan 26, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      I think I am agreeing with you somewhat. I did pick him slightly above Stan. But, Not Williams. Joe was a great all around player, as was Musial. Williams only hit. But, when you speak about low strike outs, you have to give it to Musial. I think he struck out least of most players and maybe even Joe. I don’t have the records in front of me but, Musial didn’t strike out much. I have to give it to Joe in the field. He was a great fielder, with speed. Williams on the other hand was just average in the field and not great speed, like Stan or espec. Joe D.

    • kirkvanhouten - Jan 26, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      “DiMaggio played 13 seasons (and was cheated out of three more due to WWII) and hit 361 home runs. He also only struck out 369 times”

      And he also played in an era where *everybody* struck out far less. For example, in 1941, a teams struck out a 3.6 batters per 9 innings, in 2010, teams struck out 6.8 batters per nine…nearly twice as much.

      It’s still awesome, but we have there is some context here that seems to be lost when taking about players strikeouts in the 30s and 40s.

  9. thekcubrats - Jan 26, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Joe D. HOF elite, but over Teddy Ballgame? (Who obtw missed five prime years as a combat pilot in two different wars, vs. what did Joe D. do as a soldier besides play exhibitions to sell bonds stateside?) And if Musiel had been a Yank…

    • thekcubrats - Jan 26, 2013 at 2:31 PM

      …I woulda spelted his name correxly

  10. tuberippin - Jan 26, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    No love for Josh Gibson? Sure, he played in the Negro Leagues, but he outproduced every other catcher of his time.

  11. chap6869 - Jan 26, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    hmmm,I read the headline and thought this was about my 2013 Phillies starting line-up.

  12. dexterismyhero - Jan 28, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Is Pedro Sorrano dead yet? Man he could crush the ball.

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