So we've got our 30 All-Time Teams rosters, with 25 players each. Obviously these 750 players aren't the best 750 baseball players ever, they're just the best players by position for their respective teams. That alone leaves out some very good players, as you saw in this series.
How do we account for above-average ball players who were stuck in a positional logjam or switched teams too often to rank high enough with any one franchise? The first thing we do is add a reserve list. Each of the 30 MLB franchises will have five more unofficial All-Timers - two pitchers, an infielder, an outfielder, and a utility player - many of whom were cut from the original All-Time Team rosters.
The second thing we do is add a 31st team.
If you followed All-Time Teams 1.0 (or the NHL All-Time Teams series) you know I like to include a "best of the rest" roster to scoop up all the star players who couldn't fit anywhere else. We called this rag-tag bunch of misfits the Barnstormers (or Barnes-stormers?), gave them a Hall of Fame manager and two dozen players, and sent them on their way.
Like every other All-Time Team, Joe Torre has the opportunity to tinker with his original lineup.
Unlike every other manager, Torre has no minimum season constraints to deal with. He can choose from any available player, in any era. Hey, that third baseman looks familiar...
Leadoff man Kenny Lofton should have no trouble staying in the starting lineup. Right?
On second thought, he might not make the team at all. Combs and Browning are far better hitters, even if they lack Lofton's all-around game.
19th-century great Ross Barnes and Hall of Famer Joe Gordon are entrenched at second base.
Billy Herman was a Cubs reserve in the original series but lost his spot to Bill Dahlen. He can't crack this roster, either.
Torre has more options at designated hitter, but the Giambino isn't worried.
Jack Clark and Rusty Staub can try to win a spot in right field. As for that other Giants slugger named Clark...
Hall of Famer Dan Brouthers has the starting first base job on lock; the competition here is for Will Clark's backup spot.
I had never heard of Jack Fournier until researching this. He's pretty good. Not good enough to beat out "The Thrill" though.
Baseball-reference lists Joe Torre under first basemen, though his primary position is actually catcher. So why is he starting at third for the Barnstormers?
Because there's less competition here. Evans and Madlock could be in the mix for a reserve role.
Gavvy Cravath and Willie Keeler are holding down right field. Is there a change to be made?
If there is, it would be a change in deployment, not personnel. Perhaps Keeler could start (and lead off) while Combs starts in center field.
Joe Torre's decision to play Joe Torre at third base frees up a spot behind the dish. Thurman Munson is the incumbent here, with Hall of Famer Roger Bresnahan backing him up.
Are there better options?
Once again, the Yankees star stays. Pena is in the discussion exclusively for defense (he is a Torre guy after all.) Wally Schang is a slight upgrade over Bresnahan. He'll back up Munson.
Let's look at left field, where Jesse Burkett is being backed up by Lefty O'Doul.
A couple of pre-war Hall of Famers and yet another Yankee are among the options at Torre's disposal.
No threat to Burkett, but O'Doul could be on the chopping block.
Finally we'll look at the 'Stormers shortstop competition.
Lots of big names with not so big numbers. Put a pin in Lindor for a minute.
The Barnstormers' starting pitchers can hold their own with most established teams.
Can Torre improve upon this group?
Ah, the Gerrit Cole conundrum. Both he and Francisco Lindor are good enough to earn a place on an All-Time team but they haven't yet qualified for their respective New York-based clubs and couldn't find a place on their original squads. I hesitate to put either of them here since they are still active, but they shouldn't fall through the cracks in the mean time. Then again, there are other arms available.
And Cole would probably choose to rep his real team anyhow.
The Barnstormers' bullpen was weakened by a pair of defections - Bob Wickman was assigned to the Brewers while Arthur Rhodes joined the Mariners. Who can Joe Torre call on to replace them?
Some solid closers are out there and... how the heck did Baltimore let Darren O'Day get away?
Torre would love to pick his guy Stanton here but the GM is overruling him and adding O'Day. As a compromise, Rafael Soriano is also selected over non-Yankees like Saito and Shaw.
The Barnstormers' roster is set. Combs and Keeler will start. Neither Cravath nor O'Doul played a whole lot of games but both were equally productive. Lofton's speed, glove, and longevity are enough to earn the fourth outfielder spot. Cravath will join him on the Barnstormer bench.
TL; DR: Four changes from the original roster. O'Doul, Bresnahan, Wickman, and Rhodes out. Combs, Schang, O'Day, and Soriano in.
That's our 31st team, but now we need another squad to even things out. We'll put a bow on this series for good with the Negro League All-Stars and full roster reveals tomorrow night.
Thanks for reading!
Congrats on almost being done with the new series! I love that some of my guys like Tony Phillips, Curtis Granderson, and Mickey Tettleton were under consideration, even though none ultimately made the cut.ReplyDelete
After the bout tomorrow, find away to play them all!ReplyDelete
After the Negro League All Stars, put them all in a simulator for a tournament!ReplyDelete
Wish I could! ESPN tried during the pandemic. It didn't go well.Delete
Dan Brouthers lived in my hometown and is buried here I believe. There is a monument to him on main street, I wrote about it in the past.ReplyDelete
Torre playing Torre! Random fact: my son's travel baseball team are called the "barnstormers"...but pretty sure none of the kids (and most of the parents) know what the name means.ReplyDelete
Yeah, it's definitely an old-time baseball term.Delete
A. Love Torre being a player/manager.ReplyDelete
B. I second Jafronius's idea. That would be pretty cool to see.
OK, this is AMAZING.ReplyDelete
I was just looking through the new albums released this week, and there's the debut album by a new group called...The Barnestormers!
Moreover, they're actually the perfect band for this team, made up of a variety of veterans from different bands. Like our team, the group takes its name from one of its members, in this case veteran Australian singer Jimmy Barnes. (Those of us of a certain age might remember the song he did with INXS in the movie The Lost Boys. He's a pretty big star down under.) And like our team, it has members from other well-known "teams"--the keyboard player from Squeeze and the drummer from The Stray Cats, most prominently. Note that those three are also from different parts of the world.
They don't quite span the eras like the baseball version, but it's clear that their music MUST be played at every Barnestormers home game! Which makes me wonder--do they HAVE a home stadium? Should we give them the stadium of some defunct team? Or should they live up to their name and play "home" games all over the country?
Anyway, more info on the music group: https://musicfeeds.com.au/news/the-barnestormers-jimmy-barnes-album/
Oh, forgot to mention--part of what makes this so amazing is that the album was released THE VERY SAME DAY as this post!Delete
Oh man what a coincidence! The Barnstormers' official band is the Barnestormers :) We cane up with that name first though lol.Delete
I debated giving them a home base to practice at, but having a true home would invalidate their nomadic nature. That said, there is a defunct park pictured at the top of this post...
This has been my favorite post both times you've done this series.ReplyDelete