Excitement. Disappointment. Tradition. They make baseball great! Following your favorite team for six months a year will cause any halfway-devoted fan to learn more about the 25th man on the roster than will ever be necessary. It also might mean that fans could always recite the name of the prospect that never was, even years after the fact. And if those fans continue to follow that same team for many seasons, the list of players that they remember will continue to grow. Not all the memories are pleasant, however. That’s not how life works. In fact, the not-so-happy moments from the playing field tend to be what most fans remember the most. It’s those memories of a certain type of player type that live on in the collective mind of fans everywhere, and it’s those types of memories that I will be delving into in this piece.
A recent Grant Brisbee piece at The Athletic set out to create an all time team of “lightning rod players” he loved from the San Francisco Giants, and I felt it was a delightful read. It seemed like a lot of fun to dig in on all those players, and as a Cardinals fan, it made me think about what a similar team of St. Louis players would look like. What follows is my detour down the cul-de-sac of memory lane that many would rather soon forget, an imaginary lineup dubbed the Tino Martinez All-Stars.
Let me be clear — this will not be a scientific process. There will be a statistical element, but it will not be a “who was the worst player at every position” contest. Maybe the players were overrated, maybe they are overpaid, or maybe they were just overplayed. The bottom line is, apathy is the enemy! Also, I was born in 1983, so the team I’ll be picking will undoubtedly be influenced by the Cardinals clubs I have seen the most. You have been warned. Read the rest of this entry »