All day Tuesday, Times readers were asked to vote in a series of polls to select the greatest players at each position in baseball history. Readers were able to vote for three people at each position (except right-handed starter, where the limit was five). There were 8,608 ballots cast, and some interesting choices, so without further ado, here is your team:
Catcher: Johnny Bench, Roy Campanella, Yogi Berra. Injury replacements (finished fourth and fifth in voting: Josh Gibson, Mike Piazza. Just missed (finished 6th through 8th): Gary Carter, Ivan Rodriguez, Carlton Fisk. Notes: Bench was the easy leader, named on 83% of the ballots. The top three were named on at least 50% of the ballot. No one else was named on more than 40%.
First base: Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial, Albert Pujols. Injury replacements: Jimmie Foxx, Willie McCovey. Just missed: Pete Rose, Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew. Notes: Gehrig and Musial were each named on more than 80% of the ballots, easily outdistancing the rest of the field. Only 10 votes separated Pujols in third from Foxx in fourth.
Second base: Rogers Hornsby, Joe Morgan, Jackie Robinson. Injury replacements: Ryne Sandberg, Eddie Collins. Just missed: Roberto Alomar, Nap Lajoie, Nellie Fox. Notes: Another case where the top three easily defeated the rest of the field. They were each named on more than half the ballots, while fourth-place Sandberg was named on 21%. Former Angels star Bobby Grich finished in 10th place.
Third base: Mike Schmidt, Brooks Robinson, George Brett. Injury replacements: Eddie Mathews, Wade Boggs. Just missed: Ron Santo, Chipper Jones, Pie Traynor. Notes: Schmidt and Robinson were runaway leaders, both named on 80% of the ballots. Former Dodger Adrian Beltre finished in 10th, ahead of notables such as Paul Molitor and Home Run Baker.
Shortstop: Cal Ripken Jr., Honus Wagner, Ozzie Smith. Injury replacements: Derek Jeter, Pee Wee Reese. Just missed: Robin Yount, Alex Rodriguez, Luis Aparicio. Comments: You can see how much the steroids scandal hurt A-Rod here. Without it, you have to figure he finished in the top three.
Left field: Ted Williams, Rickey Henderson, Carl Yastrzemski. Injury replacements: Barry Bonds, Lou Brock. Just missed: Willie Stargell, Ralph Kiner, Tim Raines. Notes: No one below Stargell was named on more than 10% of the ballots. Williams was named on 97% of the ballots, the highest total on the list.
Center field: Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb. Injury replacements: Joe DiMaggio, Ken Griffey Jr. Just missed: Duke Snider, Cool Papa Bell, Kirby Puckett. Notes: Mays was on 95% of the ballots. DiMaggio finished only two votes behind Cobb for third place.
Right field: Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Roberto Clemente. Injury replacements: Frank Robinson, Tony Gwynn. Just missed: Al Kaline, Mel Ott, Reggie Jackson. Notes: Aaron and Ruth were named on over 85% of the ballots, Clemente on 64%. No one else was over 21%.
Right-handed starters: Cy Young, Greg Maddux, Nolan Ryan, Walter Johnson, Bob Gibson. Injury replacements: Tom Seaver, Christy Mathewson, Satchel Paige. Just missed: Don Drysdale, Pedro Martinez. Notes: This was the toughest group to vote for, apparently, as the winner, Young, was named on only 43% of the ballots. The 11th-place finisher, Bob Feller, was named on 10%.
Left-handed starters: Sandy Koufax, Warren Spahn, Randy Johnson. Injury replacements: Steve Carlton, Lefty Grove. Just missed: Whitey Ford, Tom Glavine, Carl Hubbell. Notes: Koufax was named on 91% of the ballots, Spahn and Johnson on 51%. There was a large gap between those three and the rest of the list.
Closer: Mariano Rivera, Dennis Eckersley, Goose Gossage. Injury replacements: Trevor Hoffman, Rollie Fingers. Just missed: Lee Smith, Hoyt Wilhelm, Bruce Sutter. Notes: Rivera was the runaway winner, named on 91% of ballots.
So there it is. The starting lineup:
C: Johnny Bench
1B: Lou Gehrig
2B: Rogers Hornsby
3B: Mike Schmidt
SS: Cal Ripken Jr.
LF: Ted Williams
CF: Willie Mays
RF: Hank Aaron
SP: Sandy Koufax.
Who bats leadoff in that lineup? And would any team in the world have a chance at beating them? If you add a DH, you can add Babe Ruth, making the team even more formidable.
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