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Vote for the Southern California roster of baseball’s Golden Greats: The I-5 Series

Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams grew up in the San Diego area.
(Associated Press)
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A couple of weeks ago, the fine folks at the San Francisco Chronicle approached us with an idea. How about we team up to produce a simulated best-of-seven baseball series pitting the best players raised in Northern California against the best players raised in Southern California.

We reached out to John Herson, who owns the APBA game company, one of the best baseball simulation games on the market, and he agreed to let us use his online game engine at APBAgo.com to play the best-of-seven simulated series online.

Why should you care? We want you to choose the rosters. We‘ve compiled a list of players raised in Southern California and ask you to vote for three at each non-pitching infield position, nine outfielders and 10 pitchers. That will give us a 34-man All-Star roster.

Statistics are based on each player’s best season. We will list the year from his career we will use for the simulation, along with some of his stats for that season. Every player has a defensive rating in APBA, so voting in one slick fielder at each position can be smart.

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Who might be obvious choices? Ted Williams grew up in San Diego. Walter Johnson attended high school in Fullerton. Jackie Robinson hails from Pasadena.

Tony Gwynn (Long Beach) batted .396 in 1994, George Brett (El Segundo) batted .390 in 1980, and let’s not overlook shortstop Arky Vaughan’s 1935 slash line: .385/.491/.607. He was born in Eagleville, a town in the northernmost corner of California, but played high school ball in Fullerton. So the Hall of Famer is SoCal in this series.

Among more contemporary players, Christian Yelich (Westlake Village), Giancarlo Stanton (Sherman Oaks) and Gerrit Cole (Newport Beach) are from SoCal. So are former and current Dodgers Don Drysdale (Van Nuys) and Justin Turner (Long Beach) and former Angels Troy Glaus (Carlsbad) and Garret Anderson (L.A.). Vote them onto the roster if you believe they are the best.

And a host of players on the SoCal ballot went on to star for the San Francisco Giants or Oakland Athletics: McGwire, Jason Giambi, Jeff Kent, Matt Williams, Bobby Bonds, Mike Krukow, Robb Nen, Rod Beck, and others. They are dear to the hearts of the NorCal faithful but pledge their allegiance to SoCal for this APBA series.

SoCal fans ought to lock in the best lineup based on the stars’ best seasons because the NorCal team promises to be formidable. A sample lineup: Ricky Henderson, Joe Morgan, Barry Bonds, Joe DiMaggio, Frank Robinson, Willie Stargell, Ken Caminiti, Ernie Lombardi, Jimmy Rollins, with either Tom Seaver or Randy Johnson on the hill.

There will be two ways to vote. You can email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com or click on the appropriate Polldaddy link with each position below. You have until midnight Sunday to vote. Rosters will be announced May 21. An * denotes the player led the league in that category that season.

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And now, the candidates:

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CATCHER
New York Mets teammates Keith Hernandez, left, and Gary Carter
New York Mets teammates Keith Hernandez, left, and Gary Carter in September 1988.
(Peter Morgan / Associated Press)

Vote for three

Earl Battey, 1963 Twins (.285 Avg./.369 OB%/.476 SLG%, 26 HRs)

Bob Boone, 1988 Angels (.295/.352/.386, 5)

Gary Carter, 1984 Expos (.294/.366/.487, 27)

Del Crandall, 1960 Braves (.294/.334/.430, 19)

Mike Lieberthal, 1999 Phillies (.300/.363/.551, 31)

Lance Parrish, 1982 Tigers (.284/.338/.529, 32)

Vote at polldaddy by clicking here.

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FIRST BASE
Baltimore Orioles first baseman Eddie Murray in October 1983.
(Associated Press)

Vote for three

Cecil Fielder, 1990 Tigers (.277/.377/.592*, 51*)

Freddie Freeman, 2019 Braves (.295/.389/.549, 38)

Jason Giambi, 2000 Athletics .333 .476* .647 43 2

Mark McGwire, 1998 Cardinals (.299/.470*/.752*, 70*)

Eddie Murray, 1982 Orioles (.316/.391/.549, 32)

Wes Parker, 1970 Dodgers (.319/.392/.458, 10)

J.T. Snow, 1997 Giants (.281/.387/.510, 28)

Vote at polldaddy by clicking here.

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SECOND BASE
Dodgers second baseman Jackie Robinson in 1952.
(Associated Press)

Vote for three

Bret Boone, 2001 Mariners (.331/.372/.578, 37)

Bobby Doerr, 1944 Red Sox (.325/.399/.528*, 15)

Bobby Grich, 1979 Angels (.294/.365/.537, 30)

Jeff Kent, 2000 Giants (.334/.424/.596, 33)

Jeff McNeil, 2019 Mets (.318/.384/.531, 23)

Jackie Robinson, 1949 Dodgers (.342*/.432/.528, 16)

Chase Utley, 2006 Phillies (.309/.379/.527, 32)

Vote at polldaddy by clicking here.

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THIRD BASE
Kansas City Royals third baseman George Brett hits a home run against the Minnesota Twins.
Kansas City Royals third baseman George Brett hits a home run against the Minnesota Twins in September 1980.
(Associated Press)

Vote for three

Nolan Arenado, 2017 Rockies (.309/.373/.586, 37)

George Brett, 1980 Royals (.390*/.454*/.664*, 24)

Matt Chapman, 2019 Athletics (.249/.342/.506, 36)

Doug DeCinces, 1982 Angels (.301/.369/.548, 30)

Troy Glaus, 2000 Angels (.284/.404/.604, 47)

Evan Longoria, 2010 Devil Rays (.294/.372/.507, 22)

Eddie Mathews, 1953 Braves (.302/.406/.627, 47*)

Mike Moustakas, 2019 Brewers (.254/.329/.516, 35)

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Graig Nettles, 1977 Yankees (.255/.333/.496, 37)

Justin Turner, 2017 Dodgers (.322/.415/.520, 21)

Matt Williams, 1994 Giants (.267/.319/.607, 43*)

Vote at polldaddy by clicking here.

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SHORTSTOP

Vote for three

Rick Burleson, 1977 Red Sox (.293/.338/.382, 3)

Nomar Garciaparra, 2000 Red Sox (.372*/.434/.599, 21)

Ozzie Smith, 1987 Cardinals (.303/.392/.383, 0)

Vern Stephens, 1949 Red Sox (.290/.391/.539, 39)

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Garry Templeton, 1979 Cardinals (.314/.331/.458, 9)

Alan Trammell, 1987 Tigers (.343/.402/.551, 28)

Arky Vaughan, 1935 Pirates (.385*/.491*/.607*, 19)

Jack Wilson, 2004 Pirates (.308/.335/.459, 11)

Michael Young, 2005 Rangers (.330*/.385/.513, 24)

Robin Yount, 1982 Brewers (.314/.331/.458, 29)

Vote at polldaddy by clicking here.

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OUTFIELD

Vote for nine

Dodgers center fielder Duke Snider in October 1952.
(Associated Press)

Garret Anderson, 2003 Angels (.315/.345/.541, 29)

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Dusty Baker, 1980 Dodgers (.307/.427/.576, 32)

Paul Blair, 1967 Orioles (.293/.353/.446, 11)

Bobby Bonds, 1973 Giants (.283/.370/.530, 39)

Ryan Braun, 2012 Brewers (.319/.391/.595, 41*)

Eric Davis, 1987 Reds (.293/.399/.593, 37)

Willie Davis, 1969 Dodgers (.311/.356/.456, 11)

Dwight Evans, 1982 Red Sox (.292/.402*/.534, 32)

George Foster, 1977 Reds (.320/.382/.631*, 52*)

Tony Gwynn, 1994 Padres (.394*/.454*/.568, 12)

Babe Herman, 1930 Dodgers (.393/.455/.678, 35)

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Ralph Kiner, 1949 Pirates (.310/.432/.658*, 54*)

Fred Lynn, 1979 Red Sox (.333*/.423*/.637*, 39)

Kevin Mitchell, 1989 Giants (.291/.388/.635*, 47*)

Reggie Smith, 1977 Dodgers (.307/.427*/.576, 32)

Duke Snider, 1954 Dodgers (.341/.423/.647, 40)

Giancarlo Stanton, 2017 Marlins (.281/.376/.631*, 59*)

Darryl Strawberry, 1987 Mets (.284/.398/.583, 39)

Bobby Tolan, 1970 Reds (.316/.384/.475, 16)

Ted Williams, 1941 Red Sox (.406*/.553*/.735*, 37*)

Christian Yelich, 2019 Brewers (.329*/.429*/.671*, 44)

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Vote at polldaddy by clicking here.

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PITCHER

Vote for 10

Oakland Athletics pitcher Rollie Fingers in 1976.
(Associated Press)

Kevin Appier, 1993 Royals (18-8, 2.52 ERA, 239 IP, 186 Ks)

Rod Beck, 1993 Giants (3-1, 48 saves, 2.16 ERA)

Ewell Blackwell, 1947 Reds (22*-8, 2.47, 273 IP, 193* Ks)

Bert Blyleven, 1973 Twins (20-17, 2.52, 325 IP, 258 Ks)

Gerrit Cole, 2019 Astros (20-5, 2.50*, 212 IP, 326* Ks)

Larry Dierker, 1969 Astros (20-13, 2.33, 305 IP, 232 Ks)

Don Drysdale, 1964 Dodgers (18-16, 2.18, 321* IP, 237 Ks)

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Rollie Fingers, 1981 Brewers (6-3, 28, 1.04)

Mike Garcia, 1952 Indians (22-11, 2.37, 292 IP, 143 Ks)

Trevor Hoffman, 1998 Padres (4-2, 53*, 1.48)

Walter Johnson, 1913 Senators (36*-7, 1.14*, 346* IP, 243* Ks)

Randy Jones, 1975 Padres (20-12, 2.24, 285 IP, 103 Ks)

Mike Krukow, 1986 Giants (20-9, 3.05, 245 IP, 178 Ks)

Bob Lemon, 1952 Indians (22-11, 2.50, 310* IP, 131 Ks)

Scott McGregor, 1980 Orioles (20-8, 3.32, 252 IP, 119 Ks)

Andy Messersmith, 1975 Dodgers (19-14, 2.29, 322 IP, 213 Ks)

Robb Nen, 1998 Giants (7-7, 40, 1.52)

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Jesse Orosco, 1983 Mets (13-7, 17, 1.47)

Jim Palmer, 1972 Orioles (21-10, 2.07, 274 IP, 184 Ks)

Dan Quisenberry, 1983 Royals (5-3, 45*, 1.94)

Bret Saberhagen, 1989 Royals (23*-6, 2.16*, 262* IP, 193 Ks)

Mike Scott, 1986 Astros (18-10, 2.22*, 275* IP, 306* Ks)

Dave Smith, 1987 Astros (2-3, 24, 1.65)

Stephen Strasburg, 2017 Nationals (15-4, 2.52, 175 IP, 204 Ks)

Vote at polldaddy by clicking here.

Again, you have until midnight Sunday to vote. Rosters will be announced May 21, with the games beginning May 27. Thanks for voting, and share this with friends so they can vote too.


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Houston Mitchell is an assistant sports editor, writer of the Dodgers Dugout newsletter and editor of all of the sports newsletters for the Los Angeles Times.