Chat with Rob Neyer
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com MLB Insider Rob Neyer will drop by to chat about his all-time All-Star teams.
Neyer's book, "Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends," can be ordered now!
Send your questions now and join Neyer on Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Rob Neyer (2:02 PM)
Just so you know, this chat is supposed to be about the all-time All-Star teams we've presented yesterday and today. But I see lots of non-related questions in the queue, and if I get tired of getting yelled at, I'll switch over at some point.
Ok Rob, I know you were expecting to catch a lot of heat for this, but how can Cal Ripken's 1991 season, when he produced the 4th highest WARP in history, be omitted from this list?
Rob Neyer (2:07 PM)
I had three shortstop slots, and two of them had to go to A-Rod and Robin Yount because I needed a Ranger and I need a Brewer (AL-style). That left one slot for Jeter or Ripken, and I chose Jeter because ... well, my thinking was that he's been a tad more consistent. In retrospect, I sort of wish I'd selected Ripken's 1983.
No ichiro? Ichiro has played in several All-star games, extremely fast, might even set a record for hits in the future of his career, and also hit the only inside park in All Star game HISTORY which is what this article is about. So no Ichiro? Reasoning for this?
Rob Neyer (2:09 PM)
Frankly, he wasn't even on my radar screen. Has he been better than any of the outfielders on my team, save Roy Sievers (who filled a slot)? Better than DiMaggio? Mantle? Ichiro might be a legitimate Hall of Famer, but if so he's a second-tier Hall of Famer. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
I couldnt help that notice you took Longoria's year this year as the Rays pick. Does Crawford's year not even come close to Longoria's?
Rob Neyer (2:12 PM)
Oddly, neither of them's been the best Ray this year; that honor probably goes to Zobrist or Bartlett because they're tearing it up in the middle of the infield. But one thing I haven't mentioned but should: I had to choose one season for each player -- an All-Star season -- but I was looking for players with a level of established excellence. Ideally, at least three seasons (though I obviously made an exception in Longoria's case because the Rays hadn't really any great players before him).
Luc Paulas (Brooklyn)
My favorite part of the All-Time All-Stars? Those ERA APPROPRIATE TEAM LOGOS! Did some under-appreciated ESPN staffer help you compile those?
Rob Neyer (2:13 PM)
Well, it certainly wasn't me. I don't know who did the work on the logos, but I can tell you that other people put a great deal of time and effort into the photos and the graphics and the formatting and the statistics. I probably did less work on this project than anyone else involved.
Rob, Where is the Big Hurt as the White Sox representative? It sad that you have left him off the AL team.
Rob Neyer (2:14 PM)
It's a good question, Jason. The problems were that 1) I had a logjam at first base, 2) DH was ably filled by Edgar Martinez, and 3) anyway, Thomas was never an All-Star during a full-time DH season. I wanted to get Dick Allen on the team, too; just couldn't figure out a way to do it.
No Jim Bouton for the Seattle Pilots? He was still a Pilot at the all-star break, right?
Rob Neyer (2:16 PM)
Sure. But he wasn't exactly an All-Star. These teams are composed only of All-Stars. Which is why I was limited, in the case of the one-year (1969) Seattle Pilots, to Don Mincher or Mike Hegan.
So no room for Chase Utley in the 2B category??
Rob Neyer (2:16 PM)
Not quite yet. He's on his way, though.
Does this mean that you agree with this stupid rule that MLB has that every team should be represented? I can't remember where you came down on that question.
Rob Neyer (2:17 PM)
Well, those were the rules of this particular game, Joe. About the real game, I go back and forth on that. I guess if you make me king, I get rid of the rule *and* cut the rosters back to 30 apiece.
I find it odd that you took Mauer's 2006 season over the current season he is having. You took other player's current seasons. Any reason behind 2006 over 2009?
Rob Neyer (2:18 PM)
Well, I thought he should have been the MVP in 2006. Hard to top that. Yes, he may well do it this season. It was a close call.
Spencer (Los Angeles)
Rob, have to quarrel with your choice of 1B as a dumping ground for the Pilots and KC A's. No Frank Thomas? And Wilbur Wood? Wood was good, but I have to think there was a pitcher for either the Pilots or A's who could have taken Wood's spot, so that Thomas could take his rightful place at first base, or even DH, because he was better than Edgar at his peak.
Rob Neyer (2:21 PM)
Well, again: There weren't any Pilots on the All-Star team in 1969. And while a few K.C. A's pitchers had good seasons, none really would make sense on any sort of all-time All-Star team. Here's the thing, though: There are a LOT of moving parts when you try something like this. Sure, I can add Frank Thomas ... but that sets off a chain reaction, and there are a dozen other spots like that. Given a week of doing nothing else, I could have come up with the perfect team. I had a few hours, and I have to live with that.
It seems like one of Pudge's great seasons with the Rangers would have been better than the second Tiger you have there as a catcher
Rob Neyer (2:23 PM)
You know, at the last minute I compared both Pudges -- Rodriguez and Fisk -- to Bill Freehan, and I stuck with Freehan. I know it's unorthodox and 99.8 fans out of 100 will think it's nuts. But Freehan was a *great* player for a long time. And he was just as good, in his peak seasons, as those other guys.
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Hi Rob. I enjoy your appearances on the Bob Valvano show! I appreciate all of your choices at first base. Did you give serious consideration to Wille McCovey? Thanks again!
Rob Neyer (2:24 PM)
McCovey was a member of the NL squad the first time around, and I didn't enjoy cutting him when I went through the second time.
It looks like you didn't give any consideration to non-closing relievers.
Rob Neyer (2:24 PM)
Who do you have in mind? Jesse Orosco?
rob,nice job on the rosters. i know you had to follow the "each team needs a rep", but i was curious about two omissions/below the cut line -- hack wilson's 190 rbi year, and the dennis eckersley's relief year (or did you limit yourself to 1 closer?) thanks!
Rob Neyer (2:27 PM)
Hack Wilson a) wasn't really a great player, and b) wasn't ever an All-Star. You gotta read the rules! As for Eck, I did limit myself to one closer, which might or might not be a defensible position.
What made you choose Tim Raines instead of Gary Carter or one of Vladimir Guerrero best seasons?
Rob Neyer (2:28 PM)
Carter almost made the team instead of Piazza, but then I looked at Piazza's stats and thought better of it. As for Guerrero, you have to remember that Raines in his peak years was one of the two or three best players in the league. Was that ever true of Guerrero? I sort of doubt it.
Paddy O (St. Louis, MO)
Rob, what team was the hardest to find a representative from? I'm guessing St. Louis Browns.
Rob Neyer (2:30 PM)
Aside from the Seattle Pilots, yeah. Well, the K.C. A's were pretty tough, too. Anyway, I was thrilled to recall that Satchel Paige was an All-Star with the Browns. Once I had him, all other candidates seemed irrelevant.
Big Rog (Worcester. PA)
Jayson Werth got selected to take Beltran's place. Right call? Or should it have been Ku Fung Panda or Kemp (ie someone on the final vote)?
Rob Neyer (2:32 PM)
Absolutely ridiculous. You're going to let the fans select the Flyin' Hawaiian AND you're going to let Manuel take Jayson Werth? Has Bud Selig no shame?
bth (baton rouge)
biggio's 1996 @ 2nd base was better than morgan's or sanberg's...no question
Rob Neyer (2:32 PM)
Biggio was on the team the first time around and might have been the toughest cut. But Morgan's the greatest second baseman ever, and Ryno gave me the Cub I needed.
Everyone wants to know: Was there really no room for 1968 Bob Gibson? I know it was the Year of the Pitcher, but his ERA was still like 250-something. Mr. Neyer, the floor is yours...
Rob Neyer (2:37 PM)
The omission of Gibson is probably the most popular subject here (and in the comments below the main thing) ... Looking at everything now, I think that was a mistake. While I looked past single seasons, Gibson was also fantastic in 1969 and '70, and could reasonably take Carlton's, Gooden's, Spahn's, or Seaver's spot. I just messed up. My apologies to Gibby.
It's not ridiculous that Jayson made the team. You lost an OF so you have to add another one, and Jayson has more RBIs and HRs than Kemp.
Rob Neyer (2:40 PM)
No, you don't. They already picked up another outfielder in Victorino. If nothing else, the next guy chosen should have been whoever finished behind Victorino in the fan voting. Plenty of room for Kung Fu Panda, who can play (at least) three positions.
Zac (San Diego)
Just curious why you've got the same team different name with the Pilots/Mariners, and no Colt .45s for the Astros? No All Star? I'm not a baseball historian here either so forgive my ignorance. Thanks
Rob Neyer (2:41 PM)
the Colt .45s and the Astros were the same franchise playing in the same city. The Pilots and Mariners were completely different franchises.
Cordero as your only National? Really? No room for Soriano and his 40/40 season?
Rob Neyer (2:42 PM)
Great season, but the LAST thing I needed was another National League outfielder.
Hi Rob - Love the chat.... I like Brandon Inge, and think he probably should have made the all-star team outright.... but think there is something wrong with the system when the likes of Inge and Pedroia are all-stars, and Kinsler and Cabrera are sitting at home. Thoughts?
Rob Neyer (2:43 PM)
Pedroia's a great player, while Inge is merely having a great season. I keep getting asked how the All-Star Game could be better. Well, here's a novel idea: GET THE BEST PLAYERS IN THE ALL-STAR GAME. Seems like an obvious thing.
Do you see Halladay going anywhere? I doubt it, unless they received a completely overwhelming offer.
Rob Neyer (2:45 PM)
I think they're going to trade him. Once you get this ball rolling, it's hard to stop it.
So who's your AL SP? I had to go with Pedro, mostly due to the numbers he put up in the steroid era.
Rob Neyer (2:48 PM)
When I started working on this, I did come up with starters at each position, and I believe I did have Pedro in there. One might argue that his 1999-2000 was as dominant a two-year as anyone's ever had (and yeah, I know there are dozens of other candidates, especially since he started only 29 games in each season).
From mlb.com... "According to MLB, any injured starter will be replaced by the top vote-getter on the player ballot who's not a starter. "
Rob Neyer (2:50 PM)
Ah, I should have known ... the players are dumber than the fans. Remember this, the next time somebody says the fans can't be trusted.
I know Pete Rose is banned from baseball, but does that mean he has to be banned from this list too?
Rob Neyer (2:51 PM)
At which position? And instead of whom, exactly? Performance-wise, Rose is a second-tier Hall of Famer and I didn't find room for many of those guys on the team.
Jeff (NY, NY)
I am a Yankee fan, and even I was a little surprised by the Jeter pick over Cal Ripken. Is Jeter better than I think or is Cal not as good as I remember?
Rob Neyer (2:54 PM)
Without getting inside your head, probably maybe just a little bit of both. In terms of wins and losses, they're real close (or will be, when Jeter's finished).
Paddy O (St. Louis, MO)
What 3 players on your rosters would you want to see play live most?
Rob Neyer (2:57 PM)
Babe Ruth, Satchel Paige, and ... Norm Siebern. Okay, not really. I'll give that third slot to Willie Mays in his prime (I did see him at the end).
Jay (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)
How can Brooks Robinson not be one of your third basemen? Both defensively and offensively, he triumphs over anyone on either the NL or AL roster.
Rob Neyer (2:58 PM)
That's crazy talk, Jay. You know that, right?
Rob Neyer (3:01 PM)
Thanks for playing the home game, everyone. I hope you'll forgive me for Cal and especially for Gibson. I'll try harder next time.