10/02/2005: From the "So how'd I do?" Department: The All-Busch Stadium Team
Back in August or so, the St. Louis Cardinals, as an adjunct to the "Millions of Memories" last-year-of-Busch-Stadium-II promotion, announced a fan vote for the "All-Busch Stadium" team (strictly speaking, the "All-Busch Stadium II team", since the late, great Sportsman's Park, home of the St. Louis Browns for all of that team's stay in St. Louis and home of the Cardinals for the largest part of the franchise's history, was known as "Busch Stadium" during the period from when Gussie Busch bought the stadium from St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck in 1953 until the Cardinals moved into Busch Stadium II in May of 1966 (Gussie actually wanted to re-name Sportsman's Park "Budweiser Stadium", but pressure from the Commissioner of Baseball and the National League put the kibosh on that plan. Gussie then ostensibly named the ballpark after himself/his family, but a year or two later Anheuser Busch came out with "Busch Bavarian Beer", a brand name which was inevitably shortened to "Busch" in actual practice; so in a sense Gussie prevailed in his quest to name his ballpark after one of his beers, albeit not his flagship brand).
Anyway, the results of the fan vote for the All-Busch team were announced yesterday before the Cards-Reds game. Back in August I published a post giving my personal favorites for my All-Busch team, and now I thought it'd be fun to compare my choices to the announced team and see how closely my thought processes (or what passes for thought processes in my brain) mirror those of the bulk of Cardinals fans (the choices that the other fans got wrong :-) are emphasized):
Manager: Fan Choice--Whitey Herzog My Choice--HerzogActually, I can't argue too much with the selection of Ted. My selection of McCarver was a sentimental choice, based on his association with the team during my earliest infancy as a Cardinals fan. Simmons, a long-time fan favorite from the late '60s to the late '70s, is well deserving of the nod the fans gave him.
Utilityman: Fan Choice--Jose Oquendo My Choice--Oquendo
Catcher: Fan Choice--Ted Simmons My Choice--Tim McCarver
First Base: Fan Choice--Albert Pujols My Choice--PujolsA definite Hall of Famer as long as he stays healthy (as Brian Gunn noted in a post at Redbird Nation, players of Pujols's caliber simply don't become head cases and fart their careers away, so I'm not worried about that happening). I can't imagine a more deserving choice (possibly McGwire; I'd suspect that the steroid use allegations, combined with the fact that Big Mac was a Cardinal during the tail end of his career (but what a tail end it was!) hurt him there). A commenter in the Cardinals blogosphere (and damn my failing memory for not remembering who he is) noted that, if Prince Albert maintains the pace that he's set this early in his career, he's very highly likely to dethrone Stan "The Man" Musial as The Greatest Cardinal of All Time. And if Albert the Great shows the kind of community involvement and fan engagement that has marked Musial's career (and post-retirement life), he'll be a worthy successor to "The Man".
Second Base: Fan Choice--Tommy Herr My Choice--Julian JavierJavier was another sentimental pick of mine for the same reason as McCarver, pretty much, and it was a hard choice between Javier and Herr in my mind. Herr is, of course, the Cards' All-Star regular second baseman from 1979 to 1988, a period which included the great "Whiteyball" teams of the '80s.
Shortstop: Fan Choice--Ozzie Smith My Choice--SmithIf the fans had chosen anyone but The Wizard of Oz, they'd have had to take it up with me. :-) Arguably the greatest defensive shortstop of all time, and listed 7th greatest shortstop of all time by Bill James in his New Historical Baseball Abstract, he's easily the greatest shortstop ever seen in the history of Busch II.
Third Base: Fan Choice--Scott Rolen My Choice--Mike "Moonman" ShannonMoonman was a sentimental choice of mine a la McCarver and Javier. I've got no complaint about Rolen's selection, especially in light of all he's done for us lately. A possible Cooperstown enshrinee, though his Hall of Fame metrics through last season aren't looking like he's a mortal lock for the Hall. I've gotta wonder, though, how much of the Rolen vote was a sympathy vote given his season ending injury and surgery this year.
Left Field: Fan Choice--Lou Brock My Choice--BrockSome Cards fans consider Jedmonds a worthy enshrinee at Cooperstown as well. His Hall of Fame metrics, while stronger than Rolen's (they'd better be; Jedmonds has been playing longer) aren't in the "mortal lock" territory yet, and Jedmonds is no spring chicken and he isn't getting any younger. But given the "what's he done for us lately?" factor, I can't argue with this choice (much), either. I'm suprised that Willie McGee didn't make it, considering how wildly popular he is among The Lou's baseball afficionados, but you have to have a successful dark horse finish in the money every once in a while....
Center Field: Fan Choice--Jim Edmonds My Choice--Willie McGee
Right Field: Fan Choice--Roger Maris My Choice--Maris
Starting Pitcher: Fan Choice--Bob Gibson My Choice--Gibby
Relief Pitcher: Fan Choice--Bruce Sutter My Choice--Sutter
Len on 10.02.05 @ 11:42 AM CST