In the DVD extras for The Tenth Inning, Chris Rock talked about “Affirmative Action Home Runs.” He was referring to the level of play in baseball before integration and how major league baseball’s all white competition lowered the level of the game. He asked us to imagine the All Star Game with no black players and no Latino players.
“David Wright would be the best player in baseball.”
The staff here at Sully Baseball had made this point a few years ago when I posted about “Jackie Robinson and today’s talent pool” and lamented the lost opportunity for great moments with “A Dream Team in honor of Dr. King.”
Beyond the social injustice of segregation, history was denied great baseball!
I thought about what Chris said about the All Star team and it got my obsessive compulsive list making fires burning.
What would the current American League and National League All Star Teams look like if baseball were still segregated?
And what would an All Star roster look like if it consisted SOLELY of players who would not have been allowed to play.
And remember segregation would have kept Latin players out as well as Asians.
So I created 4 All Star Rosters…
An American League and a National League made up of only white players.
And an American League and National League team using players who would have been shut out.
Using All Star Rules, each team is represented in the rosters (it was tough finding a Cleveland or Arizona All Star of ANY race!)
So let’s take a look at the alternate universes and see the segregated All Stars
Starting Catcher – JOE MAUER, Twins
Starting First Baseman – MARK TEIXEIRA, Yankees
Starting Second Baseman – DUSTIN PEDROIA, Red Sox
Starting Shortstop – REID BRIGNAC, Rays
Starting Third Baseman – EVAN LONGORIA, Rays
Starting Left Fielder – LUKE SCOTT, Orioles
Starting Center Fielder – JOSH HAMILTON, Rangers
Starting Right Fielder – NICK SWISHER, Yankees
Starting Pitcher – JON LESTER, Red Sox
DAVID AARDSMA, Mariners ANDREW BAILEY, Athletics CLAY BUCHHOLZ, Red Sox TREVOR CAHILL, Athletics ZACK GREINKE, Royals CLIFF LEE, Rangers JONATHAN PAPELBON, Red Sox MITCH TALBOT, Indians JUSTIN VERLANDER, Tigers JERED WEAVER, Angels
JOHN BUCK, Blue Jays MICHAEL CUDDYER, Twins MARK ELLIS, Athletics J. J. HARDY, Twins PAUL KONERKO, White Sox NICK MARKAKIS, Orioles JUSTIN MORNEAU, Twins KEVIN YOUKILIS, Red Sox MICHAEL YOUNG, Rangers
Starting Catcher – VICTOR MARTINEZ, Red Sox
Starting First Baseman – MIGUEL CABRERA, Tigers
Starting Second Baseman – ROBINSON CANO, Yankees
Starting Shortstop – DEREK JETER, Yankees
Starting Third Baseman – ALEX RODRIGUEZ, Yankees
Starting Left Fielder – CARL CRAWFORD, Rays
Starting Center Fielder – TORII HUNTER, Angels
Starting Right Fielder – ICHIRO SUZUKI, Mariners
Starting Pitcher – FELIX HERNANDEZ, Mariners
FAUSTO CARMONA, Indians NEFTALI FELIZ, Rangers GIO GONZALEZ, Athletics FRANCISCO LIRIANO, Twins DAVID PRICE, Rays MARIANO RIVERA, Yankees C. C. SABATHIA, Yankees ERVIN SANTANA, Angels JOAKIM SORIA, Royals RAFAEL SORIANO, Rays
ELVIS ANDRUS, Rangers JOSE BAUTISTA, Blue Jays ADRIAN BELTRE, Red Sox ORLANDO HUDSON, Twins ADAM JONES, Orioles JORGE POSADA, Yankees ALEXI RAMIREZ, White Sox VERNON WELLS, Blue Jays DELMON YOUNG, Twins
Starting Catcher – BRIAN McCANN, Braves
Starting First Baseman – JOEY VOTTO, Reds
Starting Second Baseman – CHASE UTLEY, Phillies
Starting Shortstop – TROY TULOWITZKI, Rockies
Starting Third Baseman – DAVID WRIGHT, Mets
Starting Left Fielder – MATT HOLLIDAY, Cardinals
Starting Center Fielder – COLBY RASMUS, Cardinals
Starting Right Fielder – HUNTER PENCE, Astros
Starting Pitcher – ROY HALLADAY, Phillies
TIM LINCECUM, Giants ADAM WAINWRIGHT, Cardinals CHRIS CARPENTER, Cardinals JOSH JOHNSON, Marlins TIM HUDSON, Braves MAT LATOS, Padres EVAN MEEK, Pirates BRIAN WILSON, Giants HEATH BELL, Padres BRAD LIDGE, Phillies
COREY HART, Brewers BUSTER POSEY, Giants AUBREY HUFF, Giants DAN UGGLA, Marlins STEPHEN DREW, Diamondbacks RYAN ZIMMERMAN, Nationals RYAN BRAUN, Brewers JAYSON WERTH, Phillies ADAM DUNN, Nationals
Starting Catcher – CARLOS RUIZ, Phillies
Starting First Baseman – ALBERT PUJOLS, Cardinals
Starting Second Baseman – BRANDON PHILLIPS, Reds
Starting Shortstop – HANLEY RAMIREZ, Marlins
Starting Third Baseman – PLACIDO POLANCO, Phillies
Starting Left Fielder – MARLON BYRD, Cubs
Starting Center Fielder – MICHAEL BOURN, Astros
Starting Right Fielder – CARLOS GONZALEZ, Rockies
Starting Pitcher – UBALDO JIMENEZ, Rockies
FRANCISCO CORDERO, Reds YOVANI GALLARDO, Brewers JAIME GARCIA, Cardinals LIVAN HERNANDEZ, Nationals HONG-CHIH KUO, Dodgers CARLOS MARMOL, Cubs RICKY NOLASCO, Marlins JONATHAN SANCHEZ, Giants JOHAN SANTANA, Mets
PEDRO ALVAREZ, Pirates ANDRE ETHIER, Dodgers PRINCE FIELDER, Brewers ADRIAN GONZALEZ, Padres JASON HEYWARD, Braves RYAN HOWARD, Phillies OMAR INFANTE, Braves YADIER MOLINA, Cardinals JOSE REYES, Mets JUSTIN UPTON, Diamondbacks
Of the four rosters, I would have to say the Minority American League Roster is the best… 3 legit Cy Young candidates, power from both sides of the plate and a defensive outfield of Crawford, Hunter and Ichiro which would cut down doubles against any team.
Each team has its strengths and weaknesses, but one thing is certain:
Baseball is better with these 4 rosters combined into 2… and I am NOT talking about the Whites of both leagues versus the Minorities.
Once again, we can give thanks to Jackie Robinson, Monte Irvin, Satchel Paige, Larry Doby, Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe for paving the way… lament that Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson, Oscar Charleston and Cool Papa Bell never had their shot… and be happy that we don’t have to wonder what it would be like to see Joe Mauer face Mariano Rivera.
I’m sure Chris Rock would agree.