Now that we are on our 341st day without baseball (or so it feels), I’m grasping at straws for any baseball topic to write about because I miss watching it being played.
|Me without baseball on every night.|
So here’s what we have for a random topic. What college has produced the best all-around team? Not the best players or most Hall of Famers, but if we were to build a team from their graduates, who would be the best team? Baseball is one of the few remaining sports that doesn’t require their athletes to go to college, so a lot of stars (ever heard of Mike Trout?) are drafted straight from high school and don’t develop a relationship with the NCAA. That makes this blog interesting because some of the biggest names never went to school.
My first thought were the poewrhouses of the south like Texas, but they’ve produced aggressively average major leaguers by the likes of Taylor Teagarden, Drew Stubbs, and Jordan Danks. They have had some go on to big time success such as Brandon Belt and Huston Street. Okay, how about UNC? Good teams year after year but not always the best pros – Andrew Miller, Chris Iannetta, Kyle Seager lead the highlights but that’s about it. TCU has made a recent run to prominence, but other than Andrew Cashner, Jake Arrieta, and Matt Carpenter are the only Horned Frog alum with serious success. So here’s where I leave it. The two best colleges to field a team would be Arizona State and USC. I’ll let you decide who would win.
So here we go. For the Sun Devils:
1. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
2. Ian Kinsler, 3B
3. Barry Bonds, LF
4. Reggie Jackson, RF
5. Either Ike Davis or Bill Buckner, 1B
6. Andre Ethier, CF
7. Paul Lo Duca, C
8. Willie Bloomquist, SS
9. Jim Palmer, P
That is a mean lineup with 48 All-Star Games between them (Bonds and Jackson lead the way with 14 a piece). Pushing Kinsler to third might be a bit tricky but offensively it will not matter given the protection of the home run king behind him and Mr. October behind him! The only weak portion is Willie Bloomquist, who isn’t bad offensively with a .272 average but his .976 fielding percentage at shortstop is alarming. Pedroia has an MVP, Kinsler has 2 pennants, Bond has 7 MVPs, Jackson has an MVP, and Jim Palmer has 3 Cy Young awards. Oh and not to mention Jackson and Bonds are cousins (apparently) so having some family ties always helps.
For the Trojans:
1. Bobby Valentine, SS
2. Fred Lynn, CF
3. Ralph Kiner, LF
4. Mark McGwire, 1B
5. Bret Boone, 2B
6. Lucas DUDA, RF
7. Aaroun Boone, 3B
8. Jeff Clement, C
9. Randy Johnson or Tom Seaver OR Don Sutton (!!!!!!!!), P
Again, a mean lineup, though they seem to rely heavily on star power. This lineup reminds me of the Tigers this year, great at the top but the role players will make it weak. The Boone brothers had a few great years (even though Bret was suspected of juicing) but still, Aaron’s a .263 career hitter and his known only for his clutch home run to send the Yankees to the 2003 World Series. Honest answer, how many of you knew he played for the Astros, Marlins, and Nationals? Still, Fred Lynn did have a Platinum Season in 1975 and Kiner and McGwire have 952 homers between them, making a formidable 3-4 combo.
So who wins? I’d say ASU in a close game. If Johnson starts, maybe not as close given the Sun Devils career averages against him. Paul Lo Duca (Backyard Baseball alum) hit a cool .317 off of the Big Unit, Bonds hit .306 with 3 dingers, Pedroia is 4-5 career (small sample size, I know), and Ethier is 2-3. So like I said, I think it would be close. Jim Palmer has faced Bobby Valentine (.167) and Fred Lynn (.200) which is compelling evidence for the Sun Devils, but if Mark McGwire hits a hold of one…it will be rolling for awhile.
I think it would be a fun matchup. My parents’ alma mater, University of Michigan, has some serious talent too, but not this deep. Guys like Barry Larkin, Jim Abbott, and Mike Matheny were Wolverines in their day, but unfortunately, the rest of the starting 9 wouldn’t be able to compete with ASU.
Thanks for reading – and the World Series starts tomorrow!