Friday, April 20, 2012

MLB All Decade Team 1960s

This team is so stacked that I had to leave out Mickey Mantle, Ernie Banks, Al Kaline, Roberto Clemente, Carl Yastrzemski, Billy Williams, Lou Brock, and Vada Pinson, among others.

C Joe Torre Edges out Elston Howard
1B Willie McCovey Thought about Orlando Cepeda
2B Pete Rose over Dick McAuliffe
3B Ron Santo Over Brooks Robinson and Eddie Mathews
SS Maury Wills Gets the nod over Luis Aparicio and Jim Fregosi
OF Hank Aaron
OF Frank Robinson
OF Willie Mays
U Harmon Killebrew
RHP Juan Marichal Better than Bob Gibson
LHP Sandy Koufax Over Whitey Ford
RP Hoyt Wilhelm Sustained excellence puts him ahead of Dick Radatz's brief brilliance


  1. no Mantle, no team

  2. Felt bad leaving him out, but he missed a lot of time in '62 and '63, and was just a shell of his former self after '64. No room for him here.

  3. I'm a diehard Yankee fan, but I agree with you, Tyler. Certainly, Mantle would have been included in the all-decade team of the 1950's, but, with his decline in full swing by '64, I understand your reasoning. On the other hand, the ghost of Bill DeWitt would have appreciated Mantle's inclusion at the expense of Frank Robinson: Somewhere, he's still trying to justify that trade.

  4. It's too bad Mantle broke down so early because of injuries and alcoholism; he turned 33 and was never the same. Those last four years when he and the Yankees were struggling were just sad

  5. I think that's the strongest impetus for the romanticizing that always accompanies any mention of Mickey Mantle. In spite of everything he endured, whether through bad luck or his own doing, Mickey still compiled a resume that firmly places him among the games 12-15 greatest players ever. As you said, his career's inflection point is his age-33 season, which stands in stark contrast to most, if not all, of the game's all-time greats' careers. Often, their superior productivity in the second half of their careers (Hank Aaron serves as a prominent example) is what propelled them to such great heights. Mickey is the rare example of someone who accomplished unimaginable things and still left his audience saying "What if?"

  6. You're correct that the majority of elite players remained productive late into their careers (Ruth, Gehrig, Ott, Williams, Musial, Mays, Bonds, etc.) but until recently many players suffered dramatic performance decline during their mid 30s. Without the benefits of modern nutrition and fitness routines, more often then not they were plagued by injury/ineffectiveness late in their careers. That's why so many guys just fell off a cliff without that slow, more natural decline. Mantle, Jim Rice, Jimmie Foxx (great comp for Mantle), Joe DiMaggio, Duke Snider, and Boog Powell all come to mind.

    Mantle, who may very well be a top ten player, should have been able to clear 600 home runs easily with that power and considering he broke in when he was 19 years old. Switch-hitting may have hurt his career as well, since he was more of an upper cutter from the left side. From the right side (his natural side), his swing was more refined and he was a better line drive hitter and a better pure hitter. Some have said that nobody hit better than Mantle batting from the right, and for his career he hit .330/.424/.575 from the right, pretty darn good. He would have had to contend with Death Valley more as Joe DiMaggio did, but with that speed I'm sure he would have mashed plenty of doubles and triples.

    The sad thing was that he was already hurt before he even got to the bigs; he had osteoperosis in his knees from a high school football injury. There was just too much working against him. I'd say Ken Griffey Jr. is the modern day equivalent of him; their careers followed similar trajectories and while both accomplished a lot, injuries prevented them from setting records.

  7. Second base is a weak position this decade that's for sure. While Maz was good on D and hit one famous home run he's not worthy of the hall of fame.

    I don't like Pete Rose but I think he fits better than Carew here. He played over 55% of his games in the 1960's at second base and the wins above replacement for the decade isn't even close:

    Rod Carew 9.1
    Pete Rose 29.5

  8. Good point. I guess I just never thought of Rose as a second baseman, though he did play it for only his first four years before moving to the outfield. I'm not a big fan of Carew either since all he did was hit for average.

  9. Bobby Richardson, perhaps?

  10. While Richardson did make five All-Star teams, win five Gold Gloves and finish runner-up to Mantle in the '62 MVP vote, he just wasn't that good offensively. .299 OBP and .336 SLG (77 OPS+) from 1960 through '66 are terrible, and even if when his stats are neutralized they don't improve much (.308 OBP and .345 SLG). Perhaps the most telling statistic is that over those seven seasons combined he was worth just five bWAR, a figure some players can put up in half a season. But he played for the Yankees, who won nine pennants and four World Series during his career, so as a result he became quite overrated.

  11. I am glad to see Koufax there. He was the unquestionable pitcher of the decade right or left handed in regular or post season. There is a list out there that has Drysdale above Koufax (what a joke). I think the best way to tell the greatest is ask yourself which pitcher would you want starting game 7? It would have to be Koufax and his 0.95 career era in the world series. Yes, Bob Gibson won alot of games and was clutch, but his era was over 2.00. He had the single best regular season of the decade with his 1.12 era. But he was not as great as Koufax.
    It is also amazing to see that Clemente is not there. But I agree that Aaron, Mays and Robinson belong there.

    1. clemente over mays. mays was limping from 67 on.

    2. but he was sooo good before then

  12. Again, it should be Lf, Cf, and Rf, Yaz, Mays and Aaron.

    Carew is an odd choice for 2b?? Should be Mazeroski.

    Fregosi or Wills flip a coin, Aparicio a slight tick below.

    McCovey or Norm Cash, might be Cash when you consider McCovey spent parts of 3 seasons playing left field.

    Koufax with a huge lead over Sam Mcdowell and Whitey Ford.

    Gibson over Marical by a nose hair.

  13. lets give credit where it's due. Kofax was GREAT for 5 yrs.- out of 12. you could answer a lot of questions by taking the players PRIME yrs. as a measuring stick, for instance take Mantle from '54 to '64- tell me- who was better him??((at that time)

  14. Luis Aparicio at SS, Mantle has to be on there somewhere and Brooks Robinson at third. This was a great era for baseball. Where did it go?

  15. You got to find room for Dick Allen, I would take him over Killebrew at Utility. And definitely Roberto Clemente too!