Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ronald B. Saunders Picks His All-Time Brooklyn/ Los Angeles Dodgers Starting Team

Special Report
Long Branch, New Jersey
June 30, 2011

Jackie Robinson

 I have followed the game of baseball since the great Jackie Robinson made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. The vast majority of Afro-Americans became Dodger fans as a result of Jackie breaking the color barrier.
Jackie Robinson was the most versatile of all the starters on my All Time Team. When Jackie made Rookie of the Year in 1947, he played first base for the Dodgers but the next year he was moved to second base to make room for another member of my All Time Team, the great Gil Hodges.
Jackie could also play third base and left field.
Because of the tireless efforts of the great Jackie Robinson, major league baseball is highly integrated with players of color coming from countries all over the world.
Although the players coming from the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama call themselves Latino/Hispanic, the vast majority of those players have Black African roots due to the institution of slavery which was so pervasive throughout all the Caribbean Islands, Central and South America.

   My All Time Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers Starting Team
Roy Campanella

CATCHER: Roy Campanella ( Campy ): Next to Johnnie Bench, Campy was the greatest backstop to play the game. Campy won three Most Valuable Player Awards in 1951, 1953 and 1955.

FIRST BASEMAN: Gil Hodges: Gil was the greatest Dodger first baseman in Dodger history. How would you like to face Robinson, Snider, Hodges, Campanella and Furillo in that order?

SECOND BASE: Man could Jackie play that game---the greatest Dodger ever. I remember when Jackie stole home against the Pirates in 1947. My family and I sat in the stands at Forbes Field and rooted for the Dodgers and we also heard the racist Pittsburgh fans call Jackie very kind of racial slur possible. But Jackie made a fool out of the Pirates with his excellent play on the field and he had his highest lifetime batting average against the hapless Pirates of Ralph Kiner, and Wally Westlake.
When was the last time a Dodger stole home? Jackie Robinson deserves to have a holiday in his honor. Jackie was more than a great pioneer in baseball, he was a true American hero who showed how the game of life should be played as he gave back to his country in such a positive manner.

SHORTSTOP: Pee Wee Reese, the man from Kentucky who was a friend of Jackie's. Pee Wee was the captain of the "Boys of Summer" who played as a Dodger for 18 long years. Pee Wee stood by Jackie throughout his trials and tribulations in that historic year in 1947. They became very close friends both on and off the field of play.

THIRD BASEMAN:Ron Cey, the only Los Angeles Dodger on this all time infield. He beat out the great Billy Cox by a "Nat's Eyelash." Ron was the all time home run leader of the Dodgers for a time. Ron held down the hot corner in the 1970's and 1980's and was a fierce competitor.

LEFT FIELDER: Tommy Davis, the last Dodger to lead the National League in RBIs. He was the best hitter on the Koufax and Big Don Drysdale-led teams at a time when runs were hard to come by. Tommy who had a strong throwing arm, was very underrated as an outfielder.

CENTER FIELDER: The great Duke Snider, "The Duke of Flat bush." Duke was the key ingredient why the Bums won six pennants in ten years, plus the World Series in 1955.  Duke hit 407 homers in a 17 year career, and is the Dodger all time leader in home runs. Duke was the fourth greatest center fielder of all time to play in New York City behind Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and the  greatest of the greats, Willie Mays. Duke Snider was born to play center field and no one played it like Duke except for Willie and Joe D.

RIGHT FIELDER: Carl Furillo had a rifle for an arm and was a consistent  clutch hitter which is the reason the fans at Ebbets field loved Carl.

STARTING PITCHER: The great Sandy Koufax: Sandy was the greatest pitcher in the history of the major leagues. Sandy had better stuff than any pitcher past or present. If I had to pick one pitcher to win a one game series, it would be Sandy Koufax. I have seen all the great lefties and right handed pitchers from Spahn, Carlton, Whitey Ford, Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Bob Feller, Lefty Grove, Dizzy Dean.  Sandy Koufax was in a class all by himself. Sandy had four no hitters, including a perfect game in 1965.  Mr. Koufax had a fastball, sinker, curve ball and slider that even Willie Mays and Hank Aaron said was very difficult to hit. They just don't make them like Sandy Koufax any more. Sandy also played on that 1955 Championship Dodger team as a young buck.

MANAGER: Walter Alston was the greatest manager in Dodger history. I grew up on Walter Alston who really knew how handle all of those super stars                                          

 Brooklyn/ Los Angeles Dodgers

1. Jackie Robinson
2. Tommy Davis
3.  Ron Cey
4. Duke Snider
5. Roy Campanella
6. Gil Hodges
7. Carl Furillo
8. Pee Wee Reese
9. Sandy Koufax

       Ronald B. Saunders, All Time New York Yankees
              BATTING ORDER

*1. Derek Jeter
2. Joe DiMaggio
3. Mickey Mantle
4. Babe Ruth
*5. Alex Rodriquez
6. Lou Gehrig
7. Yogi Berra
8. Tony Lazzeri
9. Whitey Ford

My Dodgers All  Time team beats my New York Yankees All Time team in a classic pitching duel between White Ford and the great Sandy Koufax in a one game series. Sandy could tame the bats of Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, Gehrig, Berra, Jeter, A-Rod, and Lazzeri. The Dodgers could hit Whitey Ford as evidenced by finally capturing the crown in 1955.
Good pitching has always stopped good hitting but in the a seven game series how could my All Time Dodger Team beat the likes of Ruth, DiMaggio Gehrig and Mantle? I would start big Don Drysdale in my second game against ace Yankee hurler Allie Reynolds or Ed Lopat.
Drysdale would have been trying to hit all the Yankees in that "Murderers Row" line-up which would result in a benching clearing brawl between both teams.
Could the great Sandy Koufax stop consistently "Jolt in" Joe DiMaggio, the greatest switch hitter in the history of baseball Mickey Mantle, the "Great Bambi no", A-ROD, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, and Tony Lazzeri? I believe my All Time Dodgers led by Sandy Koufax would still win a one (1) game series but how about a seven game series?
The Dodgers could use big Don Newcombe against another Yankee ace Vic Raschi in the third game of a seven game series. The Dodgers could use Don Sutton, Orel Hershiser, or Johnny Podres in that crucial fourth game or come back with Koufax.
The Yankees on a whole have a far better All-Time pitching staff than the Dodgers who were basically "Bums" until the mid-forties.
I could start Yankee hall of famer the great Lefty Gomez or Ron Guildry in that fourth game of a seven game series against Don Sutton, Orel Hershiser or Johnny Podres. I can't even find room for Andy Pettitte or old Red Ruffing in the starting rotation who were very good pitchers.
The Bull Pen match up favors the Yankees with Mariano Duncan and the great Goose Gossage vs. the Dodgers great Erik Gagne
*Note everyone in the Yankees starting lineup is a hall of famer except for Derek Jeter and A-ROD. Jeter will make it into Cooperstown on the first ballot but A-ROD is a different story because of his alleged use of  steroids and HGH.

No Rodger Clemens? The jury is still out on "Rocket."

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