Sunday, March 20, 2005

Throwback teams

(Note: Just a quickie post today, since it's my little girl's first birthday, and her adoring daddy has some cakes to eat . . .)

The challenge came courtesy of my cousin Kris, a baseball junkie who happens to have the same Sox-lovin' gene I do, but with one cruel twist:

Where my Sox are lovely reddish hue, his are pasty-ass white.

Yep, I'm related to a real, live Chicago White Sox fan. Didn't think they existed, did ya? Probably figured they were an urban legend. Truth be told, it is kinda like being cousins with Sasquatch, or the Loch Ness Monster - people claim they've seen a White Sox fan from time to time, but there's not a lot of tangible proof.

Come to think of it, the only photos we have of Kris in the family album are grainy shots of a shadowy figure running through the wilderness wearing what appear to be a Chet Lemon retro jersey and shortpants. Huh.

Anyway, my point. A few days ago, Kris dropped this email on me:

"I was thinking of putting together a starting 9 or so consisting of my favorite current players that are former White Sox. I got curious about such a team of former Red Sox and thought you might be up for making said list. Kind of a "what if we kept them" team . . ."

Well, of course I was up for said list - as you've probably concluded by now, my baseball dorkdom knows no bounds. Plus, I remembered enjoying a similar Baseball Weekly feature a few years ago in which each major-league team's roster was reordered as if every player were still with the organization that originally signed him. (Note to my 12 readers: If any of you know where I might find this story, shoot me a message. I can't find the danged thing anywhere.)

Kris's idea is a neat concept, and pretty easy to tabulate thanks to the wonders of You also gain a new perspective on the moves your team has made through the years - namely, it gives you further insight to whether your GM is a personnel savant, a hit-or-miss judge of talent, or an incompetent twit named Chuck LaMar.

First, here's what my cuz came up with for the White Sox:

Starting Rotation:
Bartolo Colon
David Wells
Kip Wells
Esteban Loaiza
Scott Schoeneweis

Kelly Wunsch
Rocky Biddle
Antonio Osuna
Cal Eldred
Alan Embree
Chad Bradford
Keith Foulke

Miguel Olivo

Around the Horn:
Herbert Perry
Tony Graffanino
Ray Durham
Julio Franco

Carlos Lee
Mike Cameron
Magglio Ordonez

Charles Johnson
Sandy Alomar, Jr.
Aaron Miles
Chris Singleton
Kenny Lofton
Ruben Sierra
Sammy Sosa

Conclusion: Not bad - great bullpen, excellent outfield, decent starting pitching, and a completely rational dislike for Sosa . . .

. . . and while the infield is weak, any time 173-year old Julio Franco (below, at age 151 on his 1983 Donruss rookie card) is prominently involved, it can't all be bad. I say, without benefit of looking at other teams' former player rosters, that this club wins the AL Central.

Now, your Retro Red Sox. (The asterisk denotes those who played in the Boston organization but never made the majors here):

Starting pitching:
Roger Clemens
Pedro Martinez
Derek Lowe
Jamie Moyer
Carl Pavano*

Headed for Pawtucket:
Jeff Suppan
Aaron Sele
Tony Armas*
Tomo Ohka
Pedro Astacio
Josh Hancock
Phil Dumatrait*
Kent Mercker
Javier Lopez*
Dennis Tankersley*

Da pen:
Scott Williamson
Ugueth Urbina
Flash Gordon
Paul Quantrill
Mike Stanton
Rheal Cormier

Headed for Pawtucket:
Justin Duchscherer*
Chris Reitsma*
Jorge De La Rosa
Casey Fossum
Travis Harper*
Brandon Lyon
Rafael Betancourt*
Bobby Howry
Scott Sauerbeck
Todd Jones
Jim Mecir
Bruce Chen
Chris Hammond
Rudy Seanez
Terry Adams
Frank Francisco*
Brian Shouse
Mike Gonzalez*
Ron Mahay
Wil Ledezma*
Dustin Hermanson and his white-guy jheri curl

The prospect traded for Larry Andersen*
Todd Walker
Orlando Cabrera
Nomah (he's pulling an A-Rod here . . . uh, to clarify, I mean he's moving to third base, not slapping a pitcher, choking like a Heimlich dummy, eating a catcher's mitt, or putting on purple lip-gloss.)

Headed for Pawtucket:
Tony Clark (after I kick him in his "Manzanillo")
Freddy Sanchez
Tony Womack
Rey Sanchez

Cliff Floyd
Dave Roberts
Matt Stairs

Headed for Pawtucket:
Lew Ford*
Carl Everett (see Tony Clark)

Scott Hatteberg

Headed for Pawtucket:
Todd Pratt*

Pokey Reese (miss ya already, Pokester)
World Series Ball Thief
Shea "Queer Eye" Hillenbrand
Wil Cordero
John Flaherty
David Eckstein*

Drafted by the Red Sox, lowballed by Dan Duquette and didn't sign, and will probably win the AL home run title this year:
Mark Teixeira

Conclusion: Lousy outfield, elite starting pitching (Roger and Pedro!), a power-armed bullpen, a gaggle of lesser pitchers that should be ground into Spam, a loaded infield, and a useful bench.

All in all, though, I'd rather have the team that's down in Ft. Myers right now. The past is a blast, but for a Red Sox fan, it's tough to top the present.

Agreed, Sasquatch?

"ARRRRRRR!" (Translation: "You are correct, sir!")