MLB All-Stars – Tony Gwynn, Don Mattingly, and My Favorites

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Jun 26, 2014; San Deigo, CA, USA; San Diego Padres former player Tony Gwynn

It’s been over a year now since the great Tony Gwynn passed away.  Being a fan of his, I got to thinking about some of my favorite players that I ever had the joy to watch.  I then narrowed that down to my favorite players from the late 80’s and early 90’s.  Those were the glory days of my baseball education, and I still look back fondly on that era.

So, I decided to construct my favorite starting nine from that period.  It is not necessarily the best player at each position, but rather my own personal favorites during this window of time.  It is meant to spark a conversation about your favorite 9 (or 10) from that era, so no one is right or wrong.  We’re all just rehashing memories of former All-Stars.

First Base

Jun 8, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers manager

Don Mattingly

(8) and Dodgers batting coach

Mark McGwire

(25) look on during the first half against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

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Let’s begin at first base.  I don’t know how it happened exactly, but when I began to learn about baseball, my favorite player quickly became Don Mattingly from the New York Yankees.  During the span of 1984-1990, Mattingly put up hall of fame credentials. This included an MVP (1985), a batting title (1984), and numerous records like 6 grand slams in one season (1987).  His slick fielding led to a gold glove in almost every season he played, missing out on only the one season where his back problems cost him most of his playing time.

Don Mattingly is my first baseman over Mark McGwire and Will Clark.  I consider Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell to be sort of on the outside of this era.

Second Base

Apr 4, 2015; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Former Toronto Blue Jays player

Roberto Alomar

during a ceremony before the game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Toronto Blue Jays at the Olympic Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

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Second base was a little bit more complicated for me.  When I was coming up, it was really all about Ryne Sandberg.  He was on TV every day thanks to WGN, nd he seemed like a likable enough guy.  However, I always was drawn more to the five-tool guys, and nobody embodied that more than Roberto Alomar.  Sure, he was a jerk and spit in umpires’ faces, but he was amazing to watch in the field and at the plate.  I’m a sucker for the power and speed combination.  The Blue Jay version of Robbie Alomar clinched it for me. No, Craig Biggio is not on this list for a reason, because of the period and position.

Next: Third Base, Shortstop, and Catcher