Third Base, Shortstop, and Catcher
Jul 27, 2014; Cooperstown, NY, USA; Hall of Fame playerWade Boggs
responds to being introduced during the class of 2014 national baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony at National Baseball Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Like first base, third base was easy for me. It should be no surprise that the two players are somewhat similar. Wade Boggs was teaching me about contact hitting before I ever fell in love with Tony Gwynn. He had 200+ hits in seven straight years (83-89)!! Plus, who else was I going to pick? Carney Lansford? Chris Sabo? Ken Caminiti was a favorite of mine, but I was more a fan of his defense than his offense and even the hometown ‘Stro couldn’t supplant Boggs from my list.
Shortstop was the battle between offense and defense. Alan Trammel was a fantastic player but never was one of my favorites and Barry Larkin played for the hated Reds who were in the Astros’ division. Cal Ripken is one of my all-time favorite players. Sure, there is the streak, he had two MVP awards almost a decade apart, 3000 hits, and he’s a really nice guy.
One of the greats and one of my favorites, but this is where this team delved into a gray area. For that time-period, no one excited me more at that position than Ozzie Smith. His highlight reel is well documented, and his back flips were sensational in a time where baseball could have probably used a little flair. He’ll bat 9th for sure, but he’s my shortstop for this exercise.
Apr 1, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros former players Craig Biggio (left) andNolan Ryan
(right) wave to the crowd before a game against the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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I’m not going to shock you with my backstop. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, you were on the cusp of Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez, but you didn’t have them yet. Gary Carter would get the nod even, but he was towards the end of his career. Carlton Fisk never moved the needle for me, so who was there? I remember Lance Parish. I remember Terry Steinbach. I also remember growing up a huge Astros fan and distinctly remember the first and last game of the man who was catching the likes of Nolan Ryan and Mike Scott when I was a kid. Craig Biggio is clearly my pick here. I’m not wrong. You are.