1999 All Bucketfoot Team

Pudge. No one else is even close. The Dude just rocked. Piazza would still make a better DH (and maybe pizza) than Pudge, but Pudge put it all together. Just one knock on Ivan, why did he have to borrow Pudge Fisk's nickname? Why not Roadblock (i.e., he stops traffic on the base paths), Howie (short for howitzer-he guns down the opposing base runners), or F.L.M. (Funny Looking Man)?
First Base
McGwire. Has hitting 65 home runs become passe or what? Plus he's still got a great glove and he can carry the team on his back-literally, including the team bus, equipment manager, front office staff, and two or three minor league stadiums.
Second Base
Rogers Hornsby. Yeah, we know he's still dead. Yeah we know he hasn't had a hit in over 60 years. But we all owe him for the injustice of Jackie Robinson being voted in ahead of him on the All-Century Team. Besides, if Hack Wilson could pick up an RBI 60 years after his career ended, Hornsby-WHO AVERAGED OVER .400 FOR A FIVE-YEAR SPAN AND IS THE ONLY PLAYER IN HISTORY TO HIT OVER 40 HR AND BAT .400 IN THE SAME SEASON-ought to get enough hits, RBI, HR, and runs scored added to his career stats to validate his selection to the 1999 All Bucketfoot Team.
Third Base
Larry Jones. Not familiar with Larry? He also goes by Chipper and he had a really Schmidty year at the plate in 1999. (He had a really Garveyesque year away from the plate but that's salacious and not fitting for Bucketfoot.) Jones won the MVP popularity contest and was a worthy pick. People forget that he is just now coming into what should be his power years (we're talking Schmidt type power). In 1999 Jones was an absolute stud (no Garvey joke intended).
Alex Rodriguez. This guy is better than Jeter and Nomar put together. Look at his numbers...now consider that he missed several weeks of the season. WOW. (Upside down, that's MOM.) Alex can and does do it all. Jeter is good but not great. Nomar is really good but not great and he plays in a park that (while not Coors Field) is really friendly to hitters.
Left Field
Rickey Henderson. Ya gotta love this guy. His career is supposed to be over--again. He's supposed to fade away and be a cancer to a team (a la Belle). Instead, he challenges for MVP and he teaches young players how to play the game. Cooperstown will have to wait. Only one problem, get back to Oakland where you belong!
Center Field
Not Griffey. Put whoever you want in this slot, just not Griffey. The Mariners have given him millions of dollars and years of adulation. Now he wants to be traded to be closer to his family. He says it was a difficult decision and we believe him. It was difficult because he knew he would come off as a complete phony! He tries to play the family card. Aww, gee...what a swell guy. What a bunch of hooey! Three years ago he moved his Seattle-native wife and kid to Orlando! Why not just move them back to Seattle? Because it's not about family, it's about playing for a big market, big money team. This guy could be great. Instead he's drifting further from being like Gwynn and closer to being a spoiled punk every year.
Right Field
Larry Walker. Coors Field, schmoors schmield. We know that on the road he was less than steller. But at home he was way beyond merely fantastic. Which means that cumulatively he was absolutely superb and worthy of his place on the 1999 All Buckfoot Team (besides, I know Eric likes him and would have put him on the roster anyway.) Eric's unstoppable influence notwithstanding, Walker put up mind boggling numbers again. He is baseball's best walking Triple Crown threat. To top it all off, he comes across as a real cool guy. You expect to see Walker buying milk at the corner store. Walker is good for baseball. He's sort of the anti-Belle-Sheffield-Strawberry-Cone.
AL Cy Young
Pedro Martinez. Duh.
NL Cy Young
Randy Johnson. Duh. He could have won a law suit against his teammates for failure to pay support. Still he dominated.
Jason Giambi. No one was as valuable to their team-period. Without Giambi the A's are also rans who would have been out of the race in June. Giambi's bat carried the team through rough stretches. He played hurt. He played hard. His teammates routinely cited him as the key factor to the team's success. Giambi led a small-money team to the brink of the Promised Land. His contributions were well beyond the pale. Nomar wasn't even the MVP of his own team. Besides, the Bo Sox barely edged out the A's despite having triple the payroll and arguably the best pitcher in baseball. Ivan had more than a little help. Sure he had a great season, but if he misses half the season, the Rangers probably still haul their triple-the-Athletics'-payroll into the post season. Giambi led his team well past expectations. What other player did that? That is the definition of MVP. 
Bud Selig. He moved the Brewers to the National League. In doing so, he helped every other NL team, to several more wins a year over the next decade or so.  
Rookie of the Year
Tim Hudson. Hudson's numbers were awesome. His ERA was WAY below the league average. He went 11 - 2 and that's counting at least 4 games that the bullpen blew for him! He could have easily been 15 - 2 or 16 - 2. He made hitters look clueless. Hitters adjusted to him and he adjusted right back. We don't want to jinx the guy, but he pitches a lot like that Maddux fellow. As for Febles. His numbers were right about average for a full-time outfielder in the American League. AVERAGE! Hudson dominated. End of story. 
Biggest Flops
The Bought-me-more Orioles. Stop it, I'm laughing so hard that my stomach hurts. 

The Lost-in-Angeles Dodgers. Los "Angeles," Peter "Angelos." There's more here than meets the eye! Stop it, really, I'm gonna lose my lunch. Stop it, I can't quit laughing! 


© Bucketfoot Baseball Publications, 2000