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All-Time Single-Season Teams: AL and NL

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

Did Willie Mays make the all-time single-season NL team? Find out below. (USATSI)
Did Willie Mays make the all-time single-season NL team? Find out below. (USATSI)

ALL-TIME SINGLE-SEASON TEAMS: CHC | STL | MIL | CIN | PIT | CHW | DET | KCR | CLE | MIN | ARI | COL | SD | LAD | SF | SEA | HOU | LAA | TEX | OAK | BOS | NYY | BAL | TOR | TBR | MIA | NYM | ATL | WAS | PHI

On Monday, we concluded naming the all-time single-season team for each of MLB's 30 franchises. By way of reminder, here's what we've been doing ...

Obviously, the term "single-season" implies that we're focused on brilliance within the confines of one campaign and not, say, career value or even value across a handful of seasons in the same uniform. While this is no doubt a largely subjective undertaking, please bear that in mind before airing objections. Or not. Whatever.

Also, we're largely limiting the selections to those of modern era (i.e., from 1900 onward) in large part because the "primordial soup" days of the sport bear only the most basic resemblances to the game played today. That's more a general principle than hard-and-fast rule, though. As well, a player can appear only once on the team in question. So even those who excelled at multiple positions over the years will be assigned one spot and one spot only.

In order to begin to put the finishing touches on this offseason series, we're now going to name AL and NL all-time single-season teams using the 30 teams we've already chosen. In addition to the above criteria, each player chosen must have previously been named to one of the 30 all-time single-season teams, and he can appear on the AL or NL team only at the position to which he was originally named.

Note: Write-ups will consist of numbers only since we've already laid out each player's case in the individual team posts (see the links at the top of this page).

First up, the junior circuit ...

American League All-Time Single-Season Team

CATCHER - Joe Mauer, 2009, Twins

.365/.444/.587 (171 OPS+), 28 HR, AL MVP

FIRST BASE - Lou Gehrig, 1927, Yankees

.373/.474/.765 (220 OPS+), 47 HR, 18 3B, 52 2B, 175 RBI, 149 R, AL MVP

SECOND BASE - Nap Lajoie, 1904, Indians

.376/.413/.546 (203 OPS+), 49 2B, 208 H, 102 RBI, 29 SB

SHORTSTOP - Cal Ripken Jr., 1991, Orioles

.323/.374/.566 (162 OPS+), 34 HR, 46 2B, AL MVP

THIRD BASE - George Brett, 1980, Royals

.390/.454/.664 (203 OPS+), 66 extra-base in 117 games, AL MVP

LEFT FIELD - Babe Ruth, 1921, Yankees

.378/.512/.846 (238 OPS+), 59 HR, 44 2B, 16 3B, 171 RBI, 177 R

CENTER FIELD - Mickey Mantle, 1956, Yankees

.353/.464/.705 (210 OPS+), 52 home runs, 130 RBI, triple crown, AL MVP

RIGHT FIELD - Frank Robinson, 1966, Orioles

.316/.410/.637 (198 OPS+), 49 homers, 34 doubles, 122 R, 122 RBI, triple crown, AL MVP

DESIGNATED HITTER - Frank Thomas, 1994, White Sox

.353/.487/.729 (212 OPS+), 38 HR, 34 2B in strike-shortened season

STARTING PITCHERS - Walter Johnson, 1913, Twins/Senators; Lefty Grove, 1931, Athletics; Cy Young, 1901, Red Sox; Pedro Martinez, 2000, Red Sox; Roger Clemens, 1997, Blue Jays

Johnson: 36-7, 1.14 ERA, 259 ERA+, 0.78 WHIP, 346 IP, 243 K, 38 BB
Grove: 31-4, 2.06 ERA, 217 ERA+, 1.08 WHIP, 175 K, 288 2/3 IP, 27 CG, 4 SHO
Young: 33-10, 1.62 ERA, 219 ERA+, 0.97 WHIP, 158 K, 371 1/3 IP, 38 CG, 5 SHO
Martinez: 18-6, 1.74 ERA, 291 ERA+, 0.74 WHIP, 284 K, 217 IP, 7 CG, 4 SHO
Clemens: 21-7, 2.05 ERA, 222 ERA+, 1.03 WHIP, 292 K, 264 IP, 9 CG, 3 SHO

RELIEF PITCHERS - Mariano Rivera, 1996, Yankees; Dennis Eckersley, 1990, Athletics; Fernando Rodney, 2012, Rays

Rivera: 107 2/3 IP, 2.09 ERA, 240 ERA+, 130 K, 34 BB, 1 HR, 5 SV
Eckersley: 73 1/3 IP, 0.61 ERA, 603 ERA+, 73 K, 4 BB, 2 HR, 48 SV
Rodney: 74 2/3 IP, 0.60 ERA, 641 ERA+, 76 K, 15 BB, 2 HR, 48 SV

THE LINEUP

1. Nap Lajoie, 1904
2. Mickey Mantle, 1956
3. Babe Ruth, 1921
4. Frank Robinson, 1966
5. Lou Gehrig, 1927
6. Frank Thomas, 1994
7. George Brett, 1980
8. Cal Ripken Jr., 1991
9. Joe Mauer, 2009


And now the NL ...

National League All-Time Single-Season Team

CATCHER - Johnny Bench, 1972, Reds

.270/.379/.541 (166 OPS+), 40 HR, 122 RBI, 100 BB, 56% CS, NL MVP

FIRST BASE - Jeff Bagwell, 1994, Astros

.368/.451/.750 (213 OPS+), 39 HR, 15 SB, 116 RBI in strike-shortened season, NL MVP

SECOND BASE - Rogers Hornsby, 1924, Cardinals

.424/.507/.696 (222 OPS+), 25 HR, 43 2B, 14 3B, 227 H, 121 R

SHORTSTOP - Honus Wagner, 1908, Pirates

.354/.415/.542 (205 OPS+), 19 3B, 39 2B, 53 SB

THIRD BASE - Mike Schmidt, 1981, Phillies

.316/.435/.644 (198 OPS+), 31 homers in 102 games (strike-shortened season), NL MVP

LEFT FIELD - Barry Bonds, 2001, Giants

.328/.515/.863 (259 OPS+), 73 homers, 177 walks, 13 stolen bases, NL MVP

CENTER FIELD - Willie Mays, 1965, Giants

.317/.398/.645 (185 OPS+), 52 HR, 118 R, NL MVP

RIGHT FIELD - Stan Musial, 1948, Cardinals

.376/.450/.702 (200 OPS+), 39 homers, 46 doubles, 18 triples, 429 total bases, NL MVP

STARTING PITCHERS - Bob Gibson, 1968, Cardinals; Grover Cleveland Alexander, 1915, Phillies; Christy Mathewson, 1905, Giants; Greg Maddux, 1995, Braves; Dwight Gooden, 1985, Mets

Gibson: 22-9, 1.12 ERA, 258 ERA+, 0.85 WHIP, 268 K, 304 2/3 IP, 28 CG, 13 SHO
Alexander: 31-10, 1.22 ERA, 228 ERA+, 0.84 WHIP, 241 K, 376 1/3 IP, 36 CG, 12 SHO
Mathewson: 31-9, 1.28 ERA, 230 ERA+, 0.93 WHIP, 338 2/3 IP, 206 K, 32 CG, 8 SHO
Maddux: 19-2, 1.63 ERA, 260 ERA+, 0.81 WHIP, 209 2/3 IP, 23 BB, 181 K, 9.7 WAR
Gooden: 24-4, 1.53 ERA, 229 ERA+, 0.96 WHIP, 268 K, 276.2 IP, 16 CG, 8 SHO

RELIEF PITCHERS - Bruce Sutter, 1977, Cubs; Craig Kimbrel, 2012, Braves; Eric Gagne, 2003, Dodgers

Sutter: 107 1/3 IP, 1.34 ERA, 328 ERA+, 129 K, 23 BB, 5 HR, 31 SV
Kimbrel: 62 2/3 IP, 1.01 ERA, 399 ERA+, 116 K, 14 BB, 3 HR, 42 SV
Gagne: 82 1/3 IP, 1.20 ERA, 337 ERA+, 137 K, 20 BB, 2 HR, 55 SV

THE LINEUP

1. Honus Wagner, 1908
2. Rogers Hornsby, 1924
3. Barry Bonds, 2001
4. Jeff Bagwell, 1994
5. Stan Musial, 1948
6. Willie Mays, 1965
7. Mike Schmidt, 1981
8. Johnny Bench, 1972

So who would win this colossus of an All-Star game?

Note: Looping back to the individual franchises, we've undertaken a simulation of an entire season with all 30 all-time teams, and we'll start rolling out the results on Wednesday. Surprises abound, as it turns out.

 
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