In honor of this years World Series, I have decided to pick my greatest World Series lineup ever. The lineup is based solely on performances in the World Series throughout a player's career or single season and is voted on by the writer's here at The Mark Graham Sports Blog, i.e. Me.
- Catcher- Cincinnati Reds C Johnny Bench
The 1976 Series saw the Big Red Machine of the Cincinnati Reds face the Bronx Bombers. That year no one was better than Johnny Bench. Bench was coming off from a dreadful '75 Series against the Red Sox which saw him hit only .207 in a seven game series. Bench went on to hit .533 with six RBI's while sweeping the Yankees to win his second and final World Series crown.
- First Baseman- New York Yankees 1B Lou Gehrig
The Iron Horse makes this list by not having a single standout of year, but a standout career in the World Series. Gehrig had a career average of .361 in the Series and in 1928 and 1932 he hit above .500. The '28 World Series was probably his best, he hit .545, 4 HR, and 10 RBI in a four game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals.
- Second Baseman- New York Yankees 2B Bobby Richardson
Bobby Richardson is the only winner of the World Series MVP awarded to a losing team. Richardson and the Yankees lost an epic seven game series to Bill Mazeroski and the Pittsburgh Pirates, but not because of Richardson. Richardson drove in 12 runs and hit .367, but still could not overcome the Pirates.
- Third Baseman- Toronto Blue Jays 3B Paul Molitor
This one could be argued because Molitor did split time at DH during the series, but he did play some third base and its my call. Molitor had played in one other World Series before the '93 Series, but that was 11 years prior when his Brewers lost a seven game series to the Cardinals. Molitor would make sure that he was to win this time by hitting .500 and driving in eight runs as the Blue Jays won their second straight and Molitor's first. Molitor would win the World Series MVP.
- Shortstop- New York Yankees SS Derek Jeter
No other active player has more World Series hits, 50, than Derek Jeter. Jeter has the nickname "Captain Clutch" and "Mr. November" for his antics in the Fall Classic. His performance in 2000 was arguably his best with a .409 average and hitting two homers while defeating their crosstown rival the New York Mets. Also, Jeter has only committed three errors in his seven World Series appearances.
- Outfielder- New York Yankees OF Reggie Jackson
I know what you're thinking, "Why so many Yankees?", but I would be remiss if I didn't add Reggie Jackson to the lineup. Mr. October in 1977 had probably the best game in World series history. In Game 6, Jackson hit three home runs in the series clinching game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jackson would become the first player to win World Series MVPs with two different teams.
- Outfielder- Pittsburgh Pirates OF Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente would have won more World Series had he not tragically died in 1972, but 1971 was his crowning achievement. Clemente hit .414 and collected 22 total bases as his Pirates defeated the Baltimore Orioles in, sadly, his last World Series. In 1972, Clemente died in a plane crash trying to hep earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
- Outfielder- Boston Red Sox OF Manny Ramirez
ManRam's inclusion on this list is a controversial one, but I stick by it. Ramirez was a huge reason the Red Sox overcame a 0-3 hole to the Yankees and the sweep of the Cardinals. Ramirez hit .412 and seemingly got hits when the Sox needed him to. He may have been one of the worst fielders in the World Series, but will be remembered throughout New England and Red Sox Nation as the man who helped "Reverse the Curse" so that's why I chose Manny.
- Starting Pitcher- St. Louis Cardinals P Bob Gibson
This was a no brainer. The Cardinals would have never won the '67 World Series against the Boston Red Sox had it not been for Gibson. Bob Gibson started three games in the seven game series, won all three and pitched complete games in all of them, including one shutout. Gibson's ERA in that year's series was 1.00. 1.00! With pitching these days and pitch counts, it is safe to say Gibson's feat will never be matched again.
- Closer- New York Yankees P Mariano Rivera
Again another Yankee, but when you win 27 titles you should probably have more than one player on this list. Mariano Rivera is lights out in the World Series, except 2001 (Thank you, Luis Gonzalez and Craig Counsell), and owns the career recors with 11 saves in the Fall Classic. Rivera also has a 0.99 ERA and a record of 2-1. The '98 Series against the San Diego Padres had Rivera notching three saves while not allowing an earned run. The greatest closer in history is also the greatest closer in postseason history.
Will there you have it my lineup for the Greatest World Series team ever. I know some names should have been added to the list, but I stick by my decisions and feel free to comment if you agree or disagree with my picks.