Next up on my all-time all-stars thread for the 1976 set is the second outfield position, a position which the American League "swept" in Sporting News votes back on our nation's 200th birthday, and baseball's "unofficial" 100th.
While we revisit Ty Cobb, who was picked for the all-time team, I also serve up my pick as one of the National League outfielders I thought would have (or could have) been picked had they done so: Hank Aaron.
First, let's look at the cards:
I think it's fair to say that Ty Cobb is a reasonable choice as an outfielder on your all-time team even today. Granted the guy was a maniac, a misanthrope and a bigot, but let's not get into the "politics" here.
Basically all the man did between the foul lines was win 12 batting titles, reach 200 hits in a season nine times, hit .366 for his entire career, a triple crown in 1909, score over 2200 runs, hit over 720 doubles, just under 300 triples, and even drove in 1938 runs during the dead-ball era! Oh, and let's not forget the 897 stolen bases!
It's even funny to think that's it's so easy to overlook the fact that Cobb also lead the league in slugging eight times!
It's Ty Cobb for pete's sake!
The man was incredible, and it is somewhat understandable that he became bitter when Babe Ruth came along and put the offensive focus on power as opposed to "small ball", almost erasing all appreciation for those "intangibles" that Cobb was famous for.
As for my National League pick I went with another contemporary player (like Willie Mays), who I think would have gotten picked anyway if they filled out both an A.L. and N.L. team: Hank Aaron.
How can anyone argue with baseball's all-time home run king (at the time), along with career leader in runs batted in and total bases?
Aaron was the model of consistency, never hitting 50 homers in a season but hitting 40 eight times and 30 fifteen times! He also drove in 100 runs in a season 11 times while never topping more than 132, and had 3771 career hits while topping 200 in any year three times out of his 23.
For 21 consecutive seasons, Aaron was selected for the National league all-star team, and garnered M.V.P. votes nineteen straight years! Think about that, every single year between 1955 and 1973 the man got some attention for Most Valuable Player. That is incredible!
So this is the second set of "All-Time All-Star" outfielders, with the final set coming soon: Ted Williams as picked by the Sporting News back in 1976, and my final pick for the National League team, Stan "The Man" Musial.
Keep an eye out for it!