Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Yankees-Mets All-Star Game: The Setup

With the All-Star Break underway, I decided to see what a Yankees vs. Mets All-Star Game would be like.

Since it wouldn't be fair to include all Yankee players in the eligibility, going back to 1903, or even going back to the birth of the Mets in 1962 -- thus making Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Roger Maris eligible -- I decided to make the cutoff date 1969. That way, none of the old Yankee Dynasty players would be eligible, but the players from that season's Met "Miracle" would be.

I'm going to use a variation on the 1999 Major League Baseball All-Century Team positioning: 2 players at each of the infield positions, being 1st base, 2nd base, shortstop, 3rd base and catcher; switching the numbers for the other positions, resulting in 6 outfielders and 9 pitchers; and 5 "wild cards," putting in the 5 best players each team has had from 1969 to 2015 that didn't make the cut.

Any players who played for either team from Opening Day 1969 onward are eligible, but if you think Matt Harvey is a good choice based on less than 2 full seasons, you're fooling yourself. Same with R.A. Dickey for 3 seasons.

Here are the players, and you'll note that some uniform numbers are worn by more than one player:

New York Mets, 1969-2015

1 CF Mookie Wilson
3 SS Bud Harrelson
4 RF Ron Swoboda (Wild Card selection)
4 CF Lenny Dykstra (WC)
4 3B Robin Ventura (WC)
5 3B David Wright
6 2B Wally Backman
7 1B Ed Kranepool (WC)
7 SS Jose Reyes
8 C Gary Carter
10 RF Rusty Staub (WC)
12 P Ron Darling
13 2B Edgardo Alfonzo
15 C Jerry Grote
15 CF Carlos Beltran
16 P Dwight Gooden
17 1B Keith Hernandez
18 RF Darryl Strawberry
20 CF Tommie Agee
20 3B Howard Johnson
21 LF Cleon Jones
21 1B Carlos Delgado
22 P Al Leiter
31 P John Franco
31 C Mike Piazza
32 P Jon Matlack
36 P Jerry Koosman
41 P Tom Seaver
44 P David Cone
45 P Tug McGraw
5 MGR Davey Johnson

If you're wondering about Willie Mays: Since he only played for the Mets at the end of his career, you'd be getting the 1972 Mays, not the 1954, 1965, or even 1969 Mays. Same with some other legends: You'd get the Gil Hodges of 1962, not 1951; the Duke Snider of 1963, not 1955; the Richie Ashburn of 1962, not 1950; the Warren Spahn of 1965, not 1948, 1957 or even 1961; the Rickey Henderson of 1999, not 1982, 1989 or 1993; and, most definitely, the Tom Glavine of 2007, not 1995. (By the same token, the Yankees could have the Phil Niekro of 1985, but not the one of 1973.)

What about Johan Santana? Face it, he failed as a Met. If your sole reason for wanting to see him here is the fact that he pitched the first Met no-hitter, well, be honest: He didn't. No one has. Yet.

New York Yankees, 1969-2015

1 CF Bobby Murcer
2 SS Derek Jeter
9 3B Graig Nettles
12 3B Wade Boggs (WC)
13 3B Alex Rodriguez
15 C Thurman Munson
20 SS Bucky Dent
20 C Jorge Posada
21 RF Paul O'Neill
22 P Jimmy Key
23 1B Don Mattingly
24 1B Tino Martinez
24 2B Robinson Cano
25 1B Mark Teixeira (WC)
28 P Sparky Lyle (WC)
29 P Catfish Hunter
30 P Mel Stottlemyre (WC)
30 2B Willie Randolph
31 LF Dave Winfield
33 P David Wells (WC)
35 P Mike Mussina
36 P David Cone
42 P Mariano Rivera
44 RF Reggie Jackson
46 P Andy Pettitte
49 P Ron Guidry
51 CF Bernie Williams
52 P CC Sabathia
54 P Goose Gossage
55 LF Hideki Matsui
6 MGR Joe Torre

Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry played for both teams, but, here, they will be Mets only. The Mets have the 1988 version of David Cone, while the Yankees can have his 1996 self.

I'll give the Mets the home-field advantage, and play the game at Citi Field. This also means no designated hitter, which means either pitchers bat, or there's pinch-hitters.

The game will be broadcast on 660 WFAN by John Sterling (Yankees) and Bob Murphy (Mets). It will also be telecast on WPIX-Channel 11 by Phil Rizzuto (Yankees) and Ralph Kiner (Mets). Who knows, the two of them might stop telling stories long enough to tell us what happens on the field.

On the home side of the field, the 1st base side, the Mets have provided luxury boxes for Joe Namath, Bill Parcells, Denis Potvin, Paul McCartney, Jerry Seinfeld, and Mayors Robert Wagner and Ed Koch. On the 3rd base side, the Yankees have provided boxes for Walt Frazier, Phil Simms, Eli Manning, Mark Messier, Nelson Mandela, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Crystal, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Governors Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo.

Team Captains Hernandez and Munson (not Jeter) come out to exchange lineup cards with umpires Doug Harvey (NL, home plate), John Hirschbeck (AL, 1B), John McSherry (NL, 2B), Durwood Merrill (AL, 3B), Lee Weyer (NL, LF) and Jim Joyce (AL, RF).

A moment of silence is held, in memory of the old New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers.

The National Anthem is sung by Billy Joel, who played the first concert at the old Yankee Stadium (other than pregame or postgame shows or festivals) and the last concert at Shea Stadium. He was born in The Bronx (Yankee territory), and has lived most of his life on Long Island (supposedly, Met territory), but is clearly a Yankee Fan. Casey Stengel, the only man to get his uniform number retired by both teams, will throw out the ceremonial first ball.

Up next: PLAY BALL!

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