The Mitchell & Ness fantasy baseball team is starting to take shape. Our next position up for debate is 2nd base. Who is the all-time best 2nd baseman? Remember that your pick can not be a current player (so no Chase Utley or Robinson Cano) and he must have retired before 2000 (sorry Craig Biggio).
On this date in history, for two consecutive years, two fan favorites made their major league debuts.
On September 2, 1980, Mookie Wilson made his debut for the Mets in a road game at Dodger Stadium. He started the game in centerfield and was the lead off hitter. Here's a summary of how he fared that day:
1st inning: Groundout to short
3rd inning: Groundout to short
5th inning: Strikeout (Dave Goltz pitching)
7th inning: Groundout to 2nd / RBI - Wally Backman scored from third
The Dodgers won the game 6 - 5.
On September 2, 1981, Ryne Sandberg made his major league debut for the Philadelphia Phillies. The game was held at Atlanta - Fulton County Stadium against the Braves. Ryne didn't start the game, but came in in the top of the ninth as a pinch runner for catcher Bob Boone. SS Larry Bowa came to bat following the substitution and singled, advancing Ryne to third. Next up was Pete Rose, who also singled and Sandberg scored his first of an eventual 1318 career runs. The Braves ended up winning the game, 3 - 2, in the bottom of the ninth.
So both guys contributed in their first game in the big leagues, one with an RBI and one with a run, just as they continued to do throughout their successful careers.
Quick, who is the greatest second baseman of all time? Arguments can be made for Joe Morgan, Rogers Hornsby, Jackie Robinson, Craig Biggio and a few others.
Did this guy pop into your head?
If not, you might want to think again. Check out these fielding stats:
- 123 consecutive games without an error
- Four seasons without a throwing error
- Career fielding percentage of .989
- Nine time Gold Glove winner
- Led the league in assists at 2nd base seven times
And how about:
- Eight consecutive All Star starts
- Seven time Silver Slugger Award
- 1984 League MVP
- Led the league in runs scored three times
- Fourth on Cubs all time for hits, singles, doubles, extra base hits and stolen bases
- Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005
Let the debate begin.