The Rundown: The 1970s All-Decade Team, Lester Played Soccer, Rizzo Reiterates Cub for Life Desire, Happy Birthday Canter

This week I am creating all-decade teams of the last 50 years, and today’s features the best MLB players by position of the 1970s. Since the AL adopted the DH during this decade, I’ve added that position to the lineup. It’s probably a good time to debate whether the notion of the universal DH has merits, too. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  • Catcher – Carlton Fisk, Red Sox: Johnny Bench is probably the popular choice and Thurman Munson would be the sentimental choice, but Fisk was a rock. I was so enamored with him as a player I almost became a White Sox fan when Pudge donned the number 72 Chisox jersey starting in 1981.
  • First Base – Willie Stargell, Pirates: The leader of Pittsburgh’s “Lumber Company” and the franchise’s all-time home run leader (475), Pops was the glue of those 70s Pirates teams that won two World Series titles. He was a seven-time All-Star, won the MVP in 1979, and was one of the most feared hitters in the National League.
  • Second Base – Joe Morgan, Reds: It’s hard to include Morgan because of his obvious distaste for Ryne Sandberg, but he is the modern era MLB standard-bearer at the keystone spot. The Hall of Famer hit 173 home runs from 1970-79 and added 488 stolen bases.
  • Third Base – Mike Schmidt, Phillies: As Cubs fans, we hated Schmidt. But there’s no denying he belongs here and he’d probably make the all-1980s team, too. Schmidt was consistently great offensively and defensively, averaging 33 taters and 95 RBI over seven seasons starting in 1973 while winning four Gold Gloves.
  • Shortstop – Toby Harrah, Rangers: Shortstop was a pretty dull position at the time, so Harrah is the default choice thanks to his 51.4 WAR. Vastly underrated, though spectacular most of the time, Harah was a hit machine for Texas in the 70s. He was tough, too, refusing to be called by a nickname.
  • Outfield – Jim Rice, Red Sox: The annual MVP candidate burst on to the scene with the BoSox in 1975, finishing second in Rookie of the Year and third in MVP voting. He finished in the top five in the AL MVP race in four of six seasons, winning in 1978 with 46 home runs, 139 RBI and a .315 batting average.
  • Outfield – Fred Lynn, Red Sox: He beat Rice for Rookie of the Year in ’75 and won the MVP to boot. Lynn was flawless in center field for Boston and was a big time clutch hitter, averaging 36 doubles, 25 homers and 90 RBI in six seasons.
  • Outfield – Reggie Jackson, A’s/Yankees/Orioles: If a single performance could vault a player to the top of this list, Jackson destroying the Dodgers in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series would have to garner serious consideration. Beyond that, his 260 taters and 922 RBI in 10 seasons says he belongs here. He also earned five championship rings in the 70s.
  • DH – Pete Rose, Reds: He’s baseball’s all-time hits leader. Challenge me that Rose does not belong on this list.
  • Starting Pitcher – Tom Seaver, Mets: Seaver averaged 20 wins per season from 1970-79 with an ERA+ of 136 and regularly struck out 200+hitters per season.
  • Starting Pitcher – Nolan Ryan, Angels: Ryan lost a lot of games, nearly 17 per season, but he won a lot too. He also struck out 2,563 batters with four no-hitters and an ERA of 3.13 in 10 seasons.
  • Starting Pitcher – Ferguson Jenkins, Cubs/Rangers/Red Sox: The 1971 Cy Young winner quietly averaged 18 wins per season with 160 complete games in 354 starts for three teams. From 1970-74 he struck out 1,114 opposing batters against just 261 walks. In ’71, he had 263 punchouts while issuing just 37 walks.
  • Starting Pitcher – Steve Carlton, Phillies: The tall lefty was impeccably consistent and boasts more hardware than any pitcher in the organization’s history, including seven All-Star selections and four Cy Young awards. He also led the NL in wins four times.
  • Starting Pitcher – Catfish Hunter, A’s/Yankees: From 1972-75, Hunter finished in the top four in AL Cy Young voting, winning the award in 1974. He averaged 23 wins in those four seasons, finishing the decade with 169 wins.
  • Closer – Rollie Fingers, A’s/Padres: The mustachioed closer won 85 games and saved another 162 games during the 1970s, and he even started twice for Oakland in 1973.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

Social distancing is working folks. Keep up the good work.

MLB News & Notes

Pirates starter Jameson Taillon will miss the entire 2020 season while recovering from his second Tommy John surgery.

Paul Lo Duca ripped Alex Rodriguez as “one of the fakest people out there.”

MLB players are worried about their health if the league insists on cramming too many games together.

If the season is canceled, Mets starter Jacob deGrom may not get a chance for a Cy Young three-peat.

Washington manager Dave Martinez believes there will be baseball in 2020. The Nationals will be defending their World Series championship once baseball resumes.

Apropos of Nothing Something

Today is my 56th birthday. Do something charitable today in my honor, and let’s all cross our fingers I make 57 and beyond.

Extra Innings

They Said It

  • “Right now, we would have been 3-and-0. We would have had a nice sweep yesterday on ‘Sunday Night Baseball.’” – Anthony Rizzo

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Stubborn Love by The Lumineers. It’s my birthday, I get to pick one of my favorite songs.

Back to top button