Originally posted on The Flagrant Fan  |  Last updated 1/21/13
Saying, "Happy Martin Luther King" day just doesn't feel right. And it is mostly because I lived through those days and they were not happy days. The world was upside down and upheaval was everywhere. It seemed that society was flying apart at the seams. Growing up in Bergenfield, New Jersey, we were somewhat shielded from the strife. Bergenfield was mostly Irish, Italian and Jewish at that time. But four miles away was a town called Teaneck and riots were occurring there. We heard about it and we were scared. But I am one that believes that celebrating Martin Luther King's life is the right thing to do. His cause was right and just. He fought it courageously and was gunned down way too soon. So to honor his life today, the idea was to come up with an all African-American team of the greatest players at each position. That seems right too since it was Jackie Robinson's history-making introduction to the majors that opened the doors to others that have graced us with their play ever since. And Jackie Robinson preceded King and was a first step in what King and others were to accomplish. We still have a long way to go. Until all people are not only treated equally but that we all understand that all have the right to be created that way, we still have work to do. Again, in honor of King and Robinson and with an eye on the grander themes than baseball, here is one Fan's thoughts on the all time African-American team. The criteria is based on statistics from 1947 to 2012. There is a debate if this list should include Hispanic players and it is a valid debate. But we can debate that another time. They were not included in this list. Outfield: We'll start with the outfield since this one is easy. Barry Bonds in left Willie Mays in center Hank Aaron in right. Not only were they the three best ever for their race, but they are probably two, three, four all time for all players. You can pick that order though. Catcher: Again, this is easy. It has to be the one and only: Roy Campanella Campanella's career was tragically cut short due to a spinal injury. But in his ten seasons, he packed in three MVP Awards. His offense for a catcher was great with a career .860 OPS, but he was also great defensively as he threw out 57% of all base steal attempts during his career. The rest of his contemporaries averaged 42% during that time.  Now it gets a little harder.  First base:  Eddie Murray This ended up as a toss up between Murray and Frank Thomas. There were other greats like Ernie Banks and Willie McCovey, but they split time in their careers between other positions--McCovey in the outfield and Thomas as a DH. Second base:  Joe Morgan You would like to put Jackie Robinson in here for what he did. But Morgan was simply the best. Lou Whitaker and Willie Randolph are a distant second and third. Shortstop: Derek Jeter Jeter beats out Banks by a nose with Barry Larkin and Ozzie Smith a bit behind. Jeter had the highest wOBA among them and the highest wRC+ along with the highest WAR. Third base: Dick Allen This one was extremely tough to pick. Allen played more first base than third and also played the outfield. But there really wasn't anyone else. Starting pitcher: Bob Gibson Fergie Jenkins a close second. Relief pitcher: Lee Smith There was nobody else that was close. There you have it. One Fan's all time African-American team. And while you are at it, you must go and listen to Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. You will be moved.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Hue Jackson designing plays for Terrelle Pryor

Report: Darnell Dockett expected to announce retirement

Report: Yankees have not discussed releasing A-Rod

Report: D-Backs making Shelby Miller available via trade

Rex Ryan: IK Enempkali could fill void left by Mario Williams

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Indians have best deal on table for Chapman

White Sox GM: Chris Sale has not requested trade

Nebraska’s Foltz, ex-MSU punter Sadler killed in car accident

Michael Bennett to Seahawks: Pay me or 'get rid of me'

Victor Cruz expects to be 'ready to go' for training camp

DeMarcus Cousins: All-NBA vote ‘absurd’ and ‘a joke’

Man. U players banned from playing 'Pokemon Go?'

Ken Griffey Jr. put on backwards hat during HOF speech

Mike Piazza honors 9/11 victims during Hall of Fame speech

Jeremy Lin hints he is racially profiled by arena employees

Why did Rio mayor offer to put kangaroo in Olympic village?

Joe Maddon wastes no time cracking Chris Sale joke

Report: Lamar Odom walked out on family intervention

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

10 NFL players set to become household names in 2016

Lou Holtz regrets making immigration 'joke' at RNC

Report: Royals didn't invite Johnny Cueto to White House visit

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker