It’s done … finally!
Totally, Dudes! can be yours for the low low price of FREE. An updated, expanded version of Ladies of the Eighties will follow soon. And who knows, maybe I’ll even include a booster pack of ’80s duets, combining the men with the women-folk?
Filed under: sports
Here’s an offseason time waster. I recently read a cursory online conversation in a forum about the best “All African American Team” in baseball history, which got me thinking … who would I take on such a team? It seemed too easy to come up with the answers at any position except third base. For whatever reason, there haven’t been many exceptional African American third baseman, unless you count Jackie Robinson, who played more than 250 career games at third. The rest of the positions are fairly predictable. You don’t even have to look any further than Hall of Fame inductees:
1B — Take your pick from Willie McCovey, Pops Stargell, and Eddie Murray
2B — Joe Morgan
SS — The Wizard or Ernie Banks
3B — Jackie Robinson or maybe Ray Dandridge
CA — Elston Howard or Roy Campanella or Josh Gibson
OF — Too many to even bother listing, but I think I’d take Rickey Henderson, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron as my starters with Mr. October and Kirby Puckett as the late-inning pinch-hitters and Lou Brock the late-inning pinch-runner.
SP — How about a four-man rotation of Bob Gibson, Fergie Jenkins, Satchel Paige, and Rube Foster. On their off-days, Gibby and Paige can close out games in a pinch.
But then I thought, what if I limit myself to players not in the Hall of Fame? Then things get a little more interesting. That list includes current or recent players who haven’t had the chance to be inducted yet (or just don’t have the votes to date). Here’s what I came up with (and keep in mind we’re talking African Americans, not simply “Black,” which for some would include Latin players):
CA — Catcher is historically one of the whitest positions on the diamond. The recent influx of Latino backstops doesn’t help matters in this case, because we’re excluding Hispanic and Latino players. So the pickings are slim. I first thought of Russell Martin, but he’s too green. Then I thought of another Dodger, Johnny Roseboro, he of the famous Marichal riot incident. Roseboro was a four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, but his offensive numbers (a career .249 hitter with little pop) look pretty woeful — probably a byproduct of playing at Dodger Stadium during the heyday for pitchers in the early-to-mid ’60s. Charles Johnson eventually popped into my mind. He was a fairly mediocre hitter — despite some power — but a four-time Gold Glove winner. I thought about going all the way back to the 1930s and the Negro Leagues to grab Quincy Trouppe, who, according to Bill James, was a “perpetual” .300 hitter who walked a lot, a regular All-Star, and a switch-hitter. Trouppe had a cup of coffee with the Indians in 1952 at the age of 39. But I’m sticking with Johnson.
1B — Lots of more recent options at first: Cecil Fielder, Mo Vaughn, Fred McGriff, and Derrek Lee. But this is a no-brainer: Frank Thomas is my guy. Of course, he’ll eventually join that Hall of Fame list, but for the time being he qualifies for this team.
2B — Lou Whitaker or Willie Randolph? You want more staunch defense, then how about Frank White? Delino DeShields, Harold Reynolds, and Johnny Ray are options, too. Speaking of Ray, don’t forget Ray Durham. But for my purposes, this is a three-horse race between Lou, Willie, and Frank. Whitaker was above average with the glove and developed into a decent power hitter with good plate discipline. In his prime he was capable of 20+ home runs and a .370+ OBP. He was a five-time All-Star, a four-time Silver Slugger, and a three-time Gold Glover. Randolph gets overlooked to a degree, but he was a six-time All-Star whose career marks for OBP and AVG mirror Whitaker’s. What Randolph lacked in pop by comparison, he made up for in better speed on the basepaths. But he wasn’t as good with the glove. White, by contrast, was exceptional with the glove — one of the best to ever play the position. He won six consecutive Gold Gloves (8 total); Whitaker’s three wins broke up White’s streak. And White turned into a decent power hitter (for a middle infielder) late in his career. But he was inferior at getting on base (sub .300 career OBP). His defense isn’t enough to tip the scales in his favor, and I like Lou’s total package over Willie’s, so Lou Whitaker makes the team.
SS — Shawon Dunston is my man. … Just kidding. Garry “with two Rs” Templeton? Great trade bait to land Ozzie Smith in STL. I hate Jeter and A-Rod. No way either makes my team despite their credentials. So I’m taking Barry Larkin before his sure-fire Hall of Fame induction next year. Good speed, good batting average, above-average pop for a middle infielder, and he would’ve won more than three Gold Gloves if not for Ozzie.
3B — There have been so few African American third baseman that I almost have to consider a guy like Hubie Brooks. Luckily, there are a few more viable options: Bill Madlock, Terry Pendleton, and Bobby Bonilla. Bobby Bo gets the boot right away because he was just lousy in the field. Pendleton was the best fielder of the bunch, by far; Mad Dog the best pure hitter (seriously, dude won four batting titles and finished in the top five three other times). I’ve got solid D up the middle, so I can afford to slack a little at the corners. My pick is Bill Madlock.
LF — Left field allows me plenty of options. Do I take Sarge Matthews? Hal McRae or Dusty Baker or Tommy Davis? There’s Lonnie “Skates” Smith and Kevin “World” Mitchell. Greg Vaughn. Don Baylor. Joe Carter. Bo Jackson. George Foster has gotta be considered. Albert “Joey” Belle was a monster at the plate. So was Bonds, but he can kiss my ass. Carl Crawford is a stud. All these players are deserving of a discussion, and you can’t go wrong with Belle or Bonds or Crawford or Foster. But for me it’s a two-horse race between Tim Raines and Ron Gant. In Gant you get 30 HR power and 30 steals a year. His low batting average holds him back, but for a brief period he was one of the most exciting players in baseball. But Rock Raines is my guy. Blazing speed on the basepaths, a superb hitter, and an on-base machine. He was Rickey Henderson Lite.
CF — Well, Mickey Rivers would be a fun one. Ellis Burks could hit a little. I loved watching Ray Lankford and Willie McGee. Kenny Lofton could fly around the bases. Curt Flood is probably the best fielder of the bunch. There’s a pair of Davises that could be dynamite: Eric and Willie. Granderson and Upton should be fun to watch for years to come. And that Torii Hunter guy can play. But man, none of ‘em could hold the jock of the ’90s version of Ken Griffey Jr.
RF — For the sake of brevity, I’ll just tell you I’m not taking Strawberry, Baines, Justice, Dye, or Sheffield. Andre Dawson is not the best hitter listed here, but he’s the most well-rounded player of the bunch.
SP — We’ll start with a pair of oldies but goodies: Don Newcombe and Vida Blue. Newcombe was a huge guy for the ’50s — 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds. Newcombe won the first-ever Cy Young Award in ’56 when he went 27-7 with a 0.989 WHIP. He was also a helluva hitter: in ’55, a season in which he went 20-5 on the mound, he also hit .359 with 9 doubles, 7 homers, and 23 RBI. Vida pitched for Charlie Finley’s outstanding A’s clubs of the ’70s. He won 20 games three times and struck out 301 batters in ’71 as a 21 year-old. (Suck on that, Lincecum.) It will come as no great shock that I’m taking Doc Gooden. Seriously, who wouldn’t? I need another lefty to compliment Blue, so C.C. Sabathia it is. If I needed someone to walk the bases loaded then strike out the side, I’d select J.R. Richard to round out my rotation. But I’m going with Dave Stewart instead. Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave any room for Oil Can Boyd or Blue Moon Odom. Still, that’s pretty nasty rotation. Now on to the pen …
RP — Lee Smith is my man! He’s also the only African American — no shit — in the top 50 on the career saves list. I’m gonna pass on Mike Jackson and Heathcliff Slocumb and LaTroy Hawkins, but thanks for asking. But I will take a flier on Tom Gordon. Mudcat Grant was a pretty darn good reliever at the tail end of his career, so I’ll nab him. We’re gonna need a lefty, and even though he’s a bit flaky I’ll take Arthur Rhodes (he does have the 11th-best K/9 ratio in MLB history). And we’re going to let Donnie Moore off the hook for that one bad pitch to Dave Henderson and admit that he was a pretty darn good closer for three seasons.
Here’s my righthanded heavy lineup:
LF Raines (.385 career OBP, 808 career steals)
SS Larkin (.371 career OBP)
CF Griffey Jr. (.371 career OBP)
1B Thomas (.974 career OPS)
RF Dawson (.482 career SLG)
2B Whitaker (.363 OBP)
3B Madlock (.365 OBP)
CA Johnson (.330 OBP)
Considering that three of those players are going to be Hall of Famers — and you can make a good argument for two others, Raines and Dawson — that’s a lineup that would probably hold its own against the Hall of Fame African-American team discussed above. If this team has a glaring weakness, it’s probably the pen, where I couldn’t think of many great options once I got beyond Smith, another guy that probably should be in the Hall.
A new mix, just for you and yours.
“I Had Lost My Mind”
00:00 Daniel Johnston — “I Had Lost My Mind”
01:10 Dick Hyman — “Strobo”
02:41 Gary Glitter — “I Didn’t Know I Loved You”
05:58 Kim Wilde — “Cambodia”
09:45 Miike Snow — “Animal”
14:05 Mtume — “Juicy Fruit”
17:44 Lee Fields & The Expressions — “My World Is Empty Without You”
21:41 The Sound Offs — “The Angry Desert”
24:00 The Jelly Bean Bandits — “Generation”
26:54 The Staple Singers — “I Had a Dream”
29:43 The Almighty Defenders — “Cone of Light”
32:58 Warren Zevon — “Excitable Boy”
35:28 Bill Fox — “I’ll Give It Away”
38:47 Chris Knox — “It’s Love”
41:20 Music Go Music — “Light of Love”
46:28 Roky Erickson — “Nothing in Return”
About 8 months ago I began work on a mix that I’m finally releasing to the public. Titled “Foreign Substance,” it is a compilation of global psychedelia stitched together with found-sound drug references — hence the double entendre — that I’m rather proud of. I hope you enjoy it.
Here’s the track list:
01 Psychoactive Substances
Serge Gainsbourg, “Melody” (France, 1971)
Blues Section, “Cherry Cup-Cake Twist” (Sweden, 1968)
Embryo, “The Music of Today” (Germany, 1975)
02 Very Few People Have Heard Marijuana
Pierre Henry & Michel Colombier, “Psyché Rock” (France, 1967)
Improved Sound, LTD., “Leave This Lesbian World” (Germany, 1969)
Terry Jacks, “The Love Game” (Canada, 1974)
03 A Voice in the Head
Bjorn Olsson, “Visionen Vecklar Ut Sitt Landskap” (Sweden, 1999)
Bran, “Y Gwylwyr” (Wales, 1975)
Yura Yura Teikoku, “Soft Death” (Japan, 2005)
04 Go Out of Your Mind
Hemant Bhosle feat. Asha Bhosle, “Phir Teri Yaad” (India, 1970s)
The Apryl Fool, “The Lost Mother Land (Pt. 2)” (Japan, 1969)
Los Holy’s, “Holys Psicodélicos” (Peru, 1967)
05 If Tim Leary Were Here
Kraftwerk, “Klingklang” (Germany, 1972)
Robert Wyatt, “Heaps of Sheeps” (United Kingdom, 1997)
Brigitte Fontaine & Areski, “L’engourdie” (France, 1974)
06 There Wasn’t Anything Close to It
Pugh Rogefeldt, Har Kommer Natten (Sweden, 1969)
Illes, Nem Erdekel Amit Mondsz (Hungary, 1973)
Los Dug Dug’s, “Smog” (Mexico, 1972)
07 The Effects of Grass
Barıs Manço, “Coban Yildizi” (Turkey, 1979)
Cluster & Eno, “Fur Luise” (Germany, United Kingdom, 1977)
Arthur Brown, “I Put a Spell on You” (United Kingdom, 1968)
08 Discovering Fire for the Second Time
Caetano Veloso, “Asa Branca” (Brazil, 1972)
100 days, 100 songs, 100 dances, 100 locales — compiled by a Yale grad student. Fantastic.