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1970s All-Decade Team

Major League Baseball during the 1970s usually brings a few things to mind: The Big Red Machine, Charley Finley’s Oakland A’s and those uniforms, Earl Weaver and the Baltimore Orioles, and the beginning of free agency. The 70s was the last decade in which baseball ruled the American sports landscape. Some of the greatest careers in the game’s history ended and a few others began. We said goodbye to Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, and we were introduced to George Brett, Robin Yount, and a skinny slick fielding shortstop named Ozzie Smith.

With the culmination of so many great careers the decade saw many career milestones reached. Seven hitters, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline, Pete Rose, Lou Brock, and Carl Yastrzemski all joined the 3,000 hit club. Ernie Banks, Harmon Killebrew, Frank Robinson, and Willie McCovey all joined the the 500 home run club taking the total from eight to 12. While no pitcher collected their 300th career win Bob Gibson and Gaylord Perry did strikeout their 3,000th batter.

6 Comments »

  1. We didn’t say goodbye to Yaz in the 70’s. He actually played four years into the 80’s — and made two more All-Star appearances…

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  2. I grew up watching 1970s Baseball. The first half and the second half have different players so ts hard to create a best team of the 1970s.

    C Johnny Bench, Thurman Munson. then Gary Carter, Ted Simmons, Manny Sanguillen, Carton Fisk
    1B Tony Perez, Willie Stargell. then Lee May, George Scott, Steve Garvey .
    2B Joe Morgan, Rod Carew
    3B Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Ron Cey, Bill Madlock, Graig Nettles… The first half was Brooks Robinson and Sal Bando
    SS Dave Concepcion, Bert Campaneris
    LF Pete Rose, Carl Yastrzemski
    CF Cesar Cedeno, Amos Otis, Al Oliver
    RF Reggie Jackson, Bobby Bonds, Rusty Staub, Dave Parker, Dave Winfield

    DH Hal McRae

    Every team went at least three deep with quality starters.

    SP Steve Carlton
    SP Tom Seaver
    SP Jim Palmer
    SP Gaylord Perry
    SP Fergie Jenkins
    SP Vida Blue
    SP Nolan Ryan
    SP Don Sutton
    SP Bert Blyleven
    SP Phil Niekro
    SP Tommy John
    SP Catfish Hunter
    SP Luis Tiant
    SP Frank Tanana
    SP JR Richard
    SP Dennis Leonard

    RP Rollie Fingers
    RP Rich Gossage
    RP Tug McGraw
    RP Mike Marshall
    RP John Hiller
    RP Sparky Lyle
    RP Bill Campbell
    RP Kent Tekulve

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  3. It’s almost impossible to disagree with having Bench on top for catchers. One of the all time greats. However, as runner up I’d have to pick Thurman Munson, Carlton Fisk or even…. Jim Sundberg (based on his defense).

    By the way, love the site. Keep up the good work!

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    • Scott, I’m glad you enjoy the site. The 70s, unlike a majority of decades, produced several great options to backup Bench. I wouldn’t argue with any of your alternatives except Jim Sundberg. Because I never saw Sundberg play and nearly all of his value is defense I’d pass on him.

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  4. For the pitchers, are they in order of accomplishment? If so, they are out of order because wins are all that counted to the men who played the game. I have interviewed them.

    Difficult to understand your rankings.

    You might want to check out the man who led MLB in wins from 1967 to1980.

    Ferguson Jenkins had 251 wins in that period while throwing the only six straight 20 wins or more seasons since Warren Spahn. Warren Spahn would tell you wins are the only stat that counted, everything else was details.

    Jenkins is still the only Ranger with 25 wins. Guidry had one 25-win year and only three 20 wins or more seasons in his whole career. How could Guidry be mentioned in a best of the decade when he did not play the full decade?

    Have you ever interviewed any of these pitchers, or talked to anyone who ever batted against them?

    Difficult to fathom some of your choices except perhaps you enjoyed watching them in postseason play. That is called pro-postseason bias. Those stats do not count for their careers and yet your choices are heavy postseason play.

    And yet you left off Steve Carlton, that is strange.

    Again, during his major-league-best 14 seasons from 1967 to 1980, Jenkins’ 251 victories led Steve Carlton (four Cy Youngs, MLB’s second-most career strikeouts) with 246 wins and Tom Seaver (three Cy Youngs) with 245. Gaylord Perry (two Cy Youngs) won 244 games and Phil Niekro was fifth with 227. Jenkins had even greater margins over future Hall of Famers Jim Palmer (three Cy Young Awards) and Nolan Ryan (most MLB career strikeouts).

    Good Luck

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