Who Would You Choose? (Part 2)
The Off-Season: Who Would You Choose? (Part 2)
By Tim Kabel
January 13, 2022
The Off-Season: Who Would You Choose? Part Two.
On Monday, I wrote an article in which I gave the readers a midterm exam, so to speak, on various Yankees related questions. My hope was to generate a good deal of conversation and possibly even a little debate amongst the readers. My main goal was for everyone to have fun. The feedback I received, which can be seen in the comments section of the original article, was very positive and encouraging. It seemed that many readers were engaged with the topic. During the lockout, that’s all I was hoping for.
Today, I will provide you with my answers to the questions, just to show you what I was thinking. However, before I get to that, I want to address some of the comments I made in my article on New Year’s Eve. I wrote that I would be optimistic headed into the new year regarding all things, particularly the lockout and COVID. As I have noted, if I were an artist, optimism would be my medium. Well, today it’s my extra-small. I am an extremely cautious man. Tom Hanks went out more in Castaway than I do. There have been more Sasquatch sightings in New York City than there have been sightings of me out in the community. Yet, as I am writing this, sniffling and snuffling with a throbbing head, guess who has COVID? Yes, in one of the great ironies of all time, I have been afflicted with the virus. I am personifying the statement “if the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammed must go to the mountain.” My son caught the virus in the community and brought it home, unknowingly. My year is off to a sparkling start. Oh well, at least negotiations between the owners and players are scheduled for tomorrow. See, I always look for the silver lining.
My midterm exam:
For the purpose of this exercise, assume all the individuals mentioned are at the pinnacle of their careers.
1)The Yankees are in the World Series. It is the 7th game in the bottom of the 9th inning. They are trailing 3-2. There are two outs and runners on 1st and 2nd. Which of the following three batters would you want up at the plate: Don Mattingly, Thurman Munson, or Derek Jeter?
You can’t really go wrong with any of the three but, I keep thinking about the 1976 World Series when the Reds essentially could not get Munson out. He had power when he needed it but was also a top RBI man and a clutch hitter. I can easily imagine him socking a double to the gap to win the game.
2) The Yankees are playing in the seventh game of World Series. The game is at Yankee Stadium. Which of the following three fully rested pitchers would you want to start the game: Ron Guidry, Andy Pettitte, or Orlando Hernandez?
Andy Pettitte is the leader in post-season victories for a career with 18. He was a clutch pitcher in the postseason. El Duque lived for the postseason. His regular season numbers were not usually much to write home about. He shone the brightest on the biggest stage. However, considering the condition that all the players were at their absolute pinnacle of their abilities, I will pick Ron Guidry. When he was at his best, he was practically unhittable.
3) The Yankees are playing in the 7th game of the World Series. The game is at Yankee Stadium. Which of the following three men would you pick to manage the team: Stump Merrill, Aaron Boone, or Bucky Dent?
Bucky Dent’s managerial career was brief and unsuccessful. He had a mediocre roster and managed less than 100 games over two seasons. He was not given a fair chance. I would like to see what he could do if he had an opportunity and talented players. We also would not have to Dent-proof the team.
4) The Yankees are playing in the World Series against the New York Mets. The series is about to start with game one at Yankee Stadium. Which of the following three men would you pick to manage the Yankees: Billy Martin, Joe Torre, or Joe Girardi?
For me, the choice comes down to Billy Martin or Joe Torre. Billy could be quite creative and always seemed to have a trick up his sleeve. However, I could see him getting agitated with the media coverage of a subway series. Joe Torre’s even temperament and calm demeanor would win out.
5) You are transported back in time. If you could watch one of the following three players in their prime, and you were guaranteed they would have a great game, which one would you want to see: Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, or Mickey Mantle?
Although I never actually had the chance to see Mickey Mantle play. I heard a lot about him from my family members and I saw old footage of him. Babe Ruth remains a mystery to me. There are a few grainy recordings of him hitting but, I would love the opportunity to see him in all his glory and in his prime.
6) The Yankees are playing in the seventh game of the World Series. It is the 8th inning with two outs and runners on 1st and 2nd. The Yankees are leading 3-2. Mariano Rivera is unavailable to come in. Which of the following three relievers would you want to come in: Sparky Lyle, Dave Righetti, or Goose Gossage?
Gossage was flashier but, Lyle was tremendous in clutch situations. He was amazing during the 1977 playoffs against the Royals. Lyle was also capable of pitching longer stretches during the game. He would be my choice in this situation.
7) You are suddenly gifted with world class athletic ability. You are the best at what you do. It is the 7th game of the World Series, and you play for the Yankees. Would you rather be: the starting pitcher who goes 7 2/3 shutout innings with 13 strikeouts, the batter who hits the go-ahead home run, or the relief pitcher who comes in and notches four straight strikeouts to save the game?
I would love the sensation of hitting the game winning home run. it would be thrilling to feel the bat connect with the ball and watch it sail into the stands.
8) It is the 7th game of the World Series. The game is being played at Yankee Stadium. It is the bottom of the ninth inning and the Yankees are trailing three to two. There are two outs and runners on 1st and second. Which batter would you choose to be at the plate: Paul O’Neill, Alex Rodriguez, or Dave Winfield?
This is a close call. Despite the fact that George Steinbrenner labeled Dave Winfield Mr. May during the 1985 season, he is still a Hall of Famer and narrowly missed winning the batting title in 1984. Paul O’Neill did win a batting title with the Yankees. He was a clutch performer, who won five World Series championships. I would give him the edge over Winfield.
9) It is opening day for the Yankees. You can have one of the following pitchers in his absolute prime for the entire season. Would you pick: Roger Clemens, CC Sabathia, or Ron Guidry?
All three would be tremendous choices but, it’s hard to surpass Guidry at his absolute peak. His year in 1978 was the best I’ve ever seen.
10) It is opening day for the Yankees. You can have one of the following 3 players in their absolute prime for the whole season. Would you select: Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, or Alex Rodriguez?
The fact that Lou Gehrig was a left-handed hitter makes this easy but, I think I would have selected him anyway.
11) It is the 7th game of the World Series in the bottom of the ninth inning. The game is tied 2-2. There are runners on 1st and 2nd, with no outs. The pitcher has a tendency to throw balls in the dirt. You have a choice of three batters to send up.: Alex Rodriguez, Reggie Jackson, or Phil Rizzuto.
My thinking here is that Phil Rizzuto would bunt the runners over and they would both be in scoring position. If it was a fast runner on second base, he might be able to score on a wild pitch after being moved to third base. It is also possible that Rizzuto could have beaten out the bunt and the bases would have been loaded.
12) It is the 7th game of the World Series. You can have one of the following three batters for the whole game, playing in his normal position. The opposing pitcher is left-handed. Would you select: Mickey Mantle, Alex Rodriguez, or Giancarlo Stanton?
Mickey Mantle was an all-time great World Series performer. He was also center fielder which is one of the key positions on the field. He would be my clear choice here.
13) It is the 7th game of the World Series. You can have one of the following three batters for the whole game, playing in his normal position. The opposing pitcher is right-handed. Would you select: Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, or Mickey Mantle?
They are all great options but, I would select Babe Ruth because he hit for a very high average as well as power. He would be a close choice over Mickey Mantle.
I hope you enjoyed this exercise as much as I did. Don’t worry that you’ll catch COVID from me. I wore my mask while I wrote this article. I’m going to trudge off and drink lots of fluids, as I have been told. I never really understood that expression. How could one drink lots of solids? Anyway, stay safe.