Late in 1999, we asked our readers to give us their picks for baseball’s
Team of the 1990s. More than 1,000 people voted in the poll, held over
three months, and the results have been tabulated. Over the next two
weeks, we’ll present to you the Baseball Prospectus Team of the
1990s. First, the infielders:


Not much of a surprise here, as the best-hitting catcher of all time holds
off the defending AL MVP to win the catching spot on the squad. Mike Piazza and
Ivan Rodriguez were the only serious contenders for this spot, and Piazza’s
offense bested Rodriguez’s glove and arm in the eyes of the voters. The
rest of the field combined for 83 votes.

Player Name             1
Mike Piazza           875
Ivan Rodriguez        442
Javy Lopez             13
Sandy Alomar Jr.       11
Jason Kendall          11
Darren Daulton          6
Terry Steinbach         5
Todd Hundley            4
Joe Girardi             3
Benito Santiago         3
Mickey Tettleton        3
Brad Ausmus             2
Chris Hoiles            2
Charles Johnson         2
Mike Macfarlane         2
Matt Nokes              2
Don Slaught             2
Mike Stanley            2
Pat Borders             1
Brian Harper            1
Ron Karkovice           1
Jim Leyritz             1
Kirt Manwaring          1
Greg Myers              1
Tom Pagnozzi            1
Scott Servais           1
Dave Valle              1
Dan Wilson              1
TOTAL                1400

First Base

Jeff Bagwell and Frank Thomas had the lead early in the voting, but Mark
came on strong at the finish to win the spot on the Team of the
Decade. In the end, McGwire’s moon shots and strong finish trumped the
Astrodome heroics of Bagwell and the consistent greatness of Thomas.
McGwire’s health (1,221 games played in the 1990s, versus 1,317 for Bagwell
and 1,371 for Thomas) wasn’t enough to hold him back. Rafael Palmiero was
the only other player to reach triple digits in the voting.

Player Name             1
Mark McGwire          414
Jeff Bagwell          333
Frank Thomas          296
Rafael Palmeiro       145
Mark Grace             51
Don Mattingly          24
Andres Galarraga       16
Fred McGriff           15
Eddie Murray           10
John Kruk               6
Tino Martinez           4
John Olerud             4
Will Clark              3
Cecil Fielder           3
Eric Karros             3
Mo Vaughn               3
Rico Brogna             2
Greg Colbrunn           2
Kent Hrbek              2
JT Snow                 2
Todd Benzinger          1
Jason Giambi            1
Wally Joyner            1
Hal Morris              1
David Segui             1
TOTAL                1343

Second Base

The two best second sackers of the decade were undoubtedly Roberto Alomar
and Craig Biggio, and Alomar emerged as the winner of this contest. Biggio
spending two years of the decade behind the plate and not posting a
slugging percentage north of .400 until 1993 might have had something to do
with that. Alomar was a second baseman exclusively and reached the .400
SLG mark for good in 1991. Ryne Sandberg captured third place
despite missing most of or all of four seasons during the decade.

Player Name             1
Roberto Alomar        654
Craig Biggio          412
Ryne Sandberg          66
Chuck Knoblauch        32
Jeff Kent               7
Bret Boone              6
Lou Whitaker            6
Carlos Baerga           5
Mickey Morandini        5
Harold Reynolds         4
Delino Deshields        2
Craig Grebeck           2
Luis Alicea             1
Ray Durham              1
Damion Easley           1
Scott Fletcher          1
Pat Kelly               1
Mark Lemke              1
Jose Lind               1
Juan Samuel             1
Steve Sax               1
Luis Sojo               1
Randy Velarde           1
Eric Young              1
TOTAL                1213


The Trinity got little support for this award, no doubt due to the fact
that none of them made the majors to stay until 1996. The starting
shortstop for our squad is Barry Larkin, who has been remarkably consistent
in all facets of the game throughout the decade. Coming in second is
ironman Cal Ripken, whose age-related decline and positional shift
undoubtedly lost him votes.

Player Name             1
Barry Larkin          543
Cal Ripken            260
Alex Rodriguez        181
Derek Jeter            54
Omar Vizquel           53
Nomar Garciaparra      29
Ozzie Smith            27
Alex Gonzalez           6
Alan Trammell           4
Jay Bell                3
Ozzie Guillen           3
Tony Fernandez          2
Dickie Thon             2
Walt Weiss              2
Shawon Dunston          1
Kevin Elster            1
Alvaro Espinoza         1
Greg Gagne              1
Chris Gomez             1
Pat Listach             1
Dick Schofield          1
TOTAL                1176

Third Base

1999 was especially sweet for resurgent third baseman Matt Williams, whose
big year following two off ones pushed him towards the Third Baseman of the
1990s title. Williams’s career fits the decade format well compared to his
competition, as he had his first good year in the majors in 1990, while
Chipper Jones was attending his high school prom. Third-place finisher
Robin Ventura didn’t have Williams’s Ruthian home run binges, but his Mets
did best the Bald One’s Diamondbacks in last year’s playoffs, a nice
consolation prize.

Player Name             1
Matt Williams         402
Chipper Jones         186
Robin Ventura         168
Wade Boggs             89
Ken Caminiti           73
Jim Thome              44
Vinny Castilla         21
Gary Gaetti             8
Travis Fryman           7
Scott Rolen             7
Scott Brosius           6
Edgardo Alfonzo         3
Jeff Cirillo            3
Tim Wallach             3
Todd Zeile              3
Howard Johnson          2
Dean Palmer             2
Terry Pendleton         2
Doug Strange            2
Dave Hollins            1
Tim Naehring            1
TOTAL                1033

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