Baseball is America’s Favorite Pastime, so it feels natural that we go back in time and pay respect to some of the greatest players the game has ever seen. In a new series, we are identifying the best players from each of the last five decades. Let’s look at the 1990’s all MLB team.
Mike Piazza – Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets
The 90s was the rise of one of the greatest catchers in Major League Baseball history. A catcher who could field as well as he could hit, and it was exciting. Piazza was the Rookie of the Year in 1993 and finished in the top-6 of MVP voting four years in a row during the decade. The Hall-of-Famer also won seven Silver Sluggers in the decade.
Frank Thomas – Chicago White Sox
There were so many great first basemen in the 90s, but it is hard to look past “the Big Hurt” who won two MVP awards, was a three-time Silver Slugger, and five-time All-Star during the decade. In 1997, he won the AL Batting Championship. The Hall-of-Famer also led the league in walks and on base percentage four times in the decade.
Craig Biggio – Houston Astros
Craig Biggio will probably be upset that his teammate Jeff Bagwell wasn’t listed as the first baseman on this list, but we are making it up to him. Biggio was a hitting machine with just two players reaching base more than him in the 90s. He was a seven-time All-Star and won four Silver Slugger awards. As he got older, his glove got better, as the Hall-of-Famer won four Gold Gloves during the decade. He also stole 30 or more bases five times that timeframe.
Chipper Jones – Atlanta Braves
I am ready for this to be controversial. There are a couple of guys like Matt Williams and Robin Ventura who can be listed here, but I am settling with Jones. His rookie year was 1995 and the future Hall-of-Famer finished 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting while helping the Braves win the World Series that season. He was an MVP in 1999, won a Silver Slugger that year and went to three All-Star games as the budding star of the Braves.
Barry Larkin – Cincinnati Reds
Seeing a trend? Most of the players of the 90s all played for one team, a total rarity nowadays. Larkin doesn’t seem to garner the respect as some of the other great players, but the Hall-of-Famer was a machine in the 90s. He went to eight All-Star games, won the 1995 MVP award, and was a seven-time Silver Slugger award winner.
Barry Bonds – Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants
Bonds began the 90s with the Pittsburgh Pirates before heading to San Francisco in 1993. There was no better player than Barry Bonds in the 90s, who won three MVP awards, went to eight All-Star games, and won seven Silver Sluggers. In the 90s, he mashed 361 home runs and drove in 1,076 RBIs. The career leader in home runs, walks, and intentional walks would surely be in the Hall-of-Fame were it not for accusations of steroid use.
Ken Griffey Jr. – Seattle Mariners
Yes, Griffey spent the entire decade with the Mariners and man was it fun to watch. The Kid burst onto the scene with his dad by his side and went to the All-Star game every year of the decade. He led the league in home runs in four different years and was the MVP of the 1997 season. He was smooth as all could be with a glove, winning 10 Gold Glove awards during the decade and wowing us every night. The Hall-of-Famer hit 630 career home runs which ranks 7th all time.
Larry Walker – Montreal Expos, Colorado Rockies
Walker was a bit of a late bloomer who really turned it on in the back-half of the decade. The Hall-of-Famer won the MVP award in 97 and went to four All-Star games, three towards the back end of the decade. He was a huge fan of playing in Colorado where his numbers skyrocketed at the plate, and he reaped the benefits by leading the league in batting average in 1998 and 1999.
Greg Maddux – Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves
Maddux helped create one of the greatest starting rotations of all-time with the Atlanta Braves that also included future Hall-of-Famers Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. Maddux was the absolute stud of the bunch, winning four straight Cy Young awards and going to six All-Star games. He also led the league in innings pitched five seasons and in ERA four seasons during the decade. Oh, he also won a Gold Glove every season of the decade. The Braves won a World Series in 1995, although it is shocking that they didn’t win more. The Hall-of-Famer finished with 355 career wins, 8th best in history.
John Wetteland – Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers
Wetteland didn’t stick in one spot during the 90s, but you could say that he was highly coveted. He had 295 saves in the decade and was the 1996 Relief Pitcher of the Year when he led the league in saves. He was a three-time All Star and maybe most importantly was the 1996 World Series MVP. He had saves in all four of the New York Yankees championship wins, while a rookie by the name of Mariano Rivera watched and learned.