In part four of a six-part series, I look at my favourite all-time players from teams in the National League East.
My affinity for third basemen continues, as I have always been a fan of Chipper, who was the main offensive force for the dominant Braves teams of the 90s, which included a World Series title in 1995.
Chipper always plays great defense at third, hits for high average (won in 2008 with a .364 average), and has started his career with 14 consecutive 20+ home run seasons. He is one of the greatest switch-hitters of all-time and looks like a sure-fire first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.
Even though he only played one season for the Marlins, they won the World Series that year (1997) and Alou was an integral part of the team. Throughout his career he was always a clutch hitter, as evident by his .321 average in the World Series.
The 1997 season was one of his best, as he drove in 115 runs for the Marlins. He also dominated in MLB 1998 for Sega Saturn and had a cool stance.
12 time all-star. 10 time Silver Slugger award. Hall of Fame numbers, playing the hardest position in baseball, catcher. Not bad for a guy drafted in the 62nd round of the draft as a favour to his father.
Piazza was the dominant catcher in the National League for over 12 years, and paved the way for guys like Buster Posey and Brian McCann to show that catching isn’t all about the defense. Even though Piazza was not known as a great defensive catcher, his offensive numbers more than made up for the defensive liability.
This player probably played before a lot of reader’s time, but Dykstra was not only an important part of the 1986 New York Mets, but the 1993 Philadelphia Phillies. Dykstra, along with Mitch Williams, Dave Hollins, Darren Daulton, and John Kruk, led the Phillies to the 1993 World Series, which they lost in 6 games to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Dykstra led the National League in hits that year, and set a record with 773 plate appearances. He batted .348 in the World Series and hit four home runs. I always admired Dykstra’s “old-school” mentality, playing hard and aggressive, going all out on every play, and using his small frame to get on-base and not try to go outside his skill set. He, along with his 1993 teammates, made the mullet cool.
A Canadian playing for a Canadian team is always a feel-good story, but Walker made it a must-read. Walker was a five-tool player in Montreal and later Colorado and could do it all on the field. He hit for average, power, was a great base runner, a fielder, and not to many runners dared test his arm in right field.
It was a shame injuries lagged at him throughout his career and we all remember the 1994 Expos team was the overwhelming favourite to win it all, but the strike washed out the season from August on.
Feedback is always appreciated and encouraged. Look for the National League Central next week.
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From the couch…