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The Perfect: Chicago Baseball Player

With only three pennants and one World Series championship in the past 62 years, Chicago’s baseball teams need a new strategy.

With only three pennants and one World Series championship in the past 62 years, Chicago’s baseball teams need a new strategy. Tell Cooperstown to get a spot ready for Frank N. Stein as Chicago builds a better ballplayer*-just in time for opening day.

*In building its composite player, Chicago excluded all active players and considered only those players who had spent at least five years with a Chicago team.

Chicago Magazine's rendition of the perfect baseball player

1. SMARTS: Rube Foster (1879-1930) A superb pitcher and the cofounder and manager of the Chicago American Giants (1911-26), Foster was a savvy strategist, an astute teacher, and a keen student of the game. Hall of Fame 1981

2. VISION: Luke Appling (1907-91) His uncanny ability to repeatedly foul off undesirable pitches earned Old Aches and Pains two American League batting titles and eight seasons with an on-base percentage exceeding .400-making this White Sox shortstop (1930-50) the ultimate leadoff hitter. Hall of Fame 1964

3. SASS: Leo Durocher (1905-91) Whether challenging an umpire or an owner, a player or a fan, Durocher, who managed the Cubs in 1966-72, invariably gave better than he got. No wonder he was called the Lip. Hall of Fame 1994

4. POWER (right): Ernie Banks (b. 1931) A consummate professional with both grace and power-512 home runs and 1,009 extra-base hits, still a club record-Mr. Cub (he played with the team from 1953 to 1971) always exhibited a boyish enthusiasm for the game. “Let’s play two!” Hall of Fame 1977

5. RIGHTY: Ed Walsh (1881-1959) A workhorse and an ace-in 1908, he pitched 464 innings and won 40 games for the White Sox (for whom he pitched from 1904 to 1916)-Big Ed had a lifetime ERA of 1.82, the best ever. Hall of Fame 1946

6. HEART: Carlton Fisk (b. 1947) When forced into retirement after 13 seasons with the White Sox (1981-93), the indomitable Fisk had caught more games (2,226) and hit more home runs (351) than any catcher before him. Hall of Fame 2000

7. POWER (left): Billy Williams (b. 1938) Tutored by the legendary Rogers Hornsby, sweet-swinging Billy Williams (Cubs 1959-74) was one of the few North Siders not to slump during the club’s calamitous collapse in September 1969, when he hit .304. Hall of Fame 1987

8. LEFTY: Billy Pierce (b. 1927) A great pitcher of the 1950s, this Sox lefty (1949-61) has more wins (211) than Bob Lemon and more strikeouts (1,999) than Whitey Ford, two contemporaries who-unlike Pierce-have landed in the Hall of Fame.

9. GLOVE: Luis Aparicio (b. 1934) A potent base stealer (506), Little Looie (White Sox 1956-62, 1968-70) was also a nimble shortstop, with nine Gold Gloves and the major-league record (for shortstops) for double plays (1,553) and the American League record for putouts (4,548). Hall of Fame 1984

10. SPEED: Eddie Collins (1887-1951) A left-handed hitter-3,315 hits and a .333 lifetime batting average-and perhaps the greatest second baseman ever, Collins (White Sox, 1915-26) ranks seventh on the all-time list for stolen bases with 744. Hall of Fame 1939


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