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Every team's best 'video game' player

@williamfleitch
January 29, 2020

Back in November, R.B.I. Baseball 20, out in March, announced that Christian Yelich is on the cover of the newest version of its game. We have been playing baseball video games for many years and can say with certainty that Yelich, who has power, speed and incredible hand-eye coordination, is

Back in November, R.B.I. Baseball 20, out in March, announced that Christian Yelich is on the cover of the newest version of its game. We have been playing baseball video games for many years and can say with certainty that Yelich, who has power, speed and incredible hand-eye coordination, is an all-timer of a video game avatar. We want him on our team.

Thus today, in honor of Yelich's cover achievement, we look at the best all-time video game player from each team. Obviously, not all of these guys have actually made it into a video game: There were no video games in 1930s, much to the chagrin of 1930s teenagers everywhere. That said, here is one player from each franchise you'd want to play as regardless of whether they have actually appeared in a video game. Though it's possible none of them could possibly match up with "Paste" from Bases Loaded. (Google it, kids!)

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays -- Roberto Alomar: The guy could do everything, and he was at his absolute best when he was with Toronto.

Orioles -- Cal Ripken Jr.: He actually had his own video game back in the day, though we wouldn't recommend trying to play it today.

Rays -- Carl Crawford: As tempted as we are to go with late-era Jose Canseco, Crawford had the defense and speed combination that can be lethal in video games.

Red Sox -- Ted Williams: So many to choose from here, and there is value in just the pure awesomeness of getting to be David Ortiz. But you can also be Teddy Ballgame without all the orneriness, but with all the maybe-the-best-pure-hitter-of-all-time-ness.

Yankees -- Babe Ruth: In some of the recent MLB: The Show games, you can be Ruth as a pitcher as well. He's dominant at that, too, of course.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

Indians -- Bob Feller: On a video game, we can finally find out just how fast he threw compared to the pitchers of today. (Or at least pretend we can.)

Royals -- Bo Jackson: He is the best guy to play in a video game regardless of the sport.

Tigers -- Ty Cobb: The guy once hit .419 with 83 steals. I mean, can you imagine?

Twins -- Rod Carew: One of those players who will make you feel about 45 percent cooler just by getting to play as him.

White Sox -- Frank Thomas: If need be, you can play as him on Madden football as well.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

Angels -- Mike Trout: He is basically a video game character you'd create who was just the best in every category available.

Astros -- Nolan Ryan: The reason? He's Nolan Freakin' Ryan.

Athletics -- Rickey Henderson: Who wouldn't want to be Rickey Henderson, at least for one day of your life?

Mariners -- Ken Griffey Jr.: Like Ripken, Griffey also had his own video game, and it was an all-timer. As you can imagine, Griffey the player in Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball the video game was unstoppable.

Rangers -- Josh Hamilton: When he was fully healthy and at his peak, Hamilton might have been the platonic ideal of a baseball player.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves -- Hank Aaron: Along with everything else, don't forget that he once had a whole decade where he averaged more than 17 steals a season.

Marlins -- Giancarlo Stanton: He remains the most purely enjoyable guy to play as in Home Run Derby mode.

Mets -- Dwight Gooden: In the video game world, he can be that otherworldly 19-year-old forever.

Nationals -- Tim Raines: Sorry, but given the option, we're going to bust out those old Expos jerseys, and fast guys are always fun in video games. Did you know that Raines once had a seven-year stretch in which he averaged 72 stolen bases and just 11 caught stealings? (If you ask us in five years, the answer is probably Juan Soto.)

Phillies -- Mike Schmidt: He might not be the most electrifying video game player, but name us someone else you'd want at third base.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

Brewers -- Christian Yelich: Sorry, Robin Yount and the gang. Peak Yelich is basically the perfect video game player.

Cardinals -- Stan Musial: Peak Albert Pujols is also an option, but Stan the Man did everything you'd want your player to do.

Cubs -- Ernie Banks: As someone who has played baseball video games for many, many consecutive hours, "Let's Play Two" is downright conservative.

Pirates -- Roberto Clemente: You can play as Clemente in some versions of MLB: The Show, and it makes you feel downright regal.

Reds -- Pete Rose: You can do some cartoonishly over-the-top headfirst slides in the best video games.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

D-backs -- Randy Johnson: At his best, is there anyone else you'd want in a must-win game?

Dodgers -- Jackie Robinson: Robinson the icon has become such a powerful aspect of American culture that it is often forgotten just how electrifying of a baseball player he was. Playing him on a video game is a welcome remembrance.

Giants -- Willie Mays: The Say Hey Kid is to baseball video games what Michael Vick was to football ones.

Padres -- Tony Gwynn: If you want, you can play as young, thin, speedy Gwynn.

Rockies -- Larry Walker: The new Hall of Famer did everything incredibly well, all of which are a blast to play on a video game.