The New Jersey Globe asked one of the state’s greatest baseball fans, Congressman Bill Pascrell, to name his All-Time Great New Jersey Major League Baseball Team.
Yogi Berra (Montclair)
Yogi was the complete player. Three MVPs. Ten world series rings. He’s baseball’s Bill Russell. When you needed a big hit in the playoffs, Yogi was your guy. And President Obama gave him a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom. I know he was from St. Louis, but Jersey can rightly claim him as one of our own.
Sean Casey (Willingboro)
Had a long career. Never played for one of the tristate teams, but sturdy, and ended with over a .300 batting average.
Mark DeRosa (Passaic)
A 15-year career in Major League Baseball is nothing to sneeze at. Did I mention he was born in Passaic?
Phil Rizzuto (Hillside)
I remember the anger when they finally let Phil into the Hall of Fame. But he had a terrific career with his prime robbed by World War II. Scooter was also an excellent broadcaster and one of great characters in sports before our age of memes. He wasn’t the hitter Jeter was, but he was better defensively, and unlike Jeter he won an MVP.
Todd Frazier (Toms River)
Frazier’s had a nice pro career, but he’s also a Rutgers Scarlet Knight and was a member of that legendary 1998 Toms River Team that won the Little League World Series.
Larry Doby (Paterson)
Larry is the pride of Paterson, one of the best ever – and after years of trying in Washington, he will finally be awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.
Monte Irvin (Orange)
Monte Irvin was a key part of the great early fifties Giants teams.
Joe Medwick (Carteret)
I never saw Ducky Medwick play, but his stats speak for themselves. Where’s Mike Trout? He should’ve signed with the Yanks!
Al Leiter (Toms River)
Both a Met and a Yankee. Durable. He ate innings for a lot of teams, and in his prime was as tough as anyone and was a key part on multiple World Series squads. He pitched in 2000, but thankfully couldn’t get his team
to that title. Only knock on him are the flirtations with running for office as Republican.
Sparky Lyle (Bridgewater)
When I think about Lyle I think about how the Yankees got him from Boston in one of the biggest thefts in sports history. Remember Danny Cater? Lyle was our Mariano Rivera of the 1970s, and without Lyle the Yankees don’t win all those pennants. Plus, his number was retired by the minor league team in Somerset after serving as their manager.
Congressman Pascrell can be contacted on Twitter at @billpascrell