The Lord’s Baseball Team

August 19, 2004 | 38 comments
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I’ve always thought that one of the more fun and personal conference talks in recent years is Elder Wirthlin’s story about playing football against Whizzer White. Inspired by that story (and by the misery that acompanies focusing on baseball reality at present, given the current status of my Diamondbacks), I pondered this question:

If the Lord fielded a baseball all-star team, composed of past and present great church leaders, who might be on it? (We’ll focus this on church leaders, so real athletes like Dale Murphy and Todd Heap are off the list). Here are some thoughts:

First base: Mormon. We read about him, “And notwithstanding I being young, was large in stature.” Maybe I’m projecting too much into this, but Mormon strikes me as Mark McGwire without the andro questions, or possibly a Rafeal Palmeiro type. I can see him averaging 50 home runs and batting around .280, with 120 to 140 RBI, and he’s undoubtedly tough. Yeah, definitely put Mormon at first.

Second Base and Shortstop: Hyrum and Joseph Smith. That’s a double-Play combination for the ages. Inseparable, and they practically read each other’s minds. Meanwhile, they’re no slouches offensively. Joseph is a fearless, swing-for-the-fences hitter, with a green light to go for the steal at any time. Hyrum is a smart, careful hitter with some definite power for a second baseman; he’s like Robbie Alomar in his prime.

Third Base: Adam. A quick thinker, and not afraid to improvise. He’s got the smooth defense of Brooks Robinson or Scott Rolen. And you just know he’s a clutch hitter with two outs and men in scoring position.

Catcher: Moses. He’s not afraid of the Egyptian. He’s not afraid of Pharoah. And he’s certainly not afraid to block the plate. He’s a smart hitter who will work the count and take a walk. My guess is that he doesn’t strike out too often, either.

Center field: Paul. You’ve got to cover a lot of ground in center field, and Paul has certainly shown an ability to do that. At the plate, he’s more Joltin Joe than Mickey Mantle; he’s got power, but he’ll also put together some impressive hitting streaks.

Right field: Brigham Young. We expect power out of a right fielder (see, e.g., Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron) and Brigham won’t disappoint. He’s hitting moon shots to his friends who live there. And he’s cocky, too — he’ll call his shot by pointing to the left-field bleachers and saying, “This is the [right] place.”

Left field: Nephi. More home-run power by another prophet who is large in stature. All that practice with steel bows has given him great wrist strength and a quick swing. He may not have great mobility, but that’s just fine with Paul covering center field. Also, he’s a natural team leader.

Starting Pitcher: Abraham. He’s got an intimidating fastball and a mean slider. He knows how to protect his teammates — no one’s going to try to bean Mormon or Brigham, knowing that Abraham and his 98-mile-an-hour fastball will be around to exact revenge. He’s known to be clutch in pressure situations. And, of course, he knows how to sacrifice.

Closer: Elijah. A real fire-baller; yep, he’s got heat like no one else. And he’s fearless and great under pressure — the ideal closer. You can bring him on in any situation — bases loaded; tied game; nation-wide famine — and he’ll deliver.

Coach: Peter. This team has a lot of strong personalities, and it’s going to take some great coaching to get the best out of them. Peter has the leadership and intelligence to get the best out of this diverse group of players.

Well, as with all baseball lists, someone got left out. Who are the egregious absences? (The equivalents of Lyle Overbay at this year’s all-star game). Should I have picked Ammon at third instead of Adam? And how did Captain Moroni get left off the list, anyway? Or Enoch? Or John? Comments and suggestions are welcome.

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38 Responses to The Lord’s Baseball Team

  1. Greg on August 19, 2004 at 3:01 pm

    My first thought is that with John the Baptist’s leaping ability, exhibited from a *very* young age, he’s got to have a spot in the outfield. I’m worried about Moses as catcher — you’ve got to be able to talk to you pitchers in crucial moments and he’s got a reputation for getting a bit tongue-tied.

  2. danithew on August 19, 2004 at 3:10 pm

    King David is known for having a good arm. He’d also attract the female fans.

    Joseph (of Egypt) would be a good team manager. He knows how to mess with the psychology of the team players but also how to give them a pat on the back at the end of the game.

    Teancum would be great at stealing bases.

    Jethro (Moses’s father-in-law) would make a great team owner. He really knows how to delegate authority.

    Laban (Jacob’s father-in-law) could be a sort of Steinbrenner type owner personality.

    Abel could pop up a sacrifice fly for the team.

  3. Derek on August 19, 2004 at 3:11 pm

    I think David (the one who slew Goliath) would be a good pitcher.

  4. danithew on August 19, 2004 at 3:12 pm

    Joshua wouldn’t just hit it over the wall, he’d knock the wall down.

  5. Randy on August 19, 2004 at 3:19 pm

    For what it’s worth, I would have put Brigham off in left field.

  6. Chad too on August 19, 2004 at 3:20 pm

    Is this a Co-ed team? I’d like to think Emmeline B. Wells and Eliza R. Snow are good for more than just supplying the concession stand with casseroles.

    And don’t forget Alma the Younger and all the sons of Mosiah when you need some switch-hitters.

  7. Greg on August 19, 2004 at 3:25 pm

    Let’s integrate: Abish as pinch runner.

  8. Chad too on August 19, 2004 at 3:28 pm

    …and you can’t beat Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednago when it comes to dealing with the hot-box. ;-)

  9. greenfrog on August 19, 2004 at 4:46 pm

    Funny. I’d have put Brigham Young in left field (at least that’s the direction most of his more interesting sermons seem to come from) and Nephi in deep right (for all the obvious reasons).

  10. danithew on August 19, 2004 at 4:47 pm

    After a loss, Jonah would spend three days and three nights grieving in the dugout.

  11. danithew on August 19, 2004 at 4:51 pm

    From yesterday’s USA Today paper:

    http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/sports/20040818/jewishball18.art.htm

    I’m sure all our Old Testament heroes would be proud.

  12. Kaimi on August 19, 2004 at 5:54 pm

    Great suggestions. I shouldn’t have left David off, or probably Joshua. And Moses tongue-tied, that’s a real concern.

    Everyone agrees that Brigham belongs in left field. :)

    Integration is tricky, since there aren’t many stories of women in the scriptures (a little known fact, I know).

    I think I should have included Moroni somewhere. That way, with the team five games out of the lead with two weeks to go, Moroni could guarantee the pennant — and it would be known as “Moroni’s Promise.”

    (Either that, or he could pace the dugout, saying to Nephi “I would exhort you to shorten your swing and open up your stance a little . . .”)

  13. danithew on August 19, 2004 at 6:06 pm

    I’m trying to decide whether Job would be a fan of the Chicago Cubs or the Boston Red Sox. Either way, he is doomed (cursed, some might say) to eternal suffering.

  14. Chad too on August 19, 2004 at 6:11 pm

    Moroni’s pennant guarantee could also be known as having your “calling and division made sure.” :)

  15. Randy on August 19, 2004 at 6:14 pm

    How about bad boy Sampson as catcher (pre-haircut, of course)? Might liven things up a bit.

  16. Kristine on August 19, 2004 at 6:23 pm

    Hmmm–how about Jael? If she could swing a bat as powerfully as a hammer…

    (yikes!)

  17. greenfrog on August 19, 2004 at 6:43 pm

    Based on Arnold Frieberg’s paintings, I’m not at all convinced that Mormon would pass a steroid test.

  18. danithew on August 19, 2004 at 6:47 pm

    LOL Kristine… that was an awesome suggestion. I think Jael should bat cleanup. I just hope her bat wouldn’t be um (*cough*) corked.

  19. Kaimi on August 19, 2004 at 7:19 pm

    And Jael certainly has that “killer instinct” that teams look for.

  20. Kaimi on August 19, 2004 at 7:22 pm

    Greenfrog,

    I’ve heard from Mormon’s agent that he strenuously denies any steroid use. He has in the past acknowledged taking some over-the-counter Ziff supplements, but he insists that those are perfectly legal.

  21. danithew on August 19, 2004 at 7:30 pm

    It was either ziff or neas. :)

  22. greenfrog on August 19, 2004 at 7:53 pm

    “…Mormon’s agent…”

    He isn’t still using Pete Rose as his agent, is he?

  23. Mark Simmons on August 19, 2004 at 10:47 pm

    Whatever you do, don’t let Amalickiah be the assistant coach!

  24. LoneWriter on August 20, 2004 at 12:44 am

    I vote for King Benjamin as manager. He knows how to motivate a team.

    Ammon would make a great advance scout. He knows how to get the skinny on the other teams and bring the information back in time.

  25. Mark Simmons on August 20, 2004 at 8:56 am

    I don’t think anyone would want Enos on their team either. The guy’s mind always seems to be somewhere else.

  26. Adam Greenwood on August 20, 2004 at 10:10 am

    Samuel the Lamanite would be a fan in the cheap seats.

  27. James M. on August 20, 2004 at 10:13 am

    I’m sure Isaiah would be an ideal 3rd base coach. It would be impossible for the other team to steal signs and Nephi could explain him to everbody else during spring training.

  28. jonathan thomas on August 20, 2004 at 11:59 am

    If either Elijah or John the Baptist is on the team, I propose that one of them bat in the first position to prepare the way for later heavy hitters.

    jonathan

  29. jonathan thomas on August 20, 2004 at 12:03 pm

    If either Elijah or John the Baptist is on the team, I propose that one of them bat in the first position to prepare the way for later heavy hitters.

    jonathan

  30. jonathan thomas on August 20, 2004 at 12:05 pm

    If either Elijah or John the Baptist is on the team, I propose that one of them bat in the first position to prepare the way for later heavy hitters.

    jonathan

  31. jonathan thomas on August 20, 2004 at 12:13 pm

    If either Elijah or John the Baptist is on the team, I propose that one of them bat in the first position to prepare the way for later heavy hitters.

    jonathan

  32. Dustin on August 20, 2004 at 12:14 pm

    This has got to be the best post I’ve seen on this blog! :)

    Here’a few of my thoughts…

    Keep Nephi in left field. Yes, he is large in stature but he has definitely proven time and again he can cover a lot of ground! His speed is deceptive because of his size. He is much faster than one would think. He runs a 4.9 40 which is not bad at all! But’s is not his speed that earns him his gold gloves, it’s his ability to read the batter and get a good jump on the ball.

    I agree that David should be in the starting rotation of pitchers. He has pinpoint accuracy and has no fear when it comes to facing the “big” hitters.

    Also on the pitching roster we can’t forget Gordon B. Hinckley. He has the most complete games in history!

  33. MDS on August 20, 2004 at 2:52 pm

    Another asset for Paul would be his short stature, leading to a pretty minimal strike zone.

  34. Keith on August 20, 2004 at 3:36 pm

    Clear candidate for a somewhat salty but loveable member of the coaching staff: J. Golden Kimball. He’d be the Mormon version of Yogi Berra.

  35. Adam Greenwood on August 20, 2004 at 5:41 pm

    Lehi’s keen eyesight puts him in the outfield. Nephi I see as more the equipment manager.
    Corianton can handle the groupies.

  36. Adam Greenwood on August 20, 2004 at 5:43 pm

    Lehi’s keen eyesight puts him in the outfield. Nephi would make a good equipment manager.

  37. Adam Greenwood on August 20, 2004 at 5:44 pm

    And, oh, let’s not forget Jesus. http://www.catholicsupply.com/christmas/sports.html

  38. danithew on August 25, 2004 at 3:24 pm

    I second Keith’s nomination of J. Golden Kimball to take a Yogi Berra-like coaching position.

    I also suggest that a sign be placed somewhere in the dugout “Whatever thou art, act well thy part” (or however that is supposed to be written).

    Moses should write the rules or playing-guide.