This year saw a lot of changes going on in baseball as well. The Diamondbacks and Devil Rays made their debuts as new expansion teams, with the D-Backs going to the NL, and the D-Rays going to the AL. The Brewers, a long time member of the American League, was now joining the National League. So even though the AL still had 14 teams, the NL now grew to a whopping sixteen-team league. It truly was a great year for baseball. My new wife and I were watching that fateful game on September 8, 1998 when Mark McGwire broke the home run record, and watched as Sammy Sosa, the man chasing him, went to congratulate him. Baseball was back in the minds of everyone, and even non-fans kept watching to see the exploits of the two superstar sluggers. The Cubs even made the post season for the first time since 1989, and they had to play the Giants in a one-game playoff just to get in as the wild card team.
Regarding my All-Star Teams, I still kept track of them, and still continued my childhood traditions. But 1998 also saw me run out of room in the notebook I has been using to keep my All-Star Teams when I was younger. Fortunately, I saved all my loose papers (the ones I used to compile my teams from 1998 to 2006), so I still have a record of who I chose that year to play on both teams. Players who participated in the All-Star Game still showed up on my teams, but going forward, you'll see me rely on that alone less and less.
This year's teams include 10 pitchers on each team (six starters, four closers), and the usual 3 players per position (1b, 2b, 3b, ss, c, 9 of), and because the 1999 ASG would be in Boston (at Fenway Park), each team included a DH. So the rosters were expanded back to 35 players per team.
Without further ado, for the first time online, I am proud to introduce my 1998 End of Year MLB All-Star Teams (in alphabetical order by position):
(Fill in your own stars here...)
Thirteen players are first-time all-stars (9 for the American League, 4 for the Nationals). One-person teams on my 1998 rosters include the Angels (Percival), Athletics (Henderson), Devil Rays (Boggs), Royals (Palmer), Tigers (Easely), Twins (Steinbach), White Sox (Belle), Cardinals (McGwire), Expos (Guerrero), Marlins (Floyd), Mets (Piazza), Phillies (Schilling), Pirates (Kendall), and Reds (Larkin). The Yankees send six representatives to the AL roster, leading both leagues. The Indians, and Rangers each send five players to their respective squads.
As always, seven regular games (10,000 simulations each, six with the same starting pitchers, one where lineups and starting pitchers change), and one All-Star Game will be simulated during the course of the week. I hope to have the results of all the games by the end of the week.
Now it's time for me to create the .DAT files before getting the games set. Game results coming next week.