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.