Thursday, November 1, 2012

Exploring baseball's hotbeds and hot destinations

California and Florida are generally regarded as two of the most fertile hotbeds for baseball talent, with weather that allows for play 12 months a year. It should come as no surprise then, that when author Chris Jensen built state-by-state all-star teams for his new book Baseball State by State, California features a roster including such all-time greats as Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Barry Bonds, and Tom Seaver. The Golden State's second-team outfield would rank among the best of any state in the nation.

Florida's resume, on the other hand, is surprisingly light on elite talent. Lefthander Steve Carlton was the only player born in the Sunshine State to show up on both The Sporting News and SABR's 1999 lists of the game's top 100 players. Negro League great Pop Lloyd, regarded by some as one of the best shortstops to ever play, center fielder Andre Dawson, and catcher Al Lopez, like Carlton, are enshrined in Cooperstown, though Lopez went in on the strength of his managerial career.

As hard as it may be to believe, Florida is looking up at Nebraska and Oklahoma when it comes to Hall of Famers born within its borders. And states like New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Massachusetts, Alabama, and Maryland all can boast more plaques.

For lineups from these states and more on Jensen's book, see my full review on BaseballAmerica.com.

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