A pair of Redbirds — catcher Carson Kelly and pitcher Ryan Sherriff — will represent Memphis for the Pacific Coast League in Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star Game in Tacoma. This being the Redbirds’ 20th season in Memphis, the time seems right for an all-time All-Star squad.
An important note: This team is made up of players who made significant impact in Memphis, not necessarily later in the major leagues. So sorry Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina. Your greatness was clear, but we hardly knew ye.
• Catcher — Keith McDonald
McDonald spent parts of five seasons (1998-2002) with the Redbirds, the backstop for teams both good (the 2000 PCL champs) and bad (62-81 in 2001). He only played in eight big-league games but in 2001 became just the second player in MLB history to homer in his first two at-bats.
• First Base — Kevin Witt
This slugger played only one season for the Redbirds (2004), but what a year. His 36 home runs remain the franchise’s single-season record (and led the PCL that year) and his 107 RBIs are the second-most since the club’s arrival in 1998. Witt batted .306 yet was overlooked when the PCL’s postseason All-Star team was announced.
• Second Base — Stubby Clapp
As hard as it may be, forget the backflips. Clapp was a stellar second-baseman and offensive sparkplug over four years (1999-2002) in Memphis, the first at Tim McCarver Stadium. He led the 2000 PCL champions with 138 hits and 89 runs. Clapp is third in Redbirds history in games played (425) and hits (418). Hopes to match his championship as a player with one as the current Redbirds manager.
• Third Base — Scott Seabol
Poster boy for the “Four-A” player. Only played in 60 major-league games, but boy, was he good in Memphis. Enjoyed his best season in 2004 when he hit .304 with 31 homers, 78 RBIs, and compiled 156 hits (a franchise record that still stands). One of three Redbirds with 50 career home runs (56). Fourth in total bases behind three other players on this team.
• Shortstop — Tyler Greene
The Cardinals haven’t developed star shortstops over the last 20 years. Instead, they’ve relied on imports like Edgar Renteria, David Eckstein, and Rafael Furcal. Greene manned the position for the better part of three years, including the 2009 championship season. (He hit .320 as the Redbirds won all six of their playoff games.) Holds the franchise record for career stolen bases (68).
• Leftfield — John Gall
One of four men to play 400 games with the Redbirds, Gall ranks second in franchise history in hits (476), home runs (57) and RBIs (255). His best season as a Redbird was his first, in 2004, when he hit .292 with 22 homers and 84 RBIs. Played in only 33 big-league games but made a playoff cameo with the Cardinals in 2005.
• Centerfield — Adron Chambers
Chambers played stellar defense and was an offensive sparkplug over four seasons (2010-13) with the Redbirds. His 57 career stolen bases rank second in Redbirds history. Hit 10 home runs and stole 22 bases for Memphis in 2011 before earning a World Series ring with the Cardinals.
• Rightfield — Nick Stavinoha
Easiest selection for this team. The burly outfielder (and first-baseman) is the Redbirds’ all-time leader in games played (479), hits (531), home runs (74), runs (260), and RBIs (316). He played parts of five seasons with Memphis (2007-11) and went out with a bang: 28 homers and a franchise-record 109 RBIs in 2011.
• Starting Pitcher — P.J. Walters
The Redbirds have had their share of one-year wonders on the mound. Adam Wainwright, Dan Haren, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, and Michael Wacha all pitched here, but for little more than a full season (at most). Walters started 78 games over four seasons (2008-11) and won more games (32) than any other Redbird. He’s actually the only Redbird pitcher with as many as 30 career wins.
• Relief Pitcher — Victor Marte
Marte first pitched for the Redbirds in 2011, between big-league stints with Kansas City and St. Louis. He saved 31 games that year, the first and only Redbird to save as many as 30 in a season. His 45 career saves are also tops in franchise history.