General : : Professional
Friday, April 16, 2010

Pujols, Mauer Top Midwest League Honor Squad

Jim Ecker        
It would be hard to pick a major league all-star team these days without putting Albert Pujols at first base and Joe Mauer behind the plate, but that’s not the only all-star team that would love to have them.

Pujols and Mauer would be the stars of the Midwest League All-Decade Team as well.

Pujols, the slugging first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, spent the 2000 season with the Peoria Chiefs in the Class A Midwest League. And Mauer, the star catcher for the Minnesota Twins, played for the Quad City River Bandits in the Midwest League in 2002.

John Rodgers, the radio voice of the Cedar Rapids Kernels, and Mike Broskowski, a broadcasting intern with the Kernels this season, played around with the idea and assembled their own Midwest League All-Decade Team of the 2000s. “We just had fun doing it,” said Rodgers.

Here’s what Rodgers and Broskowski came up with:

1. Grady Sizemore, CF, Clinton LumberKings, 2001
2. Ian Kinsler, 2b, Clinton LumberKings, 2004
3. Joe Mauer, C, Quad City River Bandits, 2002
4. Albert Pujols, 1B, Peoria Chiefs, 2000
5. Justin Morneau, DH, Quad City River Bandits, 2001
6. Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Kane County Cougars, 2001
7. Jason Bay, LF, Clinton LumberKings, 2001
8. Adam Dunn, RF, Dayton Dragons, 2000
9. Erick Aybar, SS, Cedar Rapids Kernels, 2003

Starting Pitcher – John Lackey, Cedar Rapids Kernels, 2000
Closer – Bobby Jenks, Cedar Rapids Kernels, 2001
Pinch Hitter – Prince Fielder, Beloit Snappers, 2003

Rodgers got the idea of picking a Midwest League All-Decade Team from all the other All-Decade Teams that were selected in various sports, but he also had a more significant reason for selecting the squad.

“I just don’t think the casual fan realizes what a fertile ground the Midwest League is for future greatness,” he said.

Rodgers acknowledged there’s room for friendly debate at some of the positions, but this is their team and they’re sticking with it.
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