Welcome to 1990s First Basemen Week

Welcome to 1990s First Basemen Week.

In the lead-up to this week, a few people have asked us why we chose the 1990s first baseman as a subject for celebration and exploration. Those people have generally not been baseball fans. Baseball fans know that the 90s were a wonderful period for first basemen. These imposing anchors of the infield sparked our imaginations as the sluggers of note in a time before A-Rod and Jeter redefined shortstop, and before the sabermetric revolution asked that we look past the pop to deeper truths. First basemen in the 1990s were the last great hitters before the dawn of the age of cynicism.

The 1990s provided Hall of Fame performers like Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell, charismatic local legends like Mark Grace, lumbering power hitters like Cecil Fielder, since-forgotten stars like Greg Jefferies, friends of Mike Piazza like Eric Karros, steroid era icons like Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire, defensive wizards like JT Snow, stoic and steady performers like John Olerud and Fred McGriff, and even the indescribable Mo Vaughn.

In other words, the 1990s first baseman are of a type, fixed in our brain as perhaps the best and most evocative symbol of an era just before the next great unrest in baseball. They are also a menagerie. There is no single word or phrase potent enough to describe the gamut of first basemen in the 1990s, and the various emotional and cultural niches that they occupy. But we hope that with a lot of words — from both ourselves and from an array of talented friends — we can do those fine and often un-fine men justice.

This week Pitchers & Poets will feature essays, commentaries, team surveys, statistical analyses, and a great deal more, all of which explore the first basemen of the 1990s. There will be plenty of the long posts you expect from us, as well as some insight from our resident statistician as we search for the most representative first baggers of the decade.

We have also asked some notable voices to comment on which first baseman they consider to be the most quintessentially representative of the decade. We’re calling them Short Hops, and we’ll share these answers throughout the week.

Our friend Kolin Pope — find him on Twitter — designed the awesome banner you see above.

So please, tune in and comment as we laugh with, cry over, and cheer for the biggest stars of a brawny age. This is 1990s First Basemen Week.

Eric & Ted

P.S. We’ll tweet about this with the hashtag #90s1BWeek — so please, please join us in taking the 90s first base experience worldwide.

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One Response to Welcome to 1990s First Basemen Week

  1. Ron Coomer says:

    What first baseman led all major league baseball players in hits in the 1990′s while also leading the NL Central in cigarettes smoked?