Dream Team: 10 Best Jersey Baseball Players of All Time

With help from a time machine, here's our picks for Jersey's all-star team.

Baseball fans rejoice! Opening day is upon us. While others ponder what lies ahead for their favorite team, we’ve conjured the ultimate Jersey team, comprising the 10 best all-time players from the Garden State at their respective positions (including two pitchers; one right-handed and one southpaw, plus five honorable mentions).


Catcher: Yogi Berra
Hall of Fame: 1972
Even if he didn’t say all those things he said, the longtime Montclair resident (a native of St. Louis, Missouri) is indisputably one of the greatest backstops ever. A lifetime .285 hitter with 358 home runs, he was the American League’s MVP three times and won a record 10 World Series with the Yankees.


From the collection of Ken Schlager

Honorable Mention:
Earl Williams

Born: Newark, 1948
Jersey’s finest homegrown catcher was the National League rookie of the year in 1971, and hit 138 home runs in an eight-season big-league career.

First Base: Eric Karros
Born: Hackensack, 1967
Surprised to see Karros on this list? You might be more surprised to learn that the longtime L.A. Dodger hit the most home runs (284) of any Jersey-born player in history.

Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr Creative Commons

Second Base: Willie Randolph
Born in South Carolina and raised in Brooklyn, Randolph is revered in the Garden State as a longtime Bergen County resident. He batted .276, stole 271 bases, and was a six-time all-star in his 18-year career, including 13 stellar seasons with the Yankees.

Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr Creative Commons

Short Stop: Derek Jeter
Born: Pequannock, 1974
Jete’s parents moved him to Michigan when he was just four, but we’ll still claim the future Hall of Famer as our own. A five-time World Series champion with a flair for the dramatic, he closed out his career with 3,465 hits, sixth on the all-time list.

Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr Creative Commons

Honorable Mention:
Phil Rizzuto
Hall of Fame: 1994
The Scooter was born in Brooklyn but lived most of his adult life in Jersey. He was the American League’s MVP in 1950, and played on seven championship teams in 13 seasons with the Yankees, his only team.

Third Base: Ray Dandridge
Hall of Fame: 1987
A lifetime .355 hitter in the Negro leagues, Dandridge was considered too old to play Major League baseball by the time the color barrier was broken. The Virginia native starred for the Newark Dodgers and the Newark Eagles between 1933 and 1944.

Doug McWilliams/National Baseball Hall of Fame Library

Doug McWilliams/National Baseball Hall of Fame Library

Outfield: Joe Medwick
Born: Carteret, 1911
Hall of Fame: 1968
One of these days, Jersey’s best all-around player of all time will likely be a guy named Trout. But for now, it’s a guy known as “Ducky.” A lifetime .324 hitter, Medwick surpassed .300 in each of his first 12 seasons, including a National League-leading .374 in 1937 with the Cardinals. He also led the N.L. in homers (31) and RBIs (154) that remarkable season, winning the Triple Crown. Hard to believe, but no National Leaguer has won it since.

St. Louis Cardinals Joe "Ducky" Medwick and Dizzy Dean. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

St. Louis Cardinals Joe “Ducky” Medwick and Dizzy Dean. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

Outfield: Larry Doby
Hall of Fame: 1998
A great slugger, he was the second African American to play in the Major Leagues, and the first in the American League. A South Carolina native, he was raised in Paterson and later lived in Montclair. Doby led the A.L. in home runs twice, and totaled 253 dingers in his 13-year big-league career, mostly with Cleveland.


From the collection of Ken Schlager

Outfield:  Leon “Goose” Goslin
Born: Salem, 1900
Hall of Fame: 1968
Old Goose was some hitter. He batted .316 over 18 seasons, mostly with the Senators, including an A.L.-leading .379 in 1928. He also popped 248 home runs and led the league in triples twice. He struck out to end the World Series in 1925, but redeemed himself in 1935, when his walk-off single won the world championship for Detroit.

Boston Red Sox "Bobo" Newsom and Detroit Tigers Leon "Goose" Goslin. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

Boston Red Sox “Bobo” Newsom and Detroit Tigers Leon “Goose” Goslin. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

Honorable Mentions:
Monte Irvin
Hall of Fame: 1973
Due to the color barrier, the power-hitting Irvin didn’t reach the Major Leagues until age 30, but became an instant star. Born in Alabama, he grew up in Jersey, attended East Orange High School, and played for the Newark Eagles before entering the Majors.
Doc Cramer
Born: Beach Haven, 1905
A lifetime .296 hitter, he is one of three players in history to have six hits in a game twice. (The other two are Hall of Famers Jimmie Foxx and Kirby Puckett.)

Left-Handed Pitcher: Al Leiter
Born: Toms River, 1965
Here’s another Garden State surprise: The affable Leiter is New Jersey’s all-time most successful hurler, with 162 lifetime wins, including 95 for the Mets and 10 for the Yankees, his first team. His best campaign was 1998, when he won 17 games and gave up only eight home runs in 193 innings for the Mets.

Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr Creative Commons

Right-Handed Pitcher: Don Newcombe
Born: Madison, 1926
Big Newk won 149 games in 10 big-league seasons, including 27 for the Dodgers in 1956, when he became the first player to win the MVP and the Cy Young Award (for best pitcher) in the same year. He was the first African-American to start a World Series game and the first to win 20 games in a season (1951). Too bad he lost 1952 and 1953 to military service.

From the collection of Ken Schlager

From the collection of Ken Schlager

Honorable Mention:
Johnny Vander Meer
Born: Prospect Park, 1914
He had a career record of just 119-121, but in June 1938 Vander Meer turned in perhaps the greatest pitching feat ever, hurling two consecutive no-hitters. The achievement has never been matched. For an encore, he topped the National League in strikeouts from 1941-1943.

Do you agree with our all-star lineup? Let us know what Jersey players you would pick.

By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to appear in the print edition of New Jersey Monthly.

Comments (5)

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  1. Lopai

    terrible line up. More than half not from NJ. Come on we are better than that !!!!!!!!!

    • Ken Schlager

      Thanks for the comment. My thinking is that individuals like Yogi Berra,
      Larry Doby, Willie Randolph and Monte Irvin, who were not born here,
      but settled here and became credits to our state, deserve to be on the
      list just as much as a player who happens to be native-born. I would
      remind you that such great New Jerseyans as Thomas Edison, Albert
      Einstein, Woodrow Wilson and Governor Tom Kean were not born here
      either. Certainly, they are individuals we can all be proud of.

  2. Lopai

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. When I saw the title “Dream Team: 10 Best Jersey Baseball Players of All Time” I expected a different list and therefore my disappointment. Can we can up with a list of native New Jerseyans?

  3. Ken Schlager

    Earl Williams fills the bill as a Jersey native behind the plate and Doc Cramer is another Jersey-born outfield great — if you are inclined to dis Berra and Doby. As for second base and third base, it’s pretty slim pickings. Maybe you have some candidates in mind. Todd Frazier could arguably qualify as the third baseman already, but if so, Mike Trout should certainly be in the team. I opted not to go with active players–since who knows what the future holds. Personally, I think a stronger argument could be made for choosing Jersey-transplant Rizzuto over native-born Jeter — but I went with Jeter, anyway.

  4. Stephen Mackin

    John “Dots” Miller born in Kearny NJ was second baseman to Honus Wagner’s shortshop on the 1909 world series champion Pittsburgh Pirates. Great stats in his time and a world series champ to boot!