As is my habit, I selected my All Stars prior to looking at anyone elses. I'm sure there will be disagreements with my choices, but these are the 1974 CKL All Stars as I see them.
Carlton Fisk, Wranglers: Fewer PAs than the other top contender, and he playes in a hitter’s park, but with an OPS 208 points higher than the next closest catcher, this pick was a no brainer.
Gene Tenace, Dust Bunnies: Actually listed as a first baseman, but all of his starts have come behind the dish. Putting up great numbers for the Bunnies and may end up as a more than worthy MVP candidate.
Willie McCovey, Spikes: Another situation where he has fewer PAs than his closest competitors but his OPS is so much higher he simply can’t be ignored (121 points higher than Yaz).
Carl Yastrzemski, Diablos: Joins McCovey on the team as an original CKL draftee who still has plenty of gas left in the tank. Edges out Dick Allen because of far better fielding stats.
Bobby Grich, Wranglers: Basically a coin flip between him and Morgan offensively; Grich’s fielding is a bit better so he gets the nod – and perhaps a bit of homer prejudice is involved too.
Joe Morgan, Knights: Had the coin come up on his side – or if he played on my team instead of Grich – he could just as easily be the starter.
Mike Schmidt, Loggers: Edges out Darrell Evans for the starting spot due to better fielding stats. The offense is very similar, and both players are helped about the same by their home parks.
Darrell Evans, Dust Bunnies: Could just as easily have been the starter. A huge cog in the Dust Bunny machine this season.
This position was actually a very tough choice. Apologies to Nettles, Rader, Cey and Soderholm, who also were worthy contenders for this spot.
Toby Harrah, Knights: The Knights third year man is starting to shine and is an easy pick, having played much more than Campy.
Bert Campaneris, Shoeless Joes: Veteran shortstop having one of his best seasons for the Joes.
Ken Henderson, Knights: The Knights left fielder is having an MVP calibre season and keeping them in the race with the Dust Bunnies.
Roy White, Diablos: Also putting up MVP type numbers and leading the Diablo surge to a first time playoff appearance.
Bobby Bonds, Shoeless Joes: The easiest pick so far other than catcher. Bonds is having far and away the best season among center fielders and is leading the Joes’ resurgance. Should be a strong MVP candidate, especially if the Joes come back for a playoff spot.
Al Oliver, Loggers: Edges out Monday due to much more playing time.
Jim Wynn, Spikes: Has many more starts than Darwin and has also proven extremely versatile to the Spikes, appearing at all three outfield spots.
Bobby Darwin, Cloverleafs: Easy selection as the backup. Would have picked him as the starter if he had more playing time. Almost did anyway because he plays in a more difficult hitter’s park.
Willie Stargel, Diablosl: Recovered from a poor start and is having a fine season for the Diablos.
John Milner, Legends: This will probably be his only vote, but I couldn’t ignore his 926 OPS, nor the fact that the Legends would be totally out of sight if not for his bat.
Steve Busby, Knights: Second year starter is putting up terrific numbers for the Knights and is working on a Cy Yound season.
Fergie Jenkins, Legends: Not a homer vote, but perhaps a homer placement, as most voters will place him fourth or fifth. An annual all start and deservedly so.
Nolan Ryan, Dust Bunnies: Fireballing righty is truly coming into his own. Has pitched some simply dazzling games this year.
Al Fitzmorris: Leading hurler on an outstanding Diablos staff.
Andy Messersmith: The Gold Sox are barely hanging on in the race, but without Messersmith they would already be planning for next season.
Bruce Dal Canton, Spikes: Quietly having a top notch season for the division leading Spikes.
Jim Barr, Dust Bunnies: Helping, with Ryan, to lead the Bunnies chase for the division title.
Don Wilson, Diablos: Sure wish he was a Wrangler, but no bitterness here.
Orlando Pena, Iron: When the Iron starters get the game to him he locks it up.
John Hiller, Knights: Has appeared in over half the Knights games – for good reason.
Diego Segui, Thunder: As a mid reliever going unnoticed but is putting up great numbers for a mediocre Thunder team.
Ken Forsch, Wranglers: Another unsung mid reliever. Having a great season keeping the Wranglers in games.
You see, you spend a good deal of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time. J. Bouton