ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The New York-Penn League, a Class A Short-Season league established in 1939, is celebrating its 72nd consecutive season with the naming of its All-Time Team. The players, selected by an online fan ballot, represent more than 70 years of baseball greats.
Sponsored by the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), voting began April 20 and concluded Aug. 1, with fans and experts from all 14 current NYPL clubs, as well as baseball fans around the world.
Most noteworthy is the inclusion of Major League Baseball's all-time hits leader, Pete Rose, a member of the 1960 Geneva Redlegs, as the team's second baseman, one of the first All-Time teams Rose has been named to after he was barred from entering the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
While Rose is not in the Hall of Fame, the team does feature several alumni now featured in Cooperstown, including Robin Yount, a member of the 1973 Newark Co-Pilots; Jim Rice, from the 1971 Williamsport Red Sox; and Wade Boggs, a member of the 1976 Elmira Pioneers, at third base.
"It's truly an honor and something I will cherish," Boggs said of the selection. "It was my first year in professional baseball, straight out of high school, and I celebrated my 18th birthday in Elmira, N.Y. The entire year was a remarkable experience ... a super honor."
Representing the current stars are perennial All-Stars teammates with the New York Yankees who started their careers together in 1991 with the Oneonta Yankees: Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte. They are joined by a pair of shutdown closers: 2003 Lowell Spinners pitcher Jonathan Papelbon and Atlanta Braves closer and 1993 Auburn Astros pitcher Billy Wagner.
"It's truly an honor to be selected to the New York-Penn League All-Time Team. I don't think anyone, including myself, expected that when I went out there -- I don't think there were many expectations," said Wagner of his selection. "For all that I learned through that experience and to all the guys that I came up with, I'm thankful and this is truly an honor."
|New York-Penn League All-Time Team|
"It's a huge honor and a special honor to be named to the NYPL All-Time team, especially being named along with so many National Baseball Hall of Fame players," Papelbon said. "[The NYPL] will always be special to me as it was my very first stop in professional baseball. I loved playing in Lowell ... as it gave me a real taste of what Red Sox Nation was like. This is definitely an honor I will cherish."
The New York-Penn League represents the first professional stop in the careers of many players. With teams in Vermont, Connecticut, Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland and Pennsylvania, the NYPL is the oldest continually operated Class A league in Minor League Baseball. The All-Time Team was be unveiled prior to Tuesday's sixth annual New York-Penn League All-Star Game.
"CSEA is proud to support the New York-Penn League's All-Time team in the same year that we mark our centennial anniversary," said CSEA president Danny Donohue. "Whether they're all time greats or fan favorites, these are players whose accomplishments stand the test of time."