Stars that shine forever

Originally Published: May 25, 2005
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
This began as an attempt to name an all-time team composed of players born in the United States. But I quickly realized this team would be no different from an all-time team composed of players born anywhere (but see me again in 20 years), so we decided instead to come up with an all-star team composed purely of players born outside the U.S. What all of it means, I haven't the remotest idea. But here it is anyway:

C: Ivan Rodriguez (Puerto Rico)

Not much competition here, as Rodriguez has clearly established himself as one of the top 12 catchers ever, and he's got a good chance to eventually become one of the top six or eight (depending on how much credit you give him for all those Gold Gloves). Until a couple of years ago, the No. 2 man on this list would have been Tony Peña (Dominican Republic), but he's since been trumped by Javy Lopez (Puerto Rico).

1B: Rafael Palmeiro (Cuba)

It was a tough call for me to rank Palmeiro ahead of Tony Perez (Cuba), considering: 1) Perez is in the Hall of Fame, and 2) a year or so ago, I argued (if not particularly convincingly) that Palmeiro does not belong in the Hall of Fame. So why Palmeiro over Perez? Because: 1) I wouldn't have voted for Perez, either, and 2) Palmeiro added 23 home runs last season. It's close, though, and if you want to argue that I got this one wrong … well, I'm not sure you're wrong.

2B: Roberto Alomar (Puerto Rico)

No competition here, and we can only hope that Alomar's last few seasons don't lead anyone to forget what a wonderful player he was. He wasn't quite as good as Craig Biggio, but he was just as good as Ryne Sandberg and better than most of the second basemen in the Hall of Fame.

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