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The Ultimate Backyard Baseball 2001 Draft

The talent in Backyard Baseball 2001 was insane. We drafted two teams from the game roster to square off in a battle to the death! Well, to find a winner...
Photo: Tommo Inc.

Photo: Tommo Inc.

Fellow On Tap Sports Net contributor Schwartzy and I recently came up with the idea of drafting the best possible rosters in Backyard Baseball 2001. This game is stacked with PED users, short characters that can hit dingers and run extremely fast, and Hall-of-Fame MLB greats. We set the ground rules early because it would be easy to draft all MLB players: each team needed to draft at least three original cast-members/players. Here's how the draft went down:



Schwartzy grabbed the first pick in the snake draft, so my reasoning was to go with Barry Bonds, the greatest baseball player ever, next. He's incredible in this game. Next, I grabbed Kenny Lofton as an ideal leadoff man who can get on base and play a nice outfield for me. At this point, I wanted to grab someone who could pitch for me. Yes, you heard that correctly, I drafted Frank Thomas to pitch. If you've ever played this game before, you knew to draft Frank to pitch because he wouldn't be a liability with the stick and he would bring a mean fastball to the table.

Now, to meet my quota of Backyard Baseball characters, I knew I had to get someone who was on the original cast. I went with none other than Pete Wheeler. If you follow me on Twitter, you know how averse to bunting I am, but with Wheeler, it's almost an automatic hit every time. Kiesha Phillips can play a solid first base with a lot of mid-lineup pop.

Derek Jeter will be playing third base for me, as he should have for years with the Yankees. I wanted to draft A-Rod to prove a point, but Schwartzy got him before me. I needed a catcher, so Mike Piazza was next in line. It was between him or Pudge. I wanted Piazza so we could have the Italian battery when Angela Delvecchio came out of the bullpen to close the game.

Ken Griffey, Jr. was my seventh-round pick because he rounded off a near-perfect outfield. With my ninth-round pick, I chose Angela Delvecchio, who is far and away one of the best pitchers in the game. She can add some good depth off the bench as well. Finally, I took Barry Larkin with my last pick specifically so I could force Jeter to play third and have Larkin at short.

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I set out with a pretty simple goal in mind: nab as many PED players as possible. As you'll see below in my batting lineup, my 1-5 hitters have all been caught with the juice or are heavily implicated as users. Sitting on the first pick, I was going to select Pablo Sanchez regardless. The fact that it also served as one of my three original cast members required was the icing on the cake. Sadly for me, DJ was also onboard the PED express, gobbling up Barry Bonds before I could. Fortunately, there are plenty of prized PED ponies in this game, so I went with Sammy Sosa to anchor the middle of my lineup.

Hindsight being 20/20, I reached on my third-round selection of Lueane Lui. She probably would have been there for me in later rounds, but I knew I wanted her. While her main craft is pitching, what with her patented "fireball" pitch, she's got great speed. A pitcher with great speed and a rocket arm as an outfielder, does that even work? I dunno, ask Rick Ankiel. I intend to manage my team like Tampa Bay Devil Rays Joe Maddon on LSD, so having players I can move on and off the mound without burning my bench spot are paramount.

Three of my next four picks were more PED princes — Alex Rodriguez, 'Big Mac' Mark McGwire, and Jose Canseco. Sandwiched in the steroid sandwich was Randy Johnson. I took the total opposite approach to starting pitching as DJ, but hopefully that pays off. Plus this is peak Big Unit Randy Johnson, as 2001 was the year he proved he could dominate any aviary foe.

My last three picks were born mostly out of necessity. I needed a catcher as I was reminded of that fact by DJ's seventh-round selection, so Ivan Rodriguez it was. Needing a third and final OG player, I was pleased to see Amir Khan waiting in the wings. Based on the language hurled my way by DJ after that pick, he was less pleased. To close out the draft, I was close to picking Jason Giambi, very close. He fits my PED policy perfectly, and I thought it would be awesome that we could theoretically have a repeat of Jeter's famous "The Flip." Except it wasn't Jason Giambi in that iconic play, it was Jeremy Giambi. With my tail very much between my legs, I looked at my lineup and realized I had no 3B. Rather than force the issue, I went with Chipper Jones, future HOFer and at the time of this game's release, the reigning NL MVP.

Here's how the lineups turned out:

BYB Lineups

Who has a better team? Vote in our poll on Twitter and voice your opinion on the players we should have included on our rosters!