Create your own Negro League all-stars

July, 25, 2012
7/25/12
9:00
AM ET
Jackie RobinsonAP PhotoDid the great Jackie Robinson make our Negro League All-Star team in "MLB 12: The Show"?
As we’ve just finished sweeping up the confetti from another All-Star break and settle in for the second half of the baseball season, let's not forget that there was once another set of leagues, ones made up of players excluded from Major League Baseball until the late 1940s. The Negro Leagues had their own proud all-stars who have rarely had an occasion to shine in a baseball video game. That is, until now.

Using the create-a-player option in "MLB 12: The Show," we've crafted the core ratings for a solid starting lineup of Negro Leagues all-stars.

It should be noted that stats for Negro Leagues players weren't tracked with the veracity of MLB players. In many cases, we did our best to estimate some stats, such as a player’s ability to stay healthy based solely on the longevity of his career.

Below are ratings to build your own starting lineup of Negro Leagues stars. We also simulated some games to see how these legends of the diamond would stand up in today's modern game.

The lineup card

1. Cool Papa Bell | OF
By all accounts, James "Cool Papa" Bell was the fastest human being to ever live. His quickness is legendary and he's considered one of the best defensive center fielders of all time.
[+] EnlargeCool Papa Bell
AP Photo/HMB
Modern Equivalent: Ichiro Suzuki

Bats/Throws: S/L
RT Contact: 88
LT Contact: 80
RT Power: 35
LT Power: 31
Bunt: 76
Drag Bunt: 71
Plate Vision: 70
Plate Discipline: 74
Clutch: 70
Durability: 98
Speed: 99
Arm Strength: 80
Arm Accuracy: 88
Reaction: 94
Fielding: 99
Blocking: 0
BR Ability: 92
BR Aggressiveness: 86

2. Pop Lloyd | SS
Likened to the Honus Wagner of the Negro Leagues, Lloyd regularly batted better than .400 and was an aggressive baserunner.
[+] EnlargePop Lloyd
Diamond Images/Getty Images
Modern Equivalent: Derek Jeter

Bats/Throws: L/R
RT Contact: 92
LT Contact: 87
RT Power: 30
LT Power: 26
Bunt: 82
Drag Bunt: 71
Plate Vision: 90
Plate Discipline: 96
Clutch: 80
Durability: 97
Speed: 84
Arm Strength: 70
Arm Accuracy: 83
Reaction: 80
Fielding: 81
Blocking: 0
BR Ability: 87
BR Aggressiveness: 92

3. Buck Leonard | 1B
The perfect combination of batting average and power, Leonard was one of the Negro Leagues' most consistent hitters.
[+] EnlargeBuck Leonard
AP Photo/ Dave Pickoff
Modern Equivalent: Albert Pujols

Bats/Throws: L/L
RT Contact: 77
LT Contact: 74
RT Power: 78
LT Power: 70
Bunt: 40
Drag Bunt: 16
Plate Vision: 86
Plate Discipline: 85
Clutch: 88
Durability: 90
Speed: 65
Arm Strength: 65
Arm Accuracy: 76
Reaction: 75
Fielding: 74
Blocking: 0
BR Ability: 63
BR Aggressiveness: 40

4. Josh Gibson | C
The Babe Ruth of the Negro Leagues, Gibson was the most imposing hitter of his era, tallying up nearly 800 homers in his career.
[+] EnlargeJosh Gibson
AP Photo/FileCatcher Josh Gibson was one of the greatest sluggers in baseball, period.
Modern Equivalent: Mike Piazza

Bats/Throws: R/R
RT Contact: 83
LT Contact: 84
RT Power: 88
LT Power: 99
Bunt: 42
Drag Bunt: 5
Plate Vision: 92
Plate Discipline: 96
Clutch: 99
Durability: 90
Speed: 40
Arm Strength: 84
Arm Accuracy: 85
Reaction: 50
Fielding: 63
Blocking: 78
BR Ability: 48
BR Aggressiveness: 15

5. Oscar Charleston | OF
One of the first five-tool players, Charleston had it all. Though he is a natural center fielder (as are all the outfielders in our starting lineup), he can also play first base.
Modern Equivalent: Matt Kemp

[+] EnlargeOscar Charleston
AP Photo
Bats/Throws: L/L
RT Contact: 86. LT Contact: 80.
RT Power: 70. LT Power: 61.
Bunt: 55. Drag Bunt: 30.
Plate Vision: 85. Plate Discipline: 88.
Clutch: 77
Durability: 86
Speed: 82
Arm Strength: 73
Arm Accuracy: 86
Reaction: 90
Fielding: 90
Blocking: 0
BR Ability: 84
BR Aggressiveness: 80

6. Pete Hill | OF
A line-drive hitter, Hill had impeccable bat control and would foul off pitch after pitch until he found one he liked.
[+] EnlargePete Hill
Getty Images
Modern Equivalent: Bryce Harper

Bats/Throws: L/R
RT Contact: 88
LT Contact: 81
RT Power: 27
LT Power: 25
Bunt: 73
Drag Bunt: 58
Plate Vision: 90
Plate Discipline: 92
Clutch: 65
Durability: 95
Speed: 80
Arm Strength: 87
Arm Accuracy: 83
Reaction: 80
Fielding: 84
Blocking: 0
BR Ability: 70
BR Aggressiveness: 70

7. Ray Dandridge | 3B
The best defensive third baseman of the Negro Leagues, Dandridge comes with MVP credentials and a talent for hitting to all fields.
[+] EnlargeRay Dandridge
Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images
Modern Equivalent: Evan Longoria

Bats/Throws: R/R
RT Contact: 74
LT Contact: 80
RT Power: 38
LT Power: 42
Bunt: 70
Drag Bunt: 35
Plate Vision: 80
Plate Discipline: 83
Clutch: 70
Durability: 88
Speed: 60
Arm Strength: 93
Arm Accuracy: 90
Reaction: 90
Fielding: 91
Blocking: 0
BR Ability: 70
BR Aggressiveness: 40

8. Sammy Hughes | 2B
The only member of our roster not yet in the Hall of Fame, Hughes could turn the double play like nobody's business. He was a solid contact hitter to boot.
Modern Equivalent: Dustin Pedroia

[+] EnlargeSammy Hughes
Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images
Bats/Throws: R/R
RT Contact: 72. LT Contact: 76.
RT Power: 27. LT Power: 35.
Bunt: 90. Drag Bunt: 66.
Plate Vision: 75
Plate Discipline: 84
Clutch: 50
Durability: 90
Speed: 73
Arm Strength: 79
Arm Accuracy: 88
Reaction: 90
Fielding: 91
Blocking: 0
BR Ability: 74
BR Aggressiveness: 70

9. "Smokey" Joe Williams | P
Alongside Satchel Paige, Williams is not only considered one of the best Negro Leagues pitchers, but one of the greatest of all time.
Modern Equivalent: Stephen Strasburg

[+] EnlargeSmokey Joe Robinson
Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics/Getty ImagesSatchel Paige might be more famous, but Smokey Joe Williams might have been a better pitcher.
Bats/Throws: R/R
Stamina: 90. Pitching Clutch: 80
H/9: 80. HR/9: 90. K/9: 92. BB/9: 86
Bunt: 45
Drag Bunt: 20
Plate Vision: 40
Plate Discipline: 50
Clutch: 10
Durability: 90
Speed: 40
Arm Strength: 80
Arm Accuracy: 75
Reaction: 60
Fielding: 40
Blocking: 30
BR Ability: 40
BR Aggressiveness: 20
Pitch Type: 4-Seam Fastball: Velocity: 91. Control: 90. Break: 45
Pitch Type: Running Fastball: Velocity: 86. Control: 88. Break: 65.
Pitch Type: Changeup: Velocity: 74. Control: 92. Break: 61.

The Negro Leagues All-Stars vs. The New York Yankees
Unfortunately, there is no create-a-team option in "MLB 12: The Show." This means the starting roster for the Negro Leagues All-Stars needs to replace a current major league starting nine. We chose the Los Angeles Dodgers in honor of Jackie Robinson, the first Negro Leagues star to play in the bigs. And what better way to test the quality of these all-stars than against the Yankees' current roster?

Final score: Dodgers 9, Yankees 2
C.C. Sabathia may be one of the best pitchers in the modern era, but he had no answers for the sure bats of the new L.A. Dodgers. Gibson was the player of the game, belting two homers and driving in five runs. But it was Leonard who proved the toughest out, going 4-for-5 with one RBI.

Yes, the fastest man to ever lace up cleats, Cool Papa Bell, got on base once and made the most of it, getting an easy steal of third before scoring on a Leonard double.

Sabathia lasted just five innings and gave up five earned runs in his time on the mound.

Smokey Joe Williams didn't have his best stuff, but then few do against the Yankees' potent lineup. In true old-school style, he went the full nine innings, giving up a run on each of Curtis Granderson's doubles. A-Rod took a nod, with two K's and a couple of weak fly balls.

It looked like easy work for the Negro Leagues version of the Dodgers. But as we simmed a full seven-game series, things evened out. The Dodgers won the series 4-2, with no team winning by more than two runs following the opening-game rout.

Want to Learn More? Three sources proved invaluable in creating this article. They also are great resources for learning more about the Negro Leagues. They are "Baseball's Other All-Stars" by William F. McNeil, "Only the Ball Was White" by Robert Peterson, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame site.

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