Brandon Phillips announced his All-Swag team on Thursday following a long conversation with Fox Sports reporter Jon Morosi about MLB’s desperate need for more swag.
Phillips, who could arguably have the most swag in the league, mentioned the Red Sox and A’s as teams that are “swaggalicious.” Phillips made the point that “When everybody has swag, and everybody joins the movement, you become a team. You feed off that energy. Swag brings energy. That’s what it does. It brings a lot of energy. All that boring crap, that don’t bring energy.”
Phillips followed that up with a position-by-position breakdown of his All-Swag squad:
This list got me thinking of a Cincinnati Reds All-Swag team. So here goes:
SP: Jim Maloney- Maloney was the 60’s version of Aroldis Chapman with his near triple-digit fastball. He threw two no-hitters and had one outing of 10 no hit innings. Maloney was dominant in his day racking up strikeouts, including four straight 200 strikeout seasons.
Bullpen: The Nasty Boys (Rob Dibble, Norm Charlton, Randy Myers)- “We knew how good we were, and it was fun to actually torture hitters on other teams,” Dibble once said about the Nasty Boys. Just the name has swag. If a game were to reach the 7th inning with the Reds leading, the game was pretty much secured as a W.
C: Johnny Bench-Bench is obviously one of if not the greatest catcher in history. Manager Sparky Anderson once said, “I don’t want to embaress any other catcher by comparing him to Johnny Bench.” Bench was that much better than his competition and everyone knew it, including him. Bench once stated, “I can throw out any man alive.” It’s that mentality that earns him the starting nod on the Reds All-Swag squad.
Honorable Mention: Ernie Lombardi
1B: Ted Kluszewski-“Big Klu” had almost super-human strength. His arms were so big that he cut the sleeves off of his jersey on his own because they restricted his movement while swinging. Cutting the sleeves off a jersey could be one of the most swag baseball moves of all-time. “They [Front Office] got pretty upset, but it was either that or change my swing—and I wasn’t about to change my swing.” If that’s not swag I don’t know what is.
Honorable Mention: Sean Casey
2B: Brandon Phillips-Obviously Phillips easily makes this list. When naming his own All-Swag team Phillips said “I’m an entertainer. I play with passion. I play with flair. And the fans love it. My teammates love it.” We’ve all seen DatDude’s flair and I think we can all agree he’s secured his spot on the Reds All-Swag team.
Honorable Mention: Joe Morgan
3B:Pete Rose-Rose got his “Charlie Hustle” nickname from Whitey Ford in a spring training game after sprinting to first base following a walk. Rose was always hustling, including in All-Star games when in 1970 he collided at home plate with catcher Ray Fosse. Rose’s hustle showed his strong desire to always win and he once said “somebody’s gotta win and somebody’s gotta lose, and I believe in letting the other guy lose.” His 110% effort every day earns Rose the starting third base position on the Reds All-Swag team. As Brandon Phillips said, “Swag is hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle.”
Honorable Mention: Chris Sabo
SS: Barry Larkin-Larkin is like the Pence of the team. On first glance Larkin may not seem like he belongs on an All-Swag team. Swag, however, comes in all different forms. For Larkin, he was a professional’s professional. “I don’t see myself as a star player,” Larkin once stated. “I try to give you consistent play offensively and defensively. And in the clubhouse when something needs to be said, I’ll step forward and say it.” Larkin wasn’t flashy but he spent 19 years with his hometown team and did everything the right way. There is a certain swag in that sense.
Honorable Mention: Dave Concepción
OF: Frank Robinson- In 1982 Frank Robinson said, “I don’t see anyone playing in the major leagues today who combines both the talent and intensity that I had.” As if that wasn’t swag enough, Robinson’s play and nearly 600 career home runs helped him become the only player in MLB history to be named MVP in both leagues. Robinson later became the first African American manager in MLB history.
OF: Eric Davis- Eric Davis became the second player to have 20 HRs and 80 SBs in MLB history. Dave Parker said Davis had “an aura to everything he does.” Davis’ play was captivating and manager Pete Rose once said, “There ain’t nobody quite like Eric Davis.” After Rose compared Eric Davis to Willie Mays, Mays said it was an honor to be compared to Davis. Anytime an all-time great is honored to have your comparison that is swag. Davis stated his goal, “I don’t want the world. I just want a piece of it. I want people to remember Eric Davis.” Davis is now remembered on the Reds All-Swag team.
OF: Billy Hamilton- Hamilton is the newest Reds player to join the team. Hamilton’s play is electrifying. “When he gets in the game we know it’s swag time,” said Phillips. When Hamilton enters the game everyone and their mother knows exactly what he is about to do and yet Hamilton continues to steal bases with ease. So far in his short career Hamilton is 13 for 14 in stolen bases including multiple successful attempts on pitchouts.