ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CNS) – Yogi Berra, Gil Hodges, Derek Jeter, Babe Ruth, Whitey Ford and Connie Mack were among the first winners Catholic voters chose in online voting for an all-star team from Catholic baseball of all time.
Nearly 2,000 Catholic baseball fans across the country voted in a ballot organized by Catholic Athletes for Christ.
The Alexandria-based nonprofit hosted the online voting platform in June and July, and 1,969 fans selected their top pick at every baseball position, including three picks for outfielder and pitcher, as well only for the manager, the general manager and the broadcaster. The winners were announced on July 19.
The platform included links to general information about the 92 candidates on the ballot; it also identified the players as members of the Baseball Hall of Fame and noted whether they were members of the Knights of Columbus.
“The All-Time Catholic Baseball All-Star Campaign created a social media buzz and highlighted the number of great practicing Catholic players,” said Ray McKenna, President and Founder of Catholic Athletes. for Christ, in a press release.
“Winners in each category represent the best players in baseball history and Catholic gentlemen on and off the baseball field,” he said.
The top vote recipients and finalists in each category were (Hall of Famers marked with an asterisk):
— Receiver: Yogi Berra*, 1,173 votes; Finalist: Mike Piazza*, 391 votes.
— First baseman: Gil Hodges*, 1,162 votes; Finalist: Nap Lajoie*, 246 votes.
— Second baseman: Craig Biggio*, 627 votes; Finalist: Johnny Evers*, 496 votes.
— Shortstop: Derek Jeter*, 1,014 votes; Finalist: Phil Rizzuto*, 326 votes.
— Third baseman: Brooks Robinson*, 1,607 votes; Finalist: Ron Santo*, 276 votes.
— Voltigeurs: Babe Ruth*, 1,346 votes; Henry Aaron*, 1,235 votes; and Joe DiMaggio*, 1,194 votes; Finalists: Roberto Clemente*, 782 votes; Stan Musial*, 599 votes.
— Designated hitter: Jim Thome*, 1,182 votes; Finalist: Mike Sweeney, 726 votes.
— Pitchers: Whitey Ford*, 1,460 votes; Tom Glavine*, 1,140 votes; Ron Guidry, 956 votes; Finalists: Jim Bunning*, 731 votes; Trevor Hoffman*, 422 votes.
— Manager: Connie Mack*, 498 votes; Finalist: Tommy Lasorda*, 402 votes.
— Chief Executive Officer: Mike Rizzo, 1,009 votes; Finalist: Al Avila, 390 votes.
— Broadcaster: Vin Scully*, 1,568 votes; Finalist: Joe Garagiola*, 262 votes.
In a press release on the list of Catholic stars, Catholic Athletes for Christ noted that it has a direct connection to two of the all-time voted stars – Gil Hodges and Vin Scully.
In 2021, the organization co-produced a documentary film about Hodges, “Soul of a Champion: The Gil Hodges Story”. The film was recently named an Emmy nominee/finalist in the Sports Documentary category by the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The film can be viewed at www.gilhodgesfilm.com.
In 2016, the organization produced and directed a recording of the Catholic Rosary, conducted by Scully. The recording can be listened to on many streaming sites or purchased as a CD on www.catholicathletesforchrist.org/rosary.
Founded in 2006, Catholic Athletes for Christ strives to develop, encourage and nurture Catholic athletes “who are committed and dedicated to spreading the gospel in their athletic environment” and to create a global community of athletes Catholics.
The organization’s Major League Baseball Mass Ministry Program offers masses each season at MLB stadiums for players, coaches, coaches, broadcasters and front desk staff.
Editor’s Note: For more information on CAC, visit www.catholicathletesforchrist.org.