By now, it's become tradition that the New York Yankees have an annual Old Timer's Day to bring back not only unforgettable Hall of Famers who helped engineer World Series runs, but other players who served their time in pinstripes -- well, some played well, and others were forgettable. More and more teams are starting to have similar days where former legends are honored, but none really have a day like the Yankees' Old Timer's Day where the players actually suit up and play a small scrimmage.
That is, until Nate Robertson came along. A former left-handed pitcher with the Detroit Tigers (though he also had two stints with the Florida Marlins and one with the Philadelphia Phillies), Robertson has helped organize the Kansas Stars, a team that will play in the upcoming National Baseball Congress World Series. Now, that sounds interesting and all, but that's not even the best part.
If you ever wanted to see some of your favorite players pitch and hit one more time in a meaningful game, the Kansas Stars are a dream come true as their 25 man roster consists of 24 ex-MLB players. All-Stars, World Champions, and even a couple future Hall of Famers will be suiting up for Robertson, including a former fireballer who hails from the Lone Star State.
Robertson, who last pitched in the big leagues in 2010 for the Phillies, explained his rationale to the Wichita Star.
"I started calling some of the former (Detroit) Tigers that I played with, and then a guy would call another guy. Most recently, Roger Clemens is going to be one of our pitchers and Josh Beckett reached out to him. (The roster) just kind of got some legs to it, and here we are... We're kind of getting guys prepped to go three innings, max. I've heard Roger is going to come in here and try to throw five. I guess he's still a machine. These guys wouldn't sign up if they were going to go out and embarrass themselves, so I think their bodies are capable."
Adam LaRoche, a former Silver Slugger with the Washington Nationals who made national news for quitting the Chicago White Sox this past spring due to the team banning his son from the clubhouse, went on to add the following.
"I put out a feeler, a text message, and I was blown away at the response. And I mean, right away, guys responding and were really excited about it, wanting more and more information. I think something about being out of the game, whether it's for a couple months or a couple years, not having that competition is what guys so excited to get back out and play the game... I picture this being more of a backyard, group-of-guys get-together to go have a lot of fun and compete. Kind of bring back that feeling that we all had in high school and college and the minor leagues, when everybody is truly pulling in the same direction and pulling for each other and, win or lose, just enjoying it and having a good time."
The roster reads as follows (italics denote All-Star).
Pitchers: Josh Beckett, Roger Clemens, Justin Germano, Tim Hudson, Jason Isringhausen, Ryan Kohlmeier, Roy Oswalt, Brad Penny, Nate Robertson, Ben Sheets, Brett Tomko
Catchers: Koyie Hill, Koby Clemens
Infielders: Brandon Inge, Adam LaRoche, Jayson Nix, Pete Orr, Dan Uggla, Jack Wilson
Outfielders: Rick Ankiel, J.D. Drew, Carl Everett, Ryan Langerhans, Lance Nix, Barry Wesson
[Photo by David Goldman/AP Images]