Who Were the American Dreams in Baseball Stars?
What is Baseball Stars?
Created by SNK in 1989, Baseball Stars was arguably the best baseball game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It featured fictional baseball teams, but the names seemed to be Easter Eggs. The most awesome team is the American Dreams and it is loaded with big names. Possibly to not pay for their names, the players only have a first or last name. According to this thread, the team is based on American stars who toured Japan.
American Dream Team Roster
The following is original research about the American Dreams real names which may contradict GameFaqs and forum discussions, and this list is not on Wikipedia and Wikia. If you care about this stuff, you may want to make my case and update Wikipedia and Wikia or link from there to here.
RHP Sandie: Sandy Koufax- It appears the programmers/designers made a mistake and accidentally switched Sandie and Cy’s lefty and righty throwing handness.
LHP Cy: Cy Young
RHP Denny: Denny McClain
RHP Dizzy: Dizzy Dean
RHP Frank: Frank Sullivan Frank was a 1950s Red Sox pitcher, who was a famous right-hander for a while. He had a good run, and a great All-Star game, but finished his career 97–100 so he seems odd here but SNK has a different point of view than American fans. Born in California, he watched barnstorming games in Hawaii against Japanese teams after his career was over. He also had little league clinics in Hawaii, where he spent the rest of his life. He ran golf courses there, too, so had to have met influential Japanese people. This is the only connection I have uncovered. As far as the other Franks, Frank Tanana would be very odd, as I could not find a Frank Tanana-Japan connection. He is a righty, and he did throw around 100 mph as a youngster and the game character has a 15/15 Speed rating. But he really does not fit since in 1989 his last good year had been 1978. Tanana was a pretty bad in 1989. Frank Viola, the biggest Frank name in 1989 because he was still in his prime, was not right-handed and not a fireballer. The Frank position in the game is for a closer and Frank Sullivan had more relief outings than Tanana and Viola as well. Could be a composite of Sullivan and Tanana as well.
2B LH Pete: Pete Rose It is self-evident this is Pete Rose. Yet because a poster claimed Rose is out of the “time frame” of this team, I will combat that by citing Pete Rose’s 1978 Japanese tour. There’s only one Pete who plays 2B, folks. The 14/15 Hitting, 8/15 Batting, 12/15 Running, and 14/15 Defense ratings tell the story. There is also a bench player on this team from the 1980s.
C LH Babe: Babe Ruth Another obvious one, but being a catcher in Baseball Stars warrants an explanation. They had to put Babe on the team, but there was no place for him to play, so they made him a catcher. Not sure if the programmers knew the Bambino was originally a catcher before the majors. He is pretty much the best player in this game, and Ruth toured Japan and was a global icon.
CF RH Joe: Joe DiMaggio
LF RH Hank: Hank Aaron Aaron defeated Sadaharu Oh in Japan in a homerun derby in front of 50,000 and on broadcast TV in 1974. With a 15/15 Batting rating, it seems like an obvious pick. However, Hank Greenberg actually matches up better with the other stats: 14/15 Hitting and 2/15 running. Greenberg played LF (although better known as 1B). Aaron was RF and 1B but he has more games at LF than Greenberg. I give the edge to Aaron due to his Japanese influence, although a composite may be in play.
RF LF Lefty: Lefty O’Doul The man who brought baseball to Japan. ‘nuff said
1B RH Willie: Willie McCovey. Every other official page leaves this discussion as Willie Mays, however the case could be made for Willie McCovey. McCovey played 1st base and played against the Japan All-Stars and was not fast (the character has 4/15 speed). However, McCovey was a lefty and Willie Mays was a righty. Known as one the best defensive CFs, the character’s defense rating is only 6/15. Hitting is 12/15 and Batting is 13/15, more McCovey than Mays. Mays also toured in Japan. It is possible the programmers made a composite “Willie”, but if I have to chose one it shockingly has to be McCovey, sorry Wikipedia, but once again Wikipedia has no citations to back their facts. At the very least, if any Wikipedia editor is reading this, ask for a source or just remove the offending paragraph on there.
3B RH Jay: Unknown. No one has ever pegged who this mysterious third-baseman “Jay” is, and I am sorry to report that there is no old great 3B named Jay- as a first or last name, nor a player named Jay that has a Japan connection. Yet this “nobody” is in the starting lineup with the best of the best. That means Jay is a somebody. It is possible that due to character length limitation, “Jay” could actually mean “J” as the first letter of a longer name or a Japanese mispronunciation. The character is 11/15 Hitting, 13/15 Batting, and 6/15 Running, and 10/15 Defense. Here’s an outside-of-the-box theory: since the SS is Travis Jackson, abbreviated as “Jacks”, and Jackson was a righty in real life, but the game has him as lefty, what if Jay is supposed to be a lefty? What if he’s Reggie Jackson out of position? Now, Jackson does not have a Japan connection, but he did toy with going there in 1988 instead of retiring, and was awfully popular back in the day. Jackie Robinson, who played many positions including 3B, would have a much higher Running and Defense stats.
SS LH Jacks: Travis Jackson Travis Jackson is a Hall of Famer shortstop and he was a defense wizard (character is 15/15). One problem is that Jackson was right-handed, but this could be a mistake or his dominate hand could have been swapped with the third baseman like Cy and Sandie were as pitchers.
LH Lou: Lou Gehrig
LH Johnny: Johnny Mize, not Johnny Bench because the character has a low Defense rating (6/15). Bench was a righty which does not match. He did tour with Pete Rose in Japan though.
RH Eddy: Eddie Murray hit two homeruns in one game in Hiroshima in 1984, during a 15-game tour. This character is also right-handed with a 12/15 Hitting and Batting Rating, 3/15 Running and 12/15 Defense which pretty much captures Eddie Murray. It is amazing that Baseball Stars kinda predicted Eddie Murray would be a legends like the others on this team.
RH Billy: Billy Martin toured in Japan and the character has a 15/15 defense rating and no other skills besides a 4/15 Running stat. Martin is best known as being a manager and not a player worthy enough to be on this powerhouse team, although he was not as bad as the stats here show. See Paul for my theory on this.
LH Paul: Paul Waner toured Japan and had some speed although it is unknown if he would have been as fast as the game’s character (15/15). The problem is that like “Billy” he has a zeroed out stats including Hitting and Batting. The real Paul Waner batted .333 with over 3000 hits. The only other Paul that would be a fit is Paul Blair, who was fast but has no Japanese connection I am aware of. Blair was already out of baseball and not with Eddie Murray in 1984. Therefore, I have a feeling the programmers wanted to have two one-dimensional players on the bench of the American Dreams (or perhaps forgot to fill out all the stats) and wanted to have a “defensive specialist” and a “speedster” on the bench and ignored their other stats.
Mistakes From Other Websites
Some people have misidentified Lefty as Lefty Grove, Johnny as Johnny Bench, and Jacks as Reggie Jackson. Frank, Jay, Eddy, Billie, and Paul remain the most enigmatic, but I hope I have presented the best cases for them, as well as the controversial opinion that Willie Mays is not on the American Dreams. An unsigned Wikipedia user realized that the Willie character does not have Mays’s stats and proposed Willie McCovey or Willie Stargell. I chose McCovey because of his Japanese tour. Stargell is left-handed like McCovey (as opposed to Mays who is a match in the game but not with his talents) and as far as I could tell was not influential in Japan.
Who Wants to Contact SNK?
Although Japanese video game companies are said to be notoriously secretive and legalistic, if anyone wants to contact SNK or perhaps any of the programmers involved in Baseball Stars and report back here in the comments to confirm or dispute this roster list, please do.
Do You Have Your Own Theories?
Do you know who Jay is? Would you like to debate who Willie is? Did I miss something? Present your theory if you have alternatives!