May 20, 2105.
It was five years ago that Fermilab physicists confirmed the "Many Worlds" hypothesis that Dr. Hugh Everett posed in 1957. Ours, we discovered, is not the only universe, but one of an infinite number that exist simultaneously, each in a constant process of splitting again and again ad infinitum.
It took trillions of dollars of government funding, but, in February of 2102, it was revealed to the public that Man had successfully pierced the very fabric of the cosmos; a human, we were told, was now able to travel from universe to alternate universe, to any point on that universe's timeline, with all the effort he or she might put into driving down to the local gas station to buy cat food or, depending, knock over the joint.
As might be expected, the self-hating were elated at the prospect of traveling "back in time" and punching one of their infinite selves in his or her ugly nose without fear of creating a so-called "time-paradox." And those who never outgrew their Oedipal desire to marry their mother? Well, some things are best left unsaid.
Enter Sir Modesto Easdon Palliant III.
Now 120 years old, this multi-billionaire CEO of Amalgamated Items and Objects remains an impassioned lover of the National Pastime. Yesterday, Palliant announced his intention to travel to enough alternate (but similar enough) universes needed to gather some of the greatest Minor (and eventually Major) Leaguers to play between the years of 1985 and 2004.
Those willing to return to our present with Palliant, he says, will be paid an exorbitant sum to participate in a sort of replica of the now defunct Texas League (dismantled in June of 2004 when the Venusian Swarm of Many Tentacles descended and annexed what was once our 28th state in the name of their unspeakable cause).
Born in San Antonio in 1985, Palliant's childhood memories are a tapestry of lovingly recalled trips to the Texas League ballyards, Wolff Stadium in particular, to watch AA players vie for a shot at The Show. He has been thoughtful enough to HoloFax to InsidethePark.com the 11 members of what he refers to as "The Greatest San Antonio Missions to Ever Play the Game in the Years After My Birth and Before the Venusians Landed and Turned The Wolff into an Internment Camp"; it is reprinted here in its entirety, complete with his comments. Note that all statistics provided are from our universe, culled from our brain of Bill James kept alive and floating in a jar.
Eric Karros - 1B (1990, .352, 18, 78): Won the Rookie of the Year Award for the Dodgers in 1992. A consistent slugger who hit more than 20 homers per season on a number of occasions.
Eric Young - 2B (1991, .280, 3, 35): Hit .324, won the second base Silver Slugger Award for the Rockies in his best season, 1995.
Dave Hansen - 3B (1989, .297, 6, 52): Never panned out as expected, but did hit a respectable .289 in 121 AB for the Dodgers in 2000.
Jose Offerman - SS (1989, .288, 2, 22): Never a power hitter, of course, but hit well for average for Royals in the years 1996-1998 (.303, .297, .315).
Mike Piazza - C (1992, .377, 7, 21): Still never been surpassed as the best hitting catcher in history, not even by MechaPlayer/subroot:_catcher/subroot:_Braves_Atlanta/733722.xlm, who hit 98 homers in 2057, but was melted down a year later to supply parts for the war effort (by contrast, Piazza was not melted down to supply parts for a war effort until 2013, but by then his career was over).
Raul Mondesi - OF (1991, .272, 5, 26): Spent a lot of time in the minors, but did well for L.A. once brought up. Was Rookie of the Year in 1994 and a two-time Gold Glove winner.
Henry Rodriguez - OF (1990, .291, 28, 109): A slugger better than his stats would seem to indicate, Rodriguez cranked 36 homers for Montreal in 1996 and hit for a solid .304 with 26 homers in 1999 for the Cubs.
Tom Goodwin - OF (1990, .278, 0, 28): Bounced back and forth from teams all his career. Hit .290 in 520 AB for the Rangers. Fast, but probably our weakest link.
Pedro Martinez - SP (1991, 7-5, 1.77): A three-time Cy Young winner and one of the best hurlers of the 1990s, had to travel to 27 different universes just to get him, though, none of the Pedro Martinezes I spoke to would agree to go! I publicly questioned the 27th's manhood and run away, never one to turn down a chance to assault an elderly man, he chased me right into the Dimensional Traveler…ha!
John Wetteland-MR/CL - (1988, 10-8, 3.88): Eventually went on to be a great reliever. Was the MVP of the 1996 World Series. Ended career with 330 saves in 12 seasons.
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