Rating the Greatest Baseball Players of All Time
My rankings of the greatest baseball players ever, starting with number 1, in order.
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Sunday, April 21, 2013
The February 8 birthday team doesn't look too promising: no Hall of Famers, guy with most experience has 12 major league years, six guys have ten years, ten more have five. Not a lot here.
1 Hoot Evers, LF
2 Bert Haas, 3B
3 Bug Holliday, CF
4 Willard Marshall, RF
5 Bob Oliver, 1B
6 Don Haffner, 2B
7 Steve Dillard, SS
8 Charlie Householder, C
Bench: Butch Niemann, OF; Joe Cassidy, IF; Felix Pie, OF; Buddy Blattner, IF; Adam Piatt, OF.
1 Fritz Peterson
2 Aaron Cook
3 Fred Blanding
4 Jim Parque
Bullpen: Joe Black, Burke Badenhop, Cookie Cuccurullo.
Not much catching, thin on the lineup and the pitching staff. Decent outfield, though.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
The February 7 birthday team doesn't have any Hall of Famers but it does have depth: 12 players with ten years of major league service and 13 more with five years.
1 Charlie Jamieson, LF
2 Tom Daly, 2B
3 Al Smith, RF
4 Carney Lansford, 3B
5 Mel Almada, CF
6 Spike Shannon, 1B
7 Damaso Garcia, SS
8 Pat Moran, C
Bench: Endy Chavez, OF; Andy Reese, OF-IF; Adrian Brown, OF; Charlie Reipschlager, C-OF; Benny Ayala, OF; Eliezer Alfonso, C; Humberto Cota, C;
1 Earl Whitehill
2 Burt Hooton
3 Juan Pizarro
4 Scott Feldman
Bullpen: Dan Quisenberry, Brad Hennessey, Dave Borkowski, Charlie Puleo, Seth McClung.
Playing Garcia out of position at SS, and Shannon out of position (he's an OF) at first. So, a lot of players/depth, but not always at the positions you need. Decent lineup, very good rotation, this team would be a contender, especially with a near-Hall of Fame ace reliever.
The February 6 birthday team will not be very deep, with just 11 players holding five years in the majors, but it does feature the best player in baseball history.
1 Frank LaPorte, 2B
2 Smoky Burgess, C
3 Babe Ruth, RF
4 Richie Zisk, LF
5 Dale Long, 1B
6 Glenn Wright, SS
7 Pedro Alvarez, 3B
8 Chad Allen, CF
Bench: Goldie Rapp, IF.
1 Babe Ruth
2 Bobby Mitchell
3 Mike Morrison
4 Travis Wood
Bullpen: Bob Wickman, Bill Dawley, Mark Hutton, Walt Hutzinger, Kanekoa Texeira.
Not sure what to do on those days when Ruth has to switch over to be the ace of the staff as well as RF; maybe one of the pitchers can play the outfield. Pretty good lineup, though.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
The February 5 birthday team should be one of our best, if a bit short on depth. Two Hall of Famers, nine guy with ten years of major league experience, but only eight more with five years. It should work out.
1 Roberto Alomar, 2B
2 Roger Peckinpaugh, SS
3 Hank Aaron, RF
4 Don Hoak, 3B
5 Lee Thomas, 1B
6 Max Flack, LF
7 Chuck Diering, CF
8 Mike Heath, C
Bench: Bill Rariden, C; Norm Miller, OF; Jack O'Brien, OF-3B; Vic Correll, C.
1 Jack Lynch
2 Al Worthington
3 Chris Brock
4 Roberto Rodriguez
Bullpen: Eric O'Flaherty, Ryan Webb, Cy Buker, Javier Martinez.
Excellent lineup, though not much pitching at all. With offense from Aaron, Alomar, and friends, I think they would have success anyway.
The February 4 birthday team has no Hall of Famers, just four guys with ten years in the big leagues, and 15 more with five years. Not expecting much here.
1 Doc Miller, RF
2 Lefty Davis, CF
3 Possum Whited, 1B
4 Germany Shaffer, 2B
5 Steve Brye, LF
6 Eddie Ainsmith, C
7 Lou Say, 3B
8 Rob Picciolo, SS
Bench: Chris Bando, C; Chris Coste, C-1B; Gary Allenson, C; Stan Papi, IF; Jeff Gardner, IF.
1 Joe Sparma
2 Rollie Naylor
3 Doug Fister
4 Rankin Johnson
Bullpen: Dan Plesac, Max Leon, Pat Perry, John Frascatore.
A good reliever in Plesac, but he's about the only quality pitcher. Not much of a lineup, either. This team would have trouble in a decent minor league.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
The February 3rd birthday team has no Hall of Famers, but seven guys with ten years in the majors and nine more with five years. That's kind of in-between: let's see what we've got.
1 Skip Schumacher, LF
2 Bake McBride, RF
3 Fred Lynn, CF
4 Lucas Duda, 1B
5 Joe Stripp, 3B
6 Eric Owens, 2B
7 Dick Tracewski, SS
8 Lou Criger, C
Bench: Jim Dyck, LF-3B; Wayne Comer, OF; Chicken Hawks, 1B-OF; Newt Randall, OF; Celerino Sanchez, 3B.
1 Slim Sallee
2 Joe Coleman
3 Harry Byrd
4 Buck Ross
Bullpen: Mike Wallace, Joe Klink, Freddie Tolliver, Don Kaiser.
Well, a decent team, but not much depth. Very thin bench, not much of a bullpen. Lineup and rotation aren't bad, though.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
The Groundhog Day birthday team has ten guys with ten years, sixteen more with five years, and a Hall of Famer. We've got us some depth here, friends.
1 Don Buford, LF
2 Willie Kamm, 3B
3 Red Schoendienst, 2B
4 Melvin Mora, CF
5 Max Alvis, 1B
6 Ray Demmitt, RF
7 Mike Garbark, C
8 Adam Everett, SS
Bench: Travis Snider, OF; Otis Miller, IF; Bill Abstein, 1B; Buddy Biancalana, IF; Walt Kuhn, C.
1 Wes Ferrell
2 John Tudor
3 Scott Erickson
4 Orval Overall
Bullpen: Dale Murray, Warren Brusstar, Pat Clements, Sheldon Jones, Manny Sarmiento.
Lots of third basemen, but not lots of power. Had to switch several guys to positions that were not their main spots, tried to be logical about it. Could have gotten Snider's bat in the lineup by putting Kamm at short and moving Mora back to the infield, but this seemed to make more sense. Might do it differently on a different day.
A new month: the February 1 birthday team. Five guys with ten years and nine more with five years, no Hall of Famers. Does not look like a deep or terribly talented team.
1 Rich Becker, LF
2 Austin Jackson, RF
3 Carl Reynolds, 1B
4 Tim Naehring, 3B
5 Paul Blair, CF
6 Hector Luna, 2B
7 Danny Thompson, SS
8 Billy Sullivan, C
Bench: Harry Bemis, C-1B; Lew Brown, C-OF; Ron Woods, OF; Joe Connolly, LF; Jim Kelly, RF; Hal King, C-PH.
1 Kent Mercker
2 Brett Anderson
3 Joe Harris
4 Pete Wood
Bullpen: Ernie Camacho, Cecilio Guante, Phil Norton, Bob Smith.
Hmm. The ace starter spent most of his career as a reliever, and the #3 starter was 3-30 lifetime. That's not a good rotation. The pitchers will probably benefit from that strong defensive outfield, but not much hitting.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
The January 31 birthday team is packed: three Hall of Famers, nine guys with ten years, 14 more with five years. No shortage of talent here.
1 George Burns, 1B
2 Tim Hendryx, LF
3 Jackie Robinson, 2B
4 Ernie Banks, SS
5 Tex McDonald, RF
6 Jim Manning, CF
7 Bob Ferguson, 3B
8 Fred Kendall, C
Bench: Yuniesky Betancourt, IF; Rafael Santana, IF; Pinky Hargrave, C; Dave Cochrane, OF-IF.
1 Nolan Ryan
2 Hank Aguirre
3 Josh Johnson
4 Charlie Robertson
Bullpen: Ted Power, Jim Willoughby, Duke Maas, Bob Apodaca, Brad Thompson.
Thin in the outfield, but with Burns at the top of the lineup and Robinson and Banks to center around, this is a solid team. Ryan heads a good staff.
The January 30 birthday team has a lack of depth. only three guys have at least ten years of major league service, eleven more have five years. This won't be one of our best teams.
1 Sandy Amoros, LF
2 Davey Johnson, 2B
3 Walt Dropo, 1B
4 Jorge Cantu, 3B
5 Charlie Neal, SS
6 Vin Campbell, CF
7 Jeremy Hermida, RF
8 Jordan Pacheco, C
Bench: General Stafford, OF-IF; Nick Evans, OF-1B; Dave Stegman, 1B; Dave Moates, OF.
1 Tony Mullane
2 Brooks Lawrence
3 Mickey Harris
4 John Patterson
Bullpen: Joe Kerrigan, Doc Watson, Joel Davis, Hipolito Pena
A halfway decent lineup, though Pacheco is a bit of a stretch at catcher.
Monday, March 18, 2013
The January 29 birthday team shapes up as one of our worst. Only seven players have ten or more years in the major, and just five more have five years. No Hall of Famers either, so few stars and no depth.
1 Steve Sax, 2B
2 Mike Aldrete, LF
3 Hank Edwards, RF
4 Alex Avila, C
5 Dick Burrus, 1B
6 Bill Rigney, SS
7 Hack Simmons, 3B
8 Art Allison, CF
Bench: Ray Hayworth, C; Bill Kreig, C-OF; Lance Niekro, OF-1B; Miguel Ojeda, C; Jim Tyrone, OF.
1 Jason Schmidt
2 Bobby Bolin
3 Bill Voiselle
4 Jair Jurrjens
Bullpen: John Habyan, Brian Edmondson, Tony Pierce.
Some talent here, but very, very thin. At least we had a catcher. Several, in fact.
The January 28 birthday team is our first in a while to have a Hall of Famer, albeit a 19th century player. We've got ten guys with ten years in the majors, eleven more with five years. We have a chance at a decent team for the first time in several birthdays.
1 Pete Runnels, 2B
2 George Wright, SS
3 Magglio Ordonez, LF
4 Jermaine Dye, RF
5 Bill White, CF
6 Lyle Overbay, 1B
7 Lyn Lary, 3B
Bench: Ducky Holmes, OF; Larvell Blanks, IF; Junior Spivey, IF; Hank Arft, 1B; Tsuyoshi Shinjo, OF, Jacob Cruz, OF.
1 Bill Doak
2 Bob Muncrief
3 Tom Hughes
4 Emil Yde
Bullpen: Frank Arellanes, Joe Beckwith, Wesley Wright, Nate Jones, Bob File.
I couldn't find a single catcher. Other than that, it's a decent team.
Saturday, March 09, 2013
The January 27 birthday team doesn't look promising either: is January just a bad birthday month for baseball players? No Hall of Famers, just four guys with ten major league years, 15 more with five years. Looks very thin.
1 Bibb Falk, LF
2 Al Wickland, CF
3 John Lowenstein, RF
4 Phil Plantier, 1B
5 Charlie Duffee, 3B
6 Angel Berroa, SS
7 Gil Hatfield, 2B
8 Ken Huckaby, C
Bench: Otis Clymer, OF; Bob Borkowski, OF; Bob Barrett, IF; Stew Hofferth, C.
1 Gavin Floyd
2 Milt Gaston
3 Bill Burns
4 Bob Emslie
Bullpen: Fred Heimach, Rusty Meacham, Bert Inks, Nick Willhite.
Yep, it's thin. I am not impressed. Sorry, Mr. Falk, this team has let you down.
The January 26 birthday team does not look promising: only three guys who played ten major league seasons, and 13 more with five seasons. No Hall of Famers, of coruse. Looks like we may not have much to work with here.
1 Charlie Gelbert, SS
2 Bob Nieman, LF
3 Johnny Frederick, CF
4 Rick Schu, 3B
5 Andres Torres, RF
6 Jeff Branson, 2B
7 Rip Russell, 1B
8 Tubby Spencer, C
Bench: Esteban German, IF; Hick Cady, C; Bob Uecker, C; Jemile Weeks, 2B; Ben Koehler, OF.
1 George Blaeholder
2 Kaiser Wilhelm
3 Tim Pugh
4 Ryan Rowland-Smith
Bullpen: Brandon Medders, Dick Mauni, Hector Noesi, Eli Cates.
Yes, not much here. This team would have some trouble even in the minors.
Friday, March 08, 2013
This one could be very bad. Three players with ten years, and a high of 13 years. 15 more players with five years. Not expecting good things here.
1 Junior Moore, LF
2 Jose Macias, 3B
3 Danny Richardson, 2B
4 Ed Goodson, 1B
5 Les Nunnamaker, C
6 Gary Holman, RF
7 Mel Roach, CF
8 Ted Kazanski, SS
Bench: Yip Owens, C; Juan Castillo, IF;
1 Vern Ruhle
2 Wally Bunker
3 Fred Glade
4 Brian Holman
Bullpen: Derrick Turnbow, Dale Mohorcic, Balor Moore, Ed Head, Dan Serafini.
Very not pretty. Richardson the only decent player in the lineup, just a couple of pretty good pitchers.
The January 24 birthday team is another one that looks a bit thin. Six guys with ten years, fourteen more with five, no Hall of Famers. We might have a rough go here.
1 Johnny Dickshot, LF
2 Cliff Heathcoate, RF
3 Wally Judnich, CF
4 Dave Brain, 3B
5 Buck Congalton, SS
6 Pinch Thomas, C
7 Neal Finn, SS
8 Earle Gardner, 2B
Bench: Ted Cox, 3B; Sandy Valdespino, OF; Andy Dirks, OF.
1 Flint Rhem
2 Scott Kazmir
3 Atlee Hammaker
4 Dick Stigman
Bullpen: Neil Allen, Rob Dibble, Tim Stoddard, Jim Lindsey, Franklin Morales, Curly Ogden.
No much here, but any team with Johnny Dickshot isn't a total loss.
Thursday, March 07, 2013
The January 23rd birthday team has ten guys with ten years in the majors, and twelve more with five years. No Hall of Famers. Let's see how this shapes up.
1 Sam Jethroe, CF
2 Chico Carrasquel, SS
3 Erubiel Durazo, 1B
4 Charlie Spikes, RF
5 Wily Mo Pena, LF
6 Kurt Bevacqua, 3B
7 Bill Regan, 2B
8 Benny DiStefano, C
Bench: Joey Amalfitano, IF; Rip Cannell, OF; Jack Saltzgaver, IF; Garry Hancock, OF; Johnny Sturm, 1B;
1 Red Donahue
2 Frank Sullivan
3 Randy Gumpert
4 Jeff Samardzija
Bullpen: Mark Wohlers, Alan Embree, Don Nottebart, Bobby Burke, Juan Rincon.
Decent lineup, but not much pitching and a thin bench. Not much catching either.
Saturday, March 02, 2013
The January 22 birthday team does not look promising; no Hall of Famers, only five players with ten major league years, just ten more with five. I am not optimistic here.
1 Chone Figgins, 3B
2 Amos Strunk, CF
3 Leon Roberts, LF
4 Carlos Ruiz, C
5 Jeff Treadway, 2B
6 Wayne Kirby, RF
7 Bobby Young, 1B
8 Irv Ray, SS
Bench: Ira Thomas, C; Bill O'Neill, OF.
1 Mike Caldwell
2 Ubaldo Jiminez
3 Jim Hughes
4 Jimmy Anderson
Bullpen: Dave Leonhard, Diomedes Olivo, John Milligan, Josh Spence.
Yep, not so much. A couple of decent players, but an awful lot of replacement-level guys. This club isn't going anywhere.
The January 21 birthday team has no Hall of Famers, but eleven players with ten or more years in the majors and eleven more with five years. Let's take a look:
1 Lew Fonseca, 1B
2 Danny O'Connell, 2B
3 Rusty Greer, LF
4 Mike Tiernan, RF
5 Sam Mele, CF
6 Bill Stein, 3B
7 Johnny Oates, C
8 Jose Uribe, SS
Bench: Darryl Motley, OF; Emil Batch, 3B; Benny Meyer, OF.
1 Mike Krukow
2 Andy Hawkins
3 Mike Smithson
4 Joe Benz
Bullpen: David Smith, Bob Reynolds, Blix Donnelly, Chris Hammond, Alan Benes.
Not a bad team, but not much hitting depth. A lot of pitchers, though no stars. Probably a contender and maybe a winner in a good year.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
The January 20 birthday team has no Hall of Famers, but seven guys with ten years in the majors and 14 more with five years, so we have some players to work with here.
1 David Eckstein, 2B
2 Marvin Benard, CF
3 Brian Giles, LF
4 Geovany Soto, C
5 Earl Smith, RF
6 Gene Stephens, 1B
7 Jimmy Outlaw, 3B
8 Ozzie Guillen, SS
Bench: Ernie Courtney, 3B-1B; Everett Mills, 1B; Denny Sothern, OF; Kevin Maas, OF; Cecil Espy, OF.
1 Camilo Pascual
2 Joe Dobson
3 Dave Boswell
4 Bill James
Bullpen: Bill Scherrer, Matt Albers, Franklyn German, Al Gould.
Not bad. We've had better, we've had worse. Weakest point is the bullpen.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
The January 19 birthday team may be our worst yet: no Hall of Famers, the most experienced player has just 13 years, five guys reached 10, 13 more got five. This could be rough.
1. Chris Stynes, 2B
2 Orlando Palmeiro, CF
3 Rip Radcliffe, LF
4 Phil Nevin, 1B
5 Chris Sabo, 3B
6 Dib Williams, SS
7 Fred Valentine, RF
8 Ed Sadowski, C
1 Jon Matlack
2 Rich Gale
3 Arlie Pond
4 Jeff Juden
Bullpen: Byung-Hyun Kim, Amaury Telemaco, Anthony Young, Ken Frailing.
Banned from this team: Chick Gandil.
Not as bad as I had feared, though there is no depth. A few decent people for the lineup and the staff. There have been worse teams already.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
The January 18 team has six players with ten years in the majors and ten more with five years. That's usually a sign of a lack of depth: no Hall of Famers, also a bad sign. Let's look closer.
1 Brady Anderson, LF
2 Curt Flood, CF
3 Eddie Moore, 2B
4 Mike Lieberthal, C
5 Pinky May, 3B
6 Billy Grabarkewitz, SS
7 Billy Sharp, RF
8 Brett Lawrie, 1B
Bench: Lou Koenecke, OF; Zeke Wrigley, IF; Danny Clark, IF; Charlie Eden, OF.
1 Scott McGregor
2 Wandy Rodriguez
3 Carl Morton
4 Michael Pineda
Bullpen: Mike Fornieles, Bill Sampien, Dave Geisel, Brian Falkenborg.
A decent team, but not a winning one. Fair lineup, fair rotation. Bench and bullpen are thin.
The January 17 birthday team has five guys with ten years in the majors and twelve guys with five years. We may be a little short here, but the list will tell.
1 Hank Lieber, CF
2 Jerry Turner, LF
3 Chili Davis, RF
4 Darrell Porter, C
5 Brad Fulmer, 1B
6 Tyler Houston, 3B
7 Don Zimmer, SS
8 Denny Doyle, 2B
Bench: Harry Bay, OF; Dick Brown, C; Pete LaCock, 1B-OF; Milt Scott, 1B; Emmanuel Burriss, IF.
1 Lum Harris
2 Rob Bell
3 Blake Beavan
4 Jocko Thompson
Bullpen: Mark Littell, Jeff Tabaka, Scott Mullen, Mike Malaska, Tyler Schleppers.
Not a bad lineup, but hardly any pitching. This is the worst staff we've seen so far.
Friday, February 08, 2013
The January 16 team has some serious talent, with two Hall of Famers and another in the making. 11 guys with ten major league years, another 12 with five years. This should be one of our better birthday teams.
1 Dave Stapleton, 2B
2 Jimmy Collins, 3B
3 Albert Pujols, 1B
4 Jack Cust, LF
5 Mark Trumbo, RF
6 Jimmy Macullar, CF
7 Art Whitney, SS
8 Marty Castillo, C
Bench: Steve Balboni, 1B; Buck Jordan, 1B-3B; Alredo Amezaga, IF-OF; Bob Ramazzotti, IF; Jo-Jo Morrissey, IF; Reid Brignac, IF.
1 Dizzy Dean
2 Jack McDowell
3 Erskine Mayer
4 Ferdie Schupp
Bullpen: Ron Villone, Jim Owens, Ron Herbel, Marv Goodwin, Matt Maloney.
That outfield defense is going to be horrific, and we don't truly have a catcher. Castillo does have at least a little experience. The pitching is all right and there's offense, but I am not confident about catching the ball.
For the January 15 birthday boys, no Hall of Famers (though there's one guy I think should be), six guys with ten big-league years, 13 more with five years. Let's take a closer look:
1 Delino DeShields, 2B
2 Ray Chapman, 3B
3 Bobby Grich, SS
4 Matt Holliday, LF
5 Tony Solita, 1B
6 Johnny Rucker, RF
7 Tom Oliver, CF
8 Jerry Narron, C
Bench: Rance Mulliniks, IF; Dick Culler, IF; Luis Alvarado, IF; Mike Mansell, OF.
1 Steve Gromek
2 Jock Menefee
3 Joe Genewich
4 Armando Galarraga
Bullpen: Mike Marshall, Wayne Gomes, Ray King, Grover Lowdermilk.
Some good hitters in the lineup, but not much depth. With three middle infielders, one has to play third. The rotation isn't much. This team would not win many games, I'm afraid.
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
The Jan. 14 team doesn't look very impressive: no Hall of Famers, just four guys with ten major league years, twelve more with five years. Let's look closer:
1 Derrel Thomas, 3B
2 Erick Aybar, SS
3 Wayne Gross, 1B
4 Smead Jolley, LF
5 Russ Scarritt, RF
6 Dave Marshall, CF
7 Pete Daley, C
8 Dave Campbell, 2B
Bench: Paddy Livingston, C; Ron Clark, IF; Logan Forsythe, IF.
1 Sonny Siebert
2 Mike Pelfrey
3 Steve Cooke
4 Curry Foley
Bullpen: Terry Forster, Art Decatur, Hank Gornicki.
Ouch. Pretty rough group.
Looking over the January 13 birthday boys, there are no Hall of Famers, five guys with ten major league seasons, and ten more with five seasons. This will not be one of our better teams.
1 Bama Rowell, 2B
2 Steve Mesner, 3B
3 Fred Schulte, RF
4 Kevin Mitchell, LF
5 Billy Jo Robidoux, CF
6 Orlando Miller, 1B
7 Ron Brand, C
8 Mike Tyson, SS
Bench: Goat Anderson, IF-OF; Mike Milosivitch, IF; Jud Smith, IF-OF.
1 Bob Forsch
2 Elmer Dessens
3 Larry Jaster
4 Kevin Foster
Bullpen: Akinori Otsuka, Steve Comer, Odell Jones, Les Cain, Bob Galasso.
Yeah, not much of a team, even though I did see Odell Jones throw a one-hitter in triple-A once. Couple of good hitters, Forsch is a good pitcher, but not much to work with here.
Saturday, February 02, 2013
The January 12 team looks a little thin on top talent. No Hall of Famers, no one with more than twelve years of major league experience. Seven with at least ten years, and 21 more with five years, so it's deep but not wide.
1 Ed Swartwood, CF
2 Bobby Crosby, SS
3 Henry Larkin, LF
4 Joe Hauser, 1B
5 Mike Marshall, RF
6 Tim Hulett, 2B
7 Casey Candaele, 3B
8 Admiral Schlei, C
Bench: George Browne, OF; Andy Fox, IF; Terry Whitfield, OF; Juan Bonilla, IF; Tom Kinslow, C; Ed Stevens, 1B.
1 Randy Jones
2 Togie Pittinger
3 Dontrelle Willis
4 Nat Hudson
Bullpen: Chris Ray, Rich Loiselle, Luis Ayala, Dan Daub, Ivan Nova.
Looks like a team that would win some 1930s minor league pennants. Hauser and Candaele, in fact, were minor league stars.
The January 11 team has two Hall of Famers, a total of eight players with ten years in the majors, and ten more with five years. We'll have some good front-line talent but perhaps a lack of depth. Let's take a look:
1 Max Carey, CF
2 George Pinckney, 3B
3 Elmer Flick, RF
4 Lloyd McClendon, C
5 Warren Morris, 2B
6 Jermaine Allensworth, LF
7 Roy Hughes, 1B
8 Rey Ordonez, SS
Bench: Neil Berry, IF; Dan Norman, OF.
1 Silver King
2 Schoolboy Rowe
3 General Crowder
4 Harry McIntire
Bullpen: Don Mossi, Jim McAndrew, Donn Pall, Ed Murphy.
Some front-line talent, but very thin. Afraid this team wouldn't win a lot of games, and would struggle to reach .500.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
The birthday team of January 10 has two Hall of Famers, but one of them is a "contributor" more than a player. Seven guys with ten years and twelve more with five years so there's not a lot of depth. Let's take a look:
1 Chick Stahl, CF
2 Adam Kennedy, 2B
3 Del Pratt, 3B
4 Willie McCovey, 1B
5 George Wright, RF
6 Jim Lindeman, LF
7 George Strickland, SS
8 Johnny Peacock, C
Bench: Jack Dittmer, IF; Jack O'Neill, C; Tom Dolan, C-OF; Mario Diaz, IF.
1 Jim O'Toole
2 Rich Dotson
3 Chuck Dobson
4 Cliff Chambers
Bullpen: Ted Bowsfield, George Pierce, Milt Watson, Rick Bauer, Larry Hardy.
A great cleanup hitter, a decent starting rotation, but not much depth.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
This doesn't shape up as the best of birthdays for baseball players: no Hall of Famers, just five guys with ten major league years, and just nine more guys with five. Nobody has 100 homers, only one guy with 100 wins and that's just 107. Take a look:
1 Otis Nixon, CF
2 Stan Javier, LF
3 Joe Wallis, RF
4 Phil Mankowski, 3B
5 Brandon Boggs, 1B
6 Ivan DeJesus, SS
7 Jack Bliss, C
8 Pat Rockett, 2B
Bench: Ferrell Anderson, C
1 Ralph Terry
2 Harley Payne
3 Ken Cloude
4 Dave Keefe
Bullpen: Jay Powell, T.J. Mathews, Tony Pena, Bob Duliba, Kiko Calero, Julio Navarro.
Yep, not a scary team at all. Good speed, the outfield defense will be strong, and a pretty good bullpen, but no power and lousy starting pitching. This group would have trouble winning a triple-A pennant.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
The January 8 team has one Hall of Famer, but it's Bruce Sutter, perhaps the worst HOFer. Ten guys with ten years, 13 more with five. Let's see what we've got:
1 Mike Cameron, CF
2 Randy Ready, 2B
3 Jason Giambi, 1B
4 Walker Cooper, C
5 Gene Freese, 3B
6 Jeff Francouer, RF
7 Jim Busby, LF
8 Reno Bertoia, SS
Bench: Willie Tasby, OF; Brian Johnson, C; Jim Donahue, C-OF; Marv Rickert, 1B-OF; Wilbur Howard, OF; Matt LaPorta, 1B.
Cameron, Giambi, and Cooper are three very good players. The outfield defense would be terrific. It's not a bad lineup.
1 Carl Pavano
2 Jeff Francis
3 Geremi Gonzalez
4 Chauncey Fisher
Bullpen: Bruce Sutter, Brian Boehringer, Dick Kelley, James Russell.
Not much pitching, though. Don't think you'd win a lot of games with this rotation, even with the killer closer.
The team of 1/7 births includes one Hall of Famer, 13 with ten years' service, and 21 more with five years. Lots of depth on this club.
1 Al Dark, SS
2 Kevin Mench, LF
3 Johnny Mize, 1B
4 Alfonso Soriano, CF
5 Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
6 Tony Conigliaro, RF
7 Jim Lefebvre, 2B
8 Al Todd, C
Bench: Dick Schofield, IF; Kitty Bransfield, 1B; Craig Shipley, IF; Brayan Pena, C; Joe Keough, OF.
That's a decent lineup, certainly one that could win a pennant. Some real power here.
1 Jon Lester
2 Ross Grimsley
3 Allan Anderson
4 Jim Hannan
Bullpen: Jeff Montgomery, Francisco ("K-Rod") Rodriguez, Eric Gagne, Dad Clarke, Jhoulys Chacin.
Not a great rotation, though plenty of lefties, but a very deep bullpen.
Friday, January 25, 2013
The birthday team for January 6 has one Hall of Famer, nine players with at least ten years of major league service, and twelve more with five years. It shapes up like this:
1 Lenny Green, CF
2 George Shoch, LF
3 Lee Walls, 1B
4 Phil Masi, C
5 Marlon Anderson, 2B
6 Chuck Workman, RF
7 Joe Sullivan, 3B
8 Ruben Amaro, SS
Terrible lineup: good thing the starting pitching is good or they'd never win a game.
Jose de Jesus
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
The team with birthdays on January 5th: No Hall of Famers born this day, but a lot to work with anyway. 17 guys with at least ten big league seasons, eleven more with five. No problems filling slots here.
1 Milt Thompson, LF
2 Bill Dahlen, SS
3 Riggs Stephenson, RF
4 Benny Kauff, CF
5 Ron Kittle, 1B
6 Art Fletcher, 3B
7 Jim Gantner, 2B
8 Luke Sewell, C
Cheating a little putting Kittle at 1B, but it gets us another power bat. Not a great lineup, but a decent bunch of hitters. This is a birthday team that could actually win a pennant if all the players were at least near their primes.
Bench: Bob Dernier, OF; Henry Cotto, OF; Earl Battey, C; Bill Hunnefield, IF; Joe Grace, OF; Fred Marsh, IF; John Russell, C.
Actually got some depth on this squad.
1 Bob Caruthers
2 Charlie Hough
3 Danny Jackson
4 Jack Kramer
That's a pretty good rotation. You could win a pennant with that rotation. And, if you needed a fifth guy, the first two relievers could fill the slot.
Not super-talented, but usable pitchers.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
January 4, like the third, is a quantity not quality day. Seven players had ten years in the majors, twelve more had five. Again, no Hall of Famers.
1 Alex Metzler, LF
2 Darryl Boston, CF
3 George Selkirk, RF
4 Al Bridwell, 3B
5 Ossie Vitt, 1B
6 Tito Fuentes, 2B
7 Tommy Corcoran, SS
8 Herman Franks, C
Bench: Blondy Ryan IF, Scott Sizemore IF, Jason Bourgeous OF.
1 Ted Lilly
2 Jay Tibbs
3 Bob Spade
4 Ken Reynolds
Again, a minor league pennant winner. Not a great team in the majors. Did manage to fill every position.
The January 3 birthday team has few stars, and no Hall of Famers, but nine players with ten or more years and ten more with five years. Quantity more than quality.
1 Frenchy Bordagaray, CF
2 Buzz Arlett, LF
3 Gus Suhr, 1B
4 Darren Daulton, C
5 Bill Cissell, 3B
6 Barney Gilligan, RF
7 Luis Sojo, 2B
8 Luis Rivera, SS
Bench: Virgil Stallcup IF, Roy Brashear 1B-OF, Ed Sauer OF
1 AJ Burnett
2 Sid Hudson
3 Cliff Melton
4 Bart Johnson
Looks like a team that won a minor league pennant in the 1920s.
The team of birthday boys from Jan. 2 has no Hall of Famers, but several good players, including a number of recent vintage. Nine played at least ten years in the majors, and seven more at least five.
1 Royce Clayton, SS
2 Bill Madlock, 2B
3 Edgar Martinez, LF
4 Red Kress, 1B
5 Pinky Whitney, 3B
6 Jim Essian, C
7 Merlin Kopp, RF
8 George Jackson, CF
A lot of infielders and a decent catcher, but not really any infielders. Putting Edgar in the OF is stretching it, but there isn't anyone else: Kopp and Jackson, the others listed, barely played at all. Madlock, Kress, and Whitney were all mostly third basemen, and Edgar was that mostly before becoming a DH. Sadly, this isn't the sort of grouping where you can make trades.
Bench: Ryan Garko, 1B; Sam Crane, IF; Ted Gullic, IF.
1 David Cone
2. Jeff Suppan
3. Greg Swindell
4. Garrett Stephenson
That's three starting pitchers with at least 100 wins, a pretty good group. Not much after that.
All-star teams by birthdays: today, the team of players born on the initial day of the year, January 1.
Two Hall of Famers, Hank Greenberg and Tim Keefe, share this birthday. Nine players who played ten years in the majors share a Jan. 1 birthday, and seven more with at least five years. This team is a pretty good one on the birthday scale.
1 Ethan Allen, CF
2 Hugh Nicol, RF
3 Earl Torgeson, 1B
4 Hank Greenberg, LF
5 Fernando Tatis, 3B
6 Sherry Robertson, 2B
7 Tom Downey, SS
8 Dave Zearfoss, C
Not bad in the OF and corner infield, but we're stretching in the middle infield and Zearfoss is a reach as a catcher. Those first five guys aren't bad, though. Might lead off Nicol, who was very fast, but he wasn't that good at getting on base.
Bench: Hack Miller and Lynn Jones, OF; Foster Castleman, IF
Ned Garvin (the earlier one)
It's Keefe, who won over 300, and nobody else who won 100 games in the majors, although Hoyt did win a Cy Young (that he didn't really deserve). Schieb and Owchinko were both used more as relievers, but there's not a lot of depth here. They would start over the other guys.
This team would score some runs, and would be OK on the mound part of the time, but defense would be a problem.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Top ten third basemen of all time:
1. Mike Schmidt
2. Eddie Mathews
3. Wade Boggs
4. George Brett
5. Brooks Robinson
6. Ron Santo
7. Chipper Jones
8. Frank "Home Run" Baker
9. Scott Rolen
10. Graig Nettles
Honorable Mention: Sal Bando, Darrell Evans, Ken Boyer.
Book Review: The Big Show: Charles M. Conlon's Golden Age Baseball Photographs. Published 2011 by Abrams.
It's a picture book: well, more accurately, it's a photography book. Conlon was a newspaper proofreader who dabbled in photography as a hobby, when one day the editor of the New York Telegram asked him to take some shots of baseball games and players, to be published in the newspaper and in the annual Spalding's Guides. What followed was a career that lasted from 1904 to 1942 and produced the most memorable collection of photographs in baseball history.
Many of Conlon's photos were printed in the 1993 book Baseball's Golden Age, but this is a different selection, though by the same authors. Constance McCabe has prepared the photos for publication, and brother Neal McCabe provides the captions. Roger Kahn writes the foreword, as Roger Angell did for the first book.
The photographs are often stark and frequently stunning. Each takes up the better part of a page, with the captioning to the side. The black-and-whites are stunningly reproduced. Most are posed shots, but there are some action pics, and I find those the most compelling. A good photograph reveals much about the subject. That often seems the case here.
In these pages you will find pictures of the well-knowns, like Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, and Rogers Hornsby, and those you have likely never heard of before, like Buddy Gremp, Al Spohrer, and Jackie Hayes. Most are players, but there are also umpires, managers, and a traffic control officer at a Yankees game. You will find Kid Nichols at the end of his career, Amos Rusie in a picture from after his career had ended, and DiMaggio as a rookie.
One of my favorite parts of the book is how the subjects on facing pages often complement each other. Several times we get a set like on pages 66 and 67, one of a young Hank Gowdy in 1911, the other of a veteran Gowdy in 1936 as a coach. We also get sets of Vince DiMaggio and brother Joe on facing pages, both from 1937. There's Herb Pennock in 1916 facing a Pennock from 1934. And, another favorite, the Bob Feller of 1937 across from the Walter Johnson of 1916. Sheer joy.
The captions convey myth more than information. The story of the invention of catcher shin guards by Roger Bresnahan is repeated with his photograph, even though it is provably false. Still, the book is more about myth than truth, and imagery over cold hard fact. It is a spectacular collection of photographs from a century past. I think you will enjoy it.
Disclaimer: I received a free review copy of this book, and thus did not pay for it. The list price is $35, but it is available from various retailers such as amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, walmart.com, and others for about $10 less.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Another list, this time the top ten catchers of all time:
1. Johnny Bench
2. Yogi Berra
3. Gary Carter
4. Ivan Rodriguez
5. Mike Piazza
6. Bill Dickey
7. Carlton Fisk
8. Joe Torre
9. Roy Campanella
10. Ted Simmons
*11. Mickey Cochrane
Thursday, July 14, 2011
With a nod to Derek Jeter getting his 3000th hit, the top ten shortstops in baseball history (through 2010).
1. Honus Wagner
2. Alex Rodriguez
3. Cal Ripken
4. Arky Vaughan
5. Ernie Banks
6. Pee Wee Reese
7. Luke Appling
8. Joe Cronin
9. Lou Boudreau
10. George Davis
Jeter's defense is what holds him back on this list: he comes in at #13. He could move up, but this year's performance so far does not bode well for that.
Number 250: Stan Hack.
Hack was a .300 hitter with walks, a leadoff man, a bit unusual for third basemen. A lifelong Cub, Hack joined the team in 1932 at age 22 as a part-timer. Woody English was the regular in those days, but Hack played some, pinch-hit, and even appeared briefly in that October's World Series. He played less in 1933, but became the regular in 1934 and pushed English to the background. He started on the 1935, 1938, and 1945 pennant teams, and scored 100 runs in six consecutive seasons.
Hack led the league in hits twice and stolen bases twice, and received support for the MVP award in eight different seasons. He has never gotten much Hall of Fame consideration, because leadoff men get overlooked with the overemphasis on the RBI column. But he was a good one.
Hack earned 132.43 ratings points.
Hack's stats: .301 average, 2193 hits, 1239 runs, .394 on-base.
Number 249: Kevin Appier.
He never won 20 games in a season, so it doesn't seem he should be this good. However, he pitched for a lot of bad teams in Kansas City, not going elsewhere until he was in his thirties. He also pitched quite well for a number of years. Pitchers are affected by the players around them more than any other players, so sometimes you get the good pitcher masked by the poor team.
Appier reached 200 innings eight times, and 180 three other times. He was durable and effective. The Royals' 1987 1st round draft pick delivered performance year after year.
Appier earned 132.57 ratings points.
Appier's stats: 169-137 record, 3.74 ERA, 121 ERA+.
Number 248: Hack Wilson.
With only twelve years in the major leagues, and only nine of those with 100 games played, Wilson owes his Hall of Fame election to peak value. He led the league in home runs four times and RBI twice, and put together a 1930 season that remains one of the most remarkable of all time. His 56 homers stood as a National League record for years, and his 191 RBI remain the single-season standard. The feat is tainted somewhat by its happening in the offensive peak of its time, but is nonetheless impressive.
Wilson was a short, stocky fellow who moved surprisingly well and played a solid center field in his prime. That prime was shorter than it could have been. His .319 average in two World Series is a plus, though.
Wilson earned 132.68 ratings points.
Wilson's stats: .307 average, 244 HR, 144 OPS+.
Number 247: Don Sutton.
Sutton pitched most of his career for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was signed by the Dodgers in the pre-draft days of 1964, and was in the rotation of the 1966 NL champs, Sandy Koufax's last year. Sutton was 12-12 but ably filled a rotation spot, then was suddenly thrust into a leading role when Koufax and later Drysdale retired. Sutton was about an average pitcher through 1971, when he hit his prime at age 26 and went 17-12 with a 2.54 ERA. He won 19 in 1972, with a 2.08 ERA in arguably his best year. Sutton continued to anchor the Dodgers' rotation, as part of the 1974, 1977 and 1978 pennant winners. He got his only 20-win season in 1976, with 21 victories. That year was his best showing in the Cy Young voting, at third. He led the league in ERA in 1980, then left the Dodgers as a free agent and went to Houston.
Sutton pitched well in 1981 and started 1982 well, but went to Milwaukee at the end of August for three minor leaguers to champion the Brewers' pennant drive. Sutton went 4-1 down the stretch to help lift the Brewers to the postseason, then to the brink of World Series victory. He slumped in 1983, was better in 1984, and then was traded to the A's after the season. He went to the Angels for the 1985 stretch run, and pitched for them in the 1986 ALCS. He was released by the Angels after 1987, and then picked up by the Dodgers after 1988 but was finished, going 3-6. He was released in August.
Sutton was never spectacular, but he was reliable, taking his turn time after time. He rarely missed a start, and was never injured for an extended period. Blessed with one of those reliable arms, Sutton steadied many a rotation in his career, and was in great demand as a veteran influence up to the end of his career at age 43. His career ERA+ was only 106, but that was lowered partly by hanging on as that "proven veteran."
Sutton earned 132.69 ratings points.
Sutton's stats: 324-256 record, 3.26 ERA, 3574 K, 58 shutouts.
Number 246: Jim Rice.
South Carolina native Jim Ed Rice spent all sixteen years of his major league career with the Boston Red Sox. He led the league in homers three times, RBI twice, won the 1978 MVP award and finished in the top five of voting six times. He was productive and obviously well-respected by people around the game.
His election to the Hall of Fame was opposed by a vocal minority, who pointed to mediocre defense, a poor batting record in road games, and a lack of overwhelming statistical evidence. Nonetheless, he did gain election, and certainly qualifies on the fame issue.
Rice earned 132.75 ratings points.
Rice's stats: .298 average, 382 HR, 1451 RBI, 128 OPS+.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Number 245: Bob Elliott.
Elliott began his career as a right fielder but ended up spending most of it at third base. He started out in Pittsburgh with the Pirates, then was dealt to Boston at the end of 1946. He won the 1947 NL MVP, followed by the Braves winning a surprise 1948 NL pennant. That was his only World Series, but Elliot was a solid power hitter and a pretty good third baseman. The San Diego native was on seven All-Star teams. He drove in at least 100 runs in six seasons. Elliott carried a rep as a clutch hitter and an RBI man.
Elliott earned 132.9 ratings points.
Elliott's stats: .289 average, 2061 hits, 382 doubles, 1195 RBI.
Number 244: Jack Stivetts.
Stivetts was a 19th century pitcher who was a major leaguer for just eleven years. Pitchers threw out their arms pretty quickly in those days. He was an above-average pitcher and hitter, and that moves him up the list.
Stivetts led the league in ERA in 1889, his first year as a major leaguer. He pitched over 400 innings each of the next three years, then pitched some more as a regular starter with ERAs that were not impressive, but still better than normal for the era. He spent his career with St. Louis and Boston, with a few games in Cleveland.
Stivetts earned 133.11 ratings points.
Stivetts's stats: 203-132, 120 ERA+, .298 average, 106 OPS+
Friday, February 25, 2011
You may notice some changes: I have converted the rating system to WAR, Fangraphs version, from WARP of Baseball Prospectus. WARP kept changing, apparently due to whim, and WAR has the current cache'. So, I bowed to pressure.
The trouble is, Fangraphs does not have WAR for pitchers posted past the 1970s. So, WAR from then back comes from Baseball-reference.com, and is somewhat different. I am a bit disturbed by the differences, but not enough to worry about. While these rankings are written implying confidence, this system is subject to prejudices like any other.
But what fun is not being sure? So, we will charge ahead, using the system with what I hope if a minimum of my own prejudices. Remember to keep in mind, this is just for fun. It's only baseball. Only, that is, the greatest game in the world.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
50 Best Non-Hall of Famers.
Hi, folks, it's been awhile. I've been working on re-doing my rankings list, which has been slow going. I got frustrated with the Baseball Prospectus WARP system, decided to switch to WAR, and ran into complications with the different versions of that. I concluded that the Fangraphs version was better than the one used by Baseball Reference.com, but it is less user-friendly and does not have numbers for 19th century and early 20th century pitchers. Such is the life of the researchers.
At any rate, I am writing again because someone has posed a question that is right in the wheelhouse of a blog like this: the 50 best non-Hall of Famers. Colleague Graham Womack of the blog Baseball: Past and Present poses the question, and well, it's too interesting not to respond. So, here goes.
1. Jeff Bagwell. Bagwell becomes eligible this year. His MVP year, 1994, was interrupted by a strike/lockout. He was excellent for many years, but that was his only year of really standing out. Not sure how writers will react to that.
2. Ron Santo. Our first pick that gets to the heart of this balloting. In a 15-year career, Santo never won an MVP or played in the postseason, and got overlooked. He also played in an era which decreased offense, holding down his stats, though he played in Wrigley Field, a hitters' park. He led the league in walks four times and on-base average twice, not stats that were monitored closely when he played. He was an excellent defensive player, and won five Gold Gloves. Santo finished fourth in the 1967 MVP vote, a year he really should have won, but the Cubs were just third. He is one of the Hall's great injustices.
3. Albert Pujols. Still active.
4. Pete Rose. Rose, of course, is not eligible for the Hall: he is suspended from the game due to gambling on it. Rose has lobbied to be reinstated, but whether his behavior warrants it, or whether writers would vote for him even if he was, is open to question. What is not questioned is his greatness. Based on the numbers, he is certainly a Hall of Famer.
5. Tim Raines. Another of the Hall's great injustices, Raines was never appreciated by the members of the BBWAA. He should have won two or three MVP awards during his career, but never finished higher than fifth in the voting. In three ballots, he has drawn only lukewarm Hall support. This is a guy who should be an obvious Hall of Famer, but his skills as a premier leadoff man are not widely appreciated.
6. Roberto Alomar. Alomar figures to make the Hall this year after falling just short last year, but he faces the same problems as Raines: he was not as valued by the writers as his actual value on the field. Alomar also could easily have won an MVP, but never did. Strong defensive players with a broad range of offensive skills, or in other words good all-around players, are the most often overlooked in MVP and Hall voting. The same is true for Santo, and for many other overlooked players on this list.
7. Bert Blyleven. Eminently deserving.
8. Rafael Palmeiro. Eligible for the first time this year, steroids will likely keep him out of the Hall.
9. Mark McGwire. Sort of the poster boy for steroids, at least as the Hall goes.
10. Will Clark. Yes, he fits that strong defense, good all-around hitter that writers say they like, but don't vote for when the chips are down. Clark spent most of his career in pitchers' parks, holding down his overall stats, but he was excellent.
11. Bobby Grich. Grich is the epitome of the terrific player who cannot win a vote like this. His batting averages were never very high, but he was a tremendous defender, drew lots of walks, hit for good power, and "played the game the right way." But, with a .266 career batting average, he will never get into the Hall.
12. Alan Trammell. Another of the Hall's great oversights, and for the same reason as the others. Some Veteran's Committee someday may correct some of these, but I won't hold my breath.
13. Dick Allen. An often disagreeable sort, and Bill James has gone to great lengths to point out why he doesn't belong. Others have had a go at refuting James, however, and at this point I am an agnostic.
14. Barry Larkin. Falls into that same category of overlooked players, but based on his vote total from last year he will eventually make it into the Hall.
15. Albert Belle. Want to talk about feared hitters? Here's a feared hitter. Belle also wasn't bad defensively, at least when he was younger. His career was cut short but he was terrific: he deserved the 1995 AL MVP over Mo Vaughn.
16. Charlie Bennett. My first 19th century player listing. Bennett would be a tough choice, as he did not have even 1000 career hits, but it was a different game then. Bennett was a catcher back when catchers did not have equipment like shin guards and face masks, and catching was a tough business. Catchers didn't play every day then. Bennett was a great, and so beloved in Detroit they ended up naming the ballpark after him. He threw out the first pitch of the season in Detroit when the American League returned a franchise to the city, every year until he died.
17. Edgar Martinez. Tough as it will be to elect a player who was almost exclusively a DH for much of his career, they already elected Paul Molitor.
18. Keith Hernandez. As obnoxious as I find him on commercials, he was one of those good hitters/excellent defenders that we find overlooked here.
19. Deacon White. Another 19th century guy, he goes back to the very beginning of organized leagues. White was largely a catcher, but they also played him at third base and the outfield to keep him in the lineup. His nickname (given name was James) indicates the high regard for his character.
20. Dwight Evans. Yes, excellent defense, strong hitter. Robbed of the 1981 AL MVP, a common theme here.
21. John Olerud. A player in the Hernandez mode, a Gold Glove level, batting champion first baseman. Olerud also had good power, and should have won the 1993 AL MVP.
22. Bucky Walters. He did not reach 200 career victories, but had the period of dominance that usually propels such pitchers into the Hall, with his 49 wins in 1939-40 and the 1939 NL MVP. It didn't work for him like it did Dean and Koufax, however.
23. Kevin Brown. He goes on the ballot this year, but won't draw much interest. His 211 wins and lack of a Cy Young won't help, though he easily could have won multiple Cys, especially in 1996 and 1998, and was the ace for two unlikely World Series teams, the 1997 Marlins and 1999 Padres.
24. Bill Dahlen. A turn of the century (19th/20th) shortstop who was excellent defensively and a good hitter. Yes, just the type.
25. Joe Torre. A borderline HOFer as a player, he will eventually get in as a manager with his Yankee rings. He was a mediocre defensive catcher, but a fine hitter.
26. George Gore. A 19th century outfielder with a .301 career average, it's a surprise the early Hall voters missed him. Then again, early stats were spotty until the Baseball Encyclopedia project came out in 1969.
27. Jim Wynn. A short outfielder with speed and excellent power, plus good defense, whose stats were held down by playing in the cavernous Astrodome in the 1960s, then Dodger Stadium in the 1970s. He looks terrific with neutralized stats.
28. Robin Ventura. Sort of a Ron Santo-lite, Ventura was excellent defensively and a middle-of-the-order hitter. He would help balance the lack of third basemen in the Hall.
29. Ken Boyer. Another excellent defensive third baseman who could hit. He did win an MVP, but it hasn't helped his Hall candidacy.
30. David Cone. The kind of solid pitcher honored many times by the Hall, but not recently.
31. Bernie Williams. To me, the image of the Yankees of the 1990s and the key to their success. I know the shortstop gets the attention, but I think it was about Bernie. This is a fudge, because he won't be eligible until next balloting cycle, but I think he will be overlooked.
32. Ned Garver. A quirky pick, as he had a losing record for his career, but that was due to playing for terrible teams like the St. Louis Browns and Kansas City A's. In 1951, when he won 20 for the Browns, he was the best pitcher in the league.
33. Paul Hines. A 19th century outfielder, he was the NL's best player in 1878 and 1879.
34. Ted Simmons. A good hitter who was average defensively, but was valuable because he could catch. He lost value in the second half of his career, when managers stopped using him at catcher.
35. Heinie Groh. An overlooked early-20th century player, he was a third baseman who would play second base (or maybe shortstop) in today's game. A little guy who was excellent defensively and a good hitter, he was the NL's best player in 1917 and 1918.
36. Cesar Cedeno. Got off to such a good start at a young age that people were disappointed he didn't turn into Willie Mays. He still had a good career, but people felt it wasn't quite good enough, somehow.
37. Matt Williams. Another strong defensive third baseman, he had excellent power though not very good on-base skills.
38. Lance Parrish. A symbol of the difficulty of evaluating catcher defense. He had a strong arm, but was very big and not exceptionally mobile. He could hit, but evaluating him is a matter of deciding how good his defense was, and that's not easy.
39. Lou Whitaker. Like his double-play partner Trammell, Whitaker got overlooked. What is it about the 1980s Tigers?
40. Bret Saberhagen. Saberhagen was always terrific when he could pitch. Not sure why Dean and Koufax got in, but guys like this were overlooked.
41. Darrell Evans. Excellent defensive third baseman, good power, lots of walks, but a low batting average. Hall voters don't like guys like this.
42. Bob Elliott. "Mr. Team" got a 1947 MVP, but not much Hall support. Another third baseman though he also played the outfield, he got MVP votes while active but drew almost no Hall support for some reason.
43. Brett Butler. The very picture of a leadoff man, but the Hall does not like leadoff men in general (unless your name is Lloyd Waner). Another excellent defender.
44. Stan Hack. A double-whammy: a leadoff man and a third baseman. Never did draw much Hall support: not sure why he didn't, but George Kell did. Hack played for the Cubs, but did so in the 1930s when they still won pennants.
45. Shoeless Joe Jackson. I would never vote for him, but there's a case he was a good enough player. Sure, he was a bit of a patsy in that whole gambling thing, but it looms large.
46. Fred McGriff. I wonder if he will look better, or worse, as time passes. He is one of those guys Hall voters might look at down the road and say, "Hey, this guy deserves it."
47. Orel Hershiser. Had a three-year run, 1987-89, as the best pitcher in the NL. Bad luck and poor support in the bookend years made that less obvious then his terrific 1988 season.
48. Pebbly Jack Glasscock. 19th century shortstop, tremendous defender.
49. Buddy Bell. Another excellent defensive third baseman who could hit.
50. George Foster. People remember how he struggled in New York, in his mid-30s, and forget how incredible he was in Cincinnati in his prime. Again, a true feared hitter.
Whew. An interesting list, if I do say so myself. I wouldn't necessarily vote for all of these guys myself, if I had a vote, but each has a case and each is better than some players already in the Hall. The players are roughly in my ranking order, but if I did it again next week the order might be different. I'll go with this for now.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Congratulations to Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice, just elected to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. They join Joe Gordon, selected earlier by the Veteran's Committee.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Number 243: Tommy Leach.
"Wee" Tommy Leach stood just five-foot-six but he was a sturdy baseball player, mostly for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Honus Wagner era. Leach began his career as an infielder, mostly at third base where a spry fellow was required to field the many bunts of the deadball era. Leach did well at that, but later in his career began to spend most of his time in center field, running down fly balls and pouncing on base hits quickly.
Leach didn't have much power at that small stature but sprayed the ball around the field, collecting lots of hits and stretching out doubles and triples when they hit the gaps. He drew a fair number of walks, too, and was an effective offensive weapon. Leach played in two World Series, getting nine hits in each, with four triples in the 1903 Classic and four doubles in 1909.
Leach earned 133.17 ratings points.
Leach's stats: .269 average, 2143 hits, 361 steals, 172 triples.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Number 242: Stan Coveleski.
Coveleski was a spitballer, his status surviving the 1920 outlawing of the pitch through the "grandfather" clause that went with it. He first appeared in the majors in 1912 with the Philadelphia A's, but his 2-1 record did not impress with a team in the midst of four pennants and he was sent back out. In 1916 he joined the Indians and began a run of success in Cleveland, starting with a 15-13 season that year at age 26.
Coveleski won 20 games four years in a row 1918-21, led the league in ERA in 1923 and 1925, in strikeouts in 1920. He won three games for the Indians in the 1920 World Series, pushing the Tribe over the top. After a 15-16 season in 1924, he was swapped to Washington, and went to another Series in 1925. He was just an occasional pitcher by 1927, and finished up with twelve games for the Yankees in 1928.
Coveleski earned 133.25 ratings points.
Coveleski's stats: 215-142 record, 2.89 ERA, 224 CG, 127 ERA+.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Number 241: Harry Hooper.
A California native, Hooper went to St. Mary's College of California to study engineering and began playing baseball there. His play caught the attention of the Boston Red Sox, who signed him to a contract and brought him east. He soon became the right fielder in one of the greatest outfields in history, with Tris Speaker and Duffy Lewis. The Red Sox were putting together a powerhouse in the 1910s, and Hooper would play in four World Series for Boston, earning a reputation as a top-notch fielder and clutch hitter.
When the Red Sox dismantled that club, Hooper went to the White Sox, decimated by the Black Sox scandal. He finished his career in Chicago, playing a total of 17 years in the majors, then a few more in the free minors, as was common at the time.
Hooper earned 133.37 ratings points.
Hooper's stats: .281 average, 2466 hits, 1136 walks, 375 steals.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Number 240: Early Wynn.
He won 300 games, though he had to hang on awhile to do it. Wynn was 43 when he hung them up, but had a 2.28 ERA in that last year. He began in the majors with the Washington Senators in 1939, and a 5.75 ERA. He got a chance to try again in 1941, and did much better. He spent 1945 in the service, then returned to the Senators. He was up and down in Washington, then after the 1948 season was traded along with Mickey Vernon to the Indians. It was in Cleveland he enjoyed his greatest success. In 9 seasons with Cleveland he won 20 games in a season four times. That was one of the great staffs of all time, featuring Wynn, Bob Lemon, and Mike Garcia.
After the 1957 season, Wynn and Al Smith were traded to Chicago for Minnie Minoso. Wynn struggled in 1958 as he had in 1957, but in 1959 he had a great year, winning the Cy Young Award and helping push the White Sox to a surprise pennant. He started 3 World Series games, going 1-1. He stayed with Chicago through 1962, then returned to Cleveland for that last year. Wynn said at the time he would be the last 300-game winner. That hasn't proven true, but he was an effective and durable pitcher, for several good teams.
Wynn earned 133.66 ratings points.
Wynn's stats: 300-244 record, 3.54 ERA, 2334 K, 290 CG.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Number 239: Tony Lazzeri.
"Poosh-em-up Tony" was a power-hitting second baseman who starred for twelve years with the Yankees as part of "Murderer's Row." He wasn't a great defensive second baseman, but he wasn't bad, and he was a solid part of the lineup. He only ever led the league in one offensive category, strikeouts in his rookie year of 1926. However, he got as high as third in MVP voting (1928), was on seven pennant-winning teams (including the Cubs in 1938) and was part of five World Series winners.
Lazzeri earned 134.08 ratings points.
Lazzeri's stats: .292 average, 178 HR, 1191 RBI.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Number 238: Luis Tiant.
"El Tiante" was a Cuban whose father was a famous pitcher in his home country, when the color line kept him out of American baseball. The younger man left the country after Castro came to power, and was playing in Mexico when signed by Cleveland in 1962. He made the majors in 1964 at age 23, posting a 10-4 record in 19 games. He was a solid starter for the Indians through the 1960s, especially 1968 when he went 21-9 with a 1.60 ERA in "The Year of the Pitcher."
In 1969 he struggled a bit, going 9-20 although his ERA was still about league average. Tiant was traded to the Twins after the season, went 7-3 in 18 games, then was released at the end of Spring Training in 1971. He signed with the Braves but never pitched in a game before being released again. The Red Sox picked him up and let him rehab and get back into shape, suffering through his 1-7 in 1971.
Then in 1972, Tiant was back. He went 15-6 as the Sox battled for the division, then won 20 or more in three of the next four seasons. He was the Bosox' ace through most of the 1970s as they contended for division titles and won the 1975 pennant. In that World Series, the Sox took the Big Red Machine of Cincinnati to 7 games, but the three they won were all started by Tiant.
Tiant left Boston after 1978, spent two seasons with the Yankees and one each in Pittsburgh and California. He developed a reputation as an ace and a money pitcher.
Tiant earned 134.15 ratings points.
Tiant's stats: 229-172 record, 3.30 ERA, 2416 K, 49 shutouts.
Number 237: Hughie Jennings.
A 19th century shortstop and early 20th century manager, he was Ty Cobb's manager for the first half of Cobb's career, 1907-20. The Tigers won pennants the first three years of that string, but nothing afterwards, and spent most of that time in the second division in spite of the presence of a great player.
As a player, Jennings played 100 games or more in just seven seasons, and in one of those seasons hit just .222. Oh, but those other seasons. From late 1893 through 1898 Jennings was the shortstop of the Baltimore Orioles, possibly the roughest, toughest group of ballplayers the world has ever seen. And during that streak, perhaps their best player was the hard-hitting shortstop. He certainly was the best in 1896, the best in the whole league, hitting .401 with 121 RBI and 125 runs scored, 209 hits and 70 steals, and terrific defense too.
Jennings is a player with a short actual career (he made a habit of putting himself in for a game or two occasionally while managing, the same when he coached) but a very high peak. His peak is so high, he gets placed high on this list.
Jennings earned 134.16 ratings points.
Jennings' stats: .311 average, 287 HBP (most all-time) 1527 hits, 359 steals.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Not all players debut at the end of the list, and so Albert Pujols makes his first appearance on the list at #144. You'll have to look in the archives to see him. I will get up to current soon.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
It's time I revised again. I've been going through the player ratings, so you may be seeing some movement. I have reevaluated some guys, and of course some active players have moved up. A-Rod, for instance.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Number 236: Ed Konetchy.
He was the best first baseman in the NL during the decade of the 1910s. I suppose you could build a Hall of Fame case off of that, if anyone would listen. HOF cases have been built on ground just as shaky, or worse. Konetchy is not Hall-worthy, but he was a good player and is forgotten today.
He spent the first half of his career with the Cardinals in an era where the Cardinals were also-rans. He then bounced to Pittsburgh, Boston, and Brooklyn, becoming part of the 1920 Dodger pennant team. He finished up in the majors with Philly in 1921, then played several more years in the independent minors. Konetchy was mostly a cleanup hitter, hitting for good averages, drawing walks, and providing extra-base hits.
Konetchy earned 134.4 ratings points.
Konetchy's stats: .281 average, 2150 hits, 122 OPS+.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Revision in progress: with a site like this, you always have to keep revising or it quickly gets out of date. After all, they keep playing baseball. Another problem is, the WARP numbers I use as the basis of the ranking system are periodically changed by Clay Davenport, often without notice. So I go through to check something and find the values are different. So more changes. That's all right, because opinions evolve and shift with time and more information. It just keeps me busy.
Jeff Kent moved up about 30 places in the last revision. For my money, the guy is a Hall of Famer.
I have recently made a change to my blog lineup. I publish the Cincinnati Reds blog here at Blogger, and now have moved by Baseball Awards Blog here to Blogger. In it, I list Win Shares and WARP data, and choose who should have won MVP, Cy Young, Rookie and Manager awards. It's a nice walk through baseball history, and I hope you will like it.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Number 235: David Cone
Called "Staff Ace on loan" by Bill James after he was a midseason pickup by contenders a couple of times, Cone was one of the top pitchers of the 1990s. A 3rd round pick by the Royals in 1981, he was traded to the Mets for a bucket of balls before 1987, and went 20-3 in 1988 to burst onto the scene. He didn't win 20 in a season again until 1998, but was a consistent workhorse and fine pitcher in between. In 1992 Toronto picked him up in midseason for Jeff Kent to seal their postseason bid, and won the World Series. Cone became a free agent and signed with the Royals, who were trying to rectify their earlier mistake. A couple years later KC traded him again, back to the Jays for some nobodies, and the Jays dealt him to the Yankees in midseason 1995.
Cone stuck with the Yankees for the next several seasons as they went through a very successful period. Cone was no small part of four championship teams as an anchor of the pitching staff. 2000 was a bad year, and he spent 2001 in Boston, then tried to make a 2003 comeback with little success. He had lots of success in his career.
Cone earned 134.44 ratings points.
Cone's stats: 194-126, 3.46 ERA, 2668 K, 1994 AL Cy Young, 5 World Series rings.
Number 234: Gabby Hartnett
Originally, the nickname of "Gabby" for Charles Leo Hartnett was a bit of a joke: he didn't speak much. As he grew older and more experienced he became more loquacious so that the nickname was no longer a misnomer. He came to Chicago in 1922 at age 21 and played sparingly for the Cubs that year, just 31 games and 79 AB. He started getting more playing time the next year, and his .299 average in 1924 cemented his status. He hit 24 HR in 1925, and was showing excellent defense. He continued to play well, but missed most of 1929 with an injury. The Cubs won the pennant anyway, and Hartnett went 0-for-3 in the World Series.
He returned to the lineup in 1930 for a big year, batting .339 with 37 HR and 122 RBI. That was the year of big offense, and while they were his best raw numbers it wasn't really his best year. He slid off that peak back to lower but respectable levels, and played on the pennant winners of 1932 and 1935. He won the 1935 MVP with a .344 average. Both years, the Cubs lost the World Series.
In 1938, the Cubs were in another pennant race, and Hartnett went down in history for hitting the "Homer in the Gloamin'" a shot that won a game as dusk was falling to clinch the pennant. Hartnett played in four World Series, finishing his career as a bench player with the Cubs in 1940 and the Giants in 1941. He could undoubtedly have continued to play during the War if he wished, with players in short supply, but he didn't.
Hartnett earned 134.87 ratings points.
Hartnett's stats: .297 average, 236 HR, 1197 RBI, .370 OBA, .489 SLG.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Number 233: Heinie Groh.
Groh was famous for using a "bottle bat," an oddly-shaped piece of wood that tapered quickly at the end of the barrel, rather than gradually as is typical. He used that type of bat for better control, and it worked very well. Groh was signed for the Giants but traded away for a couple of veterans, typical of John McGraw's operation. Groh went to Cincinnati and for the next nine seasons was the best third baseman in the NL, and over the 1917-19 period one of the best players in the league as well. He was a key figure on the 1919 World Champions, a good defensive third baseman without a lot of power but good at slapping the ball around, drawing walks, hitting doubles, and keeping things moving on the basepaths. McGraw got him back for the last few years of his career to be part of some winning Giants teams as well, and he batted .474 in the 1922 World Series.
Groh earned 135.04 ratings points.
Groh's stats: .292 average, .373 on-base, 1774 hits, 308 doubles.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Number 232: Willie Keeler.
He was "Wee Willie" Keeler and his motto was "hit 'em where they ain't." He was a little guy, about 140 pounds, and a right fielder from 1892 to 1910. He was born (and would die) in Brooklyn, and first came to the major leagues with New York, but would have his greatest success with the Baltimore Orioles of the 1890s. He also played with Brooklyn, and jumped to the New York Highlanders of the fledgling American League in 1903.
Keeler was a slap-and-run type, put the ball in play and go like crazy. He was a leadoff man, a fielder with an anomalous lack of range but a strong arm suited for RF. Keeler had high batting averages, including a .424 mark in 1897, but whatever extra-base hits he got were due to finding a hole in the defense and running until caught. He scored as many as 165 runs in a season, and that in 129 games in 1894.
Keeler was a perennial .300 hitter, until stopped by the twin foes of age and the dead-ball era, hitting .234 at age 35 in 1907. He kept playing for a couple more years, at a decent level but aging still. He led the league in batting twice and hits three times.
Keeler earned 135.13 ratings points.
Keeler's stats: .341 average, 2932 hits, 1719 runs, 495 SB.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Number 231: Tom Glavine
He made a living exploiting the strike zone of the 1990s, which was about two inches below the knee and sometimes extended to six inches outside off the plate. Glavine could have been a successful pitcher in any era, with his good stuff and ability to exploit the conditions given him. Glavine made nine starts for Atlanta in 1987, at the age of 21. The next year he was a rotation regular, but only 7-17. The next two years he was a little short of the league average in ERA, but his record improved as the team did. In 1991 it all came together for him, a 20-11 record and 2.55 ERA. It was the start of an amazing run of success, with 5 20-win seasons, two Cy Young awards (1991 and 1998) as well as a total of six top-three finishes in the CYA balloting, and an amazing record of taking his starting turn that has led him to the 300-win level.
Glavine has had the benefit of a successful team, of course, but it was a team built mostly on its wonderful starting pitching, including Glavine. He has been to 12 postseasons, and in eight World Series starts he has a 4-3 record and a 2.47 ERA, including two wins in the Braves' only WS championship, in 1995. He was the World Series MVP that year. Glavine is this era's smart lefty, like Johnny Podres, Jim Kaat, or Billy Pierce of old. He showed his adaptability in his later exploits with the Mets, before a final season with Atlanta.
Glavine earned 135.32 ratings points.
Glavine's stats: 305-203 record, 3.54 ERA, 2607 K, 118 career ERA+.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Number 230: Dave Stieb.
The first great player for the Toronto Blue Jays was born in California and went to college at Southern Illinois. He was drafted by Toronto in the 5th round, 1978, and made his major league debut in 1979. That was Toronto's third year of existence, and they were searching for any hint of quality. They got it for a lot of years from Stieb.
Stieb could reasonably be considered the AL's best pitcher of the 1980s, although many would give that title to Jack Morris. Morris, however, pitched for much better teams and gave up many more runs than Stieb. Stieb was almost certainly the best pitcher in the league in 1985, among other years, but never won a Cy Young Award, due to a lack of gaudy win totals. He pitched on two postseason teams, 1985 and 1989, and was providing a lot of the push that got them there.
Stieb left the majors after the 1993 season, but returned in 1998 and posted respectable numbers, though not exceptional. Still, he will be remembered as Toronto's first ace, and should be listed among the great pitchers.
Stieb earned 135.39 ratings points.
Stieb's stats: 176-137 record, 3.44 ERA, 1669 K.