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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Thursday, April 17, 2003
 
Number 37:
Lefty Grove



Robert Moses Grove was an intense, hard-throwing left-handed pitcher with one of the great fastballs of all time. He had strong strikeout numbers, and after a couple of years maintained low walk totals as well. He started with the Philadelphia A's in 1925 at the age of 25. He was hurting a bit that year, and finished 10-12 with a 4.75 ERA. The next year his ERA improved, and he was 13-13, 2.51. In 1927 he won 20 games for the first time, and ran off a streak of seven consecutive 20-win seasons, highlighted by a 31-4 record in 1931. He kept his ERA regularly below 3.00 in a terrific hitter's era.



As the Depression set in, schedules were affected. Midweek games drew very low crowds, so teams scheduled lots of Saturday and Sunday doubleheaders, and few games in the middle of the week, which had to be in the daytime before night baseball came to the majors in 1935. Ace pitchers like Grove might start the Friday game, then relieve in one of Sunday's games, and start another game if there was one in the middle of the week. So, Grove was one of baseball's top closers as well as the best starting pitcher of his time.



After 1933, the A's were breaking up and Grove went to the Red Sox. He was hurting in 1934 and finished 8-8, but recovered to pitch effectively for five more years. He finished out his career in 1940 and 1941, and probably could have continued to pitch during the War if he had chosen. But Grove achieved his 300th victory with his last win in 1941, and retired from the game. He had led the league in ERA nine times, and won the 1931 AL MVP. He led the league in strikeouts seven times, and in wins four times. His postseason record was 4-2 with 2 saves.



Grove earned 209.17 rating points.



Grove's stats: 300-141, 3.06 ERA, 55 saves, 2266 Ks, 298 CG, 148 ERA+








Tuesday, April 15, 2003
 
Number 36:
Wade Boggs



He got the nickname "Chicken Man" when the press wrote about how he had gotten two hits in a game after having chicken before it, and thereafter insisted on eating chicken before every game. Boggs took great advantage of the Fenway Park Green Monster, hitting numerous opposite-field doubles off of it. Even after he left Boston for the Yankees, and then Tampa Bay, he kept hitting for average and drawing walks. He only managed double-digit home runs in a season twice, concentrating on meeting the ball and hitting line drives. With work, he also made himself a good third baseman, earning two Gold Gloves oddly late in his career. His batting average gusted as high as .368, and was frequently accompanied by 100 walks. After hitting #3 much of his career, he spent some time as a leadoff man, as managers wisely decided to get all that on-base ability at the top of the order.



Boggs earns 210.09 points in the rating system.



Boggs' stats: .328 average, 1412 walks, 3010 hits, 528 doubles, 1513 runs.