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, August 21, 2003
 
Number 61: Johnny Mize

A big, smooth first baseman nicknamed "The Big Cat," Mize was a feared power hitter with a career interrupted by WW II. He came up through the St. Louis Cardinals organization and made his major league debut at age 23 in 1936. He hit for high averages with lots of walks and terrific power, blasting the ball in all directions. After the 1941 season he was traded to the New York Giants for three players and $50K, part of the Cardinals' ever-present player surplus in the Branch Rickey era. He thus missed the 1942 pennant season in St. Louis, but was with the Giants for just one season before going to the military. He returned in 1946 at a slightly lower level, but still blasted 51 homers in 1947. Near the end of 1949, he was sold to the Yankees, where he finished his career as a part-timer on several championship teams. He was a piece of the Yankees' five straight World Championships under Casey Stengel, 1949-53. He retired after 1953, when he was 40, and was elected to the Hall of Fame.

Mize never won an MVP, but finished 2nd in the voting in 1939 and 1940, and 3rd in 1947. He led the NL in slugging four times, homers four times, RBI three times, OPS three times and OPS+ twice. He was one of the truly feared hitters for a number of years around WW II.

Mize earned 184.67 ratings points, including wartime credit.

Mize's stats: .312 average, 359 home runs, 367 doubles, 1337 RBI, .397 OBP, .512 SLG.