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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Wednesday, September 03, 2003
 
Number 64: Amos Rusie

He was "The Hoosier Thunderbolt," probably the hardest throwing pitcher of the 19th century. He only pitched 10 years in the major leagues, and the last one is a bit of a stretch, as it was just three games in 1901, three years after his last major league appearance. Of course, in those days the line between majors and minors was much harder to define, and simply meant leagues of often just slightly lower quality. And, in those days, pitchers threw a lot more innings. Rusie topped 500 innings in a season three times, so he still ranks #48 in innings pitched, even in 10 seasons.

Rusie struck out a lot of batters, and walked quite a few too, but in the offensive-minded 1890s he kept runs off the scoreboard. For his 8 main seasons he was always better than league average in ERA and that is with missing the 1896 season in a holdout over unpaid salary. He led the league in ERA twice and in wins once and in 1894 was nearly unbeatable. He led the league in strikeouts five times and this with pitching in the same era as Cy Young and Kid Nichols. In tough competition like that, Rusie was still a top-of-the-line pitcher. In his busy years he pitched nearly every other game. Rusie was also a .247 lifetime hitter.

Rusie earned 184.11 ratings points.

Rusie's stats: 245-174 record, 3.07 ERA, 1934 K, 392 CG.


Tuesday, September 02, 2003
 
Number 63: Joe Gordon.

Gordon, nicknamed "Flash" for obvious reasons, was a slick-fielding second baseman with terrific power. He only played 11 seasons, losing two to World War II, but was an All-Star in 9 of those 11. He would have been a perennial Gold Glove winner, too, if there was such a thing during his career.

Gordon played seven seasons with the Yankees, and after the war was traded to the Cleveland Indians and spent his last four seasons there. Gordon also managed several seasons, including the inaugural year of the Kansas City Royals. He was the AL MVP in 1942, he best batting average year, and got significant attention in other MVP voting years.

Gordon played in six World Series, and his team won five, including the 1948 Indians lest you think that was all about the Yankees.

Gordon earned 184.22 ratings points.

Gordon's stats: .268 average, 253 HR, 1530 hits, .466 slugging.