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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Monday, April 05, 2004
 
Number 100: Cap Anson

Yes, he was a racist SOB. That hardly makes him unique. What does make him unique is his ability to inspire fans to come out to the ballpark. He was an extremely popular player, and a focus of the league. His career went through three distinct phases: "Baby" or "Kid" Anson in his younger days, playing for Rockford in 1871, the first year of the National Association. Anson was just 19, although of course the manager was only 23. That was a young team, and they struggled, going 4-21 in the league. Anson moved to Philadelphia the next year and batted .415 in 46 league games, and a star was born. He was a third baseman then, and the team's best hitter at age 20. They kept changing the rules in those primitive days, but Anson stayed among the league leaders in many categories.

Anson moved to Chicago when the National League formed in 1876, and stayed there the rest of his career. Soon he was the manager, or "captain," and became Cap Anson. By the end of his career, at age 45 in 1897, he was "Pop" Anson, playing with men half his age. He was above the league average as a hitter every year until his last, and a fiery force at all times. Comparing to modern players he was sort of like Pete Rose, but he was a big guy, a power hitter. He led the league in average twice, on-base average four times, RBI eight times. He was a real hitter.

Anson earned 166.5 ratings points.

Anson's stats: .333 average, 3418 hits, 581 doubles, 2076 RBI, 1996 runs.