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, May 13, 2004
 
Number 110: Juan Marichal

"The Dominican Dandy" was signed by the Giants in 1958. He made it to the majors in 1960, posting a 6-2 record and 2.66 ERA in 11 starts at age 22. He struggled a bit the next year in going 13-10, but became a rotation anchor in time for the pennant year of 1962, with an 18-11 mark. Marichal started Game 4 for the Giants in the Series, pitching four shutout innings, but then came out and did not appear again. It was to be his only World Series appearance, although he would be a terrific pitcher for the next several years. His stats were helped by the generally depressed offense of the 1960s, and the difficult hitting conditions in his home field, Candlestick Park, but he was still a great pitcher.

Marichal won 25 in 1963, then 21, 22, and 25 again in 1966. He slumped in 1967, then went 26-9 in the pitchers’ year, 1968. He never did particularly well in award voting, partly because his big-game rep was not that good, and partly because the competition usually included Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson. He got as high as 5th in the 1968 MVP voting, and was 8th in the Cy Young race in 1971, when he was 18-11, his last good year. He never did better than a league average ERA after that, finishing up with Boston in 1974 and two starts in Los Angeles in 1975 at age 37. Those six 20-win seasons, with two years leading the league in wins and once (1969) leading in ERA are strong credentials. He was a 9-time All-Star.

Marichal earned 163.94 ratings points.

Marichal's stats: 243-142 record, 2.89 ERA, 2303 K, 244 CG, 52 shutouts.


Tuesday, May 11, 2004
 
Number 109: Eddie Murray

One of few players to reach 3000 hits and 500 home runs in a career, Murray never really stood out in any season. He was just consistently excellent. He was an MVP candidate every year, but never won one. He was 2nd in the voting twice, and in the top ten 8 times. He didn't lead the lead in many categories either. Walks and on-base once, in 1984, home runs and RBI in strike-shortened 1981. He is the career leader in sacrifice flies, among those whose totals are recorded, and outdistanced everyone in game-winning RBI during the short time when that stat was counted. He always seemed to be there when the games was on the line.

Murray broke in with the Orioles in 1977, and was the Rookie of the Year that year. He was part of the AL pennant team in 1979, and with the World Champions in 1983. He only batted .169 in his three World Series (also 1995 with Cleveland) but .258 overall in the postseason. He had a reputation as one of the great clutch hitters in baseball, and for being taciturn with the press. But his teammates all speak very highly of him, as a player and a man.

Murray earned 164.12 ratings points.

Murray's stats: .287 average, 3255 hits, 504 homers, 1917 RBI, 560 doubles, 1617 runs.


Monday, May 10, 2004
 
Number 108: Scott Rolen.

Rolen was drafted by the Phillies in the second round of the 1993 draft. He made his major league debut in 1996 playing 37 games and batting .254. Rolen soon became an All-Star, with an excellent glove, .280-.290 batting average, and 25-30 homers a year. Occasional injuries and disagreements with manager Larry Bowa made Rolen available for trade, and in 2002 he was swapped to St. Louis. The Cardinals couldn't have been happier. Rolen missed much of 2005, but continues to work his way up the list of all-time great third basemen. He moved on to Toronto, and now to Cincinnati to help win the NL Central in 2010. He is one of the great players of our era, and the Hall of Fame should come calling some day.

Rolen has earned 164.27 ratings points through 2010.

Rolen's stats (through 2010): .283 average, 305 HR, 1224 RBI, .497 slugging, eight Gold Gloves.