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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Friday, July 09, 2004
 
Number 126: Bill Dahlen

Dahlen was a glove man, a strong defensive shortstop from the turn of the (20th) century, beginning his major league career in 1891 with Chicago. Dahlen was a shortstop with some pop in his bat, but not a great hitter. His career OPS+ was 110, meaning an OPS of 10% above the average for his career. His stats are helped by playing in the high-offense 1890s, but pulled down by the dead-ball 1900s.

Dahlen played in Chicago 1891-98, then moved to Brooklyn. Those Chicago teams of the aging Cap Anson were also-rans, so the move to Brooklyn for 1899 put Dahlen on his first pennant winner. Dahlen combined with Joe Kelley and Willie Keeler to give the Superbas a powerhouse, and they repeated in 1900 before falling to 3rd in 1901. Dahlen moved to the New York Giants in 1904, and played on league winners there in 1904 and 1905, getting to play in one of the first World Series in 1905 with the Giants, but went 0-for-15. He finished up his career in Boston, then played sparingly in Brooklyn as a coach afterwards.

Dahlen earned 158.1 ratings points.

Dahlen's stats: .272 average, 2457 hits, 413 doubles, 163 triples, 1589 runs.


Wednesday, July 07, 2004
 
Number 125: Joe McGinnity.

The only pitcher to debut with back-to-back 28-win seasons. That's a record that will never be matched. McGinnity had been pitching in other, "minor" leagues before signing on with Baltimore in 1899. He pitched for Brooklyn in 1900, as Baltimore was "contracted," then jumped to the new American League's Baltimore franchise for 1901. In 1902, he joined the mass exodus of Baltimore for the NL's New York Giants orchestrated by John McGraw. He was thus on hand for the pennant seasons of 1904 and 1905, and was a central figure in the famous 1908 pennant race, his last major league season at age 37.

Though he left the major leagues after that, McGinnity continued pitching for many years in the "minor" leagues, which were then independent and not affiliated with major league baseball. He pitched well into his 40s, and even past his fiftieth birthday, and was effective. He earned his nickname, "Iron Man," by pitching both ends of a doubleheader. He confirmed it by pitching for many, many years.

McGinnity earned 158.49 ratings points.

McGinnity's stats: 246-142 record, 2.68 ERA, five-time league leader in wins.