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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Tuesday, August 17, 2004
 
Number 132: Jim Palmer

Called "Cakes," as in Beefcake, this pretty boy was a very pretty pitcher. Both ace and underwear model, Palmer debuted in 1965, then won 15 games in 1966 and beat Sandy Koufax in the World Series as his Orioles swept the Dodgers. Palmer then spent much of the next two years on the shelf with arm miseries before returning in 1969 to another World Series appearance. He ran off four straight 20-win seasons 1970-73, and after an off year in 1974 ran off another four in a row. He was greatly helped by some fine Oriole teams and exceptional defenses, but he was also a fine pitcher with a rising fastball, nice breaking stuff, and super control. He pitched in six World Series, won three Cy Young Awards and four Gold Gloves. He led the league in ERA twice, wins three times. He was a paragon of consistency and quality, often compared to his contemporary Tom Seaver. Palmer wasn't quite as good as Seaver, but he was darn good.

Palmer earned 156.42 ratings points.

Palmer's stats: 268-152, 2.86 ERA, 2212 Ks, 211 CG, 53 shutouts.


Monday, August 16, 2004
 
Number 131: Tony Perez.

Perez was what is known as an "RBI man," a guy that hit in the middle of the order and collected large RBI totals. Especially since he did so for the greatest offense of the 1970s, Cincinnati's Big Red Machine. But Perez was more than that. He was a good defensive first baseman, agile enough that he played third base for a few years when resources indicated that was the best way to get all the bats in the lineup. Perez was also a jovial clubhouse presence, and a connection for Latin players in that era of increasing Latino influence on the game.

Perez drove in 100 runs in seven seasons, in spite of the lower-offense era he played. He played in five World Series, on the winning side twice. His three homers in the 1975 Classic were indispensible to the winning effort. He was a seven-time All-Star.

Perez earned 156.65 ratings points.

Perez' stats: .279 average, 379 HR, 1652 RBI, 2732 hits, 505 doubles, 4532 total bases.