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, March 11, 2005
 
Number 156: Darrell Evans

He'll never get in the Hall of Fame, not with a .248 career batting average, but he is more deserving than half the players already in the Hall. Evans is the classic underrated player, a power hitter who drew walks and played during a down period for offense, and a good but not flashy defensive player. He never hit .300, only getting as high as .281. He never finished in the top ten in MVP voting. He was only an all-star twice. But he was a great player.

His defense gets little notice, because he played in a time of great defensive third basemen, including Brooks Robinson and Buddy Bell. Later in his career, he became a first baseman, then a DH. But he was a solid defensive player who would win Gold Gloves, if he played today. He led the league in home runs once (1985) and walks twice (1973-74).

I won't convince many people that Darrell Evans belongs in the Hall of Fame, and yet he was one of the great all-time third basemen, and we didn't even notice. Someone should.

Evans earned 150.69 ratings points.

Evans' stats: .248 batting average, .361 on-base, 414 HR, 1354 RBI, 1605 BB, 2223 hits.


 
Number 155: Barry Larkin

Larkin entered the majors in 1986, fresh off the 1984 Olympic Baseball team and with a rival: he was competing for the shortstop job with fellow rookie Kurt Stillwell. The Reds made the right choice, shipping out Stillwell and installing Larkin at shortstop. Larkin hit .283 in 46 games his rookie year, .244 in a full season in 1987, then began a series of .370 OBPs and 15-30 steals a year, batting around .300 with some power. He was a key player in the 1990 World Series win, then was MVP with the playoff team of 1995 that lost in the NLCS.

He won three Gold Gloves 1994-96, and was a regular member of the All-Star team as the best NL shortstop of the 1990s. He has long been a picture of excellence and dedication. Overshadowed by bigger-hitting shortstops in the Alex Rodriguez Era, Larkin ranks with the greats because of solid hitting, a strong glove, excellent baserunning, and constant dedication to his craft. Larkin finished his career with the Reds, and deserves a Hall of Fame slot a few years down the road.

Larkin earned 150.79 ratings points.

Larkin's stats: .295 average, 198 HR, 379 SB, 441 doubles, 1329 runs, .371 OBP, 2340 hits.