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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Saturday, April 30, 2005
 
Number 167: Jim Bunning.

The two-term Republican Senator from Kentucky was one of the best pitchers of the 1950s and 1960s. Bunning signed with the Tigers in 1950 at age 18, and finally surfaced in the majors in 1955. He didn't establish himself until 1957, winning 20 games for Detroit that season. That would be his only 20-win season, although he would win 19 four times, including three straight 1964-66 with Philadelphia. Bunning led the league in wins during that 1957 season, in strikeouts three times (1959, 60, and 67).

Bunning never won a Cy Young Award, but was the best pitcher in the league in 1957, 1960, and 1967, and among the best in other years. He never made it to the postseason, although he pitched for several contenders. Detroit traded him to the Phillies, and then he went across the state to the Pirates, then briefly in LA before finishing up with the Phillies. He was a quality pitcher who was durable, an excellent combination.

Bunning earned 147.98 ratings points.

Bunning's stats: 224-184 record, 3.27 ERA, 2855 K, 40 shutouts.


Monday, April 25, 2005
 
Number 166: Kenny Lofton.

Lofton was a 17th round pick of Houston in 1988, and debuted in the majors with them in 1991. But the 'stros had just obtained Steve Finley to play CF, and swapped Lofton to the Indians as part of a trade for catcher Eddie Taubensee. Lofton became part of the Indians' powerful young team, playing a superb CF and providing an excellent and speedy leadoff man.

Lofton was swapped to Atlanta for 1997, but came back to the Indians after the season as a free agent, replacing Marquis Grissom for whom he was traded. He stayed through 2001, playing nine of ten years in Cleveland.

Lofton has since bounced around, to the White Sox, Giants, Pirates, Cubs, Yankees, and Phillies. He played in two World Series and won four Gold Gloves 1993-96. He led the league in steals five straight years 1992-96. At his peak, he was one of the best players in the AL.

Lofton earned 148.01 ratings points.

Lofton's stats: .299 average, 2428 hits, 622 SB, 1528 runs.