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, May 28, 2005
 
Number 170: Tony Gwynn

A publication once listed him as "the greatest hitter since Ted Williams." For average, yes, overall no. He had little power, and the worst bat speed in the majors. But he swung through the zone, and met the ball solidly time after time, producing innumberable line drives and over 3000 hits as well as 8 batting titles, with a career-high mark of .394 in 1994.

Gwynn emerged in 1982 at age 22, a short, squat fellow playing all over the outfield with speed and a strong, accurate arm. He settled in right, spending some time in center field when the team needed him there. In 1984 he emerged with his first batting title, and finished 3rd in MVP voting when his Padres won a surprise pennant. He would play in one more World Series, in 1998, and San Diego won exactly one game in those two Series. Wasn't Tony's fault, he hit .371 in 9 WS games. He also won five Gold Gloves for his outfielding.

Aside from his 54-game rookie year, when he hit .289, Gwynn never hit under .300 for a season. He was a consistent and prolific performer, and although a tendency to put on weight hampered his speed and mobility as his career neared its end, he provided a strong bat and glove for the Padres through all their ups and downs. He retired after 2001, the wheels shot, one of the all-time greats and a sure-fire Hall of Famer.

Gwynn earned 146.71 ratings points.

Gwynn's stats: .338 average, 3141 hits, 1383 runs, 135 HR, 319 SB.