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 29, 2005
 
Number 195: Charlie Buffinton.

He pitched eleven seasons and won 233 games, 48 of them in a spectacular 1884 season for Boston. That workload set him back for a couple of years, but after that he had several seasons as a solid, dependable starter. In the days when pitchers were not allowed to raise their arms above shoulder height, Buffinton was quite the strikeout pitcher.

Buffinton earned 142.13 ratings points.

Buffinton's stats: 233-152 record, 2.96 ERA, 1700 Ks.


Thursday, July 28, 2005
 
Number 194: Ron Cey.

Cey was a third round pick by the Dodgers in 1968. He had "cups of coffee" in 1971 and 1972 and then in 1973 took over the third base job. Wes Parker had retired, and the Steve Garvey as 3B experiment ended, opening the job to Cey. He held it for ten years, part of the longest-running infield in history. After 1982 he was traded to the Cubs for a bag of baseballs or something, and played three years as a regular and one as a part-timer there. He finished as a bench player with Oakland in 1987.

Cey was a good defensive player and a solid hitter, good for about 25 HR a year. He hit for a decent average and drew a good number of walks. He played on four pennant winners with the Dodgers, plus the Cubs' 1984 East Division champs. He never got higher than 8th in the MVP voting, but was the league's second best third sacker during his career, behind Mike Schmidt.

Cey earned 142.24 ratings points.

Cey's stats: .261 average, 316 HR, 328 doubles, 1139 RBI.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005
 
Number 193: Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown.

He lost a digit and a half to an accident in his youth, and didn't appear in the majors until he was 26. However, after going 9-13 with St. Louis in that 1903 season, Brown was traded to the Cubs and went about pitching eight seasons of remarkable baseball. In that time, he was the second-best pitcher in the NL to Christy Mathewson, his biggest rival. Brown won 20 or more in six consecutive seasons, and posted sub-2.00 ERAs in five of those years.

It was said his deformity helped him achieve different grips on the ball to make it curve more. I wouldn't recommend it as a tactic, but it worked for Brown. He played in the Federal League for two years and finished his career back with the Cubs in 1916.

Brown earned 142.38 ratings points.

Brown's stats: 239-130 record, 2.06 ERA, 55 shutouts.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005
 
Number 192: Ralph Kiner.

Kiner only played ten seasons, but he led the NL in home runs for the first seven of those seasons and put up tremendous offensive numbers for some very poor Pittsburgh teams. In the late 1940s and early 1950s Kiner was about the only reason to go to a Pirates game, to see whether he could put another one in the seats. He led the league in OPS+ in three seasons.

He faded quickly when his legs started to go, and the defense that was pretty good in his younger days faded as he aged. His career was short but he had a long run as a broadcaster for the Mets after he retired.

Kiner earned 142.58 ratings points.

Kiner's stats: .279 average, 369 homers, .398 on-base, .548 slugging, 149 OPS+.


Monday, July 25, 2005
 
Number 191: Zack Wheat.

The Missouri native was a top hitter of the 1910s and 1920s for the Brooklyn Dodgers and a member of the 1916 and 1920 pennant winners. Wheat was one of the best in the NL during his career, though not often the best. He would likely have won the 1916 MVP if there had been an award then.

Wheat was a left-handed hitter of doubles and triples power and moderate speed with a steady line-drive stroke. The arrival of the lively-ball era in the latter part of his career helped his stats in his last few years, though he didn't quite reach 3000 hits.

Wheat earned 142.81 ratings points.

Wheat's stats: .317 average, 2884 hits, 476 doubles.