Joe Posnanski's Top 100 Players in Baseball

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I know this article has been written a million times before, but it's a lot more fun when Joe P writes it:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/joe_posnanski/07/21/top.100/index.html

Thoughts? Arguments? Concurrence?

Your heartbeat soun like sasquatch feet (polyphonic), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 20:32 (ten years ago) link

oh man i <3 this guy

igloo-fifty-four-quart-sports-ice-chest.jpg (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 20:34 (ten years ago) link

i guess the obv quibble would be a-rod - the guy is getting old and is likely deteriorating, and his home run numbers are pretty obv juiced by playing in new yankee stadium - and if this was a "who would you draft" thing i dont know if i would want a guy who is hitting .250 as opposed to like... justin upton even

igloo-fifty-four-quart-sports-ice-chest.jpg (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 20:39 (ten years ago) link

I thought it was pretty audacious to put the grinkster in the #4 spot, even if his performance has maybe warranted it.

Your heartbeat soun like sasquatch feet (polyphonic), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 20:41 (ten years ago) link

greinke, lincecum & haren are almost interchangeable as the #1 pitcher imo

igloo-fifty-four-quart-sports-ice-chest.jpg (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 20:42 (ten years ago) link

All the American League 1B at 14-17 seem silly to me.

He was only 21 years old when he 16 (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 20:58 (ten years ago) link

xp Agree, but I'd still take Lincecum marginally over the other two to pitch a single game cuz of the strikeouts.

He was only 21 years old when he 16 (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 20:59 (ten years ago) link

ya - greinke's slot was the first headscratcher to jump out at me.

The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 21:03 (ten years ago) link

Ibanez at 26 is just a joke.

He was only 21 years old when he 16 (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 21:10 (ten years ago) link

23. Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees

velko, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 21:13 (ten years ago) link

Would take McCann, or Escobar, or Gallardo, or Phillips, or just about anyone behind Inge, prior to Inge.

Stacey Pollen (Andy K), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 21:16 (ten years ago) link

McCann at 81 is fucking nuts. He's top 25 probalby.

He was only 21 years old when he 16 (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 21:22 (ten years ago) link

A-Rod at 6 or whatever and Chipper at 87 is mindblowingly weird.

He was only 21 years old when he 16 (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 21:25 (ten years ago) link

ibanez kinda makes sense if you follow his criteria of who is the best right now at this very moment

"he said...all things passantino the night" (omar little), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 21:29 (ten years ago) link

i guess the obv quibble would be a-rod - the guy is getting old and is likely deteriorating, and his home run numbers are pretty obv juiced by playing in new yankee stadium - and if this was a "who would you draft" thing i dont know if i would want a guy who is hitting .250 as opposed to like... justin upton even

― igloo-fifty-four-quart-sports-ice-chest.jpg (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, July 22, 2009 4:39 PM (58 minutes ago)

really dude?
arod - .252/.401/.546
"justin upton" (i know u were just trolling but) - .291/.361/.525

and those arod numbers are including that awful start

ehhh p. diddy miss (k3vin k.), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 21:51 (ten years ago) link

i'm like the only dude that doesn't like joe pos :(

call all destroyer, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 21:58 (ten years ago) link

upton was probably a bad example because he doesn't walk much, but let's go with... idk matt kemp

a-rod - .252/.401/.546
kemp - 323/.390/.507

or
mccan - .305/.379/.508

or
votto - .345/.430/.592

take any of those four guys and switch them w/ a-rod (who has inflated home run numbers due to new yankee and has a million more rbi chances being on a team like the yankees than say the reds or dbacks) and they are having comparable if not better years

igloo-fifty-four-quart-sports-ice-chest.jpg (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 21:59 (ten years ago) link

"ibanez kinda makes sense if you follow his criteria of who is the best right now at this very moment"

I guess, but there has to be some forecasting to it too. I mean who'll be the rest for the rest of the season ya know?

I don't really like him either, CAD.

He was only 21 years old when he 16 (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 22:00 (ten years ago) link

Uh aren't Votto's #s inflated by playing in Bandbox Park?

He was only 21 years old when he 16 (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 22:01 (ten years ago) link

And it's not like A-Rod's going to stop playing in New Yankee Stadium so really who cares about that.

He was only 21 years old when he 16 (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 22:01 (ten years ago) link

Agree that McCann and Kemp are seriously underrated though.

He was only 21 years old when he 16 (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 22:02 (ten years ago) link

upton was probably a bad example because he doesn't walk much, but let's go with... idk matt kemp

a-rod - .252/.401/.546
kemp - 323/.390/.507

or
mccan - .305/.379/.508

or
votto - .345/.430/.592

take any of those four guys and switch them w/ a-rod (who has inflated home run numbers due to new yankee and has a million more rbi chances being on a team like the yankees than say the reds or dbacks) and they are having comparable if not better years

― igloo-fifty-four-quart-sports-ice-chest.jpg (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, July 22, 2009 5:59 PM (15 minutes ago)

okkkkk but 1) who cares about rbis and 2) arod had a horrible start, he's still a better player than those dudes

ehhh p. diddy miss (k3vin k.), Wednesday, 22 July 2009 22:17 (ten years ago) link

read some of the comments section re this list and ppl rightfully kind of livid over him missing out on markakis AND adam jones and even brian roberts

J0rdan S., Thursday, 23 July 2009 12:19 (ten years ago) link

nflandrum
Arlington , VA
Brian Roberts leads the AL in doubles not Pedroia, is tied in runs scored with Pedroia, has more RBIs, total bases, and steals and plays on a worse team. He has also grounded into 10 fewer double plays. Glad to see major market teams getting the standard bias. This list is rediculous.

hmmmm.......

J0rdan S., Thursday, 23 July 2009 12:22 (ten years ago) link

tragic that roberts' peak has been wasted on the o's imo

call all destroyer, Thursday, 23 July 2009 12:24 (ten years ago) link

soo many people in the comment are mega butthurt over cole hamels not making the list - the guy has a 5.82 era and a .337 baa ON THE ROAD

lots of lols from "HOW CAN THE MVP FROM WHEN IT MATTERS THE MOST NOT MAKE THIS LIST!"

J0rdan S., Thursday, 23 July 2009 12:27 (ten years ago) link

lots of stl fans getting butthurt over no yadi - dude is an amazing defender but...

J0rdan S., Thursday, 23 July 2009 12:30 (ten years ago) link

what catchers made it? he's no less than the 5th best catcher in baseball right now isn't he?

call all destroyer, Thursday, 23 July 2009 12:45 (ten years ago) link

Jair Jurrjens should be on this list even if he didn't have the best name in the game.

GM, Thursday, 23 July 2009 23:09 (ten years ago) link

no mccann until fucken 81??? eatadiccup posnanski

the shitbirdification of america's youth (cankles), Friday, 24 July 2009 02:35 (ten years ago) link

i normally love poz but this is DOGSHIT i hope he is brutally murdered

the shitbirdification of america's youth (cankles), Friday, 24 July 2009 02:35 (ten years ago) link

it kinda feels like he just went to his yahoo league, sorted players by their ranking, and copy/pasted it into a SI column

the shitbirdification of america's youth (cankles), Friday, 24 July 2009 02:44 (ten years ago) link

uh this has nothing to do about this article, just a general question and i assume some ppl will open this thread:

how do you have a lower obp than BA, as yuniesky bentancourt has had in his time with the royals?

a narwhal done gored my shortstop yunel (J0rdan S.), Thursday, 30 July 2009 02:32 (ten years ago) link

sacrifices lower your OBP but not your BA

(*゚ー゚)θ L(。・_・)   °~ヾ(・ε・ *) (Steve Shasta), Thursday, 30 July 2009 02:35 (ten years ago) link

thank u shasta

a narwhal done gored my shortstop yunel (J0rdan S.), Thursday, 30 July 2009 02:39 (ten years ago) link

four years pass...

Finished with the first 10 on his 100-Greatest-Ever list:

100. Curt Schilling
99. Cool Papa Bell
98. Ron Santo
97. Lou Whitaker
96. Ichiro Suzuki
95. Mariano Rivera
94. Paul Waner
93. Craig Biggio
92. Old Hoss Radbourn
91. Robin Roberts

Prediction, based on stray comments he's made here and there: Mays, not Ruth, will be #1.

clemenza, Tuesday, 10 December 2013 04:17 (six years ago) link

I know all the arguments against Ryan (#87), they've been widely discussed. But wow at this:

Since Deadball ended — it was a different game in Deadball — who has thrown the most no-hitters?
A: Nolan Ryan. Of course. He threw the seven no-hitters, most ever even if you include Deadball.

OK. Next. Since Deadball, who threw the most one-hitters?
A: Nolan Ryan. He’s tied with Bob Feller with 12 one-hitters.

Since Deadball, who threw the most two-hitters?
A: Nolan Ryan. He threw 18 of them.

Since Deadball, who threw the most three-hitters?
A: Nolan Ryan. He threw 31.

Think about this for a moment. Nolan Ryan threw 69 complete games where he allowed three or fewer hits. That’s more than Roger Clemens...and Pedro Martinez...and Randy Johnson. COMBINED. It’s more than Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale combined, even if you throw Greg Maddux on top.

clemenza, Wednesday, 11 December 2013 19:38 (six years ago) link

I have a hunch that it's a lot less impressive that it seems ... i.e. how many walks and runs did he give up in those games? He threw "only" 61 shutouts, so in most of those three hitter or less games he probably gave up runs and maybe didn't win the game.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Wednesday, 11 December 2013 20:57 (six years ago) link

thats covered pretty well in the remainder of the article

frogbs, Wednesday, 11 December 2013 21:01 (six years ago) link

OK, I hadn't read it yet.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Wednesday, 11 December 2013 21:13 (six years ago) link

Couldn't resist checking, so I went through his game logs. Not nearly as onerous as it might seem. The games in question were easy to spot, so it only took about 45 minutes.

I only came up with 66, so I must have missed three. I kept track of IP, H, ER, and decisions, not walks and strikeouts. I wanted to do it quickly. Some of the walk totals were indeed crazy--8 or 9 sometimes--and the strikeouts were indeed awesome. We already knew that, though--I wanted to see if the walks led to runs, and if the runs led to losses. For the 66 games I found:

IP: 590.2
H: 138
ER: 36
ERA: 0.55
W-L: 62-4

It's hard to know whether those games are less impressive than they seem, because there's nothing to compare them to--no one else threw that many low-hit games. If Greg Maddux had thrown those games, obviously they would have been light-years tidier in terms of walks. He probably would have given up fewer runs, too, although maybe he would have given up more home runs than Ryan (who didn't give up many). Sixty-six games of Pedro doing that would have been more impressive, I'm sure. But that's all hypothetical--they didn't do it. If Johnson or Koufax were in the 40s or thereabouts, maybe that'd form some basis of comparison.

clemenza, Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:03 (six years ago) link

Nice work ... I looked at a few years of game logs ('77 + '78 and '89 and '90) and it was about what I expected -- the first group had games of the 2 H 6 BB 8 K 0 ER variety, and the second group was more like a Justin Verlander special, 2 H 2 BB 12 K (except for the pitch totals ... just ridiculous ... several 140+ pitch games in '89, including a 164 pitch, 8 IP 13 K game). Pos claims that Ryan just wanted to dominate hitters and couldn't care less about the walks, but something obviously changed between the late 70's and late 80's. How much of it was the hitters and how much of it was Ryan learning how to control his pitches?

NoTimeBeforeTime, Friday, 13 December 2013 12:53 (six years ago) link

I think it was the latter. What's kind of amazing is that it coincided with a drop in his strikeout rate (actually that's not amazing) but no real drop in effectiveness (kinda interesting) but then rose like crazy again in the latter part of his career (okay that's bonkers). Also the comparison between Fangraphs and B-R WAR is really striking for Ryan. Like if you just focus on peripherals he looks amazing (esp. at the end) but in terms of actual outcome he's basically more than a win worse for every year played.

One bad call from barely losing to (Alex in SF), Friday, 13 December 2013 14:43 (six years ago) link

w/out looking, he figured out how not to walk ppl when he was about 35, right?

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Friday, 13 December 2013 15:06 (six years ago) link

31 (1978) is the last year the walk rate is just bonkers (over 5). It trends down after that (some spikes though). It never goes below 3 a game though (mostly between 3.5 and 4.5).

One bad call from barely losing to (Alex in SF), Friday, 13 December 2013 15:10 (six years ago) link

Ryan's total # of career pitches must be insane

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Friday, 13 December 2013 15:13 (six years ago) link

Randy Johnson just got better and better controlling the strike zone:

1988-92: 5.7 BB/9 (range: 2.4-7.9)
1993-98: 3.3 (2.7-3.8)
1999-03: 2.5 (2.1-2.8)
2004-09: 2.1 (1.6-2.9)

His K/9 never dropped below 10.0 from '91-02, peaking in Arizona.

clemenza, Friday, 13 December 2013 22:06 (six years ago) link

Johnson was definitely amazing. Way better pitcher than Ryan even was.

One bad call from barely losing to (Alex in SF), Friday, 13 December 2013 22:38 (six years ago) link

randy would've had ten consecutive 300k seasons without the strike and injuries.

christmas candy bar (al leong), Friday, 13 December 2013 22:45 (six years ago) link

and w/ryan, his three best WHIP seasons came during his first three seasons in texas (his age 42-44 seasons!)

i mean really if he'd learned to pitch earlier in his career he could have been one of the top five pitchers ever.

christmas candy bar (al leong), Friday, 13 December 2013 22:49 (six years ago) link

let's see, who do i want as my corner outfielder, manny ramirez or al simmons

Peaceful Warrior I Poser (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 19 November 2019 16:09 (four months ago) link

it's difficult to imagine how prime manny would do in the early 1930s. seems like pretty much any modern conditioned player would be a star against 1930s competition. so instead, i'm going to imagine today's manny, wherever he is right now, playing in the 1930s

going with manny

Peaceful Warrior I Poser (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 19 November 2019 16:11 (four months ago) link

looked at the first one and decided there's no way i can do this

mookieproof, Tuesday, 19 November 2019 16:13 (four months ago) link

#13 is a doozy

eddie mathews
chipper jones
wade boggs
adrian beltre
george brett

that's the order i went with, but sheesh

Peaceful Warrior I Poser (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 19 November 2019 16:32 (four months ago) link

clemenza you're gonna shit yr pants when you find this survey

Peaceful Warrior I Poser (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 19 November 2019 18:56 (four months ago) link

rank:

yogi berra
shoeless joe jackson
bob feller
robinson cano
rafael palmeiro

Peaceful Warrior I Poser (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 19 November 2019 18:57 (four months ago) link

I just moved and have limited internet access at the library until they get my connection fixed, but will look at that for sure, thanks.

clemenza, Tuesday, 19 November 2019 21:33 (four months ago) link

I did it...Raced through it--you'd go insane trying to weigh each group carefully. That one towards the end that more or less had the eight greatest hitters was funny. If Mays turned up, I always ranked him #1 ahead of Ruth or anyone else. I don't think Jackie Robinson turned up once for some reason.

clemenza, Wednesday, 20 November 2019 14:03 (four months ago) link

four months pass...

He's up to #8--almost finished, so mea culpa over my skepticism that he ever would.

(I only skim certain entries; waiting to read the whole thing in book form.)

clemenza, Sunday, 29 March 2020 00:52 (one week ago) link

i haven't bought a baseball book in a while, but i'll be first in line

Karl Malone, Sunday, 29 March 2020 00:59 (one week ago) link

When you finish that, read Posnanski's book on the '75 Reds--excellent.

clemenza, Sunday, 29 March 2020 14:24 (one week ago) link

For anyone who doesn't have access, here's the list so far:

No. 100: Ichiro Suzuki
No. 99: Mike Mussina
No. 98: Carlos Beltrán
No. 97: Roberto Alomar
No. 96: Larry Walker
No. 95: Tony Gwynn
No. 94: Roy Campanella
No. 93: Ozzie Smith
No. 92: Bullet Rogan
No. 91: Mariano Rivera
No. 90: Max Scherzer
No. 89: Mike Piazza
No. 88: Curt Schilling
No. 87: Charlie Gehringer
No. 86: Gary Carter
No. 85: Sadaharu Oh
No. 84: Cool Papa Bell
No. 83: Phil Niekro
No. 82: Kid Nichols
No. 81: Ferguson Jenkins
No. 80: Carlton Fisk
No. 79: Derek Jeter
No. 78: Clayton Kershaw
No. 77: Miguel Cabrera
No. 76: Willie McCovey
No. 75: Justin Verlander
No. 74: Frank Thomas
No. 73: Brooks Robinson
No. 72: Robin Roberts
No. 71: Bert Blyleven
No. 70: Sandy Koufax
No. 69: Monte Irvin
No. 68: Gaylord Perry
No. 67: Hank Greenberg
No. 66: Robin Yount
No. 65: Ernie Banks
No. 64: Johnny Mize
No. 63: Steve Carlton
No. 62: Smokey Joe Williams
No. 61: Arky Vaughan
No. 60: Pete Rose
No. 59: Reggie Jackson
No. 58: Jeff Bagwell
No. 57: Rod Carew
No. 56: Joe DiMaggio
No. 55: Bob Feller
No. 54: Chipper Jones
No. 53: Buck Leonard
No. 52: Adrián Beltré
No. 51: Al Kaline
No. 50: Nolan Ryan
No. 49: Warren Spahn
No. 48: Ken Griffey Jr.
No. 47: Wade Boggs
No. 46: Eddie Mathews
No. 45: Bob Gibson
No. 44: Cal Ripken Jr.
No. 43: Yogi Berra
No. 42: Jackie Robinson
No. 41: Tom Seaver
No. 40: Roberto Clemente
No. 39: Nap Lajoie
No. 38: Carl Yastrzemski
No. 37: Pedro Martínez
No. 36: Christy Mathewson
No. 35: George Brett
No. 34: Cy Young
No. 33: Jimmie Foxx
No. 32: Mel Ott
No. 31: Greg Maddux
No. 30: Johnny Bench
No. 29: Eddie Collins
No. 28: Randy Johnson
No. 27: Mike Trout
No. 26: Grover Cleveland Alexander
No. 25: Pop Lloyd
No. 24: Rickey Henderson
No. 23: Albert Pujols
No. 22: Lefty Grove
No. 21: Joe Morgan
No. 20: Frank Robinson
No. 20 (tie): Mike Schmidt
No. 18: Tris Speaker
No. 17: Rogers Hornsby
No. 16: Alex Rodriguez
No. 15: Josh Gibson
No. 14: Lou Gehrig
No. 13: Roger Clemens
No. 12: Honus Wagner
No. 11: Mickey Mantle
No. 10: Satchel Paige
No. 9: Stan Musial
No. 8: Ty Cobb

Which leaves Mays, Ruth, Bonds, Williams, Aaron, Walter Johnson, and someone else.

clemenza, Sunday, 29 March 2020 20:17 (one week ago) link

I hope and predict Mays at #1.

clemenza, Sunday, 29 March 2020 20:19 (one week ago) link

Probably said this already: Posnanski was very clear that the rankings aren't meant to be taken that seriously, or even in some cases whether or not someone made the list. He was more interested in stories and who was a conduit to good writing.

clemenza, Sunday, 29 March 2020 20:28 (one week ago) link

The number one player of all time? you, the fan who makes it all possible.

Karl Malone, Sunday, 29 March 2020 20:37 (one week ago) link

Or, if Posnanski needs medical assistance right now, Donald Trump.

clemenza, Sunday, 29 March 2020 20:40 (one week ago) link

#1 will be JoePos. you have to be an idiot not to vote for yourself on election day

℺ ☽ ⋠ ⏎ (✖), Sunday, 29 March 2020 21:07 (one week ago) link

which player is missing, though? that is kind of a conundrum

Karl Malone, Sunday, 29 March 2020 21:18 (one week ago) link

I assume that Buck Leonard and Josh Gibson already listed rule out a Negro League player.

clemenza, Sunday, 29 March 2020 22:46 (one week ago) link

#7, Walter Johnson.

clemenza, Monday, 30 March 2020 13:43 (one week ago) link

i know you can do this for any ancient ballplayer vs modern, but if Walter Johnson was a SP today, do you think he would have an ERA > or < 5.00?

Karl Malone, Monday, 30 March 2020 15:24 (one week ago) link

(not quibbling with old timers being up at the top of the list, either. continual improvement is the name of the game. some day there will be a league full of prime era pujols cyborgs)

Karl Malone, Monday, 30 March 2020 15:25 (one week ago) link

As I've said many times in connection to Coors field, I think there's a limit as to how much adjusting you can do for various factors. I don't know about Johnson, but I know that if were doing something similar, my default would be to always give close calls to the modern player. Which is one of the reasons I hope Mays finishes ahead of Ruth for #1 (and why someone else might hope Bonds finishes ahead of both).

clemenza, Monday, 30 March 2020 15:38 (one week ago) link

"if I were doing"

clemenza, Monday, 30 March 2020 15:38 (one week ago) link

also, as you've pointed out, he's made it clear that it's not really a straight up "ranking" - it's also about extra-baseball things, who has a good story, etc.

otherwise, i have no idea why trout is in the upper 20s on the list. but yes, he is boring as hell and has pretty much no story other than how good he is and how pujols made a pact with the devil to prevent the angels from making the playoffs

Karl Malone, Monday, 30 March 2020 15:51 (one week ago) link

"No, it’s true, you can’t really compare the pitching Johnson did during Deadball — or even in those early years after Deadball — with baseball 100 years later. Different games. Different times. We have nothing at all to compare with Johnson’s pitching from 1910-1915, when he went 174-80 with a 1.51 ERA, 1,494 strikeouts, 390 walks and 24 homers allowed in more than 2,100 innings.

In 1916, Johnson pitched 369 innings and gave up zero home runs. Zero.

There’s no conversion chart that can tell us how Johnson’s stuff would hold up today. All we have are the stories and the quotes — and from those, you can understand the awe that people felt when seeing how impossibly hard Johnson threw."

The thing is, in 1916, Wally Pipp (!) led the league in HR with 12. So not giving up any is impressive, but...

Anyway, Posnanski knows this.

clemenza, Monday, 30 March 2020 16:04 (one week ago) link

yeah, the fact that he was so much better than his peers, and so consistently, is enough for me. it's funny how inner-circle hall of famers are on the outsiden edges of the bell curve distribution, looking in

Karl Malone, Monday, 30 March 2020 16:55 (one week ago) link

*outside edges

Karl Malone, Monday, 30 March 2020 16:55 (one week ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSyxhRP-DL8

℺ ☽ ⋠ ⏎ (✖), Tuesday, 31 March 2020 00:00 (one week ago) link

Forgot all about that...posted a link in the comments section.

clemenza, Tuesday, 31 March 2020 02:24 (one week ago) link

#6, Ted Williams of the MFL.

clemenza, Wednesday, 1 April 2020 12:10 (one week ago) link

Think I've encountered this elsewhere, too:

DiMaggio during the streak: .408/.463/.717, 1.180 OPS
Williams all of 1941: .406/.553/.735, 1.288 OPS

clemenza, Wednesday, 1 April 2020 12:43 (one week ago) link

Gleaned this from the comments: Oscar Charleston is the missing player. I always thought Gibson/Leonard were considered #1/2 among Negro League players, but I guess that's changed.

clemenza, Wednesday, 1 April 2020 12:45 (one week ago) link

otherwise, i have no idea why trout is in the upper 20s on the list.

I'm assuming it's because 27 is his uniform number

k3vin k., Wednesday, 1 April 2020 15:20 (one week ago) link

Hey! You've unlocked the key that opens some (if not all) of the doors: Seaver's uniform number was 41, Gibson's was 45...

clemenza, Wednesday, 1 April 2020 16:38 (one week ago) link

As I've mentioned at least once, someone at a national SABR convention -- I recall it being Kevin Goldstein, tho it may not have been -- suggested that by objective standards, Adam Jones is probably a better baseball player than Willie Mays, to great consternation. That's just evolution.

All-time player lists can only measure an individual against his era.

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 1 April 2020 16:46 (one week ago) link

I have received that suggestion with great consternation.

clemenza, Wednesday, 1 April 2020 16:57 (one week ago) link

Gleaned this from the comments: Oscar Charleston is the missing player. I always thought Gibson/Leonard were considered #1/2 among Negro League players, but I guess that's changed.

I almost mentioned this, I swear! But then I thought “higher than satchel Paige and Josh Gibson, though?”

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 1 April 2020 17:21 (one week ago) link

james ranked him #4 all time behind ruth wagner and mays in 01

℺ ☽ ⋠ ⏎ (✖), Wednesday, 1 April 2020 17:51 (one week ago) link

wow! i don't know all that much about charleston, i should figure my shit out!

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 1 April 2020 18:25 (one week ago) link

#5, Oscar Charleston.

That’s what the rankings are...they are here to give this project shape and to spark a few feelings. Yes, they’re in the basic order of a formula I used, one based on five things in no particular order:

Wins Above Replacement
Peak Wins Above Replacement
How multi-dimensional they were as players
The era when they played
Bonus value — This might include postseason performances, leadership, sportsmanship, impact on the game as a whole, if they lost prime years to the war and numerous other possibilities.

But I have no illusions about the formula. It is as flawed as anything so, whenever possible, I attached the player and a number that fits. So, for instance, Mariano Rivera is 91 for Psalm 91, the Psalm of Protection. Gary Carter is 86 for his role on the 1986 Mets. Joe DiMaggio is 56 for the hitting streak. Grover Cleveland Alexander is 26 because that was his magical year, 1926.

Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Jimmie Foxx, Greg Maddux, Mike Trout, Jackie Robinson, Frank Robinson and Mike Schmidt, among others, were all given a ranking based on their uniform numbers. I would say at least two-thirds of the numbers have some sort of connection to the ballplayer.

I even skipped No. 19 because of the ’19 Black Sox, the biggest single-year scandal in baseball history.

The Psalm of Protection?

clemenza, Friday, 3 April 2020 12:39 (six days ago) link

that does make me wonder who ranks #666

who WAS the most evil baseball player?

let me be your friend on the other end! (Karl Malone), Friday, 3 April 2020 14:41 (six days ago) link

I'm also suddenly intrigued about the sexual life of Monte Irvin at #69.

clemenza, Friday, 3 April 2020 16:20 (six days ago) link

Assuming there are no more hidden-meanings to the rankings at this point, I'll guess Aaron 4th, Bonds 3rd, Ruth 2nd, then Mays at #1--that, or switch Bonds and Ruth. I think Joe is an err-on-the-side-of-contemporaneity kind of guy, so I don't think Ruth will be first. If not for the complicating PED factor, which I don't think he'll ignore altogether, I could even have seen Bonds at #1.

clemenza, Friday, 3 April 2020 16:29 (six days ago) link

#4, Hank Aaron.

And then there’s his absurd, almost laughable, breakaway lead in career total bases. If you want to call Henry Aaron the king of something, call him the King of Total Bases. He had 6,856 total bases in his career — 700 more than anyone else.

Musial could have hit 350 more doubles and not had as many total bases as Aaron.

Ruth could have hit 250 more home runs and not has as many total bases as Aaron. (Bonds would have needed 220 more homers just to tie Aaron.)

Pete Rose could have cracked another 1,100 singles and not had as many total bases as Aaron.

clemenza, Monday, 6 April 2020 11:53 (three days ago) link

Unrelated to this, a Facebook baseball group I'm on has been doing one of those bracketed greatest-hitter-ever (hitter, not player) polls. I've decided I'll go with Ted Williams right till the end, if he makes it.

clemenza, Monday, 6 April 2020 12:48 (three days ago) link

i think every time i've ever had to make a decision on that, i went with ted williams, too. the thing that always does it for me is realizing he missed all of 1943-45, his prime years, and still came out so far ahead of everyone. also, his 1957, as a 38-39 year old. amazing.

let me be your friend on the other end! (Karl Malone), Monday, 6 April 2020 14:32 (three days ago) link

Exactly my thinking--plus what he did in those two (very) partial Korean War seasons. He did have a big Fenway advantage, but when you look at his career road stats (.328/.467/.615), that seems less important.

clemenza, Monday, 6 April 2020 16:54 (three days ago) link

yeah it’s williams without hesitation for me too. underrated in this countdown imo

k3vin k., Monday, 6 April 2020 17:26 (three days ago) link

I can't speak to Oscar Charleston, but #5 seems fair to me for Williams as a player rather than just a hitter. Mays was, from all accounts, one of the greatest fielders ever, Bonds was great, and I think Aaron was viewed as solid, at least. Ruth, probably not, but you've got to credit him with his pitching. I've read different opinions about Williams, but he did seem to be quite indifferent to fielding until late in his career. And with Mays and Bonds, speed also factors in.

clemenza, Monday, 6 April 2020 18:58 (three days ago) link


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