Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Top 10 Players ever

On a recent ESPN chat, Keith Law was asked who he would put into the Hall of Fame if it were starting from scratch and he could only put 10 in. Kind of got me thinking, and I decided if I were to do it I'd go with one player per position, and with both a righty and lefty pitcher to round out the 10.

Furthermore, I'm not limiting my picks to eligible retired players, and I'll even pick an active player. Because this is a pointless diversion and I can make up my own rules. So my lineup, the greatest to ever play their positions:

C Josh Gibson (or Matt Weiters :-)

1B Albert Pujols - Lou Gehrig is considered the greatest 1B ever, but I think Albert may change that. He's not quite as good a hitter as the iron horse was, but he's not that far off either, and Pujols has just tremendous defense. I think Gehrig was generally considered an average defender.

2B Rogers Hornsby - Bill James made a good case why he shouldn't be #1, but the bat is just too hard to ignore.

SS Honus Wagner

3B Michael Jack Schmidt - Considered A-Rod, his career will surpass Mike overall, but A-Rod just hasn't been that great defensively at 3rd. Particularly on bunts. I can't put A-Rod at short, because Honus dominated his era more than A-Rod did. So A-Rod will have to wait for 11-20.

RF Babe Ruth

CF Willie Mays

LF Barry Bonds

RHP Satchel Paige

LHP Lefty Grove

Who would you pick?

37 Comments:

At 10:30 PM, OpenID poormansanalyst said...

RHP: I go with Pedro every time.

I also disagree with Schmidt at third. Arod will pass him in WAR in the next two years, and he's got another 7 to go after that.

 
At 9:12 PM, Blogger Kansas City Blue said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9:17 PM, Blogger Kansas City Blue said...

Here's my 10 (not in any particular order):

1. George Brett
2. Lou Gehrig (You may ultimately be right about Albert, but he's not there yet. If his career ended today he is not the best 1st baseman of all time. Even if I had current player on the list, he wouldn't make the cut as of today.)
3. George Herman Ruth
4. Satchel Paige
5. Honus Wagner
6. Christy Mathewson
7. Lefty Grove
8. Sandy Koufax
9. Ted Williams
10. Pete Rose
11. Lynn Ryan

I stayed away from the active players. Let their story finish. At the end of the day, I know there may be better players. You want Willie Mays? I am ok with that. Someone else want Cy Young? Fine with me. We're really splitting hairs at this level. I know I didn't go position by position, but if I had I'd probably go Bench at Catcher (though Gibson is probably just as good), for 2B I can go with Collins or Rajah, and since I don't have a pure CF, Mays would be the man there, though if we're going to consider the Negro Leagues I'd actually prefer Cool Papa Bell. Parts of his legend makes Mays seem pedestrian.

Also, even if I were considering active players, you will not see Bonds or ARod or any other confirmed steroid player on my list. It's probably why I put Rose in. Is he one of the 10 best ever? No, but he's going into my hall simply because I'd put him before any of the confirmed cheaters.

Oh, and this list goes to 11. Frankly, Nolan was a one of the most unique players in the history of the game and belongs in this charter Hall simply for being one of the badest men ever.

 
At 12:09 AM, Blogger Aaron said...

If we're talking about Negro League outfielders, I'll have to agree with Bill James (one of the rare times) and go with Oscar Charleston, mostly since he is/was regarded as a better hitter than Bell and probably a little bit worse, at worst, than him in the field.


To paraphrase Buck O'Neil: He was Willie Mays before Willie Mays.

 
At 7:33 PM, Blogger Jeremy said...

My top at each position would include:

C Josh Gibson

1B Lou Gehrig (Pujols is terrific, but Gehrig has a career wOBA of .474)

2B Rogers Hornsby

3B Mike Schmidt

SS Honus Wagner

LF Ted Williams

CF Willie Mays

RF Babe Ruth

P Pedro Martinez

 
At 8:06 PM, Blogger Kansas City Blue said...

Oscar Charleston. I can't really argue. But there is something about a guy nicknamed "Cool Papa" that you just gotta love!

 
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At 5:59 PM, Blogger Les F. Kartchner and Julius Q. Vernon said...

I have to disagree on three of your picks. While Albert is AMAZING, I don't think he has surpassed Gehrig yet. So I have to go with Gehrig at first.

Bonds is fantastic and arguably the greatest player of all-time, but there are questions I have about him so I have to put Ted Williams in LF.

While Satchel Paige remains one of the all-time greats and may not get the credit he deserves most of the time, I must put Christy Mathewson in the RHP slot. No one dominated like Mathewson.

Great discussion.

 
At 7:58 PM, Blogger Chone Smith said...

It's hard to go wrong with any of those choices. With Paige I'm just going on gut feel and limited stats.

He was a very good MLB pitcher up to age 46. And of course 3 scoreless innings with one hit at age 58. I'm just assuming that had he been allowed to pitch his whole career in MLB, he'd hold a lot of records. It probably would have been his strikeout record Nolan Ryan broke, and Satchel combined the power with great control. MLB fans didn't see the great fastball, but he was still effective without it in his 40's.

You can't go wrong with Matthewson, Young, Johnson, Alexander, Pedro, Maddux, Seaver, or Clemens as your righthanded ace.

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger Jared said...

C: Josh Gibson
1B: Sweet Lou - Pujols may surpass, but there's too many ifs especially considering his health
2B: Hornsby
3B: It's Schmdit, I'd like to try to make a case for Eddie Mathews, but you can't really
SS: Honus Wagner
LF: Bonds it is unless you discount everything after '98, in which case it becomes Ted Williams even with his very average glove
CF: Four-way tie goes to Dimaggio. Mantle, Mays & Tris Speaker are the others
RF: The Babe

RHP: Greg Maddux. ERA+ of 132 over 22 seasons. Pedro's 5 best seasons were better the Maddux's 5 best, but overall Greg takes it.

LHP: Randy Johnson. Just beats out Hubbell in my view.

 
At 12:47 PM, Blogger Chone Smith said...

I suppose the best lineup you could make, as long as there is no DH, would be to put Aaron in right field and have Ruth as your LHP and cleanup batter.

 
At 9:21 AM, Blogger nathan said...

The only disagreement that I have would be to put Bob Gibson as my RHP. He defined the term "chin music". To quote Bob Eucker from the movie "Major League", "He threw at his own kid in a father-son game." But Gibson wouldn't hit you, he sure as heck made you think twice before you dug those cleats in too far.

 
At 1:50 PM, Blogger Joshua said...

Not a single mention of Cobb? Someone even had a 4 way tie but no mention of Cobb. So that would make him at best the 5th greatest CF?

 
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