Joe Posnanski's top 100 Baseball Players of All Time

jon abbey

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This was mentioned elsewhere, but I thought it deserved its own thread...

Joe Pos is taking his third shot at a top 100 players of all time list, but the interesting part isn't the rankings, it's the accompanying essays. I read the first 7 (100-94) just now, really illuminating. He is planning on doing 1 per day until spring training and finishing it this time, check it out if you subscribe to The Athletic (and if you don't and you can afford it, you should, both because it is very good but also because it should be supported if at all possible).


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
 

Dummy Hoy

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I’m loving this series...Joe at his finest. The Suzuki one was beautiful, and really kick started my desire for the daily fix.
 

simplicio

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Let's be honest, Suzuki should be higher than 100; he's just there cause who wouldn't want to read a series that started with Ichiro?
 

Hank Scorpio

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This was mentioned elsewhere, but I thought it deserved its own thread...

Joe Pos is taking his third shot at a top 100 players of all time list, but the interesting part isn't the rankings, it's the accompanying essays. I read the first 7 (100-94) just now, really interesting. He is planning on doing 1 per day until spring training and finishing it this time, check it out if you subscribe to The Athletic (and if you don't and you can afford it, you should, both because it is very good but also because it should be supported if at all possible).


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
Nine of the eleven have played fairly recently (as in, I remember them playing in MLB). Not sure if it's coincidental, recency bias, or the harsh truth that I'm getting old. I get that these lists are largely subjective and arbitrary, but there's got to be a whole sea of players better than say Carlos Beltran, but worse than Mariano Rivera - who are largely forgotten with time.
 

jon abbey

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If you read the introduction, the first piece linked above, he talks about that specifically. I agree with him basically that athletes continue to get better and a recency bias makes sense, but he put a ton of time into this and tried to make the best list he could.
 

jon abbey

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For non-subscribers, here is some of it:

"I will give you a handful of guiding principles:

1. I think today’s players tend to be underrated compared to those who came before them.

2. I lean toward players who were great at their peak, even if that peak only lasted a short time, and lean away from those who were consistently but not toweringly good for a long time.

3. I lean toward players who did multiple things well over specialists (no matter how great) who basically did just one thing well.

4. I take a lot of care to make educated guesses about players whose careers were shortened by things beyond their control — World War II, for example, or baseball’s tragic and infuriating color line. I don’t make the same adjustment for injuries. As Bill James has written, there’s a big difference. The years when Joe DiMaggio or Ted Williams or Bob Feller were at war, the years when Josh Gibson and Oscar Charleston played in the Negro Leagues, they were still the best players on earth. They just couldn’t play in the big leagues because of larger issues. When players get hurt — take Don Mattingly, for example, and his back problems — they stop being the best players in the world. I wish Donnie Baseball didn’t get hurt, we all do, but he did, and he was never quite the same player after that. That’s not the same as saying that Bob Feller lost four years when he was still the best pitcher on earth.

5. I have done a lot of research about the Negro Leagues to estimate the greatness of the players there. I try to be as unsentimental about this as I possibly can. I do not rank Satchel Paige based on dreamy views. He is exactly where I think he belongs on the list.

As for the rest: This list is a moving target. I have done it three times using different methods and the rankings are quite different. This is because there’s no significant difference between a player ranked 72 and 48 and 31. I could swap them, for the most part, without it changing much of anything. So if you believe a player ranked 97th should actually be 53rd, well, it might be that way the next time."
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Glad, but not surprised, that he doesn't limit this to MLB. His appreciation of the man in my avatar has been obvious for many years. I wonder if Sadaharu Oh, or other Japanese players who never came to the US will make the list
 

edoug

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For non-subscribers, here is some of it:

"I will give you a handful of guiding principles:

1. I think today’s players tend to be underrated compared to those who came before them.

2. I lean toward players who were great at their peak, even if that peak only lasted a short time, and lean away from those who were consistently but not toweringly good for a long time.

3. I lean toward players who did multiple things well over specialists (no matter how great) who basically did just one thing well.

4. I take a lot of care to make educated guesses about players whose careers were shortened by things beyond their control — World War II, for example, or baseball’s tragic and infuriating color line. I don’t make the same adjustment for injuries. As Bill James has written, there’s a big difference. The years when Joe DiMaggio or Ted Williams or Bob Feller were at war, the years when Josh Gibson and Oscar Charleston played in the Negro Leagues, they were still the best players on earth. They just couldn’t play in the big leagues because of larger issues. When players get hurt — take Don Mattingly, for example, and his back problems — they stop being the best players in the world. I wish Donnie Baseball didn’t get hurt, we all do, but he did, and he was never quite the same player after that. That’s not the same as saying that Bob Feller lost four years when he was still the best pitcher on earth.

5. I have done a lot of research about the Negro Leagues to estimate the greatness of the players there. I try to be as unsentimental about this as I possibly can. I do not rank Satchel Paige based on dreamy views. He is exactly where I think he belongs on the list.

As for the rest: This list is a moving target. I have done it three times using different methods and the rankings are quite different. This is because there’s no significant difference between a player ranked 72 and 48 and 31. I could swap them, for the most part, without it changing much of anything. So if you believe a player ranked 97th should actually be 53rd, well, it might be that way the next time."
For example let's use Willie Mays, a sure fire top 5 or top 2 or maybe even best player ever, at his best is how much better than Fred Lynn at his best? Obviously Mays is the superior player but the difference in talent isn't that huge as any kind of best of list would rank them.
 

Danny_Darwin

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I’m of the somewhat controversial opinion that Mike Trout is the best player of all time, which is different from saying he has had the best career of all time. Curious to see where Joe Pos ranks him.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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Glad, but not surprised, that he doesn't limit this to MLB. His appreciation of the man in my avatar has been obvious for many years. I wonder if Sadaharu Oh, or other Japanese players who never came to the US will make the list
I won't spoil it (and it most definitely will change) but he had Oh on his list back in like 2013.
 

Jim Ed Rice in HOF

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I keep forgetting to subscribe every time there’s an article I want to read but this will finally have me signing up. A great way to pass the time until pitchers/catchers report.

Having Mariano in there at 91 and given his 3rd point, what other reliever could show up later in the countdown - anyone? Eck because he showed excellence as both a starter and reliever?
 

Danny_Darwin

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Controversial?

It wouldn't surprise me if Joe had him at #1.
Eh, I don't see any particularly good reason to defer to a bunch of guys whom you couldn't watch on a color television, but a lot of other baseball fans do. It's entirely possible that the tide of public opinion is turning, or it even may be that people are willing to make an exception for Trout.
 

67YAZ

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For example let's use Willie Mays, a sure fire top 5 or top 2 or maybe even best player ever, at his best is how much better than Fred Lynn at his best? Obviously Mays is the superior player but the difference in talent isn't that huge as any kind of best of list would rank them.
To paraphrase Bill James in Pedro - it’s not that Mays was so much more talented than Lynn in any one area, it’s that he was a bit more talented in every facet of the game. When you combine Mays’ advantages in fielding, on the bases, at the plate...it compounds to a huge overall difference in performance.
 

Joe Sixpack

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Eh, I don't see any particularly good reason to defer to a bunch of guys whom you couldn't watch on a color television, but a lot of other baseball fans do. It's entirely possible that the tide of public opinion is turning, or it even may be that people are willing to make an exception for Trout.
Not Joe though if you keep up with his writing. He's very consistently talked about Trout being one of the greatest, if not the greatest, of all time and he's fully on board with the competition and level of play being higher today than ever before.
 

barbed wire Bob

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I keep forgetting to subscribe every time there’s an article I want to read but this will finally have me signing up. A great way to pass the time until pitchers/catchers report.

Having Mariano in there at 91 and given his 3rd point, what other reliever could show up later in the countdown - anyone? Eck because he showed excellence as both a starter and reliever?
FYI, the Athletic was having a sale where you could get an annual subscription for the absurdly low price of approximately $2.50 per month ( I can’t remember the exact price and am too lazy to look it up).
 

ThePrideofShiner

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Pretty sure it's $30 a year right now. It's the best media purchase I've made. Great baseball coverage, but even better for secondary sports like MLS which isn't covered really anywhere else.

Get a subscription and support sports media!

Back to your regularly scheduled programming.
 

Max Power

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Ted Williams always gets overlooked in the list of greatest players of all time. I know he didn't give a shit about defense and was a slow runner, but he was so much better with the bat than everyone other than Babe Ruth and steroid era Barry Bonds, he more than makes up for it. His career OPS and OPS+ are 1.116 and 197. Trout's best single season so far is 198. Willie Mays never topped 185.

The three years lost to the war also hurt when discussing the greatest young players ever. His two years heading in, he put up the following slash lines, OPS+, and WAR.

.406/.553/.735, 235, 10.6
.356/.499/.648, 216, 10.6

And his two years after the war...

.342/.497/.667, 215, 10.9
.343/.499/.634, 205, 9.9

I don't think it's unreasonable to assume his career OPS+ would have been over 200 and another 30 WAR could have been added to his career total with 3 perfectly normal years for him.

That said, maybe Oscar Charleston or Josh Gibson really was the greatest of all time. Without a time machine, we'll never know.
 

edoug

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To paraphrase Bill James in Pedro - it’s not that Mays was so much more talented than Lynn in any one area, it’s that he was a bit more talented in every facet of the game. When you combine Mays’ advantages in fielding, on the bases, at the plate...it compounds to a huge overall difference in performance.
Yeah, no question who was better but I guess I'm tired of these lists. They're pretty much all the same. Posnanski's writing ability will make it a better read but it's basically the same thing that has been written a hundred times before.
 

jon abbey

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Yeah, so sick of reading about Bullet Rogan.

The essays are the whole freaking point, not the rankings, as he says above. It’s been great so far and this is from someone generally not too interested in historical baseball articles. If you don’t care, there are lots of other threads here you can read and post in instead.

Curt Schilling at #88 today.
 

Danny_Darwin

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Yeah, so sick of reading about Bullet Rogan.

The essays are the whole freaking point, not the rankings, as he says above. It’s been great so far and this is from someone generally not too interested in historical baseball articles. If you don’t care, there are lots of other threads here you can read and post in instead.

Curt Schilling at #88 today.
Right, and I also don't think I've ever seen an "all-time greats" list with so many players who played post-2000. Usually these lists are more like this.
 

gingerbreadmann

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Joe's well-meaning but consistent weakness for humanizing horrible things done by people he otherwise reveres is on full display in the Schilling essay. It's fair to argue that Schilling should be a HOFer in spite of his personality, but such an argument should own that point of view rather than try to reconcile athletic greatness with the complex motivations of the human mind. It's not always so complicated: the guy is an unequivocal POS but had an amazing career. To me it falls extremely flat to see Joe both-sides Curt's "critics" and "supporters" and wonder how a guy who does charity and won all four "integrity awards" could lack decency. The internal monologues over understanding Curt's true motivations and the journalist's role as a HOF gatekeeper strike me as hopelessly, but predictably, innocent.

And yet, of course it's still well-written and many comments regard the whole discussion as being too "political." On to the next one, I guess -- this one was never going to be in Joe's wheelhouse.
 
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BaseballJones

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Ted Williams always gets overlooked in the list of greatest players of all time. I know he didn't give a shit about defense and was a slow runner, but he was so much better with the bat than everyone other than Babe Ruth and steroid era Barry Bonds, he more than makes up for it. His career OPS and OPS+ are 1.116 and 197. Trout's best single season so far is 198. Willie Mays never topped 185.

The three years lost to the war also hurt when discussing the greatest young players ever. His two years heading in, he put up the following slash lines, OPS+, and WAR.

.406/.553/.735, 235, 10.6
.356/.499/.648, 216, 10.6

And his two years after the war...

.342/.497/.667, 215, 10.9
.343/.499/.634, 205, 9.9

I don't think it's unreasonable to assume his career OPS+ would have been over 200 and another 30 WAR could have been added to his career total with 3 perfectly normal years for him.

That said, maybe Oscar Charleston or Josh Gibson really was the greatest of all time. Without a time machine, we'll never know.
Ted Williams was unreal. Not only losing three years to the war, but his age 24, 25, and 26 years.

His two years prior to, and four years after, this three-year gap:
1941 - .406/.553/.735/1.287, 235 ops+
1942 - .356/.499/.648/1.147, 216 ops+
...
1946 - .342/.497/.667/1.164, 215 ops+
1947 - .343/.499/.634/1.133, 205 ops+
1948 - .369/.497/.615/1.112, 189 ops+
1949 - .343/.490/.650/1.141, 191 ops+

Average season: .360/.506/.658/1.164, 209 ops+

Pretty safe to assume that he'd have compiled another three years roughly at those numbers. He likely would have added approximately these totals to his career numbers:

408 runs (8115 total)
555 hits (3209 total)
114 doubles (639 total)
105 homers (626 total)
390 rbi (2229 total)
450 bb (2471 total)

Just mind-boggling numbers.
 

Kliq

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I trust Posnanski will be able to do it justice, but I think it is hard to thread the needle between acknowledging that athletes have consistently gotten better over time due to various advancements in training and nutrition and also give ample respect to the players of previous generations. I think too much of the former leads to some interesting arguments that I'm not sure people want to see; like that if Babe Ruth played today in the era of the shift, without 5 pitching changes a game, black and Latin players, advanced scouting, etc. he wouldn't even be a replacement level player. Of course, you could make the same argument that if Ruth lived today and had today's advantages such as a nutritionist telling him that he shouldn't eat 13 hot dogs before a game, he would be even better. I just think it gets kind of messy and impossible to prove what would and what would not be true.

If you want to argue that since athletes are all getting better over time, realistically you could take the top 25 players of today's game, and with a few minor adjustments, argue that these are the 25 greatest players of all time, but that isn't any fun.

I think the most logical way to look at it is to assess players based on their dominance in their era, and factor in the advantages/disadvantages of their era appropriately. So Ruth, or Honus Wagner or Cap Anson are docked for playing in a rather unrefined era for the game, while a player like say, Ken Griffey Jr.'s dominance can be taken more at face value. Maybe that is too tricky, IDK.

The inclusion of the Negro league players is fair, but it has to be acknowledged the way Bill James did, by admitting that realistically there is no fair way to rank those players since even statistical records of their games are scarce and the level of competition varied greatly. Since the dying days of the Negro leagues managed to produce some of the best MLB players in history (Mays, Aaron, Campy, Jackie Robinson) it is reasonable to believe that players pre-integration were among the best players of all-time as well, so if you want to put Josh Gibson or Oscar Charleston in the top ten, that is fine by me. James I believe ranked Charleston fourth all time, which I found delightfully ambitious.
 

ErrorBuddin

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Ted Williams was unreal. Not only losing three years to the war, but his age 24, 25, and 26 years.

His two years prior to, and four years after, this three-year gap:
1941 - .406/.553/.735/1.287, 235 ops+
1942 - .356/.499/.648/1.147, 216 ops+
...
1946 - .342/.497/.667/1.164, 215 ops+
1947 - .343/.499/.634/1.133, 205 ops+
1948 - .369/.497/.615/1.112, 189 ops+
1949 - .343/.490/.650/1.141, 191 ops+

Average season: .360/.506/.658/1.164, 209 ops+

Pretty safe to assume that he'd have compiled another three years roughly at those numbers. He likely would have added approximately these totals to his career numbers:

408 runs (8115 total)
555 hits (3209 total)
114 doubles (639 total)
105 homers (626 total)
390 rbi (2229 total)
450 bb (2471 total)

Just mind-boggling numbers.
Don't forget that he lost nearly two seasons to Korea and his counting numbers are even higher
 

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... I think too much of the former leads to some interesting arguments that I'm not sure people want to see; like that if Babe Ruth played today in the era of the shift, without 5 pitching changes a game, black and Latin players, advanced scouting, etc. he wouldn't even be a replacement level player. Of course, you could make the same argument that if Ruth lived today and had today's advantages such as a nutritionist telling him that he shouldn't eat 13 hot dogs before a game, he would be even better. I just think it gets kind of messy and impossible to prove what would and what would not be true.

If you want to argue that since athletes are all getting better over time, realistically you could take the top 25 players of today's game, and with a few minor adjustments, argue that these are the 25 greatest players of all time, but that isn't any fun.
...
This was sort of the point of Adam Ottavino's controversial statement about striking out Babe Ruth every time; the intent of the statement was that everyone in the current era would strike Ruth out. I don't think that would be quite true (there's certainly a good deal of bravado, which is timeless, involved).
 

The Gray Eagle

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"Curt S." posted an angry screed in the comments to the Curt Schilling article.
It would be so Curt Schilling if it were really him.
 

jon abbey

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"Curt S." posted an angry screed in the comments to the Curt Schilling article.
It would be so Curt Schilling if it were really him.
Thanks for the tip, I have to post it. I am sure it is him:

"Pretty amazing that this article and many comments in here call me things I can't fathom, all the while not a single one giving ANY examples. Not a newspaper link, but an actual QUOTE or ACT in my life. Good luck, because it never happened. The tshirt tweet? It was, if anyone followed in the least, my bad attempt at calling out the suicide committed by our media in the past few years. But any of you cowards calling me names or anything like that, put one quote, one act, ever, that enforces your accusation. Nazi's vs Islamic Extremists? Which group do you belong to that's offended you? Saying men should pee in mens rooms and womens in womens is somehow transphobic? Is that like asking someone of jewish faith if they could explain why AMerican Jews support the Israel hating Democrats? And I know for an absolute fact that writers use "anonymous teammates" and 'teammates say' when they want to push their opinions off on an anonymous source that never existed. Not a single teammate (except Mitch Williams) clulbhouse guy, taxi driver, or fan thats met me at the park can say I've ever done anything close to what you people that hate me push, ever. I can tell you EXACTLY how the responses here will go. Not one quote, ever, will be posted, or an act, but people will link to an article stating someones opinion/interpetation of something I did or said that has nothing to do with reality. I did many many things in my life I wish I hadn't, said things I wish I didn't, but I was never a bad teammate or a bad person to others. I find it more than ironic that when people that don't like me or my political opinions try to convince you I am something I am not, they talk about the good things, the awards, which were actual, factual events based on my actions, and when they disparage me they do so with "anonymous teammates' or they outright lie about something I said (Like I compared Islam to Nazi's, which is a lie). I watched writers write and say things about teammates I knew to not be true so I get it, I know how many operate and it's no mistake that the recent poll revealing 86% of the sports media is liberal means few write honestly about me. Joe can write, but so can many others, but I can tell you that what he wrote about me in parts of this article are lies, they aren't true."

Updated list:

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
 

jon abbey

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Really enjoying all of these, here is a great story from the Cool Papa Bell one, known for being legendarily fast:

"Here’s another true story: In 1945, when the Kansas City Monarchs signed Jackie Robinson, they played him at shortstop even though his arm was somewhat questionable. When the Dodgers were scouting, they worried about that. It was arranged for Bell to hit some grounders to short and run them out to test the arm. Bell repeatedly beat the throw, which helped convince the Dodgers to play Robinson at second base.

Cool Papa was 42 years old at the time."
 

The Gray Eagle

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I didn't think I'd be very interested in the Phil Niekro writeup. I remember almost all of his career, and didn't think the writeup would be very interesting or tell me anything I didn't already know about a player I liked a little bit but didn't think much about.
But I was wrong, it's a great story, and I'm glad I read it.


The comments are actually worth reading for a change too. You know what they say about the internet, always read the comments.
 

Bergs

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Just now catching up to this. Man, I love me some Joe Pos.
 

Al Zarilla

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Really enjoying all of these, here is a great story from the Cool Papa Bell one, known for being legendarily fast:

"Here’s another true story: In 1945, when the Kansas City Monarchs signed Jackie Robinson, they played him at shortstop even though his arm was somewhat questionable. When the Dodgers were scouting, they worried about that. It was arranged for Bell to hit some grounders to short and run them out to test the arm. Bell repeatedly beat the throw, which helped convince the Dodgers to play Robinson at second base.

Cool Papa was 42 years old at the time."
Cool story. Another one about Bell:"Cool Papa Bell was so fast he could get out of bed, turn out the lights across the room and be back in bed under the covers before the lights went out.” - Josh Gibson
 

Max Power

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Cool story. Another one about Bell:"Cool Papa Bell was so fast he could get out of bed, turn out the lights across the room and be back in bed under the covers before the lights went out.” - Josh Gibson
According to Satchel Paige, that one was true. A room they stayed in had a light switch that was messed up and took a few seconds to work. Cool Papa would make some sucker bets on whether he could make it into bed before it went out.
 

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Derek Jeter is #79 and it is a pretty great read. It is based on an essay Joe wrote when Jeter was approaching 3,000 hits. He takes a very fair and multi-faceted view on Jeter's career.

He is, I believe, the most seen player in baseball history. What do I mean? Baseball used to be shrouded in mystery. How many people across America actually saw Tris Speaker play? Stan Musial? Frank Robinson? Rod Carew? Even George Brett or Dave Winfield or Lou Brock would appear rarely on television; they were mostly names in names in box scores (and often shortened names like Mus’l and R’bnsn). They were grainy black and white photographs in the local paper. There were static-speckled images on the Game of the Week.

Now we can watch any game, see any highlight at any time. We can summon any play in stunning high definition … and high-def can look more vivid than reality. Derek Jeter came of age in a game that left nothing to the imagination. He represented that game. He was everywhere, all the time, all of his superpowers and all of his rich flaws magnified and intensified and exaggerated beyond all reason.
The Jeter legend was that he could will his team to victory with invisible and intangible powers of grit, will and command. This led his critics to grumble about how his best traits had to be taken on faith.

But Jeter’s career is not intangible at all. He created more runs than any shortstop ever, including Honus Wagner. He scored more runs, knocked more hits and reached base more times than any shortstop ever.
Of the 2,747 regular-season games he played, he got at least one hit in 2,114 of them. He has had multiple hits in more than 1,000 of them. He was always there, always at the top of the lineup, always unmistakeable at shortstop, always calmly saying the cliches that filled newspaper stories but didn’t rock boats. Was Derek Jeter the best player of his era? No. Was he the most persistent, the most enduring, the easiest to like, the easiest to dislike, the easiest to hype, the easiest to be cynical about? I wouldn’t even know who is second on the list.
 

jon abbey

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Not a big Jeter fan as I said above, but actually I thought that was the worst entry yet, as it was written when Jeter was approaching 3000 hits and was totally tied into that number, but 32 guys got 3000 hits and Jeter ended up with 3465, ahead of 26 of those other 32. Pos should have updated the piece better.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Pos should have updated the piece better.
As much as I like Pos and as much as I'm enjoying this series, I think that you could say this about a lot of Posnaski's projects. He does a B+ job and has hints of brilliance, but he either a. never pushes the needle into A territory and b. follow through is not one of his strong suits. I half expect this to stall around number 41.
 

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pawtucket
Not a big Jeter fan as I said above, but actually I thought that was the worst entry yet, as it was written when Jeter was approaching 3000 hits and was totally tied into that number, but 32 guys got 3000 hits and Jeter ended up with 3465, ahead of 26 of those other 32. Pos should have updated the piece better.
My answer would be he’s writing for an audience that already knows Jeter finished high up on the list.

Old School reporting, you update.
 

Merkle's Boner

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SoSH Member
Apr 24, 2011
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As much as I like Pos and as much as I'm enjoying this series, I think that you could say this about a lot of Posnaski's projects. He does a B+ job and has hints of brilliance, but he either a. never pushes the needle into A territory and b. follow through is not one of his strong suits. I half expect this to stall around number 41.
I think the nature of the project results in him using some previously written material. I've actually been surprised how long many of these essays are. It's a huge undertaking to do this daily. He has vowed to see it through, but he's well aware of his past flameouts.