Joe Posnanski's top 100 Baseball Players of All Time

jungleboy

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The big finish for those without a subscription:

It is true that Martínez was mostly done at 33. He did not quite get to 3,000 innings for his career. The fact he won 219 games (against 100 losses) probably cost him a few Hall of Fame votes — he didn’t appear on 49 ballots — even though it is really unimportant. It is true, Martínez did not have the huge numerical careers of his great contemporaries Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens or Greg Maddux.

But at his best, he was better than they were, I think. I’ve said it before; if the Devil ever gives me one pitcher to play for my soul, I’m taking Martínez circa 1999 and 2000. He wasn’t just the greatest pitcher I ever saw. He was the one pitcher who you knew would damn well move the devil off the plate.
 

Jim Ed Rice in HOF

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Not sure if I had read this before and forgot it but we owe old Sox second baseman Jody Reed a plaque or something:

Claire then traded Martínez to Montreal for Delino DeShields.

What the heck happened? What makes teams trade away once-in-a-lifetime stars like Martínez? For the Dodgers, it came down to a couple of things. One, they really wanted a second baseman. They had made an offer during the season to their regular second baseman, Jody Reed, but they couldn’t reach an agreement (it didn’t go well for Reed either, who became a free agent and signed for a huge pay cut with Milwaukee).

“If he had said ‘yes’ to our offer,” Claire said of Reed, “we would not have traded for a second baseman.”
 

LogansDad

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Yeah, the Jody Reed part was news to me, too. Funny thing is, Reed was my favorite player growing up, my dad still has pictures of me sporting my Medicine Shoppe jersey with number 3 on it.

I think I appreciate him even more, now.
 

PC Drunken Friar

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Yeah, the Jody Reed part was news to me, too. Funny thing is, Reed was my favorite player growing up, my dad still has pictures of me sporting my Medicine Shoppe jersey with number 3 on it.

I think I appreciate him even more, now.
Doing some research on Jody Reed...he was drafted 5 times! Twice in 82 (January and June drafts), 83 June, 84 June and then 92 Expansion Draft (Rockies...I know this is cheating a little bit).

The Google says that there was a player (Matt Harrington) drafted 5 straight years in the amateur draft. 2000 Baseball America High School Player of the Year.

2000- Colorado- 1st Round, 7th overall. Final offer was 4 million. He wanted 4.95

2001- San Diego- 2nd Round, 58th overall. Final offer was 1.2 million. Boras is now his agent and he wants 2.4 million.

2002- TB- 13th Round, 374 overall. Offered up to 200,000.

2003- Cincinnati- 24th Round, 711 overall. No real money offered.

2004- Yankees- 36th Round, 1,089 overall. No offer, as he hurt his shoulder.

Soring training invitee for the Cubs in 2007, but was released in March.

In 2009, according to an Outside The Lines segment, he was making $11.50 an hour at Costco.
 

jon abbey

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Christy Mathewson at #36 today, so he is up to 65 in 65 days and the newsletter complaint is looking more like public venting, as I guessed. For non-subscribers:

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
 

PC Drunken Friar

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I am still reading...but it is beginning to get a little tiresome. I may be the biggest JoePos fan here, but the Father-teaches-Son baseball stories just keep coming and coming. We get it. I get it. I know Joe is hokey and very nostalgic. But there has to be a better intro to some of the articles.
 

jon abbey

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I can see that, although it doesn't bother me, as the specifics are different each time. The Bench one felt like it glossed over his actual career in favor of that stuff, though. It did have this awesome story though, from when he was a 20 year old rookie:

"Something happened that rookie year, something so absurd that it’s almost beyond belief. It’s my second-favorite Johnny Bench story. Bench was catching a veteran pitcher named Gerry Arrigo, and on this day, Arrigo didn’t have anything on his fastball. Anyway, that’s how Bench saw it. He kept calling for breaking balls and offspeed stuff instead.

Arrigo didn’t see things at all the same way and he kept shaking off Bench.

They continued this dance for a while until finally Bench went to the mound to make his case. He explained that Arrigo’s fastball was just not popping. Arrigo, in turn, explained that Bench was a rookie and that, considering the circumstances, he should just shut the hell up. This disagreement went on for a few seconds until finally, the two men understood that they were at an impasse and Bench shrugged and went back behind the plate.

And he called for another curveball.

And Arrigo shook him off again. Bench called for the fastball, which Arrigo threw with all the fury he had inside him.

Bench reached out with his right hand and caught it barehanded."
 

E5 Yaz

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Doing some research on Jody Reed...he was drafted 5 times! Twice in 82 (January and June drafts), 83 June, 84 June and then 92 Expansion Draft (Rockies...I know this is cheating a little bit).

The Google says that there was a player (Matt Harrington) drafted 5 straight years in the amateur draft. 2000 Baseball America High School Player of the Year.

2000- Colorado- 1st Round, 7th overall. Final offer was 4 million. He wanted 4.95

2001- San Diego- 2nd Round, 58th overall. Final offer was 1.2 million. Boras is now his agent and he wants 2.4 million.

2002- TB- 13th Round, 374 overall. Offered up to 200,000.

2003- Cincinnati- 24th Round, 711 overall. No real money offered.

2004- Yankees- 36th Round, 1,089 overall. No offer, as he hurt his shoulder.

Soring training invitee for the Cubs in 2007, but was released in March.

In 2009, according to an Outside The Lines segment, he was making $11.50 an hour at Costco.
Reed's biggest claim to infamy was rejecting a three-year $7.8M deal from the Dodgers and winding with a $350,000 deal with the Brewers.

I mean, it's not Juan Gonzalez level of oopsie, but under the circumstances, not great
 

jon abbey

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Trout is still 87th on the alltime career bWAR list, 27th and climbing seems defensible even if he was trying to perfectly rank them, which as discussed, he is not.
 

simplicio

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27 is Trout's jersey number, but I'm a little surprised Pos went with that over 25 (his draft pick).
 

jon abbey

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We could probably do a collective list of who is left at this point, it would be fun to watch them disappear and see who is left.

25 to go, here are the first 75.


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
 

jon abbey

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I think this is 20 of them, who am I missing?

Babe Ruth
Willie Mays
Ty Cobb
Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Hank Aaron
Walter Johnson
Ted Williams
Rickey Henderson
Mickey Mantle
Stan Musial
Rogers Hornsby
Alex Rodriguez
Lou Gehrig
Honus Wagner
Satchel Paige
Oscar Charleston
Josh Gibson
Tris Speaker
Mike Schmidt
 

jon abbey

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Dammit, I almost picked Pop Lloyd as my 25th after researching the Negro Leagues briefly. He is today’s entry, so I’ll submit the 24 I listed as the top 24.
 

HowBoutDemSox

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It’s interesting how few pitchers are left, maybe four out of the final twenty-five? Walter Johnson, Satchel Paige, Lefty Grove and Clemens by Jon Abbey’s list. That’s not even enough for a full starting rotation, unless you count Ruth.

In the entry for Grover Cleveland Alexander, Pos dropped an aside about how Alexander was “one of six or seven pitchers who have a viable argument as the greatest of all time.“ Given that the list is not entirely in order, I wonder who those six or seven would be. Alexander, Clemens, Walter Johnson, and Cy Young all comes to mind, and probably Paige. Who else? Older players like Mathewson or Grove? By bWAR, the top six would be Young, Walter Johnson, Clemens, Kid Nichols, Alexander, and Grove, then add Paige as the seventh. There’s obviously a bias in counting/accumulating stats like WAR for pitchers who played back when complete games were the norm and they pitched an incredible number of innings, and against the Koufax and Pedro model of stunning but short peaks with shorter overall careers. Seaver, Maddux and Randy Johnson would be next on the bWAR list, for some more modern contenders.
 

jon abbey

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As I don't take pre-integration baseball seriously (I'm not a baseball historian and I can do what I want), to me the frontrunners are Clemens and Randy Johnson. If Randy Johnson had figured it out at a younger age (he didn't really become RANDY JOHNSON until his late twenties), he would have unbelievable career counting stats.
 

DJnVa

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I posted it in another thread by mistake, but the Rickey Henderson one is cool.
 

jon abbey

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Rickey at #24 today, so this is the 23 remaining, I think.

Babe Ruth
Willie Mays
Ty Cobb
Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Hank Aaron
Walter Johnson
Ted Williams
Mickey Mantle
Stan Musial
Rogers Hornsby
Alex Rodriguez
Lou Gehrig
Honus Wagner
Satchel Paige
Oscar Charleston
Josh Gibson
Tris Speaker
Mike Schmidt
Joe Morgan
Albert Pujols
Frank Robinson
Lefty Grove

Guessing Joe Morgan off the board tomorrow at #23.
 
Aug 11, 2019
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Guessing Joe Morgan off the board tomorrow at #23.
What do Joe Morgan and Manny Ramirez have in common?

They are two of the ten batters with a WAR of 186 in a year in which they qualified for the batting title. What separates them? Among those ten players in their 186-WAR year, Manny ranked 4/3/1/1 in AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS while Morgan ranked 7/6/9/9. Does that mean anything? Maybe not but perhaps comparing players from different years/eras, even different leagues, by WAR may not be the best way to go. Oh, Mookie was one of that group in 2018. --bb-ref Play Index
 

jon abbey

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Well, also Joe Morgan was a great defensive 2B and Manny was a DH who played the OF.
 

Merkle's Boner

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It wouldn't shock me if Joe included one more Negro Leagues player, perhaps instead of Lefty Grove. There's some really good ones including Martin Dihigo, Ray Dandridge, Mule Suttles, Turkey Stearnes and Judy Johnson.
 
Aug 11, 2019
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Well, also Joe Morgan was a great defensive 2B and Manny was a DH who played the OF.
How about Ralph Kiner and Willie Stargell? Both played LF for the Pirates and had an OPS+ of 186.

1949--.310/.432/.658/1.089--Kiner (Forbes Field-grass
1973--.299/.392/.646/1.038--Stargell (Three Rivers Stadium-Tartan Turf and sliding pits*)

Unfortunately, I dan't don't have two players from this sample who played for the same team in the same park; however, Kiner did have a dWAR for 1950 of -1.1 while Stargell had a dWAR of -0.4, which might suggest that if they were equal fielders then Kiner would have had a higher WAR than Stargell. One could choose other values of WAR and restrict the positions played using bb-ref's Play Index and probably find matching pairs who played for the same club in the same park close to the same time. I'm not in favor of formulae that attempt to define the whole of a baseball player in one number.

*no dirt base baths, just dirt surrounding the bases.
 

jon abbey

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It wouldn't shock me if Joe included one more Negro Leagues player, perhaps instead of Lefty Grove. There's some really good ones including Martin Dihigo, Ray Dandridge, Mule Suttles, Turkey Stearnes and Judy Johnson.
The thing about someone not on my list cracking the remaining 22 (Pujols at #23 today) is that that would mean one of the guys I listed is not even in the top 100, and that seems unlikely.

Babe Ruth
Willie Mays
Ty Cobb
Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Hank Aaron
Walter Johnson
Ted Williams
Mickey Mantle
Stan Musial
Rogers Hornsby
Alex Rodriguez
Lou Gehrig
Honus Wagner
Satchel Paige
Oscar Charleston
Josh Gibson
Tris Speaker
Mike Schmidt
Joe Morgan
Frank Robinson
Lefty Grove
 

Kliq

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Yeah, it is hard to see any of those names left off the list entirely. Someone above mentioned Grove, but Lefty Grove is easily one of the best pitchers ever. He is third all-time in pitching black ink and sixth in JAWS.

 

Merkle's Boner

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You guys were right. Grove today at 22. And Joe makes a compelling case for him being considered the best pitcher ever.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
How about Ralph Kiner and Willie Stargell? Both played LF for the Pirates and had an OPS+ of 186.

1949--.310/.432/.658/1.089--Kiner (Forbes Field-grass
1973--.299/.392/.646/1.038--Stargell (Three Rivers Stadium-Tartan Turf and sliding pits*)

Unfortunately, I dan't don't have two players from this sample who played for the same team in the same park; however, Kiner did have a dWAR for 1950 of -1.1 while Stargell had a dWAR of -0.4, which might suggest that if they were equal fielders then Kiner would have had a higher WAR than Stargell. One could choose other values of WAR and restrict the positions played using bb-ref's Play Index and probably find matching pairs who played for the same club in the same park close to the same time. I'm not in favor of formulae that attempt to define the whole of a baseball player in one number.

*no dirt base baths, just dirt surrounding the bases.
I'm completely baffled as to what your specific point is about Kiner and Stargell, but just for accuracy's sake, Kiner in 1949 did have a higher WAR than Stargell in 1973, though just barely if you use FG's version.
 

Ale Xander

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Yeah, it is hard to see any of those names left off the list entirely. Someone above mentioned Grove, but Lefty Grove is easily one of the best pitchers ever. He is third all-time in pitching black ink and sixth in JAWS.

Either Morgan or Frank I think, if not Grove.
 

Kliq

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You guys were right. Grove today at 22. And Joe makes a compelling case for him being considered the best pitcher ever.
Grove is really underrated by today's standards. He pitched in a huge hitting era, but I think some people look at his stats and kind of gloss over them because he pitched so long ago you might assume it the deadball era. Only Pedro has a higher career adjusted ERA+, and Grove threw more than 1,000 more innings than Pedro. (Kershaw and DeGrom also rate higher, but those will likely drop as their careers wind down.)
 

jon abbey

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Also Joe P points out he was probably the best pitcher in baseball for three years when he was in AA before the AA owner finally relented and let him go to the bigs at 25.
 

BaseballJones

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Grove's 1931 season was insane:

288.2 ip, 31-4, 2.06 era, 3.01 fip, 217 era+, 1.08 whip, 5.5 k/9

Now, just because I'm an unabashed Pedro Martinez lover, here's Pedro's 2000 season:

217.0 ip, 18-6, 1.74 era, 2.17 fip, 291 era+, 0.74 whip, 11.8 k/9

Grove's 2.06 era in a season where teams averaged 5.14 runs per game (Grove: -3.08)
Pedro's 1.74 era in a season where teams averaged 5.30 runs per game (Pedro: -3.56)
 

jon abbey

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He led the AL in strikeouts that year for the seventh straight season, so presumably yes.