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LOS 100 MEJORES PELOTEROS DE TODOS LOS TIEMPOS

LES VOY A PRESENTAR UNA LISTA DE LOS 100 MEJORES PELOTEROS DE TODOS LOS TIEMPOS.

COMO PODRAN VER, ESTA LISTA QUE NO ES DE MI AUTORIA, ES MUY CONTROVERSIAL Y ESTOY SEGURO QUE NINGUNO DE NOSOTROS ESTARA DE ACUERDO CON LA MISMA. Y ESTO SOLO REFUERZA EL ARGUMENTO DE QUE ES MUY DIFICIL HABLAR DE QUIEN ES MEJOR Y QUIEN NO, EN CUALQUIER DEPORTE:


Monday, May 05, 2008

Top 100 Baseball Players of All-Time

Two years ago, I put together the 50 best players in history for each of the four major sports. That was a daunting and time consuming task but I was fairly happy with the results. As time moved along, it started to bother me more and more that I didn’t have a “top 100” so I’ve spent the last six months or so working on that. For the most part, the players rated in my original "top 50" stayed in the same spots with a few exceptions. There was limited player movement that mostly involved active players. Also, there were a few instances where a player moved into the top 50 who was previously left out two years ago.

Please read the following before moving on to the list…

1). It is important to know why and how I chose to rate active players. A list like this isn’t nearly as fun or accurate if we just pretend active players don’t exist. The way I rated active players is simple. I considered their accomplishments up to this point and then assumed a healthy, reasonable, finish to their careers.

2). None of the rankings are arbitrary or without multiple rationalizations. If you would like a clarification, feel free to ask. I’d be happy to rationalize a ranking.

3). It is not uncommon for sports fans to discount current players with respect to history because a). present-day players don’t have the luxury of accumulating gaudy statistics and award-counts against weak competition and b). their most cherished memories are from childhood so there is an inherent preference towards players from earlier generations. I can understand why the overrating occurs but, at the same time, I’m not going to do it here.

4). These lists are based on the NBA, NHL, MLB, and NFL. I would love to have the insight to include players from international leagues. The same goes for the Negro Leagues. Instead of pretending to know more than I do, I only chose to rate players who did their work in the four major leagues.

5). First and last names for each player have different links. First names link to Wikipedia-entries and last names link to career-stats.

6). For more information, click here. It’s my criterion from the original "Top 50." It’s basically the same with more boring detail.


Top 100 Baseball Players of All-Time


1) Babe Ruth

Ruth is number one by a long shot in terms of offensive numbers. I can't rationalize putting anyone else in this ***. He was a fantastic pitcher to go along with being the "Sultan of Swat". He also revolutionized the game by hitting more home runs than any other team in the American League in 1920. Had the MVP been alive in its current format during Ruth's career, he likely would've won at least nine MVPs.

2) Ted Williams

Williams missed close to five years of his prime serving in two different wars. His numbers would have been through the roof (as if they aren't already) had he not missed those seasons. He may have been the best "pure" hitter in baseball history. The only other players to hold a candle to Williams in terms of hitting played in the hitter-friendly era of the early 1900's. I don't think there is a legitimate reason to rate Williams ahead of Ruth even with the missed time in WWII. Williams never won a World Series. He also didn't have the presence on the base paths as someone like Ty Cobb or Willie Mays. Williams' career OPS+ of 190 is considerably higher than anyone other than Ruth.

3) Ty Cobb

Ty Cobb was the first superstar of the 20th century. He was a nasty man but a brilliant ballplayer. Nobody hit better. Nobody ran the bases better. Cobb may have been the best player ever. It's difficult to tell because he played in the dead-ball era while Ruth and Williams likely benefited from playing after the dead-ball era had ended. Cobb's all-around play may merit the number one slot but Ruth and Williams have numbers that are just unfathomable. Also, from reading about Cobb's exploits in various books, it seems as though the overall lack of defensive skill (at least compared to later times) in his day helped him tremendously on the base paths and various other areas. I can't see a good reason to rate Cobb lower than third though.

4) Willie Mays

Willie Mays is most likely the best all-around centerfield in baseball history. He finished in the top six of the MVP voting in 12 of 13 seasons between 1954 and 1966. I doubt we will ever see that kind of consistency again. Some people believe Willie Mays was the best baseball player ever. It's hard to know just how much of an impact his defense had. It's possible that his defensive superiority merits a higher ranking. Mays was not as good of a hitter as some people believe. He was a great hitter no doubt. But, he was nowhere near Ruth, Williams, Cobb or many of the other players lower on the list. His positioning on any list will undoubtedly be affected by the rater's emphasis on defense. While Mays was an amazing defensive outfielder, I don't think that makes up for the substantial difference in run production.

5) Barry Bonds *

Yep, that's an asterisk next to Bonds' name. You'll find one next to Roger Clemens' name as well. I think it's appropriate because they are the only two players of the top 50 who most certainly took steroids. We'll just have to wait on A-Rod. If I rate Bonds by his pre-giant head numbers, he wouldn't rate anywhere near number five on the list. Remember, before Bonds decided to "juice-up", there was a difficult debate in MLB as to who was better--Barry Bonds or Ken Griffey Jr. That debate seems ludicrous now, mostly because Griffey didn't take steroids. Bonds' numbers (with steroids) are off the chart. There is no comparison to him over the last 70 years. Only Ruth's numbers stand up. Bonds isn't rated higher because he only put up Ruth-like numbers for a few years. This is probably the biggest reason why I despise Bonds's steroid-use. There's no telling how high some of the other players would've rated on this list had they juiced-up too. I've compromised by giving Bonds credit for the numbers that he put up but including the dreaded asterisk.
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5) Barry Bonds *

Yep, that's an asterisk next to Bonds' name. You'll find one next to Roger Clemens' name as well. I think it's appropriate because they are the only two players of the top 50 who most certainly took steroids. We'll just have to wait on A-Rod. If I rate Bonds by his pre-giant head numbers, he wouldn't rate anywhere near number five on the list. Remember, before Bonds decided to "juice-up", there was a difficult debate in MLB as to who was better--Barry Bonds or Ken Griffey Jr. That debate seems ludicrous now, mostly because Griffey didn't take steroids. Bonds' numbers (with steroids) are off the chart. There is no comparison to him over the last 70 years. Only Ruth's numbers stand up. Bonds isn't rated higher because he only put up Ruth-like numbers for a few years. This is probably the biggest reason why I despise Bonds's steroid-use. There's no telling how high some of the other players would've rated on this list had they juiced-up too. I've compromised by giving Bonds credit for the numbers that he put up but including the dreaded asterisk.

6) Roger Clemens *

For those of you familiar with my site, you probably remember the article I wrote about Clemens being the best pitcher ever. Nobody has sustained brilliance in a more difficult era and for a longer time than Clemens. Even in his mid-40s he was still piling up sub 3.00 ERA seasons like they're a trip to McDonald's. One of the themes of my top 50 lists is to accurately rate players on their careers and not on how people perceive them. Historical players almost always get rated higher just because their names have become legendary. People like to hold on to childhood beliefs and the notion that things were just better a long time ago. That defies reason. At some point, people have to be willing to acknowledge that certain contemporary players might be better than those heroes. Clemens is a perfect example. In some people's minds, it is blasphemy to say that Clemens is/was better than Walter Johnson, Lefty Grove, Cy Young, or even Tom Seaver. I've tried to eliminate any advantage to players from different eras based solely on legend or lore. It's possible that Clemens should rate even higher on this list. Are there really five batters better than the best pitcher ever? That's a tough call. Now that we know that Clemens took performance-enhancing drugs, his legacy is destined to be the same as Barry Bonds's.

7) Walter Johnson

There is some debate as to whether Walter Johnson or Lefty Grove was the better pitcher. I don't think this debate holds much weight. Johnson pitched much longer and had equally brilliant numbers. Johnson shows up one spot behind Clemens since both had similarly dominating careers. I give the edge to Clemens but Johnson is a close second.

8) Lou Gehrig

Gehrig was overshadowed by the Great Bambino (The Babe) and rightfully so. Unfortunately, I don't think people realize just how awesome Gehrig was. He ranks third all-time in Runs Created (RC) per nine innings. He ranks third all-time in OPS. He ranks third all-time in OPS +. Gehrig's career was a little shorter than the players above him on this list due to an unfortunate disease that was later named after him. I don't see how he could be rated any lower than number eight considering how superior his numbers are to everyone lower on the list.

9) Lefty Grove

The argument for anyone who says that Grove is one of the top two pitchers of all-time is based on his performance compared to his contemporaries. The argument is pretty compelling, too. There isn't another pitcher on this list that played during the same time frame as Grove which might make Grove's numbers compared to the league average better than someone who pitched in a more competitive era like Clemens or Johnson. At this point, I have a decision to make. Do I conclude that Grove was just that much better than everyone else because he was so good, or do I conclude that Grove had the good fortune of pitching during a time when the pitching was at one of the weakest points in MLB history? I can't say I know enough to be certain about my choice but if you look at other pitchers during that era, the numbers aren't pretty. Grove also deserves credit for pitching during a league-wide offensive explosion and being the only guy who seemingly adapted to that explosion.

10) Stan Musial

The "Man" has some awesome career numbers. They would have been even better if he hadn't missed a full season due to WWII. However, Musial is pretty far behind Gehrig's offensive numbers in terms of averages. He also is far enough ahead of DiMaggio's numbers to the point where I couldn't rate Musial any higher or any lower.
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10) Stan Musial

The "Man" has some awesome career numbers. They would have been even better if he hadn't missed a full season due to WWII. However, Musial is pretty far behind Gehrig's offensive numbers in terms of averages. He also is far enough ahead of DiMaggio's numbers to the point where I couldn't rate Musial any higher or any lower.

11) Joe DiMaggio

This is the first instance when a player was rated higher than their actual stats merited because of missed time in the service. DiMaggio missed three prime years. He won two MVP's before he served and one MVP after he served. It stands to reason that DiMaggio's best baseball years were probably spent in Europe. DiMaggio was as brilliant in the field as he was with his bat. He also had the misfortune of playing in a "nightmare" park for right-handed batters. The left-field fence at Yankees stadium back then was 457 feet! I am not convinced that Willie Mays was a) a better defensive centerfielder, b) a better hitter and c) a better all-around player. Even if DiMaggio hadn't missed three years, his career totals would have come up considerably short to Mays since Mays played 22 seasons. It bothers me that I have rated DiMaggio so low on this list but I can't rationalize rating him higher because of his relatively short career.

12) Christy Mathewson

Mathewson doesn't get a lot of "love" from baseball historians. By that, I mean that he's usually rated lower than Seaver. However, I think Mathewson was actually better than that. He pitched 800 more innings than Grove with a significantly better WHIP and Batting Average Against. Seaver's ERA+ is a paltry 127 which should keep him out of anybody's top five.

13) Rogers Hornsby

Hornsby could be rated higher on this list and I probably wouldn't complain too much. The main reason why I have him rated lower than his numbers might merit is because unlike Cobb, he played in the boomin' 20's when offense was to baseball as pizza is to my diet. His averages are fantastic but he clearly should be rated lower than Ruth and Gehrig in his era alone not to mention other eras. I am comfortable with Hornsby at number 13.

14) Cy Young

Cy Young is probably the most famous pitcher of all-time but I'm almost certain that he wasn't the best. In fact, I'm almost certain that he wasn't anywhere near what his numbers might indicate. Young's career stats rate favorably to Mathewson's. However, Young's competition was considerably worse. I rated Mathewson higher because I think if Mathewson played when Young played and for the same duration, his number's would be better than Young's. There weren't even two leagues for the majority of Young's career. He should be recognized for being one of the pioneers of pitching but his numbers should be taken into context. I would not be against rating him lower but his lengthy career and unreachable records count for something.

15) Jimmie Foxx

Foxx was an animal at the plate. His career averages are blistering. I had to rate Hornsby higher due to OPS+, career batting average, and defensive skills but it was a tough decision.

16) Mickey Mantle

Mantle is difficult to rate for a number of reasons. His career was relatively short compared to the other players on this list. He is remembered by many as being a superb ballplayer. The problem is that his numbers don't stack up to the players above him. He may have gone down as one of the top five players of all time if it weren't for knee problems. He won three MVP awards which puts him in elite company. He also finished second three other times. I would not argue too much if Mantle was placed just behind DiMaggio but I can't rationalize putting him any higher than that. Foxx equaled Mantle's three MVP awards and had much better career marks.

17) Tris Speaker

Just by looking at Speaker's numbers, it would be easy to conclude that he should be rated higher on the list. Unfortunately, the players above him have even more impressive resumes. The primary reasons for not rating Speaker higher are his OPS+ and Runs Created compared to the players above him. He falls behind everyone above him in both categories with the exception of DiMaggio in OPS+ and Mays in OPS+ and Runs Created. Mantle's three MVP's (and three second place finishes) gives him the slight nod over Speaker.

18) Randy Johnson

Baseball fans alive today have had the luxury of watching four of the greatest pitchers in MLB history. Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, and Pedro Martinez are all among the top twelve pitchers in baseball history. I think Clemens is the best of the bunch although Maddux and Johnson are very close. Johnson is my next choice among the four. In his prime, Johnson was as good as anyone. Maddux was a fantastic pitcher but Johnson had two things that Maddux didn't have; a 100+ MPH fastball and a 6'10 intimidating frame. I believe those two factors are what allowed Johnson to have more top-end seasons. He also happened to be virtually un-hittable to left handed-batters. If I had to choose one of the two in their prime for a big game, I would take Johnson and not look back.

19) Honus Wagner

Compared to other lists, I may have criminally underrated Wagner. I would rather talk about the fantastic attributes that made Wagner one of the best players ever but I would also like to rationalize why he isn't rated higher. Wagner and Cobb played at the same time. Wagner's numbers pale in comparison to Cobb's. It also appears as though Speaker had a better career. Wagner also played in the National League which didn't have nearly the star power as the American League.

20) Greg Maddux

Maddux is one of my all-time favorite players. I still don't understand how a player who throws 92 can dominate the most competitive era in MLB history. His numbers almost look made up. Here are some of his single season ERA+ numbers; 166, 171, 273, 259, 162, 191, and 191. The only thing missing from Maddux' repertoire was a 96 mph+ fastball.
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21) Hank Aaron

When I was younger, I just assumed that being the all-time home run leader meant being one of top two or three players ever. I've since realized that there is much more to baseball than hitting home runs and playing 20+ seasons. Aaron's career stats benefited immensely from playing 23 seasons. He was consistently very good. His OPS+ and Runs Created numbers are a bit underwhelming at least for the Home Run King. Being one of the top 21 players of all-time is no put down. Hammerin' Hank is a legend. Few players in baseball history have matched his brilliance over time.

22) Pete Alexander

Alexander rated much higher on my list initially. It is hard for me to believe that so many pitchers from the same era rate among the top pitchers of all-time so Pete takes a bit of a hit there. There is no question that Alexander's numbers are phenomenal. Even more impressive is the fact that a) he missed a full season serving in WWI and b) suffered shell shock, hearing loss, and seizures due to war related injuries. Alexander was also a noted drunk. The fact that Alexander was able to put up such astounding numbers while being an injured drunk does lend some credence to the fact that Alexander may have pitched in a pitcher-friendly era. Nonetheless, he was one of the all-time greats.

23) Albert Pujols

Would anyone take a bet against Pujols eventually rating in the top ten on the all-time list by the time his career is over? I certainly wouldn't. After seven seasons, Pujols is on pace to destroy countless records. He has only finished outside of the top three in the MVP voting once. He is already the best offensive player that I have ever seen. The only thing that could derail Pujols's legacy is a Bonds-like scandal.

24) Alex Rodriguez

A-Rod's postseason slumps don't diminish the fact that he has been one of the premier players in MLB. Pujols and Ramirez have been much better over their careers in terms of run production although A-Rod probably has an advantage on the defensive side despite his 2006 struggles in the field. Rodriguez is probably on his way to Hank Aaron type numbers. The thing that sets him apart, though, is the fact that he has played the majority of his career at shortstop. He is by far the most productive shortstop in MLB history.

25) Mel Ott

Ott was no joke. His numbers are very comparable to Aaron's but Aaron finished in the top three of the MVP voting seven times. Ott did it once.

26) Hank Greenberg

Hank Greenberg might be the most underrated baseball player of all-time. He missed four seasons in his prime while he served in WWII. His second season after returning from service produced 44 HR's and 127 RBI's. In the short time that he actually did play baseball, he won two MVP awards (and finished third two other times.). He hit 58 home runs in a season and also drove in 183 RBI's in a single season. No player in MLB history had his career affected by serving in a war more than Greenberg.

27) Warren Spahn

I had a hard time rating Warren Spahn. I initially had him rated much lower and then I had him rated even higher. The problem I have with placing Spahn higher is that his career ERA+ is the second worst of the pitchers of the top 50. His ERA+ is nowhere near the players above him on the list. But, Spahn missed three full seasons because of WWII. Had he not missed those seasons, Spahn would have only been the third pitcher in baseball history to reach 400 wins. As good as Spahn was, his per season averages just don't match up to Maddux or any of the other pitchers above him on the list.

28) Tom Seaver

There are a lot of people who think that Seaver is the best pitcher in baseball history. I don't see it. Granted, I didn't get a chance to watch him pitch. At the same time, Bill James has never seen half of the players he writes about play. That doesn't mean that James doesn't know what he's talking about or that I can't put Seaver's career in perspective or accurately rate him based on his career numbers and the era that he attained them in. This isn't a perfect list because no such list exists. But, based on Seaver's stats, he is nowhere near the best pitcher of all-time. His ERA+ is pedestrian compared to the pitchers above him. To his credit, he suffered from a ridiculous lack of run support. He also played his entire career for bad teams. According to Bill James, Seaver accounted for more of his team's wins than most of the other "great" pitchers in baseball history. I would expect the same statistic to be true if Walter Johnson or Roger Clemens pitched their whole careers for bad teams too. Seaver was very good but his place as a big-time fan favorite probably precedes his statistics. There's nothing wrong with that, either.

29) Frank Robinson

Robinson's career is along the same line as Hammerin' Hank's career. Both put up big-time numbers over long and productive careers. Aaron's numbers are just a little bit better across the board.

30) Bob Feller

Feller's career numbers were affected just as much as Hank Greenberg's due to WWII. He missed 3.5 seasons in his prime serving overseas. His career numbers don't jump off the page but that shouldn't diminish just how good Feller was. In each of the three seasons before he entered the service, he finished in the top three in the MVP voting as a pitcher.

31) Joe Jackson

Shoeless Joe Jackson was the most difficult player to rate. His career was cut short by a lifetime ban from MLB. Before the ban, Jackson's numbers were unbelievable. His last season was in 1920 at the age of 30 when he hit .382! I didn't knock Jackson down any spots for the lifetime ban in the same sense that I didn't punish Bonds. However, I did move Jackson down for not having a complete career. Most players perform well during their prime and then drop off significantly as they age. Jackson never had to go through that so his career numbers are preserved from his prime. That is a luxury that 99% of baseball players don't have. Jackson was great. There is no question about that. It's a shame that we don't have a full career to compare to the other greats to see just how great he was.

32) Pedro Martinez

I mentioned above that Lefty Grove has the highest ERA+ of all players in MLB history that aren't active today. I had to throw in that last part because Pedro Martinez is far and way the best in that category. At 160, Martinez is 12 points ahead of Grove (who is second on the list). Just to put that in perspective, there are ten players on this list that are within 18 points of Grove for second place. The problem with Martinez is that he physically breaks down far too much to be considered reliable. The Boston Red Sox were so tired of his injuries that they just let him go. For a pitcher that has some of the most mind-boggling stats in MLB history, that speaks volumes. Nonetheless, his numbers are brilliant. When Martinez was on and healthy, he may have been the most dominating pitcher ever.
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33) Ed Walsh

These next two guys were difficult to judge. Walsh and Mordecai Brown don't get a lot of publicity. But, their numbers are hard to ignore. Walsh holds the lowest career ERA in MLB history. Walsh also owns the second best career WHIP in MLB history. His career was short which keeps him from gaining much recognition. He was an early version of Sandy Koufax. Walsh's numbers are better across the board. It is true that Koufax won three Cy Young awards but the award did not exist when Walsh pitched.

34) Mordecai Brown

I had a hard time differentiating between Walsh and Brown. Their numbers are comparable. Brown pitched a little bit longer but Walsh's ERA+ is quite a bit higher. His WHIP and Batting Average Against are also a bit better.

35) Manny Ramirez

I have a feeling that my ranking of Ramirez will surprise some people. He may not be the most likeable or athletic baseball player but there is no denying his dominance. His reputation has kept him from receiving individual awards and accolades but his numbers clearly deserve that sort of consideration. Ramirez may go down as the only player in MLB history with 600+ home runs, 3,000 hits and a .310+ batting average. His career OPS of 1.0027 ranks 10th in MLB history. When it's all said and done, Ramirez should rank higher than Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson on the all-time list.

36) Nap Lajoie

Lajoie was a very good second-baseman. In fact, he is probably the second best second baseman in MLB history behind Rogers Hornsby. His numbers fall short of what Cobb and Wagner were able to accomplish but he was in the same mold as those players.

37) Mike Schmidt

The 1980's provided an underwhelming lack of offense which likely causes stars from that decade to be underrated. Schmidt hit a paltry .267 over his career which doesn't sound like a guy who is the 36th best player ever. Schmidt was much better than his batting average would indicate. He won three MVP awards and ten Gold Gloves. He was, in all likelihood, the best hitter of the 80's.

38) Jim Palmer

Palmer was much like Schmidt. His career numbers don't look phenomenal but he won three Cy Young awards.

39) Vladimir Guerrero

If it weren't for nagging injuries, Guerrero would rate much higher on the list. He started his career as the "perfect" five tool player. He could hit for power and average. He could run the bases and play defense. He probably still has the best outfield arm of his era. He continues to put up big-time numbers but he has likely peaked a little short of what he could have been. Still, Guerrero is a brilliant player who may end up being the best all-around player of his time.

40) Ken Griffey Jr.

Talk about a player who would've ended up higher if it weren't for injuries! Griffey is the poster-child for that claim. He was on pace to crush the all-time home run record. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. Still, Griffey's offense/defense combination makes him one of the best players to play the game. Few centerfielders can claim to be better. He may not finish his career as one of the top ten players, but that doesn't mean he isn't among the best ever.

41) Eddie Collins

Collins didn't make my first draft for the top 50 but I think it would have been a mistake to keep him off. His numbers are just a step below Cobb, Wagner, and Lajoie but impressive nonetheless.
42) Yogi Berra

I had a difficult time ranking the top two catchers in order. Yogi Berra and Johnny Bench are almost universally thought of as the two best catchers ever and for good reason. Both led their organizations to many championships. Their offensive numbers are virtually identical. Both catchers "revolutionized" the *** in their own way. I gave Berra the nod simply because he won three MVP awards and finished in the top three of the voting six times. Bench won two MVP awards and finished in the top three two times.

43) Johnny Bench

Bench is the modern day "bench"-mark for catchers. He is the man by which all great defensive catchers are judged.

44) Sandy Koufax

No player in MLB starts more arguments than Koufax. Some swear he is the greatest pitcher who ever lived. Others think he is overrated. Most understand that Koufax's legacy is more complicated than that. There is no question that he is one of the most dominating pitchers in MLB history. He dominated the regular season on his way to three Cy Young Awards and he dominated the post-season by winning two World Series MVPs while leading the Dodges to three World Series Championships. His six-year run from 1961-1966 stands as one of the greatest pitching runs the league has ever seen. However, Koufax only pitched 2,300+ innings. For comparison's sake, Greg Maddux has pitched 4,800+ innings. Plus, Randy Johnson had an even better six-year stretch from '97-'02. Koufax was very, very good. In fact, he may have had the best three-year run of all-time. However, his relatively short career has to be put into context.

45) Carl Hubbell

It's difficult to compare a pitcher like Hubbell to a pitcher with 27-years of statistics like Nolan Ryan. Their careers could not be more different. Hubbell's career wasn't particularly long but he pitched at a remarkable level. Hubbell won two MVP awards as a pitcher. No pitcher has won more. Hubbell was easily the best player in the 1933 World Series in which he led the New York Giants to the championship. In just two starts, he went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 20 innings. His first start was a complete game nine-inning shutout. The second was an eleven-inning, complete game-gem. Hubbell led the league in wins three times, ERA three times, WHIP six times, and SO to BB ratio five times. Curt Schilling is the modern-day Hubbell.

46) Eddie Plank

Plank didn't rate all that high on The Sporting News' Top 100. He came in at #68. The only problem I have with that is how Plank compares to Steve Carlton who rated at #30 on that same list. Plank was equal to or better than Carlton in almost every significant category. Plank beat Seaver in ERA+ 122-115. Plank had a better career ERA. He had a better WHIP. His winning percentage was significantly better. Both had virtually the same amount of wins (Carlton 329-326) and same Batting Average Against (Plank .239 to .240). Carlton gets a lot of publicity for winning four Cy Young Awards but that award didn't exist when Plank was pitching. It's also important to note that outside of his four Cy Young seasons, Carlton was merely an average pitcher at best. Even with those four seasons, his career ERA+ is one of the lowest, if not the lowest, of any Hall of Fame pitcher.

47) Steve Carlton

The above argument aside, Carlton was a very good pitcher in certain seasons. Plank's numbers are pretty much better across the board but it's not by a significant amount. These two have comparable numbers but I can't see any reason to rank Carlton ahead of Plank. In fact, Carlton's numbers aren't much better than Tom Glavine's. At this point on the list, players are separated by a razor-thin margin. Had Carlton only won two Cy Young Awards, he may have been out of the top 75.

48) Bob Gibson

Bob Gibson is probably remembered as being better than he actually was. That's not to say that Gibson wasn't good. He just isn't anywhere near the top ten pitchers of all-time. He has a number of things working against him. First, his career was relatively short. He only won 251 games. Second, he had one unbelievable season surrounded by a number of good seasons. His career ERA+ of 127 shows evidence of that. Third, his career winning percentage is unremarkably low at .591.

49) Frank Thomas

As hard as I tried, I could not keep the "Big Hurt" out of the top 50. In fact, his offensive numbers are probably so good that I have underrated him at #49. As weird as it is to see his name here, his career OPS is 12th all-time at .9789. He won two MVP awards and finished in the top three five times. He will likely become only the seventh player in MLB history to hit for 500+ home runs and have a batting average of .300+. He was a decent fielder early on but injuries have relegated him to DH status in recent years.

50) Mariano Rivera

I don't usually give a whole lot of credit to closers. I fully understand that their jobs are stressful and their roles are often vital. However, I tend to think of closers as starters who couldn't make it. It is for that reason that I generally wouldn't rate a closer anywhere near one of the top twenty pitchers of all-time. But, I think in this instance, there needs to be an exception. Mariano Rivera is not only the best closer of all-time, but he is one of the best playoff performers at any *** in MLB history. As a reliever, Rivera has finished in the top three of the Cy Young voting four times. His career ERA+ is 200. His career WHIP is 1.00. His career ERA is 2.29. His post-season ERA is .80 in 112+ innings. He's also 8-1 with 34 saves in those 112 innings. During Rivera's tenure, the Yankees have gone to six World Series and won four. There is no doubt in my mind that he needs to be on this list.
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51) Reggie Jackson

Reggie beats out Harmon Killebrew by the slimmest of margins. Killebrew had a slightly better OPS+ (143-139). Both finished in the top five of the MVP Voting numerous times. Both won one MVP Award. Killebrew walked more and struck-out less. Their numbers are very difficult to differentiate. The big difference, though, is Reggie's October heroics. He won two World Series MVPs. He was a part of five World Series-winning teams. He hit .357 with 10 home runs in 98 World Series-at bats. Killebrew only made it to one World Series and ended up on the losing end.

52) Harmon Killebrew

At first glance, Killebrew does not seem impressive enough to rate this high. A closer look, though, reveals that he very much deserves to be rated at 52, if not higher. He finished in the top four of the AL MVP voting an incredible six times. He also led the AL in home runs six times. Only Babe Ruth, Mike Schmidt, and Ralph Kiner have done it more. He hit 40+ home runs eight times in his career and drove in 100+ RBIs ten times. Killebrew is 9th on the all-time home run list and 14th on the all-time walks list. He won the 1969 AL MVP Award and garnered 11 All-Star selections. Killebrew had the unfortunate chore of playing through one of the most difficult eras in MLB history. The 60s were notoriously tough on hitters producing a league batting average of .259. It's important to judge Killebrew against his peers rather than raw numbers versus other eras. It is only then that Killebrew’s impressive accomplishments can be truly appreciated.

53) Carl Yastrzemski

If you took Yaz's career numbers at face value, he might not be a top 55 player. But, it is important to remember that he played during the 60's and 70's when hitters were at a tremendous disadvantage as a result of rules favoring pitchers. Yaz won an MVP award, was the last player to hit for the Triple Crown in either league, appeared in 18 All-Star games, and won seven Gold Gloves. He was one of the best all-around players of the 60's and 70's.

54) Mark McGwire*

It's important to note that McGwire is being rated on his baseball accomplishments only. Most people believe he took steroids so however you want to adjust his legacy is up to you. For this list, though, I'm simply judging his baseball career. McGwire doesn't have the MVP finishes that Jackson and Killebrew have and he didn't play nearly as long. Jackson had almost 4,000 more at-bats while Killebrew had 2,000 more at-bats. Still, McGwire's best seasons were unbelievable. He hit 50+ home runs in four consecutive seasons. Nobody has had fewer at-bats per home run in MLB history. His OPS+ is an astounding 162 which is 12th on the all-time list. He's 9th on the all-time list for slugging percentage. He's 8th on the all-time home run list. McGwire's career wasn't as long as some of the other sluggers but he was easily one of the most feared hitters in MLB history.

55) Pete Rose

I initially had Rose lower but despite not being a great run-producer, his career is truly worthy of this ***. I simply needed to follow my own advice about judging Killebrew by his performance relative to his peers to come to that conclusion. Rose finished in the top 10 of the NL MVP voting 10 times. He is the all-time hits leader. He is 6th on the runs-list. He is 2nd on the doubles-list. His BB:K ratio was truly phenomenal. He walked 1,566 to 1,143 strike outs. He was also the NL MVP in '73 and the World Series MVP in 75. He was a part of three World Series-winning teams and played in six World Series all together. I can't rate Rose much higher than this because his OPS+ is pretty low at 118 and his Runs Created per game is also underwhelming. Nonetheless, Rose's career was fantastic.

56) Joe Morgan

Joe Morgan probably doesn't have one of the top 60 most impressive career resumes based only on numbers. He only hit .271 for his career. However, during his peak years, Morgan was one of the best players in baseball. He won back to back MVP awards in 1975 and 1976. He had a lofty career OBP of .392. He played marvelously in the field as a second-baseman. He also helped his team win two World Series Championships. Morgan is probably the best second-baseman of the last fifty years.

57) Rickey Henderson

The same things that made Rose's career great made Henderson's career great. Henderson has the distinction of being regarded as the greatest leadoff hitter in MLB history. He is the all-time leader in runs and stolen bases. He is 2nd all-time in walks. He won the '90 AL MVP and hit .339 in three World Series appearances. Henderson's OPS+ and RC/G are better than Rose's but Rose's longevity gives him a slight edge over Rickey.

58) George Brett

By just about any measure, George Brett had a great career. He finished with a career OPS+ of 135. He won an MVP Award and finished runner-up twice. He walked more than he struck out. He is 15th on the all-time hits-list, 6th on the all-time doubles-list, 22nd in Runs Created, and 16th in Total Bases. He hit .390 with an OPS+ of 203 in 1980. In 166 postseason at-bats, he hit .337 with an OPS of 1.024. Brett was to the American League in the 80s as Mike Schmidt was to the National League. Schmidt has the advantage in most statistical comparisons over Brett which is why he's ranked higher on the list.

59) Roy Campanella

I had a difficult time rating Campanella's career. He is the hitter-equivalent of Sandy Koufax. Campanella only reached 400+ at-bats in a season six times and only played in more than 130 games in a season twice in his short 10-year career. However, nobody made more out of a 10-year career in MLB history than Campanella. All told, Campanella won three MVPs. Only Barry Bonds has won more. He led the Dodgers to five World Series appearances in eight years. His career tragically ended in 1958 when he was paralyzed in an automobile accident. Campanella's substantial impact would've been even greater had African-American's not been barred from MLB until 1947. Campanella played 11 seasons in the Negro Leagues before being allowed to play in MLB.

60) Jackie Robinson

In many ways, Robinson and Campanella's careers mirrored each other. Both players started their careers in the Negro Leagues. Both paved the way for future African Americans in the sport. Both were picked up by the Dodgers. Both played 10 seasons. Robinson played from 1947-1956. Campanella played from 1948-1957. Robinson was a dynamic player who stunned the league with his speed and hitting prowess. He won the NL MVP in 1949. A modern-day parallel to Robinson in terms of *** of play is Ichiro. Both turned 28 the year they came to the majors. Like Robinson, Ichiro's speed/hitting combination was something MLB hadn't seen in a number of years. I rated Campanella just ahead of Robinson because of his 3 to 1 advantage in MVPs.
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61) Whitey Ford

Ford is a guy who snuck up on me in compiling this list. The more I looked at his career, the more I couldn't rationalize keeping him below 65. No pitcher in MLB history has a higher winning percentage than Ford (min. 3,000 innings). His percentage stands at a whopping .690. He pitched in 11 World Series. In 1961, he won the Cy Young Award and the World Series MVP. Ford was The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year three times. He led the AL in wins three times. His ERA+ is 10th all-time (min. 3,000 innings) among pitchers who pitched after 1900. It's no coincidence that the nine pitchers ahead of him on that list are also ahead of him on this list. I may have even underrated Ford at 61. He didn't come close to 300 wins which is, of course, the "magic" mark for pitchers. Still, Ford has few equals among pitchers in MLB history.

62) Willie Stargell

There seems to be a belief among baseball experts that Willie McCovey was a better player. McCovey and Stargell had very similar careers. Remarkably, both sport an OPS+ of 147 which is outstanding. Both men won MVPs--Stargell in '79; McCovey in '69. I think McCovey's profile was elevated because he hit the "500 home run" mark and at the time of his retirement, he was 8th on the all-time home run-list. Stargell ended up with 475. McCovey was a great player but "Pops" had a slightly more distinguishing career. He finished second in the MVP voting twice barely losing to Pete Rose in '73. He also finished third in '72. He placed in the top ten of the MVP Voting seven times. McCovey had no second place finishes and finished in the top ten of the MVP Voting four times. Based on regular season accomplishments, I think "Pops" gets the slight edge over McCovey. However, when his post-season accolades are factored in, I think he begins to separate himself a bit more from McCovey. Stargell had one of the greatest all-around seasons in baseball history--at least in terms of importance--in '79. He won the NL MVP, NLCS MVP, and World Series MVP. No player in the history of baseball has duplicated that feat. I believe Stargell is one of the most underrated players to play the game. His accomplishments are outstanding even considering the fact that he played in a park where centerfield was 462'!

63) Al Kaline

Kaline never won an MVP of any kind but it's impossible to look at his career numbers without being impressed. He finished in the top ten of the MVP Voting a whopping nine times. He easily could've won the MVP in '55 and '63 as he posted more impressive numbers than the winners on both occasions. Kaline is in the top 40 all-time in Runs, RBIs, and Walks. He is a member of the 3,000-hit club and boasts more walks than strike outs. Kaline won 10 Gold Gloves and made 15 All-Star teams. Kaline was easily the Tigers best hitter in the '68 World Series and would've won the World Series MVP if it weren't for Mickey Lolich's brilliant pitching performance.

64) Curt Schilling

Schilling is a polarizing figure. I've come to the conclusion that you either love him or hate him. I don't have a problem with the people who dislike him. To each his own. However, disliking him and not giving him his proper due are two totally different things. Schilling is a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer who has carved out a legacy that few pitchers in MLB history can touch. In a lot of ways, Schilling's career can be compared to Willie Stargell's. Both had successful careers but didn't reach the big benchmarks like 500 home runs or 300 wins. Both were Hall-of-Famers based on their regular season totals alone but both dominated when it came time for the post-season. Other than Sandy Koufax, Schilling might be the greatest post-season pitcher in MLB history. He won the World Series MVP in 2001 and the NLCS MVP in 1993. He has led his teams to three World Series Championships in four tries. In 21 career post-season starts, Schilling is 12-2 with a 2.45 ERA. In eight World Series starts, Schilling is 4-1 with a 2.03 ERA. His regular season success has also been substantial. He was The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year in '01 and '02. He fanned 300+ in three different seasons. He led the league in wins twice reaching at least 21 wins in three different seasons. Most people probably aren't aware of this but Schilling also has the best SO to BB ratio in modern MLB history. The only thing missing from Schilling's trophy case is a Cy Young Award. He finished runner-up in '01, '02, and '04. Schilling had the misfortune of having his best seasons when Randy Johnson was having quite possibly the greatest run that any pitcher has had in history. It's easy to dismiss Schilling in an era dominated by Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez. I'm not going to suggest Schilling deserves to be in their class but he deserves to be recognized as one of the greats.

65) Gary Sheffield*

There are going to be a number of players on this list that some baseball fans don't understand how good their careers have been. Sheffield is one such player. Barring injury, Sheff will reach 500 home runs and 3,000 hits. He'll also likely top 1,700 runs and RBIs. His OPS+ is very good at 143. He has a brilliant BB to K ratio having walked 1,377 to only 1,042 strikeouts. He has finished in the top ten in the MVP Voting six times and in the top three on three occasions. There isn't a whole lot separating Sheffield and Al Kaline. By the time Sheff is done, he could rate even higher.

66) Jeff Bagwell

There was a great debate going on when Bagwell was still active regarding Bagwell's career versus The Big Hurt's. Both players were born on May 27, 1968. Bagwell was the best first-baseman in the NL in the 90s. Thomas was the best first-baseman in the AL in the 90s. Unfortunately, injuries prevented Bags from reaching the lauded milestones while the Big Hurt will likely reach them all. Still, the work Bagwell did per season is incredible. He finished with 449 home runs in just 14 full seasons. He also surpassed 1,500 RBIs and Runs which is remarkable in such a short amount of time. He also reached 488 doubles and 1400+ walks. Bags won the NL MVP in 1994 when he hit .368 with an OPS+ of 213. If it weren't for a premature ending to his career, Bagwell's numbers may have been good enough to place him in the top 40 of all-time. Instead, he'll have to settle for #66.

67). Johnny Mize

Mize has to be the most underrated player in MLB history. The Sporting News didn't even have him on its list of top 100 baseball players of all-time. Any player who plays for 15 seasons with an OPS+ of 158 has to be among the 100 best players of all-time. If that's not a rule already, it needs to become one. Mize led the league in home runs four times, slugging % four times, RBIs three times, OPS three times, and batting average once. He was the best hitter in baseball in '39, '40, and '47 despite finishing 2nd, 2nd, and 3rd respectively in the MVP Voting. His numbers would have been even better had he not missed three seasons in his prime serving in WWII.

68) Johan Santana

Barry an injury, Santana will finish quite a bit higher than this. In fact, I think there is a good chance he'll move into the top 30 by the time his career is over. His move to the NL only makes that an even greater possibility. Santana has two Cy Young Awards and should've won a third in 2005 when he was clearly the best pitcher in the AL. Santana has won an astounding 68% of his games. He has led the league in ERA twice, K's three times, and WHIP four times. He also won the AL Triple Crown in 2006. Santana is only 29 so if he can stay healthy, he could become the next Pedro Martinez in terms of dominance.

69) Chipper Jones

Few baseball fans probably realize Chipper's greatness when it comes to his place in MLB history. His numbers are eerily similar to Gary Sheffield's. If he can stay healthy--which is a big if--he could become the first third-baseman in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. In fact, he could become only the third player in MLB history to reach those numbers with a better than .300 batting average. Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez will likely beat him to those marks so he would likely be in a club with Mays, Aaron, Ramirez and Rodriguez. That's impressive. He won the '99 NL MVP. He drove in 100+ RBIs in eight-consecutive seasons. He has more walks than strikeouts. He has an excellent OPS+ of 143. Chipper's legacy will likely be directly attached to whether he can reach the hits and home run-milestones. Right or wrong, that's usually how it works in baseball. If he reaches them, his place in baseball history will skyrocket considerably. If he doesn't, he'll probably chime in around this spot.

70). John Smoltz

I've got Smoltz just ahead of Glavine and just behind Schilling. I realize that if I were to go by career statistics, I would have no choice but to place them in the reverse order: Glavine, Smoltz, and then Schilling. However, baseball isn't about mass statistics. It's about peaks and average performance. For instance, with the same offenses, would you rather have Smoltz's 127 ERA+ or Glavine's 118? Would you rather have Smoltz's 1.17 WHIP or Glavine's 1.31? Would you rather have Smoltz's 2975:984 K to BB ratio, or Glavine's 2570:1463? You get the idea. Smoltz beats Glavine in just about every "average" statistic. Glavine beats Smoltz in wins and Cy Young Awards. Obviously, the latter two are important. But, a pitcher is only directly in control of how he pitches and not how his team hits. I think in any instance where you're comparing two pitchers from the same team and one had a better ERA, WHIP, and K to BB ratio, that pitcher deserves to be considered the better pitcher. Plus, Smoltz has been--by far--the better postseason pitcher of the two. Smoltz's ERA in 27 postseason starts is 2.65. Glavine's in 35 starts is 3.42.
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61) Whitey Ford

Ford is a guy who snuck up on me in compiling this list. The more I looked at his career, the more I couldn't rationalize keeping him below 65. No pitcher in MLB history has a higher winning percentage than Ford (min. 3,000 innings). His percentage stands at a whopping .690. He pitched in 11 World Series. In 1961, he won the Cy Young Award and the World Series MVP. Ford was The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year three times. He led the AL in wins three times. His ERA+ is 10th all-time (min. 3,000 innings) among pitchers who pitched after 1900. It's no coincidence that the nine pitchers ahead of him on that list are also ahead of him on this list. I may have even underrated Ford at 61. He didn't come close to 300 wins which is, of course, the "magic" mark for pitchers. Still, Ford has few equals among pitchers in MLB history.

62) Willie Stargell

There seems to be a belief among baseball experts that Willie McCovey was a better player. McCovey and Stargell had very similar careers. Remarkably, both sport an OPS+ of 147 which is outstanding. Both men won MVPs--Stargell in '79; McCovey in '69. I think McCovey's profile was elevated because he hit the "500 home run" mark and at the time of his retirement, he was 8th on the all-time home run-list. Stargell ended up with 475. McCovey was a great player but "Pops" had a slightly more distinguishing career. He finished second in the MVP voting twice barely losing to Pete Rose in '73. He also finished third in '72. He placed in the top ten of the MVP Voting seven times. McCovey had no second place finishes and finished in the top ten of the MVP Voting four times. Based on regular season accomplishments, I think "Pops" gets the slight edge over McCovey. However, when his post-season accolades are factored in, I think he begins to separate himself a bit more from McCovey. Stargell had one of the greatest all-around seasons in baseball history--at least in terms of importance--in '79. He won the NL MVP, NLCS MVP, and World Series MVP. No player in the history of baseball has duplicated that feat. I believe Stargell is one of the most underrated players to play the game. His accomplishments are outstanding even considering the fact that he played in a park where centerfield was 462'!

63) Al Kaline

Kaline never won an MVP of any kind but it's impossible to look at his career numbers without being impressed. He finished in the top ten of the MVP Voting a whopping nine times. He easily could've won the MVP in '55 and '63 as he posted more impressive numbers than the winners on both occasions. Kaline is in the top 40 all-time in Runs, RBIs, and Walks. He is a member of the 3,000-hit club and boasts more walks than strike outs. Kaline won 10 Gold Gloves and made 15 All-Star teams. Kaline was easily the Tigers best hitter in the '68 World Series and would've won the World Series MVP if it weren't for Mickey Lolich's brilliant pitching performance.

64) Curt Schilling

Schilling is a polarizing figure. I've come to the conclusion that you either love him or hate him. I don't have a problem with the people who dislike him. To each his own. However, disliking him and not giving him his proper due are two totally different things. Schilling is a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer who has carved out a legacy that few pitchers in MLB history can touch. In a lot of ways, Schilling's career can be compared to Willie Stargell's. Both had successful careers but didn't reach the big benchmarks like 500 home runs or 300 wins. Both were Hall-of-Famers based on their regular season totals alone but both dominated when it came time for the post-season. Other than Sandy Koufax, Schilling might be the greatest post-season pitcher in MLB history. He won the World Series MVP in 2001 and the NLCS MVP in 1993. He has led his teams to three World Series Championships in four tries. In 21 career post-season starts, Schilling is 12-2 with a 2.45 ERA. In eight World Series starts, Schilling is 4-1 with a 2.03 ERA. His regular season success has also been substantial. He was The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year in '01 and '02. He fanned 300+ in three different seasons. He led the league in wins twice reaching at least 21 wins in three different seasons. Most people probably aren't aware of this but Schilling also has the best SO to BB ratio in modern MLB history. The only thing missing from Schilling's trophy case is a Cy Young Award. He finished runner-up in '01, '02, and '04. Schilling had the misfortune of having his best seasons when Randy Johnson was having quite possibly the greatest run that any pitcher has had in history. It's easy to dismiss Schilling in an era dominated by Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez. I'm not going to suggest Schilling deserves to be in their class but he deserves to be recognized as one of the greats.

65) Gary Sheffield*

There are going to be a number of players on this list that some baseball fans don't understand how good their careers have been. Sheffield is one such player. Barring injury, Sheff will reach 500 home runs and 3,000 hits. He'll also likely top 1,700 runs and RBIs. His OPS+ is very good at 143. He has a brilliant BB to K ratio having walked 1,377 to only 1,042 strikeouts. He has finished in the top ten in the MVP Voting six times and in the top three on three occasions. There isn't a whole lot separating Sheffield and Al Kaline. By the time Sheff is done, he could rate even higher.

66) Jeff Bagwell

There was a great debate going on when Bagwell was still active regarding Bagwell's career versus The Big Hurt's. Both players were born on May 27, 1968. Bagwell was the best first-baseman in the NL in the 90s. Thomas was the best first-baseman in the AL in the 90s. Unfortunately, injuries prevented Bags from reaching the lauded milestones while the Big Hurt will likely reach them all. Still, the work Bagwell did per season is incredible. He finished with 449 home runs in just 14 full seasons. He also surpassed 1,500 RBIs and Runs which is remarkable in such a short amount of time. He also reached 488 doubles and 1400+ walks. Bags won the NL MVP in 1994 when he hit .368 with an OPS+ of 213. If it weren't for a premature ending to his career, Bagwell's numbers may have been good enough to place him in the top 40 of all-time. Instead, he'll have to settle for #66.

67). Johnny Mize

Mize has to be the most underrated player in MLB history. The Sporting News didn't even have him on its list of top 100 baseball players of all-time. Any player who plays for 15 seasons with an OPS+ of 158 has to be among the 100 best players of all-time. If that's not a rule already, it needs to become one. Mize led the league in home runs four times, slugging % four times, RBIs three times, OPS three times, and batting average once. He was the best hitter in baseball in '39, '40, and '47 despite finishing 2nd, 2nd, and 3rd respectively in the MVP Voting. His numbers would have been even better had he not missed three seasons in his prime serving in WWII.

68) Johan Santana

Barry an injury, Santana will finish quite a bit higher than this. In fact, I think there is a good chance he'll move into the top 30 by the time his career is over. His move to the NL only makes that an even greater possibility. Santana has two Cy Young Awards and should've won a third in 2005 when he was clearly the best pitcher in the AL. Santana has won an astounding 68% of his games. He has led the league in ERA twice, K's three times, and WHIP four times. He also won the AL Triple Crown in 2006. Santana is only 29 so if he can stay healthy, he could become the next Pedro Martinez in terms of dominance.
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Geovanni, en honor a la verdad: el cubano MARTIN DIHIGO fue el mejor pelotero de todos los tiempos.
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68) Johan Santana

Barry an injury, Santana will finish quite a bit higher than this. In fact, I think there is a good chance he'll move into the top 30 by the time his career is over. His move to the NL only makes that an even greater possibility. Santana has two Cy Young Awards and should've won a third in 2005 when he was clearly the best pitcher in the AL. Santana has won an astounding 68% of his games. He has led the league in ERA twice, K's three times, and WHIP four times. He also won the AL Triple Crown in 2006. Santana is only 29 so if he can stay healthy, he could become the next Pedro Martinez in terms of dominance.

69) Chipper Jones

Few baseball fans probably realize Chipper's greatness when it comes to his place in MLB history. His numbers are eerily similar to Gary Sheffield's. If he can stay healthy--which is a big if--he could become the first third-baseman in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. In fact, he could become only the third player in MLB history to reach those numbers with a better than .300 batting average. Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez will likely beat him to those marks so he would likely be in a club with Mays, Aaron, Ramirez and Rodriguez. That's impressive. He won the '99 NL MVP. He drove in 100+ RBIs in eight-consecutive seasons. He has more walks than strikeouts. He has an excellent OPS+ of 143. Chipper's legacy will likely be directly attached to whether he can reach the hits and home run-milestones. Right or wrong, that's usually how it works in baseball. If he reaches them, his place in baseball history will skyrocket considerably. If he doesn't, he'll probably chime in around this spot.

70). John Smoltz

I've got Smoltz just ahead of Glavine and just behind Schilling. I realize that if I were to go by career statistics, I would have no choice but to place them in the reverse order: Glavine, Smoltz, and then Schilling. However, baseball isn't about mass statistics. It's about peaks and average performance. For instance, with the same offenses, would you rather have Smoltz's 127 ERA+ or Glavine's 118? Would you rather have Smoltz's 1.17 WHIP or Glavine's 1.31? Would you rather have Smoltz's 2975:984 K to BB ratio, or Glavine's 2570:1463? You get the idea. Smoltz beats Glavine in just about every "average" statistic. Glavine beats Smoltz in wins and Cy Young Awards. Obviously, the latter two are important. But, a pitcher is only directly in control of how he pitches and not how his team hits. I think in any instance where you're comparing two pitchers from the same team and one had a better ERA, WHIP, and K to BB ratio, that pitcher deserves to be considered the better pitcher. Plus, Smoltz has been--by far--the better postseason pitcher of the two. Smoltz's ERA in 27 postseason starts is 2.65. Glavine's in 35 starts is 3.42.

71). Tom Glavine

That's not meant to take anything away from Glavine. Glavine has five 20-win seasons under his belt. He has two Cy Young Awards and finished in the top three six times. Clearly, Glavine has been the beneficiary of stellar run support because his ERA+ and WHIP aren't nearly as impressive as Smoltz, yet he has a better winning percentage. Still, Glavine's career is undoubtedly impressive with 300+ wins and counting.

72) Willie McCovey

McCovey had a very solid career. He hit 500+ home runs, drove in 1500+ RBIs and scored 1500+ runs. His OPS+ is very good at 147. He won the 1969 NL MVP with an outstanding OPS+ of 209. In 22 seasons, though, McCovey only finished in the top 10 of the MVP Voting four times. His career statistics are no doubt impressive but I cannot rationalize placing him ahead of anyone above him on this list.

73) Harry Heilman

Heilmann could rake but his career was on the relative short side at essentially 15 seasons. From 1921 to 1929, Heilmann was a beast. His OPS+ in each of those seasons went as follows: 167, 169, 194, 148, 160, 153, 180, 133, and 149. Over that stretch, he hit .372 and averaged 195 hits, 116 RBIs, and 100 runs per year. Heilmann was probably the second best hitter of the 20s behind Babe Ruth (Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx were on the scene in the late 20s and throughout the 30s).

74). Roberto Clemente

Clemente was a great player. However, there is a difference between a hitter with a good batting average and speed, and the great run-producers of all-time. That's why you'll see players like Clemente, Rod Carew and Tony Gwynn near the back quarter of the list. Clemente's OPS+ was still pretty good at 130. The most impressive aspect of his tragically shortened career is his finishes in league MVP Voting. Clemente finished in the top 10 eight times. He won the '66 MVP and was the World Series MVP in 1971. Clemente reached 3,000 hits and played spectacular defense in centerfield.
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