Wednesday, November 10, 2004
ALL-TIME TOP 100s: Second Base
I need to start today by doing a quick little advertisement for our good friends over at The Hardball Times. They have released a book The Hardball Times 2004 Baseball Annual which is now available for you to purchase. The printed book costs $16.75 and you can order it here. You can also get a downloadable version for $6.25. It will include some of the best writing by their great stable of writers. I would certainly encourage any of your to purchase the book! As Aaron Gleeman wrote yesterday:
The book is great and includes a ton of hard work from everyone involved. We've got plenty of new articles covering the 2004 season, from in-depth division reviews and a recap of the postseason to looks at the year in the minors, college baseball, the Japanese leagues, and fantasy ball. We've also included some of our very best work from the website over the past year, as well as an extraordinary amount of stats and graphs (so it's not only a good read, it can be a reference guide for years to come).
We've got all the Win Shares info you could ever ask for, league and team totals for tons of categories, individual league leaders, four pages of numbers devoted to each and every team with detailed batting, pitching and fielding stats, and individual plate appearance outcomes (strikeout, walk, fly ball, ground ball, line drive) for every significant pitcher and hitter in baseball. Plus a whole bunch of other stuff too.
Well, I guess I was wrong in my choice for NL Cy Young. Roger Clemens won his seventh Cy Young, his first in the National League. Sure, I still believe that Randy Johnson had the better, more dominant season, but Roger Clemens was really good too. He was 18-4 with a 2.98 ERA. So, I won't feel too bad about this selection. Now, if tomorrow we find out that Curt Schilling wins the AL Cy Young and Johan Santana doesn't, I won't be as understanding!!
Finally, be sure to check out Stick and Ball Guy's thoughts on the baseball Hall of Fame. He describes it quite well. Here are my thoughts on the Hall of Fame from my visit a couple of years ago.
Today, we will continue the Top 100s series that Justin Ahern researched for us. If you would like some background on the process used to develop this report and ranking, please click here. Here are the previous Top 100 lists:
All-Time Top 100: Catchers
All-Time Top 100s: First Basemen
If you have any questions for me, or if you have any questions for Justin, please e-mail me, and I will be sure to forward your thoughts to him.
THE SECOND BASEMEN
Here are the Top 100 Second Basemen of All-Time. Please send me your thoughts on the Top 100s.
Rank Player Year Born Total 1 Rogers Hornsby 1896 168.10 2 Joe Morgan 1943 167.57 3 Eddie Collins 1887 165.80 4 Nap Lajoie 1874 158.20 5 Craig Biggio 1965 148.06 6 Ryne Sandberg 1959 143.37 7 Rod Carew 1945 140.65 8 Roberto Alomar 1968 139.69 9 Jackie Robinson 1919 139.50 10 Charlie Gehringer 1903 139.49 11 Bobby Grich 1949 134.54 12 Frankie Frisch 1898 130.18 13 Jeff Kent 1968 125.77 14 Billy Herman 1909 125.02 15 Lou Whitaker 1957 124.56 16 Edgardo Alfonzo 1973 123.02 17 Larry Doyle 1886 122.58 18 Nellie Fox 1927 120.76 19 Willie Randolph 1954 119.86 20 Bobby Doerr 1918 117.85 21 Dave Lopes 1945 116.92 22 Cupid Childs 1867 116.53 23 Joe Gordon 1915 115.93 24 Dick McAuliffe 1939 115.10 25 Bret Boone 1969 114.22 26 Johnny Evers 1881 113.37 27 Tony Lazzeri 1903 112.84 28 Red Schoendienst 1923 111.94 29 Chuck Knoblauch 1968 111.63 30 Eddie Stanky 1916 111.32 31 Buddy Myer 1904 111.28 32 Hardy Richardson 1855 109.93 33 Jim Gilliam 1928 109.31 34 Gil McDougald 1928 109.16 35 Bobby Avila 1924 109.11 36 Bill Doran 1958 108.71 37 Lonnie Frey 1910 107.62 38 Bid McPhee 1859 106.85 39 Steve Sax 1960 106.85 40 Pete Runnels 1928 104.92 41 Ray Durham 1971 103.78 42 Del Pratt 1888 103.58 43 Danny Murphy 1876 103.08 44 Jimmy Williams 1876 102.47 45 Miller Huggins 1879 102.37 46 Carlos Baerga 1968 102.14 47 Ron Hunt 1941 100.25 48 Fred Dunlap 1859 99.74 49 Max Bishop 1899 99.33 50 Delino DeShields 1969 99.29 51 Dave Cash 1948 99.03 52 Jose Vidro 1974 98.94 53 George Grantham 1900 98.53 54 Robby Thompson 1962 98.46 55 Tom Herr 1956 98.14 56 Dave Johnson 1943 97.95 57 Tom Daly 1866 97.80 58 Phil Garner 1949 97.71 59 Tony Cuccinello 1907 96.82 60 Bill Mazeroski 1936 96.50 61 Juan Samuel 1960 96.28 62 Alfonso Soriano 1976 95.54 63 Claude Ritchey 1873 94.83 64 Johnny Ray 1957 92.91 65 Luis Castillo 1975 92.35 66 Marty McManus 1900 92.06 67 Frank White 1950 92.01 68 Johnny Temple 1927 91.41 69 Mike Andrews 1943 89.80 70 Jorge Orta 1950 89.48 71 Tony Taylor 1935 89.29 72 Fred Pfeffer 1860 89.23 73 Buck Herzog 1885 88.90 74 Jerry Priddy 1919 88.84 75 Billy Goodman 1926 88.43 76 Yank Robinson 1859 88.11 77 Jim Delahanty 1879 87.09 78 Felix Millan 1943 87.04 79 Glenn Hubbard 1957 86.65 80 Harold Reynolds 1960 86.59 81 Jim Lefebvre 1942 86.47 82 Horace Clarke 1940 86.18 83 Don Blasingame 1932 85.17 84 Glenn Beckert 1940 84.79 85 Jim Gantner 1953 84.53 86 Bobby Lowe 1865 84.25 87 Rennie Stennett 1951 84.18 88 Tony Womack 1969 83.95 89 Damion Easley 1969 83.55 90 Mark McLemore 1964 83.25 91 Mark Loretta 1971 82.63 92 Frank Bolling 1931 82.42 93 Fernando Vina 1969 82.35 94 Odell Hale 1908 81.95 95 Jerry Lumpe 1933 81.49 96 Kid Gleason 1866 80.90 97 Ted Sizemore 1945 80.82 98 Sparky Adams 1894 80.76 99 Bucky Harris 1896 80.73 100 Bobby Richardson 1935 79.23 101 Tito Fuentes 1944 79.15 102 Placido Polanco 1975 79.02 103 Hughie Critz 1900 78.76 104 Manny Trillo 1950 78.67 105 Jerry Remy 1952 77.65 106 Cookie Rojas 1939 77.43 107 Ron Oester 1956 77.20 108 Julian Javier 1936 76.53 109 Todd Walker 1973 76.29 110 George Cutshaw 1887 74.96 111 Cass Michaels 1926 72.18 112 Tommy Helms 1941 71.47
Part of the reason that I wanted to do these rankings is because I believe something and I wanted to see if it was true. I believe that far too few of the player that I grew up watching are getting elected to the Hall of Fame. For some reason career counting stats have become the standard for electing players into the HOF. Players almost have to hit 500 home runs or get 3,000 hits or win 300 games to get elected. That has never been the case. There isn't a position that states my case more clearly than second base. Ryne Sandberg isn't in the HOF and he obviously belongs there. Charlie Gehringer, Rod Carew, Frankie Frisch, Billy Herman, Nellie Fox, Bobby Doerr, Tony Lazzeri, Johnny Evers, Red Schoendienst, Bill Mazeroski, and Bid McPhee are all in the HOF and they all rate lower than Sandberg on this list. There is no doubt that you can argue that Gehringer, Carew, Fox, and maybe Frisch and Mazeroski were as good as Sandberg, but those other guys don't even compare. They are more equal to Lou Whitaker, Willie Randolph, Chuck Knoblach, Ray Durham, Edgardo Alfonso, and Bret Boone than Sandberg and we will all be dead before any of those guys get elected. I wonder if that's why Roberto Alomar is still playing. He probably feels like he has to get to 3,000 to get elected to the HOF. I don't blame him for thinking that.
There are several active players on this list and the only one who really surprises me is Edgardo Alfonso. He was an excellent player when he was on the Mets and playing in Shea Stadium deflated his hitting stats a little. It's rare for a guy playing in New York to be underrated, but this might be a case of that happening. He did get some MVP consideration a couple of times, but I didn't think that he would rate this high. I was curious about where Boone and Kent would rate and I think that they are about where they belong. Kent still has an outside shot at making it to the Hall. His biggest problem is that he could be the 4th best second baseman on the ballot by the time he is eligible unless Biggo, Alomar, or Sandberg is in by then.
This is another position that shows the limited ability of Win Shares to evaluate defense. James had Morgan rated #1 and my method shows Hornsby being #1. James chose Morgan because Hornsby couldn't field his position much better than I could. He is probably right. Mazeroski is also rated too low in this system because he was a great fielder-probably the best ever.
The Chuck Knoblach trade was a good trade for all parties involved except Knoblach. Knoblach helped the Yankees win 3 World Series championships while the Twins got several prospect directly and directly from that trade. The only loser in the trade was Knoblach. It may have cost him a shot at a HOF career. He is still only 36 years old right now. I think that had Knoblach remained a Twin, he wouldn't have forgotten how to throw the ball to the first baseman and would probably still be playing today. If he were still active and effective, he would rate right up with Jeff Kent and possibly as high as Alomar and Biggio. He really was a great player while with the Twins..
I guess this statistical analysis legitimizes every argument for Ryne Sandberg getting inducted into the Hall of Fame. I mean, there are a bunch of second basemen who didn't accomplish half as much and are enshrined. But if the career of Sandberg is surprising, imagine the shock on my face when I saw how Craig Biggio ranks with the all-time great second basemen. He started as a catcher, and became a Gold Glove caliber second baseman. Then the move to centerfield and this year, he moved to left field. And had one of his best seasons of his career.
I really thought that Roberto Alomar would have ranked higher on this list, but you have to assume that his per-162 games played numbers have really dropped in recent years. Jeff Kent is high on the lest, as is Bret Boone. You have to wonder how continuing their careers will affect their rankings.
The '80s were a golden era for 2B with Ryne Sandberg and the AL comination of Bobby Grich, Lou Whitaker and Willie Randolph. Rod Carew was a 1B by that time.
I really like two sport athletes. I will argue with anyone that Bo Jackson is the greatest "Athlete" of all time, or at least or the past fifty years. Another two sport athlete was Delino Deshields. Of course, he didn't play two sports professionally, but he did turn down basketball scholarships to sign with the Expos. I liked him, but only in researching his seasonal Win Shares did I realize just how good he really was for a decade or so.
#7 - Rod Carew (Twins 1967-1978)
#29 - Chuck Knoblauch (Twins 1991-1997)
#55 - Tom Herr (Twins 1988)
#109 - Todd Walker (Twins 1996-2000)
I still get upset just reading the name of Tom Herr! Why did Andy McPhail feel the need to trade Tom Brunansky for Tom Herr!?? Steve Lombardozzi was just fine for the Twins (unless you ask Dan Gladden, of course. Speaking of names that make a Twins fans' skin crawl, look no further than Todd Walker. Sure, Chuck Knoblauch left the Twins under bad circumstances, but the fact is that he was incredible during his seven seasons in Minnesota!
Second base is a surprisingly good, deep position. There are not a lot of top-level players, but many very strong players. Bill Mazeroski, for all of the defensive Win Shares, he accumulated was not a great all-around player.
Do you have any thoughts on these first base ratings? Do you have any questions for myself or for Justin Ahern on this ranking or how this was comprised? If you have any thoughts, please e-mail me, and be sure to check back in the coming weeks for the rest of the positions.
The Wolves got off to a terrible start, but an impressive fourth quarter comeback fell just one point short when a last second fade away jumper by Latrell Sprewell clanked off the iron. Wally Szczerbiak scored 16 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to lead the comeback. Kevin Garnett scored 22 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 8 assists. Sadly, he was just 6-14 from the free throw line. Sprewell added 21 points and 5 assists, and Troy Hudson had 15 points.
The loss was unfortunate because the Pacers played without Reggie Miller, Ron Artest and Jonathon Bender. There was talk that Artest is contemplating retirement. Sounds like a Ricky Williams type of deal to me. I mean, Artest is on the top of his game, one of the best guards in basketball, on both ends of the court. So, it doesn't make sense, but who knows?!
Playing without those three, the Pacers showed their great depth. Stephen Jackson, Fred Jones and James Jones all chipped in with their additional minutes. And, the Pacers still played with Jermaine O'Neal and Jamal Tinsley.
Eddie Griffin played his first minutes (12) with the Wolves after serving his 3 game suspension.
Next up for the Rockets, a trip to Houston to take on Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming and the Rockets.
Any thoughts on the Wolves... e-mail me.
That's it for today. I hope you are enjoying the positional rankings. Please feel free to let me know what you think. If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future topics, please e-mail me.
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