Friday, January 05, 2007

Top 50 MLB Baseball Players of All-Time

***Click here for UPDATED "Top 100" version***


Anonymous said...

Nice to see some love for Griffey. I enjoyed watching him play CF when he visited Tiger Stadium.


Met-Fan said...

Nice List. Appreciate the love for Splendid Splinter and the Iron Horse. DiMaggio IMO is a top 5 player. Four WS rings in his first four years, excellent base runner, defense comprable to Mays if not better. He was a legend as big as Ruth or Jordan. At Old Timers games they introduced as the "Greatest Living Ball Player" for a reason. A short career but note 361 HRs, 369 SOs. Bonds (yikes) great numbers but not a great teammate or a guy that makes those around him better. Statistically he's had some amazing years e.g. HR to strikeout ratio that approaches the best ever (2002,2004) ala Gehrig and DiMaggio, but he would be in my top 50 (sorry).

Jake said...

Thanks for the comments.

I think Griffey would have been a top 20 play easily (maybe even top 10) had he not had the injury bug. He was every bit the player Mays was. I have to admit that I am pretty bummed out with regards to how things worked out for him.

Met-Fan, I've got no qualms with DiMaggio in the top 5. The fact that he played in one of the most difficult hitting parks for right handers in MLB history is something that cannot be ignored.

I'd like to take another look at the top 50 sometime down the road. I am already anticipating looking at the DiMaggio/Mays comparison again.

Anonymous said...

I really really enjoyed the list. It definately seems to be done objectively, which is hard to do. I know if I had done it, I would have put Gibson much higher just because I am such a fan, but you're right, he really had only one really dominating year. I do have to say though, it is crazy to put Hank Aaron #22, that is way too low. Didn't people from that era think Aaron and Mays were comparable? Finally, I loved how you included some current players, like Pujols and Ramirez. Nice job.

Jake said...

Thanks for the comments. I am not 100% sure how people viewed Mays and Aaron. I have always been under the impression that Mays was considered to be the better player by a good amount. I do know that Mays was a superior baserunner and defensive player. I think those two things are what made Mays so good. Mays even had a better OPS+ (they are essentially tied in this category 156-155). OPS+ is a statistic that the elite of the elite hitters thrive in. Aaron is considered one of the best power hitters of all-time. So if Mays beats him in OPS+ and baserunning and defense, then he probably holds a pretty big lead.

All of the other players that I have ahead of Aaron were either signficantly better in OPS+ and Runs Created/27 outs or played stellar defense and had similar OPS+ ratings.

I may have underrated Aaron. I'm just sure who to move him ahead of. There were a lot of tough calls.

Take care!


Anonymous said...

Yeah you're right, Aaron was very consistent for a long time but didn't have an overwhelming prime like most of the guys ahead of him. I asked my dad, who saw Aaron and Mays play, and he said that Mays was a lot better, so you were definitely right about that. One more thing you can say about Ruth is that on top of all his hitting stats, he was also one of the better pitchers in the league when he was with the red sox, and was awesome in big games. Finally, I was wondering if you considered Pudge Rodriguez at all...some consider him the best defensive catcher ever, if not the best catcher ever. And he won an MVP. Alright, take care man.

Jake said...

Before I respond, I wanted to clear up something about the “near misses”. I have Nolan Ryan listed twice. One of those is supposed to be Pete Rose.

Rose came close. I am not married to the idea of not having Rose in the top 50. It’s just that the average season in his career was nowhere near the average season of the other players on the list. In a typical season, Rose hit .305 with 8 Hr’s, 55 RBI’s, 10 SB’s and an OPS+ around 130. Other than his hits total, his career statistics are just that of a pretty good baseball player. Check out his statistics and tell me how impressed you are not by the longevity but by the actual seasonal statistics. Pete Rose is the Nolan Ryan of hitters in my opinion. Rose was really, really good at getting singles. Ryan was really, really good at getting strike outs. The rest of their stats might not even be Hall of Fame worthy. I loved both players when I was a kid. They were both very good. I just think their sheer numbers have put them a little bit higher in perception than their yearly averages indicate. Both would have definitely been ranked between 50-60.

Thanks for the comments. What you value will undoubtedly differ greatly from what I value. I can only tell you how I came to my conclusions. As long as you use sound arguments, there really are no wrong answers.

Jesus Walks said...

I like thw list but you left out Roberto Clemente, Rod Crew and Reggie Jackson those names are famous. And until proven guilty Bonds is #1.

Dirty_Granius said...

I didn't even read the list yet, because I was gonna start at 50 and read up. I noticed your clarification post about the 2 Nolan Ryan entries, and the explanation why they weren't in the 50. Now, I'm not knocking you, but if Andruw Jones isn't in the top 50 now, why should he be at the end of his career, if Pete Rose and Nolan Ryan don't make it based on their career stats? Now I know you could argue that Andruw Jones by the end of his career wil amass stats that increase his seasonal stats avg., but by counting on that, you are basically saying that his seasonal stats aren't good enough to get him in at present. Now, Pete Rose and Nolan Ryan are, as you said, Fan Faves, and alot of emotion goes in to people choosing/wanting them to be in the list/s etc. I especially think this is true of Pete Rose, especially if you try and make a stat based list. I don't know if I would/could truly argue for him to be in the top 50,Rose's strength was the intangible/variable element. The fact that there is no stat that tells you how many of Pete singles should have been outs (hence Charlie Hustle) limits the true accuracy of a stat based rating. He was great at turning nothing into something. However, later on in his career, like when he broke the singles record, he was just a token player, more there for inspiration than actual results. (Just a note - I don't want anyone thinking I'm trying to make an in for the John Kruks of the world; I'm not). The same cannot be said about Nolan Ryan. Strikes are to pitchers as hits are to batters. A strike doesn't guarentee an out, and a hit doesn't guarentee a run, but thats the bread and butter. Nolan Ryan was an effective picther through his career (in relavence to age and barring injury time)till he retired. And since he was only a baseball player (, and not a two sport athelete - It was his career), I don't since why a career stat that is high should count against him. Whats better, a guy who's a great pitcher for 8 seasons, or one that is good (really good maybe) for 27 seasons? Remember that Ryan played on some real garbage teams for part of his career, and the picture gets even clearer. I'm not saying this list is wrong by any means; I'm not enough of an authority or fan to question it at all, I'm just posing a question, I guess. What are your thoughts? Thanks for your time everyone.

Jake said...

Excellent points and questions. Nolan Ryan and Pete Rose were difficult omissions for sure. Longevity is certainly a big part of the equation but level of play is equally important, if not more. Rose and Ryan fall short in the latter category at least when compared to the 50 players that I have on the list ahead of them. The problem with putting A. Jones in right now, in my opinion, is that he’s only been in the league ten years and he’s not at the same offensive level as A-Rod, Pujols and Vlad Guerrero who are in my top 50. He is probably the best defensive outfielder of our era which counts for something. It’s important, though, to remember how much more important offense is than fielding. Jones’ offensive numbers are nowhere near what you’d think for a guy that has 343 home runs at the age of 30. His OPS + is an abysmal (abysmal for a guy who we’re considering for the top 50) 115. That number is shocking. I had no idea it was that low until I just looked it up. He hasn’t stolen more than 8 bases in 7 years. His k/bb ratio is one of the worst in MLB history. He is basically a homerun or bust type player offensively. His career totals will be impressive by the time his career is done because he started full-time at the age of 19 but his shortcomings offensively will be obvious if his averages don’t improve. I want to emphasize that my use of “shortcomings” is relative to the discussion. Certainly, I would rather have him as my #4 hitter than most.

Now, I see where you’re coming from with respect to Ryan and Jones. I did not pre-determine how many pitchers and batters were going to make the list. I ranked the pitchers in order and hitters in order. I had Ryan ranked as the 20th best pitcher. As it turns out, only 19 pitchers made the list. So part of the reason why he didn’t make it is because I felt there were 19 better pitchers. The thing about Ryan that’s very difficult to do is separating his legend from reality. When I was growing up, I thought Ryan was the end-all to pitchers. All I ever heard about was his 100+ mph fastball, his no-hitters and his reign as the strike out king. Those are all impressive distinctions but how much do they actually mean? Those things pale in comparison to categories like ERA+, Cy Young Awards, and Winning %. Ryan played 27 seasons (!!!) and never won a Cy Young Award. He came in second for the award one time. His ERA+ (112) is dwarfed by every pitcher I have on the list. That total means that Ryan’s career ERA was only 12% better than the average pitcher in MLB. Compare that to Pedro Martinez (166), Clemens (143), Randy Johnson (142), and Greg Maddux (138) and you start to get an idea of how unimpressive a 112 ERA+ is. The one thing that a pitcher can control—even on a terrible team—is his ERA. Here is another way to look at it: In 27 seasons, Ryan only had three years in which his ERA + for the year was over 138. Maddux averaged that for his entire career. Randy, Pedro and Clemens were even better. One thing that tends to happen to players that play forever (i.e. Pete Rose) is that their averages (i.e. OPS+) go down significantly near the last few years when their level of play has dropped off. That is not the case for Ryan. He actually had some of his better seasons near the end of his career.

While I can definitely appreciate the uniqueness of Nolan Ryan, I can’t overlook what he actually accomplished during his career. There is no question in my mind that he falls somewhere between 50 and 60 on the list but I can’t rationalize putting him in the top 50.

I don’t know if Jones is going to finish among the top 50 players of all-time. I think it is very possible. He is certainly one of the best offense/defense combinations the league has ever seen. It will take perspective, though, to separate his actual effectiveness as a hitter from what his perception is. In a lot of ways, Jones could end up being a lot like Nolan Ryan.

Thanks again for the comments!


Anonymous said...

While agree with your opinion on most of the position players you have in the top 50, i disagree with a few of your choices at the pitching spots. In terms of a player's ERA, Roger Clemens should not be that high up in the list. Walter Johnson, Greg Maddux, Warren Spahn, Pedro Martinez, Jim Palmer, Bob Gibson, and Babe Ruth . So did Sandy Koufax who isn't even on your list. I don't think that all of these players should be ahead of Clemens, but i do think that you should rearrange the order of these pitchers. I also think that you should place Mike Piazza on the list or at least in your afternote along with Andruw Jones.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about that. In response to that list of pitchers i gave, i intended to include that they all have lower ERAs than Clemens.

Jake said...

Thanks for the suggestions. I appreciate the interest. If you haven't already read it, I encourage you to read my post on Clemens. You can find it linked underneath Clemens in the Top 50 list. That should shed some light on how I view Clemens.

Take care!


Anonymous said...

I was just "skimming" thru so I might be wrong but....HOW IN THE WORLD IS Sandy Koufax NOT in the Top 50!?!?!????

can you name any one who won the CyYoung unanimously 3 times, and had four no-hitters, one in each year? I didn't think so! He has two rings so don't give me that....and a perfect game under his sleeve, and won two, not one but two decisive game sevens! And , if he wouldn't have had terririble arm problems, he would easily have been in the top 20!

Anonymous Koufax lover

Jake said...


Thanks for the interest. Leaving Koufax off the list wasn't easy but it also wasn't necessarily an indication of how good I feel Koufax was. If I made a list of the top 50 players of all-time based on a three-year stretch, then Koufax would be in the top five. He was unquestionably unbelievable.

What it really came down to was how I defined my list. Click on the link below to get a better idea of how I did this. Of particular interest to your comments would be the paragraph titled "Special Circumstances"

Koufax was brilliant for 4.5-5 seasons. Most of the players on the list played 15-20 years. That's why you won't find Koufax on my list.

Hopefully I didn't annoy you too much. It's just that when you make a list of anything, you have to define the parameters of the list. Longevity played a crucial role in how I compared everyone.

Take care,


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your list greatly and felt it was very well thought out and researched. I do think that Pedro Martinez should be rated higher. In spite of the injuries, he has put up numbers that few, if any have matched, and for years.

I also think perhaps you overlooked Rickey Henderson. The greatest leadoff hitter of all time. Terrorized pitchers with a simple walk. Stole far more bases than anyone else in history. Walked more than anyone else until pitchers simply stopped throwing strikes to Bonds. Scored more runs than any player in the history of the game. MVP, a gold glove. Brutalized a Toronto Blue Jays team in the playoffs like few have ever done before.
What are your thoughts?

Jake said...

Everything you say about Henderson is spot on. As a leadoff man, he had a different responsibility than your typical middle-of-the-lineup power hitter and he was the best at it.

I would have had no problem rating Henderson in the top 50. I'm not sure who I would bump though. If I had to do it over again, I would strongly consider Henderson ahead of Rivera. I also think I may have rated Carlton a little high. Carlton is Glavine with an extra Cy Young. The hardest thing about making a list is that you run out of spots very quickly.

I agree that Pedro has been dominant but if I rate Pedro higher then I need to rate Sandy Koufax which throws off my criterion. That might not be such a bad thing I guess. I try to compare careers. For instance, if you were a GM, would you rather have Pedro's career or Greg Maddux's? Maddux has pitched considerably more innings than Pedro with similar success so I would go with Maddux. It's a grey area for sure. Pedro in his prime trumps pretty much everyone just like Koufax.

Thanks for the comments.


Anonymous said...

why there is no question that nolan ryan should be on this list..If nolan ryan ever got run support he would be hands down the best pitcher that ever lived..sorry man

Anonymous said...

I definitely think Cal Ripken Jr. should've been on there. Only the seventh player all time to reach 3000 hits and 400 home runs, and the first to do it as a shortstop. While I may not put him in the top 10, or maybe even top 20, his stats and achivements are almost endless. Not to mention Alex Rodriguez is on your list, and Cal was every bit the player A-Rod is (in that Cal was a much better fielder). As for the streak, the one thing people forget about it is when it occurred: right after the '94 strike. If anybody were to be given credit for saving baseball from that time, it would almost certainly have to be Ripken. Plus looking at your Emphasis criteria, I don't see how Ripken wasn't there.

Anonymous said...

Nice list, but why did you not get Gehringer on the list?

Anonymous said...

One thing wrong with your list is that Roberto Clemente is not on there, in my opinion he is the second best of all time. Willie Mays is the best player play the game, nobody has had his defense and great hitting.

Anonymous said...

Your list is pretty good but how is Albert Pujols ranked above Hank Aaron? Nothing against Albert, but Hank Aaron is better than him by a longshot!

Anonymous said...

yea i deffinately agree with the fact babe ruth is the best ever because usually wen u get home run hitters such as hank arron or barry bonds they only have a batting average of about .300 or around there babe ruth batted .342. Hank arron should deffinately be higher on the list tho because he still played great through all the threats he received and nasty notes people sent him through his career and he still managed to be great. I dissagree with Bonds even being on the list because of the steroids.. alex rodriguez should go up in about 5 years wen he has around high 600 in homers.

Anonymous said...

It's almost MORE obvious that Roger Clemens took steriods than Barry Bonds!

Anonymous said...

jake i really liked the list. everything was right on except for the pitchers. If you have Roger Clemens as the best pitcher ever, then Greg maddux has to be number 2. Im not sayin that Greg Maddux is the 2nd best pitcher of all time, im saying he's just as good or even better than clemens. Maddux has the countless seasons of era's below or just slightly above 2. No pitcher of this generation has accomplished that feat as many times as Maddux. Which brings me to my next point: there is no way Johnson should be ahead of Maddux. Sure Jonshon's abundance of strikeouts don't compare to Maddux's who by the way has more than 3,000 k's also, but Maddux has more wins and much better era than the big unit's era. Furthermore, you mentioned you would take Johnson over Maddux also because he threw 100 mph and he was also 6'10. It doesn't matter how you get a batter out, as long as you get that batter out. While Johnson's throwing 125-130 pitches per game to strike out ten batters, Maddux is saving his arm by tossing 84 pitch complete games. And if being 6'10 gets you to be the best money pitcher hands down of all time, then as far as im concerned, Chris Young of the Padres is who i want starting in game 7 of the World Series in today's game. Randy Johnson is not a reliable post season pitcher. He has a below .500 post season record. Johnson only had one big post season where he was excellent, in which he helpled lead the D-backs to a world Series. Otherwise he was a mediocre playoff pitcher. Truth be told, i would take Gibson, koufax, Whitey Ford, Morris, schilling, and Glavine to start a big game for me in the playoffs. You forget that schilling was money before he even became Johnson's teamates. Ford and Gibson came up big time after time leading the Yankess and Cardnials, respectively to championships. Koufax has the 2 game 7 victories, while glavine won a world series mvp, and was pretty much rock solid every year in october except for 2002 against the Giants. Then comes Jack Morris, the man who pitched 10 shutout innings in game 7 of the world series. And as far as im concerned, whenever the term money or big gane pitcher is used, the list has to start with John Smoltz. He's 15-4 in the postseason with a dazziling era. He would probably have a better record if the Brave's hitters didn't come up short in the playoffs. And lets not forget about those 3 remarkable game 7's (Pirates & Twins '91, Pirates '92). Thus, my points are it insane to say johnson is the man you want on the mound in a big game and that maddux should be ranked higher than johnson and also even clemens. Now you counter this statement by saying clemens has more wins than mad dog, but in fact he's pitched for 2 more years.
P.S. I do respect the list and maybe im being a litle buyist since i was born and raised in Atlanta and im a die hard braves fan. All in all, good list. Peace.

Jake said...

First, thanks for the comments. I’m glad you enjoyed 2/3 of the list.

I do feel pretty strongly about my rankings of the pitchers. I wrote a lengthy post last year about my feelings on Clemens and where he stands. You can check that out here if you haven’t read it yet. Maddux is one of my all-time favorite players. I can surely appreciate how phenomenal he was during his prime. His efficiency was unbelievable. However, I cannot in good conscience rank Maddux ahead of Randy Johnson. I could be OK with someone ranking Maddux ahead of Johnson simply because he has pitched 880 more innings. If those extra four years are enough to persuade you, then there isn’t much I can say. I don’t think 880 extra innings is enough to offset Johnson’s advantages in the most telling pitching categories. The following is pretty much how I made my decision on these two.


Maddux .249
Johnson .218

That is a huge difference. I agree with what you wrote in your comment that it doesn’t matter how you get guys out. But the above shows that Johnson was considerably more difficult to hit off of. That speaks to how easy or difficult it is to hit off of a pitcher. Johnson's advantage is huge. When I mentioned Johnson’s height, I was saying that was an advantage. Intimidation is a huge advantage for a pitcher and I believe it showed up in Johnson’s statistics. If Chris Young puts together Johnson’s statistics over his career, then by all means, rank him in the top 50.

Winning Percentage

Maddux .618
Johnson .654

Maddux’s winning percentage is pretty good but there is a huge difference here. I’m willing to admit that winning percentage can be affected by the quality of team that you play for but Maddux never had that problem having played 11 years in Atlanta. In fact, Maddux has played in 21 postseason series and Johnson has played in 11. That means Maddux was playing for better teams throughout his career which makes Johnson’s edge in winning percentage even more impressive.


Maddux 135
Johnson 137

This is supposed to be the category that Maddux would dominate Johnson in but it just isn’t so. ERA+ is a measure of a pitcher’s ERA compared to the league average. Johnson has Maddux beat—albeit it’s quite close. So, if Johnson has a much better winning percentage, a much better batting average against, and a better ERA+, then how can you rank Maddux ahead of Johnson?

Cy Young Awards

Maddux 4 (one second place finish)
Johnson 5 (three second places finishes)

I'm not going to knock Maddux for four Cy Young's. But, Randy even has him beat in this comparison too despite Maddux playing for longer. Johnson finished in the top two eight times. Maddux finished in the top two five times.


In 2001, Johnson pitched 17 innings in the World Series for an unbelievable ERA of 1.04. In fact, in the 2001 playoffs, Johnson pitched 41.3 innings with an ERA of 1.54. I think you would be surprised how well Johnson has pitched in the playoffs. He also won the World Series MVP in 2001. His last three series have skewed his numbers quite a bit. Also, Maddux has an under .500 record in the postseason. I can't say I would give the postseason edge to Maddux. He doesn't have a WS MVP under his belt. Maddux has also had the luxury of pitching in 10 more post-season series than Johnson. That certainly isn't Randy's fault. Johnson made it to one WS and won the MVP. I don't see an edge their for Maddux.

I like Maddux. He was a one-of-a-kind pitcher no doubt. But in their primes, Johnson was the better pitcher by almost any measure. Johnson was also a much better pitcher than any of the pitchers you mentioned in your post aside from Clemens. That isn't meant to take anything away from Smoltz etc. There's good and phenomenal. Johnson was the latter.

Take care!

Anonymous said...

What about Mr. October?

Jake said...

Reggie Jackson was a great player. There is no question about it. To put him on the list though, he would have to be better than the last outfielder that I have in the top 50. Since that’s Yaz, then we can do a comparison of Yaz and Reggie….

RJ 2584—1702---1551---.262—-1375-2597---463----563--139
CY 3419-1844--1816--.285--1845-1393---646---452--130

As you can see, Yaz has the advantage in most categories. Reggie does have more home runs but that should hardly be enough to give him the edge. Yaz was more disciplined at the plate. His average was much better. He had more extra-base hits. Both won an MVP award. Yaz is the last American League player to win the Triple Crown. This is a somewhat close call but there is no way I can give the advantage to Reggie.

It seems like numbers 51-60 are slowly taking shape just from the conversations that I've had in the comments section. Reggie Jackson, Pete Rose, Rickey Henderson, Nolan Ryan, Charlie Gehringer, Roberto Clemente, Cal Ripken Jr., and Sandy Koufax (not in that order) would probably take up eight of the next ten spots.

Anonymous said...

I think its absolutely ridiculous and insulting to players like Hank Aaron and others that Albert Puljos after only a few years is before all these great players. Thats like in 1987 rating Darryl Strawberry before Hank Aaron or Jose Canseco or Albert Belle or Juan Gonzalez before these all time greats. He can very well be one of the best when his career is all done and can also be one of the 4 guys who every one thought would be up on that list but is not. My point is you should judge on what has happened and not what you think might happen. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds have already accomplished more and deserve to be on that list because of their accomplishments.

-Brian Speed

Jake said...

Brian, I appreciate the comments. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous and insulting that you would compare Albert Pujols to Jose Canseco, Darryl Strawberry, and Albert Belle. Look it up. None of those players even had half as many seasons of the caliber of what Pujols has put up in seven straight years. Pujols is in a whole different stratosphere than not only Canseco, Belle, Strawberry, and Gonzalez, but than the rest of MLB sans Barry Bonds. There are tons of players in MLB today that fit the bill of the potential “next coming” like Miguel Cabrera. They are not on the list. Pujols is not the “next coming”. He’s already here. He is dominating MLB like no other hitter of the last 50 years in terms of per season average. He isn’t a fluke. This is his 7th season of destruction and he’s only 27! In fact, Pujols’ seven year stretch to start his career is as good as any seven-year stretch that Aaron ever had.

Here is how Pujols and Aaron compare in a few important statistics…

Career Batting Average

Pujols .331
Aaron .305


Pujols 169
Aaron 155

Top five in MVP voting

Aaron 8 (in 23 seasons)
Pujols 7 (in 7 seasons)

Walk/Strike out Ratio

Aaron 1.01
Pujols 1.27

Pujols very likely hasn’t even entered his prime yet and has seven seasons that are just as good as Aaron’s seven best seasons. I would hope that you would know enough to realize that Pujols is way beyond the Belle/Strawberry/Canseco level of play. We are watching one of the ten greatest hitters in baseball history. Nobody in the last 50 years has been able to hit for power and average like Pujols. In fact, it’s not even close. You shouldn’t have to wait for Pujols to finish playing baseball to realize this. I know some people are comforted by thinking that the past was always better. You won’t find that kind of thinking here. Pujols is on pace to be a better player than Aaron. Whether his career will end up being better depends on whether he gets injured. If he gets injured, then I will adjust for said injury which is why I included this in my criterion (which I hoped everyone would read and I’m guessing you didn’t)…

“Active Players:

Another aspect of the lists that I suspect may garner objections is my treatment of active players. Some people that have made "All-Time" lists do it in a manner in which a player can never go backwards on the list. I do not buy into that thinking. I think there needs to be a healthy median. I rated active players assuming that they will have a consistently good remainder of their career. I didn't assume that Albert Pujols would break the all-time home run record. I just assumed that Pujols would continue to be a good player for the rest of his career. If for some inexplicable reason, Pujols proceeds to hit below .300 for the next ten years, then he probably will end up lower on my list and I suspect it would be the same for every other list out there. If Pujols continues to set records, then he will gradually climb up my list. The way I chose to rate LeBron James and Dwyane Wade probably provides the most insight as to how I treated active players. If James never wins a championship or an MVP award but continues to put up similar numbers, I expect him to rate no lower than 29th on the all-time list. The same goes for Dwyane Wade. The only assumption that I have made in rating active players is the assumption of continued health. I feel that is a reasonable way to rate active players.”

If you want to make a list that treats active players differently, then go for it. I am not a believer that a player only magically becomes a top 25 players when their career is over or after 15 seasons. People are smart enough to realize when we’re watching a player of that caliber. If you prefer a different approach, then feel free to make your own list.

Take care!

Anonymous said...

Roberto Clemente should be on there, 3,000 hit club and his career was cut short cause of the plane crash that killed him....and Pete Rose should be on there even as much as I despise him.

tnsuperman22 said...

Hi, nice list! I have to add a few players though. First one is jeff bagwell. I am from houston and not being a homer or anything,but I got to watch him from 93 until the end of his career. From 94-03 he had the third most homers behind sosa and mcgwire, second most rbis behind sosa, 2nd most runs scored only behind bonds, the third highest slugging,8th highest average,3rd most doubles,2nd most total bases,and stole 165 bases! not to mention the 2nd best fielding pct only to mark grace in that ten years and top 5 in mvp voting 7 of the ten years and top 10 9 of ten years! Bags also played in the astrodome for 6 of those 10 years. bags was the best all around first baseman I have ever seen! he had no weaknesses! He was the closest thing to barry bonds in our era as far as all around play goes! check his 94 season! He was at a pace to hit .368, 58 hrs,175 rbis,and 153 runs scored,and a .750 slugging pct, when the season ended! an obs of 1.208!!! and he played in the best pitchers park in baseball! What would he have done in a place like coors field! maybe 90 homeruns! He deserves to be on the list! No other first baseman is even close to him! He was albert pujols,but with a gold glove and baserunning ability!

My second guy is craig biggio! Yes another Astro! over an 11 yr stretch from 94-04 he was 3rd in hits,2nd in runs,10th in avg,4th in steals,had the most doubles,8th most total bases, made 7 all star teams,and won 5 gold gloves! Put his 11 yr stretch against joe morgans best 11 yrs and lets see who comes out ahead, and again he played in the dome for 6 of those years too! Biggio to me was as good at defense as sandberg, as good a hitter as morgan,and as standup a guy as you will ever see, also 3000 plus hits with the same team! How many guys have 3024 hits with one team? maybe three or four, craig deserves to be on anyones top 50, no doubt!

my last guy is albert belle. Ok he was a jerk just like bonds, but that is not the end of the comparison! he was the best slugger from 93-99, over those seven seasons he had the third highest batting avg at .338, most homers,most rbis,most total bases, 3rd highest slugging pct, 3rd best obs,3rd most doubles,and also played in a world series! He was no doubt the most feared slugger in the league not just to the pitcher,but to the infielders and maybe even the outfielders too! he had an unreal 94 and an even more unreal 95! over a 162 game stretch from 95-96 he hit .380 with 64 homers,and 177 rbis and an 849 slugging pct!! if he had done that in the same season over 162 games that would have been the best season ever! the media hated him,just like they do bonds, but though he didnt talk much his bat did! he, in my opinion, is in the top 6 or 7 sluggers ever list alongside bonds,ruth,gehrig,mantle,mays,and ted williams! what a list to be included with!

I like frank thomas alot! he was an awesome force for alot of years, and is still a really good slugger, but bagwell and belle definetly have to be ahead of him on any list outside of chicago. thomas wasnt the defender or baserunner bagwell was, and in their primes wasnt as great a hitter as belle was. frank also played in a better hitters park than the two,and had better guys behind him in the lineup than bagwell did, bottom line is that these three men deserve to be on any top 50! other than this I love your list! Joe

tnsuperman22 said...

Hi, Here is my own top 50 greatest player list in order of my opinion! Let me know what you think!

1.barry bonds, best all around player ever! Hands down

2.willie mays, bonds before bonds, better in the field than barry,and played in a tough hitters park, but didnt have the same plate patience as barry.

3.lou gehrig, the old iron horse was the man! he hit for homers,doubles,and triples! and was fast too! maybe the fastest first baseman ever! some clocked him at 3.4 down the first base line! and the most durable,or second most durable player ever!

4.babe ruth, okay I might be the only man to put him as low as fourth! but he wasnt an all around player! He did pitch! But he was a terrible fielder,and a bad baserunner! not at all a complete player as the top three were!
I find it funny that he was listed as low as 180 pounds! He had to be pushing 300 on the clips i saw of him, why would they put john goodman out there as him in the babe if he was 180? kevin costner would have made a great 180 pound babe I think.

5.henry aaron, most consistent homerun and rbi man to ever play the game, his 22nd season was as good as his first.

6.mickey mantle, awesome ball player who was as good as mays until he hurt his legs and became a terrible drunk, if not for that he might have been number one or two on my list, especially all the world series wins!

7.teddy ballgame! maybe the greatest hitter to ever live, but wasnt a basestealer or great outfielder! he was babe ruth of the 40s except he didnt strike out as nearly as much as ruth did and also didnt, or couldnt pitch!

8. ty cobb, the best leadoff man ever! he once led the league in every offensive category in the same season! no one has or ever will do that again! SURE HE ONLY HAD 9 HOMERS, BUT BACK THEN 17 WAS THE RECORD!!

9. rogers hornsby, best hitting middle infielder ever! roger was a threat to hit .400 ever year he played!

10.alex rodrigez, okay I know the man is only in his 12th season, but in his 12 years he has more homers and rbis than anyone to ever play in a 12 year stretch that isnt named ruth! no that is impressive!! and he is only barely 32 years old! I say he will hit around 800 career homeruns,and be the all time leader in rbis,as well as runs scored,and even total bases, and will also steal at least 400 bags! he is the best player today, and maybe ever when it is all said and done.

11.honus wagner, look at his stats and tell me any different!

12.ken griffey jr, he is 12th and missed four years of baseball! if he had played those four years he would around 700 homeruns right now at age 37! He still has two or three good ones left if he stays healthy, so that will put him around 650 or so homeruns, he is alot better all around player than joe dimaggio ever was, my grandpa even told me that and when an old timer tells you that a player today is better than yesterday he has to be telling the truth! How many times have you heard an old timer tell you that a today player is better than an old one! I had an old guy tell me pee wee reese was better than a rod for crying out loud!!!

13. yogi berra, best overall catcher ever, he was a cool cat!

14.joe dimaggio, okay i finally had to put joe up here, he was a good hitter in a hitters ball park, but nowhere near a ruth,gehrig,bonds,or griffey! he was a fan favorite because of his personality, but nowhere near the players i listed ahead of him!

15.jeff bagwell, in my opinion the 2nd best all around first baseman ever behind gehrig! he did it all and even had 2 seasons of 40 hrs and 30 steals!! let me see another first baseman do that! the second best defender at first ever only behind gil hodges.

16.ivan rodrigez, best all around catcher ever! he has hit for a high average,homeruns,rbis,and even been as base stealing threat, and oh yeah, a career 37 pct throw out rate which is about as good as it gets behind the plate! he is great!

17. cy young
18.roger clemens
19. greg madduz
20. johnny bench
21.mike piazza
22. mike schmidt
23. sandy koufax
24. cal ripken jr
25. walter johnson
26. randy johnson
27.albert belle
28. manny ramirez
29. sammy sosa
30. craig biggio
31.frank thomas
32.rickey henderson
33. joe morgan
34. frank robinson
35. mariano rivera
36. derek jeter
37. mel ott
38. warren spahn
39. tom seaver
40. steve carlton
41.mark mcgwire
42. trevor hoffman
43. john smoltz
44.juan marichal
45.chipper jones
46.ernie banks
47. tom glavine
48. andruw jones
49. albert pujols, only 7 years played, 10 years from now probably in the top 10, 15 years from now maybe top 5 list. kaline

so thats my top 50 list!

Jake said...


Thanks for the comments. You probably aren’t going to find too many people that view Albert Belle’s career more favorably than me but I can’t rank him anywhere near the top 50. He only played until he was 33. His career is very similar to Juan Gonzalez’s career. I don’t believe either player is a top 50 of all-time player. Although, if Kirby Puckett is a Hall of Famer, then Albert Belle should be too. But, it’ll never happen because nobody liked Belle. That shouldn’t matter but unfortunately it will. I loved Bags and Biggio. I don’t believe they are top 50 but they were both two of my favorite players for many years.

I’m not going to complain too much about your top 50 list. Everyone has their own opinion and since these lists are based entirely on opinion, it’s difficult to fault much.

I will make a couple comments….

Babe Ruth—His numbers were so much better than anyone else that it’s difficult to fault him for not being a good base-runner or a fielder (although I have not heard too much about him being a terrible fielder). Any negative there was more than made up for by his contributions as a pitcher.

Jeff Bagwell—As much as I like Bags, I don’t think I could put him as high as you have him. His numbers are absurd though. Also, I can’t rate Bagwell ahead of Thomas because Thomas has better overall numbers and better averages even taking into consideration part-effects.

Ivan Rodriguez—Pudge has been one of the better catchers in MLB history but I think his OPS+ should keep him much lower.

Roger Clemens—I like that you have Clemens rated the second best pitcher ever—I think he is actually the best—but I think the best pitchers have to rank higher than 17-19.

I enjoyed the list.

Thanks again for the comments.

Take care!


Anonymous said...

the list was good but how is nolan ryan not in the top 50? he is one of the greatest players of all time and if not the best pitcher of all time

Anonymous said...

pete rose is the best contact hitter of all time he should be in the top ten


Anonymous said...

i agree with jake about if griffey jr didn't get all of those injurys he propbably would have been the all time home run leader

Anonymous said...

Nolan Ryan? On the bubble? May I ask what you are thinking? The man destroys all other pitchers in the K department by over 1,000 k's. I would also say 300+ career wins is quite the asset. Rationale on how we give Frank Thomas a spot on the list and not Mr. Ryan? Sure Frank Thomas is on the 500 club, but is he close to the 3,000 hits club? The man can hit home runs. Period.

Jake said...

I’m sure you are a big baseball fan but it doesn’t take a whole lot of research to see why Frank Thomas has been a better baseball player than Nolan Ryan. In fact, I’m glad you brought this up because Frank Thomas is the perfect example of why Ryan isn’t on the list. I have Thomas at #48. Thomas destroys Ryan in a straight-up comparison. If Ryan can’t sniff the #48 player on my list, then there are two reasonable conclusions 1). I have Thomas rated too low, or 2). Ryan isn’t a top-50 player. I’m willing to admit that the first one is possible. I’m certain that the second is true.

Anyhow, here is why Thomas destroys Ryan in the shortest possible explanation…

Frank Thomas has a 157 OPS+ which is 19th on the All-Time list. OPS—in case you are not familiar—is slugging percentage + on-base-percentage. OPS+ is simply OPS compared to the league average so players across eras can be compared more reasonably. Everything a player does offensively goes in to calculating an OPS+. Your contention that Thomas has simply been a home run is insane/crazy/absurd/ignorant (or whatever word least offends you). Thomas has been one of the greatest all-around hitters in MLB history. The “157” proves it and then some.

Nolan Ryan, on the other hand, has an ERA+—which you might have guessed is ERA compared to league average—of 112 which is good for 258th on the all-time list (!!!). For a guy you’re trying to argue should be in a top-50 MLB list is nowhere near “good”. Ryan is, by far, the most overrated pitcher in MLB history.

In 27 years, Ryan won zero Cy Young Awards. Thomas has won two MVP awards.

ERA and OPS are very likely the two most important measures when comparing the merits or a pitcher and a hitter. They are also why Ryan was nowhere close to Thomas.

I appreciate the comments and I apologize I could not give in to the urge to overrate Ryan as so many have.

Take care!

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that being a quiet, non-controversial player leads pleople to totally forget you. This is the only way i can see that Eddie Murray was left off the list and all of the comments. 500 HRs and 3,000 have only been posted by Mays, Aaron,Palmiero and Murray.

Anonymous said...

why the hell did you bash Bonds about steroids, yet give clemens a favorable rating?

Anonymous said...

bonds and clemens are way 2 can you put roiders on any top ten list?

deluccijr said...

Hello everyone. Everybody overlooks George Brett. Compare his stats Schmidts. He has him beat in every offensive stat except HR's. His defensive stats are equal too. He only won a few gold gloves compared to Schmidts 10 This does not make any sense. What about his 390 average in 80? Over 3000 hits, 600 doubles, 300 HR's and 200 steals. Not to mention half the strikeouts of Schmidt with 3 more seasons played as well. The guy always hustled and played everyday. An easy top 25.


Jake said...


Thanks for the comment but I have to disagree. I liked George Brett. He was a great player. However, I don’t think he was better than Mike Schmidt and I don’t think he was one of the top 50 players of all-time let alone top 25.

I’m sure you know this but OPS is on-base percentage + slugging percentage. That encompasses pretty much every measurable offensive statistic with the exception of stolen bases—not just HRs. OPS+ is OPS compared to the league average. Brett’s OPS+ was 135. Schmidt’s was 147. That is a fairly significant difference. Schmidt was, by far, the better player with respect to the rest of the players in his league.

Schmidt also won three MVP awards to Brett’s one. Only nine players in baseball history have done that.

You mentioned that Brett was equally good defensively. I think you are considerably mistaken on this issue. Brett only played 62% of his career games at third base. He spent three seasons at first base and three more seasons at DH. Schmidt spent 92% of his career games at third base. If Brett was anywhere close to as good as Schmidt, he would have played third base more often. Also, Schmidt won 10 Gold Gloves and is considered one of the greatest defensive third-basemen of all-time. Brett won one Gold Glove. The voting process of the Gold Glove award is questionable at times but you don’t win 10 without being a great defensive third baseman. Considering the flawed Gold Glove system that often rewards players with good offensive statistics, Brett had the popularity and requisite offensive numbers to merit the GG if people were convinced that he was a great defensive third basemen. They weren’t and he didn’t.

Lastly, according to, here are the 10 most familiar players (using a formula, not opinion) to each player…

Mike Schmidt

1. Eddie Mathews (920) *
2. Sammy Sosa (856)
3. Gary Sheffield (851)
4. Harmon Killebrew (847) *
5. Mickey Mantle (844) *
6. Ernie Banks (840) *
7. Willie McCovey (839) *
8. Ken Griffey (836)
9. Willie Stargell (822) *
10. Reggie Jackson (819) *

George Brett

1. Al Kaline (850) *
2. Paul Molitor (828) *
3. Goose Goslin (805) *
4. Robin Yount (795) *
5. Al Simmons (787) *
6. Dave Parker (785)
7. Luis Gonzalez (783)
8. Dave Winfield (776) *
9. Roberto Clemente (773) *
10. Andre Dawson (771)

There is no question that Schmidt’s list is significantly more impressive than Brett’s. Schmidt is similar to some of the greatest offensive players in MLB history. All ten are HOF’s with ease. Brett’s list—impressive in its own right—features a mix of HOF’s who are almost never regarded as one of the top 50 players of all-time and non-HOF’s alike.

Brett was very good. He certainly was one of the best third basemen to play the game. I just don’t think much of an argument could be made that he was better than Mike Schmidt.

Thanks again for the comment.

Take care,

Anonymous said...

Whoa Nelly! Man your list needs some help.
First of all Ty Cobb should be number one, followed by Ted Williams and Wille Mays. Ruth is third. Koufax needs to be on the list. Also where is Tony Gywn, Cal Ripken Jr., Rod Carew, Nolan Rollie Fingers, and Wade Boggs? Also you make it obvious that you are a Yankee fan. Remove all Yankees from the list and replace them with Red Sox. Thanks and continue the good work.
P.S. Roger Clemens is a sissy.

Ronald said...

Babe Ruth was the best of all time, without question. Not only are his career numbers unbelievable, a fact that many baseball fans don't know about is his prowess as a pitcher. He was 94-46, with a 2.38 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 17 shutouts in 1221.1 innings. He also set a World Series records for consecutive shutout innings (29.2) and had 9 shutouts in 1916, a record matched only by Ron Guidry among left-handed pitchers. Yet more compelling evidence that Babe Ruth was the best of all time. Is there anybody else in history that could have made the HOF as a pitcher or as a hitter? His pitching win totals starting in 1915 were 18, 23, 24 and 13 (he only pitched 20). By 1920 he was a full time outfielder. The question remains, would B*O*N*D*S* have passed him up in career home runs if Ruth had just played full time outfield from the beginning? Only the dead ball knows...

Anonymous said...

no "Charlie Hustle"?

banned from baseball or not, Pete Rose was the best hitter since Ted.

Anonymous said...

What about Ricky Hendersen?? Baseball's all time leader in stolen bases and runs scored. All-time leader in walks until Bonds passed him. A few of these records may have been because he played for 25 years but I don't think we ever see anybody steal bases like he did.

Anonymous said...

Nolan Ryan is deffinatly top not have in there is just an insult, he is one of the best pitchers the game has ever seen you can not rank so many players who are still playing the game ahead of him. How many no hitters did he throw again? 6 i dont see anyone doing that ever again

Jeremy said...

I enjoyed reading your list. We express similarities in each others top 100 lists. although, you managed to place Ed Walsh at number 33, you managed to leave Addie Joss off the top 100? Although his career was somewhat brief,he managed to pitch a shutout 1 out of every 5 games he started over a 9 year career and ended his career with a 1.89ERA on second all-time to Walsh's total.

-Jeremy B.

Jake said...


Thanks for the comments. I do think I probably overrated Walsh and Mordecai Brown just a little bit. I’m not sure where I might end up putting them but I could never find a place that I was comfortable with. Their cases are very unique. Their careers were so long ago and they were so short. As for Joss, I think it’s clear that Walsh has him beat. Joss isn’t a Hall of Famer on any of the Hall of Fame tests. Walsh is one on three of the four. Walsh had a better ERA+ and pitched more innings. Walsh even had a slightly better shutout percentage. However, the difference between the two is pretty small and if Walsh is #33, then Joss should probably be in the top 100. I think it’s more than fair to make that claim. The next time I take a look at my 100 with the intention of making amendments, I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up moving Walsh and Brown outside of the top 50. Joss is borderline top 100.

Take care!

Anonymous said...

anonymous said.... your list was alright but hank aaron and nolan ryan should have been way higher. And how in the world can you not put derek jeter in there he has already done amazing things and he is not even finished. He should have atleast been in the 20's or 30's.And last there is no way you can put mariano rivera at number 50 so low he is hands down the best closer of all time and he is very clutch especially in the post season. Barry bonds should not have been so high because he likes using steroids to break peoples batting records. However there is no doubt babe ruth is number 1 (willie should have been 2nd)
Well anyway ill talk to you later just make sure you get jeter in there

sincerely anonymous

Anonymous said...

only problem i have ... bonds arod manny and clemens all cheated... take them off this list right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! go pujols who will be the best player ever by the end of his career and get this... he hasnt cheated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eric Lu said...

I have to admit that Nolan Ryan ISN"T the best pitcher of all time, but no. 76!!! Nolan Ryan IS overated but you TOTALLY underated him. I put him as no. 26 on my list.

Anonymous said...

Lefty Grove isn't THAT good. He only had 300 wins, and a 3.06 ERA isn't TOO impresive. In my opinion Christy Mathewson is the BEST pitcher of all time, and followed VERY closely by Walter Johnson. Mathewson had a WHOPPING 2.13 ERA, and 373 wins. MUCH better than a 3.06 ERA and 300 wins.

Anonymous said...

You underated Ken Griffey Jr. BIG time.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see DiMaggio up there. He was an outstanding player. Equal to Lou Gehrig and better than Babe Ruth. Babe ruth is way overrated. He has close to the record for most strikeouts by a hitter. so basically it was a HR or a SO.

Jake said...

Not sure where you're getting your information from. Ruth is nowhere near the record for most strikeouts by a hitter. His BB:SO ratio is one of the best in MLB history. It's also hard to call him HR or bust when he hit .342 for his career--the 9th highest batting average in MLB history.


Powered by Blogger