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Cyclone792
10-25-2006, 11:24 PM
I hadn't seen this posted anywhere even though it's been out for a while so I thought I'd throw this up. Anyhow, earlier this month, Sports Illustrated published their selection of an all-time 25 man roster based on a panel of 22 experts. They picked an entire team, position players, starting pitchers, and relief pitchers, and this is what they came up with ...

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/magazine/10/03/bb.allstar1009/index.html


SI's All-Time Team

C: Johnny Bench & Yogi Berra
1B: Lou Gehrig & Stan Musial
2B: Rogers Hornsby & Jackie Robinson
3B: Mike Schmidt
SS: Honus Wagner & Alex Rodriguez
OF: Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron,
Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle & Joe DiMaggio
SP: Warren Spahn, Lefty Grove, Roger Clemens, Cy Young,
Christy Mathewson, Sandy Koufax & Walter Johnson
RP: Mariano Rivera & Dennis Eckersley

For me personally, this team isn't a bad start as the vast majority of guys listed above I'd also have on my own all-time 25 man roster. Musial can be a backup at first base as well as backup in left field, and Alex Rodriguez can be a backup for both shortstop and third base. That's pretty good roster management with those two, IMO.

There's a couple guys on this team, however, that I'd be looking at dropping, namely: Warren Spahn, Yogi Berra, Dennis Eckersley, Joe DiMaggio, Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, and Hank Aaron. Hank Aaron is a very regrettable drop, but there's too many outfielders and he's the last man out.

My seven replacements for those above: Tom Seaver, Josh Gibson, Tris Speaker, Barry Bonds, Eddie Collins, Pete Alexander, and Greg Maddux. I decided to hold firm to SI's selection of nine pitchers; I just chose to drop one of the two relievers and add a starter since Rivera will close.

On the mound, Tom Seaver was the last man in with Warren Spahn being the last man out, and Satchel Paige was directly behind Spahn. I did want at least one Negro Leaguer on the team, and Josh Gibson was the best choice considering the available catchers. Oscar Charleston was a darn good Negro League outfielder, but like Hank Aaron, there's just too many outfielders to choose from so he misses the cut for me.

Here now is my own personal all-time team ...


My All-Time Team

C: Josh Gibson & Johnny Bench
1B: Lou Gehrig & Stan Musial
2B: Eddie Collins & Rogers Hornsby
3B: Mike Schmidt
SS: Honus Wagner & Alex Rodriguez
OF: Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays,
Tris Speaker, Barry Bonds & Mickey Mantle
SP: Walter Johnson, Lefty Grove, Roger Clemens, Pete Alexander,
Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Tom Seaver, & Greg Maddux
RP: Mariano Rivera

Let's do a starting lineup, full rotation, bench and bullpen for this team now, because hey, this is fun ...


Starting Lineup
2B: Eddie Collins
CF: Ty Cobb
RF: Babe Ruth
LF: Ted Williams
1B: Lou Gehrig
SS: Honus Wagner
C: Josh Gibson
3B: Mike Schmidt

Starting Rotation
SP: Walter Johnson
SP: Roger Clemens
SP: Lefty Grove
SP: Pete Alexander

Bench
C: Johnny Bench
1B/OF: Stan Musial
2B: Rogers Hornsby
SS/3B: Alex Rodriguez
OF: Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Tris Speaker, & Mickey Mantle

Bullpen
RP: Cy Young
RP: Christy Mathewson
RP: Greg Maddux
RP: Tom Seaver
CL: Mariano Rivera

There's so many ways to run out a starting lineup with this team and not be wrong, but I chose an excellent combination of on-base percentage and speed at the top of the order with Collins and Cobb, then followed them with the two greatest hitters ever to play the game in Ruth and Williams (I'll take Williams over Ruth for greatest hitter, BTW). Gehrig, Wagner, Gibson and Schmidt clean up everything else in the bottom of the lineup.

I could very easily put Hornsby in at second base over Collins to get another right-handed bat in the lineup and breakup some of those lefties, or I could also keep Gibson in the lineup and move him up ahead of Gehrig for the same purpose. Yet another option would just be flip-flopping Wagner and Gehrig too. Collins, Cobb, Ruth, Williams, and Gehrig would be five consecutive lefties, but you know what? They're five of the greatest players ever so who cares! I could also very easily throw Bench in at catcher to give the team's defense a boost. I did ponder starting Musial at first base, but I think of him historically as a left fielder moreso a first baseman so I went with Gehrig instead.

Johnson, Clemens, Grove and Alexander are the four greatest pitchers ever, IMO, and they comprise my starting rotation. My next four greatest, Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Greg Maddux, and Tom Seaver, fill out the middle relief roles. Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all-time, is my closer.

Now, here's another fun idea ...

Let's create an all-time 25 man roster with players not on SI's list. In a way, let's see if we can come up with a team of 25 guys that SI did not choose and see how it'd compare to the actual team that SI did choose.

Here would be my picks assorted by starting lineup, pitching rotation, bench, and bullpen ...


Starting Lineup
2B: Eddie Collins
CF: Tris Speaker
LF: Barry Bonds
1B: Jimmie Foxx
3B: Eddie Mathews
C: Josh Gibson
RF: Oscar Charleston
SS: Arky Vaughan

Starting Rotation
SP: Pete Alexander
SP: Greg Maddux
SP: Tom Seaver
SP: Satchel Paige

Bench
C: Mike Piazza
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Joe Morgan & Nap Lajoie
SS: Pop Lloyd
OF: Mel Ott, Frank Robinson, & Rickey Henderson

Bullpen
RP: Randy Johnson
RP: Kid Nichols
RP: Bob Feller
RP: Bob Gibson
CL: Pedro Martinez

In the lineup, Oscar Charleston was actually a center fielder, but I'll move him over to right field since Speaker's arguably the greatest defensive center fielder the game has ever seen. Interestingly, this lineup has two Negro Leaguers in Charleston and Josh Gibson while also having Negro Leaguer Pop Lloyd coming off the bench. Within a few seasons, Albert Pujols might be starting at first base every day with Jimmie Foxx coming off the bench, but for now I'll stick with Foxx.

SI didn't choose Pete Alexander on their pitching staff whatsoever, and it's their loss since Old Pete is one of the greatest arms ever to see a mound. A fourth Negro Leaguer, Satchel Paige, makes this team and rounds out the rotation after Alexander, Maddux, and Seaver. In the bullpen, Johnson and Feller are flamethrowers that could lock down some latter innings while Gibson and Nichols could easily be trusted to put out a fire. Pedro Martinez has been one of the most dominant pitchers the game has ever seen, but he's had durability questions surrounding him. Not a problem, he'll be my closer.

Could that team directly above with all 25 guys not on SI's team actually beat SI's team in any given game? You bet. Are they collectively greater than SI's team? No, it doesn't look like it. If they played each other 1,000 times, SI's team would come out victorious more times than not, but I do think they'd be pretty close to evenly matched. While I would swap out seven players from SI's team, they still have 18 guys that I would elect to keep for an outstanding core, which isn't too shabby at all.

TeamBoone
10-26-2006, 01:09 AM
I'd put KGJr in that outfield.

Mario-Rijo
10-26-2006, 06:57 AM
I think it's fairly complete but I would have Hornsby & Morgan @ 2B. Morgan was the most complete 2B of all time and no less dominant than anyone except perhaps Hornsby. I also like Alomar but Morgan is my pick for the obvious reasons.

RedsBaron
10-26-2006, 07:03 AM
In his orginial "Historical Baseball Abstract" published two decades ago, Bill James made a distinction between ranking players based upon "peak value" and "career value." While James did not continue to use those terms when he published a new edition a few years ago, I like the distinction.
He defined peak value as being a player's highest level of play established over 3 or 4 seasons, not just the player's best season. Therefore Norm Cash's peak value ranking would not be based solely upon his 1961 season; otherwise Cash might be ranked as one the five best firstbasemen ever.
A comparsion of Sandy Koufax and Warren Spahn illustrates why I like the peak value/career value distinction. Who was better? For peak value, Koufax between 1963 and 1966 was vastly superior to Spahn anytime. For career value, Spahn blows Koufax away, winning nearly 200 more games than Koufax.
Anyway, it would take me more time than I have to think through all time teams for peak and career value. I do think that Joe Morgan arguably should be the secondbaseman for peak value, and I like having Jackie Robinson on the team in both categories.
Morgan's value at his peak was pretty obvious. As for Robinson, while his stats are great, I believe that his value may have been even greater than those stats indicate, as Robinson was a fantastic fielder wherever he played and he brought a competitive fire equaled only by Pete Rose and Ty Cobb. Robinson's overall numbers were also held down because he 28 years old when the color line was finally broken and he was aloowed in the majors. Give Robinson the half dozen or so peak years racism denied him in the majors and his stats would be more impressive.

MrCinatit
10-26-2006, 07:13 AM
I'd put KGJr in that outfield.

As would I.

remdog
10-26-2006, 07:33 AM
I'd put KGJr in that outfield.

Ted Williams may have been the best pure hitter among that group of great outfielders but, if we include the ability to run, field and throw, I would have to replace him with Junior.

Rem

GAC
10-26-2006, 07:47 AM
I'd have Pete Rose in my lineup somewhere, regardless of any statistical data that says otherwise.

The "hit king" was a competitor and a winner, and brought alot to that lineup. ;)

Cyclone792
10-26-2006, 08:02 AM
In his orginial "Historical Baseball Abstract" published two decades ago, Bill James made a distinction between ranking players based upon "peak value" and "career value." While James did not continue to use those terms when he published a new edition a few years ago, I like the distinction.
He defined peak value as being a player's highest level of play established over 3 or 4 seasons, not just the player's best season. Therefore Norm Cash's peak value ranking would not be based solely upon his 1961 season; otherwise Cash might be ranked as one the five best firstbasemen ever.
A comparsion of Sandy Koufax and Warren Spahn illustrates why I like the peak value/career value distinction. Who was better? For peak value, Koufax between 1963 and 1966 was vastly superior to Spahn anytime. For career value, Spahn blows Koufax away, winning nearly 200 more games than Koufax.
Anyway, it would take me more time than I have to think through all time teams for peak and career value. I do think that Joe Morgan arguably should be the secondbaseman for peak value, and I like having Jackie Robinson on the team in both categories.
Morgan's value at his peak was pretty obvious. As for Robinson, while his stats are great, I believe that his value may have been even greater than those stats indicate, as Robinson was a fantastic fielder wherever he played and he brought a competitive fire equaled only by Pete Rose and Ty Cobb. Robinson's overall numbers were also held down because he 28 years old when the color line was finally broken and he was aloowed in the majors. Give Robinson the half dozen or so peak years racism denied him in the majors and his stats would be more impressive.

I did my best to use a combination of peak value and career value, though if I created two teams with one being distinctly peak value and the other being distinctly career value, they'd each look a bit different.

Probably the biggest change with a career value team would be replacing Mickey Mantle with Hank Aaron. Aaron's got an edge in career value over Mantle, but Mantle's peak was absolutely ridiculous. Combining peak and career overall, I took Mantle based off the belief that his edge in peak value over Aaron is greater than Aaron's edge in career value.

Spahn would find his way on the career value team, probably in place of Seaver. Pedro Martinez would possibly find his way on the peak value team, also probably in place of Seaver. But combining peak and career, I'd probably take Seaver over the other two. Sort of odd how it works that way.

At second base for both peak and career value, I think you can pretty much pick a name out of a hat between Eddie Collins, Rogers Hornsby and Joe Morgan. Hornsby's probably the best hitter of the group, Collins the best defensive second baseman, and Morgan the best on the bases, but in the end I just went ahead and went with Collins and Morgan. I do think they are pretty clearly the top three guys at second base, though.

mth123
10-26-2006, 08:46 PM
Anyway, it would take me more time than I have to think through all time teams for peak and career value. I do think that Joe Morgan arguably should be the secondbaseman for peak value, and I like having Jackie Robinson on the team in both categories.

I agree that Morgan put up 5 or 6 straight awesome season. But at 2B look at Hornsby for peak value (sorry if the table is crooked):

Year BA HR RBI RUN OBP SLG OPS
1921 .397 21 126 131 .455 .639 1.094
1922 .401 45 152 141 .460 .722 1.182
1923 .384 17 83 89 .457 .627 1.084
1924 .424 25 94 121 .507 .696 1.203
1925 .403 39 143 133 .489 .756 1.245
1926 .317 11 93 96 .391 .463 .854
1927 .361 26 125 133 .447 .586 1.033
1928 .387 21 94 99 .499 .632 1.131
1929 .380 39 149 156 .461 .679 1.140

Not sure how that ranks against league average but I suspect it tops Morgan or almost anyone at any position.

OnBaseMachine
10-26-2006, 08:53 PM
I'd put KGJr in that outfield.

Agreed.

Chip R
10-27-2006, 12:21 AM
Chuck Norris pitching, Jim Coombs catching. You won't need anyone else.

RedsBaron
10-27-2006, 06:00 AM
I agree that Morgan put up 5 or 6 straight awesome season. But at 2B look at Hornsby for peak value (sorry if the table is crooked):

Year BA HR RBI RUN OBP SLG OPS
1921 .397 21 126 131 .455 .639 1.094
1922 .401 45 152 141 .460 .722 1.182
1923 .384 17 83 89 .457 .627 1.084
1924 .424 25 94 121 .507 .696 1.203
1925 .403 39 143 133 .489 .756 1.245
1926 .317 11 93 96 .391 .463 .854
1927 .361 26 125 133 .447 .586 1.033
1928 .387 21 94 99 .499 .632 1.131
1929 .380 39 149 156 .461 .679 1.140

Not sure how that ranks against league average but I suspect it tops Morgan or almost anyone at any position.
I like Hornsby as a DH.
From everything I've read, Hornsby wasn't all that good a fielder. Secondbase is one of those positions that I think of as primarily being a fielder's position. I know that wasn't always the case, and, yeah, if you had a Hornsby in his prime, you'd play him somewhere, just to get his bat in the lineup. But when I think of Hornsby I also think of Mike Piazza---two great hitters who probably should have been firstbasemen or leftfielders. Piazza has the best hitting stats of any catcher ever, but if you had Piazza and Bench on the same team, or Piazza and Berra, or Piazza and Cochrane, or Piazza and Campanella, in every case Piazza wouldn't be your catcher-you'd play him somewhere else.

GAC
10-27-2006, 07:20 AM
I agree that Morgan put up 5 or 6 straight awesome season. But at 2B look at Hornsby for peak value (sorry if the table is crooked):

Year BA HR RBI RUN OBP SLG OPS
1921 .397 21 126 131 .455 .639 1.094
1922 .401 45 152 141 .460 .722 1.182
1923 .384 17 83 89 .457 .627 1.084
1924 .424 25 94 121 .507 .696 1.203
1925 .403 39 143 133 .489 .756 1.245
1926 .317 11 93 96 .391 .463 .854
1927 .361 26 125 133 .447 .586 1.033
1928 .387 21 94 99 .499 .632 1.131
1929 .380 39 149 156 .461 .679 1.140

Not sure how that ranks against league average but I suspect it tops Morgan or almost anyone at any position.

But is it fair to compare players who played in different eras of baseball, and say this one was better? To me, that's the hardest thing to try and do.

GAC
10-27-2006, 07:21 AM
I like Hornsby as a DH.
From everything I've read, Hornsby wasn't all that good a fielder.

Why would you read about someone you saw firsthand? :evil:

princeton
10-27-2006, 03:19 PM
Johnny Bench says that he's not playing on the team unless Chris Gruler makes it

Highlifeman21
10-27-2006, 05:02 PM
C: Josh Gibson
1B: Lou Gehrig
2B: Rogers Hornsby
SS: Honus Wagner
3B: MJ Schmidt
LF: Ted Williams
CF: Willie Mays
RF: George Ruth

RHSP: Walter Johnson
LHSP: Sandy Koufax

RP: Hoyt Wilhelm, Mariano Rivera

Backups

C: Ernie Lombardi
1B: Stan Musial
2B: Eddie Collins
SS: Alex Rodriguez
3B: Brooks Robinson
OF: Ty Cobb
OF: Tris Speaker

SP: Lefty Grove, Bob Gibson
RP: Lee Smith, Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Sparky Lyle

That's my team.

KronoRed
10-27-2006, 05:03 PM
Johnny Bench says that he's not playing on the team unless Chris Gruler makes it

Why not? he'll be on the DL so he won't be taking a roster spot.

TC81190
10-27-2006, 05:07 PM
I'd say Jr. should be on if we're talking peak. Morgan too. If Jeter isn't on there he should be, either him or Barry Larkin.

I'd also like to add that Josh Gibson was a freakin' beast.

Cedric
10-27-2006, 05:29 PM
Tris Speaker has to be on that original list.

Off subject I can't think of another legend that get's less buzz than Speaker.

mth123
10-28-2006, 09:00 AM
But is it fair to compare players who played in different eras of baseball, and say this one was better? To me, that's the hardest thing to try and do.

Agree usually. But these numbers are so exceptional, its hard to argue against them.

mth123
10-28-2006, 09:16 AM
I like Hornsby as a DH.
From everything I've read, Hornsby wasn't all that good a fielder. Secondbase is one of those positions that I think of as primarily being a fielder's position. I know that wasn't always the case, and, yeah, if you had a Hornsby in his prime, you'd play him somewhere, just to get his bat in the lineup. But when I think of Hornsby I also think of Mike Piazza---two great hitters who probably should have been firstbasemen or leftfielders. Piazza has the best hitting stats of any catcher ever, but if you had Piazza and Bench on the same team, or Piazza and Berra, or Piazza and Cochrane, or Piazza and Campanella, in every case Piazza wouldn't be your catcher-you'd play him somewhere else.

I'm not sure. Piazza's numbers are great, but I don't think they are so much better than the others that he has the advantage that Hornsby has over other 2B. I'd probably take Piazza over Cochrane or Berra. I might take Campanella over all of them. Like Gehrig and Clemente, we'll never know what a few more productive years would have meant for Campanella and his place in history.

I think Hornsby is with Ruth, Williams, Gehrig and Foxx as the best hitters ever with Wagner, Cobb and grudgingly Bonds in the picture too. I'd like to see a league adjusted analysis somewhere. I'm sure Mays and maybe Musial belong on that list but I don't think Morgan does.

Since I never saw these guys play, I can't place as much emphasis on defense as I probably should. They are all so great, you can't really be wrong. The original comment was about peak value. For 5 or 6 years Morgan had peak value that is among the best. I was pointing out that he happens to play a position where one of the few that could top him is competing with him.

Cyclone792
10-28-2006, 01:53 PM
I'm not sure. Piazza's numbers are great, but I don't think they are so much better than the others that he has the advantage that Hornsby has over other 2B. I'd probably take Piazza over Cochrane or Berra. I might take Campanella over all of them. Like Gehrig and Clemente, we'll never know what a few more productive years would have meant for Campanella and his place in history.

I think Hornsby is with Ruth, Williams, Gehrig and Foxx as the best hitters ever with Wagner, Cobb and grudgingly Bonds in the picture too. I'd like to see a league adjusted analysis somewhere. I'm sure Mays and maybe Musial belong on that list but I don't think Morgan does.

Since I never saw these guys play, I can't place as much emphasis on defense as I probably should. They are all so great, you can't really be wrong. The original comment was about peak value. For 5 or 6 years Morgan had peak value that is among the best. I was pointing out that he happens to play a position where one of the few that could top him is competing with him.

I've always preferred RC/27 relative to the league average for historical comparisons if you're looking to find the greatest offensive machine. Here's the top 15 players in MLB history in RC/27 relative to their league (career numbers):


CAREER
GAMES displayed only--not a sorting criteria
RCAA displayed only--not a sorting criteria
RCAP displayed only--not a sorting criteria

RUNS CREATED/GAME RATE PLAYER LEAGUE G RCAA RCAP
1 Ted Williams 259 12.91 4.98 2292 1475 1246
2 Babe Ruth 249 13.14 5.28 2503 1795 1594
3 Barry Bonds 218 10.70 4.91 2730 1502 1371
4 Mickey Mantle 205 9.35 4.57 2401 1099 1009
5 Rogers Hornsby 204 9.92 4.87 2259 1084 1091
6 Ty Cobb 201 9.25 4.60 3034 1369 1078
7 Lou Gehrig 199 11.21 5.62 2164 1247 988
8 Stan Musial 190 9.23 4.86 3026 1204 992
9 Jimmie Foxx 183 10.25 5.58 2317 985 700
10 Tris Speaker 183 8.59 4.69 2789 1053 777
11 Honus Wagner 178 8.22 4.61 2792 1011 1060
12 Mel Ott 176 8.86 5.03 2730 989 831
13 Willie Mays 172 7.89 4.60 2992 1008 856
14 Frank Robinson 171 7.56 4.43 2808 852 674
15 Nap Lajoie 167 7.69 4.60 2480 785 766
Hornsby's rate of 204 is 5th highest ever. Of course, he played in many fewer games than a guy such as Ty Cobb so Cobb's 201 in over 3,000 games played is significantly greater than Hornsby's 204 in 2200 games played. Here's those same stats, but for 2B only:


CAREER
2B
GAMES displayed only--not a sorting criteria
RCAA displayed only--not a sorting criteria
RCAP displayed only--not a sorting criteria

RUNS CREATED/GAME RATE PLAYER LEAGUE G RCAA RCAP
1 Rogers Hornsby 204 9.92 4.87 2259 1084 1091
2 Nap Lajoie 167 7.69 4.60 2480 785 766
3 Eddie Collins 155 7.19 4.64 2826 747 822
4 Joe Morgan 153 6.79 4.45 2649 663 820
5 Charlie Gehringer 136 7.62 5.61 2323 444 581
6 Roberto Alomar 125 6.16 4.93 2379 318 401
7 Ryne Sandberg 124 5.68 4.56 2164 197 259
8 Lou Whitaker 124 5.64 4.56 2390 266 369
9 Craig Biggio 124 6.17 4.99 2564 354 452
10 Frankie Frisch 114 5.91 5.16 2311 187 291
My preference is win shares since it encompasses everything, including player defense. The defensive system in win shares may not be the greatest, but I think it's at least on the right track, and historically there isn't much more besides simple range factor and contemporary opinion to judge defense on. Here's some win shares data for 2Bs:


2B Win Shares

Career Win Shares
Eddie Collins 574
Joe Morgan 514
Rogers Hornsby 508
Nap Lajoie 496
Craig Biggio 425
Charlie Gehringer 383
Rod Carew 384
Roberto Alomar 374
Frankie Frisch 366
Lou Whitaker 351
Ryne Sandberg 346
Billy Herman 332

Win Shares per 162
Rogers Hornsby 36.00
Eddie Collins 32.90
Nap Lajoie 32.40
Joe Morgan 31.31
Jackie Robinson 30.13
Charlie Gehringer 26.71
Bobby Grich 26.54
Larry Doyle 26.51
Ryne Sandberg 25.90
Frankie Frisch 25.66
Roberto Alomar 25.47
Craig Biggio 25.42

Five Season Peak WS
Rogers Hornsby 208
Eddie Collins 204
Joe Morgan 198
Nap Lajoie 195
Ryne Sandberg 170
Craig Biggio 168
Roberto Alomar 167
Jackie Robinson 162
Charlie Gehringer 161
Rod Carew 157
Frankie Frisch 151
Grich/Kent Tied 148

Three Season Peak WS
Rogers Hornsby 130
Nap Lajoie 130
Eddie Collins 126
Joe Morgan 124
Ryne Sandberg 109
Jackie Robinson 108
Roberto Alomar 106
Craig Biggio 105
Charlie Gehringer 102
Rod Carew 99
Frankie Frisch 96
Jeff Kent 96

The Collins/Hornsby/Morgan debate has always been interesting to me, because those three guys are all so close to each other. Overall with all things considered, I'd rank the trio as Collins/Hornsby/Morgan, but I don't think one can go wrong ordering them in any possible way. Nap Lajoie, I believe, is firmly planted in the 4th slot (some of his big seasons were before the foul-strike rule was implemented in the AL), and after Lajoie I'd probably fill out the rest of the Top 10 as follows: Biggio, Gehringer, Robinson, Alomar, Sandberg, Carew and Frisch.

Ryne Sandberg's name is all over these lists, and I've got him ranked 8th all-time for second basemen. That's a huge reason why I supported his election into the Hall of Fame. Jeff Kent has clawed his way onto the bottom of two peak lists, and he's just outside the Top 10 for me, though anybody wanting to toss him up as one of the three or four greatest second basemen ever is probably trying to reach, IMO.

mth123
10-28-2006, 03:50 PM
I've always preferred RC/27 relative to the league average for historical comparisons if you're looking to find the greatest offensive machine. Here's the top 15 players in MLB history in RC/27 relative to their league (career numbers):


CAREER
GAMES displayed only--not a sorting criteria
RCAA displayed only--not a sorting criteria
RCAP displayed only--not a sorting criteria

RUNS CREATED/GAME RATE PLAYER LEAGUE G RCAA RCAP
1 Ted Williams 259 12.91 4.98 2292 1475 1246
2 Babe Ruth 249 13.14 5.28 2503 1795 1594
3 Barry Bonds 218 10.70 4.91 2730 1502 1371
4 Mickey Mantle 205 9.35 4.57 2401 1099 1009
5 Rogers Hornsby 204 9.92 4.87 2259 1084 1091
6 Ty Cobb 201 9.25 4.60 3034 1369 1078
7 Lou Gehrig 199 11.21 5.62 2164 1247 988
8 Stan Musial 190 9.23 4.86 3026 1204 992
9 Jimmie Foxx 183 10.25 5.58 2317 985 700
10 Tris Speaker 183 8.59 4.69 2789 1053 777
11 Honus Wagner 178 8.22 4.61 2792 1011 1060
12 Mel Ott 176 8.86 5.03 2730 989 831
13 Willie Mays 172 7.89 4.60 2992 1008 856
14 Frank Robinson 171 7.56 4.43 2808 852 674
15 Nap Lajoie 167 7.69 4.60 2480 785 766
Hornsby's rate of 204 is 5th highest ever. Of course, he played in many fewer games than a guy such as Ty Cobb so Cobb's 201 in over 3,000 games played is significantly greater than Hornsby's 204 in 2200 games played. Here's those same stats, but for 2B only:


CAREER
2B
GAMES displayed only--not a sorting criteria
RCAA displayed only--not a sorting criteria
RCAP displayed only--not a sorting criteria

RUNS CREATED/GAME RATE PLAYER LEAGUE G RCAA RCAP
1 Rogers Hornsby 204 9.92 4.87 2259 1084 1091
2 Nap Lajoie 167 7.69 4.60 2480 785 766
3 Eddie Collins 155 7.19 4.64 2826 747 822
4 Joe Morgan 153 6.79 4.45 2649 663 820
5 Charlie Gehringer 136 7.62 5.61 2323 444 581
6 Roberto Alomar 125 6.16 4.93 2379 318 401
7 Ryne Sandberg 124 5.68 4.56 2164 197 259
8 Lou Whitaker 124 5.64 4.56 2390 266 369
9 Craig Biggio 124 6.17 4.99 2564 354 452
10 Frankie Frisch 114 5.91 5.16 2311 187 291
My preference is win shares since it encompasses everything, including player defense. The defensive system in win shares may not be the greatest, but I think it's at least on the right track, and historically there isn't much more besides simple range factor and contemporary opinion to judge defense on. Here's some win shares data for 2Bs:


2B Win Shares

Career Win Shares
Eddie Collins 574
Joe Morgan 514
Rogers Hornsby 508
Nap Lajoie 496
Craig Biggio 425
Charlie Gehringer 383
Rod Carew 384
Roberto Alomar 374
Frankie Frisch 366
Lou Whitaker 351
Ryne Sandberg 346
Billy Herman 332

Win Shares per 162
Rogers Hornsby 36.00
Eddie Collins 32.90
Nap Lajoie 32.40
Joe Morgan 31.31
Jackie Robinson 30.13
Charlie Gehringer 26.71
Bobby Grich 26.54
Larry Doyle 26.51
Ryne Sandberg 25.90
Frankie Frisch 25.66
Roberto Alomar 25.47
Craig Biggio 25.42

Five Season Peak WS
Rogers Hornsby 208
Eddie Collins 204
Joe Morgan 198
Nap Lajoie 195
Ryne Sandberg 170
Craig Biggio 168
Roberto Alomar 167
Jackie Robinson 162
Charlie Gehringer 161
Rod Carew 157
Frankie Frisch 151
Grich/Kent Tied 148

Three Season Peak WS
Rogers Hornsby 130
Nap Lajoie 130
Eddie Collins 126
Joe Morgan 124
Ryne Sandberg 109
Jackie Robinson 108
Roberto Alomar 106
Craig Biggio 105
Charlie Gehringer 102
Rod Carew 99
Frankie Frisch 96
Jeff Kent 96

The Collins/Hornsby/Morgan debate has always been interesting to me, because those three guys are all so close to each other. Overall with all things considered, I'd rank the trio as Collins/Hornsby/Morgan, but I don't think one can go wrong ordering them in any possible way. Nap Lajoie, I believe, is firmly planted in the 4th slot (some of his big seasons were before the foul-strike rule was implemented in the AL), and after Lajoie I'd probably fill out the rest of the Top 10 as follows: Biggio, Gehringer, Robinson, Alomar, Sandberg, Carew and Frisch.

Ryne Sandberg's name is all over these lists, and I've got him ranked 8th all-time for second basemen. That's a huge reason why I supported his election into the Hall of Fame. Jeff Kent has clawed his way onto the bottom of two peak lists, and he's just outside the Top 10 for me, though anybody wanting to toss him up as one of the three or four greatest second basemen ever is probably trying to reach, IMO.

Thanks Cyclone. Ask and ye shall receive at Redszone.

I'm surprised to see Mantle as high as he is on the RC list. I also think its interesting that Frank Robinson is on the list and Hank Aaron is not. I've said before that I'm not a great stats guy, but suspected Aaron's "counting stats" were a little over-rated (like Rose's).

I'm not up on the win shares formula but I think eras are more important for defense than for offense. Equipment makes a big difference and Morgan played on turf. Does the formula take that into account somehow? Bad hops and those tiny gloves had to make a difference. Somehow I think Dave Concepcion had a large effect on Morgan being a better 2B. He wasn't considered that good on defense prior to arriving in Cincy. Not sure who played with Hornsby or if there is some effect there.

Cyclone792
10-28-2006, 04:44 PM
Thanks Cyclone. Ask and ye shall receive at Redszone.

I'm surprised to see Mantle as high as he is on the RC list. I also think its interesting that Frank Robinson is on the list and Hank Aaron is not. I've said before that I'm not a great stats guy, but suspected Aaron's "counting stats" were a little over-rated (like Rose's).

I'm not up on the win shares formula but I think eras are more important for defense than for offense. Equipment makes a big difference and Morgan played on turf. Does the formula take that into account somehow? Bad hops and those tiny gloves had to make a difference. Somehow I think Dave Concepcion had a large effect on Morgan being a better 2B. He wasn't considered that good on defense prior to arriving in Cincy. Not sure who played with Hornsby or if there is some effect there.

Mantle was an absolute beast, especially during his peak. His three greatest seasons (1957, 1956 and 1961 ... 148 total win shares for those seasons) are among three of the greatest single seasons in baseball history by any player. It sounds odd to say this, but Mickey Mantle, despite being a New York Yankee during a period of extreme success for that franchise, is probably underrated by many, IMO. It's ironic that you mentioned Hank Aaron's counting stats too. While Mantle's body broke down and didn't enable him to pile up the counting stats like Aaron, there's no question in my mind that, all things considered, Mickey Mantle was the greater player between the two.

The defensive win shares system is a mess of gory math with imperfect data, though unfortunately there isn't much data to work with anyway. James assigns defensive letter grades to hundreds of players in the book based on their fielding win shares, and the letter grades are likely much more useful than the specifics since they just break players up into a few general groups. They let you know who was great, who was average, who was poor, and there's not much more we can gain except that. Here's the letter grades for the Collins/Hornsby/Morgan group via Win Shares:

Collins: A-
Morgan: C
Hornsby: C

In a general sense, I think that's pretty accurate. Everything I've seen suggests Eddie Collins was a top notch defensive second baseman. Hornsby's defense has been questioned by several historians, and most other accounts I've read suggest that Morgan's defense was probably slightly above average. If I were to make changes to the above letter grades based on other defensive accounts, I may bump Morgan up to a B- or C+, but that's really about it.

Also, while glancing through the book, I remembered that James actually broke down the batting and fielding win shares for the top 40 players, and the trio of Collins/Hornsby/Morgan qualifies for that. Here's the breakdowns:


Career Batting Win Shares
Eddie Collins 464
Rogers Hornsby 445
Joe Morgan 424

Career Fielding Win Shares
Eddie Collins 109
Joe Morgan 91
Rogers Hornsby 60

Top Five Season Peak Batting WS
Rogers Hornsby 184
Eddie Collins 167
Joe Morgan 167

Top Three Season Peak Batting WS
Rogers Hornsby 115
Eddie Collins 105
Joe Morgan 103

Top Five Season Peak Fielding WS
Eddie Collins 39
Joe Morgan 35
Rogers Hornsby 26

Fielding Win Shares per 162
Eddie Collins 6.52
Joe Morgan 5.79
Rogers Hornsby 4.46

mth123
10-28-2006, 08:24 PM
Thanks again. I'm shocked that Collins batting win shares are higher than Hornsby.

RedsBaron
10-28-2006, 08:48 PM
In comparing players from greatly different eras such as Collins, Hornsby and Morgan, there is always the issue of whether or not one believes that play has improved over the decades. We had a debate here a few months ago between those who more or less dismiss from consideration those players who played before the breaking of the color line in 1947 and those who do not. While I reject the position of those who seem to believe that the 2006 Devil Rays were superior to the 1927 Yankees, I do believe that in general the quality of play and the level of competition is somewhat higher today than it was 60 and 80 and 100 years ago, so I give Morgan a small boost when comparing his stats to those of Collins and Hornsby.
I will note that almost nobody at any position beats Eddie Collins for consistent, year end and year out greatness.
I also give Morgan another small boost because I saw the guy play. Right or wrong, when two players' stats are comparable, I'll go then with what I witnessed over what I've only read about. This is one of the reasons, along with my bias as a Reds fan, that I give Johnny Bench the edge over Yogi Berra as the greatest major league catcher of all time. Bench and Berra are in a virtual dead heat statistically, with Bench having an edge on peak value and Berra an edge in career value. I mentally break that tie when I note that I never saw Berra play, while I witnessed and know how great Bench was at his peak.

RedsBaron
10-28-2006, 08:53 PM
I agree with Cyclone's observation that Mantle is still somewhat underrated.
As for mth123's comment regarding Frank Robinson, Robby may be one of the most underrated players in major league history. When great outfielders of the 1960s are discussed, Mays, Aaron, Mantle and Clemente are the ones usually named first, and Robinson is often forgotten. When baseball's All Century Team was announced in 1999, the Clemente family raised a big stink about Clemente not being on the team---but Frank Robinson would have been far, far more deserving of inclusion on the All Century Team than Clemente.