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M2
05-12-2009, 10:36 AM
I read this little nugget from Rob Neyer's blog (http://myespn.go.com/blogs/sweetspot):

As Pinto notes, Johnny Damon now leads the Yankees in runs scored (23) and runs batted in (25). With the exception of 2007, Damon has aged amazingly well, hitting significantly better in his 30s than his 20s. I know the Hall of Fame really isn't a reasonable goal for him ... but 3,000 hits is, and if gets 3,000 hits a lot of people are going to make that next leap.

And it got me thinking, why not make that next leap?

At its most fundamental level, if you get 3,000 hits it means you did multiple things well enough to play enough to get those 3,000 hits.

Second, it's not called the Hall of Rate Stats. Assessing a HOF career shouldn't be a simple exercise in checking the OPS+ or ERA+.

Third, I've been told pretty much constantly for the past decade that Johnny Damon isn't actually that good of a ballplayer and I'm sick of it.

He'll never earn that contract. - I've heard that one twice.
His runs scored says more about his team than Damon.
He doesn't walk enough. He doesn't hit for enough power. He can't throw.

Here's my take from watching a ton of the guy during the past decade - he's one of the most consistent ballplayers alive. He takes what he's got and uses every ounce of it to help his team. He's one of the best baserunners of his generation and, when you mix that with his consistency, that's why he's got a legitimate shot at finishing in the top 20 all-time in runs scored if he can string together a few more years.

He had 257 Win Shares at the end of last season and if he does get to 3,000 hits, he'll be well above 300 WS for his career. Generally speaking, 300 WS is where a player has a serious HOF case to make, but Neyer acts like it would be an offense to consider Damon if he got to that level, as if longevity and consistency leading to 3,000 hits and being in the top 20 all-time in runs scored somehow deserves nothing more than casual dismissal.

My take is Neyer's substituted his perception of accepted wisdom when it comes to Damon for actual reason and deemed that "reasonable."

There's other players out there I think deserve a lot more praise than they get - Mike Cameron and Ray Durham have flown under the radar, Vlad Guerrero gets a fair amount of notoriety yet it pales in comparison to how awesome he's been.

But I'll leave it to others to praise other ballplayers. I'm primarily focused on Johnny Damon here. He's been one heck of a fun ballplayer to watch, and if he happens to pass some major career milestones hopefully that will cause many folks to give him deeper consideration rather than reflexively dismiss the guy.

BCubb2003
05-12-2009, 10:44 AM
Well, he's kind of famous ...

My take on the Hall of Fame is contrary to most. It's not the Hall of Win Shares, either. Or the Hall of Fun Ballplayers to Watch. If it's not the Hall of Players Who Dominated Their Eras, then what should it be? Hall of Perennial All-Stars? Hall of 3,000 Hitters and 300 Winners?

When I think of the Hall of Fame, I start with Players of the Century and allow for a few more, rather than starting at the other end.

M2
05-12-2009, 10:48 AM
Well, he's kind of famous ...

My take on the Hall of Fame is contrary to most. It's not the Hall of Win Shares, either. Or the Hall of Fun Ballplayers to Watch. If it's not the Hall of Players Who Dominated Their Eras, then what should it be? Hall of Perennial All-Stars? Hall of 3,000 Hitters and 300 Winners?

When I think of the Hall of Fame, I start with Players of the Century and allow for a few more, rather than starting at the other end.

IMO, it's the Hall of Best Players of Their Generation. If it's not treated that way then it becomes the Hall of Older Ballplayers Were Better Than Modern Ballplayers, and that's pretty pointless.

westofyou
05-12-2009, 10:49 AM
But the real question is... will he steal LF from Carlos Lee on my strat team?

Cooper
05-12-2009, 10:57 AM
I know he plays in New York, but somehow Carlos Beltran gets overlooked every year. Last year he carried that team and it appeared to me that the last guy listed as contributing to their success was Beltran. He's Amos Otis plus 10%.

When people mention the best 5 players in the mlb -he rarely gets a mention, but he should be at the top of the list.

westofyou
05-12-2009, 11:15 AM
Well, he's kind of famous ...

My take on the Hall of Fame is contrary to most. It's not the Hall of Win Shares, either. Or the Hall of Fun Ballplayers to Watch. If it's not the Hall of Players Who Dominated Their Eras, then what should it be? Hall of Perennial All-Stars? Hall of 3,000 Hitters and 300 Winners?

When I think of the Hall of Fame, I start with Players of the Century and allow for a few more, rather than starting at the other end.


"One thing," he said as he walked toward the batting cage. "There's no difference in ballplayers. In the '40s, when I came up, I played against the great players of the '30s, and I heard them talk about the great ones of the '20s. Now it's the '60s, and some of these kids I'm playing with and against will be the superstars of the '70s. You get a long perspective, and the players are just as good now as they were then. The difference is in the game."

Stan Musial

BCubb2003
05-12-2009, 11:27 AM
In each generation, I'd start at the top with the truly elite, not with the guys who might be all-stars more often than not.

M2
05-12-2009, 11:45 AM
I know he plays in New York, but somehow Carlos Beltran gets overlooked every year. Last year he carried that team and it appeared to me that the last guy listed as contributing to their success was Beltran. He's Amos Otis plus 10%.

When people mention the best 5 players in the mlb -he rarely gets a mention, but he should be at the top of the list.

Totally agreed.

TRF
05-12-2009, 12:11 PM
Adrian Gonzales gets almost no pub. Hits for a good average, has power that seems to grow each year. is a fine defender, and nobody knows who he is. He's entering his 4th full year, but has played in parts of 6 seasons now.

If he played in LA instead of SD, he'd be a mega superstar.

OnBaseMachine
05-12-2009, 12:50 PM
Adrian Gonzales gets almost no pub. Hits for a good average, has power that seems to grow each year. is a fine defender, and nobody knows who he is. He's entering his 4th full year, but has played in parts of 6 seasons now.

If he played in LA instead of SD, he'd be a mega superstar.

Yep. He puts up great numbers despite playing half his games in the biggest ballpark in baseball. Plus he plays an additional 15 games in Dodger Stadium and San Francisco. Imagine if he played in a smaller ballpark.

Ravenlord
05-12-2009, 01:15 PM
Adrian Gonzales gets almost no pub. Hits for a good average, has power that seems to grow each year. is a fine defender, and nobody knows who he is. He's entering his 4th full year, but has played in parts of 6 seasons now.

If he played in LA instead of SD, he'd be a mega superstar.

Adrian Gonzales through today:

Year AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
2004 42 7 10 3 0 1 7 238 273 381
2005 150 17 34 7 1 6 17 227 272 407
2006 570 83 173 38 1 24 82 304 362 500
2007 646 101 182 46 3 30 100 282 347 502
2008 616 103 172 32 1 36 119 279 361 510
2009 119 22 35 3 0 10 22 294 387 571
Total 2143 333 606 129 6 107 347 283 351 498

*BaseClogger*
05-12-2009, 01:20 PM
IMO, it's the Hall of Best Players of Their Generation. If it's not treated that way then it becomes the Hall of Older Ballplayers Were Better Than Modern Ballplayers, and that's pretty pointless.

Well, everybody knows Classic Rock is king. ;)

Since 1998, Johnny Damon has accomplished the following in every season:

-scored at least 93 runs

-hit at least 27 doubles

-stolen at least 18 bases

-walked at least 53 times

-never struck out more than 85 times

That is the definition of consistency. And yet he has only been an all-star twice.

What about his defense?

M2
05-12-2009, 01:28 PM
Yep. He puts up great numbers despite playing half his games in the biggest ballpark in baseball. Plus he plays an additional 15 games in Dodger Stadium and San Francisco. Imagine if he played in a smaller ballpark.

Adrian Gonzalez also may be the best #1 overall draft pick ever. The 2000 draft is well on its way its to be the worst in history. Gonzalez supposedly was a reach at that time, but he's turning out to be just about the only player worth having.

OnBaseMachine
05-12-2009, 01:35 PM
I won't mention any names, but there's a guy that plays for the Washington Nationals who has hit 40+ home runs in five straight seasons, has driven in 100+ runs in four of those season, and has walked well over 100 times in all five of those seasons. He's in his ninth big league season and he owns a career .383 OBP and .522 SLG (.905 OPS) but he's only been an All-Star once and that was in his first full season. IMO he's easily one of the top three most underrated players in the game today.

BRM
05-12-2009, 01:39 PM
Adrian Gonzalez also may be the best #1 overall draft pick ever. The 2000 draft is well on its way its to be the worst in history. Gonzalez supposedly was a reach at that time, but he's turning out to be just about the only player worth having.

Chase Utley was a 1st round pick in 2000 as well IIRC. The point is still a good one. Gonzalez is very underrated.

lollipopcurve
05-12-2009, 01:44 PM
Agree with all mentions here. I'll throw out Torii Hunter and Derek Lowe.

15fan
05-12-2009, 02:00 PM
Adrian Gonzalez also may be the best #1 overall draft pick ever. The 2000 draft is well on its way its to be the worst in history. Gonzalez supposedly was a reach at that time, but he's turning out to be just about the only player worth having.

Gonzalez is a very, very good player.

But I don't think he's the best #1 overall.

IMO, that distinction belongs to Junior (1987). I think you round out the top 5 (in no particular order) with Chipper Jones (1990), ARod (1993), Strawberry (1980), and Harold Baines (1977). By the time he's done, Gonzalez could very well crack that Top 5. But I don't think he's in the group now, let alone the #1 overall.

(Events of the past 6 months certainly color whether or not ARod goes on the list with or without an asterisk.)

And though he doesn't put up tremendously sexy numbers, I'll also throw out that Joe Mauer as the #1 overall pick in 2001 has been a pretty solid pick. He's definitely a guy who would get a lot more notoriety if he played in a big media market.

M2
05-12-2009, 02:14 PM
Gonzalez is a very, very good player.

But I don't think he's the best #1 overall.

IMO, that distinction belongs to Junior (1987). I think you round out the top 5 (in no particular order) with Chipper Jones (1990), ARod (1993), Strawberry (1980), and Harold Bannister (1977). By the time he's done, Gonzalez could very well crack that Top 5. But I don't think he's in the group now, let alone the #1 overall.

(Events of the past 6 months certainly color whether or not ARod goes on the list with or without an asterisk.)

And though he doesn't put up tremendously sexy numbers, I'll also throw out that Joe Mauer as the #1 overall pick in 2001 has been a pretty solid pick. He's definitely a guy who would get a lot more notoriety if he played in a big media market.

I'm not saying Gonzalez is the best player of anybody ever drafted #1 - Jr., A-Rod and Chipper are fighting for that distinction. My praise of Gonzalez is he was taken as a surprise #1 in the worst draft ever. The chances of a team blowing that pick were astronomically high. Six of the top 10 picks from that draft never even touched the majors. Two others were Adam Johnson and Justin Wayne. Picking Gonzalez was like pulling a needle out of a haystack. Best pick, not best player.

I'm with you on Mauer. He probably should have been the AL MVP last year, and you can make an excellent case for him in 2006 as well.

flyer85
05-12-2009, 02:17 PM
I'm not saying Gonzalez is the best player of anybody ever drafted #1 - Jr., A-Rod and Chipper are fighting for that distinction. My praise of Gonzalez is he was taken as a surprise #1 in the worst draft ever. The chances of a team blowing that pick were astronomically high. Six of the top 10 picks from that draft never even touched the majors. Two others were Adam Johnson and Justin Wayne. Picking Gonzalez was like pulling a needle out of a haystack. Best pick, not best player.

I'm with you on Mauer. He probably should have been the AL MVP last year, and you can make an excellent case for him in 2006 as well.He wasn't even drafted by the Pads, the Strangers dealt him to SD(along with Young) for Adam Eaton.

M2
05-12-2009, 02:57 PM
He wasn't even drafted by the Pads, the Strangers dealt him to SD(along with Young) for Adam Eaton.

I know, still a great pick though.

15fan
05-12-2009, 03:09 PM
I'm not saying Gonzalez is the best player of anybody ever drafted #1 - Jr., A-Rod and Chipper are fighting for that distinction. My praise of Gonzalez is he was taken as a surprise #1 in the worst draft ever.

Ah. Ok.

Benihana
05-12-2009, 07:38 PM
He wasn't even drafted by the Pads, the Strangers dealt him to SD(along with Young) for Adam Eaton.

And the Strangers didn't draft him either. Florida did, then traded him to Texas for (I think) Ugueth Urbina.
I don't know how much turnover there has been in their scouting department in the last ten years, but I think Florida may have one of, if not the best scouting departments in baseball. It's unbelievable how well they do in acquiring great young talent- frequently from other organizations. That said, they botched the Gonzalez trade (as did the Strangers a couple years later.)

Benihana
05-12-2009, 07:41 PM
He wasn't even drafted by the Pads, the Strangers dealt him to SD(along with Young) for Adam Eaton.

One of the worst trades of the last twenty years.

cincrazy
05-12-2009, 07:59 PM
I would throw Aramis Ramirez on this list. I think this next month plus will show how valuable he is to that organization.

Rojo
05-12-2009, 08:26 PM
Carlos Beltran was my first thought as well.

Don't know if he's "underappreciated" but Joe Nathan's had a nice stretch.

mth123
05-12-2009, 09:03 PM
I won't mention any names, but there's a guy that plays for the Washington Nationals who has hit 40+ home runs in five straight seasons, has driven in 100+ runs in four of those season, and has walked well over 100 times in all five of those seasons. He's in his ninth big league season and he owns a career .383 OBP and .522 SLG (.905 OPS) but he's only been an All-Star once and that was in his first full season. IMO he's easily one of the top three most underrated players in the game today.

:thumbup:

tripleaaaron
05-12-2009, 11:04 PM
Bobby Abreu- career .300/.405/.900 hitter with 241 homers and 330 steals plus great defense (most of his years) in 14 seasons (11 full). Not a hall of famer but still a threat at 35.

Carl Crawford- At only 27 years old Crawford has 1,156 hits, 86 triples and 324 steals, he could join Ty Cobb as the only players with 1,000 hits 100 triples and 300 steals by age 28. Crawford also chips in 12 homers per 162 games. He is a career .295/.332/.767 hitter through his first 8 seasons which is slightly dragged down by his first two years and an injury last year. Crawford is on pace to being a sure fire hall of famer.

Kevin Youkilis- He is a career .293/.391/.874 with a career OPS+ of 123. His 162 game average is 20 homers, 94 RBI, 98 Runs and 165 hits. He is starting to get more notice this season but is still underrated.

cincinnati chili
05-12-2009, 11:40 PM
Bobby Abreu- career .300/.405/.900 hitter with 241 homers and 330 steals plus great defense (most of his years) in 14 seasons (11 full). Not a hall of famer but still a threat at 35.


Abreu and Craig Biggio were very underrated in their primes. I think they've become much less underrated with the passage of time, and Biggio's going to deservedly go to the Hall of Fame.

Brad Hawpe comes to mind for me. Over the past 3 years, he's averaged a line of .289/.384/.515, and his home/road split isn't too egregious. I bet that if you rattled off the other handful of guys averaging an .899 OPS over the last 3 years, they'd all be much more household names outside the 303 area code.

It's early, but at age 29, he's started off the season with an OPS north of 1.000 for 2009.

And notwithstanding the guys who make the strat-o-matic cards, his defense is solid.

Handofdeath
05-12-2009, 11:49 PM
Despite the fact that he's been an All-Star 5 times, I think that SS Michael Young from the Rangers too often gets overlooked.

tripleaaaron
05-13-2009, 12:45 AM
Justin Morneau and Alex Rios seem to get overlooked quite a bit as well as Nick Markakis.

Stephenk29
05-13-2009, 12:59 AM
Nick Markakis.

One of the next superstars IMO

Scrap Irony
05-13-2009, 01:08 AM
Morneau is a good call, but his teammate behind the plate is perhaps the most underrated player in the game today. Joe Mauer might end up being the best catcher of all time, non PEDS division. That 320/402/463/865 line from a catcher is ridiculous. 670 hits and he's only 26. Mauer may break 2500 and has an outside shot at 3000 if his body allows him to play consistently.

And he's a GG winner.

TRF
05-13-2009, 11:19 AM
Despite the fact that he's been an All-Star 5 times, I think that SS Michael Young from the Rangers too often gets overlooked.

Odd, as I think he is way overrated. In fact I think he's overrated in the way that everyone says he's underrated.

osuceltic
05-13-2009, 11:57 AM
I won't mention any names, but there's a guy that plays for the Washington Nationals who has hit 40+ home runs in five straight seasons, has driven in 100+ runs in four of those season, and has walked well over 100 times in all five of those seasons. He's in his ninth big league season and he owns a career .383 OBP and .522 SLG (.905 OPS) but he's only been an All-Star once and that was in his first full season. IMO he's easily one of the top three most underrated players in the game today.

That's interesting. I'd label him overrated. Everyone looks at the offensive numbers -- which are good -- but most just gloss over his utter ineptitude at all other facets of the game, thus overrating him based on incomplete data.

Boss-Hog
05-13-2009, 12:01 PM
That's interesting. I'd label him overrated. Everyone looks at the offensive numbers -- which are good -- but most just gloss over his utter ineptitude at all other facets of the game, thus overrating him based on incomplete data.
We don't need to have this debate yet again.

westofyou
05-13-2009, 12:03 PM
Do Guys who have made 15 million a year really qualify as "Unappreciated"?

osuceltic
05-13-2009, 12:03 PM
We don't need to have this debate yet again.

I didn't start it.

osuceltic
05-13-2009, 12:07 PM
My all-time most unappreciated player: Keith Hernandez

The guy never got close to the Hall of Fame, but I'll argue his case against others until the day I die. Great hitter and one of the best clutch hitters I've ever seen, but more importantly, he was the best defensive first baseman in the history of the game. It was virtually impossible to execute a sacrifice bunt against him late in a game -- he was a master of the bare-hand throw to second or third. Just an unbelievable player. Anyone who watched those great Mets teams will tell you the key guy wasn't Strawberry or Carter or HoJo or Dykstra. It was Hernandez.

Criminally underrated.

Boss-Hog
05-13-2009, 12:12 PM
I didn't start it.
I don't care who started what - it's obvious what your post will lead to and we're not going down that road again.

TRF
05-13-2009, 12:19 PM
My all-time most unappreciated player: Keith Hernandez

The guy never got close to the Hall of Fame, but I'll argue his case against others until the day I die. Great hitter and one of the best clutch hitters I've ever seen, but more importantly, he was the best defensive first baseman in the history of the game. It was virtually impossible to execute a sacrifice bunt against him late in a game -- he was a master of the bare-hand throw to second or third. Just an unbelievable player. Anyone who watched those great Mets teams will tell you the key guy wasn't Strawberry or Carter or HoJo or Dykstra. It was Hernandez.

Criminally underrated.

Only Hernandez appeared on Seinfeld. Hernandez wasn't underappreciated, he was the premier 1B of his era.

As for current players Jesus Flores, a former Rule V draftee of JimBo's in 2007, is really starting to put together a nice season. He's a pretty good receiver stuck behind an atrocious staff, and he's hitting the snot out of the ball. He's only 24 and this is his 3rd season with the Nats. Bright future almost completely unknown.

nate
05-13-2009, 12:37 PM
Yeah, I don't think Keith was underappreciated.

Bill Buckner because of one play, perhaps.

BuckeyeRedleg
05-13-2009, 12:40 PM
One of the next superstars IMO

And drafted by the Reds twice (2001 and 2002).

M2
05-13-2009, 01:34 PM
Do Guys who have made 15 million a year really qualify as "Unappreciated"?

It's all relative. Sometimes when a guy gets paid, the book on him becomes that he's not worth the money, even if it turns out that he was worth the money.

osuceltic
05-13-2009, 01:47 PM
Yeah, I don't think Keith was underappreciated.

Bill Buckner because of one play, perhaps.

Nine percent of the HOF vote? It's ridiculous.

vaticanplum
05-13-2009, 01:54 PM
I am the brokenest of broken records on this point, but I cannot resist giving props to the guy to my left here, Javier Vazquez. Guy has pitched well over 200 innings a year pretty much every year for a decade, with an ERA+ that runs between 100 and 130 (once reaching 139 [!]) Career average K/9 is 8.0, BB/9 is 2.4. He's awesome, I love him, and no one gives him the props he deserves.

On a similar note, I think people underrate Mark Buehrle.

OnBaseMachine
05-13-2009, 01:55 PM
I am the brokenest of broken records on this point, but I cannot resist giving props to the guy to my left here, Javier Vazquez. Guy has pitched well over 200 innings a year pretty much every year for a decade, with an ERA+ that runs between 100 and 130 (once reaching 139 [!]) Career average K/9 is 8.0, BB/9 is 2.4. He's awesome, I love him, and no one gives him the props he deserves.

On a similar note, I think people underrate Mark Buehrle.

I agree with ya. Vazquez has been one of my favorites since he entered the league. He's very underrated IMO.

Stephenk29
05-13-2009, 01:59 PM
And drafted by the Reds twice (2001 and 2002).

That's hard to swallow!

VR
05-13-2009, 02:01 PM
Yeah, I don't think Keith was underappreciated.

Bill Buckner because of one play, perhaps.

Bill was a very fun player to watch, especially the Cub years. The dude could hardly walk, yet could hit line drives off a machine gun.

tripleaaaron
05-13-2009, 02:03 PM
My all-time most unappreciated player: Keith Hernandez

The guy never got close to the Hall of Fame, but I'll argue his case against others until the day I die. Great hitter and one of the best clutch hitters I've ever seen, but more importantly, he was the best defensive first baseman in the history of the game. It was virtually impossible to execute a sacrifice bunt against him late in a game -- he was a master of the bare-hand throw to second or third. Just an unbelievable player. Anyone who watched those great Mets teams will tell you the key guy wasn't Strawberry or Carter or HoJo or Dykstra. It was Hernandez.

Criminally underrated.

But he spit on kramer, not cool.

M2
05-13-2009, 02:07 PM
But he spit on kramer, not cool.

No, that was Roger McDowell ... behind the bushes over by that gravely road.

Chip R
05-13-2009, 02:11 PM
No, that was Roger McDowell.


Yep, there was a second spitter on the grassy knoll.

nate
05-13-2009, 02:14 PM
Nine percent of the HOF vote? It's ridiculous.

Seems about right to me. He put up a nice career line but does .296/.384/.436/.821 really garner more "appreciation?"

Rojo
05-13-2009, 02:19 PM
It's all relative. Sometimes when a guy gets paid, the book on him becomes that he's not worth the money, even if it turns out that he was worth the money.

I think it depends on the raters. Dunn is way underrated by "baseball men" but slightly overrated by the BP crowd.

Having played for both Boston and NYY, Damon's a star -- he's overrated by fans, but stangely underrated by the cognoscenti.

The baseball men loved Will Cordero but the fans and the stat-heads didn't and they were right.

Cyclone792
05-13-2009, 02:26 PM
Seems about right to me. He put up a nice career line but does .296/.384/.436/.821 really garner more "appreciation?"

Honestly, I'd put Hernandez in the Hall without much second thought. He played during a time when offense was heavily suppressed so while that .821 OPS doesn't look too impressive for a first baseman, it did equate to a 128 OPS+. Tack his defensive prowess on top of that, and I think an excellent case can be made for him.

IIRC, I've graded out Hernandez as being a top 15 first sacker all-time (or if not top 15, then extremely close). My general rule of thumb is if a position player retires amongst the top 15 ever at his position, he's a Hall of Famer. If he's in the 15-20 range, he's a borderline call. If he's beyond 20, he's likely not deserving unless he has something else unique going on (i.e. arguably one of the greatest defensive players at his position ala Concepcion).

nate
05-13-2009, 02:31 PM
Honestly, I'd put Hernandez in the Hall without much second thought. He played during a time when offense was heavily suppressed so while that .821 OPS doesn't look too impressive for a first baseman, it did equate to a 128 OPS+. Tack his defensive prowess on top of that, and I think an excellent case can be made for him.

IIRC, I've graded out Hernandez as being a top 15 first sacker all-time (or if not top 15, then extremely close). My general rule of thumb is if a position player retires amongst the top 15 ever at his position, he's a Hall of Famer. If he's in the 15-20 range, he's a borderline call. If he's beyond 20, he's likely not deserving unless he has something else unique going on (i.e. arguably one of the greatest defensive players at his position ala Concepcion).

I guess he never untarnished his name from the spitting event.

Freaking McDowell.

RichRed
05-13-2009, 02:34 PM
That is one magic loogey.

Cyclone792
05-13-2009, 02:38 PM
Here's another first baseman who sits in the same boat as Hernandez. Actually, this guy might be more of a "really? are you serious?" kind of a guy than Hernandez.

How about Will Clark for the Hall? He's got a serious case, IMO, once you dissect everything.

nate
05-13-2009, 02:38 PM
Honestly, I'd put Hernandez in the Hall without much second thought. He played during a time when offense was heavily suppressed so while that .821 OPS doesn't look too impressive for a first baseman, it did equate to a 128 OPS+. Tack his defensive prowess on top of that, and I think an excellent case can be made for him.

IIRC, I've graded out Hernandez as being a top 15 first sacker all-time (or if not top 15, then extremely close). My general rule of thumb is if a position player retires amongst the top 15 ever at his position, he's a Hall of Famer. If he's in the 15-20 range, he's a borderline call. If he's beyond 20, he's likely not deserving unless he has something else unique going on (i.e. arguably one of the greatest defensive players at his position ala Concepcion).

I should say that Hernandez always kind of seemed like a demo for John Olerud to me. Good players: Olerud more power; Hernandez, better glove.

Cyclone792
05-13-2009, 02:44 PM
I should say that Hernandez always kind of seemed like a demo for John Olerud to me. Good players: Olerud more power; Hernandez, better glove.

Olerud's sitting in the back of that same boat Hernandez and Clark are in.

Look at all three players, and you see three identical aspects that stick out:

1) Solid, but not spectacular batting averages (high .290s to just over .300).
2) Mediocre home run and RBI totals
3) High walk totals

When the BBWAA voters look at first sackers, most of them probably just think about the triple crown stats: BA, HR, RBI. That type of viewpoint is going to seriously underrate those three guys and seriously burst any HOF bubble they may have.

But put the total package together, compare them to other historical first sackers ... and their production levels are all right there in the mix.

Chip R
05-13-2009, 02:49 PM
I think Hernandez gets a little bit of the shaft from being involved in the 80s cocaine scandal. Dave Parker probably does too.

nate
05-13-2009, 02:59 PM
Olerud's sitting in the back of that same boat Hernandez and Clark are in.

Look at all three players, and you see three identical aspects that stick out:

1) Solid, but not spectacular batting averages (high .290s to just over .300).
2) Mediocre home run and RBI totals
3) High walk totals

When the BBWAA voters look at first sackers, most of them probably just think about the triple crown stats: BA, HR, RBI. That type of viewpoint is going to seriously underrate those three guys and seriously burst any HOF bubble they may have.

But put the total package together, compare them to other historical first sackers ... and their production levels are all right there in the mix.

Yeah. If only he'd hit .300, he might've had a chance with Elaine.

:cool:

I know what you're saying but I'm not sure I think Hernandez is underappreciated. He was a pretty popular player in his time. As far as the Hall goes, yes, it certainly seems that players who lack sexy counting stats aren't going to get as much of a nod as players who are solid all the way around. I just don't know, considering his entire game, if KH is a Hall of Famer. Although, if I look at guys with his OPS+ and higher with as many games played, it's a pretty short list.

nate
05-13-2009, 03:02 PM
Here's that list, BTW:



Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers,
From 1901 to 2009,
Played 50% of games at 1B,
(requiring OPSp>=128 and At least 2000 games),
sorted by greatest OPS

Cnt Player **OPS+** G From To Ages PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Positions Teams
+----+-----------------+--------+----+----+----+-----+-----+-----+----+----+---+---+---+----+----+---+----+---+---+---+---+----+---+-----+-----+-----+-----+---------+-----------+
1 Lou Gehrig 179 2164 1923 1939 20-36 9660 8001 1888 2721 534 163 493 1995 1508 0 790 45 106 0 2 102 101 .340 .447 .632 1.079 *3/976 NYY
2 Jimmie Foxx 163 2317 1925 1945 17-37 9670 8134 1751 2646 458 125 534 1922 1452 0 1311 13 71 0 69 87 72 .325 .428 .609 1.037 *352/7196 PHA-BOS-TOT-CHC-PHI
3 Jeff Bagwell 149 2150 1991 2005 23-37 9431 7797 1517 2314 488 32 449 1529 1401 155 1558 128 3 102 221 202 78 .297 .408 .540 .948 *3/D9 HOU
4 Jim Thome 147 2185 1991 2009 20-38 9134 7432 1449 2068 401 24 547 1506 1567 159 2223 66 1 68 138 19 20 .278 .405 .559 .964 *3D5 CLE-PHI-CHW
5 Willie McCovey 147 2588 1959 1980 21-42 9686 8197 1229 2211 353 46 521 1555 1345 260 1550 69 5 70 176 26 22 .270 .374 .515 .889 *37/9D SFG-SDP-TOT-SFG
6 Norm Cash 139 2089 1958 1974 23-39 7910 6705 1046 1820 241 41 377 1103 1043 112 1091 90 17 55 139 43 30 .271 .374 .488 .862 *3/97D CHW-DET
7 Carlos Delgado 138 2035 1993 2009 21-37 8657 7283 1241 2038 483 18 473 1512 1109 186 1745 172 0 93 152 14 8 .280 .383 .546 .929 *3D/72 TOR-FLA-NYM
8 Fred McGriff 134 2460 1986 2004 22-40 10174 8757 1349 2490 441 24 493 1550 1305 171 1882 39 2 71 226 72 38 .284 .377 .509 .886 *3D TOR-SDP-TOT-ATL-TBD-TOT-CHC-LAD-TBD
9 Boog Powell 134 2042 1961 1977 19-35 7810 6681 889 1776 270 11 339 1187 1001 140 1226 29 27 72 164 20 21 .266 .361 .462 .823 *37/D9 BAL-CLE-LAD
10 Orlando Cepeda 133 2124 1958 1974 20-36 8695 7927 1131 2351 417 27 379 1365 588 154 1169 102 4 74 218 142 80 .297 .350 .499 .849 *37D/95 SFG-TOT-STL-ATL-BOS-KCR
11 Rafael Palmeiro 132 2831 1986 2005 21-40 12046 10472 1663 3020 585 38 569 1835 1353 171 1348 87 15 119 231 97 40 .288 .371 .515 .886 *3D7/98 CHC-TEX-BAL
12 Eddie Murray 129 3026 1977 1997 21-41 12817 11336 1627 3255 560 35 504 1917 1333 222 1516 18 2 128 316 110 43 .287 .359 .476 .835 *3D/57 BAL-LAD-NYM-CLE-TOT
13 John Olerud 128 2234 1989 2005 20-36 9063 7592 1139 2239 500 13 255 1230 1275 157 1016 88 12 96 232 11 14 .295 .398 .465 .863 *3D TOR-NYM-SEA-TOT-BOS
14 Keith Hernandez 128 2088 1974 1990 20-36 8553 7370 1124 2182 426 60 162 1071 1070 130 1012 32 10 71 161 98 63 .296 .384 .436 .820 *3/79 STL-TOT-NYM-CLE

Cyclone792
05-13-2009, 03:10 PM
Yeah. If only he'd hit .300, he might've had a chance with Elaine.

:cool:

I know what you're saying but I'm not sure I think Hernandez is underappreciated. He was a pretty popular player in his time. As far as the Hall goes, yes, it certainly seems that players who lack sexy counting stats aren't going to get as much of a nod as players who are solid all the way around. I just don't know, considering his entire game, if KH is a Hall of Famer. Although, if I look at guys with his OPS+ and higher with as many games played, it's a pretty short list.

I'll have to take a look and see where I graded Hernandez out historically.

I think most first basemen tend to be underrated though as hitters, probably because high caliber hitting is expected out of the position. It's almost as if the offensive expectations for the position are a bit too high on the extremes. It's not a really deep position though with historically great hitters, at least not like you'd expect.

What I mean by that is once you get beyond the top 7 or 8 guys at the position all-time, you start to see names pop in the discussion that make people go "whaaaa???"

Cyclone792
05-13-2009, 03:17 PM
That list is a pretty good example, BTW. Look at the number of guys on that list not in the Hall ... Cash, McGriff, Powell, Olerud, Hernandez. Now I wouldn't put all five in, but I think there are solid arguments for some of them.

Then you've got guys like Jim Thome and Carlos Delgado who seem to be quietly shooting up the ranks. If you went out and asked a group of casual fans if Jim Thome is arguably one of the top six or seven first basemen all-time, my bet is most would say no chance.

TRF
05-13-2009, 03:30 PM
For all the pub Manny gets, all the talk about any Dodger not named Manny goes to Matt Kemp.

And all the while there is Andre Ethier, who came into the league the same year Kemp did, and has out hit him every year. His walks have increased every year, HR's too.

Solid player living in anonymity outside Southern California.

osuceltic
05-13-2009, 04:21 PM
Read these HOF takes on Hernandez:

Baseball Think Factory (http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primate_studies/discussion/visitors_dugout_2001_05_14_0/)

Baseball Crank (http://www.baseballcrank.com/archives2/2000/12/baseball_hall_o_1.php)

Quote about Hernandez's defense:


(If you never saw him play, it's hard to describe how a first baseman can be such an impact player in the field. Just saying he won eleven consecutive Gold Gloves doesn't do him anything near justice. He was a master at fielding bunts, often cutting down the runner at second, and covered an enormous amount of ground. He covered a multitude of sins handling throws. Who else could hold together an infield that sometimes included Wally Backman at second, Howard Johnson at third, and Kevin Mitchell at short - on a first place team? Is it an accident that the Cardinals won the World Championship the only full season that Hernandez and Ozzie Smith shared the infield?)

Sports Illustrated (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/kostya_kennedy/01/22/hernandez.hall/)

I don't know why I'm so passionate about a guy who I hated when he played. I guess it's because of why I hated him -- he was so damn good. And it gets lost in the traditional stats used most often when evaluating HOF candidacy.

*BaseClogger*
05-13-2009, 04:21 PM
I am the brokenest of broken records on this point, but I cannot resist giving props to the guy to my left here, Javier Vazquez. Guy has pitched well over 200 innings a year pretty much every year for a decade, with an ERA+ that runs between 100 and 130 (once reaching 139 [!]) Career average K/9 is 8.0, BB/9 is 2.4. He's awesome, I love him, and no one gives him the props he deserves.

On a similar note, I think people underrate Mark Buehrle.

Yep, the most underrated pitcher in baseball. Also a member of the Braves pitching staff, I would give a nod to Derek Lowe. I also think the best pitcher on the Arizona Diamondbacks, Dan Haren, is underrated across baseball outside of fantasy circles...

Scrap Irony
05-13-2009, 04:29 PM
Historically, I think Roberto Alomar gets the shaft often. Seventh best 2B of all time, IMO, and deserving of the HOF easily. Tim Raines, too, is criminally underrated historically by most in baseball. (Another of those cocaine guys-- interesting, that.)

nate
05-13-2009, 04:35 PM
Historically, I think Roberto Alomar gets the shaft often. Seventh best 2B of all time, IMO, and deserving of the HOF easily.

Now there was a guy who could spit!

Chip R
05-13-2009, 04:42 PM
Read these HOF takes on Hernandez:

Baseball Think Factory (http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primate_studies/discussion/visitors_dugout_2001_05_14_0/)

Baseball Crank (http://www.baseballcrank.com/archives2/2000/12/baseball_hall_o_1.php)

Quote about Hernandez's defense:



Sports Illustrated (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/kostya_kennedy/01/22/hernandez.hall/)

I don't know why I'm so passionate about a guy who I hated when he played. I guess it's because of why I hated him -- he was so damn good. And it gets lost in the traditional stats used most often when evaluating HOF candidacy.


What I understand what Hernandez did on bunts is when he fielded the ball, his first move would be to throw to 2nd. If he didn't think he could get the runner he'd hang on to the ball instead of completing the throw, but that was his first move. He figured that even if he didn't complete the throw to 2nd he could always get the batter at 1st.

Handofdeath
05-13-2009, 05:39 PM
Odd, as I think he is way overrated. In fact I think he's overrated in the way that everyone says he's underrated.

Overrated in what way?

westofyou
05-13-2009, 05:51 PM
(If you never saw him play, it's hard to describe how a first baseman can be such an impact player in the field. Just saying he won eleven consecutive Gold Gloves doesn't do him anything near justice. He was a master at fielding bunts, often cutting down the runner at second, and covered an enormous amount of ground. He covered a multitude of sins handling throws.

Hey are ya talking about Hal Chase there?

Keith is penalized for 2 things:

#1 the cocaine incident

#2 That mustache

Add in his ripping of Larkin during his acceptance speech as a Red HOF and all I can say is kiss it Keithy, you're a pud.

TRF
05-13-2009, 05:58 PM
Overrated in what way?

Weak defender, never should have switched to SS from 2B. A solid bat, but so much emphasis placed on his one real skill which was bat on ball. The man could rack up 200 hits a season, I'll give him that. But IMO after Jeter for the last 5 years, he was one of the more talked about SS's.

Nothing underrated there.

Rojo
05-13-2009, 07:04 PM
The man could rack up 200 hits a season, I'll give him that. But IMO after Jeter for the last 5 years, he was one of the more talked about SS's.

Can I nominate counting stats as underrated?

Chip R
05-13-2009, 08:23 PM
Hey are ya talking about Hal Chase there?

Keith is penalized for 2 things:

#1 the cocaine incident

#2 That mustache

Add in his ripping of Larkin during his acceptance speech as a Red HOF and all I can say is kiss it Keithy, you're a pud.


Yeah, but he's Keith Hernandez. :pimp:

westofyou
05-19-2009, 12:15 PM
http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2009/05/18/phillips-screwdriver/


One of my favorite things when I was a kid was watching the oddsmaker Jimmy the Greek match up football teams on the old NFL Today pregame show. CBS had set up one of those high-tech boards — kind of like the one in the gameshow Password Plus — where the piece of cardboard would slide out to reveal check marks. This team would get a check mark for having the better offense, but the other team might get the check mark for better defense. Then, if I remember right, there was coaching and homefield advantage.

And finally, there were “intangibles.” Even as a kid, I loved the irony of Jimmy the Greek giving one team an edge in “intangibles.” To me, it was like a grownup version of “Cooties” — this girl has more cooties than that girl. But Jimmy would do it all right, and he would explain those intangibles too. He would say that this team was playing better so they had an edge in intangibles, or that team wasn’t very good on the road so they had a disadvantage in intangibles, and it was all quite enjoyable.

As I got older, though, I started to realize that there is something troubling about intangibles … people tend to use them whenever they want to make a point that makes no tangible sense. I worked in a factory for a while, and there was this guy in there that everybody liked. He had a good sense of humor, and he always made sure to say hello to everyone, and he buttered up the boss, and he would always offer to buy the person next to him a can of Coke when he went to the break room. Good guy. But he didn’t do squat. I mean, he didn’t do ANYTHING. Trucks would come with boxes, and he was nowhere to be found. Barrels needed to be moved, and he was nowhere to be found. Then, you’d run into him, and he’d say he was doing something, and he’d tell you a joke and offer to buy you a Coke, and life went on. THAT guy had intangibles. He also was virtually worthless.

I bring this up because Sunday night, ESPN announcer Steve Phillips apparently found a way to rip Carlos Beltran. Now, I want to make this very clear: Carlos Beltran is hitting .378 with power, and he he has walked more times than he has struck out. He is on pace to steal 30 bases while getting caught five times. He has won center field Gold Gloves each of the last three seasons, and he deserved them all — he has won the Fielding Bible* award as the best center fielder in baseball two of the last three years.

*I always point out: I’m on the Fielding Bible panel. But I’m only one man!

Beltran has also been the best base runner in the game the last seven or eight years. He has faltered a touch this year, but he has been a +32 base runner every year since 2002 — that’s 32 more bases than the average base runner every single year (going first to third, second to home, first to home on a double, stolen bases, etc).

My point is not to say that Carlos Beltran is above criticism. My point is to say that … well, yeah, at the moment, Carlos Beltran is above criticism. Are you kidding me? A brilliant defensive center fielder who hits, hits with power, steals bases, runs the bases, draws walks … and this year, so far, he’s hitting .379. Is he perfect? Of course not. But if you want to judge him by certain criteria … well, hey, wait a minute, here’s some criteria right here, courtesy of Steve Phillips himself (quotes from this insightful article from the typically insightful Ted Berg):

“That guy who’s a good baserunner, a good defender, doesn’t give up at-bats, gets the hit when you need the hit, drives in a run when you need the run, always seems to be in the right position. I think the good teams have that guy … that singular flawless player that in every aspect of the game, lead.”

Sure. Lots of teams have good defenders and good base runners who get the hit when you need the hit and drive in the run when you need the run and always seem to be in the right position and lead and also are flawless. Absolutely. Can’t have a team without one of those guys.

So, who would fit all that? Mighty Hercules?*

*Hercules! Hero of song and story!
Hercules! Winner of ancient glory!
Fighting for the right! Fighting with his might!
With the strength of ten ordinary men!
Hercules! People are safe when near him!
Hercules! Only the evil fear him!
Softness in his eyes! Iron in his thighs!
Virtue in his heart! Fire in every part of the Mighty Hercules!

Well, how about Albert Pujols. Sure. Steve Phillips pointed him out quickly, though it should be noted that Steve Phillips’ Mets did have 13 chances to draft Pujols just like everyone else, and swung and missed. Anyway, how about Pujols? He’s the best player in the game, I’ve said that a million times. So can he be Steve Phillips’ Mighty Hercules?

Good baserunner: Yeah, he’s good. But that check mark goes to Beltran.
Good defender: Pujols is an excellent first baseman. Beltran is a world-class centerfielder. Check mark to Beltran.
Doesn’t give up at-bats: Check mark to Pujols, though Beltran is on-basing .473 at the moment.
Gets the hit when you need the hit/drives in the run when you need the run: Check mark to Pujols, but Beltran is no slouch in the clutch. There are some pretty decent playoff numbers that prove the point.
Always seems to be in the right position: And here we have the bull hockey — the intangibles. What is this supposed to mean? No, really, what? Carlos Beltran has driven in 100 runs and scored 100 runs eight times in his career. Seems to me, that’s where he’s supposed to be.
Flawless? Leader?: No idea. Check mark to Jimmy the Greek.

Well, it sure looks like Beltran holds his own. You want to put him up against Dustin Pedroia? Chipper Jones? Kevin Youkilis. These are the players Steve Phillips mentioned. Beltran’s a much better base runner than any of them. I would say he’s a better defender than any of them, though you could argue for Pedroia.

Chipper Jones is a better hitter — he’s a GREAT hitter — but he has not played even 140 games in a season since 2003 which would make it difficult to give him the “Always in the right place” check mark.

Dustin Pedroia has had one good year and he put up a 122 OPS+ in that year.

Kevin Youkilis has had one good year and he’s a barely average runner, at best.

My point is not to knock those guys. They’re great players. They do some things better than Beltran. And there are other things they don’t do as well. If you want to have a fair fight and compare what they do, how they play the game, fine. But saying stuff like this drives me mad:

“I think at times, while he puts up some numbers, his game is inconsistent. There are times where, in pressure situations, he hasn’t gotten the job done.”

See? Here we go. Even though Beltran puts up “some numbers” his game is “inconsistent.”

Some numbers = tangible.

Inconsistent = intangible.

Carlos Beltran is actually quite consistent. He’s a great centerfielder year after year. That takes consistency. He is the best percentage base stealer in baseball history. That takes consistency. He has, as mentioned, scored 100 runs, driven in 100 RBIs eight times. That takes consistency. He has only once in the last seven years hit fewer than 25 homers, driven in fewer than 100 runs, put up an OPS+ of less than 126. If anything, Beltran is TOO consistent, and that consistency has left knuckleheads demanding that he be greater than great … you know, by improving his intangibles.*

*Or is it increasing his intangibles? Monetizing his intangibles? Tangiblizing his intangibles?

One more Phillips gem:

While he has that great talent, there are times when he doesn’t play the game and make plays.

Yep, those players who don’t play the game or make plays, those are the worst kinds of players in the world. You want a player who plays the game, makes plays, a player who makes game plays, the plays gamers play to make, a player who makes plays for plays that playmakers make.

And, man, I really hate the “while he has great talent,” line … especially for a 32-year-old player has been as good as Carlos Beltran. That to me is a slap in the face — you know, lots of people have great talent. Steve Phillips may have had great talent … he was drafted in the fifth round by the Mets and he had enough speed to steal 39 bases in Class A ball one year. Like I say, lots of people have talent.

But here are the number of 32-year-old players who had already hit 250 homers and stolen 250 bases: 4.*

*Alex Rodriguez, Barry and Bobby Bonds, Carlos Beltran.

And here are the number of players who have scored 100 runs and driven in 100 RBIs eight times before they turned 32: 15.

Of those, five are eligible for the Hall of Fame. Five are in the Hall of Fame.*

*The seven active players to pull the trick: A-Rod, Pujols, Beltran, Vlad Guerrero, Chipper Jones, Manny Ramirez and Ken Griffey. A few Hall of Famers on that list too.

And, oh yeah, let’s remember again: Beltran is off to his best season so far.

Steve Phillips went on some convoluted rant about how Beltran doesn’t get a hit every single time up, didn’t slide once at home plate and overthrows his cutoff man by a mile. Yes, intangibles. Maybe these are true things … Beltran has his flaws. But I would like to point out that I have seen Albert Pujols strike out with runners in scoring position, and I saw Torii Hunter make a bad throw to the plate, and I saw Cal Ripken make a base running blunder and I saw Derek Jeter (no!) throw to the wrong base. The game is one of failure, and if an alien came down on some spaceship and was shown the entire hitting career of Ted Williams, he might say (though his four-nostril nose), “This guy sucked! He made outs half the time he came to the plate.”

The alien also would probably be a better announcer than Steve Phillips.

RFS62
05-19-2009, 05:02 PM
Hernandez was and is a punk. But he's the best defensive firstbaseman in history.

If Maz gets in at second base, Hernandez belongs in at first.

Like Maz, he changed the way people look at the position.

Ravenlord
05-19-2009, 10:09 PM
Hernandez was and is a punk. But he's the best defensive firstbaseman in history.

If Maz gets in at second base, Hernandez belongs in at first.

Like Maz, he changed the way people look at the position.
i've long that in watching clips of Hernandez play first that if he was right handed, he would have been a 2B or 3B.

westofyou
05-19-2009, 10:40 PM
i've long that in watching clips of Hernandez play first that if he was right handed, he would have been a 2B or 3B.

They said the same thing about Hal Chase, who in fact played 2b in Christy Mathewson's last game (as a Red too) against Three Finger Brown in 1917.

westofyou
05-23-2009, 03:05 PM
http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2009/05/22/five-things-you-may-not-know/



So, for your enjoyment, here are five things you may not know:

1. The New York Mets single-season record holder for home runs is not Mike Piazza, Darryl Strawberry, Howard Johnson or Dave Kingman.

It is Carlos Beltran. He hit 41 home runs in 2006*.

*He tied the record: Todd Hundley also hit 41 home runs for the Mets.

2. Only one switch-hitter in baseball history has had multiple seasons of 80 or more extra base hits. It is not Mickey Mantle, Pete Rose, Eddie Murray or Chipper Jones. It is not Jimmy Rollins, Mark Teixeira, Lance Berkman or Reggie Smith. It is not Bernie Williams, Chili Davis, Roberto Alomar or Ripper Collins.

It is Carlos Beltran. He’s done it three times.

3. Only one player in baseball history has stolen 200 or more bases and been successful more than 85% of the time. It is not Tim Raines or Rickey Henderson, not Davey Lopes, Eric Davis or Joe Morgan, not Carl Crawford or Willie Wilson or Ichiro or Vince Coleman.

It is Carlos Beltran. He has stolen 281 bases and been caught 38 times, a preposterous 88% success rate.

4. There is only one center fielder in baseball history who has hit more than 40 home runs in a season and has also stolen more than 40 bases in a season. That’s in a career, I’m not talking about one 40-40 season. Hmm. It’s not Willie Mays. It’s not Mickey Mantle. It’s not Ken Griffey or Joe DiMaggio or Grady Sizemore or Duke Snider. It’s not Andruw Jones or Fred Lynn or Bernie Williams or Curtis Granderson or Amos Otis or …

Yeah. It is Carlos Beltran. He hit 41 homers for the Mets, and he stole more than 40 bases in back-to-back years, 2003 and 2004.

5. There are two center fielders in baseball history, two, who have had more than six seasons of BOTH scoring 100 runs and driving in 100 runs. They were both excellent defensive center fielders — multiple Gold Glove winners. They were both extremely fast base runners — especially in their younger years. They both spent a good portion of their careers as center fielders in New York.

The first one, Willie Mays, played the game with an outward joy. He smiled. He said “Say Hey!” He played stickball in the street. When he ran in the outfield, his hat often fell off. He had one of the greatest catches in World Series history. He pulled off the 100 run/100 RBI thing nine times. He is viewed by many as the greatest player in baseball history.

The second one, Carlos Beltran, plays the game with a stoic restlessness, he does not often seem to be having fun out there. His hat does not fall off when he runs … he’s so graceful he hardly appears to be running at all. He had one of the greatest playoff runs in baseball history — in 12 playoff games in 2004 he hit .434 with 8 homers, six stolen bases, nine walks, 14 RBIs and 21 runs — and people still say he fails in the clutch. He has pulled off the 100 run/100 RBI thing seven times, and if he stays healthy he’ll probably do it again. He is viewed by many as overrated and an underachiever.