The 100 Greatest MLB Players of All Time: An Introduction

A couple of months ago I was driving with my father-in-law from St. Louis to Springfield, MO.  It was long, dreary drive over rolling hills and nothing to look at but darkness.  We were discussing Joe Posnanski’s blog in which he is slowly listing his top 100 greatest baseball players of all time.  Each player listed has an accompanying article brilliantly relaying a story about that player and why Mr. Posnanski believes that player belongs in that particular slot on his top 100 list.

We ended up disagreeing on where many players currently reside on the list, or even that they are on the list to begin with.  We attempted to guess where certain players that have yet to be listed will end up on the list, which resulted in even more disagreement.

This got me thinking.  What if I make my own list, with my own criteria and grading scale?  How would my list compare with lists created by Joe Posnanski, Bill James, ESPN, or any other respected person or entity?

Every Monday I will post ten players from my list beginning with player number 100.  Over the next couple of months I will reveal my top 100 baseball players of all time.  I hope everyone enjoys it.  Most importantly, I hope everyone chimes in with why they agree or disagree with a ranking.

The Method:

I compared the top 50 players in 30 offensive categories.  The top 50 players in 25 pitching categories.  The top 20 players in three defensive categories at every position, and the top 50 players in two overall defensive categories.

The top players in each category were awarded 50 points, and the bottom player was awarded one point.  For the defensive players at each position the top player was awarded 20 points, and the bottom player was awarded one point.

All points were tallied and then the average points per player were determined.  The players were then ranked by their average points.

The method is not perfect, but the final results are very interesting, and they will create much debate.

The Criteria:

I included any player from any era, and those players were graded exclusively on their career statistical performance.  Players who only played in the Negro Leagues, Japan, or anything other than Major League Baseball were not considered.

I understand the fact that players that lost time due to war, such as Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and Bob Feller may not be fairly rated or may be losing statistical points due to the loss of prime years in their careers.  I don’t necessarily like it, but for the purposes of this exercise I will not be taking that into consideration.

Players who admittedly or allegedly used steroids or any other performance enhancing drug are only being considered for their on-field performance.  The content of their character is not being taken into consideration for this exercise.

Players with less than 10 years of Major League service time were not considered for this list.

There are a handful of active players on the list.  Their position on this list assumes that their career were to end when this list was created.  No potential future accomplishments were considered in the making of this list.

Feel free to speculate and guess in the comments where you think a player will land on the list, or any surprises that you think might show up.

The List:

To start things off I will reveal the first player to not make the top 100.  Player 101, if you will.  Well, technically he is player 102, because there is a tie somewhere in the top 100*.  But who is counting?

*A tie that is guaranteed to create some controversy.

Without further ado, the list begins with…..

101. Juan Marichal

Juan Marichal was one of the most dominant pitchers of the 1960’s.  He won more games in that decade than any other pitcher.  He was selected to 10 All Star games, appearing in eight.  He pitched to a 2-0 record, 0.50 ERA, and faced 62 batters over 18 innings in his All Star appearances (2nd most innings all time behind Don Drysdale).  Marichal finished his career with a 2.89 ERA.  He led the league in shutouts and complete games twice and won 20+ games in six separate seasons, but only won 243 games for his career.


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