ESPN’s 100 Best

While looking up some stuff on ESPN’s MLB section I stumbled across a list touted as their 100 Greatest Major League players. They give a list of 100 players ranked 1-100 in order, then throw in 25 “honorable mention” players. You can find the entire list at ESPN’s MLB section, but here’s a rundown of some of the players.

Below is a 25 man roster with 2 players at each everyday position, two DH’s, five starters (one of which has to be a lefty), and two closers (there were only two on the list). The number beside each name is the player’s position on the list:

1b–Gehrig (11), Pujols (19)

2b–Hornsby (15), Morgan (20)

ss–Wagner (10), Ripken (31)

3b–Schmidt (16), Alex Rodriguez (18)

lf–Bonds (3), Ted Williams (4)

cf–Mays (2), Cobb (6)

rf–Ruth (1), Aaron (5)

catcher–Bench (27), Berra (56)

dh–Musial (8), Mantle (9)

starters–Clemens (7), Walter Johnson (12), Maddux (13), Young (17), Randy Johnson (23)

closers–Rivera (67), Eckersley (116)

Notice that it took all the way to the “honorable mention” list to pick up a second closer. The “honorable mention” list ended at 125 and did not include any other closer.

A couple of comments now:

1. The highest rated player that had no position on the “team” I put together above was Rickey Henderson at number 14.

2. The player who played the earliest was Cap Anson at 88.

3. The last player on the 100 was Phil Niekro and the first person (#101) on the “honorable mention” list was Luke Appling. Roy Campanella was the end of the “honorable mention” list at 125.

4. The list did include a handful of 19th Century players (Nichols, Galvin, Keefe) but was mostly 20th Century.

5. The list also included a handful of 21st Century players so it wasn’t one of those fogey lists that says the last great players were in the 1960s or 1970s (or pick your own decade).

6. Both the steroid and banning issues were ignored. Bonds, Palmeiro, and Rose all made the list and Joe Jackson was on the “honorable mention” list.

7. The entire list is available on the ESPN baseball section if you’re interested in the entire thing. If you disagree with parts of it (and I certainly do), take it up with ESPN.

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