The Baseball Hall of HCTGIG

A while back, Sports Illustrated's Joe Posnanski wrote this article about sort of an alternative to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, namely Baseball Think Factory's Hall of Merit. In the article, he states, "It seems to me that every baseball fan's Hall of Fame would be a little bit different." So that got me thinking about my own HOF, which would differ from the actual Hall in its reliance on statistical performance and its (generally) more stringent requirements.

Now, simply because there have been so many great players throughout baseball history, I couldn't create the same sort of in-depth analyses that I did for my 2013 Ballot. This is a much quicker estimation, but I think that I've taken most aspects of the players' careers into account.

Now, some fans - generally those who don't want to be bothered with figuring out whether a player is actually, you know, good - will snidely tell you that it's called the "Hall of Fame," not the "Hall of Statistical Excellence." While that is true, the fact is that it was not called the "Hall of Fame" because it was intended to honor people for being well-known; otherwise, José Canseco would have made it in on the first ballot. No, it was called the "Hall of Fame" simply because "Hall of Merit," "Hall of Greatness," and "Hall of Holy Crap This Guy Is Good" just didn't have the same ring.

Well, I'm not worried about advertising, so presented here is The National Baseball Hall of Holy Crap This Guy Is Good. Eligible for the Hall of HCTGIG are players, managers, and pioneers/innovators. Eligibility requirements are much the same as in the Hall of Fame: a player must have ten years of service in a top professional league in the US, be retired for five years, and not be under a permanent ban. I will not challenge the Commissioner's office on the issue of whether a player actually should be banned; I am simply accepting their rulings on Pete Rose and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, not to mention Ty Cobb as an example of someone who maybe should have been banned.

People marked with an asterisk (*) are not in the Hall of Fame. Players marked with a dagger (†) are not in the Hall of Merit. (Note that there are no nonplayers in the Hall of Merit.) You'll notice that the player selections in my Hall of HCTGIG are more similar to the Hall of Merit than to the Hall of Fame. Click on a name to see more information about the individual. Players and managers link to a page, while innovators link to Wikipedia.

First Basemen (15) Cap Anson
Jeff Bagwell *
Dan Brouthers
Rod Carew
Roger Connor
Jimmie Foxx
Lou Gehrig
Hank Greenberg
Keith Hernandez *
Harmon Killebrew
Buck Leonard
Willie McCovey
Johnny Mize
Eddie Murray
Mule Suttles

Second Basemen (13) Newt Allen *†
Roberto Alomar
Eddie Collins
Frankie Frisch
Charlie Gehringer
Bobby Grich *
Rogers Hornsby
Napoleon "Larry" Lajoie
Joe Morgan
Willie Randolph *
Jackie Robinson
Ryne Sandberg
Lou Whitaker *

Shortstops (14) Luke Appling
Ernie Banks
Bill Dahlen *
George Davis
Home Run Johnson *
Barry Larkin
John Henry "Pop" Lloyd
Pee Wee Reese
Cal Ripken
Ozzie Smith
Alan Trammell *
Arky Vaughan
Honus Wagner
Willie Wells

Third Basemen (13) Dick Allen *
Frank "Home Run" Baker
Buddy Bell *†
Wade Boggs
George Brett
Ray Dandridge
Eddie Mathews
Paul Molitor
Brooks Robinson
Mike Schmidt
Robin Ventura *†
Jud Wilson
Ron Santo

Catchers (15) Johnny Bench
Yogi Berra
Roger Bresnahan
Roy Campanella
Gary Carter
Mickey Cochrane
Bill Dickey
Buck Ewing
Carlton Fisk
Josh Gibson
Gabby Hartnett
Ernie Lombardi
Biz Mackey
Mike Piazza
Louis Santop

Left Fielders (15) Barry Bonds *
Jesse Burkett
Fred Clarke
"Big" Ed Delahanty
Rickey Henderson
Monte Irvin
Sherry Magee *
Stan Musial
Tim Raines *
Al Simmons
Willie Stargell
Harry Stovey *
Billy Williams
Ted Williams
Carl Yastrzemski

Center Fielders (17) Cool Papa Bell
Willard Brown
Oscar Charleston
Ty Cobb
Joe DiMaggio
Larry Doby
Ken Griffey
Billy Hamilton
Kenny Lofton *†
Mickey Mantle
Willie Mays
Alejandro Oms *
Reggie Smith *
Duke Snider
Tris Speaker
Turkey Stearnes
Cristóbal Torriente

Right Fielders (14) Hank Aaron
Bobby Bonds *†
Roberto Clemente
Sam Crawford
Dwight "Dewey" Evans
Tony Gwynn
Harry Heilmann
Reggie Jackson
Al Kaline
Mel Ott
Frank Robinson
Babe Ruth
Larry Walker
Paul Waner

Starting Pitchers (44) Grover Cleveland "Pete" Alexander
Bert Blyleven
Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown
Ray Brown
Steve Carlton
John Clarkson
Roger Clemens *
Leon Day
Martín Dihigo
Don Drysdale
Whitey Ford
Bill Foster
Bob Gibson
Lefty Grove
Carl Hubbell
Randy Johnson
Walter Johnson
Tim Keefe
Sandy Koufax
Greg Maddux
Juan Marichal
Pedro Martínez
Christy Mathewson
José Méndez
Mike Mussina *†
Hal Newhouser
Phil Niekro
Kid Nichols
Satchel Paige
Jim Palmer
Gaylord Perry
Eddie Plank
Charley "Old Hoss" Radbourne
Bullet Rogan
Amos Rusie
Nolan Ryan
Tom Seaver
Hilton Smith
Warren Spahn
Dazzy Vance
Rube Waddell
Ed Walsh
Smokey Joe Williams
Cy Young

Relief Pitchers (8) Dennis Eckersley
Rich "Goose" Gossage
Ellis Kinder *†
John Hiller *†
Dan Quisenberry *†
Bruce Sutter
Billy Wagner *†
Hoyt Wilhelm

Designated Hitters (2) Edgar Martínez *
Frank Thomas

Managers (11) Walter Alston
Bobby Cox
Leo Durocher
Tony La Russa
Tommy Lasorda
Al Lopez
Joe McCarthy
John McGraw
Frank Selee
Casey Stengel
Earl Weaver

Pioneers/Innovators (11) Doc Adams *
Alexander Cartwright
Henry Chadwick
Rube Foster
Bill James *
Frank Jobe *
Marvin Miller *
Branch Rickey
Bill Veeck
John Montgomery Ward
Harry Wright

The 50 Greatest Players in American Baseball

At the bookstore the other day, I happened to notice a book which purported to list the 25 greatest baseball players of all-time. Well, aside from the fact that it was an American-only list in the guise of an all-time list, some of the author's choices were rather questionable. Seriously, Pete Rose? Alex Rodriguez but not Barry Bonds? Jackie Robinson but not Eddie Collins? Only one (possibly token) Negro Leaguer? Something seems wrong here.

So, not liking his list, I followed that eternal bit of advice and made my own, expanded to 50 because I was bored. Thus follows, in my judgment, the 50 greatest players in the history of American baseball. Unlike my Hall of HCTGIG, the only requirement for eligibility on this list is a minimum of 10 years of service at a top professional level in the US. Some of my choices and rankings are decidedly nontraditional, and definitely arguable. (How do you really compare Eddie Collins to Mariano Rivera, after all?)

Anyway, I hope you appreciate my list, even if you don't necessarily agree with it. And if you think I'm totally clueless and my list is garbage . . .

50.) Roy Campanella
49.) Bob Gibson
48.) Roberto Clemente
47.) George Davis
46.) Hoyt Wilhelm
45.) Smokey Joe Williams
44.) Jimmie Foxx
43.) Kid Nichols
42.) Carl Yastrzemski
41.) Lefty Grove

40.) Buck Leonard
39.) Bill Dickey
38.) Mariano Rivera
37.) Joe DiMaggio
36.) Alex Rodriguez
35.) Roger Clemens
34.) Al Kaline
33.) Eddie Mathews
32.) Bullet Rogan
31.) Albert Pujols

30.) John Henry "Pop" Lloyd
29.) Stan Musial
28.) Napoleon "Larry" Lajoie
27.) Randy Johnson
26.) Tom Seaver
25.) Grover Cleveland "Pete" Alexander
24.) Jackie Robinson
23.) Mickey Mantle
22.) Frank Robinson
21.) Lou Gehrig

20.) Rogers Hornsby
19.) Greg Maddux
18.) Cy Young
17.) Johnny Bench
16.) Rickey Henderson
15.) Tris Speaker
14.) Ted Williams
13.) Ty Cobb
12.) Pedro Martinez
11.) Hank Aaron

10.) Mike Schmidt
9.) Josh Gibson
8.) Eddie Collins
7.) Satchel Paige
6.) Barry Bonds
5.) Oscar Charleston
4.) Walter Johnson
3.) Babe Ruth
2.) Willie Mays
1.) Honus Wagner

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