History of Baseball: Greatest Players of All-Time Series (40-53)
Chapter One, Part 1: Players 40 to 53
The series starts with a five post presentation on Chapter One, breaking down the top players by Total Player Rating. Forty-seven spots are featured, covering 53 players (excluding pitchers). Then, we will follow with succeeding chapters covering the top-rated players by position (Catchers, First Basemen, etc.)
Some players are ranked equally to others, and are listed in a group with those of identical total ratings (i.e., tied for 47th place). The rankings are broken down, as follows, first: Total Player Ratings; then, total offensive ratings; then, total (non-catcher) defensive ratings; followed by, base stealing/base running ratings.
Let’s begin by revealing players ranked 40 through 53. Players within this group are rated about the same. These 14 players count 4 nineteenth century performers and 2 Negro League stars among their ranks. Twelve are in the Hall Of Fame, and we expect Chipper Jones and Jim Edmonds to join Cooperstown at some point.
The Greatest Position Players (these seven players are tied at #47)
Duke Snider CF
Duke Snider was the Brooklyn Dodgers’ star center fielder during New York City’s baseball heyday. The Yankees had Mantle, the Giants had Mays, and the Dodgers had the Duke… all future Hall Of Fame center fielders. In his 18 year career, Snider was an 8-time All-Star, and slammed over 40 home runs for five consecutive years–two of them off Phillies’ ace Robin Roberts on September 22, 1957, the last homers ever hit at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field. The Duke was also an outstanding defensive center fielder.
Al Simmons LF
Al Simmons was a star left fielder for the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1920s and 1930s. Called “Bucketfoot Al” because of an unusual batting style in which he stepped toward the third base dugout, he had more hits than any right-handed batter in American League history until he was surpassed by Al Kaline. He played for 21 years and won 2 batting titles and was a feared slugger. He batted .329 in 4 World Series, and posted a .334 career batting average. In 1929, he won the MVP Award. Simmons is considered one of the greatest right-handed hitters of All-Time. He also became a good defensive left fielder.
Chuck Klein RF
Chuck Klein was a power-hitting right fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs in the 1930s. He was a very productive hitter, scoring 158 runs in 1930, the most scored in the National League since then. In 1932, he led the NL in both home runs and steals, still the only player to do so. He also won the MVP Award in that year, and won the Triple Crown in 1933. Klein is one of seven big leaguers to have had at least four 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons in their first five years, along with Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Ralph Kiner, Mark Teixeira, Albert Pujols and Ryan Braun. He is a member of the Hall Of Fame.
Chipper Jones is one of the best switch-hitters of All-Time. He is baseball’s greatest offensive performer as a third baseman, having batted over .300 9 times. In 1999, he won the National League’s MVP Award. That same year, Jones set a record for the most home runs in a season by a National League switch hitter (45). That record has since been tied by Lance Berkman. His entire career has been with the Atlanta Braves. Chipper is a 7-time All-Star, and has won 2 Silver Slugger Awards.
Hughie Jennings was a Hall Of Fame shortstop, equally adept offensively and defensively. He also managed the Detroit Tigers for 14 years. His playing career started with the Louisville Colonels of the American Association (a major league at that time) and reached superstardom with the National League’s Baltimore Orioles. He played with fellow future Hall Of Famers’ John McGraw and Wee Willie Keeler. Ned Hanlon, their skipper, made “small ball” famous, and Jennings played that type of ball as well as anyone. Jennings also attended Cornell University Law School, and became a wealthy trial lawyer, practicing during the off-season throughout his career. He also holds the career record for being hit by a pitch with 287.
Jim Edmonds CF
Jim Edmonds was one of the best center fielders to ever play the game. His spectacular over-the-head, diving catches are still talked about today. His 17 year career was mostly spent with the California Angels and the St. Louis Cardinals. He won 8 Gold Glove Awards, and averaged over 23 homers a year. He was a 4-time All-Star and won the Silver Slugger Award in 2004.
George Davis SS
George Davis was a gifted athlete whose Hall Of Fame career lasted 20 years. He played mostly for the New York Giants and the Chicago White Sox, and was an excellent defender at shortstop. He also played 2B, 3B and CF. He was a superb switch-hitter, batting over .300 9 times, and led Chicago’s “Hitless Wonders” White Sox team to victory with 6 RBIs in their upset 1906 World Series victory over the crosstown Cubs.
The Greatest Position Players (the following seven players are tied at #40)
Roy Campanella is (along with King Kelly) in our UBTG™ Player Register our 3rd-ranked catcher of All-Time. He was elected to the Hall Of Fame in 1969, and appeared in 8 All-Star games. Campy was a 3-time NL MVP as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He played top-level professional ball for 21 years, in the 1940s and 1950s, and led the National League in percentage of base runners caught stealing 5 times. He was paralyzed in an automobile accident, ending his major league career in 1958.
Eddie Collins, a member of Cooperstown, played Major League ball for 25 years, mostly with the Philadelphia Athletics and the Chicago White Sox. In his career, he posted a .333 batting average, and won the AL MVP in 1914. Collins led the League in fielding percentage for second basemen in 8 seasons.
Roger Connor 1B
Roger Connor was one of the best all-around players of the nineteenth century. He was a power-hitting first baseman who was a good fielder. An 18-year veteran, he played mostly with the New York Giants. His career batting average was .316, and he slugged a nineteenth century record 138 homeruns. Connor also led the League in fielding percentage for first basemen 4 times. He is a member of Cooperstown.
Al Kaline RF
Al Kaline is one of the best defensive right fielders to ever play the game. This Hall Of Famer played 22 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, and was selected for 18 All-Star games. He was awarded 10 Gold Gloves for his play in right field. In 1974, Kaline became the 12th player in Major League Baseball history to achieve 3000 hits, when he hit a double off the Orioles’ Dave McNally.
Michael “King” Kelly is tied for 3rd on our All-Time list of catchers. He played for 16 years, mostly for Chicago and Boston of the National League. He was an exciting offensive performer, and with his dashing good looks became a fan favorite. Kelly was known for his batting and his base running, often accompanied to exhortations from the fans, “Slide, Kelly! Slide!” He was the nineteenth century’s most popular player, and is in the Hall Of Fame.
Turkey Stearnes was one of the All-Time great black ballplayers. In the Negro Leagues, he won 3 batting titles and 6 HR crowns, and played an excellent center field. In 1932, as a Chicago American Giant, Stearnes won the doubles, triples, homerun and steals crowns, a feat only matched in major league-level play by the incomparable Oscar Charleston. Stearnes is in the Hall Of Fame.
Cristóbal Torriente played in the Negro Leagues,and was one of the greatest ballplayers to ever come from Cuba. He mostly played center field, and could do it all–hit, hit for power, run the bases and field. In games against Major Leaguers, he excelled. They just couldn’t sign him because he was black. Torriente was elected to the Hall Of Fame in 2006. He was also one of the first class of inductees of the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.
The next post in this series will cover the all-time greatest players ranked #28 through #39. Stay tuned for more!
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