Friday, November 12, 2004
NFL "EXPERT" PICKS
ALL-TIME TOP 100s: Shortstops
Good morning! Just a few quick thoughts (including some on Johan Santana's Cy Young Award win)will follow today's installment of Justin Ahern's analysis of the Top 100 SS of all-time.
Today, we will continue the Top 100s series that Justin Ahern researched for us with the shortstops. If you would like some background on the process used to develop this report and ranking, please click here. Here are the previous Top 100 lists:
All-Time Top 100: Catchers
All-Time Top 100s: First Basemen
All-Time Top 100s: Second Basemen
All-Time Top 100s: Third Basemen
If you have any questions for me, or if you have any questions for Justin, please e-mail me, and I will be sure to forward your thoughts to him.
Here are the Top 100 Shortstops of All-Time. Please send me your thoughts on the Top 100s.
Rank Player Year Born Total 1 Honus Wagner 1874 190.98 2 Alex Rodriguez 1975 152.63 3 Arky Vaughan 1912 150.65 4 Cal Ripken Jr. 1960 143.56 5 Robin Yount 1955 143.40 6 Joe Cronin 1906 135.91 7 Barry Larkin 1964 135.40 8 Luke Appling 1907 134.67 9 Ernie Banks 1931 130.35 10 Lou Boudreau 1917 130.03 11 Alan Trammell 1958 129.26 12 Derek Jeter 1974 127.70 13 George Davis 1870 126.14 14 Bill Dahlen 1870 125.76 15 Vern Stephens 1920 124.97 16 Pee Wee Reese 1918 124.91 17 Jim Fregosi 1942 124.11 18 Nomar Garciaparra 1973 124.03 19 Hughie Jennings 1869 123.83 20 Ozzie Smith 1954 122.61 21 Miguel Tejada 1976 120.71 22 Maury Wills 1932 119.30 23 Joe Sewell 1898 118.49 24 Tony Fernandez 1962 118.34 25 Julio Franco 1958 117.25 26 Johnny Pesky 1919 115.98 27 Phil Rizzuto 1917 115.84 28 Bobby Wallace 1873 114.66 29 Dave Bancroft 1891 114.33 30 Eddie Joost 1916 114.32 31 Bert Campaneris 1942 113.32 32 Rico Petrocelli 1943 113.20 33 Herman Long 1866 112.43 34 Jay Bell 1965 111.80 35 Joe Tinker 1880 111.63 36 Dave Concepcion 1948 110.67 37 Al Dark 1922 110.25 38 Dick Groat 1930 108.24 39 Art Fletcher 1885 107.95 40 Jack Glasscock 1859 107.91 41 Rabbit Maranville 1891 107.69 42 Dick Bartell 1907 106.81 43 Luis Aparicio 1934 104.12 44 Monte Ward 1860 103.73 45 Johnny Logan 1927 103.71 46 Cecil Travis 1913 103.59 47 Travis Jackson 1903 103.36 48 Donie Bush 1887 102.37 49 Garry Templeton 1956 101.52 50 Jeff Blauser 1965 100.77 51 Roger Peckinpaugh 1891 100.07 52 Frankie Crosetti 1910 99.78 53 Edgar Renteria 1975 99.70 54 Ed McKean 1864 99.50 55 Denis Menke 1940 99.26 56 Roy Smalley 1952 98.72 57 Freddy Parent 1875 98.52 58 Omar Vizquel 1967 97.64 59 Kid Elberfeld 1875 97.58 60 Leo Cardenas 1938 97.01 61 Ray Chapman 1891 96.82 62 Jose Valentin 1969 96.26 63 Billy Rogell 1904 95.89 64 Rafael Furcal 1978 95.70 65 Chris Speier 1950 95.45 66 Woody English 1906 95.44 67 Woodie Held 1932 94.77 68 Rick Burleson 1951 93.78 69 Marty Marion 1917 93.58 70 Charlie Hollocher 1896 93.41 71 Rich Aurilia 1971 92.88 72 Dickie Thon 1958 91.85 73 Zoilo Versalles 1939 91.85 74 Glenn Wright 1901 91.40 75 Ron Hansen 1938 91.04 76 Buck Weaver 1890 90.84 77 Jimmy Rollins 1978 89.41 78 Al Bridwell 1884 89.07 79 Lyn Lary 1906 87.66 80 Granny Hamner 1927 87.02 81 Solly Hemus 1923 86.74 82 Sam Wise 1857 85.89 83 Orlando Cabrera 1974 85.87 84 Larry Bowa 1945 85.86 85 Mark Belanger 1944 85.62 86 Greg Gagne 1961 85.47 87 Scott Fletcher 1958 85.42 88 Tony Kubek 1936 85.28 89 Freddie Patek 1944 84.82 90 Red Kress 1907 84.73 91 Bill Russell 1948 84.39 92 Chico Carrasquel 1928 83.81 93 Terry Turner 1881 83.57 94 Tommy Corcoran 1869 83.55 95 Roy McMillan 1929 83.39 96 Jack Barry 1887 82.77 97 Don Kessinger 1942 82.19 98 Bud Harrelson 1944 81.85 99 Ed Bressoud 1932 81.72 100 Shawon Dunston 1963 81.44 101 Billy Jerges 1908 81.31 102 Gene Alley 1940 81.16 103 Ozzie Guillen 1964 80.38 104 Eddie Miller 1916 79.79 105 Carlos Guillen 1975 79.16 106 Bucky Dent 1951 76.14 107 Royce Clayton 1970 76.08 108 Rafael Ramirez 1958 75.67 109 Cristian Guzman 1978 74.83 110 Ivan DeJesus 1953 74.69 111 Everett Scott 1892 73.54 112 George McBride 1880 68.75 113 Neifi Perez 1973 67.91
Up until recently, shortstop was viewed as a position where you wanted to find a guy who could make all the plays and if you found such a guy, you were happy. If he could hit a little, that was just a bonus. That is no longer the case with the new era of shortstops who can actually hit. Cal Ripken, Robin Yount, and Alan Trammell were really the first of this breed of shortstop with Nomar, Jeter, and ARod taking it to the next level. Since great offensive shortstops are for the most part new to baseball, the top of this list is full of contemporary players. I don't know how many of them are going to make it to the Hall of Fame, but you could make a case for Ripken, Trammell, ARod, Jeter, Nomar, Tejada, Larkin, and maybe even Tony Fernandez. I think that Ripken, ARod, Jeter, and Nomar are locks. I think that Tejada will probably get in with a few more good seasons. I think that Trammell and Larkin are going to get screwed. They belong but I don't think the voters will see it that way. Tony Fernandez probably doesn't belong.
In my opinion, two of the most underrated players in baseball history played shortstop. Honus Wagner is known by many fans as a great player and is in the Hall of Fame, but I still think that he is underrated. When you see what ARod has to do to catch him on this list, it points out just how great Wagner was. In 1908 Wagner led the league in the following categories: Batting Average, On Base PCT, Slugging PCT, OPS, OPS+, Hits, Total Bases, Doubles, Triples, RBI, Times on Base, Extra Base Hits, Power/Speed Number, and Stolen Bases. He was also second in the league in Runs Scored, Home Runs and was 10th in the league in walks. Nobody has ever had a season like that. It was his greatest season, but he also had several other seasons almost as good. Cobb was considered to be the greatest player before Ruth, but I don't think he was. I think that it was Wagner.
The other underrated player is Arky Vaughn. Arky Vaughn had only 249 at bats after his 32nd birthday mostly due to World War II, but he still ended his career with over 2,100 hits. He was a similar type of hitter as Wade Boggs and was a solid, but not great defensive shortstop. In 1935 he hit .385/.491/.607 with 34 doubles, 10 triples, and 19 home runs while only striking out 18 times. It is one of the greatest seasons ever by a shortstop. He hit .318/.406/.453 for his career. He was a very similar player to Jeter except that he was better defensively and drew more walks.
Jeter will probably end up between #5-10 on the list while ARod is cemented at #2. He isn't going to catch Wagner. Your guess is as good as mine as to what is going to happen with Nomar. My guess is that his best years are far behind him and that he won't move up much on this list. Tejada has a chance to crack the top 10. Rafael Furcal should make it into the top 25 and Edgar Renteria is probably going to be in the top 15. I don't think that anybody else is worth speculating on at this point.
I've mentioned before that Barry Larkin has been one of my favorite players since his rookie year of 1986. One a few occasions, I wrote that I think he deserves Hall of Fame consideration, if one of the definitions of a Hall of Famer is that he was the best at his position for a decade, and that was certainly the case with Larkin. But the more a person looks at his numbers throughout his career, the more you realize that he was a special player, and a player worthy of Hall of Fame induction no matter what your criteria is! This list just further proves that!
Dickie Thon Twins Fan Forum - The site that I encourage all Twins fans to frequent is named after a shortstop. I remember Dickie Thon as the guy who was hit in the head with a pitch and was never able to come back successfully. But, before that, he was actually a pretty decent ball player. OK, if you look at Baseball Reference's most similar player to Thon, you get Neifi Perez, so maybe he wasn't a great player, but he did stay in the league for 15 yeas and was an All-Star in 1983.
Johnny Pesky ranks higher on this list than I would have guessed. The former Red Sox SS is probably best known for the right field pole at Fenway Park which is named after him. As a 22 year old rookie in 1942, Pesky hit .331. Because of the war, he didn't play in the big leagues again until 1946, but he started again where he left off, hitting .335 and .324 the next two seasons. In his 7+ seasons in Boston, he hit just 13 home runs. He played a total of just 10 big league seasons, but still ranks 26th all-time.
Tinker to Evers to Chance - One of the most famous double-play combinations in big league history played in the very early days of the 1900s for the Chicago Cubs. Joe Tinker was the shortstop. Johnny Evers played 2B, and Frank Chance was the first baseman. Here is the quick look at their careers:
Name Pos Pos. Rank WS Points
Joe Tinker SS 35th 258 111.63
Johnny Evers 2B 26th 265 113.37
Frank Chance 1B 27th 237 127.25
To continue to look at when most of these players played, I again looked at how many of the players were born before 1930, and how many of those were born before 1900. I also wanted to see how many have played in the last couple of decades, so I looked at how many were born after 1950:
(Out of Top 50)
Position Before 1930 Before 1900 After 1950
SS 28 14 14
3B 21 11 17
2B 29 14 13
1B 19 8 19
C 15 5 17
Is it strange just how similar the SS and 2B positions are in this way?
It is interesting to me how many current players rank on this list. To no one's surprise, Alex Rodriguez ranks #2, with zero chance to catch Honus Wagner. Sure, his career win shares will continue to go up. But will he ever have another season to reach his Top 3? Will he do anything that will increase his Top 5 year period? I doubt it. And, if his number do go down, even a little bit, it will actually make his per-162 average. So, he should stay at #2 on the list. I can see Derek Jeter moving up a few spots from his current #12 ranking. Nomar Garciaparra has a LOT to prove to himself and to fans around the game, but if he regains even much of his talent, a top 10 spot could be in his future. I was a little surprised to see Miguel Tejada rank as high as #21, but he has been great, and I can see him moving up this list a ways, possibly near the Top 10. Julio Franco is amazing. He's listed as a SS because that is where he has played the most games. Edgar Renterria could move up some from his current ranking of 53. Based on some of the other names, I would have thought Omar Vizquel would have been higher on this list. However, the truth is that he was never that good. He just happened to be very good for one year and surround himself with great players much of his career. Jose Valentin at #62 may surprise some, but his power numbers are impressive! Rich Aurilia really just had the one good year. Jimmy Rollins has digressed each year he's played. I thought Orlando Cabrera would have been a little higher, but he's been average and not around for too long.
#56 - Roy Smalley (Twins 1976-1982 and 1985-1987 )
#66 - Chris Speier (Twins 1984)
#73 - Zoilo Versailles (Twins 1961-1967)
#86 - Greg Gagne (Twins 1983-1992)
#109 - Cristian Guzman (Twins 1998-2004)
Speier played in parts of 19 big league seasons. He hit .212 in just 12 games for the Twins in 1984. Roy Smalley was actually a very good player most of his career. He was an All-Star in 1979 when he played in all 162 games and hit 24 homers. Zoilo Versailles was the AL MVP in 1965 when he led the Twins to the World Series (with the help of Killebrew and others!) He also won two Gold Gloves, although his fielding percentage was below league average for SS in six of his seven seasons with the Twins. Greg Gagne was the Twins SS on both World Championship teams. No, he wasn't a great hitter, but he hit ninth and played an incredible defense. Actually early in his career, he was average defensively, but by his last two seasons with the team, his fielding percentage and range factors were far better than league average. Cristian Guzman is an enigma. He can be so good for short periods and then be frustrating for months at a time! he is now a free agent, and if he goes elsewhere, I hope he does well, and I hope he fulfills his potential!
Do you have any thoughts on these shortstop ratings? Do you have any questions for myself or for Justin Ahern on this ranking or how this was comprised? If you have any thoughts, please e-mail me, and be sure to check back in the coming weeks for the rest of the positions.
First things first, the Baseball Writers of America got it right yesterday. Johan Santana, as expected, won the 2004 AL Cy Young Award. He certainly deserved it. My surprise came from the fact that Santana got all 28 first place votes, even the two allotted to the Boston writers. I figured at least those two would vote for Curt Schilling, who received 27 second place votes. Mariano Rivera easily came in third. Finally, Pedro Martinez, Joe Nathan and Francisco Rodriguez each received one third place vote.
I am thrilled for Santana, the coaches, the players and the whole Twins organization. It's one of those cases where the whole organization really does deserve credit. The scouting program found him and realized his potential. Terry Ryan made the trade to get him. The coaching staff, including both Tom Kelly and Ron Gardenhire, brought him along slowly and used him in situations where he could succeed. Some fans may have thought too slowly, but no matter, it has all worked and Santana is now one of the best pitchers in all of baseball!
Now the onus is on Terry Ryan, but even more it may be on Carl Pohlad. Santana is about to get really expensive. A pitcher like him is a rarity and if your team has one, you should count your blessings and hope the team does whatever it can to keep him around for a long time! Brad Radke is not the same kind of pitcher, but he is another guy that the team needs to find a way to keep. If that means giving Radke a two year deal worth $18 million, you do it. If that means giving Santana a 5 year, $42.5 million contract, you do it. If that means you have a $65 million team salary, you live with it.
According to an article in the Tribune yesterday, by the end of the season, the Twins were averaging about 6,000 more fans at games when Santana was pitching. Now, let's just say that the average ticket at the Dome next year is somewhere between $18 and $25. Then, lets assume that Santana will make 34 starts again next season and 17 of them will be at the Dome. That means that Santana alone brings in somewhere between $1.8 million and $2.6 million a year. Then take in all of the Santana jerseys and promotions and other marketing and merchandise possibilities and how much money that could mean for the organization. That all should be factored in when determining how much to offer Santana.
Now, I'm not going to write more on this. I am pretty sure you could go to any of those Twins-related sites on the left side of this screen and you will have plenty of stats and more opinion on Santana! So, be sure to check them all out!
Kevin Garnett was just one assist shy of another triple double. How many times does he end up with nine assists? OK, that was a rhetorical question, but I do think it has happened a lot. You know that he'll get a double-double almost every night. Last night, he had 20 points and 17 rebounds in the Wolves win at Houston. He also hit a 20 foot jumper with 11 seconds left that really iced the game for the team.
Sam Cassell has been bad through the first four games, but came back well last night with 18 points (on 6-11 shooting) and added 5 assists. Wally Szczerbiak took just five shots all game, but was 9-9 from the line for his 13 points. Michael Ololwokandi had 12 and 5. Eddie Griffin played 24 minutes and scored 12 points and grabbed 7 boards. The game wasn't on TV, so I "watched" a little of it online. Griffin got many important minutes down the stretch.
Obviously, the Wolves were helped by the fact that Tracy McGrady didn't play. Yao Ming scored 25 points. Maurice Taylor added 19.
The Wolves are now 3-2 in the early season. Following the Wolves bad loss (102-101) to the Pacers on Tuesady, Flip Saunders did not mince words in detailing how poorly the team played. He even benched Sam Cassell down the stretch because of his poor play. I think Flip was just trying to get his team going. Let's be honest, making the playoffs will not be a problem for the team, so it will be important for them to maintain a fire throughout the regular season. I think Saunders was trying to ignite that.
But I think real Wolves fans will realize what's going on. It is crazy for fans to start worrying about anything about this or any other team after just four games. They will be fine!
The team now, almost inexplicably, has four days off before playing the Miami Heat at the Target Center on Tuesday.
to check out and then order The Hardball Times 2004 Baseball Annual which is now available for you to purchase.
And, if you're looking for Christmas presents already, don't forget those American Idols! I got the following note from Missy Olson letting me know who is releasing what and when:
Other ex-Idols are busy in record stores. New releases by six former contestants are out, or due out, this holiday season: George Huff's My Christmas EP (released this week); Clay Aiken's Merry Christmas with Love (Tuesday); Fantasia Barrino's Free Yourself (Nov. 23); Ruben Studdard's I Need an Angel (Nov. 23); Clarkson's Breakaway (Nov. 30); and, Diana DeGarmo's Blue Skies (Dec. 7).
NFL "EXPERT" PICKS
The Vikings are playing on a short week, and find themselves playing their biggest rival, the Green Bay Packers. Onterrio Smith is the man! Daunte Culpepper is incredible! Antoine Winfield is as good as anyone! Chris Claiborne is expected to play. It is going to be a close game, but...
Seth's Prediction - Vikings 27, Packers 24.
So, there is one pick, here are the rest of my picks and those of the real experts on our panel! We don't have all of the picks yet, but will get them today and will post them as we get them. Stop by before the games start on Sunday and see how we do.
Seth Stohs Melissa Olson Ben Jacobs Aaron Gleeman John Bonnes Ryan Maus SethSpeaks.net SethSpeaks.net Hardball Times Aaron's BB Blog Twins Geek Twins Chatter Kansas City @ New Orleans Chiefs Saints Chiefs Chiefs Chiefs Chiefs Baltimore @ NY Jets Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Jets Jets Detroit @ Jacksonville Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars Lions Jaguars Tampa Bay @ Atlanta Falcons Falcons Falcons Falcons Falcons Falcons Pittsburgh @ Cleveland Steelers Steelers Steelers Steelers Steelers Steelers Seattle @ St. Louis Rams Rams Rams Rams Seahawks Seahawks Chicago @ Tennessee Titans Titans Titans Titans Titans Titans Houston @ Indianapolis Colts Colts Colts Colts Colts Colts Cincinnati @ Washington Redskins Bengals Bengals Redskins Redskins Bengals Minnesota @ Green Bay Vikings Packers Packers Packers Vikings Packers NY Giants @ Arizona Giants Cardinals Giants Giants Giants Giants Carolina @ San Francisco 49ers Panthers 49ers 49ers Panthers 49ers Buffalo @ New England Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Philadelphia @ Dallas Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Michael Labuda David Bergner David Bloom Vic Quick Mike Brasel Jeremy Kovash ChiSox Daily Baseball Savant Ya Gotta Believe KDUH-Sports FFB Guru Wolf Lake Mgr Kansas City @ New Orleans Saints Saints Chiefs Chiefs Saints Chiefs Baltimore @ NY Jets Ravens Jets Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Detroit @ Jacksonville Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars Lions Tampa Bay @ Atlanta Falcons Falcons Buccs Falcons Falcons Buccs Pittsburgh @ Cleveland Steelers Steelers Steelers Steelers Steelers Steelers Seattle @ St. Louis Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Rams Rams Rams Chicago @ Tennessee Titans Titans Bears Titans Titans Titans Houston @ Indianapolis Colts Colts Colts Colts Colts Colts Cincinnati @ Washington Redskins Redskins Bengals Bengals Redskins Redskins Minnesota @ Green Bay Packers Packers Packers Packers Packers Packers NY Giants @ Arizona Cardinals Giants Giants Cardinals Cardinals Giants Carolina @ San Francisco Panthers Panthers Panthers 49ers 49ers 49ers Buffalo @ New England Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Philadelphia @ Dallas Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles Eagles
That's it for today. I hope you are enjoying the positional rankings. Please feel free to let me know what you think. Have yourself a really great weekend! If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future topics, please e-mail me.
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