Posts Tagged ‘Stan Musial’

Picking apart the top guy in the National League this year is no easy task. There was brilliance at the plate, as well as over and above dominance on the mound that was worth noting as well. There were also shifts in the waves of impact across the year as well. From the hot start of Tulowitzki and Puig, to the way that Lucroy and Kershaw threw their clubs on their backs, as well as the postseason clinching efforts of McCutchen and Posey. But with all things considered, there was one man’s effort that literally overpowered the rest of the pack and stood out above the rest. Here is his story….

2014 National League Stan Musial Player of the Year—Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins

 Giancarlo_Stanton-600x400

“Most Valuable Player” is a term that, at best, is variously defined. Sometimes it is the biggest stat monster, while in other cases it is the player whose presence made the biggest difference on the course of the season. I personally tend to graze the fence between those two elements and think of it as the player who makes the biggest impact on the season, where his performance made the biggest day-to-day impact, while also improving his team’s fortunes and changing the layout of the season.

Giancarlo Stanton checked off each of these boxes with ease this season. The rhetoric on Stanton has been that he is one of the game’s great young talents, BUT….then the conversation always took away from what he was accomplishing on the field. Between injuries, playing for a perpetual lame duck franchise and being the favorite trade rumor on the yearlong hot stove league, what he was actually capable of on the field was taking a backseat.

Yet the receipts that Stanton turned in this summer were enough to drown out any other background noise around his play, because what he accomplished was a thorough destruction of all things pitching related, and in the course of it all, he raised the Marlins into immediate respectability as well. During his year 24 season, Stanton crushed NL pitching to the tone of a league-best 37 home runs. And they were not just run of the mill shots either, as quite often they were the type outfielders or pitchers do not bother turning around to see land either. His “average” (because these type of shots are common for him alone) long ball checked in on average at 415 feet, and defined the term ‘moonshot’ by getting up to 85 feet high and leaving the park at 107 mph, on average. He hit seven shot that went at least 450 feet this year, including a 484 shot in April that flat out defied logic. That is a complete obliteration of the baseball, and he made it his specialty this summer.

But there was more to Stanton than just his signature impact, as he began to round out his game even more. He set career-highs in RBI (105), hits (155), doubles (31), runs scored (89), stolen bases (13), walks (90) and posted his second-best batting average of his career with a .288 mark, despite playing in 22 more games than he did when he set his career high of .290 in 2012. The 37 long balls tied his career best also set in 2012, while his 299 total bases led the National League too, as did his .555 slugging percentage.

Pitchers attempted to wise up to approaching Stanton, and intentionally avoided him 24 times this year, one less time than he been purposefully passed in his entire career to date. But that approach did not breed the expected results, because it put Stanton in place to create opportunity for the other emergent Marlins on the year and created a far better outcome than was expected. With Stanton both as a conduit of run production and an element to be created around, the Fish improved by 15 games from the previous season, even without their emergent star in pitcher Jose Fernandez. This is a credit to having their premier property in Stanton both available, producing and maturing throughout the entire season.

His season was brought to sudden, and scary, stop in mid-September when he was hit in the face by a pitch. Subsequently, the Marlins (smartly) shut his season down, but Stanton is mostly back to good health and in position to return to the field on time next season. But while the clipped schedule on the year shorted him likely from a 40 home run year and an RBI title (where he finished second to Adrian Gonzalez), it should not take away from the fact that no other player made a more decisive difference more often than Giancarlo did. And therefore, he deserves the year’s top NL nod for works done and the path he not only laid, but drug into place this year.

Runners Up

  1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: I discussed the brilliance of Kershaw’s year in his Pitcher of the Year column, and he did make a calculable push for MVP as well. No player made a bigger difference in the direction of the pennant chase than he did and he had one of the great seasons in recent history off the mound.
  2. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: He finds a new way to steer the Pirates every season, and an MVP-caliber year is his norm. This year he finished third in average (.314), first in on-base percentage (.410) and topped 20 home runs and 80 RBI for the fourth straight year, while playing a brilliant center field as well.
  3. Buster Posey, Giants: He went into overdrive in the second half, hitting .354 after the break and finishing fourth in the NL with a .311 average. Once again spearheaded a Giant charge into September.
  4. Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers: He had a brilliant overall year, pulling himself into the talk for the NL’s elite at catcher. He led the Majors with 53 doubles, 46 of which set an MLB record for a catcher.
  5. Anthony Rendon, Nationals: In a team full of bigger names, he was the most important property. Rotating between second and third base as needed, Rendon posted 21 homers, 39 doubles, 83 RBI and 17 stolen bases.
  6. Josh Harrison, Pirates: His breakout year was crucial to filling the many capacities he did for the Pirates. The first-time All-Star spent time at second and third base, shortstop, left and right field, and nearly took the NL batting title as well, hitting for a .315 second place finish.
  7. Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers: He played a brilliant first base and led the NL in RBI at 116. Gonzo added 41 doubles to his resume as well, and was the key run producer for the talented Dodger lineup.
  8. Yaisel Puig, Dodgers: He did a little bit of this and little bit of that, providing whatever was needed for LA at the given time. Puig hit .296 with 16 homers, 69 RBI and played his sometimes awe-inspiring (and sometimes confounding) game on the bases and with the glove.
  9. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: Oh what could have been. Tulo’s most brilliant campaign to date was once again curbed by injured. When his season ended in August, he was sporting a .340 average, with 21 homers and 69 RBI in just 315 at-bats.

Previous CSP Votes

2013: Yadier Molina, Cardinals

2012: Buster Posey, Giants

2011: Ryan Braun, Brewers

2014 CSP/BBBA BALLOT REVIEW

 

Stan Musial Players of the Year Awards

NL: Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins—.288 avg/37 HR/105 RBI, 31 doubles, .555 slugging %

AL: Mike Trout, Anaheim Angels—.287 avg/36 HR/111 RBI, 39 doubles, 115 runs scored

 

Walter Johnson Pitchers of the Year Awards

NL: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers—21-3 record, 1.77 ERA, 239 strikeouts, 6 complete games

AL: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners—15-6 record, 2.14 ERA, 248 strikeouts, .200 average against

 

Willie Mays Rookie of the Year Awards

NL: Jacob deGrom, New York Mets—9-6 record, 2.69 ERA, 144 strikeouts, 22 starts

AL: Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox—.317 avg/36 HR/107 RBI, 35 doubles, .581 slugging %

 

Goose Gossage Relief Pitcher of the Year Awards

NL: Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves—47 saves, 1.61 ERA, 92% saves converted, 13.9 strikeouts/9

AL: Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals—46 saves, 1.44 ERA, 96% saves converted, 90 strikeouts

 

Connie Mack Managers of the Year Awards

NL: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants: 88-74 record, 2nd place NL West; Wild Card winner

AL: Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles: 96-66 record, 1st place AL East; First division title since 1997

2014 is now officially in the books in the Cheap Seats, and onward to 2015. Stay locked here for more on the upcoming free agent blitz, as w@CheapSeatFanell as a variety of other biz as well. And if you need to now in the moment, as always follow on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan

The boys came to play in the American League this summer. Plenty of strong cases were made for the league’s top honor, with a mixture of standard bearers, returns to form and breakout campaigns. But in the end It was the coming of age proved to be undeniable in deciding who was the top gun in the junior circuit. And when all things are considered, it really ended up not being that close. Because the unstoppable force simply refused to be denied any longer.

2014 American League Stan Musial Player of the Year—Mike Trout, Anaheim Angels

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The coming of age has come to be. The rise of Mike Trout has been far from a secret; he has been baseball’s hottest commodity for the past three summers. However, before this summer is that there has always been a caveat to his status as the prime property in the game. Whether it was Miguel Cabrera’s undeniable run at the plate or the struggles of the Angels in light of their expectation, there has consistently been something that has stood in the way of crowning the game’s most precociously best talent with its premier prize.

But the summer of 2014 saw the irresistible force breakthrough completely. What Trout has done most remarkably in his young career is answer the task that

His ever maturing game took another turn this year, as he embraced more of the run-producing element of his game this year. Trout muscled up and hit a career-best 36 home runs, the third best total in the AL this year. He added another career-high with 111 RBI, as well as total bases with 338, both ranking as the top totals in the AL. In addition, he paced the league in runs scored for a third straight year with 115 and finished in the top 10 in doubles with 39 and second with 9 triples.

Yet at the cost of power, some of the categories that he had previously dominated took a slight dip. His averaged finished at .287, the first time he posted a full-season total below .300 (although it still finished in the top 15 in the league) and his stolen bases clipped down to 16. Also, his strikeouts jumped up to a league-high 184.

Those factors could be seen as it being a down year of sorts for Trout. Or perhaps a return to the mean after an unbelievably overwhelming start to his career. However, there was still no more important player in all aspects of the game for his team than Trout, as while he dipped in some areas, he morphed his game into exact what the Angels needed most this year.

With Josh Hamilton out of the mix with injuries, the need for a middle of the lineup run producer was needed much more than a table-setting spark plug at the top of the lineup. So when call was made for help there, Trout answered and channeled his talents into fueling one the AL’s most potent offenses. He drove in 20 runs in three separate months and hit at least five home runs in each month. While his overall average slid some, he hit .321 in April and .361 in June.

Measuring him at the plate alone still limits the overall contributions he made. He is still the glue that holds together the Angels outfield, covering the confines of centerfield easily with some athleticism to burn. On the base paths, he puts pitchers on alert and eats extra bases for any ball that either finds a gap or a step too slow outfielder. That is why is he the visual explanation to the mystery of the Wins Above Replacement figure—which he has led the Majors in each full year of his career, including the 7.9 indispensable wins he created this time around—there is simply nothing that is outside of his reach.

He plays the game hard every time out, puts on a the full buffet of talents seemingly on-demand and for the first time, is playing it to win, as the Angels took home the AL’s best record at 98-64. When the most talented player in the game also does all of the small things more consistently than anyone else, there is not much that can be done to stop him. And that is what makes Trout so special.

And the best part about it all: it’s only beginning. Trout Version 3.0 is the MVP, just as Versions 1.0 and 2.0 laid legit claim to, albeit in completely different fashions. It is fairly certain that Version 4.0 will take the same path, but I am already looking forward to how he goes about it.

Runners Up

  1. Victor Martinez, Tigers: He was a hitting machine this year for the Tigers, often being the team’s top bat, which is saying a lot when Miguel Cabrera is a part of your lineup. He led the AL in on-base percentage (.409) and finished second with a .335 batting average, and connected for a career-best 32 home runs. He only struck out in 6% of his 641 plate appearances (42 times).
  2. Jose Altuve, Astros: Houston mighty mite posted the top average in the game at .341 and led the AL with 56 stolen bases. He also ran up a club record 225 hits while becoming the first Astro to win a batting title.
  3. Michael Brantley, Indians: It all came together for Brantley this year, as he posted one of most well-rounded campaigns in the game this year. His .327 average was third in the AL, while he also hit 20 home runs, 45 doubles, stole 23 bases and 200 total hits.
  4. Adam Jones, Orioles: Jones carried the weight both at the plate and in the field for the beat up, yet still division champion O’s. He hit 29 home runs and drove in 96, while playing perhaps the best defensive center field in the league.
  5. Josh Donaldson, Athletics: The intense leader of the A’s played his usual brilliant two-way game, driving in 98 runs and playing a far and away best third base in the game with the glove (2.7 dWAR).
  6. Nelson Cruz, Orioles: He led the AL with 40 home runs during his comeback season, and drove in 108 runs as well.
  7. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: Joey Bats health stayed faithful to him, and he got back to destroying baseball to the tone of 35 homers, 103 RBI and scored 101 runs scored.
  8. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: A “down year” for Miggy has basically become one where he doesn’t win at least a batting title, and while he did not reach that mark this year, he did lead the Majors with 52 doubles and crossed 100 RBI for the 11th straight year.
  9. Robinson Cano, Mariners: The home runs weren’t as high, but his Seattle debut was definitely a success. He hit .314 with 82 RBI while reviving competitive baseball in the northwest.

Past CSP Votes

2013: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

2012: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

2011: Justin Verlander, Tigers

Stan Musial

The loss of Stan Musial has brought on a steady stream of tributes and reflections on his career, life and overall impact across his life. As a part of this, the United Cardinal Bloggers put together a special edition of the UCB Radio Hour dedicated to Stan, and it debuted this week.

I features several members of the UCB providing perspective and commentary on the career of Stan, and the events surrounding his passing. I had the pleasure of contributing to this effort, by offering up some perspective on the take of players and dignataries from the Cardinals team, past and present, at the Winter Warm-Up. I also added comments on him in context of the history of the game and growing up, knowing of his legend.

Take some time to have a listen, and enjoy more on The Man. Not just in passing, but forever.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ivieleagueproductions/2013/01/24/ucb-radio-hour-special-presentation-stan-the-man

 

For more on the proceedings for Stan Musial, and the Cardinals, follow me on Twitter @CheapSeatFan, and the UCB at @utdcardbloggers

Remembering “The Man”…For All He Is

Posted: January 19, 2013 by The Cheap Seat Fan in MLB
Tags: , ,

Stan Musial

I never saw Stan Musial play. My father, who is entering the year of the anniversary of his 50th year since he saw his first live baseball game, never saw him play either. However, neither of us needed to, because what Stan represented was bigger than the Arch in St. Louis: he was simply The Man. The huge statue that has greeted everyone that has come to the last two Busch Stadiums stands guard of his legacy, and has kept his relevance constant. He was the greatest part of the greatest thing in St. Louis, the Cardinals.

Stanley Frank Musial died today at the age of 92. His legendary life as a Cardinals made him a one-man institution in the city of St. Louis. The question about who is the best Cardinal of all-time starts with second place, because what Stan achieved in the uniform was beyond reproach. And what’s truly amazing about it is just how much his greatness is undersold.

Musial is the most underappreciated all-time great in the history of sports. The numbers speak volumes, but only part of it. He was a .331 lifetime hitter, his 3,630 hits are the fourth most of all-time, and his 725 doubles are third most ever the 6,134 total bases he reached is the second highest amount ever, and the 2,562 runs created by him are the third most in the game’s history. He led the National League in hits six different times, going over the 200 hit mark seven different seasons. He hit over .350 in four seasons, with a high of .376 in 1948. In 1946, he led the National League in TWELVE different categories himself.

The numbers game ends up with him holding 17 MLB records at the time of his retirement in 1963, being a 24-time All-Star (tied for the most ever with Willie Mays), a 3-time World Series Champion, as well as a 3-time Most Valuable Player. There was no stone not only unturned by Stan, there wasn’t one that he didn’t smash completely. Stan was so good, I’m not sure that the Cardinals should’ve issued out numbers 5 or 7 over the years, just so that nobody gets the idea of being too close to Stan.

The constant reminder of Musial's place in St. Louis has adorned both versions of Busch Stadium.

The reminder of Musial’s place in St. Louis has adorned both of Busch Stadiums.

It’s been debated many times whether so and so player is worthy of their nickname. Well “The Man” was so deserving of his, it didn’t even start in his own ballpark. It was bestowed to him by the by the Brooklyn Dodger faithful, in Brooklyn. “Here comes The Man” they’d say, indeed.

However, this is largely lost when the greatest players of all-time are mentioned. Hopefully, with the usual retrospective that death brings, some of this will be shown in the light it deservedly should be. Stan wouldn’t have cared; he never did. Mostly because he didn’t need too, he had all the guys that everybody else talks about, talking about him. “The Man” was ultimately not just a testament to his play, but to, well, the man. He was a humble and personable of person as there could be, the unknowing person that stumbled upon Stan, may have just taken him for any other older gentleman, with that uncanny knack for conversation that many of us get after a life of seeing so much. It is perhaps the most appropriate nickname of all-time, and one that ultimately superseded is real one, and rightfully so.

It’s a sad note for the city, the game and for his family, both by blood and by citywide extension. But the Field of Dreams got a new starting left fielder today. As well as a hell of a harmonica solo for the National Anthem too.

 

For more on the Cardinals, past, present and future, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan

There’s a lot going on in the world of sports, including two all-time greats getting their due….of vastly different kinds, and the road to redemption takes a detour from the gridiron to the potential hot seat of daytime television. Here’s my word, my 3 TRUTHS on what’s happening right now on & off the field.

1. DUE DATE: Think about who is considered to be the best baseball player alive. Not currently suiting up, because that’s a short conversation that begins and ends with Albert Pujols. Deciding who is second to him is actually a much tougher call (I vote for Roy Halliday). Expand that question’s scope and look at every player alive that could be considered for that honor. Right away, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds jump out as candidates. But I’m not here to discuss any of them, so go deeper. Thinking pitchers maybe then? Nolan Ryan, Greg Maddux, Tom Seaver or even Roger Clemens perhaps? All great, but not who I’m focusing on here.

I’m referring to the most overlooked Hall of Famer amongst Hall of Famers ever: Stan Musial. He wasn’t a high-profile personality and played long before the endorsement era came into play. He won World Series’, but never had that one huge moment that gets played over and over again on classic highlight reels. However, he was simply great, and he was as good, if not better than all of his peers, which include Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio, you know those names don’t you? In that group, only Williams can be argued as being the player Musial was, and very few after him have approached what “Stan the Man” did. I’m not saying he’s the greatest player alive, that honor goes to Mr. Mays. However, he is the greatest athlete ever, of any sport, that flies along without notice of being a legend of a rare class.

Let’s play the numbers game: He won three World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals, more than Bonds, Williams, Mays and Aaron, combined in their careers. .331, his career batting average, better than Mays, Aaron, Mantle and DiMaggio. 475, Musial’s career home runs, a number DiMaggio couldn’t approach. His 3,630 hits have only been bettered by Pete Rose, Ty Cobb and Hank Aaron. His 24 All-Star games are a record he shares with Willie Mays.  He is one of four players to win MVP at two different positions, an award he won three times in five years. All of these numbers are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his statistical achievements, and that says a lot.

 

Many of baseball greats never reached the level of success Musial did, yet still surpass him in fame.

 

However, this isn’t about the numbers as much as it is about the man himself. There are many great hitters that haven’t received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which Stan will receive today at the White House. No, this is about the fact he is as good of man as he was ballplayer. For as slept on as his statistics are, even lesser known is how adamant he was about the integration of baseball in the 1940’s. As one of the sport’s biggest stars, this would be akin to Peyton Manning, Albert Pujols or Kobe Bryant pushing for the cause in today’s sports world. He served his country in the Navy for three years during World War II. Since his retirement he has been one of the most approachable figures and common man in the city of St. Louis, a city in which three generations are on first name basis with him. All of this has been achieved while Musial himself never sought the spotlight for who he was, and is, once.

He is as great of a man in the world as he is “The Man” on the diamond, and very much deserves the overdue acknowledgement he will receive today from President Barack Obama. I can think of very few who qualify more for the nation’s highest civilian honor than the greatest Cardinal, and most underrated athlete, of all-time.

2. APOCALYPSE NOW? Speaking of great Cardinals, there’s a much different type of acknowledgement attempting to be bestowed on the closest thing to Musial since his retirement from the Cardinal uniform. The Albert Pujols contract negotiations have taken on a panic Orson Welles would be proud of and a conspiracy element Kennedy theorists would be jealous of. Me however? I’m not panicked in the least bit. It’s about understanding the elements at work here, the market and what is in play over and above the money. I’m not here to make one of those “hometown discount” cries, because he’s given St. Louis one of those for the last 10 years. I mean the guy has won three MVPs and qualified for at least three others, all while being the sixth highest paid player at his position last year to show for it. No, it’s time for his to get his due as well, but understanding why the negotiations are at this point is key. Here’s how I see it:

#1) The Contract: I don’t believe it is going to take $300 million to sign him. It wouldn’t be out of sorts for Dan Lozano, Pujols agent, to ask though, go high and shoot for the stars. He should ask for $300 million because it’s a raise over the peak contract now, which is 10 yrs/$275 to A-Rod. However, in the end, I believe the amount will be about the same. The value of the Pujols deal could be in that same range, but it will be a shorter deal, that won’t be as front loaded as Rodriguez’s, who decreases yearly. Albert’s looking for the long-term, consistent payout, as he is conscious about the end of his career being on-deck by the conclusion of this deal.

Eight years/$275 million ($33 million per) may not be impossible. He’s gonna push for a career long contract & he’s got 8 to 9 years left, and that’s where the Cardinals are most likely concerned, being financially tied to his decline years (which will probably still be better than most players primes in 2019). The low-end I could foresee would be seven years/$200 million, which would still place him as the richest guy in MLB (currently) over the life of it.

#2: When? I don’t see this getting done by Wednesday personally, but with them making offers now at all, it shows the work is in. But Albert has to realize that him saying he doesn’t want this to drag into the season is impossible unless he signs. It’ll be a black cloud that follows him through all 162 games and beyond, until his name is re-committed on paper somewhere. Even Tony La Russa has acknowledged this fact. It’s simple, if he signs, it’s solved. If no, sweat it out. Either way, Wednesday IS NOT the absolute End of Days kickoff. There have been precious few players who have walked from St. Louis, ever. General Manager John Mozeliak & owner Bill DeWitt are committed to handling it & have the money. Also, the market in place that could pursue Albert doesn’t include the usual mercenaries of contract payouts, the Yankees or Red Sox. They are set at both first base & DH for years. If worse comes to worse, and open bidding happens for his services, the Angels, Mariners & Cubs would be in the best shape to make a run, they’ve got the money and the flexibility for his services. However, none of those teams can offer much more financially than St. Louis & definitely don’t have the supporting cast in place that can win easier than as a continued resident of Busch Stadium.

The intangibles lean heavily in St. Louis’ favor, because there is no other team that can offer the same comfort, cast & finance package. So whether he signs today, tomorrow or in December, I’m not too worried about it. We’ve been down this road before (see Holliday, Matt ’09). In conclusion, it’s not D-Day either way. St. Louis has the money, the Cards didn’t operate at max payroll last year & aren’t now.So sit tight and take comfort in knowing that the Pujols jersey you bought last year will easily still be in style in another eight.

3. DOG DAY AFTERNOON: After proving his value is still as good, if not better, than it ever was on the field, Michael Vick is now attacking a defense that he can’t out run or throw over: the American public. Public opinion is still very divided on him and his success, two years after he has left jail, and he hasn’t taken many opportunities to speak to them. Well, that time is over, as Vick has committed to sit down with Oprah Winfrey to speak to way more than just the sports fans, some of which he has won back already.

 

I'm pretty sure the Oprah can do anything possible & then some. Will that include being the first to corner Vick?

 

I think this is a good call. He has to come out of his comfort zone of the ESPN community and speak at large eventually, and Oprah’s show is the perfect place, with the perfect type of interviewer. Oprah asks tough questions, and won’t shy away from facts of what he did, but she isn’t a “go in” & grill type of interviewer. She almost always leaves off on a good note. So actually this was smart for Vick. If he would have went on Piers Morgan, the Today Show to face Matt Lauer or 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper, he’d have got hit with some serious aggression that could have worked backwards to what he is trying to achieve, which is a sounding board to speak, yet not be vilified any further. However Oprah gets her high-profile interview (and the $200 bucks from her bet with Piers), and Vick gets a mild, yet highest level platform to speak to the masses from. Both win.

These are my truths, and I’m sticking to them.

There have been generations of great players in Major League Baseball. Since the league’s official inception around 1869 there have been many different eras and changes to the game. It is difficult to place each great player against each other, but here is the CHEAP SEATS take on the greatest players, by position, the game has ever produced. In the last section Alex Rodriguez, Mike Schmidt and George Brett were observed and the infield positions were wrapped up. Now we move to the outfield. (All stats are current of June 1, 2010)

**Left Field**

Despite being viewed as three players in the same position in many instances, each outfield position is very different and requires a different type of player, especially when defense is being assessed. Left fielders are usually very good athletes that have lesser arms than the other outfield positions, due to not having to throw as far to reach third base, which is the base most often thrown to from the outfield. However, they must stay aware due to more balls being hit in the area due to more right-handed hitters than left. Offensively, it has hosted perhaps the greatest overall selection of hitters of any position, featuring an 7-time MVP, 2 of the top 4 hit totals ever, the stolen base king and after all of that, arguably the most complete hitter ever.

Doubt and controversy follow his name now, but he was the perfect storm of baseball talents. His solo membership in the 500/500 club seals his unique place in history.

1. Barry Bonds: San Francisco Giants (1985-2007): 90 points

–          .298 Avg. 762 HR, 1996 RBI, .444 OBP, 2935 Hits, 2227 Runs, 514 SB

–          8 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 7 MVPs, 0 ROY, 2 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 2 HR Titles, 14 All-Star Games

The all-time home run king. His 73 home runs in 2001 is single season standard. The most avoided hitter ever, his 2,558 walks are the most ever, 688 of which are intentional, also a Major League record. His seven MVP awards are the most ever, four coming consecutively. He is the only player to have 500 career home runs and stolen bases. One of four players to record 40 home runs and stolen bases in the same season. His .609 on-base percentage in 2004 is a single season record.

2. Stan Musial: St. Louis Cardinals (1941-1963): 87.5 points

–          .331 Avg. 475 HR, 1951 RBI, .417 OBP, 3630 Hits, 1949 Runs, 78 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 3 World Series, 3 MVPs, 0 ROY, 7 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Titles, 20 All-Star Games

The most under appreciated player ever, Musial held 17 Major League and 29 National League records upon his retirement. Has the fourth most hits and third most doubles (725) of all-time. Led the National League in hits six times, doubles eight times and triples five times. Had exactly 1,815 at home & on the road, to split his career production evenly.

3. Ted Williams: Boston Red Sox (1939-1960): 85 points

–          .344 Avg. 521 HR, 1839 RBI, .482 OBP, 2654 Hits, 1798 Runs, 24 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 2 MVP, 0 ROY, 6 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 4 HR Titles, 16 All-Star Games

In many accounts, the greatest hitter of all-time. Finish with a .406 batting average in 1941, making him the last player to pass the mark. Has the highest career batting average of any player play his entire career after the 1920’s. Has the best career on-base percentage in history and led the American League 11 times in the mark. Reached base in 84 consecutive games in 1949, the most ever. Led the American League in runs scored six times.  Finished with these career marks despite missing four seasons to military service.

Despite quite different approaches, Musial (R) steady and humble, Williams' brash and uncompromising, they made for a loud impact at the plate during the 40's and 50's as the era's premier hitters.

4. Carl Yastrzemski: Boston Red Sox (1961-1983): 74.5 points

–          .285 Avg. 452 HR, 1844 RBI, .379 OBP, 3419 Hits, 1816 Runs, 168 SB

–          7 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 1 MVP, 0 ROY 3 Batting Titles, 1 Triple Crown, 1 HR Title, 18 All-Star Games

Williams’ successor in left field for Boston. The last player to win a Triple Crown (single season batting average, home run and RBI leader) in baseball in 1967. Played in the second most games in Major League history and third most at-bats. The first American Leaguer to compile both 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. His 646 doubles are 8th all-time.

5. Pete Rose: Cincinnati Reds (1963-1986): 66.5 points

–          .303 Avg. 160 HR, 1314 RBI, .375 OBP, 4256 Hits, 2165 Runs, 198 SB

–          2 Gold Gloves, 3 World Series, 1 MVP, 1 ROY, 3 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 17 All-Star Games

Has the most hits in Major League history. Holds all-time records for games played, singles and most 200 hit seasons, with 10. Had 23 consecutive seasons with at least 100 hits. The ultimate utility man, he made the All-Star game at five different positions. Was given lifetime ban from baseball for betting on games while playing and managing in 1989.

While his recognition in the Hall of Fame can be disputed, "Charlie Hustle"'s place in history by the numbers cannot be.

6. Manny Ramirez: Boston Red Sox/Cleveland Indians (1993-Present): 58 points

–          .314 Avg. 550 HR, 1843 RBI, .411 OBP, 2524 Hits, 1521 Runs, 37 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 1 Batting Title, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 12 All-Star Games

A controversial, yet constant threat over the last 18 years. Has the most postseason home runs (28) and RBI (75) ever. His 21 grand slams are the second most ever. Has the most RBI of any active player and the third most home runs.

7. Rickey Henderson: Oakland A’s (1979-2003): 55.5 points

–          .279 Avg. 297 HR, 1115 RBI, .401 OBP, 3055 Hits, 2295 Runs, 1406 SB

–          1 Gold Glove, 2 World Series, 1 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 10 All-Star Games

The most disruptive player in the history of the game. Has the most stolen bases in history, with over 450 more than the second place competitor. He led the American League in steals 12 times and finished in the top 10 in 21 seasons. He hit a record 81 lead off home runs and accumulated 2,129 unintentional walks, also a Major League record.

No player struck more terror in pitchers one he reached base than Rickey, and he did so often.

8. Al Simmons: Philadelphia A’s (1922-1944): 51 points

–          .334 Avg. 307 HR, 1827 RBI, .380 OBP, 2927 Hits, 1507 Runs, 88 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 2 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 3 All-Star Games (Presumptive 6 awarded)

Had one of the greatest starts to a career of any player. Hit for a .300 average and 100 RBI for eleven consecutive years to start his career. Reached 2,000 hits faster than any player in history, in only 1, 390 games.

9. Ed Delahanty: Philadelphia Phillies (1888-1903): 50 points

–          .346 Avg. 101 HR, 1464 RBI, .411 OBP, 2596 Hits, 1599 Runs, 455 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 2 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 2 HR Titles, 0 All-Star Game (Presumptive 10 awarded)

One of the first premier power threats in the Majors. Is the only player to hit four home runs in one game with them all being inside the park hits. He is the only player to win a batting title in both the National and American Leagues. His career batting average is fifth all-time and he surpassed a .400 average three times.

10. Goose Goslin: Washington Senators (1921-1938): 46 points

–          .316 Avg. 248 HR, 1609 RBI, .387 OBP, 2735 Hits, 1483 Runs, 175 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 1 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 1 All-Star Game (Presumptive 9 awarded)

A consistent hitter throughout his entire career. Goslin  ranks in the top 50 all-time in total bases (4,325), hits (2,735), RBI (1,609), doubles (500) and triples (173). Twice hit above .350, with a high mark of .379 in 1928.

Left on deck: Joe Medwick, Ralph Kiner, Lou Brock

See past posts for scoring rubric