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The Best Baseball Players Of All Time By Position With Personal Bias Factored In – Part One: The Starting Lineup

Before we get into this, I am putting together a lineup of players that I have enjoyed watching the most. I am only including players that I have actually watched, which means anyone that completed their career prior to 1989 is excluded from contention. Seeing is believing, for all I know all of baseball was fictional before 1989.

Here is the process for selection:
1. I can’t play anyone out of position, they had to play the majority of their games at this position.
2. I have to have been alive while they were playing. (1989 or later)
3. I am not the integrity police, steroid use or alleged use is allowed.

The Starting Lineup

1st – Barry Bonds – LF – San Francisco Giants – 2001

WAR 11.9 – BA .328 – OBP .515SLG .863 – OPS 1.379 – HR 73 – RBI 137 – SB 13 – MVP – Silver Slugger.  

The first of four consecutive MVP seasons. In my lineup I want someone at the top that gets on base, and Barry Bonds reached base safely more than half of the time in 2001. His numbers from the following year might be even more impressive, especially considering he led the Giants to a World Series appearance in 2002.

2nd – Alex Rodriguez – SS – Texas Rangers – 2002

WAR 8.8 – BA .300 – OBP .392 – SLG .623 – OPS 1.015 – HR 57 – RBI 142 – SB 9 – Gold GloveSilver Slugger.

The Texas Rangers were pretty terrible during the years Arod was there. His numbers were pretty unreal. He should have won the MVP this season too, but Tejada and the A’s had their run and they made a movie about it. Hard to argue against that.

3rd – Mark McGwire – 1B – St. Louis Cardinals – 1998

WAR 7.5 – BA .299 – OBP .470 – SLG .752 – OPS 1.222 – HR 70 – RBI 147 – SB 1 – Silver Slugger.

The coolest baseball summer of my childhood. I will always remember the Sports Center updates following the home run chase. And the underwhelming home run that barely cleared the left field wall to break the record.

4th – Sammy Sosa – RF – Chicago Cubs – 1998

WAR 6.5 – BA .308 – OBP .377 – SLG .647 – OPS 1.024 – HR 66 – RBI 158 – SB 18 – MVPSilver Slugger.

See above. Loved the hop he would do when he knew he hit one out.

5th – Ken Griffey Jr – CF – 1997

WAR 9.1 – BA .304 – OBP .382 – SLG .646 – OPS 1.028 – HR 56 – RBI 147 – SB 15 – MVPGold GloveSilver Slugger.

The season that sparked the genius behind the release of 1998’s Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey Jr. Did anyone use any teams besides the Mariners in this game?

6th – Mike Piazza – C – Los Angeles Dodgers – 1997

WAR 8.7 – BA .362 – OBP .431 – SLG .638 – OPS 1.070 – HR 40 – RBI 124 – SB 5 – Silver Slugger.

I always preferred New York Mets Mike Piazza, but his numbers were insane in 1997.

7th – Jose Canseco – DH – Oakland A’s – 1991

WAR 5.3 – BA .266 – OBP .359 – SLG .556 – OPS .915 – HR 44 – RBI 122 – SB 26 – Silver Slugger.

Unfortunately, I cannot install 40/40 Jose Canseco into my lineup – that happened in 1988.

8th – Scott Brosius – 3B – New York Yankees – 1998

WAR 5.3 – BA .300 – OBP .371 – SLG .472 – OPS .843 – HR 19 – RBI 98 – SB 11 – World Series MVP.

Bro’s best year by far. I need him and his clutch factor in my lineup.

9th – Darwin Barney – 2B – Chicago Cubs – 2012

WAR 4.6 – BA .254 – OBP .299 – SLG .354 – OPS .653 – HR 7 – RBI 44 – SB 6 – Gold Glove. 

It is nice to have a solid consistent glove at second base.  This is where my Oregon bias kicks in. His runs with OSU were pretty great to follow, that puts him over the top to earn his place in this lineup.

Looking at the players I selected, there are a couple of things I can take away from this process:

  1. I am clearly not against steroid, or alleged steroid, use. I would even go as far as to say that steroids saved the game of baseball, but that is an argument for another day.
  2. I love home runs.
  3. My lineup is way heavy on right handed batters.
  4. I was able to sneak two Oregon based players in at the end.

Coming up next in this series – The Best Baseball Players Of All Time By Position With Personal Bias Factored In – Part Two: The Rotation.

– Buzz

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Baseball

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