Top 100 Baseball Players of All Time #1

Ben’s Top 100 Baseball Players of All Time #1

This is a list I made in middle or high school, sometime in the period between 2006 and 2010.  Therefore some steroid revelations hadn’t come out or been resolved, and Mike Trout hadn’t debuted.  It was also heavily influenced by Elliott Kalb’s book, which you can find by clicking the picture.  The list would be quite different if I made it in 2019!

  1. Barry BondsTop 100 Baseball Players of All Time #1
  2. Babe Ruth
  3. Hank Aaron
  4. Willie Mays
  5. Walter Johnson
  6. Ted Williams
  7. Alex Rodrigeuz
  8. Ty Cobb
  9. Honus Wagner
  10. Lou Gehrig
  11. Josh Gibson
  12. Mickey Mantle
  13. Christy Mathewson
  14. Lefty Grove
  15. Satchel Paige
  16. Rogers Hornsby
  17. Oscar Charleston
  18. Mike Schmidt
  19. Tris Speaker
  20. Grover Cleveland
  21. Jimmie Foxx
  22. Stan Musial
  23. Joe DiMaggio
  24. George Brett
  25. Roger Clemens
  26. Sandy Koufax
  27. Cy Young
  28. Rickey Henderson
  29. Joe Morgan
  30. Nap Lajoie
  31. Greg Maddux
  32. Bob Feller
  33. Warren Spahn
  34. Randy Johnson
  35. Johnny Bench
  36. Eddie Collins
  37. Bob Gibson
  38. Frank Robinson
  39. Tom Seaver
  40. Joe Jackson
  41. Pete Rose
  42. Cal Ripken Jr.
  43. Tony Gwynn
  44. Ken Griffey Jr.
  45. Steve Carlton
  46. Yogi Berra
  47. Roy Campanella
  48. Mel Ott
  49. Eddie Mathews
  50. Carl Hubbell
  51. Sammy Sosa
  52. Mike Piazza
  53. Paul Waner
  54. Harmon Killebrew
  55. Manny Ramirez
  56. Mark McGwire
  57. Reggie Jackson
  58. Carl Yastrzemski
  59. Johnny Mize
  60. Duke Snider
  61. Roberto Clemente
  62. Juan Marichal
  63. Jackie Robinson
  64. Al Simmons
  65. Ivan Rodrigeuz
  66. Dave Winfield
  67. Charlie Gehringer
  68. Whitey Ford
  69. Mariano Rivera
  70. Hank Greenberg
  71. Nolan Ryan
  72. Eddie Murray
  73. Jim Palmer
  74. Pedro Martinez
  75. Derek Jeter
  76. George Sisler
  77. Albert Pujols
  78. John Smoltz
  79. Frank Thomas
  80. Ernie Banks
  81. Dizzy Dean
  82. Vladimir Guerrero
  83. Willie McCovey
  84. Kirby Puckett
  85. Rod Carew
  86. Al Kaline
  87. Sadaharu Oh
  88. Dennis Eckersley
  89. Tim Raines
  90. Carlton Fisk
  91. Frankie Frisch
  92. Buck Leonard
  93. Mickey Cochrane
  94. Earl “Pop” Lloyd
  95. Sam Crawford
  96. Harry Heilmann
  97. Martin Dihigo
  98. Smokey Joe Williams
  99. Jim Thome
  100. Jeff Bagwell

Baseball is Juiced? First Steroids, Now a LIVE ball

Baseball is Juiced?

Baseball is Juiced? First Steroids, Now a LIVE ball
Juiced to the seams?

Is Major League Baseball having a home run problem?  Although home runs are theoretically good for the game due to attendance and high scoring offenses bringing fans to the ballpark, the recent explosion of power numbers feels incredibly fake in many ways.

A Recent Phenomenon

As you can see from the year-by-year averages and totals from Baseball Reference, home runs have become more common very recently.  2019 is setting a new record for home runs hit per game.  The 1.40 average tops every other year by a wide margin, including 2000’s average of 1.17, during one of the peak seasons of the steroid era.

2016 – The Beginning of the Bombs

It is said that sometime in 2016 the new baseballs were introduced.  This makes perfect sense, as you can see the average home runs per game number increased from 1.01 in 2015 to 1.16 in 2016, really a massive increase if you think about how it’s simply an average.  About 700 more home runs were hit in 2016 compared to 2015.  2017 was the first year ever with 6000+ homers!  The trend does not appear to be slowing down, as 2019 has been even crazier.

Silly Looking Home Runs

I have noticed this homer-happy trend directly in games.  Many hitters seem to be “poking” home runs just over the fence that in past years would have been doubles or easy outs.  Balls that should be routine flyouts are going over the wall.  Somewhat random hitters are popping 20 longballs per year like it’s nothing.  I love home runs and offense, but I think it’s gotten ridiculous.

Check out this example:

The announcer literally says it was “poked” – not that it wasn’t an impressive smash, but it feels like random low-effort swings are rewarded with 4 total bases too often nowadays.

I do find it interesting that the single season home run record appears safe for now.  Despite the huge increase in total home runs hit, nobody is approaching the record of 73 hit in a single season by Barry Bonds in 2001.  Although Bonds was likely on PED’s for that record, it speaks to how good of a hitter he was that even with these crazy juiced up baseballs, nobody has come close to the record yet in these recent homer-happy years.

What do you think?  Baseball is juiced?  Or no?  Leave a comment below with your thoughts!

Ben

Why Baseball Is The Best

Why Baseball Is The BestBaseball in glove 1 - why baseball is the best

Why is baseball the “best”?  From the mind of an experienced fan, I can help explain.

Baseball is an incredible sport with a simple premise – whack a ball with a stick.  That’s it right?  Far from it, of course.  Add in all the rules, different kinds of pitches, different types of bats, types of swings, and player roles, and you’ve got the makings of a great American national pastime that has seen incredible popularity over its ~150 year existence.  2019 is the 150th anniversary of professional baseball teams, so clearly the sport has longevity.  In fact, now the best players can make over $20 million or $30 million dollars per year!  This demonstrates the popularity of baseball, and part of reason why baseball is the best!

Baseball is unique compared to many other sports in that it doesn’t have a clock.  There isn’t a set time limit for the gameplay, which can lead to a more natural flow.  It also leads to less manufactured chaos at the end of games, allowing for a more natural conclusion to games that go into extra innings.

Another interesting fact about Major League Baseball in particular is that there is no salary cap.  Just like how there is no time limit to the games, there is no limit to how much money each professional team can spend on its players when fielding a team.  This can lead to some teams dominating huge markets like New York City and Los Angeles, but the sport has remarkable parity despite the lack of a salary cap.  By that I mean the number of repeat or consistent championships.  Since the start of this millennium, no team has won the World Series two years in a row.  Some teams have come close, and the San Francisco Giants had a dynasty of sorts from 2010-2014 when they won 3 World Series titles in a 5 year span.  However, compare that to the NFL and NBA.  Tom Brady’s Patriots seem to make or win the Super Bowl every year, while the Golden State Warriors have been doing the same in basketball.   Both of those pro leagues have salary caps, yet baseball has more parity lately.  Certainly an interesting topic to think about!

Do you agree with my reasons for why baseball is the best?  Please leave a comment below – I’d love to hear your take!  😀

Want to get some baseballs of your own?  Check some out here!

Ben

2019 MLB Predictions

Ben’s 2019 MLB PredictionsGeorge Springer

After last year’s picks were made late, I’m happy to announce my 2019 MLB Predictions!

AL East

  1. Boston Red Sox
  2. New York Yankees
  3. Tampa Bay Rays
  4. Toronto Blue Jays
  5. Baltimore Orioles

AL Central

  1. Cleveland Indians
  2. Minnesota Twins
  3. Chicago White Sox
  4. Kansas City Royals
  5. Detroit Tigers

AL West

  1. Houston Astros
  2. Oakland Athletics
  3. LA Angels
  4. Seattle Mariners
  5. Texas Rangers

NL East

  1. Washington Nationals
  2. Atlanta Braves
  3. Philadelphia Phillies
  4. New York Mets
  5. Miami Marlins

NL Central

  1. Chicago Cubs
  2. Milwaukee Brewers
  3. St. Louis Cardinals
  4. Cincinnati Reds
  5. Pittsburgh Pirates

NL West

  1. LA Dodgers
  2. Colorado Rockies
  3. Arizona Diamondbacks
  4. San Francisco Giants
  5. San Diego Padres

Awards

AL Most Valuable Player

  1. Mike Trout
  2. Aaron Judge
  3. Mookie Betts

NL Most Valuable Player

  1. Nolan Arenado
  2. Christian Yelich
  3. Ronald Acuña Jr.

AL Cy Young

  1. Chris Sale
  2. Blake Snell
  3. Justin Verlander

NL Cy Young

  1. Max Scherzer
  2. Jacob deGrom
  3. Miles Mikolas

AL Rookie of the Year

  1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
  2. Eloy Jiménez
  3. Justus Sheffield

NL Rookie of the Year

  1. Touki Toussaint
  2. Fernando Tatis Jr.
  3. Victor Robles

Postseason Bracket

2019 MLB Predictions postseason bracket

After Game 3 of the ALDS last year when the Yankees were completely embarrassed at home by the Red Sox, I’ve tempered my expectations.  In addition, going into 2019 the Yankees have a lot of injury issues, which I think could slow them early and allow Boston to win the East again.  The Rays and Athletics may seriously challenge for the second AL Wild Card spot, but I wanted to go with a different team, hence the Twins.  The Indians seem to be in slow decline and I don’t think they’ll have a chance against one of the Big 3 juggernauts come October, just like last year.

I think the AL West is the most interesting division in the AL this year.  I’m always half expecting the Angels to finally make it back to the postseason, but the Athletics should be better.  The Mariners seem to be tanking a bit and are due for a regression.  I think the Rangers could surprise a bit and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them as high as third in that division.

The National League is tough to predict.  The East and Central both have 3 or more teams vying for the division titles.  Washington has the talent and pitching to embarrass Harper’s Phillies.  I’m trying not to have sentimental picks (else I’d have the Yankees winning the World Series with the Cardinals in the NLCS), but I couldn’t help it with the Braves.  I think their incredible young players could get even better in 2019, with their pitching edging them past the Phillies.

The NL Central should be a fun race to watch once again.  I don’t doubt that the Brewers can make a serious World Series run this year, but the Cubs are Cardinals have great teams as well.  The NL West has been declining and could be the weakest division in the NL.  That should make it easy for the Dodgers to win it, but I think they’ll be too weak for another pennant run.

Some miscellaneous categories that are fun to ponder:

American League

Surprising team: Twins

Disappointing team: Angels

Surprising player: Ronald Torreyes

Disappointing player: Charlie Morton

National League

Surprising team: Cubs

Disappointing team: Phillies

Surprising player: Touki Toussaint

Disappointing player: Bryce Harper

 

Feel free to leave your 2019 MLB Predictions below!

Baseball in 2018 – My thoughts on the state of Major League Baseball

Baseball in 2018 is certainly different than the baseball I grew up watching primarily from 2006-2010.  In this blog post I’ll give my thoughts on the current game, what I like about things, and what I’m not a fan of.

The Home Run Explosion

As most of you probably know, 2017 was truly the year of the long ball, as MLB set a new record for total home runs hit during the season.  They seem to want us to think that the balls are not juiced, but the pitchers and tons of statistics say otherwise.  I’m definitely inclined to believe the ball is juiced, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  It is true that offense gets more fans in the seats and watching on TV, and to me it can make the stats more fun to look at.

However, I feel that it may be going too far.  When you’ve got a normal or possibly even below-average crop of hitters across baseball, and they end up breaking home run records set in the heart of the steroid era, you know something is up.  My problem isn’t so much the total number of home runs, but the players who are hitting them in abundance who would not thrive in this way in any other year or era.  To me it makes the stats a bit artificial if someone would normally hit 10-15 home runs but can now consistently pop 25 and have a greater legacy simply because the ball was juiced.

Overall I’m fine with it.  I especially enjoyed it in the 2017 Postseason, when the Yankees hit a handful of big and memorable home runs, not to mention the insanely epic Game 5 of the World Series.  Moments like those are what make it worthwhile, but to me some of the regular season stats have become somewhat absurd for the level of player producing them.

Mike Trout going deep
Unlike Mike Trout, who would be a superstar in any era.

Rule changes

I’m very happy that MLB is working to address the pace of play issues.  Mound visits can be frustrating to sit through in the late innings of a regular season game, so limiting them is a good idea.  I don’t like the idea of baseball being a timed sport with any kind of clock, but certain pitchers do take a long time to deliver the ball.  I’m not sure how best to address that problem outside of a clock.

Great Postseasons

This is just about my favorite thing regarding the sport.  It seems as though every year there are classic postseason moments.  Matchups that make dreams come true.  Aces coming out of the bullpen to sink or swim.  Players like Charlie Culberson, Pete Kozma, and Alex Bregman delivering huge hits that turned games or series around.  

October baseball has reached a height that excites me.  From 2006-2009, I didn’t notice as many epic moments.  This could be some recency bias on my part, and of course I was overjoyed when the Yankees won the World Series in 2009.  However, there have been a string of great postseasons, arguably from 2010-2017.  It’s these classic games and moments that make me love baseball so much and get me excited about watching every fall.

Reggie Jackson in October 1973
Reggie Jackson before a 1973 World Series game.

Conclusion

Overall I’m extremely excited about baseball going forward.  There is an exciting youth movement, more home runs than ever before, epic postseasons just about every year, and the Yankees look like they’re set up for success in the near future!  😀

My (late) MLB Baseball Predictions for 2018

I know it’s June 2nd, but back in high school I used to do baseball predictions at the beginning of every season.  Myself and a couple other friends would fill out pieces of paper with small dollar amounts for each spot, though we never actually agreed to bet on it and pay each other at the end of the season.  Still, it was a fun exercise, and one that I’ve gotten away from as I know less about Major League Baseball players and teams since 2012 and prior.

Ben’s 2018 MLB Predictions

AL East

  1. New York Yankees (could it really be any other team?)
  2. Boston Red Sox
  3. Toronto Blue Jays
  4. Tampa Bay Rays
  5. Baltimore Orioles

AL Central

  1. Cleveland Indians
  2. Detroit Tigers
  3. Minnesota Twins
  4. Kansas City Royals
  5. Chicago White Sox

AL West

  1. Houston Astros
  2. LA Angels
  3. Seattle Mariners
  4. Oakland Athletics
  5. Texas Rangers

NL East

  1. Washington Nationals
  2. Atlanta Braves
  3. Philadelphia Phillies
  4. New York Mets
  5. Miami Marlins

NL Central

  1. Chicago Cubs
  2. Milwaukee Brewers
  3. St. Louis Cardinals
  4. Pittsburgh Pirates
  5. Cincinnati Reds

NL West

  1. LA Dodgers
  2. Colorado Rockies
  3. Arizona Diamondbacks
  4. San Francisco Giants
  5. San Diego Padres

Awards

AL Most Valuable Player

  1. Mike Trout
  2. Mookie Betts
  3. Aaron Judge

NL Most Valuable Player

  1. Nolan Arenado
  2. Bryce Harper
  3. Ozzie Albies

AL Cy Young

  1. Justin Verlander
  2. Corey Kluber
  3. Luis Severino

NL Cy Young

  1. Max Scherzer
  2. Aaron Nola
  3. Mike Foltynewicz

AL Rookie of the Year

  1. Shohei Ohtani
  2. Gleyber Torres
  3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

NL Rookie of the Year

  1. Walker Buehler
  2. Ronald Acuña Jr.
  3. Christian Villanueva

Postseason Bracket

 

Sure there’s some Yankees bias, but who can blame me for that?  I feel that the Angels could finally make another postseason push, but the heavyweights of the past 2-3 years will be far too much for them to overcome.  The Red Sox are sometimes all over the place, and I feel the Yankees are more clutch and ready to roll this year.  I really feel like the Red Sox missed their chance in 2016 in Big Papi’s final year.  They looked incredible going in but got swept by the Indians.  Speaking of the Indians, they had an amazing chance that year but came up just short of the title.

Houston is just insane between their success last year and their crazy rotation this year.  However, until a team can prove wrong the championship funk (even the Giants’ short dynasty couldn’t win two in a row), I’m going to not put them as the champs.  I think the Yankees are hungrier and have a higher ceiling than the Astros.

In the National League, there is much more parity and uncertainty, even 2+ months into the season.  The Brewers never seem to keep up their early season pace, so I think the Central will eventually be overtaken by the Cubs.  I’ll admit that the Dodgers were my pick to win the World Series going into 2018, but they’ve been a complete disaster and look unable to make another pennant run.  The Braves and Rockies would be fun to see in a Wild Card game.  I think the Braves lineup would overcome the Rockies and Nolan Arenado’s brilliance (hopefully he’ll win at least one MVP sometime).

All that said, the Nationals have a deep team and I think this year is when their pitching staff will hold up and pitch them deep into October.  With the Cubs and Dodgers not looking like themselves, it’s time for the Nationals to capitalize, end their NLDS woes, and make a serious challenge for a title.

Lastly, some miscellaneous categories that are fun to ponder.

American League

Surprising team: Angels

Disappointing team: Twins

Surprising player: Mitch Haniger

Disappointing player: Chris Davis

National League

Surprising team: Braves

Disappointing team: Giants

Surprising player: Matt Kemp

Disappointing player: Marcell Ozuna