By now, I am assuming everyone knows where this list is going with its top two entries. I am sorry it seems so obvious, but that’s just the way the chips fell in my research. I am certainly glad that some of my rankings have sparked debate and hopefully sparked a few people to go and check out some of these players. Tris Speaker and Honus Wagner seem to be the two people are having the most problem digesting. There are a number of players who just missed the list, so here are a few who missed the cut, with a brief synopsis on each.
2B Rogers Hornsby: A lifetime .358 hitter, and over a five year stretch in the early 1920’s he averaged over .400. In my view the greatest second baseman who ever lived, but I would not begrudge people who prefer Joe Morgan.
2B Napoleon Lajoie: Most are probably asking WHO? Woonsocket RI’s greatest contribution to the game, and the American League’s first superstar. A lifetime .338 hitter who had a season for the ages in 1901: .426/.463/.643 with 14 home runs (in that day and age, a ton) and 125 RBI’s, the first modern Triple Crown. A true great forgotten in the annals of time.
LF Rickey Henderson: Yes, that Rickey Henderson. The best power/speed threat in history. I trust most reading this list don’t need a primer on Rickey, so I will just say this: in his prime, Rickey gets on first, Rickey is scoring.
3B Mike Schmidt: The greatest third baseman in baseball history. He struck out a ton, but also walked a ton and could hit the ball a ton. He also is one of the top two or three defensive 3B ever. Highly underrated.
1B Jimmie Foxx: If Schimdt is HIGHLY underrated, than “Double X” is criminally underrated. One of the hardest hitters ever, dubbed “The Righthanded Ruth” and the “Sudlesville Slugger” Foxx was a tremendous ballplayer, finishing with 534 home runs, a .325/.428/.609 slash line, and, in my opinion, he paired with Ted Williams for the most terrifying 3-4 punch in baseball history. Right there with Ruth/Gehrig. Also, people might not realize this, but Foxx was a world class athlete in high school, breaking many track records held by one JIm Thorpe, considered by many the best all around athlete the country has ever known. Foxx is unfortunately known for his struggles with the bottle over the last few years of his career, a point hammered home in 1992’s “A League of Their Own.” Tom Hanks character, Jimmy Dugan, is loosely based on Foxx, and that seems to be most people’s lasting memory of the man, which is a shame.