Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ten for Tuesday - Best International MLB Players

Hey guys, Drew back here! Yesterday, news was made in Tokyo when baseball was one of eight sports to be recommended to be added to the 2020 Olympic Games. Baseball hasn't been much of a success when brought into the Summer Games, but baseball's enormous presence in Japan could make for one of the most exciting events to look forward to when the time comes. With that in mind, I wanted to investigate who I would definitively rank as the greatest Foreign Born player in MLB history.

My criteria for this list was simple. Each player I considered had to be born outside of the United States, which excluded Alex Rodriguez since he was born in New York City. Also, the player was only to be considered for their exploits in Major League Baseball alone, and not for their performance in any other league. And as you will see, players who have been caught for performance enhancing drugs were not viewed as highly as their statistics may have garnered them.

Top 10 Foreign Born MLB Players in History

Honorable Mentions - Roberto Alomar (Puerto Rico), Ferguson Jenkins (Canada), Vladimir Guerrero (Dominican Republic), Bert Blyleven (Netherlands), Rafael Palmeiro (Cuba)

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I debated over Alomar and the tenth ranked player for quite some time, and ultimately Robby fell just shy of making this list. Alomar was one of the more underrated players of his era, and he could simply no wrong throughout his illustrious 17 year career. He won 10 Gold Glove awards and is widely considered one of the best defensive second basemen of all time. He also came up within 300 hits of reaching the 3,000 hit plateau and was a 12 time All Star. I've talked about writing a post about the most underrated players in the Hall of Fame for several weeks now, and when that list does indeed come out, Alomar just might come to mind.

Vladimir Guerrero is one of my all time favorite players who never wore pinstripes. Watching him hit was one of the most entertaining sights, and keeping him off this list was especially tough. Rafael Palmeiro is one of five players to compile 3,000 hits and 500 home runs (congratulations to Alex Rodriguez on recently becoming the 5th), but he managed to fall short as well.

10 - Ivan Rodriguez, C, Puerto Rico

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The second coming of the "Pudge" moniker barely cracked this Top 10, which speaks to just how tremendous of an impact foreign players have made on the game. Rodriguez has been labeled as the best defensive catcher of this past generation, but he was no slouch at the plate either. He has more hits than any other catcher ever, and retired with a lifetime batting average of .296. He may not come before Berra and Bench on All Time lists, but he isn't as far behind them as one may think. The Hall of Fame should be calling him sooner rather than later, even despite the PED suspicion surrounding his legacy.

9 - Juan Marichal, SP, Dominican Republic

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It wouldn't make sense keeping the "Dominican Dandy" from making the cut. Juan Marichal was anything but dandy to face throughout his prime, going 154-65 with a 2.34 ERA between 1963 and 1969 alone. He made ten All Star teams and won more games than any other pitcher through the 1960's with help from a high leg kick and fearsome delivery. Marichal may not have stood out much more than Canada's Ferguson Jenkins and the Netherlands' Bert Blyleven statistically (who were listed as Honorable Mentions), but he was one of the first Hispanic pitchers who found success in the big leagues which gives him the edge here. Unfortunately, he was often overlooked because of the pitching-rich era he played during, which also featured legends like Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax.

8 - Miguel Cabrera, 1B/3B/OF, Venezuela

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When Miguel Cabrera calls it a career, we may view him as one of the greatest offensive forces to ever step into the batter's box. He is on pace to join not only the 500 Home Run club but the 3,000 hit club as well, and could achieve much more if health remains to be on his side. This season, Cabrera is mashing .350 with a .456 OBP, 15 Home Runs and 52 RBI, already making up for a "bad" 2014 in which he batted .313 with 25 Home Runs. He is the best hitter I have had the pleasure of growing up with in my personal opinion, and I can't wait to see what more he will do before he calls it a career. It is safe to say "Miggy" will be closer to the top of these ranks by then.

7 - Manny Ramirez, OF, Dominican Republic

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The highest ranked known PED user on this list was as dangerous an offensive weapon as could be in the mid 2000's. Ramirez was a colorful personality for several teams over his 19 year career; always finding some way or another to make headlines. But what would always take the biggest stage was his bat, which helped lead the Red Sox to 2 World Series titles and brought him to 12 All Star Games and 9 Silver Sluggers. Between he and David Ortiz, he fell just short of being listed on the Honorable Mentions on this list, the Red Sox had a 3-4 lineup punch that could not be denied. He retired with 555 Home Runs and over 2,500 hits. Tainted or not, it was quite a career for a man who thrived on simply being himself.

6 - Rod Carew, 1B/2B, Panama

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Ah, yes. Hall of Famer Rod Carew. Carew's sweet swing led him to seven batting titles and over 3,000 career hits. He was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1967 and won the AL MVP in 1977. He wasn't known for being a powerful bat, but was one of the greatest contact hitters in history. Carew was an All Star in every year but one throughout his 19 years in the big leagues, showing that he was not only a tremendous talent but a fan favorite as well. It isn't much of a surprise that he holds one of the higher places here. His trademark red batting gloves gave him all the extra flair he needed as his batting averages consistently soared to the top of the charts.

5 - Mariano Rivera, CP, Panama

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Rivera is one of my top 3 All Time Favorite Players, and the best closer in history. His cutter was unhittable on most nights throughout his excellent career, and he has become one of the most beloved athletes in New York sports history. His trophy shelf is enormous, and along with his various awards he also was named to 13 All Star teams. He was so good that he alone could change the outcome of a game when he entered, which is pretty rare to expect from a relief pitcher. Rivera will be most likely inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019 when he first arrives on the ballot, and it will be about time by then.

4 - Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Japan

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The next active player on this countdown currently is stuck in the freakshow that is the Miami Marlins' organization, led by General Manager and Manager Dan Jennings. But rather than focus on the now, let's all do Mr. Suzuki some respect and reminisce on the good times. He followed in Japanese hurler Hideo Nomo's footsteps when moving on from Nippon Professional Baseball to the Major Leagues in 2001, and from the very first game it appeared as though he never left. His quickness, precision, and dominance could all be felt in a heartbeat, and he went on to win Rookie of the Year and MVP in his rookie season. He has since made ten All Star teams, won ten Gold Glove Awards, and has racked up over 2,800 hits (not including another 1,278 in Japan, giving him over 4,000 professional base knocks!) in one of the most impressive careers to date.

3 - Pedro Martinez, SP, Dominican Republic

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I'm not one of the guys who puts Pedro among the top shelf of pitchers ever. But I do recognize the impact he left behind with this sport, and how dominant his prime seasons were. Pedro will be on his way into the Hall of Fame this summer after a brilliant career spanning 5 teams in 18 years. His years with the Boston Red Sox were of the most significance; where he won 3 Cy Young Awards in a 4 year stretch (he finished 2nd the other year of those 4). He was a vintage-type performer on the mound; never afraid to unleash his fastball on any player willing to put up a fight. At times, he could be dangerous, throwing at batters to make amends, but that was Pedro. And clearly, if the Hall of Fame voters put him in the Hall as quickly and deliberately as they did, his strategy worked.

2 - Roberto Clemente, OF, Puerto Rico

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When originally thinking of making this list, I was almost positive Clemente would reign supreme over all of today's stars. However, this was not the case. Clemente had a fantastic career, garnering exactly 3,000 hits before dying in a tragic plane crash at the age of 38. He made 15 All Star teams, won 12 Gold Glove Awards, the NL MVP in 1966, and was part of two Pirates World Series winners in 1960 and 1971! He was a true 5 Tool Talent, and was capable of hurting teams on both sides at a Hall of Fame caliber. He was clearly the most impactful and influential man to ever come to the big leagues from outside the country, considering he was the best of the initial wave of foreign players. But one man's talent was able to unseat him from his throne, becoming (in my opinion) the greatest all around International player in MLB history.

1 - Albert Pujols, 1B, Dominican Republic

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The Machine. Since Albert Pujols signed his mega deal in Los Angeles, a lot of people, myself included, have turned our attention to Miguel Cabrera instead. Pujols got off to a bad start, battling injuries, and Cabrera was crushing the ball better than ever before. How could we not drop Pujols with talent like that emerging? Besides, Pujols' contract far outweighs the best player on his own team, Mike Trout, and people like me began to doubt what Angels management was doing. This may not keep up, but 2015 has shown that the best supposedly clean power hitter of our generation is back at full health, and he hasn't lost a step.

Pujols' rookie season in 2001 was just as spectacular as Ichiro's, but the National League was filled with slugging superstars such as Bonds and Sosa, which kept him from also winning the MVP that year. Since then, he stole the show for much of the mid to late 2000's, winning 3 NL MVP Awards, 2 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals, and making 9 All Star teams. He hit his 500th career Home Run last year, and is cruising up the leaderboard (now 16th All Time with 543, chasing Mike Schmidt). This man had a presence that could be felt from miles away in his prime, and it's exciting to see slices of that tremendous past come back on occasion. When all is said and done for Prince Albert, he could potentially reaching 700 Home Runs and 3,000 hits. The only other player who has done that currently is Hank Aaron, but Alex Rodriguez may reach it as well if he hangs on long enough.

People are going to argue that Clemente was a better player than Pujols. That's okay. We as people tend to look back on the past and see it as better than the current. When you're young, you're prone to believing much of what you see, magnifying iconic athletes, celebrities, and musicians to be larger than life and far superior to others of their respective kinds. I'm not trying to slight Roberto by any sense of the word, but if you really compare their statistics and think about their individual dominance in baseball, they can relatively easily be compared. Nobody can match the impact Clemente left behind as a person, but on the field, I'll take Pujols.

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below if you think otherwise!

*UPDATE: Sorry, this was meant to be posted yesterday. However, it's my blog, so I can do what I want with it. Call it "Ten for Wednesday" if it makes matters easier. Times have been especially tough lately on a personal note, and this was the best I could do, but I hope you all enjoy it!*

See Ya!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Cashing in on Crawford!

Hey guys, Drew back here! It sure has been nice to have some eBay money to use for the first time in so long. On the same day I found that Scherzer autograph I posted recently, I found this card for dirt cheap of an emerging young star on my favorite National League team! 

Ah, yes. Gypsy Queen found a way to grow on me. I've loved each year's Gypsy Queen product thus far, but this year I really wasn't impressed at first. But, the more I've seen, the more I'm beginning to love this year's unique design. Some cards tend to work into the template more than others, but this card in particular is a thing of beauty.

Brandon Crawford is the double play partner of my current favorite player in the game, Joe Panik. Both Panik and Crawford have had spectacular 2015 campaigns, and both are currently worthy of being named to this year's All Star team. Crawford is batting .288 with 8 home runs, 38 RBI, and he is known to make dazzling highlight plays at shortstop. There is a lot to like about this kid's future, and all signs indicate that his current statistical output is no mirage. I payed a higher amount for the shipping alone on this card than for the card itself, and I think down the road I'll be happy I took the chance on it!

See Ya!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Book Review: "The Journey Home" by Jorge Posada

Hey everyone, Drew back here! I have been excited to write this post since I first received my hard copy of Jorge Posada's new autobiography "The Journey Home" last month. I'm not exactly a swift or aggressive reader by any means, so after a few weeks I finally was able to complete the 344 page story of the most unknown member of the "Core Four". I think I've said on several occasions that Posada's status in the "Core Four" tends to rival Ringo Starr's status in the "Fab Four". Even down to the enlarged facial features. Silly jokes aside, I've been excited to check out what Jorge had in store for baseball fans since the moment it was revealed to be released. I didn't know much about Posada's life, and really was interested in learning about the man who was the Bronx's primary backstop throughout all of my early childhood.

Posada begins with an important chronicle of his early years in Puerto Rico, recalling a summer in which his father moved an enormous pile of dirt into his backyard that he requested young Jorge spread across the yard. His father had a noticeable impact in all of Jorge's decisions and his progression into a big league ballplayer and one day All Star. He embarrassed him at games, making him bat left handed until he became fluent at both sides of the plate, and certainly did not go easy on him. "Tough love", as Jorge called it, would become the staple of his childhood, but eventually he learned there was a method to his father's madness.

His dad's goal was to make a ballplayer out of his son, and we all know how that went in the long run. But as the title recognizes, it was the journey that we all wished to know more about. We wanted to know how Jorge came to be best friends with Derek Jeter, how he felt about performance enhancing drug users keeping him from achieving great milestones (such as the 2003 AL MVP, which he succumbed to Alex Rodriguez), and of course, how he felt about his compadre, Pedro Martinez. We got all of that and more as Posada made his march through the Yankees organization and into the big leagues.

One interesting, and quite hilarious tidbit I gathered from Jorge's story, was how he met his now wife, Laura. Apparently, he was too nervous to approach her although he knew he would marry her if he could, and it was Jeter who pushed him to do so. Jeter seemed to have his back throughout all of Jorge's hardships, and it was pleasant hearing that their relationship is far beyond superficial. Also, Joe Torre's supposed position as a mentor and father figure were put to the test when Jorge discussed his challenges with his son Jorge Jr., who battled with cryniosynostosis (a birth defect where joints of the skull close prematurely). Torre lived up to what has been said of him, and was there for support whenever it was needed on their battle to keep Jorge Jr. alive and healthy. It was touching to hear that Jorge Jr. is now a young adult and doing better, and nothing beats the story of Jorge sending him out on the field during the 2003 All Star Game lineup announcements.

The final chapter was particularly controversial among recent headlines, where Posada spoke about his relationship with current Yankee manager Joe Girardi. It was clear from the time he first introduced Girardi in the story during his time backing him up that their relationship was strictly professional. Posada hoped Don Mattingly would have taken the reins after Joe Torre left following the 2007 season, but was not upset when Girardi was first hired. In fact, from Posada's perspective, it sounds like their relationship grew much stronger during Girardi's first few seasons managing. However, things eventually took a tumble when Posada was texted rather than being told first hand what he would be asked to do with the team. I can see where Jorge was coming from, as this was his job after all and I would have even taken a phone call over being texted important news. They grew apart as years passed, and Jorge was no longer asked to join the catcher meetings because he was told not to. He became a semi-permanent DH, and wasn't happy with his demotion considering the blood, sweat, and tears he put into being a Yankee for as long as he had. He did mention his final big moment with the team, when on September 21st, 2011, he pinch hit and knocked in the go ahead run that would win the division for the Yankees. I was at that game, and can easily say it was my favorite moment I shared with #20 in my time as a fan.

My goal in reading this book was to gain a new outlook on our fiery, hard-nosed catcher. Jorge turns out to have just as much of a temper as we saw on the field, and left an almost overwhelming amount of emotion in his words. The only flaw I came across in reading this was how he approached some of the Yankees big moments, but I will give him a pass considering just how many there were in his tenure with the team. If you don't know about what went on during the Yankees dynasty run in the 1990's and some of the crucial moments, the second half of "The Journey Home" may confuse you. But, Jorge was clearly writing to an audience that already somewhat knew him, the Yankee fanbase. Luckily now, we know even more.

Rating: 8/10 - An absolute recommendation for any Yankee fan who hope to gain more insight on Posada's career. The emotion was real from Jorge, and after reading this I now feel satisfied with his career and story.

But wait, there's more. My pre-ordered copy from Barnes and Noble was signed by Jorge himself, which was an added bonus! For $20, they sold signed copies of the book for a short period of time, and I was able to pounce on the deal while it was available. Jorge's autograph generally sells for $30+ alone, so I felt like I bought an autograph and his entire life story for an incredible bargain! This now makes my second autograph of his in my collection of hopefully more to come!

Did any of you get a chance to read Jorge's new book? If so, what did you think of it? I can say that I'm now very excited for Jorge Posada Day on August 23rd of this season, and really hope I can get tickets to see his number retired by the Yankee organization.

See Ya!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ten for Tuesday - 10 Greatest Yankees

Hey guys, Drew back here. It's safe to say that this week hasn't gotten off to the brightest start, but that's okay. My contest idea of having an All Time Re-Draft didn't seem to catch on to you all, so I decided to let it go and forget about it. Lately I've been putting a great deal of work into this site and improving my writing to help diminish some of my previous posts when I was younger and evolve as a writer, so with this failure I decided to just keep on going, and work harder towards giving you the best quality I can provide.

This week, I decided to take a week off from roasting the Hall of Fame, and instead thought it would be necessary for you all to know my stance on the ten greatest players from the team I have studied religiously and adored for now over a decade: The New York Yankees. Love 'em or hate 'em, they are perhaps the most famous professional sports franchise in the world, and have had some of the greatest players in history come through the organization. Although I was not there to watch a majority of the men I'm about to speak about, I've done my share of research, watched Yankeeographies and documentaries, and can say that I know more than the average fan does about them all. We'll begin with those who just missed my cut.

Top 10 New York Yankees of All Time

Honorable Mentions - Thurman Munson, Red Ruffing, Lefty Gomez, Reggie Jackson

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Thurman Munson was the most tragic Yankee in history. A perennial All Star and fan favorite; Thurman never got to reach the Hall of Fame level he could have gotten to thanks in part to his early death at the age of 32 in a plane accident. Munson was a 7 time All Star, 3 time Gold Glove Winner, 2 time World Series Champion, and the American League's Most Valuable Player in 1976. He was the leader, the captain, and was far beyond simply "the straw that stirred the drink".

(Dis)Honorable Mention - Alex Rodriguez

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Rodriguez is officially the most hated Yankee of All Time, topping Bucky F*****g Dent, Roger Clemens, and ruthless owner George Steinbrenner. I personally do not root for him as a person but will root for him as long as he is in the lineup helping the team win. A-Rod is a 14 time All Star and has won 3 MVP's, 2 of which in New York in 2005 and 2007. He's attempted to sue the team, was suspended for all of last season for being involved in the Biogenesis scandal, and simply put; is a douchebag. He is far from the epitome of a Yankee, but I'll give him credit for how he has responded to all of the criticism he has faced this season. Finally, as the man is closing in on 40 years old and 3,000 career hits, he is growing up. Unfortunately, it is too late for him to fully recover for his wrongdoings, and he will never make this list, even if he wins 3 more MVP's in pinstripes before he hangs up his $300 million dollar cleats.

10 - Don Mattingly
1B, 1982-1995

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There may have been a few players listed in my Honorable Mentions who were better than Don Mattingly. But few could resemble a Yankee in the way that our former superstar first baseman could. Mattingly was at the top of the game for about a six year stretch, until a nagging back injury ended his career prematurely. Unfortunately, this situation will likely keep "Donnie Baseball" from reaching the Hall of Fame (although his statistics are very close to HOF'er Kirby Puckett), unless his managerial career in Los Angeles boosts him up higher on the pedestal. Players, coaches, and fans absolutely loved #23 in New York, and he deserves a place on this list solely because of his leadership and work ethic.

9 - Bill Dickey
C, 1928-1943, 1946

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Can it be set in stone that Bill Dickey is the most underrated Yankee in the Hall of Fame? As much as we all love Yogi Berra, it was Dickey that taught him the tools to become a legendary catcher. He made 11 All Star teams and was a part of 14 World Series teams. I don't know much about him to be frank, but I don't think many people do. That, is a problem.

Dickey was mostly known for his presence behind the plate, but he was just as good at the dish. He was always outshined by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio, but he can not be forgotten. Some of his offensive seasons rank among the best ever for a catcher, and being able to pair that with his defensive ability makes him one of the greatest catchers in history.

In no way do I feel that Dickey is better than Berra for teaching him the way, but he does deserve more respect than he gets for it. I feel like sharing a retired number with Yogi does take away from his legacy, because most Yankee fans associate the number with the more modern Berra.

8 - Whitey Ford
SP, 1950, 1953-1967

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"The Chairman of the Board". As you would assume, the highest ranked starting pitcher in my opinion is the man who dominated with control and finesse throughout a period of time the Yankees owned more than any other period. He is not the highest rated pitcher here, but if I were to put any pitcher on the mound over the course of a season who have ever donned the pinstripes, it would be difficult to argue against this guy.

While I'm discussing Ford, if I were to build a rotation off of former Yankees starters, it would most likely be lefty heavy. Literally. Following Ford would be Red Ruffing and "Lefty" Gomez, two more obscure pitchers from the earlier generations. The final two I would choose are Ron Guidry and Andy Pettitte, which would make a rotation consisting of four left handed pitchers. Maybe I'd throw Pat Venditte in there just for kicks.

The all time franchise leader in wins would be higher ranked if it weren't for some of the best position players in baseball history that deserve it even more-so. Be on the lookout for Ford on a future list honoring some of the more underrated players in the Hall of Fame, as well as perhaps Dickey as well (hint, hint).

7 - Mariano Rivera
CP, 1995-2013

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Call it controversial, I don't care. Mariano Rivera is the most dominant relief pitcher ever, and there's really no argument otherwise. He had his moments that proved that he was human after all, but for the most part there was no other reliever who was on top of his game for as long, and as well, as Mo was. I know I've been frequently debating amongst myself how I feel about where relievers stand in comparison to not only starting pitchers, but position players as well. I've called Rollie Fingers and Dennis Eckersley overrated, and Bruce Sutter and Hoyt Wilhelm downright undeserving of being included in Cooperstown. Rivera may be a little overhyped because he was a Yankee, under the bright lights in the media capital in the world. Most Yankees are; let's be honest. But there is nobody I've ever watched in my lifetime as a fan who could end a game before even entering it. Some may say he belongs even higher on this list, but my bias against relievers is probably the reasoning for this placement.

6 - Derek Jeter
SS, 1995-2014

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We now come to my favorite player, the most recent Captain, Derek Jeter. Jeter was the face of baseball during a period in which players that would have been were cheating. Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Roger Clemens were better players. But as far as anyone can tell, Jeter did it the right way. He has forever been my role model, and despite perhaps being a little overrated towards the end of his career; it was for the right reasons. I remember meeting one of my Little League teams while in middle school, and my coach asked everyone who their favorite player was. Almost all of them said Derek Jeter. Not Bonds, not Clemens, not Sosa, not A-Rod. Jeter. Major League Baseball has done a fantastic job marketing a man who did it right for 20 years.

And to any of you who think Jeter doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame at all, and I've seen you out there; I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous. If it weren't for Derek Jeter keeping my fandom for the game alive during one of the darkest periods of baseball history, I may not be writing this post right now. Maybe I'd be attempting to be a musician. Maybe I'd be studying engineering. Luckily, Jeter kept my dream for a life in the sports industry alive.

5 - Yogi Berra
C, 1943-1963

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Despite my love for my Captain, I did not have it in me to place him ahead of the man who has been all over the news in recent weeks. If you haven't heard, Yogi Berra's family organized a petition to President Obama to give Berra the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The award has been given to former icons in all realms of pop culture, including Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Stan Musial, and several others. On the final night of the petition, fans everywhere were able to gain 100,000 total supporters, enough for it to be considered. There is no living player more deserving of this honor than a man who served in World War II and will forever live on for his baseball skill and hilarious philosophy.

The three time MVP falls just outside of my Yankees "Mount Rushmore", which has been a recent hot subject of debate among different sports and teams. The four you are about to see are the four you most likely expected to see at the top, and most likely in the order you assumed them to be in. But that's not the point of the Yankees list. What most people are curious in are where the top eight players are ranked, particularly 5-8. With Jeter and Rivera being more recent, it's hard to not over-rank them. Also, the final two choices are always interesting to see.

4 - Mickey Mantle
CF, 1951-1968

3 - Joe DiMaggio
CF, 1936-1951

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One debate I did have to have was whether I considered Mantle better than DiMaggio or vise versa. I have always loved Mickey Mantle, despite his being plenty of years before my time. I even placed Joe DiMaggio on my overrated list last week, and of these final four he is easily my least favorite player. But, that doesn't mean Joe D wasn't really, really good. I placed him on the Overrated list because he was voted "The Greatest Living Player" while Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Ted Williams were all alive. It was only for that reason why he was even considered for the list. Because let's face it, if DiMaggio had played the three years he missed in the thick of his prime rather than serve our country; he may have ended up with more comparable statistics to the aforementioned Mays, Aaron, and Williams. With that argument, you can also say that if Mickey Mantle didn't face the injuries he struggled with his statistics would rank among the very best. 

What places DiMaggio ahead of Mantle slightly on this list is that his dominance over his first seven years in the Majors was one of the most dominant stretches ever. Mantle retired with 201 more hits than DiMaggio in 1,281 more at bats. He scored 286 more runs. Considering how much more Mantle played than "Joltin' Joe", those comparisons are not that impressive. However, Mantle was a better power hitter and reached base at a higher rate than DiMaggio. It cannot be determined which defender was better, even with sabermetrics. It is difficult to coin anything from that era to be true, even with the most advanced statistics. No statistic can value a player's impact on a team, and both players did more than that throughout their spectacular careers. 

It isn't easy, and if I had to choose, I would be biased towards Mantle. But, in terms of being politically correct, DiMaggio may have been a slightly better player. Not many people alive today were able to see both men play, and an even fewer selection of those people know about today's metrics well enough to make a decision on who was better without letting their biases get in the way. Many felt slighted when Mantle came in and stole DiMaggio's spotlight. Many loved Mantle because he had a better reputation with the fans and media. It will always go both ways. That's baseball, for you. There will never be a right or wrong answer to these questions, and that's what is so amazing about this sport; what makes it stand out among other sports.

Who was better?

Joe DiMaggio
Mickey Mantle
Poll Maker

2 - Lou Gehrig
1B, 1923-1939

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1 - Babe Ruth
RF, 1920-1934

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A debate that is much easier to agree upon is Ruth vs. Gehrig. Lou Gehrig can be made a case for being the second best player ever. But only one player put baseball on the map, and that achievement alone gives Ruth an edge. There isn't much to be said about these two men that hasn't already been said. So, I'll leave it at that. Babe Ruth is easily the greatest Yankee, and player, ever. If it weren't for him, baseball could have just been a phase.

I want to apologize for getting this out so late today, it has been a very busy past few days, and I hope this doesn't feel rushed. If you would like to discuss the rankings in the comments below, as well as anyone I may have missed, feel free!

See Ya!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Mad Max - But Not the Movie

Hey guys, Drew back here! It feels good to have some spending money for the first time in over a year. Regardless, I'm beginning to learn how fast it can all go, and with the summer getting underway I've been attempting to save some cash for when I'll want and need it most. However, I did allocate about $10 to pick up an autograph of who just may be the most effective pitcher in the game.

I was never sure if Max Scherzer was going to stick around at the top of the leaderboards, but I think it can be established by now that he is owns of the most polished arms around. Scherzer began his career rather inconsistently, but always possessed the "stuff" necessary to thrive. In 2013, at the age of 28, he had perhaps his best season; winning 21 games and coming home with the American League Cy Young Award. He followed up his tremendous performance with an impressive 2014, and was rewarded to the tune of a 7 year, $210 million dollar deal with the Washington Nationals. The deal will pay Scherzer over a 14 year time span, so he will be payed far after his time in the nation's capital. While this has all the implications of becoming a train wreck of a contract by the conclusion of the seven years, for now "Mad Max" is taking the National League by storm. He's opened this season with a 6-4 record, a 1.85 ERA (currently leading the league), and 90 strikeouts! If he keeps this up this performance, he will certainly be in consideration for more hardware. 

As previously noted, I was able to find a new 2015 Topps Museum Collection autograph of Scherzer's on eBay for just over $10 shipped. Despite ranking among the likes of Kershaw and King Felix right now, his autographs don't sell for nearly as much as they should. I pulled an Allen & Ginter framed autograph of Scherzer's in 2010, but quickly (and stupidly) flipped it for an autograph from the same set of Chris Young... It's safe to say I've made my share of errors since joining the online community in 2008. I finally redeemed myself with this purchase, and although I've always loved Allen & Ginter autographs; this one is even nicer.

What do you all think? Have you gotten any nice steals lately? Feel free to share in the comments below!

See Ya!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Oh the Times, they are a Changin'

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Hey guys, Drew back here. I hope you all enjoyed my take on which members of the Hall of Fame are overrated on Tuesday. It sparked more debate than any of my prior Ten for Tuesday posts, which is exactly what I had hoped for. The entire purpose of the weekly series is to inspire debate among my readers, and I've had a lot of fun putting the projects together; it certainly gives me something to look forward to.

If you read my blog, I'm going to assume you read Night Owl Cards as well. If you don't, you would be doing yourself a disservice. Greg is twice the writer I'll ever be, and I know I've improved from my days as a teenager in this community. He created his blog in 2008, around the same time I did. We have witnessed countless people phasing in and out of the hobby; more blogs disappearing by the day. But we've both (he especially) been able to maintain our interest in not only the hobby itself but in writing as well throughout the course of almost seven full years.

Last Sunday, Greg wrote about something that has peaked my interest ever since. He said that only two players in the Dodgers' 2008 Topps set have remained with the team up until now; Clayton Kershaw and Andre Ethier. From there, I was influenced into figuring out how many players have stayed with the same team since the birth of this blog. I technically started with Weebly in the summer of 2008, until I carried over my posts to Blogger that winter, but I will refer to the summer as the beginning point of this timeline.

This is what I was able to come up with:

American League

Baltimore Orioles - Adam Jones
Boston Red Sox - David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz
New York Yankees - Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner*
Tampa Bay Rays - Evan Longoria*
Toronto Blue Jays - Jose Bautista

Chicago White Sox - John Danks, Alexei Ramirez*
Cleveland Indians - None
Detroit Tigers - Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander
Kansas City Royals - Alex Gordon, Luke Hochevar
Minnesota Twins - Joe Mauer, Glen Perkins

Houston Astros - None
Los Angeles Angels - Jered Weaver, Erick Aybar
Oakland Athletics - None
Seattle Mariners - Felix Hernandez
Texas Rangers - Matt Harrison*

* = Rookie in 2008

Total: 20 Players

National League

Atlanta Braves - None
Miami Marlins - None
New York Mets - David Wright, Daniel Murphy*, Jon Niese*, Bobby Parnell*
Philadelphia Phillies - Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Carlos Ruiz
Washington Nationals - Ryan Zimmerman

Chicago Cubs - None
Cincinnati Reds - Johnny Cueto*, Jay Bruce*, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Homer Bailey
Milwaukee Brewers - Ryan Braun
Pittsburgh Pirates - None
St. Louis Cardinals - Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia*

Arizona Diamondbacks - None
Colorado Rockies - Troy Tulowitzki, Jorge de la Rosa
Los Angeles Dodgers - Andre Ethier, Clayton Kershaw*, A.J. Ellis*
San Diego Padres - Will Venable*
San Francisco Giants - Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Sergio Romo

* = Rookie in 2008

Total: 27 Players

47 Players. 13 of which, rookies. We aren't even talking about a decade of time passing by, and only 47 Major League players have stayed on their respective teams. There are 30 teams in the league, with 25 men on each team's Active Roster. That alone makes 750 total players, not to mention all of those who have been called up and sent down within that period. Only 36 of the 47 listed have played their entire professional career with one organization. It was Miguel Cabrera's first year after being traded from the Marlins to the Tigers in 2008. Alex Rodriguez's name wasn't completely obliterated, and he came off of a 2007 MVP Award and enormous contract extension. Tim Lincecum was on his way to his first of two Cy Young Awards. That old, washed up Phillies team we see today won the World Series. Oh, how times have changed.

No wonder why baseball is no longer the powerhouse it once was compared to other sports. Ever since the dawn of free agency in baseball in the 1970's, players have constantly been on the move. One of my best friends has always followed the game, but after missing most of the news from the past offseason, he was so confused from all of the player movement. How are kids supposed to grow up and love a particular team in a day of age where baseball rosters change as frequently as college rosters?

Growing up, I always wanted the newest pinstripe jersey of whoever the Yankees would sign over each winter. Looking back, a majority of those jerseys were of players who made pit stops in New York before traveling elsewhere, which meant I constantly had to get to know a new team and buy new jerseys. I know it's part of what you sign up for being a Yankees fan in particular, especially ever since the late George Steinbrenner took the helm in 1973. But clearly, my Bombers aren't the only team that makes you feel like the new kid at school every Opening Day.

It's difficult to think of a way to go about fixing this dilemma. It appears that the business revolving around the game is in too deep, and that it would take a substantial amount of energy and effort to market players who are always in flux. With the Core Four retired, Alex Rodriguez is now the longest tenured Yankee, and I have to be honest, it can be boring to root for them at times. My favorite players now come from all over the league, because I have since learned not to grow too attached to anyone on my own team in fear of losing them to the next team willing to cough up hundreds of millions of dollars on them. My huge Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher collections now collecting dust can attest to this fear, without question.

It's really sad. I love watching old documentaries and hearing about those "classic" teams; the ones where people could rattle off the entire Dodgers and Yankees rosters, position by position; without worrying about accidentally naming someone who is no longer a part of the organization. But, they make me jealous. Very jealous.

I know it's an old school opinion and approach to a game that is trying so hard to adapt to newer technology and innovations; but I still wish something could be done. At least we've had Yadier Molina and Chase Utley to count on being donned in red.

What do you all think? Has free agency negatively affected your interest in your team?

See Ya!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Ten for Tuesday - Overrated Hall of Famers

Hey everyone, Drew back here. This week, I decided to write the riskiest post in the history of drewscards. Feelings will be hurt. People will be up in arms over some of what will soon follow. But I have to decided to make my case for ten players in the National Baseball Hall of Fame who I find overrated. Keep in mind, I already wrote a list a few weeks ago about who should not be in the Hall of Fame at all, and none of those players will be featured on this list today. Every single player on this list is worthy of induction, and some may very well be considered some of the greatest to ever play the game. You may not agree with everything I say, and you may let your biases and personal ties to players get in the way of the cold hard facts. However, if I can name three former Yankees on this list like I'm about to do, you are all more than capable of throwing all of your ties aside for the sake of what I'm attempting to achieve with this column.

There is a difference between being worthy and being overrated. Remember that.

Top 10 Overrated Players in the Hall of Fame

Honorable Mention - Pete Rose
Utility, Cincinnati Reds / Philadelphia Phillies / Montreal Expos

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Pete Rose will have a place on this list if and when he is inducted into the Hall of Fame. This man's name alone has been hyped up ever since he was banned from baseball, and he even uses that to his own marketing advantage. He has built up a huge crowd of baseball fans, myself included, who view baseball as the villain after he broke the rules. Rose is a genius for what he has been able to do; parking next door to every Hall of Fame induction and constantly making headlines.

But if he never cheated, and he went into the Hall five years after his retirement on his first ballot, how often would he stand out to this extent? Sure, he is the all time hits leader, and there is something to be said about that. 3,215 of those 4,256 hits were singles, and he was never much of a power threat. He prolonged his career by becoming a player-manager, which helped him manipulate his team to collect more hits even if it meant benching someone more deserving of a place on the lineup card. He was never a great fielder, and despite playing like his hair was on fire for almost a quarter century, he came up short of 200 stolen bases.

I'm not trying to say this man is not a Hall of Fame caliber player. But only a select few players should receive the attention that Rose currently receives, and he does not belong in that upper echelon. Without cheating, he would get one of the better applauses at each year's Hall of Fame induction, but never much more than that. I hope Pete finally gets his wish from Commissioner Manfred one day for the sake for baseball, but it will forever be easy to call "Charlie Hustle" overhyped and overrated.

10 - Ozzie Smith
SS, St. Louis Cardinals

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The first player on this week's list was one I had a very difficult time configuring. I have always loved watching Ozzie Smith's highlight reel plays, and I view him as the greatest defensive shortstop in history. But when comparing his statistics alongside Pee Wee Reese, who, although rated poorly with advanced fielding statistics, was a much better offensive producer with an above average glove, I could not keep "The Wizard of Oz" off this list. Smith's career on base percentage was .337, which ranks closely to Ernie Banks and Cal Ripken Jr. among shortstops, but when you fathom Banks' inclusion in the 500 Home Run Club and Ripken's in the 3000 Hit Club, their statuses are boosted up a notch.

Ozzie was a slightly above average hitter for shortstops of his era, and the best defensive player around. He is adored in St. Louis and is one of the nicest men I've ever met. Just watch the Pepsi Max commercial from a few years back and tell me he didn't steal the spotlight with his signature flip. And unfortunately, it's things like that which bring him onto the overrated lists. He is generally comparable to almost any other shortstop in the Hall, yet his persona and likeness as a Fan Favorite bring his stature to a level higher than what his performance may have yielded.

It isn't a bad thing for us to love Ozzie, just as it isn't for Brewers fans to love Robin Yount, Padres fans to love Tony Gwynn, and Tigers fans to love Al Kaline. But you need to be careful analyzing these players and avoid common biases when deciding who belongs more than another. Smith is an unquestionable Hall of Famer, well deserving of his place as an immortal. But every player has its downfall, and considering he only batted over .300 once in his illustrious 19 year career; offense was certainly that.

9 - Rollie Fingers
CP, Oakland Athletics / San Diego Padres / Milwaukee Brewers

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Speaking of signature attributes, what would Rollie Fingers be without his handlebar mustache? Sure, Fingers had a dominant career, and was one of the first relievers to revolutionize the closer role into what it has since become. I view his career as perhaps the greatest of any of the closer-type pitchers currently in the Hall, as his period of dominance is the longest (until Mariano Rivera is inducted). Many know him for his impressive MVP and Cy Young victories in the 1981 season. What many don't realize is that he was 34 years old at that time, and had already pitched effectively for thirteen years!

I still haven't really made up my mind over how/if closers should be chosen for the Hall, but I think even if I tightened the group, Fingers would still make the cut. However, it must be said that he played in an excellent pitcher's park in Oakland and was a part of some fantastic teams. Winning does increases relevance in mainstream society, but closers typically don't have the biggest say in that (except when Kirk Gibson or Luis Gonzalez stepped up to the dish). I think the entire closer position is overrated, and this is coming from someone who watched Rivera pitch at the top of his game. 

And, I'll ask again. How would Rollie Fingers be viewed today if he didn't have that mustache? Among the hardcore fans like myself and a majority of you, he is placed correctly in the Hall, despite what anyone says about the closer position. But it really surprises me how many non-hardcore, young baseball fans know about Rollie Fingers, and nothing in his statistics really prove why that may be. It may sound silly, but Fingers' career simply does not measure up to what grew above his upper lip.

8 - Reggie Jackson
OF/DH, Oakland Athletics / Baltimore Orioles / New York Yankees / California Angels

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I can already smell the hatred spilling out of some of your eyes as you glance over the names I have thus far deemed to be overrated. The first Yankee to make the list, Mr. October transcended the game in a unique way. He, along with contemporaries Dave Kingman and Bobby Bonds, reinvented the slugger in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Players now did not have to excel defensively to earn playing time, as long as they were capable of hitting the ball out of the stadium at the right time. This change even called for the Designated Hitter rule in the American League, which some people have hated from the very start. Now, players did not even have to play the field if they were liabilities on the defensive side. Jackson was a horrible outfielder, retiring with 142 errors as an outfielder, despite playing over 600 of his 2,820 games as the DH.

Jackson's offense was completely one dimensional, as seen from his 563 career home runs, and all time record 2,597 strikeouts. Approximately 40% of his plate appearances resulted in either a home run, strikeout, or walk; the epitome of the three outcome slugger. Nowadays, the Chris Davis', Mark Reynolds', and Adam Dunn's of the world are keeping Jackson's legacy alive, and strikeouts are more prominent than ever before. He retired with a lifetime batting average of .262, one of the lowest career marks among position players inducted. His clutch performances and legendary moments, along with his absurd strength make Jackson a fan favorite, even through his terrible reputation with fans. His ego has clashed with some of baseball's finest, and on occasion his blunt comments have put his name in the next day's newspaper. 

I grew up absolutely loving Reggie Jackson, especially after watching ESPN's "The Bronx is Burning" series. But after meeting him, I really changed my mind about the way I felt about October's former hero. My personal opinion about the man himself did not bring him onto this list, but it certainly made it easier for me to feel comfortable about the decision. 

7 - Dennis Eckersley
CP, Cleveland Indians / Boston Red Sox / Chicago Cubs / Oakland Athletics / St. Louis Cardinals

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The hate parade for closers is not finished yet, unfortunately, although I can say that Dennis Eckersley is ranked as my most overrated closer in the Hall of Fame. "Eck" was a troubled, inconsistent starting pitcher for much of the first half of his career, until Tony LaRussa moved him into the bullpen with the Oakland A's. From that point forward, he was indestructible for about a six year stretch. But like newly inducted HOF'er John Smoltz, he may receive a bit too much credit for having retired with almost 200 wins and 400 saves. Some give these pitchers credit for being able to make a "significant" adjustment, and if that is any part of the reason they are rewarded, that is absolutely bogus. Even Eckersley said that the closer position is overrated, saying that it isn't as hard to transition into as one may think. 

Eckersley was not a Hall of Fame starting pitcher. He is a Hall of Fame reliever, but only for that six year span. He belongs as a whole, but was no Rivera, Fingers, or even Gossage.

6 - Don Drysdale
SP, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers

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Here is where things begin to get a little dicey. Don Drysdale was as dominant as can be when he was on his game. However, the simple fact that he shared the spotlight with Sandy Koufax is his ultimate downfall. Some may view Koufax as overrated because he didn't have the longevity, but this doesn't matter to me when it comes to starting pitchers. In fact, I'm much more content in knowing that we never got to experience Koufax past his prime, as it could have partially diminished his legacy.

As for Drysdale, he was always a very good pitcher, but he may have been forgotten had he pitched in almost any other city. His career ERA of 2.95 is good, but not great. His career record of 209-166 is good, but not great. With the exception of his fantastic 1962 campaign in which he finished with a 25-9 record, 2.83 ERA, and a league leading 232 strikeouts, Drysdale belonged in the Hall of Very Good. He wasn't the best postseason performer, either. Basically, the guy earned his place in the Hall, but he's closer to Juan Marichal and Fergie Jenkins than Whitey Ford and the aforementioned Koufax that he is more frequently mentioned among.

5 - Dizzy Dean
SP, St. Louis Cardinals / Chicago Cubs / St. Louis Browns
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Dizzy Dean has one of the stranger stat-lines of any pitcher in the Hall of Fame. And, upon further review, it feels like something is left to be desired, especially since he has always been so highly regarded among baseball historians. Dean's career was ruined by injuries, and he only managed six full seasons. Granted, they were six phenomenal years, especially his MVP winning performance in 1934. He won 30 games that season with a 2.66 ERA, and followed up the next year with another 28 wins to bolster his statistics. But as we know, the "What Could Have Been" players generally have never produced enough to be considered for the Hall of Fame. Thurman Munson, Dwight Gooden, Dave Parker, and modern day stars like Josh Hamilton all had the talent to one day be enshrined, but the tragic truth to it is that they fell short.

It's one thing to feel for someone who was one of the more colorful men in the game in the early 20th century, but it's another to honor him for what he did not quite achieve. I have no problem with Dean being in the Hall of Fame for his dominant short career and legacy as a color commentator, but I do think he is over-recognized by fans. He may have been one of the best, but he wasn't, so he should not be spoken of as if he was.

4 - Joe DiMaggio
OF, New York Yankees

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Woah, boy. I bet you didn't see this coming. Joe DiMaggio is one of the most famous baseball players in history. Heck, he dated Marilyn Monroe and Paul Simon wrote a song about him! For a while after his retirement, he was voted baseball's greatest living player, ahead of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Ted Williams. After comparing his statistics alongside those three, I would have to take all 3 before choosing DiMaggio. Now don't get me wrong, "Joltin' Joe" would easily fall in my All Time Top 25, but advanced metrics as well as a shortened career would move him closer to my #25 than to my #1. His 56 Game Hitting Streak is one of the most impressive milestones throughout sports history, but some of the older folk will say he is the greatest player of all time because they had the pleasure of watching him play. I've seen Derek Jeter do some impressive things at games I have attended, but I cannot say he was better than Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, or even Joe DiMaggio for that matter. Sabermetrics have also hurt his case for being one of the greatest to ever take the field, as they say he was not quite as spectacular a defender as he was praised to be. I always take sabermetrics with a grain of salt, but this may make sense considering how people have practically described the man as a superhero prior to these further evaluations.

If DiMaggio was able to play in his prime rather than serve in World War II, perhaps he would deserve the enormous amount of baseball respect he already has. This sacrifice he made should be recognized and appreciated; don't get me wrong. He's as surefire as it gets for the Hall of Fame, but his reputation as one of the most famous sports figures ever should be up for debate.

Sorry, Yankee fans. It hurt me to say all that. Sorry Joe.

3 - Cy Young
SP, Cleveland Spiders / St. Louis Perfectos / Boston Americans/Red Sox / Cleveland Naps / Boston Rustlers

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Denton True Young was baseball's first ace. Perhaps this is why the annual Cy Young Award is named in his honor, but I always got the impression that it was because some believed he was the greatest pitcher of that era. Winning 500 games is a ridiculous accomplishment, one I believe will never be paralleled thanks to the way baseball has changed since his retirement over a century ago. When Young pitched, he would often pitch consecutive days in a row, not receiving much rest between games. He threw the most innings of all time at 7,356, and it really is marvelous that his arm didn't fall off (talk about Tommy John Surgery). Let's not forget that along with those 511 wins, he is one of only two pitchers to lose over 300 games (316) as well. There were some good hitters in that period of time, especially Ty Cobb, Nap Lajoie, Tris Speaker and Honus Wagner; but it was called "The Dead Ball Era" for a reason. Until Babe Ruth came around, pitchers rarely allowed home runs, which helped glorify their ERA's in the history books.

There is nothing we can change about Cy Young. We cannot say "He wouldn't be in the Hall of Fame if he played today," because we simply do not know that. Pitching has endured several recent hardships, but Young would appreciate some rest between starts. The Hall of Fame doesn't embark on hypothetical journeys. His 511 wins should not be held against him, as he did earn them, after all. But they should not help his case either.

What I'm trying to say is; if you think Cy Young is the greatest pitcher of all time just because the award is in his name, you're probably wrong. I understand that the award was named in his honor after his death, and I have no problem with that sentiment. But Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, and possibly even Grover Cleveland Alexander may rank above him on most all time pitcher rankings, so I in no means consider him the greatest pitcher in history. 

2 - Phil Rizzuto
SS, New York Yankees

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The final Yankee inclusion on this list just so happens to be one of our most beloved, Phil Rizzuto. "Scooter" was an electrifying player on one of several of baseball's all time greatest teams, and added to his resumé much like Dizzy Dean, as a broadcaster. In 1950, he was the American League's MVP; his .324 average, .418 OBP, and 200 hits far exceeding any of his previous heights. Unfortunately, one season of this caliber is not normally enough for any player who did not take the spotlight of New York. Rizzuto was a wonderful baseball man who could have been a Hall of Famer for his broadcasting exploits alone, but by putting him in the Hall of Fame for his playing career, it opens the floodgates to the "if Rizzuto is in, then ______ should be in as well". While it is more than okay to honor players of the past, there simply is not enough room in the Hall of Fame for all of the players with similar career statistics to Rizzuto's. 

Again, much like DiMaggio, his numbers were affected by his serving in World War II. There is no denying his legacy as an American citizen, but he should have been denied for the Hall of Fame. Some may say the Fame in Hall of Fame is what keeps him in ahead of Marty Marion and co., but fame should not be what bases upon player's election. There's Hollywood for things like that.

I slipped up by not mentioning Rizzuto in my Undeserving Hall of Fame players list, but this list applies equally as well. "Scooter" simply does not compare to the greatest shortstops of all time, and it's unfortunate considering how fantastic a person he was.

1 - Nolan Ryan
SP, New York Mets / California Angels / Houston Astros / Texas Rangers

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I now introduce you to the most overrated player currently in the Hall of Fame. That, my friends; is Nolan Ryan. There is an aura surrounding the man who has struck out more batters than anyone before, and I'm going to testify against that very aura. I am well aware of his 7 no-hitters, long-term stability, and knack for the strikeout. There may have never been a more dominant pitcher when he was on his game. But let's take notice to how I worded that statement. When he was on his game.

"The Ryan Express" was a work horse like no other. He battled for every out, pitcher vs. batter; almost like something from an old western. If he didn't bring his best stuff to the ballpark, he was prone to being tossed around. If I could choose one pitcher to start a game deciding my fate, I would have a tough time choosing between Ryan and Bob Gibson. 

This does not make Nolan Ryan the best pitcher of all time. Most competitive? Perhaps. But best? No. Ryan only won 20 games twice in his 27 year career that ended when he was 46 years young. He never won a Cy Young Award, ridiculous as it may sound, while his modern-day counterpart Roger Clemens (with the use of steroids) was awarded with 7 such trophies. He walked a ridiculous 4.67 batters per nine innings pitched, and retired with the all time record of 2,795 walks allowed. In 1974 and 1977, he walked over 200 batters! He tied or led the league in Wild Pitches in six seasons. His ERA often sat in the mid 3.00's by the conclusion of most years.

For anyone who claims Ryan to be the best they ever saw, they can say that. With his command, Nolan Ryan was as unstoppable as a pitcher could be, which led to some of the best pitching performances ever recorded. But someone with such wishy-washy command should not be viewed as the greatest hurler in the history of the game, because he was dependent on his control in order to determine how he would perform. The best pitchers in history did not need to depend on anything that critical in order to be successful.

Who is the most overrated player in the Hall of Fame?

Nolan Ryan
Phil Rizzuto
Cy Young
Other - Comment Below
Poll Maker

Phew. The roast has finally come to a halt. Let me conclude by once again saying that I'm not trying to tear apart any of these players in this post, because they were all much better baseball players than I will ever be. All 11 should be in the Hall of Fame, but there should be some more attention spread out to other members of the Hall. I will soon return with a more positive spin on the Hall, focusing on which members are criminally underrated among their peers. 

Until next Tuesday, See Ya!