Monday, November 28, 2005


Back to Bill James

From the 1988 Baseball Abstract, preceded by six pages of imaginary dialogue, here's Bill James's list of the 20 best players in baseball:

  1. Wade Boggs
  2. Tim Raines
  3. Ozzie Smith
  4. Don Mattingly
  5. Tony Gwynn
  6. Darryl Strawberry
  7. Dale Murphy
  8. Roger Clemens
  9. Rickey Henderson
  10. Kirby Puckett
  11. Mike Schmidt
  12. George Bell
  13. Jack Morris
  14. Pedro Guerrero
  15. Alan Trammell
  16. Eric Davis
  17. Ryne Sandberg
  18. Phil Bradley
  19. Dwight Gooden
  20. Dwight Evans

With the benefit of hindsight, this still looks like a pretty good list, except maybe for Phil Bradley.

By the way, if Levi is even more scarce around here than usual, it's because he's got his very own blog now, solely devoted to books he's been reading lately. He reads a lot.


Nah--the real reason I've been scarce around here lately is that it's November and very, very little is happening on the baseball front, sad to say. The Cubs are spending the entire payroll of the Nationals on their bullpen, but that's about it.

But I'll keep trying to find good stuff. Say, maybe I'll post today, if I find something interesting about Bobby Valentine or Raul Mondesi.
I really hate it when people argue or whine about lists such as this, but....

If pitchers were eligible for this list (and they obviously were since Gooden, Morris and Clemens were on there), how could Orel "Bulldog" Hersheiser not be on there?

I'm in now way a Dodger fan, but always had the utmost respect (and fear when he was pitching against my team) for him.
I was gonna say ... Only two pitchers?
There is not much talk of pitchers in the six pages of dialogue preceding the list.
I think I remember that Bill James tends to value position players over pitchers, but it does seem weird that so few pitchers are on the list. And you're right, Toby--by the time the 1988 Abstract would have come out, before the '88 season, Hershiser had already established himself as one of the best pitchers in the game.

And then Tommy Lasorda slagged his arm by having him throw every inning of every game, more or less.

But at least Hershiser's had a good second career as a pitching coach, and apparently a good one.
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