- 09/15/2011, 03:29AM ET
Marlins Fan said 09/15, 03:29 AM
If the title was confusing, I'm saying it's an undeniable truth that Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all time, and he's the only MLB player we can say that about, regardless of position.
There are a couple guys for whom strong arguments can be made, but no one is hands down the best all-time at their position other than Rivera.
Disagree? Take this TD and let me know who you got so I can post a counter argument.
Disclaimer: Players who played multiple positions can't be argued, unless you only use their stats from the specific position you choose. For example, not all of Babe Ruth's 714 homeruns could be used, because he played 1,132 games in right field, 1,003 games in left field, 163 games as a pitcher, 62 games in center field, and 32 games as first base.
So unless you're willing to research his stats only as one position, it wouldn't be fair to use his cumulative career stats as "evidence" of him being the greatest right fielder, for example.
I'm not sure anyone is going to accept this TD, in part because we're arguing the general public's perception of players.
But it's a topic that interested me, so I gave it a whirl.
giftedkid527 said 09/15, 09:19 AM
I will submit the following...
Ted Williams is inarguably the best LF. After 1939, he played just 20 games out of LF, and posted 118 WAR, while missing the better part of 4 seasons, and the lesser part of a fifth. Excluding his first season, 1939, his career averages go up to .346/.485/.636. His closest competitor, Stan Musial, spent half his career at 1B. Rickey henderson wasn't even close to as good, and played 447 games elsewhere. Barry Bonds cheated, and is thus disqualified in my opinion.
I will also submit that the following are the greatest players, inarguably, at their positions...
Rogers Hornsby, 2B. From 1920 to 1929, Rogers played a scant 23 games out of position, and hit .382/.460/.637. No second baseman can touch that.
Honus Wagner, SS. From 1903-1913, Wagner played 83 games out of position, a paltry 8 per year, and posted .340/.402/.490 numbers, as well as 91.8 WAR.
Lou Gehrig, 1B, Played a grand total of 10 games out of position for his career, and posted 20 war more than his closest competitor, Cap Anson, who played 400 games out of position.
In conclusion, you are incorrect. Good day.
Marlins Fan said 09/16, 03:24 AM
Ted Williams was great, but he's easily arguable.
You say Barry Bonds doesn't count. Well, that's your opinion, and honestly it may be mine as well, but there's definitely an argument to be made by some people that Barry is the best player of all time, much less the best left fielder.
And even if you don't want to count Barry, there's always Rickey Henderson. Best leadoff hitter ever.
Ted Williams is not at all inarguable.
As far as Hornsby at 2B, you seem to be forgetting Roberto Alomar, one of the best fielders baseball has ever seen, regardless of position. And what about Joe Morgan? Jackie Robinson? Hell, even Craig Biggio could be argued...
Regarding Wagner at SS, the guy barely hit 100 HRs for his career. He's more well-known for the value of his rookie card than for his on the field accomplishments. And what about A-Rod in his SS days? Jeter? Cal Ripken Jr?
And last, you mention Gehrig at 1B. Jimmie Foxx is basically the same player, just with more career HR.
I wish I had room to post stats so we could see side-by-side comparisons.
But the point here is that every one of the guys you listed are arguable.
giftedkid527 said 09/17, 01:45 AM
Hornsby .358(2nd all time)
Hornsby already had a TC and led in BA/OBP/SLUG 4 times when the first MVP was awarded.
Robinson played 748 of 1364 games at 2B.
There is no question.
Lou Gehrig beats Foxx in BA, OBP, Slugging, OPS+(by 32 points) and WAR by 24 wins. There is no question here, especially since Foxx spent 15% of his career not playing 1st.
Ted Williams had a career OBP of .482, 1st all time. Bonds had FOUR seasons above that, in 22 years, and most of those were intentional walks because he was roiding. Williams' OPS was 1.116, a mark bonds only best 5 times, 4 of which he was roiding for.Bonds' Pharmacist was better, but that's it.
Wagner had 134 career WAR, 8 batting titles. He had a 150 OPS+, vs Ripken's 112, Jeter's 117, and A-rod has now played almost as many games at 3B.
Marlins Fan said 09/17, 03:52 AM
You're failing to acknowledge that there are many variables between modern baseball and old school baseball.
Some of these variables are:
-segregation of of the sport back then, while MLB now has all the world's best players
-differences in physical training which have probably led to better athletes today, thereby skewing the way we can evaulate pitching, for one
Considering there are variables in the eras, how can we compare a player from 100 years ago with one from today without there being argument? There are no undeniable conclusions to be drawn from comparing players from the two very different eras.
There's only speculation and conjecture, and therefore no definitive statements can be made about players from the different eras dominance in comparison to one another.
Which brings me to Rivera.
If you look at the all time saves leaders, the top 9 all were active players within the last 10-15 years or so, and #10, Rollie Fingers, has just 341 saves compared to Rivera's 600.
If there was an argument about anyone being a better closer than Rivera, it would be a valid one.
But there's not.
Unlike the guys you mentioned.
giftedkid527 said 09/17, 10:04 AM
My bad, I thought we were arguing baseball, not philosophy.
You lost in the player-vs-player statistics, so you turned to ridiculous jargon and justification to try and work around the point.
Your only argument against Gehrig was Foxx. They played in the same ERA, and Gehrig beat him in every stat imagineable, except for HR, and the difference is about 40 HR. Gehrig is INARGUABLY better, and PLAYED IN THE SAME ERA. Your third argument doesn't affect those two.
The Rivera thing, actually, is the same. How can you say that Ripken vs Wagner was arguable, but then argue Hoyt Wilhelm is inarguably worse than Rivera? Your own "Different ERAs means that it has to be arguable" works against you here. You can't say "Nothing can be proven, except this one thing", if the one thing abides by the same rules as everything else.
Hoyt Wilhelm started pitching in 1952, and had a twelve-year stretch of 2.18 ERA, 1.021 WHIP, that ended in 1969. If differerences in ERA make it impossible to draw complete conclusions, how can you presume to find one there? How can you POSSIBLY say Rivera is inarguably better, if I can't say Wagner is inarguably better than Cal Ripken?
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