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Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best
Friday, January 17, 2003
All Time Negro Leagues All-Stars
I’ll also give career dates, courtesy of The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues so we can begin to get a grasp on eligibility, etc..
The links are there because they are excellent books to buy if you have a few extra dollars.
You’ll have to scroll back up after you click the link.
A lot to munch on here guys.
What we need are ‘experts’ to chime in where Holway and James may have gone astray, give players they missed, etc.. If you know of a Negro League expert, drop him an email and ask him to comment. Eric Enders, who knows a lot about the Negro Leagues says that he thinks the James rankings are ‘generally pretty good’. Eric, if I’m misquoting you, please let us know.
Without any further adieu . . .
The Complete Book of Baseball’s Negro Leagues
(He also slotted them based on where they’d be on The All-Century Team, I’ll note those below each position.
He listed Gibson and Mackey as the two greatest catchers of all time, ahead of Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra.
Suttles was listed between Gehrig and McGwire, Jimmie Foxx was 4th.
None were listed as being better than Hornsby, Morgan, Collins and Lajoie.
Lloyd and Wells were listed 3rd and 4th behind Ripken and Wagner.
Dandridge was second to Mike Schmidt, Brooks Robinson was third, so I think Wilson ahead of Dandridge was a typo.
Charleston was slotted 5th, after Ruth, Cobb, Williams and Aaron; Stearnes was 6th.
He was at the top of the revised All-Century DH list, ahead of Frank Robinson, Ernie Banks and Harmon Killebrew.
1. Satchel Paige (1926-50)
It’s hard to tell if he’s going left to right or up-down on his list (buy the book and you’ll know what I mean), so I’ll just say that he has Paige, Rogan and Brown among the top 12 RHP of all-time.
1. Big Bill Foster (1923-38)
He has Foster 2nd to Spahn and Cooper 4th among LHP (Grove is 3rd).
The New Historical Baseball Abstract
Here I’ll note if players ranked in James all-time top 100.
James says he has little doubt that Gibson is the greatest catcher of all time. He also says catcher was probably the strongest position, and the Negro Leaguers were probably better than their white counterparts, top to bottom.
Easter needs an explanation. He says, “I know he didn’t “do” all that much either in the Negro Leagues or the white majors - but if you could clone him and bring him back, you’d have the greatest power hitter in baseball today, if not ever”. He goes on to say how Easter crushed the ball everywhere he ever went, even at age of 45 in AAA. Not a HoMer, but a hell of a player nonetheless.
James says the guys in LF probably played as much CF or RF, everyone played all over the place.
James says Charleston rates right with Cobb, DiMaggio, Mays, Mantle and Speaker.
James does not rate the pitchers, but he does say that Satchel Paige (#17) was the best pitcher of the Negro Leagues and could rate as the greatest pitcher of all time, and he should be in the discussion with Johnson, Grove, Young, etc..
The pitchers he said were compared to Paige were:
Smokey Joe Williams (1905-32) #52
Two 19th Century stars that these guys missed were Bud Fowler (1877-99), kind of the Negro Leagues version of Monte Ward (started his career as a pitcher and moved to 2B); and George Stovey (1886-96) a star pitcher.
James also ranks Minnie Minoso (1945-48) at #85.
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