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Monday, July 23, 2018

Ode To Joy

A Sox Therapy thread has evolved into a topic I think makes for a good general discussion, so I’m creating a new thread for that. Which players are the most delightful to watch? Which players bring you the most joy?

I present the original statement by jmurph:

I’ve probably posted some version of this multiple times before, but Betts is probably the second most delightful Red Sox player of my lifetime and I think he probably has a chance to pass Pedro on my list, if only because he plays everyday. I don’t often have this thought about athletes but I feel genuinely lucky to be able to watch that guy play for the team I care about.

He later elaborated that by “delightful” he meant “brings me joy” not “plays with joy”, although I think a case could be made that the latter can influence the former.

The ST thread is now a series of Primates posting their top 10 lists of Red Sox players who have brought them joy, not in the sense of “he made that one play that one time, that was cool” but in the sense that they enjoy watching these players play in general.

Who’s at the top of the list for your team? Who across MLB is on your general list?

villageidiom Posted: July 23, 2018 at 03:33 PM | 87 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball, delight, happiness, joy

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   1. villageidiom Posted: July 23, 2018 at 03:51 PM (#5714313)
To start it off I'll repeat my Boston-centered list from Sox Therapy:

1. Pedro Martinez, by far. Like Secretariat-at-the-Belmont-Stakes far.
2. Mookie Betts.
3. It's going to be strange reading this, but... Koji Uehara.
4. David Ortiz.
5. Nomar Garciaparra.
6. Dustin Pedroia, falling fast.
7. Tim Wakefield.
8. Roger Clemens. Was 1st for a long time, but fell.
9. Dwight Evans. 80s Red Sox were good but not really fun. Evans avoided outs and OMG that RF arm.
10. Dennis Eckersley, the starter.

I'd also mentioned that Jackie Bradley, Jr. brings me great joy at his best but is infuriating at his worst; but if he learns to be a consistent hitter he'd be in the top 10, probably top 3. Manny Ramirez was infuriating on defense, and for a two-way player it's hard to crack my top 10 if one way does not bring me joy.
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 23, 2018 at 03:56 PM (#5714320)
Javy, Javying.
   3. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 23, 2018 at 03:58 PM (#5714323)
As a Yankees fan who appreciates talent and charisma no matter what the laundry, here's my list from the previous thread. It's a Core Seven and then three more to make it an even ten:

Mookie
Papi
Henderson**
Pedro
Looie
Manny
Petunia (an acquired taste for a Yankees fan, but I grew to love his grit)

[gap]

Spaceman
EDIT: Make that Evans
Xander
Wakefield (and only partly for that reason)

** Who could've been elected Mayor of Boston if not for Schiraldi, Stanley and Buckner. Has there ever been a player who came up with two such incredibly clutch home runs in two consecutive postseason series?
   4. jmurph Posted: July 23, 2018 at 04:02 PM (#5714326)
Obviously Red Sox players are more enjoyable, Andy, but do your team now!
   5. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: July 23, 2018 at 04:07 PM (#5714332)
Has there ever been a player who came up with two such incredibly clutch home runs in two consecutive postseason series?


David Ortiz, 2004.
   6. Baldrick Posted: July 23, 2018 at 04:18 PM (#5714337)
Off the top of my head: the young Griffey, Ichiro, Francisco Lindor, Pedro Martinez, Ozzie Smith, Tim Wakefield, Mike Trout, Randy Johnson, Javy Baez, Bo Jackson, Brett Butler, Nomar.
   7. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: July 23, 2018 at 04:27 PM (#5714348)
Reds, in no particular order
Eric Davis
Barry Larkin
Joey Votto
Billy Hamilton (on the basepaths and in the field)
Jose Rijo
Johnny Cueto
Chris Sabo
Sean Casey
Dmitri Young
The Nasty Boys (3 relievers can equal one starter or position player, right?)

   8. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Fred Posted: July 23, 2018 at 04:32 PM (#5714354)
I just want to note that what makes Mookie so particularly delightful (on top of being great at baseball) isn't actually the smile, but instead that little lip raise thing that he does.
   9. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: July 23, 2018 at 04:34 PM (#5714356)
Red Sox
1. Pedro, with a bullet. Possibly my favorite player of all time.
2. Ortiz. Easily one of my five favorite players of all time.
3. MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOK.
4. Pedroia.
5. Manny.
6. Wakefield.
7. Nomah.
8. YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUK.
9. Trot Nixon.
10. Curt Schilling, but with a mandated amnesia about his post-playing days.

Mets
1. Mike Piazza, with a bullet. Possibly my favorite player of all time.
2. David Wright, in my top five favorite players of all time.
3. I'm Keith Hernandez! (announcer credit)
4. HoJo.
5. Beltran.
6. Daaaaaaaaaaaarryllllll!
7. Wiiiiiiiilmeeeeeer!
8. Ron Darling. (announcer credit)
9. Fonzie.
10. Reyes (fell from top three due to being an #######)

(if we remove announcer credit Darling falls off, Old Iron Lung falls to 7th, Reyes and Fonz move up one, and Mookie Wilson is added to the list).
   10. dlf Posted: July 23, 2018 at 04:42 PM (#5714361)
I may be misusing the terms, however to me I rarely get the most joy from the supremely talented players but rather from those who aren't but still have something extra. As a Braves fan of many years standing, I got more joy from Rafael Belliard than pretty much anyone else, perhaps not in spite of but rather because of the 41 OPS+ he put up while playing in Atlanta. Huge smile, always running hard, always positioned well, but never performing above replacement level. His homer in an otherwise meaningless game against the Mets two decades back was this little gift from the baseball gods.
   11. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: July 23, 2018 at 04:44 PM (#5714363)
Rafael Belliard


I remember chanting "Rafael Belliard, he's a smelly-ard" at him as a kid.
   12. CheersUnusualPlays Posted: July 23, 2018 at 04:52 PM (#5714370)
Generally the ones I remember are from my childhood

George Brett, the one man left-handed wrecking crew
Tony "Mr Triple" Fernandez
Rickey!
Reggie!
Tom MF Seaver
Devon White
Bo
Neon Deion
Robbie Alomar
Pete Rose
Need a modern player, so Kevin Pillar

   13. Perry Posted: July 23, 2018 at 05:06 PM (#5714382)
First one that came into my mind was Nolan Arenado, who's my favorite player to watch since Pete Rose in his prime.
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: July 23, 2018 at 05:12 PM (#5714386)

David Ortiz, 2004.


I don't think even his would have been as big as Hendu's pair.

   15. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: July 23, 2018 at 05:13 PM (#5714387)
Koji Uehara

I get it, watching him embarrass batters with that splitter was great, plus he was all smiles.
   16. PreservedFish Posted: July 23, 2018 at 05:14 PM (#5714389)
Tsuyoshi Shinjo

I may be misusing the terms, however to me I rarely get the most joy from the supremely talented players but rather from those who aren't but still have something extra.

Big players often end up with too much baggage. Jose Reyes was my favorite player for a long time, but over the years he's changed from "infectious grin" to "infectious disease."
   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 23, 2018 at 05:25 PM (#5714397)
Derrek Lee, 2005. That was somewhat of a rough year in my life, and being able to watch his incredible season every night helped a lot that summer.
   18. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 23, 2018 at 05:26 PM (#5714399)
First one that came into my mind was Nolan Arenado, who's my favorite player to watch since Pete Rose in his prime.


He's the first to come to mind for me too. I thought it might be recency bias, but he really is just fun to watch. He makes more surprising plays than you'd expect from a third baseman, and of course he leads the league in homers and RBIs more often than not. And he's obviously focused and driven without being theatrical about it.

My Top Ten Rockies to Watch:

1. Nolan Arenado
2. Troy Tulowitzki
3. Carlos Gonzalez
4. Matt Holliday
5. Ubaldo Jimenez
6. Dexter Fowler
7. Adam Ottavino
8. Todd Helton
9. Jason Giambi
10. Charlie Blackmon

Most fans would have Blackmon higher, but I've never really warmed up to him.
   19. Perry Posted: July 23, 2018 at 05:54 PM (#5714413)
Most fans would have Blackmon higher, but I've never really warmed up to him.


I imagine most would have Helton higher, too, and would have Larry Walker somewhere on there. Vinny and Galarraga would be on my Rox list too, ahead of Giambi and Ottavino.
   20. villageidiom Posted: July 23, 2018 at 05:56 PM (#5714414)
Obviously Red Sox players are more enjoyable, Andy, but do your team now!
I just figured that since the Red Sox were in first place in the AL East they were his team now. Always shifting, his allegiances are.
I get it, watching him embarrass batters with that splitter was great, plus he was all smiles.
My inclusion of him on the list was, to me, the key differentiator between "favorite players" and "players who delighted me". I loved the vibe at Fenway when he came into the game; I loved how he pitched; I loved how he was all high-five crazy when he came off the field. Nothing but joy.
   21. Perry Posted: July 23, 2018 at 06:14 PM (#5714421)
Guys I saw a lot and really liked watching. Heavily weighted toward teams I follow/have followed.

1. Pete Rose
2. Nolan Arenado
3. Jim Edmonds
4. Ozzie Smith
5. Joe Morgan
6. Willie McGee
7. Joey Votto
8. Greg Maddux
9. Hunter Pence
10. Bob Gibson

Javy Baez might be there eventually.

Big players often end up with too much baggage.


I know what you mean. Troy Tulowitzki was a joy to watch his first few years with the Rockies, but the last couple years you could almost see the toll of the injuries and the expectations weighing him down. He was no fun at all then.
   22. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 23, 2018 at 06:19 PM (#5714425)
I imagine most would have Helton higher, too, and would have Larry Walker somewhere on there. Vinny and Galarraga would be on my Rox list too, ahead of Giambi and Ottavino.


I moved to Colorado in 2004, so I never saw Vinny or Galarraga or Walker with the Rox. I caught Helton after his prime.

Giambi was awesome. You'd always see him in the dugout with his arm around someone's shoulders, giving out advice.
   23. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 23, 2018 at 06:22 PM (#5714430)
Big players often end up with too much baggage.

I know what you mean. Troy Tulowitzki was a joy to watch his first few years with the Rockies,
Pete Rose is #1 on your list and your example of a big player ending up with too much baggage is...Troy Tulowitzki?
   24. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 23, 2018 at 06:24 PM (#5714433)
Giambi was awesome. You'd always see him in the dugout with his arm around someone's shoulders, giving out advice.
"Do lots of steroids. Seriously, take as many steroids as you can get your hands on. If they try to put something in your contract about not taking steroids, make sure that gets taken out."
   25. SoSH U at work Posted: July 23, 2018 at 06:24 PM (#5714434)
Non-Sox list (my Sox list would merely be rearranging the list of others).

1a. Adrian Beltre*
1b. Elvis Andrus (though we got a taste of the pure joy that is the AB experience, it was Elvis who really allowed it to fully flourish).
3. Juan Pierre
4. Mark Buehrle
5. Andrew McCutchen
6. Ozzie Guillen
7. Ozzie Smith
8. Johnny Cueto
9. Keith Hernandez
10. LaTroy Hawkins (he didn't really do anything exception on the field. But I can't have a list of my favorite players without him).

* How am I the first to mention Beltre?
   26. Walt Davis Posted: July 23, 2018 at 06:25 PM (#5714435)
I don't know about "joy" but my all-time favorite non-Cub team. Note, a couple of these folks did have brief Cub stints late in their career but I'm not counting that. It will shock many of you, but most of these come from my more formative years! :-)

C Carlton Fisk
1B Tony Perez
2B RRRRRRRRRRRRRRod Carew
SS Tough one, probably Larkin or Concepcion
3B Graig Nettles
OF Bobby Bonds, Barry Bonds, Rickey, Bill North
DH ... it'd be somebody like Rico Carty or Cliff Johnson or Willie Horton or Cecil Fielder ... just some big guy who seemed done then found his way back for some good years.
P -- Pedro, Tiant, Gibson, Catfish, Mudcat, Blue Moon, Fingers, Hoyt Wilhelm

Favorite Cubs

C Jody, Jody Davis
1B Banks -- I never knew him as a SS and obviously Mr Cub makes the team
2B Sandberg
SS Kessinger or Dunston. Big Kessinger fan as a kid, Dunston was terrible but still fun to watch
3B Madlock -- bit of an upset there
OF Billy, Sosa**, Dawson, Cardenal
DH Andre Thornton
UT Javy
P Maddux (though more for his Braves work), Fergie, Holtzman, Reuschel, Moyer, Hendricks, Sutter, Smitty

** I don't care if it really was all roid-driven, I had a ####### blast. And I was impressed even in his White Sox days, I was pretty excited with the Bell trade.
   27. BDC Posted: July 23, 2018 at 06:58 PM (#5714447)
Nice idea!

My joyous top 10, in roughly chronological order:

Ernie Banks
Steve Carlton
Tug McGraw
Dave Winfield
Rickey Henderson
Willie McGee
Kirby Puckett
Nomar Garciaparra
Vladimir Guerrero
Adrian Beltre

Maybe someone could tally up the player who appears on the most lists.
   28. Perry Posted: July 23, 2018 at 07:14 PM (#5714452)
Pete Rose is #1 on your list and your example of a big player ending up with too much baggage is...Troy Tulowitzki?


Not sure what your point is. Pete Rose, especially pre-age 40, was an absolute blast to watch pretty much every minute he was on the field. He didn't have any baggage, that all came much later. Tulo was a lot of fun too, but in his later years with the Rockies as the injuries mounted and the Rox didn't win and he was pretty much expected to carry the team every night, you could just see it all the pressure weighing on him. He didn't seem to be having any fun at all the last few years here.
   29. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: July 23, 2018 at 07:29 PM (#5714459)
Love this thread!

Angels centric, but with Braves and Cubbies too from TBS/WGN days - most recent first.

Ohtani (I know, I know. But that first month was more fun watching baseball for me in a long time.
Must watch TV for his AB’s and starts)
Trout
Glaus
Salmon
Barry Bonds
Edmonds
Randy Johnson
Mike Witt
Gary Pettis (field and bases)
Dale Murphy
Ryne Sandberg

That’s about it...but those guys popped to mind.


   30. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: July 23, 2018 at 07:47 PM (#5714465)
I’ll also add peak Pedro Guerrero. He could hit. And was terrible on defense - which made for exciting TV.
   31. BDC Posted: July 23, 2018 at 07:48 PM (#5714467)
Gary Pettis was one I almost included. Great pleasure to watch.
   32. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: July 23, 2018 at 08:02 PM (#5714472)
BDC - if I didn’t loathe Erstad so much for his inability to adjust offensively, I’d include him for defense alone. He was amazing in CF. I was like 12-17 when Pettis played in Anaheim. But his defense was legendary.
   33. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: July 23, 2018 at 08:04 PM (#5714474)
Rickey! was always doing something amazing
Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez were both fun to watch but for different reasons. Miggy for the infectious joy; Chavez because he made the game look so smooth and fluid at third.
Mark Ellis and Jack Cust because they were polar opposites in every way.
La Potencia, Cespedes
   34. asinwreck Posted: July 23, 2018 at 08:11 PM (#5714479)
Current players: Tim Anderson, Francisco Lindor, Jose Altuve, Joey Votto, Josh Harrison, Mike Trout, Bartolo Colon.
   35. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: July 23, 2018 at 08:44 PM (#5714498)
i'm pleasantly surprised to see Giambi mentioned several times already. He was always a sweaty mess, and looked like his swing would knock down walls.

others for me:
-Kenny Lofton
-Jim Thome (that stance)
-Rafael Furcal
-Ichiro
-Maddux

   36. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 23, 2018 at 08:45 PM (#5714499)
Ichiro
Eric Davis
Edgar Martinez
Joey Votto
Bo Jackson
Joe Morgan
Kazuhiro Sasaki
Roberto Clemente
George Brett
Pete Rose (pre-fall from grace)
   37. Tin Angel Posted: July 23, 2018 at 08:46 PM (#5714500)
Kevin McReynolds, Brian Wilson, Paul O'Neill.
   38. Ziggy's screen name Posted: July 23, 2018 at 09:02 PM (#5714522)
Fun thread idea. Bo Jackson has been mentioned before, but he needs to be mentioned again. Ichiro and Beltre have got to be the most joyful of the active players. (At least on the field. The Ichiro story itself is kind of tragic.) I'll also nominate Chris Sabo and Mark Prior. Some of this is hard to separate from what's going on around them. I was always excited watching Prior pitch because he was supposed to be the second coming, and then he actually was (for a little while). Without the buildup Prior probably wouldn't have been so much fun. And Griffey Jr. goes on the list for pure aesthetics. He's got the most beautiful swing I've ever seen.
   39. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: July 23, 2018 at 09:15 PM (#5714540)
Going outside of my own favorite teams, I'd have Ichiro, Beltre, Vlad, and Rickey! really high up. I'm not even a Blue Jays fan and I'm already hype for Vlad II: The Next Generation.
   40. Walt Davis Posted: July 23, 2018 at 09:16 PM (#5714541)
I gotta add Mark Bellhorn somewhere. I don't know that I've ever been happier for a player than Bellhorn in G6 of the 2004 ALCS. One of our secret saber heroes, a nice season with the Cubs then unceremoniously shoved aside by Dusty, makes his way to the Red Sox, is having a terrible postseason, K'ing all the time, held up as poster boy of how TTO players can't succeed in the playoffs and ... boom, 3-run HR in an elimination game. Hit a late HR in G7, followed it with a game-winning 2-run HR in WS G1 and a 2-run double in G2.
   41. PreservedFish Posted: July 23, 2018 at 09:22 PM (#5714551)
Kevin McReynolds?? Few players have been as openly disdainful of the sport.
   42. SoSH U at work Posted: July 23, 2018 at 09:27 PM (#5714555)

Kevin McReynolds?? Few players have been as openly disdainful of the sport.


As opposed to the infectious joy supplied by Paul O'Neill, and the subtle, understated beauty of Brian Wilson.

   43. RickG Posted: July 23, 2018 at 09:34 PM (#5714561)
I'm a White Sox fan. Frank Thomas will always top this list. Mark Buehrle is a close second.

Javy Baez, though, is so special right now. Kris Bryant is also fun. And I am probably going to add Eloy to that list about one at-bat after he gets called up.
   44. Tin Angel Posted: July 23, 2018 at 09:46 PM (#5714571)
My actual list would be: Dwight Gooden (those first couple of years...), Darryl Strawberry, Eric Davis (man was he fun before all of the injuries), Ken Griffey Jr., Bo Jackson, Will Clark (maybe the only swing that rivals Jr. and Ted Williams), Tim Raines, Ichiro, Barry Bonds, Tim Lincecum.
   45. PreservedFish Posted: July 23, 2018 at 09:51 PM (#5714578)
As opposed to the infectious joy supplied by Paul O'Neill, and the subtle, understated beauty of Brian Wilson.


I got so mad at the first name that I didn't make it to the other two.
   46. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: July 23, 2018 at 09:52 PM (#5714580)
I gotta add Mark Bellhorn somewhere.


Bellhorn is rumored to own several Dunkin Donuts around Boston these days. Which is fantastic if true.
   47. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 23, 2018 at 11:10 PM (#5714648)
Has there ever been a player who came up with two such incredibly clutch home runs in two consecutive postseason series?

David Ortiz, 2004.


Great, but Henderson's pair topped them.

First he puts the Sox ahead with a two run homer in top of the 9th in the 5th game of the LCS, when they were one strike away from being eliminated.

(He then wins that game with a sac fly in the 11th, but I won't even count that.)

He then hits a 10th inning homer in the top of the 10th in game 6 of the World Series, to put the Sox in a position to win their first championship in 68 years. If the bullpen and Buckner hadn't conspired to blow it, Henderson would be the most celebrated player in Red Sox history next to Ted Williams. Not even close to the best, probably not even in the top 100, but the most celebrated.

Okay, on to Ortiz:

Ortiz's 2004 DS walkoff broke a tie to end the series, but the Sox were already ahead by 2 games to none.

And while his walkoff in game 4 won that game and saved the Sox from a possible sweep, he'd previously left the winning run stranded in the 9th, and anyway, the two combined still wouldn't measure up to Henderson's pair.

About the only way you could put Ortiz over Henderson would be either More Recent Beats Ancient, or Count da Ringz, Baby. But objectively Henderson wins easily.
   48. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 23, 2018 at 11:18 PM (#5714652)
Okay, top 10 from the entire pool of players I've ever seen in real time, not in any particular order. AL-centric bias duly noted:

Robinson (Jackie)
Robinson (Brooks)
Robinson (Frank)
Bernie
El Duque
Pedro
Judge
Trout
Brett
Gleyber
   49. Walt Davis Posted: July 24, 2018 at 12:10 AM (#5714663)
Two more to add to the non-Cub list, the first one I'm particularly embarrassed to have overlooked the first time ... Cesar Cedeno (the original Eric Davis and I think I still consider him the most talented non-Trout guy I've seen**) and Campy Campaneris should probably be the starting SS. I was a big fan of those early 70s A's teams.

** Feel free to adjust that possibly from ages 8-12 I was not the expert baseball talent evaluator that I am today ... means I'm more likely to have gotten it right.
   50. Sweatpants Posted: July 24, 2018 at 01:02 AM (#5714671)
For clutch HR in consecutive postseason series, Kirk Gibson and Alfonso Soriano have to rank pretty high. Jim Leyritz, too, if it's consecutive postseason series just for him rather than overall.
Kevin McReynolds, Brian Wilson, Paul O'Neill.
Carter Capps didn't make the cut?
   51. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: July 24, 2018 at 06:47 AM (#5714679)
Javy
Lindor
Schwarber
Altuve
Buerhle
Frank Thomas
Randy Johnson
Sosa
Griffey
Sandberg

I gotta add Mark Bellhorn somewhere. I don't know that I've ever been happier for a player than Bellhorn in G6 of the 2004 ALCS. One of our secret saber heroes, a nice season with the Cubs then unceremoniously shoved aside by Dusty, makes his way to the Red Sox, is having a terrible postseason, K'ing all the time, held up as poster boy of how TTO players can't succeed in the playoffs and ... boom, 3-run HR in an elimination game. Hit a late HR in G7, followed it with a game-winning 2-run HR in WS G1 and a 2-run double in G2.

Bellhorn was a big favorite around here back then.

   52. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: July 24, 2018 at 09:49 AM (#5714737)
My Mets, chronologically

1. Tom Seaver
2. Tug McGraw
3. Lee Mazzilli
4. Dwight Gooden
5. Keith Hernandez
6. Darryl Strawberry
7. Mike Piazza
8. David Wright
9. Pre-2011 Jose Reyes
10. Pedro
11. 2013 Matt Harvey
12. Jacob deGrom
13. Brandon Nimmo
14. Michael Conforto, when he's right.

Non-Mets:

Willie McCovey
Freddy Lynn
Dave Winfield
Dave Parker
Kal Daniels
Bo
Unit
early Jayson Werth
Mike Trout
Machado

   53. PreservedFish Posted: July 24, 2018 at 09:56 AM (#5714744)
El Duque


Good one. His time with the Mets was an absolute treat. I don't think I've ever seen a more committed junkballer, which made every pitch unexpected and exciting.
   54. Traderdave Posted: July 24, 2018 at 10:02 AM (#5714750)
Nice to see love for Rose, it shows that we (some) can compartmentalize the player from the sleazebag. He WAS fun to watch.

And Eric Byrnes. A mediocre talent and overrated by many A's fans, but the guy just had so much fun on the field. His energy and attitude were contagious. Lima is another one like that; forgettable BBREF page but still so much fun to watch.

I loved the 00's A's infield of Chavez, Tejada and Ellis. Eliss' range was measured in acres, Miggy had a cannon of an arm and clearly loved every inning, and Chavez brought a low key understated style of excellence.



   55. PreservedFish Posted: July 24, 2018 at 10:10 AM (#5714755)
Haven't thought about Jose Lima's wife in a while. Thank you.
   56. Astroenteritis Posted: July 24, 2018 at 02:43 PM (#5715057)
Astros:
1. Jose Altuve
2. Cesar Cedeno
3. J.R. Richard
4. Hunter Pence
5. Joaquin Andujar
6. Jeff Bagwell
7. Dickie Thon (in his brief prime)
8. Joe Morgan
9. Jimmy Wynn
10. George Springer

These were off the top of my head. I'm sure more thought might bring some different names, but I really enjoyed watching all these guys play, though for some their time with Houston was too short.
   57. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 24, 2018 at 03:12 PM (#5715095)
Yanks and O's, in rough chronological order.

YANKS:
Moose
Ellie
Lou
Guidry
Bernie
Paulie
Pettitte
El Duque
Judge
Gleyber

Manager: Casey

ORIOLES:
Brooks
Cakes
Motormouth
Frank
Bee
Kenny
Rick
Eddie
Adam
Manny

Manager: Earl


   58. Cris E Posted: July 24, 2018 at 04:58 PM (#5715223)
Kirby Puckett was that guy for me. His face radiated huge joy to just be out there, he had that weird body that could actually play, he was frequently goofing around with everyone and always had the potential for a great play at any moment. He eventually turned out to be a tool, but around the ballpark he was a smile.
   59. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 24, 2018 at 05:20 PM (#5715234)
And Eric Byrnes. A mediocre talent and overrated by many A's fans, but the guy just had so much fun on the field. His energy and attitude were contagious.
Unfortunately, he has now brought that energy and attitude to the confined space of an MLB Network studio.
   60. OCF Posted: July 24, 2018 at 06:30 PM (#5715264)
My handicap here is that my most intense period of fandom - of the Cardinals - was almost entirely a radio experience. I hardly ever saw these guys on TV. But from that time period:

Lou Brock
Bob Gibson - except that "joy" is not the word. Gibson commanded respect - that's the word.
Orlando Cepeda - as long as he wasn't running the bases.
Joe Hoerner
Dick Hughes - ah the dream of the journeyman to have just that one magical year, as a 29 year old rookie.

From later on:

Ozzie Smith - of course.
Al Hrabosky? Nah, way too over the top. I also assume that fans of every other team hated his guts.
Willie McGee - if just that he was probably the easiest of all to recognize from 500 feet away.
Jose Oquendo
   61. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 24, 2018 at 09:32 PM (#5715371)
Excellent idea! I no longer root for a particular team so I'll just do favorite active and all time favorites.

Active:
Ohtani
Trout
Judge
Trevor Bauer
Kershaw
Charlie Morton
Thor
Lindor and Ramirez
Harper

I fully expect Acuna to be on this list soon.

All time:
Vlad
Cano
Moose
Jeter
Griffey
Bonds
Roberto Alomar
Mattingly
Steve Balboni
El Duque

I saw someone else mention Thome. He was number 11. I could watch that guy hit all day.
   62. SandyRiver Posted: July 25, 2018 at 08:59 AM (#5715487)
#57: Assume Moose is on the mound, not 1B? And I was surprised, given our fairly similar ages, not to see your manager's best players noted. Mickey is my favorite among Yankees whom I saw play, and Yogi - he of the multiple foul homers before putting one onto the porch - is right behind. No Boog for the Orioles, or Little Looie? (Of course, it's everyone's opinions for themselves.)
   63. SoSH U at work Posted: July 25, 2018 at 09:39 AM (#5715499)
#57: Assume Moose is on the mound, not 1B?


It's "roughly chronological," so it must be Skowron.
   64. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 25, 2018 at 06:38 PM (#5715925)
@62, 63

Skowron's baseball reference page is embedded in the post so I'd say you are both right.

It didn't occur to me that it was anyone other than Mussina but thought that was a weird listing since I don't recall Andy ever having a fondness for him.
   65. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 25, 2018 at 11:23 PM (#5716101)
#57: Assume Moose is on the mound, not 1B? And I was surprised, given our fairly similar ages, not to see your manager's best players noted. Mickey is my favorite among Yankees whom I saw play, and Yogi - he of the multiple foul homers before putting one onto the porch - is right behind. No Boog for the Orioles, or Little Looie? (Of course, it's everyone's opinions for themselves.)

Oh, it's definitely Skowron. Mussina was a fine pitcher, but he had the personality of a spreadsheet. I loved Moose Sk. for many reasons, among them his (and Ellie"s) willingness and ability to drive pitches to all fields, along with their memorable clutch hits in key World Series games.

Skowron also had a refreshing honesty about him. One time when a college football cheating scandal hit the papers, and a reporter asked him if there'd been anything like that going on when he was a football player at Purdue, he just said (paraphrasing) "Gee, when I was on the team, all of us football players knew what the test questions were going to be." He wasn't no Fifth Amendment Moose.

As for Mantle and Yogi, nothing against them as players but Mantle was a world class dick** outside of the clubhouse, and Berra wasn't much better outside of Fabricated Quoteland.

I could have picked Boog for my O's list, but I tend to like players with more all around skills. My lists are clearly not based purely on WAR.

** As attested to by several first hand accounts from fellow booksellers I know who witnessed Mantle in action at book signings, often hung over and nasty to all the people who'd arranged the affair. Not one of them had a single good word to say about him, and for good reason.
   66. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 25, 2018 at 11:26 PM (#5716103)
I saw someone else mention Thome. He was number 11. I could watch that guy hit all day.

Thome is one of more than a few players who would justify expanding an overall list to 50 or 100 names. These top 10 lists just scratch the surface, at least for those of us whose memories go back a bit.
   67. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 26, 2018 at 12:02 AM (#5716119)
I loved Moose Sk. for many reasons, among them his (and Ellie"s) willingness and ability to drive pitches to all fields, along with their memorable clutch hits in key World Series games.


Is "Ellie" Elston Howard?
   68. Walt Davis Posted: July 26, 2018 at 02:15 AM (#5716132)
Is "Ellie" Elston Howard?

Personally I go for Miss Ellie from the Andy Griffith Show but to each their own.
   69. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 26, 2018 at 08:30 AM (#5716166)
I loved Moose Sk. for many reasons, among them his (and Ellie"s) willingness and ability to drive pitches to all fields, along with their memorable clutch hits in key World Series games.

Is "Ellie" Elston Howard?


The one and only. If he'd come up earlier and with any team other than the Yankees or Dodgers, he might well be in the Hall of Fame.
   70. SandyRiver Posted: July 26, 2018 at 08:53 AM (#5716179)
Ellie also willingly played wherever Casey put him, and did fine (if not great) with the glove. In 1961 I saw him nail a hanger from Camilo Pascual, the drive one-hopping the 457 marker in left-center. Only a triple, while Maris had earlier hit a 3-run homer that was about 150' shorter - hit the RF foul pole about one foot above that low wall. The RF-er was only a step away, so it certainly wasn't a screaming liner. Undoubtedly the shortest and most poorly hit of his 61.
From what I've read about Mantle, which is a fair bit, I don't think he liked people, starting with himself, a trait acquired from his father. That's no excuse, of course, but between a demanding and mentally abusive dad and his belief that he'd die before reaching 40, Mick was a psychological mess of the first order. Falling in with city-slickers Ford, Martin, et.al. didn't help.
   71. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 26, 2018 at 10:19 AM (#5716222)
From what I've read about Mantle, which is a fair bit, I don't think he liked people, starting with himself, a trait acquired from his father. That's no excuse, of course, but between a demanding and mentally abusive dad and his belief that he'd die before reaching 40, Mick was a psychological mess of the first order. Falling in with city-slickers Ford, Martin, et.al. didn't help.

I just wrote that Mantle was a dick outside the clubhouse, and he was. But let me try to explain some of the Why.

Mantle came to Spring training in Arizona in 1951, 19 years old, and after tearing up the Cactus League with one tape measure homer after another, the only question was whether he was the next Pete Reiser or the next Babe Ruth. He then started striking out at a prodigious rate by 1951 standards and got sent back to the minors. When he returned to New York he gradually improved his numbers, but his rookie year wasn't anything to write home about, not after all the previous buildup.

The next year he started out in right field and switched to center field in May, and at that point he started to show what he could do. He had a fine year by any standard, and was the star of the 1952 World Series, hitting decisive home runs in each of the last 2 games and a game clinching triple in game 4. Jackie Robinson said that he was the difference and lavished all kinds of praise on him. He was still only 20 years old.

And then in the 1st week of the 1953 season came that 565' home run, the first and only ball ever hit over the LF bleachers in Griffith Stadium. Big mistake.

Back came the superlatives, but now the bar had been raised so high it was impossible for any human being to live up to it. The boo birds at Yankee Stadium began, he got a rep for blowing off kids asking for his autograph, his strikeout rate went up and he didn't hit .300 (a mortal sin in those days), and in September he was photographed blowing bubble gum in the outfield!

Stupid as it may seem today, back then that bubble gum incident was seized upon by both Stengel and the press as a symbolic representation of Mantle's indifference to his craft.
The boo birds doubled down, and never really let go of him completely until 1961, when he performed so magnificently with all kinds of injury problems that it would've been like booing a saint.

Throughout all this, he was an inarticulate country boy who could never be in sync with the New York media, and so he basically withdrew into his shell. His teammates shared his suspicion of the media, were in awe of his physical courage in playing through one injury after another, and more or less treated him like a God. It didn't hurt that he treated rookies and benchwarmers the same way he treated the other stars. He was as fine a teammate as ever existed.

But to the outside world he was a dick, nearly always refusing autographs and only being accessible to a handful of non-ballplayers who'd always pick up the checks and treat him with total deference. Sort of like Dimaggio with his posse.

How much of his dickishness was caused by shyness and insecurity, how much by the insanely high performance standards that he could meet only by winning the triple crown, and how much of it was caused by alcohol is hard to say. But after his retirement his rep only grew worse among those not in his inner circle who had the unfortunate experience of running across him. After he finally sobered up in his final years, he began to realize how those people saw him, and apparently started acting more like a human being. But even though he was blessed with one in a million talent, it was never that easy being Mickey Mantle.
   72. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 26, 2018 at 10:33 AM (#5716237)
Mantle came to Spring training in Arizona in 1951, 19 years old, and after tearing up the Cactus League with one tape measure homer after another, the only question was whether he was the next Pete Reiser or the next Babe Ruth. He then started striking out at a prodigious rate by 1951 standards and got sent back to the minors.


This shows how insane the expectations were for Mantle. It looks like he got sent back down on July 14th, when he was hitting .260/.341/.423, or in the more common numbers of the time, .260/7/45. That was about half a season's worth of PAs, so as a 19-year-old rookie, he was hitting at a pace of about .260 with 14 homers and 90 RBIs. And he got sent down for it.

The Yankee outfield was pretty stacked at that time, with DiMaggio still around, flanked by Gene Woodling and Hank Bauer. Those guys finished the season at .263/12/71, .281/15/71 and .296/10/54, so Mantle was right with them in terms of production. Still, he got sent down.
   73. Random Transaction Generator Posted: July 26, 2018 at 11:12 AM (#5716271)
Blue Jays (in no real order)

- Roy Halladay - he was serious, but watching him pitch was so much fun
- Jose Bautista - as passionate a player that ever played for the team, in his prime, he was so much fun to watch...this is one of my favourite Bautista moments that doesn't involve him batting
- Devon White - the most graceful fielder I ever saw, watching him patrol the outfield was like watching ballet
- Kevin Pillar - in contrast, this dude just throws himself around to make insane catches without regard for his well being, and it's amazing to watch
- Munenori Kawasaki - probably the worst player to appear on any of these lists, but he was always having fun and his teammates seemed to love him as well
- Roberto Alomar - best combination of hitting/fielding/excitement in franchise history
- Tony Fernandez - every time he returned to the team, he was fun to watch...probably the most underrated Jays player
- John Olerud - that wonderful swing plus his aw-shucks attitude was fun to cheer for...I hated it when they traded him for Robert Person.
- Mark Buehrle - he worked fast, he was fun to watch, he was a nice guy, and he mentored the younger pitchers
- Edwin Encarnacion - the dude could flat out hit, and he was always smiling in the dugout or congratulating teammates when they made a great play (see Bautista clip)

Active Non-Jays:

- Adrian Beltre
- Mike Trout
- Mookie Betts
- Jose Altuve
- Francisco Lindor

Retired Non-Jays:

- Ichiro!
- Rickey Henderson
- Manny Ramirez
- Ozzie Smith
- Barry Bonds
- Bo Jackson
- Frank Thomas

   74. SandyRiver Posted: July 26, 2018 at 11:39 AM (#5716286)
#71: Absolutely agree, and that final sentence hits the X-ring. Mantle is the archetype for the Shakespeare (I think) line, "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em."
It also didn't help that, according to him, he never again took the field without pain after encountering that drain cover in the '51 WS.
   75. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 26, 2018 at 12:13 PM (#5716307)
This shows how insane the expectations were for Mantle. It looks like he got sent back down on July 14th, when he was hitting .260/.341/.423, or in the more common numbers of the time, .260/7/45. That was about half a season's worth of PAs, so as a 19-year-old rookie, he was hitting at a pace of about .260 with 14 homers and 90 RBIs. And he got sent down for it.

The Yankee outfield was pretty stacked at that time, with DiMaggio still around, flanked by Gene Woodling and Hank Bauer. Those guys finished the season at .263/12/71, .281/15/71 and .296/10/54, so Mantle was right with them in terms of production. Still, he got sent down.


Mantle got sent down because from May 13 through the day of his demotion, he was hitting .212 with 3 home runs and a strikeout rate of 127 for 162 games, nothing special nowadays but freakishly high for a year when only one other Yankees' regular struck out more than 50 times. (Bauer/Dimaggio/Woodling averaged 37.)

He was in a complete funk that continued when he went down to Kansas City. It was only a phone call from his father that seemed to snap him out of it, but it did, and when he got back to the Yankees he hit .284 in his final 27 games, with a much-improved .865 OPS. Bottom line is that the Yanks sent him back to Kansas City for his own good, and it worked.
   76. OCF Posted: July 26, 2018 at 02:24 PM (#5716416)
My father was a Yankee fan - he grew up in South Dakota, went to college in Iowa, and during the WWII years was working at a refinery in Kansas City. Not sure which of those tied him to the Yankees, but Kansas City is a possibility. I do remember him saying that he had seen Mickey Mantle play as a minor leaguer. I'm not sure, but I think he's talking about the 1949 KOML League, a Class D league that included a Bartlesville team - by then both my parents were living in Bartlesville. Mantle was 17 at the time. (It could have been the next year, when Mantle played for Joplin in a C league in the same general area.) Given the geography, you can say that Mantle hadn't really left home yet for those two years.
   77. Tim M Posted: July 26, 2018 at 03:52 PM (#5716492)
Lincecum and Ichiro.

Timmy because he is exactly my size, and has (had) cool hair, and invented a whole new way to deliver a baseball in top style. Look at him in slo-mo, it is just unreal. Sadly that crazy little machine couldn't hold together for the long haul, but it was joyous while it lasted.

And Ichiro, because he is also my size, and if all baseball players were like that, instead of these countless ugly TTO types, the sport would be a more beautiful thing. Sadly, Ichiro is unique, while you swing 1 dead cat and knock a dozen Chris Davises out of trees.
   78. Hysterical & Useless Posted: July 26, 2018 at 07:50 PM (#5716587)
From August 1984 through May of 1986, Doc Gooden was the greatest pitcher I've ever seen. Being in Shea when he was pitching was an incredible, electric experience.

Daniel Joseph Staub. Definitely major native talent (eye-hand coordination is pretty important if you wanna hit a baseball, no?), but he also worked as hard as anybody. There was an article once (probably a Roger Angell piece) where Staub said one of the things he was proudest of was praise of his base-stealing acumen from Lou Brock. No, Rusty wasn't much on the basepaths, but Brock said that he studied and knew the pitchers' moves as well as anybody.

Everybody who saw it remembers the game late in his career where he had to play in the outfield, and was shifted between right and left depending on the handedness of the batter. And wound up making a game-saving catch on an opposite field popup.*

I remember one pinch-hitting AB, he was working the pitcher, taking a pitch, fouling some off, taking another, some hard fouls, when he hit a monster drive down the right field line...just foul. I said, "He's got this guy measured." Next pitch, bam, home run. Such a pro.

Willie Mays. What more need be said?


*Interestingly, BBRef credits him with 1 OF put out that year but doesn't know if it was as LF or RF. My memory is left, but others have said right. The world may never know.
   79. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 26, 2018 at 08:31 PM (#5716597)
And Ichiro, because he is also my size, and if all baseball players were like that, instead of these countless ugly TTO types, the sport would be a more beautiful thing.
Would you really prefer a baseball in which no one had any power and all players were slap hitters who ran out of the box while swinging? Assuming for the sake of argument that all the Ichiro-style players, like the actual Ichiro, Didn't Want To. I wouldn't. A game with nothing but deadball-style dink hitters would be just as bad as the TTO.
   80. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 26, 2018 at 09:07 PM (#5716607)
From August 1984 through May of 1986, Doc Gooden was the greatest pitcher I've ever seen. Being in Shea when he was pitching was an incredible, electric experience.

In Gooden's last 8 starts of 1984, he had an ERA of 1.07, with one Game Score of 59 and the others ranging from 76 to 93.

In 1985, he put up an ERA of 1.53, an ERA+ of 229, and an average Game Score of 70, with a dozen games over 80.

In his first 6 starts of 1986, his ERA was 1.04, with Game Scores ranging from 69 to 88.

Yeah, I can see why you wrote what you did.
   81. OCF Posted: July 26, 2018 at 10:22 PM (#5716646)
Of course, Bob Gibson had run like that starting when he came back from his broken leg at the beginning of September, 1967 - a run which includes two World Series and which includes, in June-July 1968, a stretch of 10 games - 90 innings - in which he allowed 2 runs, total. (And I think 3 runs in 99 innings.) I'm not going to bother chasing down the Game Scores, but they were there, including a particularly high one in a WS game.

If you ask the question of what was the greatest single pitching season since the peak of Walter Johnson's career - or for that matter, the greatest season ever - you always have to wrestle with how much weight to give to IP, and how much it matters how many innings aces were expected to pitch, and how much to respect or discount the rate stats of post-1990 pitchers with fewer IP per season (and per game).

If the bulk matters as much to you as the rates, (and you leave Johnson out of it), I think the two strongest candidates for that title are Gibson 1968 and Gooden 1985.
   82. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 26, 2018 at 10:35 PM (#5716652)
Given the offensive context and the quality of the competition, I'd still go with Pedro's 1999 and 2000 in spite of the fewer number of innings. For those two years, he had a 41-10 record with a 1.90 ERA, a 265 ERA+ and an .830 WHIP over 430 innings.

Oh, and to go with that, he also had 597 strikeouts and all of 68 unintentional walks. If any pitcher can beat that over 2 consecutive years, I'd like to see it.

And while Pedro didn't have Gibson's postseason opportunities during those 2 years, he did have that surreal 6 innings of shutout long relief to win game 5 of the 1999 ALDS against the Indians, and then put up an 83 Game Score in the Sox's only win against the Yankees in the LCS.
   83. SoSH U at work Posted: July 27, 2018 at 01:10 AM (#5716671)
surreal 6 innings of shutout long relief to win game 5


Not just shutout innings. No-hit ones.
   84. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: July 27, 2018 at 04:18 AM (#5716675)
One name, one name only: Pedro. For sheer electricity, nothing compares to a Pedro outing from around the turn of the century.
   85. Lassus Posted: July 27, 2018 at 08:32 AM (#5716702)
Manny
Reyes
Rickey
Benny
Pedro
Keith
Ron
Mike
Jesse
   86. Howie Menckel Posted: July 27, 2018 at 08:59 AM (#5716710)
From August 1984 through May of 1986, Doc Gooden was the greatest pitcher I've ever seen. Being in Shea when he was pitching was an incredible, electric experience.

I attended most of his 1985 home starts - the only time in my life I've ever done something like that. those are probably more than 25 pct of the MLB games I have ever attended (1 this year).

We used to sit behind home plate, because it was fun to notice that all of the foul balls seemed to go backwards.

I wound up digging through some stats to see who had accomplished so much so early in his career, and I found guys like Russ Ford. I found that odd, but shook it off. Nothing was going to stop this guy......
   87. toratoratora Posted: July 27, 2018 at 03:15 PM (#5716982)
One name, one name only: Pedro. For sheer electricity, nothing compares to a Pedro outing from around the turn of the century.

Agreed.
Pedro is far and away my favorite player ever. He had so much joy in the game. I used to love to watch him in the dugout on days he wasn't pitching. The man just brought a sheer exuberance to the sport. Add that to his absurd talent and he is the funnest player I ever saw bar none.

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