This year marks the 75th anniversary of the opening of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. To celebrate, I've selected the top 75 Hall of Famers using my Jaffe WAR Score (JAWS) system, which I use for my annual ballot evaluations and other Hall-based arguments.
“The JAWS 75 for 75” list contains the major league players who rank above the average Hall of Famer at their position in career Wins Above Replacement, peak WAR (best seven seasons) and JAWS (the average of career and peak) — conveniently, a total that comes to 75 from among the 211 men elected primarily for their careers as major league players. Because JAWS doesn't account for military service, the color line, postseason play, milestones and other historic import, such a list has some glaring omissions, Hall of Famers without whom the Hall simply wouldn't be the same. Rather than use more subjective and arbitrary criteria to rejigger my list to get one man's notion of "the right 75," I acknowledged the list's shortcomings by identifying a baker's dozen glaring omissions, with their reasons why, on Thursday.
Before delving into the 75, here are the position-by-position standards that include this year's class of honorees — pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux and first baseman Frank Thomas. For more on JAWS, see here:
1. Babe Ruth, Rightfield (183.6 career WAR/84.7 peak WAR/123.9 JAWS)
The most famous player in baseball history technically ranks second in JAWS behind Walter Johnson, but only because I don't use the 20.6 WAR Ruth compiled as a pitcher — mainly for the Red Sox from 1914-19 — in the calculations so as to not penalize other rightfielders; those extra 20 wins are included in the total above. Ruth's total of 714 home runs has been eclipsed, but not his .690 slugging percentage or 206 OPS+, to say nothing of his cultural impact.
2. Walter Johnson, Starting Pitcher (165.6/89.5/127.5)
He's "only" second in wins (417) behind Cy Young, but Johnson outranks Young in JAWS because he spent his entire career under the rules that hold today regarding pitching distance, and because he missed bats with far greater frequency. In fact, his strikeout record (3,508 at the time of his retirement in 1927, since revised upwards by one) stood until 1983, when Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton and Gaylord Perry all surpassed it.
3. Cy Young, SP (168.5/79.3/123.9)
Remarkably, he wasn't among the first class of five players elected in 1936 because the BBWAA and Old-Timers Committee weren't sure to which century his career (1890-1911) rightfully belonged. Thanks to his longevity and durability, neither his 511 wins nor 7,356 innings are likely to be surpassed.
4. Willie Mays, Centerfield (156.2/73.7/115.0)
As impressive as his career numbers — 3,283 hits, 660 homers, 338 steals — may be, the loss of most of his 1952 season and all of 1953 (ages 21 and 22) kept them from climbing even higher, no small consideration given that he bopped 41 homers and won a batting title and the first of two MVP awards in 1954.
5. Ty Cobb, CF (151.0/69.0/110.0)
Batting average isn't everything, but Cobb won 12 AL batting titles in 13 years (1907-19) while hitting a combined .377/.441/.527 en route to a 189 OPS+. His record hit total (4,191 upon his retirement in 1928 but since revised downward by two) stood until 1985, when Pete Rose passed it.
6. Hank Aaron, Rightfield (142.6/60.1/101.3)
Remembered primarily for overtaking Ruth's home run record in 1974, Aaron — a 21-time All-Star — was far from one-dimensional. His 3,771 hits rank third all time, his 6,856 total bases and 2,297 RBI first. Oh, and he was 98 runs above average in the field.
7. Rogers Hornsby, Second Base (127.0/73.5/100.2)
A seven-time batting champion, Hornsby hit a mind-boggling .402/.474/.690 over a five-year stretch from 1921-25, topping .400 three times while averaging 29 homers. Despite sizzling rate stats for his career (.358/.434/.577), he finished with "only" 2,930 hits because he played in just 274 games from his age-34 season (1930) onward, as managerial duties demanded more of his attention.
8. Tris Speaker, CF (133.7/62.1/97.9)
Overshadowed by Cobb — with whom he shared a position and a league — all Speaker did was bat .345/.428/.500 for his career en route to 3,514 hits while setting the defensive standard for centerfielders.
9. Honus Wagner, Shortstop (131.0/65.4/98.2)
Wagner dominated his time. Not only did he win eight batting titles during his 21-year career (1897-1917), he led NL position players in WAR 11 times — as many as Ruth did in the AL — including eight straight from 1902-09 — and finished with 3,428 hits.
10. Ted Williams, Leftfield (123.1/69.2/96.2)
"The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived" is actually second in OPS+ (190) to Ruth (206), but the Splendid Splinter is the all-time on-base percentage champ at .482. Had he not lost all of 1943-45 and most of 1952-53 (save 43 games) to military service, he'd have easily cleared 3,000 hits and 600 homers; as it is, 2,654 hits and 521 homers are still quite impressive.
11. Stan Musial, RF (128.1/64.1/96.1)
A three-time MVP, seven-time batting champion and 20-time All-Star, “Stan the Man” retired in 1963 having put up staggering numbers. His 3,630 hits ranked second only to Cobb at the time and even today rank fourth; meanwhile, his 6,134 total bases still rank second only to Aaron.
12. Kid Nichols, SP (116.4/75.1/95.8)
Pitchers from the 19th century probably occupy more of this list than they should because of their extreme workloads. Nichols was one of the NL's elite pitchers during his 15-year career (1890-1901, 1904-06), mostly for the Boston Beaneaters. He led the league in wins in three straight years 1896-98, topping 30 each time, and placed in the top five in ERA five times (but never led); more impressively from a modern standpoint, he was a four-time leader in pitcher WAR, with nine top-five finishes.
13. Pete Alexander, SP (120.0/69.6/94.8)
Alexander was the NL's dominant pitcher at the tail end of the Deadball Era, winning five ERA titles in a six-season span from 1915-20, with a 1.64 ERA (174 ERA+) for the stretch. He led the NL in strikeouts and wins six times apiece, and he is still tied for third on the all-time wins list at 373.
14. Eddie Collins, 2B (123.9/64.2/94.1)
A vital part of four World Series winners (1910, '11 and '13 with the Philadelphia A's, 1917 with the White Sox), Collins never led the AL in a slash stat, but he did hit .333/.424/.429 for his career, with 12 top-three finishes in OBP. His 3,315 hits rank 11th all-time, his 741 steals eighth.
15. Lou Gehrig, 1B (112.4/67.7/90.0)
Even with the premature end to his career at age 36 brought about by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, "The Iron Horse" ranks first in JAWS among first basemen, and for a long time it appeared as though his streak of 2,130 consecutive games would not be broken. Because he spent the bulk of his career in Ruth's shadow, Gehrig only led the AL in WAR three times, but among position players, only the Bambino, Mays, Hornsby, Williams and Cobb have higher peak scores.
16. Mickey Mantle, CF (109.7/64.8/87.3)
A three-time MVP, seven-time World Series winner and 16-time All-Star for the Yankees from 1951-68, Mantle bashed 536 homers and led AL position players in WAR six times in a seven-year span from 1955 through 1961. Who knows what he’d have done had he taken better care of himself.
17. Tom Seaver, SP (110.5, 59.5/85.0)
Seaver captured three Cy Youngs while leading the NL in a pitching Triple Crown category (wins, ERA or strikeouts) 10 times for the Mets from 1969 through 1976; of course, he also helped them win the 1969 World Series and add another pennant in 1973. Unlike most of his 300-win contemporaries, he was still an above-average pitcher when he retired in 1986, which probably helped him achieve his record 98.82 percent of the BBWAA Hall of Fame vote in 1992.
18. Christy Mathewson, SP (101.7/66.5/84.1)
Considered baseball's first superstar for the combination of his mound expertise, wholesomeness and good looks, Mathewson led the NL in ERA, strikeouts and WAR five times apiece and in wins four times. He retired with 373 wins and was part of the five-man inaugural Hall of Fame class in 1936 — the first posthumous honoree, alas.
19. Rickey Henderson, LF (110.7/57.3/84.0)
The greatest leadoff man of all time, Henderson ranks first all-time in both runs (2,295) and steals (1,406) and second in walks (2,190), all compiled while racking up 3,055 hits in a 25-year career (1979-2003). "If you could split him in two, you'd have two Hall of Famers," wrote Bill James years ago.
20. Nap Lajoie, 2B (107.4/60.3/83.8)
Lajoie was the nascent AL's dominant player, leading the newly-formed league in WAR in six of its first eight seasons (1901-08) while winning four batting titles; he added a fifth in 1910 and finished his career with 3,243 hits.
21. Lefty Grove, SP (103.6/63.6/83.6)
Fittingly, it's a guy nicknamed "Lefty" who stands as the all-time leader in WAR among southpaws. Grove didn't debut until age 25, but he led the AL in ERA nine times, WAR eight times, strikeouts seven times and wins four times en route to exactly 300 victories.
22. Mike Schmidt, 3B (106.5/58.5/82.5
The game's greatest third baseman provided an outstanding combination of power (548 homers), patience (1,507 walks) and defense (+129 runs, 10 Gold Gloves). A three-time NL MVP, he was first or second in the league in WAR for eight straight years (1974-81).
23. Greg Maddux, SP (1986-2008)
Often called, "the smartest pitcher who ever lived," Maddux is the most accomplished of this year's inductees. He won four consecutive NL Cy Young awards from 1992-95, led his league in ERA four times, wins three times and WAR three times while helping his teams to the playoffs 13 times. His 355 wins rank eighth all-time and are tops among righties since World War II.
24. Mel Ott, RF (107.8/52.8/80.3)
Aided to an unmatched degree by the oddly-configured Polo Grounds, Ott was the first NL player to reach 500 homers. He hit 511 in his 22-year career (1926-47), a mark that stood as the Senior Circuit standard until 1966, when fellow Giants legend Mays surpassed him.
25. Frank Robinson, RF (107.2/52.9/80.0)
The only player to win MVP honors in both the AL and NL, Robinson led his teams to six pennants in an 11-season span (1961-71). He retired with 2,943 hits and 586 homers, forgoing his shot at round-numbered milestones in favor of becoming the game's first black manager.
26. Joe Morgan, 2B (100.3/59.2/79.7)
A two-time MVP, four-time OBP champion and four-time WAR leader, Morgan's sabermetric credentials are eclipsed only by his utter disdain for Moneyball and the movement that has flourished in its wake.
27. John Clarkson, SP (84.0/74.9/79.5)
Clarkson's career only spanned 12 seasons (1882, 1884-94) but it saw considerable change in the rules regarding pitching distance, the number of balls required for a walk and proper equipment. He piled up incredible innings totals — more than 600 twice and more than 400 six times — while making as many as 72 starts a year and putting up double-digit WAR totals — a high of 16.7 in 1889 — virtually unseen outside of the 19th century for starting pitchers.
28. Jimmie Foxx, 1B (96.5/59.5/78.0)
A .325/.428/.609 career hitter, "Double X" was a masher who led the AL in homers and slugging percentage four times apiece and in on-base percentage and WAR three times each. His 534 homers ranked second only to Ruth from his retirement in 1945 until Mays surpassed him in 1966.
29. Tim Keefe, SP (86.7/66.5/76.6)
Like Clarkson, Keefe thrived in a period (1880-93) when the game's rules were still in flux and pitching wasn't nearly as taxing; he pitched at least 400 innings seven times and won as many as 42 games in a year. In fact, he was just the second pitcher ever to reach 300 wins, not that the milestone meant anything at the time.
30. Warren Spahn, SP (100.1/51.7/75.9)
Though he didn't notch his first major league "W" until age 25, Spahn's 363 wins are tops among southpaws and post-World War II pitchers of either hand. Incredibly durable, he reeled off 17 straight years with at least 245 innings (1947-63), leading the league in wins eight times, strikeouts four times and ERA three times in that span.
31. Carl Yastrzemski, LF (96.1/55.4/75.8)
In a 23-year career (1961-83) spent entirely with the Red Sox, Yaz played more games than anybody in history save for Pete Rose (3,308), tallying 3,419 hits (eighth all-time) and 452 homers. In 1967, he won the AL Triple Crown while helping the "Impossible Dream" Sox to their first pennant in 21 years.
32. Cal Ripken, SS (95.6/56.1/75.8)
In his storied 21-year career with the Orioles (1981-2001), Ripken earned All-Star honors 19 times, won two AL MVPs and the Rookie of the Year award and picked up 3,184 hits and 431 homers. All of that, however, takes a back seat to "The Streak." Ripken played 2,632 consecutive games from May 30, 1982 to Sept. 19, 1998, outdistancing Gehrig's mark — which he passed on Sept.ember 6, 1995 — by 502 games, more than three full seasons worth.
33. Bob Gibson, SP (89.9/61.6/75.8)
In addition to leading the NL in WAR for three straight seasons (1968-70), winning two NL Cy Youngs and an MVP — the latter in a year in which he set the modern ERA record at 1.12 — Gibson was one of the game's greatest postseason performers. He went 7-2 with a 1.89 ERA in nine World Series starts totaling 81 innings, netting MVP honors in both 1964 and '67.
34. Phil Niekro, SP (96.6/54.6/75.6)
While he never won a Cy Young or pitched in a World Series, the knuckleballing Niekro spent 24 years in the majors (1964-87), mostly with the Braves, and ranked first or second in NL pitching WAR five times from 1974-79. He also helped Atlanta to the franchise's only two postseason appearances between 1958 and '90, and threw more innings (5,404) than any pitcher in history save for Cy Young, Walter Johnson and Pud Galvin.
35. Eddie Mathews, 3B (96.2/54.3/75.2)
The man from the cover of the debut issue of Sports Illustrated, Mathews was the game's best-hitting third baseman prior to Schmidt, a fearsome slugger who teamed with Aaron to help the Braves to two pennants and a world championship while earning All-Star honors nine times. When he retired in 1968, his 512 homers ranked sixth overall, second in NL history behind Mays.
36. Roberto Clemente, RF (94.4/54.2/74.3)
The iconic, rifle-armed Puerto Rico native helped the Pirates to two world championships in an 18-year career (1955-72) that featured four batting titles, five top-three WAR totals and exactly 3,000 hits. Tragically, he was killed in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972 while delivering aid to Nicaraguan earthquake victims; via a special election held three months later, he became the first Latin American player voted into the Hall.
37. Wade Boggs, 3B (90.9/56.0/73.5)
During a seven-year span with the Red Sox (1983-89), Boggs won five batting titles, led the league in on-base percentage six times, and ranked either first or second in WAR six times. He finished his career with a .328/.415/.443 line and 3,010 hits, not to mention the second-best peak score among third basemen.
38. Bert Blyleven, SP (95.4/50.7/73.0)
It took grassroots support from the sabermetric community across 14 years of ballot eligibility for Blyleven to get his due as a Hall of Famer. The Dutch-born righty racked up the fifth-highest strikeout total in history (3,701), ranked in his league's top-four in pitcher WAR nine times across a 19-year span (1971-89) and played a key role on two World Series winners.
39. Steve Carlton, SP (90.4/54.3/72.4)
Armed with a deadly slider and an unorthodox training regimen, Carlton was the first pitcher to win four Cy Young awards and the first lefty to notch 4,000 strikeouts. His 4,136 K's rank fourth all-time, his 5,217 2/3 innings ninth and his 329 wins 11th, but hanging around too long (-3.2 WAR 1986-88) dropped him below Blyleven.
40. Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn, SP (76.0/68.1/72.0)
Radbourn pitched for only 11 seasons (1881-91) but he is perhaps the best-known of the 19th century hurlers thanks to his still-standing record of 59 wins in 1884 and to his pioneering efforts in the art of middle finger extension (yes, really). He averaged a Herculean 412 innings per year (and threw as astronomical 678 2/3 in '84) and tallied 309 wins.
41. Gaylord Perry, SP (91.0/52.8/71.9)
Perry brazenly spitballed his way to 314 wins and a Cy Young in each league (a first) by taking advantage of lax enforcement of the rules, not to mention no small amount of reverse psychology. He placed in the top-five in pitcher WAR five times in a seven-year span (1968-74), leading the league twice and finishing his career with 5,350 innings (sixth) and 3,534 strikeouts (eighth).
42. Al Kaline, RF (92.7/48.9/70.8)
Though he never quite matched his incredible age-20 season (.340/.421/.546 with a batting title, 27 homers and 8.2 WAR in 1955), Kaline enjoyed a stellar 22-year career (1953-74) with the Tigers. He earned All-Star honors 15 times, won 10 Gold Gloves (with +152 defense), ranked second or third in the league in WAR seven times and finished with 3,007 hits and 399 homers.
43. George Brett, 3B (88.4/53.2/70.8)
The key player on Kansas City's mini-dynasty that reached the postseason seven times from 1976-85, Brett spent 23 years with the Royals (1973-1993), earning All-Star honors 13 times. He also won three batting titles — his .390 average in 1980 is still the best in a non-strike season since Ted Williams' .406 in 1941 — and piling up 3,154 hits and 317 homers.
44. Robin Roberts, SP (86.0/54.8/70.4)
Durability and pinpoint control were the hallmarks off Roberts' 19-year career. In 1950, he led the "Whiz Kid" Phillies to their first pennant in 35 years, the first of five straight seasons in which he led the league in pitcher WAR. He ranked first or second in walk rate and strikeout-to-walk ratio eight times in a nine-year span (1952-60) and led his league in innings pitched five straight times (1951-55).
45. Eddie Plank, SP (89.8/50.5/70.2)
Long before Lefty Grove came along, Plank was the ace southpaw of the Philadelphia A's, helping them to four pennants and two championships during his 14-year run (1901-14) with the team. Though he never led the league in a Triple Crown category, he ranked among the top five in both WAR and wins seven times apiece.
46. Ferguson Jenkins, SP (84.9/51.8/68.4)
Though overshadowed by a cohort of pitchers who went on to win 300 games — he finished with 284 — Jenkins belongs among among the elite; from 1967-74, he reached the 20-win plateau seven times, no small achievement with the Cubs and Rangers teams he toiled for. He also won a Cy Young award, led his leagues in walk rate and strikeout-to-walk ratio five times apiece and placed in the top five in pitcher WAR five times.
47. Amos Rusie, SP (69.3/66.8/68.0)
Another transitional pitching star with a short career (10 years strewn between 1889 and 1901) and whopping innings totals, Rusie did his best work with the 1890s Giants, leading the league in strikeouts five times, ERA twice and wins once. Excluding his brief coda in 1901, he averaged 417 innings and 27 wins per year.
48. Pud Galvin, SP (73.7/62.1/67.9)
In a career that spanned from 1875-92, Galvin compiled more innings (6003 1/3) and wins (365) than any other 19th century pitcher. It's that bulk, not elite run prevention (107 career ERA+) that enabled him to become the first pitcher to reach 300 wins.
49. Charlie Gehringer, 2B (80.6/50.5/65.6)
Nicknamed "The Mechanical Man" for both his durability and flat demeanor, Gehringer helped the Tigers win three pennants and made six All-Star teams during a 19-year career (1924-42). A career .320/.404/.480 hitter, he racked up at least 200 hits in a season seven times and won his lone batting title and MVP award at age 34, in 1937.
50. Roger Connor, 1B (84.2/47.0/65.6)
An outstanding hitter (.316/.397/.486, 153 OPS+ career) whose strapping physique helped turned the New York Gothams into the Giants, Connor held the distinction of being the game's all-time home run leader from 1895 through 1920, finishing with 138; alas, nobody — including the player himself — was actually aware of it, since career records were poorly maintained at the time.
51. Rod Carew, 2B (81.2/49.8/65.5)
A seven-time batting champion who topped .350 four times in a five-year span (1973-77), Carew tallied 3,053 hits and 353 steals, made 18 All-Star appearances and won both AL Rookie of the Year and MVP awards. He led his league in WAR three times and had two other top-five finishes, a sizable accomplishment for a player who only reached double digits in homers twice.
52. Joe DiMaggio, CF (78.3/51.2/64.7)
DiMaggio lost three prime years (1943-45, his ages 28-30 seasons) to the military and retired at age 36, but he packed plenty into his 13-year career: a record 56-game hitting streak in 1941 that will never be broken, three MVP awards, three league WAR leads, two home run titles and 10 trips to the World Series, nine of which the Yankees won.
53. George Davis, SS (84.8/44.4/64.6)
Davis emerged as the game's best non-Wagner shortstop around the turn of the 19th century with the Giants, then moved to the White Sox following a protracted battle between the two leagues over player contracts. A career .295/.362/.405 hitter and outstanding (+146 runs) defender, he wasn't elected to the Hall until 1998, 89 years after the end of his career.
54. Dan Brouthers, 1B (79.4/47.2/63.3)
Brouthers has a claim as the best hitter of the 19th century; among players with at least 5,000 PA before 1900, his 171 OPS+ (on a .342/.424/.520 line) is tops. He led his league in one slash stat or another 17 times between 1881 and 1892, including three slash stat Triple Crowns.
55. Ron Santo, 3B (70.6/53.8/62.2)
Though he suffered from diabetes — a condition he concealed for part of his career — Santo was the NL's elite third baseman in the 1960s, an outstanding two-way player who hit .277/.362/.464 with 342 homers, made nine All-Star teams and won five Gold Gloves, all with the Cubs. Despite obviously Cooperstown-worthy credentials, he wasn't elected until 2010, 36 years after the end of his career and a year after he died.
56. Robin Yount, SS (77.1/47.3/62.2)
Yount reached the majors at 18 and spent 20 years with the Brewers, developing into a middle-of-the-order threat. He's one of four players to win an MVP award at two different positions (shortstop 1982, centerfield 1989), and the third-youngest player to reach 3,000 hits, having done so one week before his 37th birthday; he finished with 3,142, of which 251 were homers.
57. Brooks Robinson, 3B (78.4/45.7/62.0)
Robinson's tenure as the Orioles' third baseman spanned 23 years (1955-1955) and included 268 homers, 15 All-Star appearances and four pennants, though he's best known for his glovework. "The Human Vacuum Cleaner" won 16 Gold Gloves and ranks as the most valuable defensive player in history via Baseball-Reference.com, at +293 runs.
58. Arky Vaughan, SS (72.9/50.6/61.8)
Though his career spanned only 14 seasons (1932-1943, 1947-1948) with the Pirates and Dodgers, Vaughan's stellar hitting (.318/.406/.453) and good glovework made him one of the league's two most valuable players (via WAR) six times in an eight-year span (1933-1940). Despite that, he never won an MVP award, even in 1935 when he took the slash stat Triple Crown (.385/.491/.607)
59. Johnny Bench, C (75.0/47.1/61.1)
The most valuable catcher in history despite all but deserting the position after his age-32 season, Bench was the Big Red Machine's most vital cog. Thanks to considerable pop (389 homers) and elite defense (+72 runs), he won two MVP awards, NL Rookie of the Year and 10 straight Gold Gloves, all while helping Cincinnati to two championships and six playoff appearances in the 1970s.
60. Reggie Jackson, RF (74.0/46.8/60.4)
The iconic, outspoken "Mr. October" was a pretty great player during the other six months of the season as well, clouting 563 homers — four times leading the league — and stealing 228 bases to offset his all-time record 2,597 strikeouts. He was at his best in the postseason, bashing 18 homers and helping the A's, Yankees and Angels to 11 postseason berths and five championships.
61. Johnny Mize, 1B (70.9/48.8/59.8)
Despite missing three years due to World War II, "The Big Cat" mashed 359 homers, leading the NL four times in that category and in slugging percentage. After attaining stardom with the Cardinals and Giants, he helped the Yankees to five straight championships (1949-1953) in a part-time role.
62. Ernie Banks, SS (67.6/51.9/59.8)
The iconic, gregarious "Mr. Cub" earned MVP honors twice during his 19 seasons toiling in Wrigley Field (1953-1971). He offered rare power for a shortstop, reaching the 40-homer plateau five times in a six-year span (1955-1960) and finishing his career with 512.
63. Harry Heilmann, RF (72.2/47.2/59.7)
A protégé of teammate Ty Cobb, Heilmann hit .342/.410/.520 in a 16-year career spent mostly with the Tigers. During a seven-year span (1921-1927) amid a particularly hitter-friendly era, he won four batting titles with averages of .393 or above while ranking among the AL's top five in WAR each year.
64. Frank Thomas, 1B (73.7/45.2/59.5)
Though he spent 57 percent of his career as a DH, The Big Hurt's combination of power (521 homers, with five seasons of at least 40) and patience (1,667 walks, with 10 seasons of at least 100) place him ninth in JAWS among first baseman, behind only Albert Pujols and Jeff Bagwell among those since World War II. A two-time MVP, his .301/.419/.555 career line makes him one of just seven players to maintain a "golden ratio" of at least .300/.400/.500 across 10,000+ PA.
65. Luke Appling, SS (74.5/43.8/59.1)
An excellent two-way shortstop for the White Sox during his 20-year career (1930-1943, 1945-1950), Appling was famous for his ability to foul balls off at will. Via his contact-minded approach, he hit .310/.399/.398, won a pair of batting titles and rapped out 2,749 hits; if not for nearly two full seasons lost to World War II, he'd have reached 3,000.
66. Gary Carter, C (69.8/48.2/59.0)
Carter inherited the mantle of the NL’s best catcher from Bench and made 10 straight All-Star teams from 1979-1988. Thanks to his excellence both at the plate and behind it, he ranked among the league’s top-10 in WAR for nine straight years (1977-1985), a record for catchers; his peak score eclipses that of Bench, ranking number one at the position.
67. Ed Delahanty, LF (69.5/48.6/59.0)
Delahanty was one of the 19th century's elite hitters, topping .400 three times from 1894-1899, leading his league in slugging percentage and placing either first or second in WAR five times apiece. Alas, he's far more famous for his mysterious death — drunkenly falling off a bridge into Niagara Falls after being kicked off a train.
68. Al Simmons, LF (68.6/45.7/57.2)
Despite his unorthodox "foot in the bucket" stance, Simmons perennially ranked among the game's great hitters, winning a pair of batting titles and ranking among the league's top five in a slash stat 17 times. A key figure on Connie Mack's A's, he helped the team to three straight pennants and two championships from 1929-1931.
69. Barry Larkin, SS (70.2/43.1/56.7)
Though the back half of his career was marked with injuries, Larkin was the game's top shortstop in the 1990s. In his 19-year career with the Reds (1986-2004), he excelled at the plate (.295/.371/.444 with 198 career homers) while holding his own defensively.
70. Goose Goslin, LF (66.1/43.2/54.7)
Another excellent hitter (.316/.387/.500, 128 OPS+) from the high-offense 1920s and '30s, Goslin was the big bat when the Senators won back-to-back pennants and their lone World Series (1924-1925). He later helped the Senators and Tigers to three more pennants and finished with 2,735 hits.
71. Carlton Fisk, C (68.3/37.6/53.0)
When Fisk was available in his twenties, he was among the game's top catchers, and none produced more value from age 30 onward. He held the records for homers by a catcher (351 of his 376) until 2004 and for games caught (2,226) until 2009, and of course he produced one of the most indelible moments in World Series history with his 1975 Game 6 home run.
72. Dennis Eckersley, RP (63.0/38.1/50.5)
Eckersley spent a dozen years as a starter before reinventing himself in the bullpen, where he helped revolutionize the game as the one-inning closer for the A's under Tony LaRussa — for better or worse. Eck helped them to three straight pennants (1988-1990) and four trips to the postseason, winning a Cy Young and MVP award along the way.
73. Yogi Berra, C (59.3/36.9/48.1)
The quotes attributed to Berra may lengthen his legend, but they do a disservice to his playing career. A three-time MVP, he ranked among the league's top-10 in WAR for seven straight years (1950-1956), played on 10 World Series winners, and finished with 358 homers.
74. Bill Dickey, C (55.8/34.2 /45.0)
The best catcher of the pre-integration era in terms of WAR and JAWS, Dickey hit .313/.382/.486 while helping the Yankees win eight pennants and seven championships during his 17-year career (1928-1943, 1946).
75. Goose Gossage, RP (42.0 /32.0 /37.0)
An intimidating heat-thrower, Gossage was the best of the multi-inning "firemen" relievers, cracking the league's top-10 in pitching WAR three times out of the bullpen and helping his teams to three pennants across a 22-year career (1972-1989, 1991-1994).