Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Revised List of 36: Best Players I’ve Seen Play In Person

Oooh, it's been a while since I've updated this list. It looks like the lack of a 2021 Hall of Fame class got me out of practice just a little bit. But, let's do it once again, and look at the the 36 best players I've seen play live. 

As I’ve said, I make this list based mostly on awards. After all, my grandkids are more likely to ask me if I’ve seen a former MVP than some player who played well for a while. I also assume a Hall of Fame probably automatically makes the list.

So, as I mentioned there was no 2021 Hall of Fame Class. Looking at the 2022 inductions, I've obviously seen David Ortiz play, so he makes the list. The rest of that class played well before I was going to games. So, they don't make the cut. 

How about 2023? I've seen Scott Rolen play. Oddly enough, he didn't play in the game I went to in Philadelphia. At that game they were selling "Battle of the Rookies of the Year" tee shirts since he and Nomar were 1997 ROYs. (Always thought that was odd (pathetic?) that they were hyping up two guys because they were both rookies a few years ago. Although, I guess they were both pretty good.) I saw McGriff play with the Rays, so he's another add to the list. 

The 2024 class? Adrian Beltre played a year with the Sox, so he was an easy add to the list. I saw Todd Helton at least once. Add him as well. Joe Mauer played so long in the AL, he's practically an automatic. So he gets the nod as well. 

So, that's six players who weren't on the list but are now in the Hall of Fame. What does it say that hardly anyone in the last few elections was good enough to make the list on their own before being elected? Who gets the bump? Right now, almost all of the list are Hall of Famers, so they’re safe. Ryan Braun? Out. Jose Canseco? Definitely has the name recognition. But there's just no room. Dustin Pedroia no longer has a spot. Mo Vaughn has finally seen his time come. I have a hard time removing Bonds, Clemens, and ARod. So I need to actually start eliminating active stars...Bryce Harper, and Miguel Cabrera. Miggy will be back on the list when he gets elected. At that point, he'll likely be bumping off another Hall of Famer. Probably one of the guys that just bumped him.

So, here’s the new list.

1. Roberto Alomar (HOF)
2. Adrian Beltre (HOF)
3. Wade Boggs (HOF)
4. Barry Bonds (MVP)
5. Roger Clemens (MVP, CYA)
6. Dennis Eckersley (HOF)
7. Tom Glavine (HOF)
8. Ken Griffey Jr (HOF, All-Century Team)
9. Vladimir Guerrero (HOF) 
10. Todd Helton (HOF)
11. Rickey Henderson (HOF)
12. Derek Jeter (HOF)
13. Randy Johnson (HOF)
14. Chipper Jones (HOF)
15. Greg Maddux (HOF)
16. Edgar Martinez (HOF)
17. Pedro Martinez (HOF)
18. Joe Mauer (HOF)
19. Fred McGriff (HOF)
20. Mike Mussina (HOF)
21. David Ortiz (HOF)
22. Mike Piazza (HOF)
23. Kirby Puckett (HOF)
24. Albert Pujols (MVP)
25. Jim Rice (HOF)
26. Cal Ripken (HOF)
27. Mariano Rivera (HOF)
28. Alex Rodriguez (MVP)
29. Ivan Rodriguez (HOF)
30. Scott Rolen (ROY, HOF)
31. John Smoltz (HOF)
32. Ichiro Suzuki (ROY, MVP)
33. Frank Thomas (HOF)
34. Jim Thome (HOF)
35. Mike Trout (MVP)
36. Larry Walker (HOF)

Who’s on your list?

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