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Thursday, May 26, 2022
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Two MLB legends Tony Gwynn should have ranked higher than in ESPN’s top 100 players of all time list


ESPN recently came out with their top 100 baseball players of all time list and there were definitely some interesting choices made by their panel of voters. Babe Ruth gets the number one spot above Willie Mays, Pedro Martinez ranked higher than Ken Griffey Jr., and Cal Ripken Jr. lower than Ernie Banks are a few examples.

But there were a few players I felt strongly about that should not have been placed higher than Tony Gwynn on this list. Gwynn was in 44th place.

Before I get into the names, I want to be clear. Gwynn’s position at 44 should not really be considered disrespectful to him when you realize how many players fit into Major League Baseball. Last season, the league broke the 20,000 player mark. I’m not saying he should be ranked as a top three player of all time or anything like that, but he should be ranked at least above 44th.

Ted Williams, who came in at # 5, is probably considered the best beater of all time. Why do I say disputable? Because some would say that honor goes to Gwynn. So how can there be a gap of 39 players between the two best goal scorers of all time and it is debatable which one is better than the other? It just does not make sense.

Let’s now move on to a few players who should have given Gwynn the lead.

George Brett (Ranking: # 43)

I get that Brett had a higher career WAR and a won World Series with the Kansas City Royals. However, Brett is not considered on the same level as Gwynn in terms of a pure beater. When we criticize lists, it feels like we’ll turn down the player we’re arguing against, but Brett was clearly still a great player and is considered one of the best third-team players of all time. He hit .305 with a .369 OBP for his career which is excellent. But Gwynn hit .338 for his career with a .388 OBP.

Brett won one gold glove while Gwynn won five. Gwynn is a 15 times all star, while Brett has been selected 13 times. Gwynn won seven silver sluggers and Brett won three. We’re tearing hair with the two guys I’m talking about, but I’ll give Gwynn the lead.

Derek Jeter (Rank: # 28)

I can already suggest all Yankees fans coming to me at the moment. Derek Jeter is one of the best shortstops to play the game, so I’m not saying he did not deserve to get a unanimous vote for the Hall of Fame (he was somehow one vote short). The team he was on, however, certainly counted in some of his stats, such as RBI and runs scored, in addition to probably getting better sheets to hit because of who was hiding behind him. He was in the same series during parts of his career as Mark Teixeira, Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Curtis Granderson.

By comparison, while Gwynn did have Ken Caminiti and Greg Vaughn for a bit, Steve Garvey was in San Diego when his top five MVP finishes were long behind him and Phil Plantier, who had a career career of 2.3 WAR, was the Padres clearing hit during Gwynn’s almost historic season in 1994. If you were curious, Gwynn put together 12 seasons with a WAR better than Plantier’s career WAR.

Both Jeter and Gwynn have played for 20 seasons, so it’s easier to compare their own performances outside of their team’s success than it is to other pairs of players. Gwynn had one more All-Star choice than Jeter. He also won two more silver sluggers, the same amount of gold gloves and eight more batting titles (while Jeter had zero). And despite playing on a team that missed the offseason in 17 of its 20 seasons, Gwynn’s WAR was only 2.1 wins weaker than Jeter’s.

Jeter is not considered one of the best hits of all time. Gwynn is, right along with Ted Williams, but not only is not ranked higher than Jeter, but he is also nowhere near the top five where Williams sits. It just does not make sense.



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