Hanging On By A Finger: Chase Greatness (Series #34)

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Sam Crawford is the all-time leader in triples, with and retired in at the age of 37 with 2, hits. In the modern era, he would have crawled along until he got the last 39 hits to get to 3, Already batting. A hard player to rate and the player whose rating is most influenced by external factors.

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The thing that bothers me most about Jackie Robinson is the perception that if he had failed as a player, baseball would not have been integrated for another decade. The mind's tendency towards revisionist history seems to view the fall of Communism as inevitable while viewing integration of Major League Baseball as a tenuous, delicate matter whose future was always in doubt.

That said, Jackie Robinson was an amazing athlete who did things at second base that fewer other second basemen have ever done while enduring trials that few others players have ever known. His career was shortened by segregation on one end and by diabetes on the other, but his six full seasons in the majors gave us all the indication of the type of player that he was.

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Although Jackie's place on this list is informed, as I have stated, by the external factors, it is safe to say that if the color barrier had not existed, and Jackie's career had been able to take its natural course after his time at UCLA, his credentials would land him a spot on this list higher than this one, rather than lower. Maybe the greatest pure contact hitter of all-time, Gwynn led the league in hits seven times and won eight batting titles.

George Will's book "Men at Work" makes it clear that Gwynn's success was no coincidence. Gwynn would sneak off to the batting cages in the middle of the night the way most human beings sneak down to the refrigerator. Gwynn played the game the way ordinary fans would like to think they would play it if given the opportunity—constantly and ceaselessly, eternally grateful for the opportunity and desperate to keep it from ever ending.

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Chipper Jones has very quietly put up some of the finest third base numbers of all-time while playing on one of the great teams of the last 50 years. We need about more pitchers like Bob Gibson in the world. He always worked quick, always finished his games, pitched on a broken leg, buzzed batters and was lights out in three World Series.

Mike Piazza is generally considered the greatest hitting catcher of all-time, and he will one day be in the Hall of Fame.

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What most people don't realize is that he may have been one of the top three or four hitters of the last 20 years. Piazza spent his career playing in two of the most severe pitchers' parks in the National League. For his career, he hit 37 more home runs on the road, hit. If he'd spent his career playing for the Cubs, Red Sox, Rockies or Rangers, he'd look like one of the greatest hitters of all-time. At the same time, Piazza may have been the worst defensive catcher in the history of the universe. In , when Ivan Rodriguez left the world champion Marlins to go to Detroit, a friend suggested that if Detroit, fresh off of their season, went to the World Series, I-Rod would have to be considered the greatest catcher ever.

I conceded the point. He didn't do it overnight, but the Tigers ended up in the World Series three years later. Florida's team ERA dropped from 4. Detroit's team ERA dropped in each of Rodriguez's first three seasons there, and their pitching spurred them to the World Series with their mediocre hitting. I think he strikes out too much and doesn't walk nearly enough. I think his home runs are often outweighed by his double plays, and I think he is an overrated offensive player overall.

As a person, I think he is arrogant, selfish and immature. But the Rangers enjoyed the most successful period in their franchise with him as catcher, the Marlins won the World Series with him as catcher, and Detroit has gone from the worst team in baseball to one of the best with him as catcher. As we watch Rodriguez limp towards becoming the first catcher ever to accumulate 3, hits, it is easy to lose sight of how historically great he has been.

The Kid ranks 42nd on this list, a position he basically earned 10 years into his career and did nothing to improve upon during the next 10 years of his career.

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[BOOKS] Hanging On By A Finger: Chase Greatness (Series #34) by Frank Agin. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. You can download and. [EPUB] Hanging On By A Finger: Chase Greatness (Series #34) by Frank Agin. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. You can download and read .

I was lucky enough to make a trip to Arizona for spring training a couple of weeks ago. One night, not ready to go to bed and with two complimentary drink tickets burning a hole in my pocket, I made my way down to the hotel bar at the Talking Stick Casino Resort near Phoenix. I was at the bar ordering an year-old single malt scotch before I realized that, standing right next to me, was George Brett. And for the rest of my trip, neither did I. Bob Feller was pitching in the majors at the age of 17, led the league in strikeouts at the age of 19 and then led the AL in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts three years in a row from the age of 20 to Then he went to fight in World War II for nearly four years, and after he got back from fighting, he led the AL in wins, innings and strikeouts for two more years at the age of 26 and Even with four years right smack in the middle of his dominant prime, Feller finished with wins, a winning percentage of.

If he had not missed those four years, who knows. I found myself on the street face-to-face with Bob Feller in Cooperstown last summer. He looked at me, I looked at him and I scurried away like a mouse, somehow scared to talk to Rapid Robert. For some odd reason, whether Jeff Bagwell will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer seems to be in some doubt. This is a guy who has just had an incredible career as the Houston Astros' first baseman.

Up until the last couple of years of his career, he was a career er. His OPS stands at , which is good for 25th all-time, and his on-base percentage and slugging percentage are both in the top 50 all-time. He also has scored 1, runs, which is pretty good for a first baseman. What's more, Bagwell did almost all of this by the age of He did in just 14 full seasons what most players take years to do.

But forget career accomplishments—let's look at single-season accomplishments. In , he scored runs, which is more than anyone had scored since —64 years! He went twice, and he is a first baseman. He hit 30 or more homers nine times and 40 or more three times. His best year was the year the league went on strike, and he only played games, yet managed to hit 39 dingers with RBI and runs.

Jeff Bagwell was a run-producing machine during his time in Houston, and he was also a fantastic defensive first baseman despite his shoulder problems which set in later in his career. Bagwell is a no brainer first ballot Hall of Famer, and anyone who doesn't see that is silly. Hank Greenberg is one of the more complicated players in baseball history to get a handle on Frank Baker and Arky Vaughan also fall into this category.

Greenberg debuted in , the greatest offensive season in major league history, and played one game, batted once, didn't get a hit and did not return to the majors for three years. In , he was a rookie with the Tigers, playing games and hitting. For the remainder of the s, except when he was limited to 12 games, Greenberg was a dominant player in the American League. In , he had hits and RBI. In , he had hits, runs, RBI and 14 triples. In , he hit 58 home runs, RBI and scored runs, though his days of hits were over.

He continued to dominate the league through , when he won his second MVP. Then came, and Hank went to war. He was 30 years old, and he missed all but 19 games while in service. Where most players who went to war missed two or three years to service, Greenberg missed three complete seasons, , in addition to most of and over half of Greenberg left as a year-old who dominated the league; he returned as a year-old who hadn't played ball in almost five years. In his first year back, Greenberg was not his old self, though he managed 44 home runs and RBI.

His average slumped to. Greenberg played one more season, hitting. Vaughan was, no doubt, a hitter without peer; from Honus Wagner in the nineteen-teens to Ernie Banks in the s, no other National League shortstop put up even above-average offensive numbers, yet Vaughan was an elite hitter. His career high for strikeouts was 38, his career batting average was. To survive at Pedro's height during the peak of the Steroid Era, he had to throw with both power and control along with both speed and finesse.

With his highs fastball and wide variety of devastating changeups, curves, sliders and cutters, Pedro may have been the most complete pitcher of all-time. Bill James commented that Charlie Gerhinger and Ryne Sandberg were essentially the same player in different eras.

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We think the only thing they had in common was the position they played. Gehringer was not a power hitter, he walked three times more than he walked, he batted. Another World War II era guy, Mize led the league in home runs and RBI twice each in the four years before he went to war, where he served for three full years, then led the league in home runs in each of his first two full years back from war, with 51 in and 40 in Mize's ranking here is a product of the years he missed due to War, but it is not unjustfied.

He was one of the finest hitters in the NL for six years before the War and would have had far more historically impressive career totals if not for the time missed. Frank Thomas' years of having played most of his games as a first baseman were well behind him before his prime ended. Interestingly, Thomas was one of the best hitters in baseball history from to , during which time he was almost exclusively a first baseman. He endured his first "bad" season in , his first as a primary designated hitter since he rookie year.

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And, oh by the way, Frank Thomas was one of baseball elite hitters of all-time until he started getting hurt regularly. I have Pujols ranked conservatively here because when you are sure that a guy will one day be the best of all-time, you should take all precaution to make sure you don't jump the gun. Right now, he is essentially where Frank Thomas was at the age of Assuming Pujols can stay healthy where Thomas spent the second half of his career battling injuries, Pujols should be in the top 25 in another two years, and then will begin his assault on Jimmie Foxx and then, ultimately Lou Gehrig.

Before , one would have to have been crazy to call Tom Seaver underrated, and yet, that is where we find ourselves today.

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It's exciting to get in the road-course swing. Mjuzieek Digital Matta Clan feat. Edit page. Here is a clever workman! No masterpiece can be produced whole by such means; but neither does even the higher form of religious inspiration suffice for the religious life; even the most exalted mystic must return to the world, and use his reason to employ the results of his experience in daily life.

The interesting thing about that group is that Seaver is the only one who played between the years , when Alexander retired, and , when Roger Clemens made his debut. For over 50 years, Seaver was unmatched in terms of combining greatness and longevity. Berra was actually a fantastic player. Berra won three AL Most Valuable Player awards, had over home runs and 1, RBI, which is amazing for a catcher, and he struck out so rarely that he had more home runs than strikeouts in six different seasons.

As a year-old rookie, Eddie Matthews played in games and led the NL in strikeouts. The following season, he led the NL in home runs and one of the greatest third basemen of all time was born. As impressive as Matthews' career home runs is, he hit of them on the road and only at home, which makes you think he might have had a few more home runs in that bat.

Also a terrible defender, a quack in the clubhouse and a sullier of goodwill who would take the rest of the season off after about games from time to time.