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The best player you've never heard of

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  • The best player you've never heard of

    In the baseball history forum there's a thread on who's most overrated and most underrated, and Ubiquitous observed that, "The most underratedlayer is the best player you never heard of."

    I wondered who that might be in my case, so I got BB Reference to make me a list of all the players with WAR > 20, and I went down the list until I reached Fred Dunlap. I HAD heard the name, read his entry in the revised Bill James historical abstract, knew he was a 19th century player, probably an infielder.

    But I did NOT know that he was a .400 hitter, albeit in the Union Association, and for about 5 years was the highest paid ballplayer in baseball. Some thought he was the best 2d baseman of the 19th century, although he only played I think 12 years. John Ward thought him second best, but extravagantly praised him.

    It sounds as if his fielding was memorable. Everyone has a highlight anecdote to tell about him. So I guess Ubi was right. This guy was as unknown--to me--as he was famous to everyone back then.

    Try it. It's an interesting game, and there are lots of ranked lists out there if you don't subscribe to Baseball Reference or don't care for WAR.
    Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce

  • #2
    I had not heard of George Davis until I read the 1994 edition of The Politics of Glory. Same with Bob Caruthers.
    Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
    Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
    Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
    Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
    Robin Bill Ernie JEDI


    • #3
      Deacon Jones, who I found doing an expansion draft for the 1962 Mets in Baseball Mogul. Jones was a first baseman for the White Sox who hit .343/.428/.580/1.008 in AAA Indianapolis in 1963. He never had a long major league career.

      The Mets have the best, smartest fans in baseball.


      • #4
        Hugh Duffy, I recently learned has the single season highest BA in history (.440).
        If I had only spent a tenth of the time studying Physics that I spent learning Star Wars and Baseball trivia, I would have won the Nobel Prize.


        • #5
          For me, it's mostly a list of pitchers prior to WWII who aren't in the HoF, but were either quite good or had extensive careers. Guys like George Mullin and Bucky Walters come to mind as those I haven't heard of until maybe five or so years ago.
          "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers


          • #6
            Goerge Davis and John Clarkson. I didn't know anything about these guys until I joined here. I probably heard of them before but I never paid em any attention.
            "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

            "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)


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