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Best COMPLETE MLB player ever

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  • Best COMPLETE MLB player ever

    I reflect upon the career of one Hans 'Honus' Wagner, who played for 20 years, and was considered the BEST player in the game before Ruth(because of Cobb's ugly nature). I was staggered by the sheer amazing quality of his play during the DEAD BALL era. Some great examples:

    STOLEN BASES:
    1904, 53
    1905, 57
    1907, 61!!!!
    1908, 53

    These were his HIGHS, and his total was 722 fo his career. AVERAGE wise this comes to 36 a season; and TWO years he played 61 and 74 games, 1897 and 1917.

    BATTING AVERAGE:

    From 1897 to 1913, his average never dropped below .299. That's 16 years of great hitting! The highs were .381 in 1900 and .355 in 1903.

    RBI's:

    1,732 RBI's in 20 years, highs of 126 in 1901 and 113 in 1899.

    These numbers are beaten out by the intense and dramatic Ty Cobb, but if you look at his frame and those huge arms and hands, be amazed at the quickness and grace he exhibited. I'm sure that by the numbers Ty Cobb has Honus beaten out, but as far as considering numbers AND the person, the Flying Dutchman was truly a GREAT complete player.

    I MUST add that by leaving him off the All-Century Team by baseball fans was truly a shame. If ONLY they knew how great he truly was.


    '...to the wall, GONE AND THE PIRATES WIN!' -Maz and the ORIGINAL home run WS blast!
    uk::yes

  • #2
    His real name was John Peter Wagner. The "Honus" is a German version of John. He was a gentle man, but Cobb learned not to push him too far. In the 1909 Series, Cobb was on first, and in his inimitable fashion, tried to intimidate Wagner by calling him the filthiest names. When Cobb broke for second on a steal attempt, Wagner took the throw and shoved it in Cobb's face, almost knocking out his teeth. He's my All-Time shortstop.

    Bob

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    • #3
      RE: Best COMPLETE MLB player ever

      I put Hans because many ads featuring him used HANS WAGNER in them (I have several examples). The story you replied with is a great one, and is often clouded in myth and truth. The stitches/cut lip never happened, but the other parts were corroborated by Cobb AND Wagner. ODD how Cobb really did respect and like Wagner in reality!

      '...to the wall, GONE AND THE PIRATES WIN!' -Maz and the ORIGINAL home run WS blast!
      uk::yes

      Comment


      • #4
        RE: Best COMPLETE MLB player ever

        Actually, the case for Wagner's greatness is even stronger than the one you present. I'll just mention a couple things.

        There is a growing consensus that Wagner was a greater player than Cobb. In the New Historical Baseball Abstract, Wagner is rated #2 all-time behind only Ruth. Honus' 1908 season is rated the greatest season ever.

        In the Baseball Survivor project at this link:

        http://www.concentric.net/~Jkubatko/baseballsurvivor/

        Wagner is one of the nine surviving players and seems destined to finish ahead of Cobb.

        There are really only four players you can argue as being greater than Wagner: Babe Ruth, because of his pitching ability; Ted Williams because of his time lost to war service; Willie Mays, because he had all the tools like Wagner but played against tougher competition; and Walter Johnson, because it's harder to compare a pitcher with position players.

        Dan
        Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

        Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

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        • #5
          RE: Best COMPLETE MLB player ever

          I have never contested the fact that Babe Ruth was indeed the best player EVER, or even that Honus was better than Ty Cobb because I can't go against what Cobb did in his career. I fotound the stolen bases with his huge frame (not the height, but still BIG) amazing, as well as the good relationship the two ACTUALLY had despite the story of '09, as well as a lot of other things.

          In reference to the Survivor site, it was VERY disturbing to me that Barry Bonds is on the list of 9, for personal reasons. He did nothing for us when we needed him the most, and really gave Jim Leyland(a TERRIFIC guy) a hard time. I guess I just want someone who isn't greedy and self-absorbed on my team, and when you compare him to Clemente or Kiner or Wagner, he couldn't fill ANYTHING of theirs.

          '...to the wall, GONE AND THE PIRATES WIN!' -Maz and the ORIGINAL home run WS blast!
          uk::yes

          Comment


          • #6
            RE: Best COMPLETE MLB player ever

            Willie Mays played against tougher competition than Wagner? Try on Ted Kazanski of the Phillies. He was tough. How about Seth Morehead. He was a really tough lefty for Willie. And Vito Valentinetti gave Willie fits. So did Warren Hacker, Jim Davis, and Dick Littlefield.

            Why is Williams greater because he lost 5 years to the wars? Williams was greater because Williams was greater, and I am not sure Williams was greater than Wagner.

            If Walter Johnson were greater (you are right. It is unfair to compare pitchers. But then why is Ruth better because he was also a pitcher?) than Wagner, how about Mathewson, Koufax, etc.

            Baseball articles you might not like but should read.

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            • #7
              RE: Best COMPLETE MLB player ever

              In these kinds of posts when you're asked to pick who you thought was the best complete ballplayer in the Major Leagues it could be anyone. A personal favorite or someone you'd read about. Me personally, every time I read about a different ballplayer there's something about them that I admire. I haven't seen the most complete ballplayer. Someone who could pitch, hit and catch grounders like cats pounce on mice or catch flies the way a spider's web nets the winged insects. I don't know how Bob Lemon was with the glove and never heard too much bragging about the Babe's glove. Every thing else but not the glove.

              Maybe this player was in the Mexican or South American Leagues or Negro Leagues and the "major" leagues didn't think enough of that person's ethnicity to allow him to play in the "big leagues"?

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              • #8
                RE: Best COMPLETE MLB player ever

                I can't change history or WHO played in MLB from the 1880's to 1947, but I CAN tell you who did and all about Wagner...BUT...

                Satchel Paige didn't play..if he did, I am DEFINITELY sure he would have been considered to be the best pitcher ever, and maybe better than Babe Ruth himself. ANY man who can have the kind of seasons he had at his age when he DID get to play in the major leagues is a great indcation that he was REALLY gypped to put it VERY nicely. Point very well taken...thanks for bringing that up!

                '...to the wall, GONE AND THE PIRATES WIN!' -Maz and the ORIGINAL home run WS blast!
                uk::yes

                Comment


                • #9
                  RE: Best COMPLETE MLB player ever

                  BASEBALL_TRIVIA_NUT

                  Babe Ruth! Period!!!


                  BASEBALL_TRIVIA_NUT

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                  • #10
                    RE: Best COMPLETE MLB player ever

                    Ruth was such a DOMINATING hitter (especially compared with others of his day) -- and he was above average as a fielder, perhaps even an excellent fielder in his younger days (before 1925). Even if he never pitched an INNING he would still be the best ballplayer of all time. That Ruth was also a very good pitcher is interesting, but I don't think his pitching added any value to his best seasons: 1920, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1927 or 1928.

                    But Honus Wagner was probably the best "skill-position" player of all time. If fielding and base-running as weighed equal in importance to hitting, there might have a case for Wagner as "best all-around" player ever.
                    pb::

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                    • #11
                      RE: Best COMPLETE MLB player ever

                      [updated:LAST EDITED ON Apr-14-02 AT 04:21 AM (EDT)]If swating flies in the dougout were considered, then Joe Fabitz may
                      have been considered the greatest of all time!

                      Wagner is still my 1st string SS..but his #'s don't exceed all in-
                      fielders of his era:

                      Wagner...173 OBS......Lajoie...171 OBS
                      Wagner...+13 fa/lea....Lajoie....+14 fa/lea

                      While at it...Cobb +239 OBS..everybody looks for excuses to try to
                      devalue Ty Cobb, because of his personality...that's because he was a
                      hard playing ballplayer, and an inspiring on the field winner, who
                      didn't, like most of the weak people, give up, he fought hard to win,
                      which is the only thing that counts, all the time.
                      pb::

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        RE: Best COMPLETE MLB player ever

                        To answer the question, if the choice is Ruth or Wagner, it should be Wagner. He is the more well rounded player, all around. Ruth's ability to do something at the plate would make him my choice if I had to pick one for my team. There are only 5 modern time(post 1900) hitters more likely to get a hit if you go by lifetime batting average. Ruth is 6th on that list.There was only one hitter with a lifetime OBP than Ruth, Ted Williams, and that is not by much. There is only one hitter with a high number of at bats who had a higher walk percentage than Ruth. There is only one hitter in the history of the game that has a lower AB/HR ratio than Ruth, Mark McGwire. Ruth's was over a longer period, 22 seasons, Mac for 16 seasons. No one in the history of the game has a percentage of extra base hits, per hit than Ruth. Ruth was all these men in one body. Don't get me started on Babe Ruth. Honus, whats to be said, one of the greatest.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          RE: Best COMPLETE MLB player ever

                          We are not talking about a beauty contest, who runs the fastest,
                          who runs backwards the fastest, who can catch the ball with one eye
                          closed the best...

                          What differance does it make, who is a more complete player; in this
                          game only WINS count, not how good you look.

                          Who will win you the most games over and above however many he may
                          lose you in the field.

                          If anybody has paid attention, the article came out in the last two
                          weeks, about why the Yankees went after Giambi.....OB% #1 reason

                          The GM's readly acknowlede today that OB% is where it starts, and SA
                          is where it ends. It took them long enough.

                          Speed, stolen bases are virtually discounted as least likely to be
                          of much value.....It has been understood that anything less than 50-
                          60 SB's/yr are worth very little to the disrupting of the game, thus
                          not of much value to your chance of winning the 92+ games you are
                          aiming for.

                          All the BS about Aaron and his speed making him equal to Ted Williams
                          iun value to a team is rediculas; it like saying 2+2=5.

                          If a man can "club you the death day in and day out, that's what wins games.

                          Wagner, my #1 SS of those retired, no way compares in offense to Ruth,
                          Williams, Gehrig, Foxx, Hornsby, Cobb.

                          And I tend to discount any stats that include the illegial ball being used for the last 6-7 years.
                          pb::

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            RE: Best COMPLETE MLB player ever

                            [updated:LAST EDITED ON Apr-15-02 AT 01:40 AM (EDT)]Why do you discount the stats produce in the last 6 to 7 years and yet count the stats for players in the 20's and 30's? When in fact we know beyond a reasonable doubt that the ball was changed back then. Furthermore there is no rule about how springy or tightly wound a ball must be. In fact here is the official rule about what a baseball shall be in MLB:

                            1.09 The ball shall be a sphere formed by yarn wound around a small core of cork, rubber or similar material, covered with two stripes of white horsehide or cowhide, tightly stitched together. It shall weigh not less than five nor more than 5 1/4 ounces avoirdupois and measure not less than nine nor more than 9 1/4 inches in circumference.

                            As long as a ball meets these criterias it is not illegal. So how is the modern ball illegal?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              RE: Best COMPLETE MLB player ever


                              For me I cant claim who is the best overall baseball player. I have never seen the like of Ruth, Mays, Williams, Cobb, Wagner, ever play a game of baseball. For the time I have watching baseball it has been Griffey, Sosa, and Bonds who are the best, all though stat wise though dont compare to the Old Timers.

                              Baseball now I think is easier for a hitter. It seems like every new rule they make favors the hitter. The ball is now harder then it was back in the day, baseball fields are much shorter then they use to be and pitching now is harder than it use to be.

                              I take nothing away from the greats of old I have never seen them play, I only hear stories of how great they were.

                              What happens to a player like Shoeless Joe Jackson who for the time you was playing was one of the best, but because of what happened people dont even mention his name. Who says he wouldnt have been the best.
                              pb::

                              Comment

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