The Baseball 250: Part 5 (150-126)

For information about how this list was compiled please read part 1 of this series. This section is for players ranked 150-126.150-126

150: Larry Doby– Larry Doby started playing in the Negro Leagues at the age of 17. A few years later he put his baseball (and basketball) career on hold to serve in World War II. Returning in 1946 he immediately helped the Newark Eagles win the Negro League World Series. The next year he was signed by the Cleveland Indians. He was the first African-American to play in the American League and the second to join MLB after it integrated. He was a seven time MLB All-Star.

149: Ed Walsh– Walsh has the lowest career ERA (1.82) and FIP (2.02) in MLB history (min 1000 IP). A spitballer and dominant star of the dead-ball era he helped the White Sox win the World Series in 1906.

148: Dennis Eckersley– A well above average starter before becoming a dominant closer, Eckersley won both the AL Cy Young and MVP awards in 1992. In 1990 he allowed only five earned runs all season and posted an ERA of 0.61.

147: Dan Brouthers– One of the game’s first great run producers. Brouthers led the NL in batting average five times, on-base percentage five times, and slugging percentage seven times. He finished his career with a slash line of .342/.423/.519 good for an OPS+ of 170, which is tied for 7th best all time.

146: Judy Johnson– Considered by many to be the greatest third baseman in the history of the Negro Leagues. Johnson was a well above average fielder and run producer. He eventually became a mentor to Josh Gibson, and after he retired as a player he became a scout for the Phillies (and several other teams). His most notable signing was Dick Allen (184 on this list).

145: Masaichi Kaneda– The best pitcher in the history of Japanese baseball. Kaneda is NPB’s all time leader in wins (400), strikeouts (4,490) and innings pitched (5,526.2). His career ERA is 2.34.

144: Cap Anson– A star of the early dead-ball era, the first player to reach 3,000 career hits, and a racist instrumental in establishing segregation in baseball. Anson regularly refused to take the field against opponents playing African-American players, he got into numerous altercations with them when he did. Further reading on Anson can be found here, here, and here.

143: Shigeo Nagashima– Nagashima won five MVP’s, and was named Best Nine every year of his seventeen year career. He won six batting titles, and finished his career with 444 home runs. A long time teammate of Sadaharu Oh together they won 11 Japan Series championships (including 9 in a row from 1965-1973). He was named Japan Series MVP four times.

142: Mickey Cochrane– Cochrane won three championships during his thirteen year career. He retired with slash line of .320/.419/.478. His career batting average and on-base percentage are still all time highs among all catchers who have played at least 50% of their games at the position.

141: Rafael Palmeiro– Palmeiro finished his twenty year career with 3,020 hits and 569 home runs, becoming just the 4th player in MLB history to reach both milestones. He was accused of doping by former teammate Jose Canseco, eventually called in front of congress where he adamantly denied Canseco’s claims, then a few months later he was suspended by MLB for testing positive for steroids. Palmeiro claims he was set up and to this day denies he ever knowingly took steroids of any kind.

140: Kenny Lofton– Lofton had a skill set that would have played in any era. Elite speed and defense, good contact hitter, and a high on-base guy. Those skills were overshadowed during his playing career as home runs were being hit and record rates and we all got swept up in long ball fever. The BBWAA bounced Lofton from the Hall of Fame ballot his first year on it, he fails the sniff test but he was a much better player than he was ever given credit for.

139: Carl Hubbell– His primary pitch was the screwball, Hubbell won two MVP awards, led the NL in WHIP six times, wins three times, and ERA three times. During the 1934 All-Star game he struck out five future Hall of Famers in a row, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin.

138: Bill Dickey– During his seventeen year career Dickey won seven World Series championships, and was an eleven time All-Star. He retired with a slash line of .318/.382/.486. That works out to an OPS+ of 127.

137: Martín Dihigo– A star of the Cuban and Negro Leagues, Dihigo was one of the most versatile players ever to play the game. Here’s what Hall of Famer Buck Leonard had to say about him, “He was the best ballplayer of all time, black or white.” Further reading on him can be found here and here.

136: Jim Palmer– A three time Cy Young Award winner, and three time World Series Champion. Palmer finished his career with 268 wins, 2,212 strikeouts, and an ERA of 2.86. He never gave up a grand slam.

135: Carlos Beltrán– An above average hitter, defender, and baserunner, Beltran’s a member of the 300 SB/300 HR club. His career postseason OPS is 1.128.

134: Joe Cronin– Cronin finished his twenty year playing career with a slash line of .301/.390/.468. He later became a manager, general manager, and eventually president of the American League.

133: Dave Winfield– A 12 time All-Star, Winfield finished his career with 3.110 hits, and 465 home runs. He’s one of just seven players in MLB history to reach both milestones. In addition to being drafted by the San Diego Padres, he was also drafted by the Atlanta Hawks (NBA), Utah Stars (ABA), and the Minnesota Vikings (NFL).

132: Juan Marichal– Marichal wasn’t the first person from the Dominican Republic to play in MLB but he was their first star. A nine time All-Star Marichal finished his sixteen year career with 243 wins, 2,303 strikeouts, and an ERA of 2.89. We didn’t know what WAR was in the 1965 but that year he posted a bWAR of 10.6, the 17th best season in the integration era.

131: Edgar Martinez– A member of the elite .300/.400/.500 club, Martinez didn’t become a starter until his age 27 season, he was an exceptional run producer until he was 40 years old.

130: Pee Wee Reese– An average hitter and an elite defender, Reese missed three full seasons (age 24-26) while serving in World War II. With those seasons he might be an 80 win player. Reese was captain of the Dodgers when Jackie Robinson joined the team, he refused to sign a player petition boycotting his arrival, and in 1947 before a game in Cincinnati he put his arm around Jackie’s shoulder. The gesture is considered a crucial moment in both Robinson’s career and for the acceptance of African-Americans players in Major League Baseball. The moment is remembered by a statue outside MCU Park in Coney Island.

129: Willie Wells– Wells’ playing career lasted nearly 25 years. He was an elite defender, runner, and contact hitter. He was the shortstop on the million dollar infield. Here’s Cool Papa Bell on Wells, “The shortstops I’ve seen, Wells could cover ground better than any of them. Willie Wells was the greatest shortstop in the world”.

128: Al Simmons– Simmons finished his career with 2,927 hits and a .334 batting average. He won two World Series Championships with the Philadelphia Athletics.

127: Hal Newhouser– Newhouser won back-to-back AL MVP awards in 1944 & 1945. He led the AL in wins four times, ERA twice, strikeouts twice, and FIP four times. He finished his career with 207 wins and 1,796 strikeouts.

126: Harry Heilmann– Heilman led the AL in batting average four times. That includes his 1923 season where he hit .403. His career average is .342, 12th all time. He missed half of his age 23 season (1918) due to his military service in World War I.

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Data courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com

Related Posts: Part 1 (250-226), Part 2 (225-201), Part 3 (200-176), Part 4 (175-151), Part 5 (150-126), Part 6 (125-101), Part 7 (100-76), Part 8 (75-51), Part 9 (50-26), Part 10 (25-1)

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