ESPN recently came out with a list of their top 100 players in league history. Any all-time lists are always going to be met with a lot of argument, especially with baseball. You are looking at 130+ years of history, and trying to determine where people should fall. It’s hard enough comparing things 20 years apart… now try it for 120 years apart. All that’s a separate argument though. What I want to talk about is the Mariners who did and did not make their list.
There are actually a few more players on the list who played on the Mariners than you would originally think. We will get to the obvious Mariners in a bit, but it’s worth taking notice of some of the ones we likely forgot about.
So, which Mariners (or those who played on the Mariners) made the ESPN Top 100?
#97 – Adrian Beltre
#23 – Rickey Henderson
You probably figured out that Adrian Beltre was gonna be on the list. #97 seems WAY too low, especially when you consider that Mike Schmidt is all the way up at #18. I’ve heard arguments that Beltre is better than Schmidt, so 79 spots seems a bit ridiculous.
The next one is the one that caught me off guard. I just forget sometimes that Rickey Henderson was actually on the Mariners (and actually decent at 41 still). There’s no question Rickey is in that upper echelon of players, and making it to the top 25 seems right.
What about the Mariners we are more familiar with, and expecting to be there?
#46 – Ichiro Suzuki
#26 – Alex Rodriguez
#24 – Randy Johnson
#13 – Ken Griffey Jr.
If Ichiro would’ve played his entire career in the MLB, he would be much higher on the list. He easily would’ve surpassed Pete Rose at 34, and probably ends up near Griffey in the 10-15 range. He had 3,000+ hits from age 27 onward. Give him an extra five seasons, and you are likely looking at the new hit king, someone with around 4,300 hits and a .320 average, and enough gold gloves to rival Brooks Robinson (16) for the most by a non-pitcher (Maddux had 18!).
Then, we have A-Rod. The potential to be an all-time great, and one of the most talented players to ever step on a baseball field. He struggled in the playoffs, and to be nice about it, his persona and surrounding actions weren’t always the easiest to deal with. You see it with a fair amount of the most talented players in all sports.
I think Randy is too low. He’s one of the three best left-handed pitchers of all time, the scariest dude to ever take the mound, and great control for the majority of his career with a boatload of strikeouts. #24 seems off to me. From 1995-2005, he had just 2.5 BB/9 and 11.7 K/9. Goodness Gracious.
Imagine for a second. Imagine that Griffey and the Mariners were able to come to terms on a deal, and Griffey would stick around with the team. He would stay healthy and retire as a Mariner. Would he go down as the GOAT? Cause there is a legit argument that his final stat line could be broken down like this.
Griffey was actually pretty healthy in his time in Seattle, outside of the broken wrist. He averaged about 153 games per season from 1990-1999, excluding the wrist and the strike in 94. Based on his pace, he averaged 49 homers a year over that time. Say he keeps that up through age 34 (five years) drops to an average of 39 for the next three, and then finishes out with an average of 20 over his last three years. Do you know what that comes out to?
820 HOME RUNS!
It’s a big what-if, imagining that someone stays healthy their whole career. Still, you take out a late-season and a middling season, and he still would’ve broken the record, and I don’t think Bonds would eclipse him. Plus, Griffey was clean, while Bonds was… consistently buying bigger hats.
If you’re sitting here wondering “hey, why haven’t you mentioned the greatest designated hitter of all time?”
ESPN DIDN’T INCLUDE EDGAR MARTINEZ!
Do you know what makes it worse? He isn’t mentioned once, anywhere in the article. Ever. Anywhere. Not in snubs or discussions or anything. It’s ridiculous. Do you know what else is bad? They put David Ortiz at #63. You wanna say Ortiz is better? Fine, you can be wrong, but at least there is an argument to be made if you want to add in postseason success and power. Whatever. You’re still wrong. Just like ESPN. Take a look at this.
One of those guys is better in EVERY SINGLE STAT other than slugging. Literally, every other stat and Edgar is better than Papi. I love Papi, but Edgar is different. Pure and simple, ESPN screwed up and left the greatest designated hitter of all time off of their list, and Edgar Martinez deserves better.