"To understand the achievement of these Mets, it is necessary to mount an expedition that will push beyond the games themselves, beyond the skill and the luck. The journey will end in failure, for no victorious team is entirely understandable, even to itself, but the attempt must always be made, for winning is the ultimate mystery that gives all sport its meaning."
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382 Best Sides

Posted by Charles Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:50:07 -0500
Filed Under: players science
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On Thanksgiving I'm defining a great baseball “side” to be a player with about 300 events, plus or minus 30, with an RVP of +30 or greater. The post today isn't too meaty, pun intended. Further posts on distributions of playing time will follow.

The table below lists the the best sides at each position, seasons 1962 through 2013 inclusive. Two players per position, including designated hitter, are represented. I use 1962 to begin the range because that is the first year both leagues adopted a 162 game schedule. Each line gives year, player, position, events, and RVP. The 1981, 1994, and 1995 seasons are excluded because they were all fewer than 162 games.


YearPlayerPositionEventsRVP
2000Mark McGwire1B32187
2011John MayberryCF30678
1997Barry LarkinSS29073
2009Matt HollidayLF27664
2004Carlos BeltranCF32660
2003Mike PiazzaC27260
1963Smoky BurgessC28960
2012Marco Scutaro2B27157
1969Dick McAuliffe2B32856
1962Willie McCoveyLF27256
2012Evan Longoria3B31655
2005Mark Sweeney1B27353
1992Chico Walker3B27251
2004Frank ThomasDH31250
1983Joe LefebvreRF30250
2005J. D. DrewRF31348
2012Hanley RamirezSS28044
1974Ron BlombergDH30643




The positions near the top, including catcher, are postions where 270 to 330 events is a common range. Catchers are near the top because there are more of them playing this many events and often a team's best catcher will only play this many events. Designated hitter is the other position to stand out but mainly because only one league uses it. The differences between the other positions will be written about in another post.

Comments (2)

Comment by Joseph Fri, 28 Nov 2014 23:04:37 -0500

Chico Walker?

I was expecting to see Will Clark's great half-season with the Cards in 2000, but he only had 197 events.

Comment by Charles Sat, 29 Nov 2014 11:34:43 -0500

Chico Walker is a puzzle wrapped in an enigma. He has many career gaps. All I can figure is he must have been a Willie Bloomquist who could hit a little.

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