FanDuel - WFBC

June 04, 2008

What franchise has the best run of players at one position in history?: Batter's Box says it's Left Field for the Red Sox, but plenty of other arguments appear in the comments.

posted by yerfatma to baseball at 01:33 PM - 14 comments

I think Best Consecutive Run would be interesting as well, though the Sox left field of Williams, Yaz and Rice probably wins that too. As a kid I was impressed by the Sox' run at 3B: Lansford -> Boggs -> Scott Cooper -> Tim Naehring.

posted by yerfatma at 01:34 PM on June 04

Montana -> Young -> Garcia ... two hall of famers and one pretty adept ... I know, I know, this is baseball. But a very nice run indeed.

posted by Ricardo at 02:03 PM on June 04

There seems to be some good arguments in the comments. I really can't pass much judgement since most of my baseball knowledge only goes back a decade or so.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 02:06 PM on June 04

The run of boston left fielders is very good and also very small because you've had multiple guys play the position for many years. That was what I took from the article. Most of the comments are just randomly naming as many players as ever played a particular position.

posted by justgary at 02:29 PM on June 04

Hm- this is an interesting discussion. There are around 256 (8 positions not including pitcher/DH * 32 current teams) possible "right" answers, but obviously we can discount the more recent expansion teams as well as folded/moved/re-moved teams like the Senators/Rangers/Nationals where it's difficult to talk about what the team even is. I think LF in Boston has hosted some pretty amazing names, and that Williams->Yaz->Rice->Greenwell->Ramirez is a pretty potent uninterrupted 7-decade run of left fielders with only a 4-year blip of Troy O'Leary's mediocrity to blemish the streak (although poor Greenwell suffered for being a considerably above average left fielder who wasn't Ted Williams or Carl Yastrzemski). If Ramirez finishes his career with Boston- and with two rings and only stat padding left for him to play for, I don't see why he wouldn't stick around the Hub and see if he can't have 600HR/2000RBI to put on his bronze while wearing the red and white- then those Greenwell and O'Leary years will seem more of an anomaly. If Rice is elected next year (he was my favorite player as a kid, but even I don't think he quite makes the cut, as a weak defensive left fielder with good but not stupendous stats- his counting stats aren't that great for an outfielder to make the HoF), and with Ramirez a foregone conclusion then Boston will be able to say 4 HoFers played significant time at that position, 3 of them in a row with almost no interruption (Williams spent time in the wars, and Yaz had a year at CF I think when Conigliaro came up). As justgary notes, some of the examples in the comments like the Yankee's CF/C and Cardinal's 1B seems to be more "Name every good-to-great player who ever put on a uniform in that position for that team, even if for just two or three seasons". Baseball-reference.com has under each team's section the list of all the players who played the bulk of games at each position for each year. I haven't gone through each team, but if someone does and finds a better example than Boston's LF, please show your work in the margins. :) The Hall of Fame site lets you filter by position and principle team, so we can see what team and position boasts the most HoFers as their principle player.

posted by hincandenza at 02:49 PM on June 04

Also don't miss the BB follow-up and aggregation thread.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 04:27 PM on June 04

I think Win Shares could really help guide this discussion. As a Cardinals fan, I immediately thought of them for the first basemen.

posted by mbd1 at 05:05 PM on June 04

That DH run (OAK) suggested at BB can't be the best run.

posted by yerfatma at 07:23 PM on June 04

What about Dickey, Berra, and Howard behind the plate for NYY?

posted by nnyank55 at 09:17 PM on June 04

If Rice is elected next year (he was my favorite player as a kid, but even I don't think he quite makes the cut, as a weak defensive left fielder with good but not stupendous stats- his counting stats aren't that great for an outfielder to make the HoF), and with Ramirez a foregone conclusion then Boston will be able to say 4 HoFers played significant time at that position, 3 of them in a row with almost no interruption (Williams spent time in the wars, and Yaz had a year at CF I think when Conigliaro came up). I think it's the fact that these guys largely played in succession that is so impressive and that sets the Red Sox list apart from other teams who happen to have had some really good players at a specific position over the years. Up until this year, when Jim Edmonds left, the Cardinals had a run of basically three players in CF since the early 80's -- Willie McGee, Ray Lankford and Jim Edmonds. No Hall of Famers in that group (an argument could be made for Edmonds, I suppose, but his precipitous decline over the past few years didn't really allow for the stat-padding that was probably necessary), but still a pretty cool accomplishment in these days of free agency and mix and match parts to have 3 players man a position for nearly 25 years and to frequently provide All Star-level production in the process.

posted by holden at 11:31 AM on June 05

@ Holden: And who knows what Rick Ankiel will do there, he might make it 4.

posted by freeze_over98 at 12:27 PM on June 05

nnyank55: What about Dickey, Berra, and Howard behind the plate for NYY?
Longevity. The Yankees catchers are I think the #2 pick for most people, but while Dickey - Berra are great HoF catchers they are, as catchers, not as long-lived behind the plate. They don't play every day (Dickey mostly caught 100-120 games a year) and Dickey's full seasons as catcher were 1929-1941 while Berra didn't become the everyday catcher until 1949-1959. So really, their catching years weren't continuous like with Williams-Yaz, and "only" comprised 23 years. After Berra, there is a drop-off from HoF level- less so with with Jim Rice on the Red Sox, since he's a borderline but realistic candidate- and no real eventual return to form with Yankee catchers like there has been with Ramirez (Posada was good, but not HoF level). For whatever reason, the Red Sox LFers have been few in number, contiguous, and almost all HoF level or not-quite there since Ted Williams. Just between Williams and Yaz and Rice, there was a period- minus the war years- where the Sox could say from 1939-1980 or so, their everyday leftfielder was the very best in baseball. And outside of Barry Bonds, the Sox can once again say that from about 2001-present, certainly in the AL.

posted by hincandenza at 01:14 PM on June 05

At the risk of derailing a little, my first thought, immediately, had nothing to do with baseball. Georges Vezina. George Hainsworth. Bill Durnan. Gump Worsley. Jacques Plante. Terry Sawchuck. Ken Dryden. Patrick Roy. Jose Theodore. I'm sure I'm forgetting a couple, but there are also some one-playoff-run Jean-Claude-come-latelies peppered in there.

posted by chicobangs at 01:50 PM on June 05

Wow, I killed this thread dead, didn't I. Sorry, all.

posted by chicobangs at 09:29 AM on June 12

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