With some big PED-era names facing judgment day next month in the Baseball Hall of Fame voting and with the everlasting cacophony over who belongs in Cooperstown and who doesn't, ESPN.com decided to take a fresh look at the greats of the game.
We created the ESPN Hall of 100: the top 100 players of all time. Period.
The result is a roster based purely on performance (well, plus some performance enhancement) and a judgment-free zone where Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and even Pete Rose are welcome.
Today’s content (revealing Nos. 75-100 and some prominent players left out of the Top 100), has a few Red Sox connections:
* Schilling didn’t make the cut: Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling was a prominent snub on the list, coming in as an “honorable mention” at No. 105. The argument: “Your opinion of Schilling probably has a lot to do with how much you think October performance should be weighted, as he is arguably the greatest postseason pitcher ever, with legendary performances -- such as The Bloody Sock Game -- to match his numbers. And he's no regular-season slouch either. A known workhorse, Schilling twice led the league in innings pitched, and his career 4.38 strikeout-to-walk ratio is the second best in baseball history.”
* Hot Button -- Halladay over Schilling?: Roy Halladay made it into the Hall (No. 92), while Schill was left out. Matt Meyers and Dan Szymborski argue which pitcher deserves it more. A snippet of Szymborski’s case for Schilling: “If Schilling's case for immortality isn't given a significant boost by his sterling performances in October, then practically nobody in baseball history (except Mo Rivera) would. Halladay is a tremendous pitcher, but he's a step behind Schilling right now. Any group epitomizing baseball greatness without Schilling is missing one amazing pitcher and one very bloody sock.”
* Joe Cronin comes in at No. 98: “It used to be that shortstops didn't hit for power, but Cronin was a rare exception, posting a career .857 OPS. Many of the dents in the Green Monster can be attributed to him; he hit more than 40 doubles on six occasions, twice leading the league. Cronin held pretty much every possible post-playing job within the game, serving as Red Sox manager, GM and league president.”
* Manny Ramirez at 85: “There was never a dull moment with the always-entertaining Ramirez. One of the greatest right-handed hitters of his era, the enigmatic slugger who once disappeared into the Green Monster for an impromptu bathroom break belted 555 home runs, drove in 1,831 runs and batted .312 over 19 seasons. He won two World Series rings during his seven seasons in Boston.”
* Carlton Fisk at No. 76: “Immortalized by his dramatic, arm-waving home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, "Pudge" amassed 2,356 hits in 2,499 games over 24 seasons -- 2,226 of them as a catcher. (Only Ivan Rodriguez logged more games behind home plate.) Fisk was a fiery competitor. Just ask the Yankees, Deion Sanders or any player who attempted to run him over at the plate.”