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Thursday, December 13, 2012
Some notable surprises in top 25

ESPN.com

We revealed players ranked Nos. 25-1 in our Hall of 100 on Thursday. Our experts discuss a few things related to the top 25 players in our Hall of 100 in today's Triple Play.

1. The player you are most shocked to see in the top 25 is _________.

Doug Glanville (@dougglanville), "Baseball Tonight": Tom Seaver. Although he is one of the best starting pitchers of all time, I like Eddie Collins or Nap Lajoie ahead of Seaver. Collins and Lajoie were head and shoulders above their peers for two decades. They didn't just have good years in their primes; they were great into their twilight years. Seaver certainly was great for a long time but was front loaded in his domination. Eighteen years into their careers, Lajoie (played from 1896-1916) and Collins (1906-1930) were still MVP candidates, though at the time when they played the MVP wasn't an official award.

Mark Simon (@msimonespn), ESPN Stats & Information: I don't know that I was shocked by anyone's inclusion. Every player in our top 25 got a 90 or better rating on my ballot. I was glad to see that we had Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner as highly rated as they were. I thought some of the old-time players might have gone unrecognized or been underrated.

Christina Kahrl (@ChristinaKahrl), ESPN.com: I don't think anybody truly shocked me, but maybe I was a little surprised to see Tris Speaker make it. I know he's on Baseball Reference's top-10 list for wins above replacement and maybe this is my own reservations over the questionable quality of play before integration and MLB's takeover of the organized minor leagues, but among the dead-ball-era outfield stars, Speaker was usually in the shadow of Ty Cobb, Shoeless Joe Jackson and Babe Ruth. Clearly, he hasn't been forgotten.


2. When all is said and done, Albert Pujols will rank _________.

Albert Pujols
Albert Pujols is currently fifth all time with a .608 slugging percentage.

Glanville: Eleventh. He will still have some great years, but it will be hard to sustain it for seven or eight more seasons, which is what it would take to knock out someone in the top 10. At his declining pace of WAR per year, he will leapfrog a few players, but it will be tough to pass Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb & Co. in that top 10. They have it on lockdown.

Simon: Ninth, just ahead of Mickey Mantle. Pujols still has a couple of very good years left in him and probably at least one more noteworthy postseason. He is going to crack the top 10.

Kahrl: Somewhere in the top seven or eight, barring a really ugly back nine of his career. In this kind of wisdom-of-crowds exercise, Pujols' shot at finishing ahead of anybody in the top six would be extraordinarily difficult, although I'd put him higher.


3. Make your case: ________ is way too high (or low).

Glanville: I still stand by Collins as one player who should be in the top 25 who's not. At the age of 35, he was still a perennial MVP candidate. He remained one of the best players for two decades and, in modern stats, his wins above replacement puts him up there as having one of the best careers of all time. Being ranked 42nd is a slap in his face. Lajoie is my runner-up for the same reasons.

Simon: Cy Young is 10 spots too low. He was the standard setter for everyone who followed him. I'd rate him and Walter Johnson ahead of Roger Clemens as the top pitcher of all time.

Kahrl: I wouldn't have Cy Young on my list of the 10 best pitchers of all time, let alone in the top 25. Consider his career: Sure, he led baseball in WAR five times, but all of those seasons pre-date the creation of the World Series and the first of those was in 1892, before they moved the mound back to 60 feet, 6 inches. It's just hard to consider those achievements equivalent to what pitchers have had to do since then, with the addition of the live ball. He was a star of his time, but his time was so significantly different from what followed.