We revealed players ranked 26-75 in our Hall of 100 on Wednesday. Our experts discuss a few things related to the newest 50 players in our Hall of 100 in today's Triple Play.
1. Mariano Rivera (No. 67): Too high, too low, or just right?
Doug Glanville (@dougglanville), "Baseball Tonight": Rivera is too low. He is one of the top 25 players of all time as the best closer/reliever in the history of the game. It is easy to overlook his work because of the short stints that make up his appearances, but he had the trifecta: domination, consistency and longevity.
Mark Simon (@msimonespn), ESPN Stats & Info: I gave 30 players a grade of 95 or higher and Rivera was one of them (which probably isn't surprising if you read what I wrote about Dennis Eckersley on Tuesday). I put a little bit of added value into being the defining player at your position in your era. Rivera epitomizes the idea of that. The out-of-this-world postseason numbers, in this era, also help his cause in my eyes.
Christina Kahrl (@ChristinaKahrl), ESPN.com: Too high. There's no doubt Rivera deserves his place in history as baseball's best closer ever. But in terms of career value, is there one player on this list since World War II that you'd trade in his prime for Rivera in his? Not to me.
2. Pete Rose (No. 37): Too high, too low, or just right?
Glanville: This is just right for Rose. The all-time hits leader is a no-doubt top 50 player of all time.
Simon: I had Rose just short of earning a "90" grade on my ballot and I had 52 players with 90s, so he rates as just right-to-slightly high. A ranking of 37th is definitely reasonable, from what I can tell. Looking back, I think I penalized him for the lack of home runs and stolen bases, and undervalued his postseason contributions, which are pretty good.
Kahrl: Way too high. As much of an advantage as Rose gave his teams year-to-year because he was positionally flexible, he isn't somebody you'd say was a great defender. He was a tremendous source of on-base percentage, he gave his team's GMs choices in lineup and roster design, he was a tremendous contact hitter, but all that doesn't combine to make him the 37th-best player of all time. To put it another way, his wins above replacement tally puts him even with Rod Carew, and Carew brought almost exactly the same gifts and limitations to the table -- and he's appropriately much lower on this list.
3. The most overrated player in the 26-75 range is __________.
Glanville: Ozzie Smith. Although you have to be great to be rated on this list, Smith's magic was mostly with the glove. My criteria for this list is to mark the most dominating players of the greatest group in baseball history, across all facets of the game. These were players who stood alone year in and year out over a long haul. Smith did not achieve being a dominant all-around force offensively. Lower-ranked Luke Appling and Joe Cronin did not have the glove comparatively, but they were offensive forces for years.
Simon: It took me about 20 minutes to come up with an answer to this one. I don't think that anyone on this list is vastly overrated. The best I could come up with was that I had about 20 pitchers or so ahead of Bob Feller and the final list has him as around 15th-best. So I'll tag him as slightly overrated, but not hugely so.
Kahrl: Besides Rose? A tough call between Brooks Robinson and Nap Lajoie, but I'll go with Lajoie. Lajoie spent chunks of his career hitting in the joke that was the Baker Bowl, or before the NL contracted, or in the AL before it was qualitatively equal to the NL, at a time when those two major leagues didn't even necessarily employ all of the best major league talent. Great player from baseball's prehistory? Sure. One of the 50 best players ever? Not a chance.