After watching and listening to the media covering the 3 day 2013 All-Star game festivities, this time was filled with many hours of analysis and discussions of the current All-Stars, as well as the All-Stars and greats of the past. At baseballsgreatesthitters.com we feel some of the all-time great players were not given their proper due in baseball history, while some of the other greats were never mentioned at all.We will review some of leading factors that result in a players career being underrated, such as, Popularity, how the player is viewed by the media as well as the fans,we beleive the biggest key factor is Timing, what greats played before him and the all-time greats of his era and we will also consider the City and Team the player has played for, as well as his appearances and success in the Post Season. We have polled a number of avid baseball fans between the ages of 20 yrs .old and 75 yrs. old and have compiled a list of players, they felt, over the years have been underrated. The list includes Pete Browning, Stuffy Mcinnis, Ken Williams, George Davis, Buddy Myer, Cecil Travis, Johnny Pesky, Wally Berger, Doc Cramer, Chuck Klein,Hal Chase, Harry Heilmann, Hank Greenberg, Johnny Mize, Wally Post, Bob Johnson, Bobby Doerr, Mickey Vernon, Gil Hodges, Roy Sievers, Wally Moses, Eddie Matthews, Rocky Colavito, Norm Cash, Rico Carty, Darrell Evans, Ken Boyer, Ron Santo, Boog Powell, Don Buford, Dwight Evans, Sal Bando, Hal Mcrae, Jim Rice, Bobby Bonds, Thurman Munson, Graig Nettles, Rusty Staub, Bill Madlock, Al Oliver, Manny Sanguillen, Brett Butler, Dale Murphy, Keith Hernandez, Don Mattingly, Eddie Murray, Frank Thomas, and Jim Edmonds, only 2 of the 48 players from our fan poll matched our list of the top 5 most underrated players in baseball history.
OUR LIST OF THE TOP 5 UNDERRATED PLAYERS
1. FRANK ROBINSON 2. JIM THOME 3. HANK GREENBERG 4. RICHIE ALLEN 5. FRANK THOMAS
1. FRANK ROBINSON
Our Rating System Evaluation: #20 on our All-Time Hitting List, # 13 on our Greatest Outfielders List, # 4 on the era 4 Hitting List.
When they discussed the all-time greats of Frank Robinson’s era, we heard: Mantle/Mays, Mantle/Mays/Aaron and later Mantle/Mays/Aaron/Clemente, but very little about Frank Robinson.
Timing – When Frank broke into the league in 1956, the focus was on the 3 stars from New York.Mickey, Willie and the Duke. Mickey Mantle was coming into his own, with solid hitting seasons in 1954 and 1955 and in 1956, the year Frank Robinson ties Wally Berger for the most home runs by a rookie(38). Mantle wins the Triple Crown, with one of baseballs greatest hitting seasons, and the Yankees win the World Series. In 1956, we see Willie Mays coming off an M.V.P season in 1954, and another monster season in 1955, when he leads the league with 51 home runs and in 1954 and the NY Giants are the World Series champs. When we look back at Duke Snider, though his career numbers are not at the level as Mantle and Mays, but for the first half of the ’50s, he was their equal. In 1955 the Brooklyn Dodgers were World Series Champs and from 1953 to 1957 Snider had 5 consecutive 40 plus Home Run seasons. Hank Aaron broke into the league in 1954, and in his second and third seasons 1955 and 1956, he had very solid years. In 1957 Aaron has a break-out year wih 44 H.R., 132 R.B.I.’s and a .322 Avg. and the Milwaukee Braves beat the NY Yankees to become the World Series Champs. Hank Aaron continued to put together a steady number of solid seasons and by the mid ’60s was right there with Mantle and Mays. In 1966 Robinson finally gets the spotlight by winning the Triple Crown, but only to have Carl Yastrzemski duplicate the feat the following season by winning the Triple Crown in 1967.
Summing up the career of Frank Robinson – Broke in with the Reds in 1956 and was traded as a “washed up,” “on the down side of his career” 30 yr.old to the Baltimore Orioles in 1966–1956 Rookie of the Year. –Tied Wally Berger for most Home Runs in a rookie season (38), that record stood for 31 years, broken by Mark McGwire (49) in 1987. Was the fisrt player to win the M.V.P. in both leagues. Won the Triple Crown in 1966. Retired in 1976 as the 4th greatest home run hitter, in 2017 still ranked 10th, since his retirement his total was passed by Jim Thome, Ken Griffey Jr. Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriquez, Sammy Sosa and Albert Pujols. Frank can do it all, play the outfield with the best of them, great throwing arm, breaking up the double play, a fierce competitor with a baseball IQ second to none. We feel Frank Robinson is one of the greatest hitters who ever played the game, as well as one of the greatest five tool players the game has ever seen.
2. JIM THOME
Our Rating System Evaluation: #51 on our All-Time Hitting List. #13 on our Greatest Hitting First Basemen List. #10 on the Greatest Hitters of his era List.
The 2012 season saw Jim Thome become only the 7th player in the history of baseball to hit 600 career home runs joining, Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriquez, Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa.
At baseballsgreatesthitters.com, we feel milestone received surprisingly very little media attention.
TIMING – Looking back at this great career, Jim Thome has never been found to have used steroids, in fact, he has never been a “suspected” user, but we feel his career accomplishments are penalized simply because he played in the wrong era. On an “equal playing field,” Jim Thome would be #5 on the All-Time Home Run List. In the last 10/15 years of media coverage, sports talk radio etc. all the attention has gone to the “cheaters” while the career of one of the greatest sluggers in the history of the game gets lost. When baseball media and fans discuss the top home run hitters, we hear the names Ruth, Mantle, Mays, Aaron, Killebrew, Schmidt, Reggie, Bonds etc . Jim Thome’s name rarely pops up.
Summing up the career of JimThome – #8 on the All-Time Home Run List. Played his career at a disadvantage… in the steroid era. Had 12 30-plus home run seasons in his career and 1,700 career R.B.I.’s to go along with his .400 career on base pct. Jim Thome is one of the greatest sluggers the game has ever seen.
Our Rating System Evaluation: #12 on the All-Time Hitting List. #3 on our Greatest Hitting First Basemen List. #4 on the Greatest Hitters of his era List.
TIMING – When Hank broke in the league in 1933, Babe Ruth was at the end of his career but still the games most popular player, while two of the greatest hitters in the game, Lou Gehrig (30 yrs.old) and Jimmie Foxx (25 Yrs.old) were having Hall of Fame seasons. As the Ruth era ends, we begin the a new era, which will be dominated by Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. In the 1935,1937,1938, and 1939 we see Greenberg put up Ruth-Like numbers, but a lot of the headlines go to the Yankees, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and the rookie sensation in Boston, Ted Williams. In 2013, when baseball looks back at the great players from the early ’30s to late ’40s, the great career of Greenberg takes a back seat to Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, DiMaggio and Williams.
Summing up the career of Hank Greenberg – Hank had a short career, listed as 13 seasons, but actually played 9 full seasons, and at the age of 30 lost 4 prime years serving the military in the war years. Hit 40 or more home runs 4 times including a career high 58 round trippers in 1938. Hank is only one of the 5 players in the history of the game to be in our 3-4-6 Club, .300 career batting average, a .400 on base pct.and a .600 slg.pct. Hank Greenberg is one of the games greatest hitters, who over the years, has been forgotten.
4. FRANK THOMAS
Our Rating System Evaluation: #24 on our All-Time Hitting List. #5 on our Greatest Hitting First Basemen List. #3 on the Greatest Hitters of his era List.
TIMING – Frank began his brilliant career in 1990, this year marked the end of the last clean era in baseball and the beginning of the steroid era. At this time, though not spoken of, many league ballplayers started this new era using steroids and many other PED’s. Frank Thomas, for most of the ’90s, was one of the best hitters in baseball, maybe even the best. Throughout his 19 year career, he was never found to be using or highly “suspected” of using steroids or any other performance enhancing drugs and his numbers were as good and if not better than the players who cheated. Once again, as in the case of Jim Thome, the players who played the game the right way were kept out of the headlines, while most of the media attention was given to the controversial careers of Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmiero and Barry Bonds.
Summing up the career of Frank Thomas – He became the 25th member of the 500 Home Run Club in 2007, an impressive milestone, but one that has been watered down by at least 6 players associated with steroid use. Had 9 career 40 plus home run seasons. Won back to back M.V.P.’s in 1993 and 1994. In his career of 19 seasons, 11 of those were 100 R.B.I. seasons. He is one of only 27 players in our 3-4-5-Club. He had an amazing streak of 8 consecutive seasons,(1991-1998) with 100 R.B.I.’s combined with 100 runs scored. Frank Thomas is one of baseballs All-Time great hitters whose career achievements have been overshadowed by the negativity of the steroid era.
5. RICHIE ALLEN
Our Rating System Evaluation: #115 on the All-Time Hitting List. #21 on our Greatest Hitting First Basemen List. #10 on the Greatest Hitters of his era List.
TIMING – Richie “Dick” Allen broke into baseball in1964 and when he entered the league he was surrounded by some of baseballs All-Time greats, Mantle, Mays, Aaron, Robinson, Kaline, McCovey, etc, as well as emerging stars Yastrzemski, Rose, Conigliaro, Cepeda, Oliva, Brock, Morgan, Perez, Santo, Stargell etc. Richie Allen career is listed as 15 seasons (1963-1977) but only had 6 seasons where he played140 games or more. The start of his career also marked the start of the baseballs pitching era, though he played during the pitching era, he did put up some great hitting stats such as 6 seasons of 30 or more home runs, hit 32 118 games,34 in 122 games, and 32 in 128 games. As we look back at his years in baseball, he played in the pitching era, was not well liked by both the fans as well as the media and played at a time where there was a blend of established stars as well new young talent.
Summing up the career of Richie Allen – He was Rookie of the Year in 1964. He was the A.L. M.V P. in 1972. Had he had a longer career with more career at bats, he could compiled Hall of Fame numbers, comparable or most likely better than players such as Tony Perez and Andre Dawson. Make no mistake about it, Richie Allen could hit,and this feared hitter had Hall of Fame talent, but unfortunately, border-line Hall of Fame career numbers
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