The Kansas City Royals were one of the latest crown jewels to be added to the American League back in 1969. They really focused on building their strength up mostly through a farm system that produced some of their best players to ever wear royal blue. The team was founded by Ewing Kauffman, a local entrepreneur and enjoyed their first winning season a couple seasons later in 1971. Let’s review their 24 greatest players in their 40+ year Major League Baseball history. NOTE – The Kansas City Royals are 4 of the next 4 Major League Baseball Franchise teams we will be adding to the #1 selling Baseball Classics All-Time Greats set in the Fall of 2013. These 4 teams will be available as an add-on for those who already purchased the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats. Stay tuned in our Blog to learn about the final MLB franchise to be added! In the Fall of 2013 Baseball Classics will welcome the Kansas City Royals, Houston Colt .45s-Astros, Los Angeles/Califonia/Anaheim Angels, and New York Mets to the All-Time Greats set. There are many great and exciting players to choose from; here’s who makes the cut for the top 15 position players and 9 pitchers that will be added and their impact on the franchise.
Brett Saberhagen – Two-time Cy Young award recipient is the best pitcher to play for the franchise. Pitched half his 16-year stellar career with the Royals. Kept walks to a minimum which is reflected in his impressive ERA. Fielded his position very well.
Cy Young/All-Star/Gold Glove | Wins 167 | ERA 3.32 | BB/9 1.7
Larry Gura – Logged 10 consecutive seasons with Kansas City with a healthy winning percentage for the club. Was a steady double figures winner for seven consecutive seasons earning 99 wins over that span.
All-Star | Wins 126 | ERA 3.76 | IP 2047
Dennis Leonard – Great mound presence. 3-time 20 game winner, played all 12 seasons for the Royals and somehow was snubbed from the All-Star team. A workhorse until he finally broke down towards the end of his career with injuries. He liked to finish what he started.
ERA 3.70 | Wins 144 | WHIP 1.262 | CG 103
Paul Splittorff – The all-time wins leader for the Kansas City Royals during his 15 years with them. He’s another Royal who surprisingly never made an All-Star team. Consistent year after year, had 10 seasons of double-digit victories to his credit. Long-time pitcher threw the first pitch in the minors for the franchise in 1968 before they joined the American League.
ERA 3.81 | Wins/Losses 166/143 | WHIP 1.34 | HR/9 .7
Kevin Appier – Very impressive 13 season stint with the Royals. Known for his nasty forkball and wild pitching motion. Walked a lot of batters, though also struck out more than twice as many. Didn’t surrender the gofer ball much at all with the Royals, though after moving on he did. Appier was tough to get a hit against with his arsenal of pitches.
All-Star | ERA 3.74 | Winning Pct. .552 | WHIP 1.294 | SO 1994
Steve Busby – Fired two no-hitters becoming the first pitcher in MLB history to do so in his first 2 MLB seasons. Had a blazing fastball that came with plenty of chin music. Unfortunately his career was short-lived due to a torn rotator cuff, he was never the same since. It’s no wonder, he had 38 complete games over a 2 year span.
All-Star | ERA 3.72 | Winning Pct. .565 | WHIP 1.354 | HR/9 .6
Al Fitzmorris – Not too many pitchers who are first to be on a new franchise go on to have a winning record with them, though he accomplished that feat. Fitzmorris was solid for the Royals during his 8 years on the mound with them. Worked his way from bullpen to starter, nothing flashy, but consistent.
ERA 3.65 | Winning Pct. .566 | WHIP 1.256 | HR/9 .6
Dan Quisenberry – The quintessential relief ace during his time, not only for the team, but in MLB. His sidearm submarine motion that launched from about a foot off the ground was wicked. He used his pinpoint control to dominate hitters. Was AL saves leader 5 out of 6 seasons.
All-Star | ERA 2.76 | Saves 244 | WHIP 1.175 | BB/9 1.4
Jeff Montgomery – The franchise all-time saves leader. Spent his rookie season in Cincy before spending the rest of his 13-year career with the Royals. Averaged 29 saves a season over that span. Recorded 30 or more saves 5 seasons including 45 when he was the AL saves leader.
All-Star | ERA 3.27 | Saves 304 | WHIP 1.244 | SO/9 7.6
Darrell Porter – Known for his keen eye at the plate, that significantly elevated his OPS well above his average hitting. Had some pop in his bat, thus always a threat to get on base or knock one out. Played 17 seasons, his finest with the Royals for 4 seasons.
All-Star | OPS .763 | BB 905 | HR 188
Mike Mcfarlane – Played 11 of his 13 MLB seasons with the Royals and showcased some good power along the way. Also was plunked a lot and had a decent eye leading to a very respectful career OPS. Authored 6 consecutive seasons of 13 or more home runs.
AVG .252 | OPS .752 |HR 12 | FLD .992
Mike Sweeney – He can hit. Not so hot with the glove at Catcher or elsewhere, he made a handsome career for himself with blistering batting. He could hit for power too plus could get on base with more than his share of walks. Sweeney cranked out doubles like they were going out of style.
All-Star | AVG .297 | 2B 325 | HR 215 | RBI 909 | OPS .851
Billy Butler – Played 9 of his 23 Major League Baseball seasons for the New York Mets plating two different stints. He reached base safely well over 4000 times. Staub was a terrific hitter, later in his career was a pinch hit specialist that all teams feared lurking in the dugout. Though he played most of his career in the outfield, he also played 11 seasons at first base.
MVP/Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .296 | OPS .821 | HITS 2182
Frank White– A great clutch hitter, could play multiple infield positions well. His versatility and knack to drive in game winners throughout his career and ability to play a very dependable second base in the field well deserves to be listed among the Mets
All-Time greats. All-Star | AVG .284 | HITS 1532 | OBS .782
Cookie Rojas – He hustled while playing 9 of 14 Major League Baseball seasons for the Mets. Backman was a solid number 2 hitter with his above average on base percentage. Though he never was voted to an All-Star team, his consistency and number of games he played for the Mets at 2nd base earns him a spot.
AVG .275 | OBA .349 | HITS 893
George Brett – The greatest player to ever play for the Kansas City Royals, he’s the face of the franchise. 13 straight seasons was an All-Star and owns the single season record for the highest batting average at .390. Owns just about every batting award one could accomplish short of the Triple Crown. Fiery player, always the most fierce competitor he is one of the very best to ever play MLB.
Hall of Fame/Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .305 | OPS .857 | HR 317 | HITS 3154
Kevin Seitzer – The man who ultimately replaced George Brett at Third base was a hitting machine. He batted .323 over his first 841 plate appearances from the time he joined the big leagues with the Royals. How about 8 seasons in full or limited duty batting over .300 during his career? Consistently had impressive batting averages from start to finish.
All-Star | AVG .295 | HITS 1557 | 2B 285 | RUNS 739
Freddie Patek – Pint-sized Patek was an absolute menace to play against. He could steal, was an outstanding fielder, and ran the bases like a mad man legging out triples on the slick astro-turf surface which was like a skillet during the hot summer days and nights.
All-Star | AVG .242 | 3B 55 | SB 385
UL Washington – Long time Mets shortstop was far more of a glove man than a stick man. He joined the team at 21 and played with them for 13 seasons. He could swipe a few bases and considering his batting average; his on base percentage was respectable for the value he brought to the team which included his leadership.
Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .236 | OBP .327 | Runs 539
Amos Otis – How about a .340 batting average the same season your franchise win’s it’s first World Series? Jones was a staple for the New York Mets for most of his 13 MLB seasons; a good all-around player and steady contributor.
All-Star | AVG .281 | OPS .744 | Runs 565
Willie Wilson – Speed burner covered miles of carpet during his 15 seasons with the franchise. Wilson was electrifying and known as one of the best leadoff hitters of his generation. Unfortunately he had off the field problems, thus peaked about half way through his career. Yet he was brilliant and a force to reckon with at bat, on the base paths, and in the field. All-Star/Gold Glove | AVG .285 | 3B 147 | Runs 1169 | SB 668
Danny Tartabull – Played 5 of his 14 seasons with Kansas City and saved his best for them with a .290 batting average during that time and .518 slugging average. Belted in more than 100 RBI’s 5 times in his career. Known to be a slugger in his day, had 10 seasons of double-digit round trippers.
All Star | AVG .273 | HR 262 | RBI’s 925 | OPS .864
Johnny Damon – Played for a lot of MLB teams, though spent most of them with the Royals where he began his career. Outside of a weak arm he could do just about everything else for your club, including pop a long one now and then. Had outstanding speed which legged out over 100 triples in his career.
All-Star | AVG .284 | HITS 2769 | 2B 522 | SB 408
Hal McRae – The only original New York Met to make the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats New York Mets team played all 18 seasons of his career for the franchise. He wasn’t flashy, but wound up with a respectable career as an outfielder and first baseman. He had his moments towards the Mets winning the 1969 World Series.
All-Star | AVG .261 | HITS 1418 | TB 2047
Notable Franchise Names That Missed The Cut The Royals franchise produced some of the finest home-grown talent including superstar Bo Jackson who missed the cut due to a football injury. Bob “Hammer” Hamelin and Al Cowens gave the franchise a thrill in their day. Lou Piniella took his best years over to the Yankees. John Wathan was a decent average hitting catcher and enjoyed a 10 year MLB career all with the Royals, though not good enough to outshine the other catchers that made this roster. David DeJesus and Alex Gordon were very good, though just falling short. Charlie Liebrandt was difficult to cut; it could easily be argued he’s deserving of a roster spot here though just like Tom “Flash” Gordon, he narrowly missed it. Here’s the starting lineup I recommend generally starting for the All-Time Great Kansas City Royals:
- OF – Willie Wilson
- 2B – Frank White
- 3B – George Brett
- OF – Amos Otis
- OF – Hal McRae
- 1B – Mike Sweeney
- C – Darrell Porter
- SS – Freddie Patek
- P – Brett Saberhagen
We look forward to adding them to the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats later this year. Do you agree with our top 24 selections for the All-Time Kansas City Royals? Who do you think is the best Royals player to ever play? What’s your favorite memory of this franchise? Let us know in the comments below!
In 1962 Major League Baseball welcomed a new team to the National League named the New York Mets. They were greeted with much fan fare, then went on to set a record for the worst record in the 162 regular season format with a mere 40 wins, an underwhelming .250 winning percentage. However this great franchise took the baseball world by storm only several years later becoming World Series Champions as the “Miracle Mets”! The Mets went on to collect their second title in 1986. Let’s review the 24 greatest players in their 50+ year Major League Baseball history.
The New York Mets are 3 of the next 4 Major League Baseball Franchise teams we will be adding to the #1 selling Baseball Classics All-Time Greats set in the Fall of 2013. The 4 teams will be available as an add-on for those who already purchased the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats. Stay tuned in our Blog to learn about the final MLB franchise to be added!
In the Fall of 2013 Baseball Classics will welcome the Houston Colt .45s-Astros, Los Angeles/Califonia/Anaheim Angels, and New York Mets to the All-Time Greats set. There are many great and exciting players to choose from; here’s who makes the cut for the top 15 position players and 9 pitchers that will be added and their impact on the franchise.
Tom Seaver – “Tom Terrific” is not only the greatest pitcher in Mets history, he’s also considered one of the all-time greatest pitchers in Major League Baseball. He’s racked up every major pitching award leading the league several times in ERA and strikeouts along his amazing 20 year career.
Hall of Fame/Rookie of the Year/Cy Young/All-Star | Wins 311 | ERA 2.86
Dwight Gooden – A 19 year old with tremendous talent, he joined the Mets in 1984 and dominated with a 276 strikeouts on his way to receiving the Rookie of the Year Award. “Doc” Gooden pitched 11 seasons for the Mets and whiffed batters with his lethal 98-mile an hour fastball and wicked curve.
Rookie of the Year/Cy Young/All-Star | Wins 194 | WHIP 1.256 | Strikeouts 2293
Jerry Koosman – “Koos” enjoyed 12 seasons with the Mets, he logged a reliable 200+ innings pitched 10 times. He was a staple on the Miracle Mets 1969 World Series championship team and a beloved member of the franchise ever since.
All-Star | ERA 3.36 | Wins 222 | WHIP 1.259
Ron Darling – One sign he was a great pitcher is that he was able to overcome the unusually high number of walks allowed. He typically kept batters in check with his 5 pitch repertoire and that lowered the amount of hit- per inning pitched. A member of the 1986 Mets and key reason they went on to capture the World Series.
All-Star/Gold Glove | ERA 3.87 | Wins/Losses 136/116 | WHIP 1.335 | HR/9 .9
Sid Fernandez – “El Sid” was nasty against lefties with his crafty, yet whipping angled left-handed arm motion. He pitched 10 seasons for the Mets, best known for keeping the amount of HITS given up to a minimum.
All-Star | ERA 3.36 | Winning Pct. .543 | WHIP 1.144
Al Leiter – A two-time World Series champion, though neither was with the Mets organization. He was a “gamer”, pitched 7 of his 19 Major League Baseball seasons with the franchise that were his best of any of the other teams he played for. When you had a pressure game, Leiter is a safe bet to come through as he did throughout his illustrious career.
All-Star | ERA 3.80 | Wins/Losses 162/132 | WHIP 1.1386 | Strikeouts 1974
David Cone – A gritty and tough mound presence backed up with his talent. Cone pitched the 16th perfect game in Major League Baseball history and pitched for 5 World Series champion teams though not as a member of the Mets. However like Leiter, he pitched most of his career and had his best numbers with the franchise.
Cy Young/All-Star | ERA 3.46 | Wins/Losses/Pct. 194/126/.606 | WHIP 1.256
John Franco – Pitched 14 of his 21 seasons with the Mets and is their all-time saves leader. A team captain and local favorite, Franco shined during his tenure with the Mets. He was a saves league leader in his career 3 times and stingy when it came to giving up the gopher ball.
All-Star | ERA 2.89 | Saves 424 | WHIP 1.333 | HR/9 .6
Jesse Orosco – Pitched in a remarkable 1252 Major League Baseball games, he’s the all-time leader in that category. It’s no wonder he pitched in somany games, especially as a specialist. Orosco was virtually unhittable for most left-handed batters with a side sweeping, nasty release that cut across the zone. Pitched 4 decades which included being a member of the 1986 Champion Mets.
All-Star | ERA 3.16 | Saves 144 | WHIP 1.263 | SO/9 8.2
Mike Piazza – One of the greatest Mets as well as one of the all-time best hitting catchers in Major League Baseball history. A 12-time all-star, he amassed the most Home Runs for any Catcher to ever play. His career launched with the Dodgers as Rookie of the Year, played most of the second half of his career as a leader for the Mets.
Rookie of the Year/All-Star | AVG .308 | HR 427 | RBI 1335
Jerry Grote – Played 12 of his 16 MLB seasons with the New York Mets including as the starting catcher for the 1969 World Series Championship team and that amazing pitching staff. Though he never won a Gold Glove, he was an outstanding defensive catcher.
All-Star | AVG .252 | HITS 1092 | FLD .991
Keith Hernandez – One of the very best Mets of all-time, Hernandez was a high performer with his bat and glove. Had a keen eye at the plate walking more than striking out during his 17-year career. He played more games for the Cardinals, though as great a career he had, fell short of making their Baseball Classics All-Time Greats roster. However there is a perfect landing spot for him on the Mets franchise where he played 7 of his 17 seasons.
MVP/Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .296 | OPS .821 | HITS 2182
Rusty Staub – Played 9 of his 23 Major League Baseball seasons for the New York Mets plating two different stints. He reached base safely well over 4000 times. Staub was a terrific hitter, later in his career was a pinch hit specialist that all teams feared lurking in the dugout. Though he played most of his career in the outfield, he also played 11 seasons at first base.
All-Star | AVG .279 | HITS 2716 | Walks 1255 | RBI 1466
Edgardo Alfonzo – A great clutch hitter, could play multiple infield positions well. His versatility and knack to drive in game winners throughout his career and ability to play a very dependable second base in the field well deserves to be listed among the Mets All-Time greats.
All-Star | AVG .284 | HITS 1532 | OBS .782
Wally Backman – He hustled while playing 9 of 14 Major League Baseball seasons for the Mets. Backman was a solid number 2 hitter with his above average on base percentage. Though he never was voted to an All-Star team, his consistency and number of games he played for the Mets at 2nd base earns him a spot.
AVG .275 | OBA .349 | HITS 893
David Wright – Outstanding 10-year career and counting. Averages 26 home runs each year, over 100 RBI’s, and over .300 batting average. It’s no wonder he’s a multi-year All-Star with Cooperstown taking notice for future reference. He’s also a great glove man at the hot corner, the best Mets player to field this position.
Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .301 | OPS .888 | HR 217 | RBI 862
Howard Johnson – Big run producer, Johnson knocked the ball out of the park in big numbers. Not known for a high batting average, instead his ability to get extra base HITS and outstanding on the base paths for this type of hitter; he was a definitely threat to steal a base and did many times.
All-Star | AVG .249 | HR 228 | OPS .786 | RBI’s 760 | SB 231
Jose Reyes – One of the few speedsters on the New York Mets All-Time Greats. However Reyes is a dangerous weapon far beyond that. He has a terrific leadoff batting average and is a triples machine, though has enough pop in his bat to knock one out and rack up two-baggers.
All-Star | AVG .292 | HITS 1521 | SB 418
Bud Harrelson – Long time Mets shortstop was far more of a glove man than a stick man. He joined the team at 21 and played with them for 13 seasons. He could swipe a few bases and considering his batting average; his on base percentage was respectable for the value he brought to the team which included his leadership.
Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .236 | OBP .327 | Runs 539
Cleon Jones – How about a .340 batting average the same season your franchise win’s it’s first World Series? Jones was a staple for the New York Mets for most of his 13 MLB seasons; a good all-around player and steady contributor.
All-Star | AVG .281 | OPS .744 | Runs 565
Carlos Beltran – 5-tool player Beltran played 7 seasons for the Mets belting 149 home runs and making the All-Star team 4 times. He has shuffled around in his career and battled injuries, though when healthy has been very productive. He won the Rookie of the Year honors coming up with the Royals.
Rookie of the Year/All-Star | AVG .283 | HR 353 | RBI’s 1296 | OPS .857
Mookie Wilson – One of the franchise best leadoff hitters, Wilson roamed the outfield for the Mets for 10 seasons. A catalyst on the base paths, he could leg out a triple and steal bases in batches.
AVG .274 | HITS 1397 | Runs 731 | OPS .700 | SB 327
Darryl Strawberry – Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year for the Mets in 1983, he was a star for the team during his 8 seasons. Played a large role on the 1986 World Series Champion Mets team, though his best season for them was 2 years later when he was narrowly edged out as MVP.
Rookie of the Year/All-Star | AVG .259 | HR 335 | OPS .862 | RBI’s 1000
Ed Kranepool – The only original New York Met to make the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats New York Mets team played all 18 seasons of his career for the franchise. He wasn’t flashy, but wound up with a respectable career as an outfielder and first baseman. He had his moments towards the Mets winning the 1969 World Series.
All-Star | AVG .261 | HITS 1418 | TB 2047
Notable Franchise Names That Missed The Cut
The Mets franchise has some of the finest pitching, Craig Swan had a shining career though breaking into this staff requires more than being a shiny penny. Roger McDowell racked up a good number of saves for the Mets and was impressive. Gary Carter and his Hall of Fame career had 4 really good seasons, but not long enough to be on this team. Kevin McReynolds a very good player for the Mets, but just not quite enough to make this team. Dave Magadan was the toughest decision, though just like his career went trying to make a spot for him between first and third base, ultimately he just couldn’t quite beat out the others.
Here’s the starting lineup I recommend generally starting for the All-Time Great New York Mets:
- SS – Jose Reyes
- OF – Carlos Beltran
- 3B – David Wright
- C – Mike Piazza
- 1B – Keith Hernandez
- OF – Darryl Strawberry
- 2B – Edgardo Alfonso
- OF – Cleon Jones
- P – Tom Seaver
We look forward to adding them to the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats later this year. Do you agree with our top 24 selections for the All-Time New York Mets? Who do you think is the best Mets player to ever play? What’s your favorite memory of this franchise? Let us know in the comments below!
The City of Angels gave birth to the Los Angeles Angels ascending to the American League in 1961. Since then they have retained their team moniker yet have floated geographical names such as California, Anaheim, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and settled back on Los Angeles in recent years. Gene Autry purchased the franchise and paid then Dodger owner Walter O’Malley $300,000 for the original team name Los Angeles Angels. O’Malley owned the rights to that name from a prior acquisition of a minor league team with the same name. The Angels franchise have won 1 World Series, in 2002 over the San Francisco Giants.
The Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels are 2 of the next 4 Major League Baseball Franchise teams we will be adding to the #1 selling Baseball Classics All-Time Greats set in the Fall of 2013. The 4 teams will be available as an add-on for those who already purchased the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats. Stay tuned in our Blog to learn about the next 2 MLB franchises to be added!
In the Fall of 2013 Baseball Classics will welcome the Houston Colt .45s-Astros and Los Angeles/Califonia/Anaheim Angels to the All-Time Greats set. There are many great and exciting players to choose from; here’s who makes the cut for the top 15 position players and 9 pitchers that will be added and their impact on the franchise.
Nolan Ryan – The all-time strikeout King, A.K.A. “Ryan Express” is a welcome addition to the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats! Led the AL in strikeouts 7 of his 8 seasons for the Angels. He was a dominating pitcher in his generation and considered one of the greatest pitchers in Major League Baseball history.
Hall of Fame/All-Star | ERA 3.19 | SO/9 9.5 | Strikeouts 5714
Chuck Finley – 14 seasons pitching for the Angels, accumulated 165 wins during that span. The 4-time All-Star, consistent lefty averaged 14 wins for 11 seasons with the Angels. Had the longest stint with the Angels franchise on the mound.
All-Star | ERA 3.85 | Wins/Losses 200/173 | WHIP 1.376
Frank Tanana – Began as a 100+ mph flame thrower, then after an injury became a savvy left hander with a nasty curve that dropped from the heavens over the plate to full many hitters. At one time in the same rotation with Nolan Ryan.
All-Star | ERA 3.66 | Wins 240 | WHIP 1.27
Jered Weaver – An outstanding pitcher for the Angels, has only pitched in his MLB career for this franchise. Drafted in 2004 by the Angels in the 1st round as the 12th overall pick. Does not surrender many long balls. 20 game winner in 2012.
All-Star | ERA 3.25 | Wins/Losses 102/53 | WHIP 1.145 | HR/9 1.0
Mark Langston – Pitched 8 of his 16 seasons for the Angels while compiling an impressive career in many categories including fielding his position well. Another one-time flamethrower turned crafty pitcher striking out far more while walking far less.
All-Star/Gold Glove | ERA 3.97 | Wins/Losses 179/158 | WHIP 1.354
Mike Witt – Pitched a Perfect Game in his career with over 100 wins for the franchise. Drafted by the Angels, the tall, lanky right-hander was stingy giving up Home Runs. His durability shined through with 6 consecutive seasons of 200+ innings.
All-Star | ERA 3.83 | Wins/Losses/Saves 117/116/6 | WHIP 1.1318 | HR/9 0.8
Dean Chance – A member of the original Los Angeles Angels, Dean enjoyed a remarkable 11 year career including a highly impressive season with the Angels in 1964 when we was honored with the Cy Young award. He had 20 wins, 11 shutouts, and 4 saves to boot that season to compliment his 1.65 ERA!
Cy Young/All-Star | All-Star | ERA 2.92 | Wins/Losses/Saves 128/115/23 | HR/9 0.5
Francisco Rodriguez – Relief specialist and phenomenal closer he never struck out less than a stunning 9.9/9 IP for the Angels. In 2008 he recorded 62 saves, a franchise record. Three-time league leader in saves. Could strike out batters with any one of his four pitches, including his featured hard four-seam fastball.
All-Star | ERA 2.70 | Saves 294 | WHIP 1.175 | SO/9 11.0
Troy Percival – Angels all-time saves leader, another strikeout artist for the franchise. He appeared in 579 games for the Angels, with 29 wins, a 2.99 ERA, and 316 saves. Was the stopper for 9 consecutive seasons for the Angels with 4 trips to the All-Star game over that span.
All-Star | ERA 3.17 | Saves 358 | WHIP 1.108 | SO/9 9.9
Bob Boone – Played 19 seasons in the Bigs, this hard-nosed catcher comes from a strong family line of solid Major League Baseball players. Boone was sturdy with a decent average, excellent at handling pitchers.
All-Star/Gold Glove | AVG .254 | FLG .989
Brian Downing – 20 year MLB career with over 2000 hits. Belted 222 home runs for the Angels after leaving the Chicago White Sox. Though his years as a catcher were waning fast when he joined the Angels, his offensive stats were just heating up.
All-Star | AVG .267 | OPS .796 | HITS 2099
Wally Joyner – A smooth, natural swing stoked many doubles from his at bats throughout his stellar career. He was also a slick fielder and a fan favorite during his day. In his tenure with the Angels, he hit .286 with 117 home runs and 532 RBIs.
All-Star | AVG .289 | OPS .802 | 2B 409
Jim Spencer – Began the first 6 seasons of his 15-year career with the Angels. Had an average bat, though was excellent with his fielding. He had some pop in his bat and oddly enough hit for 27 triples, though only stole 11 bases.
All-Star/Gold Glove | AVG .250 | RBI 599 | FLD .995
Bobby Grich – Grich was tough as nails during his 17 illustrious year MLB career, spending 10 of them with the Angels after coming over from the Orioles. Good glove man with some power, always dependable year after year. Grich could essentially do it all in every aspect of the game, really solid all-around second baseman.
All-Star/Gold Glove | AVG .266 | HITS 1833 | OPS .794
Howie Kendrick – Ever since joining the Angels his rookie season he’s been an outstanding and versatile player. Now playing in his 8th season for the only Major League Baseball franchise he’s ever known, he has never batter lowed than .279 and adapted to some new places with the glove to make himself that much more valuable.
All-Star | AVG .292 | FLD .986 | OPS .756
Chone Figgins – He may come as a surprise to some for making this team considering he left his bat in California once we signed with Seattle. However his stats for the Angels are undeniable, prior to leaving them he was a perennial weapon in the lineup. His speed was always a threat on the base paths and he found himself on base at a impressive clip. Not great in the field, but surely can play many spots.
All-Star | AVG .277 | OPS .713 | 3B 58 | SB 337
Troy Glaus – Clubbed quite a few home runs for the Angels in his day, led the league in 2000 with his career high 47. 5 times had 30 or more home runs in a season. Fair average and in the field, he featured his raw power and clutch hitting for the franchise.
All-Star | AVG .254 | HR 320 | RBI 950
Jim Fregosi – The franchise Shortstop from the beginning with a very nice productive career for the Angels. During 11 seasons with the Angels, Fregosi hit .268 with 115 home runs and 546 RBIs. However his best franchise contribution may have been prying Nolan Ryan away from the Mets in exchange for Fregosi.
All-Star/Gold Glove | AVG .265 | HITS 1726 | FLD .963
Erick Aybar – Steady at the plate and provides good leather, Aybar is the best hitting shortstop for batting average in their history. He can steal a base and get around third to score more times than not, thus always putting the pressure on the defense.
Gold Glove | AVG .279 | 3B 33 | OPS .706
Tim Salmon – Played all 14 of his MLB seasons with the Angels and considered an icon of the organization (“Mr. Angel”). Despite some all-star caliber seasons he was never elected to the All-Star team, though should have been a number of times. His keen eye at the plate, power, and ability to hit above average made for a long outstanding career.
Rookie of the Year | AVG .282 | OPS .884 | HR 299 | RBI 1016
Garret Anderson – An outstanding hitter he was a mainstay throughout most of his 17-season career here. He has a flare for piling up extra base hits, twice leading the league in doubles. An average fielder, but a clutch performer, he was as consistent as a Manager could ask for every day highlighting why he played so many years.
All-Star | AVG .292 | 2B 522 | RUNS 1084 | OPS .785
Jim Edmonds – Though just squeezed out from the St. Louis Cardinal All-Time Greats roster, there is definitely a place for him with the franchise he also had some of his best seasons with. Smooth fielding with a bat to back up his ability at the plate, Edmonds was a star. He could get on base and wasn’t shy when it came to scoring runs, let alone knocking them in with his knack for the key timed hit.
All-Star/Gold Glove | AVG .284 | HITS 1949 | HR 393 | OPS .903
Darin Erstad – Earned a Gold Glove for his play one season in centerfield and another at firstbase. His story doesn’t stop there, his focused play and determination at the plate capped a batter than average ability to hit over 14 seasons, 11 of them with the Halos. In 2000 he had his best season, knocking out 240 hits to lead the league while batting .355.
All-Star/Gold Glove | AVG .282 | HITS 1697 | OPS .743 | FLD .996
Albie Pearson – Another one of the original Los Angeles Angels, he had a .275 career batting average while playing for them. He had an All-Star season in 1964 to surpass his Rookie of the Year accolades in 1958 with Washington.
All-Star/Rookie of the Year | AVG .270 | RUNS 485 | OPS .724
Notable Franchise Names That Missed The Cut.
Devon White was inconsistent for the Angels, yet flashy before heading to have his best seasons with the Blue Jays. Maicer Izturis started and ended his career in Canada with the Expos and Blue Jays, though in between for 8 seasons was a very consistent performer during his time with the Angels as a utility infielder. Adam Kennedy had a very nice career for the Halos, just missed making this Baseball Classics All-Time Greats Angels roster. Buck Rogers was a founding member of the Angels and long standing catcher, but unfortunately had a subpar career. Andy Messersmith had a fine MLB career which began with the Angels, though didn’t stay with the franchise long enough to qualify. John Lackey had a good tenure with the Angels, but fell short of his fellow staff members that made the list.
Here’s the starting lineup I recommend generally starting for the All-Time Great Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels:
- 3B – Chone Figgins
- 2B – Bobby Grich
- OF – Garret Anderson
- OF – Tim Salmon
- 1B – Wally Joyner
- OF – Jim Edmonds
- SS – Erick Aybar
- C – Bob Boone
- P – Nolan Ryan
We look forward to adding them to the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats later this year. Do you agree with our top 24 selections for the All-Time Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels? Who do you think is the best Angels player to ever play? What’s your favorite memory of this franchise? Let us know in the comments below!
This Houston franchise was born in the year 1962 and belonged to the National League, in 2013 they are making the switch to the American League. They began as the Colt .45s, though after a few years changed the team name to the Astros when they moved from Colt Stadium to the Houston Astrodome. During the 1970’s they were mostly known for their flashy, trendy, colorful multi-striped uniforms and in the 1980’s became a team to reckon with. In 2005 they were the first team from Texas to be represented in the Fall Classic, though fell short against the Chicago White Sox.
The Houston Colt .45s-Astros are 1 of the next 4 Major League Baseball Franchise teams we will be adding to the #1 selling Baseball Classics All-Time Greats set in the Fall of 2013. The 4 teams will be available as an add-on for those who already purchased the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats. Stay tuned in our Blog to learn about the next 3 MLB franchises to be added!
In the Fall of 2013 Baseball Classics will welcome the Houston Colt .45s-Astros to the All-Time Greats set. There are many great and exciting players to choose from; here’s who makes the cut for the top 15 position players and 9 pitchers that will be added and their impact on the franchise.
J. R. Richard – He is arguably the best pitcher to represent this Baseball Classics All-Time Greats team. J.R. Richards through with smoke and fire racking up strikeouts on par with the best of any pitcher during his time.
All-Star | ERA 3.15 | Wins/Losses 107/71 | Strikeouts 1493
Larry Dierker – His rookie season was on the Houston Colt .45s and played for the franchise through 1976. Nothing flashy, yet can count on his consistency day in and out. Low hits, walks, and home runs allowed, dependable throughout most of his long career.
All-Star | ERA 3.31 | Wins/Losses139/123 | WHIP 1.217
Ken Forsch – Outstanding control pitcher, versatile starter or reliever with quality starts or relief appearances. For being a control pitcher in 1 season he hit almost as many batters as free throwing JR Richards did throughout his career (11/17)!
All-Star | ERA 3.37 | Wins/Losses/Saves 114/113/51 | HR/9 .7
Mike Scott – 1986 Cy Young award winner is another outstanding starting pitcher on the Houston staff. Scott was tough on the mound, added a 20 game win season in 1989 when he almost notched his 2nd Cy Young trophy.
All-Star/Cy Young | ERA 3.54 | Wins/Losses124/108 | WHIP 1.201
Joe Niekro – A 22 year career, half of it spent as a member of the Astros. He was the first pitcher to post back-to-back 20 game winning seasons for the Astros in 1979 and 1980. Added a knuckleball to his arsenal along with a good mix of other pitches.
All-Star | ERA 3.59 | Wins/Losses 221/204 | Faced over 15,000 batters in his career
Billy Wagner – A 16 season career, most of them spent starring with the Astros as their stopper. Wagner was tough to get a hit off of and averaged more than 1 strikeout per 9 innings. He’s the all-time saves leader for the franchise.
All-Star | ERA 2.31 | Saves 422 | SO/9 11.9
Dave Smith – Another outstanding closer for the Houston franchise, started only 1 game throughout his stellar career. Good luck hitting a home run off Smith, one of several areas he was stingy to batters with. From the 1987 through 1989 seasons he merely allowed 3 long balls.
All-Star | ERA 2.67 | Saves 216 | HR/9 0.4
Turk Farrell – Another staff member from the Colt .45s before moving on with the Astros he was a 3-time All-Star representing the franchise. He had a 14-year career mostly coming out of the bullpen, except with Houston he was typically a starting pitcher.
All-Star | ERA 3.45 | Wins/Saves 106/83 | WHIP 1.23
Joe Sambito – Very effective bullpen leader, second most saves in Houston history. Low walk combined with high strikeout ratio made him tough to be successful against. In 1979 he pitcher 40 2/3 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run. He featured a fastball and slider.
All-Star | ERA 3.03 | Saves 84 | WHIP 1.203
Alan Ashby – Great with the staff, Ashby caught 3 no-hitters and 107 shutouts during his career. A modest hitter, se was a fixture behind the plate for the majority of his career with Houston. Houston hasn’t had an all-star representative behind the plate yet.
AVG .245 | FLG .986 | Hits 1010
Brad Ausmus – Three-time Gold Glove winner and five-time season leader for catchers in fielding. He is one of only a handful of catchers in major league history to get 1,500 hits and steal at least 100 bases.
Gold Glove | AVG .251 | FLG .994 | Hits 1579
Jeff Bagwell – Should be easily headed to the Hall of Fame when he qualifies. A team leader had a long, steady career in the plate and field with big-time clutch hits and reliable glove.
MVP/ROY/Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .297 | OPS .948 | HR 449
Bob Watson – Terrific 19 year career, should have made the All-Star team more times than twice. Watson was credited scoring the 1,000,000th run in major league history on May 4, 1975 at 12:32 in the afternoon at Candlestick Park, San Francisco.
All-Star | AVG .295 | OPS .811 | RBI 989
Craig Biggio – Gritty Biggio was fearsome with his style of play and hustle parlayed into a perennial All-Star. His leadership in the clubhouse and in the lineup carried the team into the playoffs and first ever World Series. He’s another member of the Astros that should be headed to the Hall of Fame along with Jeff Bagwell when their time comes.
Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .281 | Hits 3060 | Runs 1844
Bill Doran – Very popular member of the Houston Astros and hard-nosed player that hustled. He reached base consistently with walks and just good enough batting average. Doran is a good glove man at second base.
AVG .266 | FLD .983 | OPS .728
Ken Caminiti – Very good hitter for the Astros with a tainted career due to admitted steroid usage including throughout his MVP season. A great talent who eventually lost his career and life to drugs.
MVP/Gold Glove/All-Star | AVG .272 | OPS .794 | HR 239
Doug Rader – Perennial Gold Glover at third base, Radar saved many hits targeted to left field for hits. Radar was just an average hitter, but a main stay for years manning the hot corner as their starter. He did have a pretty decent pop in his bat.
Gold Glove | AVG .251 | FLD .956 | HR 155
Craig Reynolds – Reliable Reynolds was the only shortstop selected to the All-Star teams representing the AL and NL in consecutive seasons. Interesting stat that he had more triples than stolen bases 65/58.
All-Star | AVG .256 | 3B 65 | FLD .966
Dickie Thon – The long time steady shortstop for the Astros had a career on the rise until April 1984 when stung in the face with a fastball from Mike Torrez. Thon eventually recovered, but couldn’t quite turn the corner to stardom since, yet had a very admirable career. Ironically was only hit by a pitch 9 times during his 15 year career.
All-Star | AVG .264 | SB 167 | FLD .965
Lance Berkman – 6-time All-Star Berkman is currently only second to Bagwell in career batting average and home runs. He has a high on-base percentage for a player with average speed, a testament to his great eye at the plate. Had to play outfield since Bagwell held down the fort at first base, he wasn’t known for his fielding, yet later in his career when moved back to first base fielding his position very well.
All-Star | AVG .296 | OPS .953 | HR 360 | RBI 1200
Cesar Cedeno – Superb with both his bat and glove, to date Cedeno is the best a 5-tool player to ever play for the Houston franchise. Though he never reached the anticipated level of superstardom, Cedeno had an impressive career throughout and could do it all.
Gold Glove | All-Star | AVG .285 | HR 199 | SB 550 | OPS .790
“Toy Cannon” Jimmy Wynn
Jose Cruz – 2-time all-star, Cruz was quick and an extra base threat at the plate. He was a gamer, played in 3 different post seasons for the Astros and a beloved member of the organization. Batted .300 or greater 6 seasons not including his first MLB season when he batted .353 in 17 at bats.
All-Star | AVG .284 | Hits 2251 | 3B 94 | SB 317 | OPS .774
Terry Puhl – Played 14 of his 15 MLB seasons with the Astros. He’s an outstanding fielder and consistent performer at the plate. Fit in well with the style of play for the Astros during his tenor, just enough speed, great defense, and reliable hitter.
All-Star | AVG .280 | Hits 1361 | OPS .737
Jimmy Wynn – The “Toy Cannon” nickname states it all; a power-packed hammer at the plate was always a threat to go deep. This 7-time All-Star, a member of the Colt .45s during his rookie season, logged 11 seasons with the franchise. Average hitter who had high strikeouts though matched with high walk totals.
All-Star | AVG .250 | HR 291 | OPS .802
Notable Franchise Names That Missed The Cut.
Joe Morgan would have taken a prominent spot, though Morgan’s glory years were with Cincy. Roger Metzger all field, but too light a hitter to surpass the all around play of Thon and Reynolds. Glenn Davis, decent career, yet not close to the same league of Bagwell and Watson. Carlos Lee, actually had better stats and played just as long for the Chicago White Sox. Bob Knepper was a close call, but just didn’t quite have enough to beat out the pitchers on our list. Mike Hampton kind of fell apart after leaving the Astros, his career ERA wound up ballooning over 4.00.
Here’s the starting lineup I recommend generally starting for the All-Time Great Houston Colt .45s-Astros:
- 2B – Craig Biggio
- OF – Jose Cruz
- OF – Cesar Cedeno
- 1B – Jeff Bagwell
- OF – Lance Berkman
- 3B – Ken Caminiti
- C – Alan Ashby
- SS – Dickie Thon
- P – J. R. Richard
We look forward to adding them to the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats later this year. Do you agree with our top 24 selection for the All-Time Houston Colt .45s-Astros? Who do you think is the best Houston player to ever play, J. R. Richards or one of their great position players like Jeff Bagwell? What’s your favorite memory of this franchise? Let us know in the comments below!
If you had to guess which teams are the most popular and greatest in Major League Baseball history what would be your guess? The 1927 New York Yankees likely come to mind, then again the current World Series Champion 2012 San Francisco Giants may as well. Or what about the Big Red Machine, 1975 Cincinnati Reds?
We have had the great pleasure over the years with a birds eye view over the past 25 plus years, it’s been interesting to see the orders for MLB seasons and teams placed. The most popular seasons ordered come from present day (2000’s), next are from the 1970’s, and then the 1960’s. However there are quite a number of orders for MLB seasons and teams from other eras ordered too. Our #1 best seller all-time is the Baseball Classics All-Time Greats.
We plan to add 4 more Baseball Classics All-Time Greats franchise teams by Thanksgiving this year to our packaged set. Recently on our Facebook page and through Twitter, we asked for feedback on which teams you would like to see added such as the all-time Houston Colt 45’s-Astros, New York Mets, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals, etc. Share your thoughts below in the comments!
With thousands of Baseball Classics games out there, there must be ten’s of thousands of games played by our customers since 1986. Some were likely played for fun, perhaps during a camping trip, kitchen table, or at school and forgotten. Others may have kept track of detailed stats and still have them today.
I always enjoy hearing from our customers and when they share their BC game play and experience, it makes my day as they share their enthusiasm about their experience. Believe it or not, I have received some heart-warming emails from gents letting me know their fiancée played some BC games with them, so they knew they were marrying the right gal! And the stories go on…
Introducing Baseball Classics Games Played
Baseball Classics Community, I’ve added a new section to our website called Games Played. I’m calling out to you to share your game results with us at www.playbaseballclassics.com/games-played.
Submit any game you just played or if you kept track or your past BC game play and would generously enter those results, together we will see which teams are the most dominating and popular of all-time. Along the way we will capture your special game notes and I’m sure have fascinating stories and results to share! Running standings will also be posted. This will help us all to get the word out about the great game we love, Major League Baseball.
By now those of you who know BC well, you know we like to keep it simple and fast, yet detailed and flexible for you. The Baseball Classics Games Played page has a form with required fields:
- Your name or initials
- Visitor and Home teams
- Winning team
Optional fields include winning & losing pitcher, pitcher that recorded a save, special events (no-hitter, hit for the cycle, etc.), and game notes.
Let’s continue to share and grow the Baseball Classics experience. We have an opportunity to share America’s National Past Time with a larger baseball fan base through Baseball Classics next generation game play and learn which MLB teams are the greatest and most popular moving forward! I wish I would have thought to begin collecting your game play information a long time ago, though no time like now to start collecting this fun and educational information.
Think of the teams everyone will learn about and why they perform so well or those that fall short. Beginning April 1st, 2013 Baseball Classics will post all the results submitted and generate a Standings for the most popular so you can see where they rank!
Thank you for your great support and being a Baseball Classics customer. We always love to hear from you, please provide any feedback and suggestions for this new idea in the Comments section below.
When they talk about the “meat of the order”, the GM of the 1973 Atlanta Braves served up filet mignon. Even the vaunted 1927 Yankees would have admired watching these guy smash the ball out of the park routinely.
1927 New York Yankees
Most baseball fans aren’t familiar with this bunch, thus are missing out on having them in their baseball game collection of MLB teams. I will remove the shroud of secrecy and unveil this incredibly great team to have in your arsenal of teams as a must have and why.
The 1927 Murders’ Row nickname was directed towards the first 6 players in their order: Earle Combs, Mark Koenig, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel, and Tony Lazzeri. Their collective on-base plus slugging (OPS) average was: 5.893
The top 6 batters in the 1973 Atlanta Braves lineup had a collective OPS of: 5.283. Not too shabby for a team that finished 22 ½ games out in fifth place with a losing record of 76 and 85. Okay, so their pitching staff allowed the most runs in the National League and they weren’t the slickest of fielders, but they led the NL in hitting, OPS, slugging, HR’s and many other offensive categories. These guys have great cards, their Baseball Classics cards light up like a Christmas tree!
Their batting order on any given day behind the OPS stated above was Ralph Garr, Mike Lum, Darrell Evans, Hank Aaron, Dusty Baker, and Davey Johnson. Aaron, Evans, and Johnson each hit 40 home runs or more that season. Can you believe Darrell Evans only made $27,500 for his effort that season? Today, some guys practically get paid that much per every 7 pitches they face.
Pitches, not Pitchers!
Speedster Ralph Garr set the table at the top of the order with 200 hits that season, calculating to a dependable .299 batting average that included good extra base pop for a rather speedy player. Mike Lum was 5th on the teams in home runs with 16 and batted .294. Darrell Evans clobbered 41 homers, 124 walks, while still leading the team in RBI’s with 104 despite all those free passes. Hammerin’ Hank had 40 long balls, an OPS of 1.045 while posting a .301 batting average. Keeping the line moving was Dusty Baker with 21 round trippers, 99 RBI’s, and batted .288. Last, but not least of the top 6 was Davey Johnson and his career high, team leading 43 blasts, 99 RBI’s, and contributed with a rugged .546 slugging average.
Here’s a strip of their Baseball Classics player card Result columns side-by-side.
1973 Atlanta Braves Starting Top 6 Lineup Baseball Classics Result Columns
1927 New York Yankees Starting Top 6 Lineup Baseball Classics Result Columns
4 of the 6 1973 Braves hitters have stronger home run power than the 1927 Yankees with Aaron holding out fairly comparable to Ruth in that category. Though at clean-up Evans has an impressive card, Gehrig’s Results are just far too awesome to come close.
The green and yellows towards the center of the cards indicating where dice rolls occur more frequently graphically represent why the Yankees have a higher OPS. Considering the 1927 New York Yankees 110 winning team are rated as the best lineup ever, you can see why I tout having the 1973 Atlanta Braves in your collection. They are a fun bunch to play if you like power. A bonus if you play Dick Dietz off the bench; another high OPS player card to enjoy with his banana peel stripes prominently displayed.
What do you think of this comparison? What are some of your favorite MLB teams you would like to compare to the powerhouse ’27 Yanks and why?