Here’s possibly the 5 best MLB players you may have never heard of and that almost always have the most fascinating cards no matter which tabletop baseball board games you enjoy playing.

under the radarI would bat them in the #2 spot in any baseball lineup every time.  Some are in the Hall of Fame and 3 of them are named Ed.  How many famous MLB players named Ed can you think of?!  I would play them against the greatest pitchers of all-time, any time.

Their Baseball Classics cards always provide a rainbow of bright colors from top to bottom.  Roll after dice roll they always give you a chance to get on base and keep the line moving and sometimes provide a bit of pop in their bat.

These are my all-time favorite Major League Baseball players who most fans have probably never heard of.  If you get a chance to play them, you will see that these MLB players have some of the coolest tabletop baseball board game cards no matter your favorite one you enjoy playing.  Here is my top 5 in this category, starting with number 5.

#5 Eddie Joost – Shortstop, Secondbase, and Thirdbase  (1936 – 1955) Reds/Braves/Athletics/Red Sox

1949 Joost

A poster boy as an underrated baseball player, my 5th ranked MLBer in this category is well deserving.  This MLB lifetime .239 hitter was a 2-time all-star and received MVP votes 5 seasons.  How many lifetime .239 hitters can stake that claim?

Joost was smooth in the field, an integral part of a double-play machine during several seasons with the A’s.  He also had some might in his bat, and though wasn’t a contact hitter he made up for up with his patience at the plate.  His Baseball Classics cards are splattered with ink colors up and down.  You will forget all about his lightweight average because he can just about do it all for your team including drive in a good amount of runs too.

Here’s a card from one of his best seasons, 1949, this Eddie Joost card is loaded.

#4  Ed Roush – Outfield (1945-1955) Reds

All-Time RoushMy personal nickname for this great hitting and fielding Hall of Famer is the “Triple Kid”.  He could hit, but where he gets me is I’m a sucker for a ball player who has the knack for hitting more than his fair share of triples.  Ed’s cards always have a healthy three-bagger rating in Baseball Classics, yet that will hold consistent for any baseball board games featuring this all-time great season after season.  Nearly 8% of Ed’s hits throughout his career resulted in a triple.  That’s astounding!  Let’s put it into perspective for a moment.  Wouldn’t it be fair to say that Ricky Henderson would be someone a baseball fan would think would have a fairly high number of triples?  Yet the same percentage for Ricky over his career was just over 2%.

Where they are similar is with their ability to have some pop in their bat and get on base, i.e. On base Plus Slugging known as OPS.  No one had the stolen base flare in the game as Ricky Henderson, yet when it comes to batting number 2 in the order, I would put Ed Roush there anytime, his cards make for great game play.

Ed Roush  2376 hits, 182 triples, .323 BA, .815 OPS

Ricky Henderson  3055 hits, 66 triples, .279 BA, .820 OPS

#3 Eddie Yost– Thirdbase (1944 – 1962) Senators/Tigers/Angels

1959 YostDon’t be fooled by his .254 lifetime batting average.  Eddie Yost was a solid ball player; he could do all the little things to help your team win.  He’ll reach base plenty with his lifetime .394% on base percentage (OBP) over 18 seasons, move runners along with the bunt, and run around the bases to score often.  Talk about consistency over the long haul, this seemingly modest player reached on base via the free pass every 1.3 games over the course of 2109 career games.  9 of his 18 seasons he had an OBP greater than .400%, mercy!

Which All-Time Senators or Twins player over the course of their career had more walks than Eddie Yost?  Nobody.  Eddie was a good fielder too.  There wasn’t much he couldn’t do including give you a little pop in his bat now and then.  Playing most of his career for the Senators, word has it he would have hit many more home runs if he didn’t play in that spacious park.  Regardless, I would take this most leadoff batter and plunk him in at the second spot in my batting order and enjoy his contributions every game in so many ways.

#2  Max Bishop – Secondbase (1924 – 1935) Athletics/Red Sox

All-Time BishopOne of his nicknames was “Camera eye”.  Max wears out the yellow ink on his Baseball Classics baseball game player cards.  He was a decent average, light hitter, yet was able to reach base consistently thanks to his keen eye.  He compiled 1153 career walks and was a very good contact hitter with only 452 strikeouts.  Because Max reached based so often he scored nearly 1000 times in his career at 966.  He only played in 1138 games, thus an impressive ratio of runs scored to games played, especially for a career .271 batting average.

Max is another leadoff hitter in his career that I would bat second.  Max is the kind of player you want to insert at the number 2 spot in your order to reach base, score once he reaches base, and get the job done with a sacrifice bunt when needed.  He’s a little scoring machine, which is really something when you think about him being an average hitter for the most part.  4 seasons in a row, from 1928 through 1931 he scored more than 100 runs.  8 seasons in a row, from 1926 through 1933 he walked more than 100 times.  He makes my #2 ranking because his cards are colorful in Baseball Classics due to his lifetime, highly impressive .423% OBP!  This is his All-Time card, imagine how spiffy some of his best season Baseball Classics player cards looked like.

#1  Dick Dietz – Catcher and Firstbase (1966-1973) Giants/Dodgers/Braves

1973 DietzHere’s a guy that probably most have either not heard of, or if they have, they forgot about him.  He wasn’t a flashy player by any stretch of the imagination.  Yet he ranks in my top 5 at number 1 because his baseball game player cards are spectacular.  They are loaded with ways to get on base.  Dick had an eye for the walk and yet had decent batting averages that were sandwiched by his lone 1970 all-star season.  This combination made for some incredibly tough cards to get him out.

Let’s take my favorite card of his, the 1973 season with the Atlanta Braves; ironically and remarkably it was his last season in the bigs.  There is no card I know of that is more daunting when it comes to getting on base for a guy you most likely never heard of.  Check out his walk percentage that season per plate appearance, it was a walloping 25.6%.  His Baseball Classics cards require plenty of yellow ink to print out his sky-high amount of walks each season. Dick Dietz will keep the line moving by getting on base like nobody’s business.  He walked the walk, making a career of getting on base sporting an on base percentage of 39%.  Here’s his aforementioned Baseball Classics 1973 Atlanta Braves MLB season card, put your sunglasses on.

Though these 5 fascinating Major League Baseball players could reach base via the walk a jaw dropping number of times, they all had so many other great skills to make their teams far better.  Who are some of your favorite underrated MLB baseball players that have juicy player cards no matter which baseball board games you play and why?