4 Baltimore Orioles’ all-time greats made ESPN’s list of the best baseball players ever
In the middle of an offseason with very little baseball news due to the lockout dragging on, ESPN last week put out their list of the 100 greatest MLB players of all time.
The list rightfully includes Negro Leaguers who never got a chance to play in MLB, as well as active players and those who took the field before the World Series even existed. Unlike the criteria for Hall of Fame voting, only baseball statistics ostensibly matter for this process.
Rather than asking each baseball columnist to make his or her own top 100 lists, ESPN had them pick players in head-to-head matchups and then made a composite ranking from those results.
There is plenty to appreciate, as the point of the exercise is to admire the best of the best. Yet some players are clearly ranked too high or too low. Let’s take a look at where some Baltimore Orioles greats landed, and whether they ended up in the right spot.
Eddie Murray — Unranked
First baseball in general got the short end on the list, and that includes Eddie Murray. When the list only includes one hundred players, that means over 100 Hall of Famers do not make it. Fellow omissions at first base include Tony Perez, Todd Helton, Orlando Cepeda, and, most egregiously, Jeff Bagwell. Albert Pujols, the best player this century (non-steroid category), only came in at No. 30, and his contemporary Miguel Cabrera only sits at No. 59.
Murray made eight All-Star games, won three Gold Gloves, and three Silver Sluggers. He, of course, came in clutch to help the Orioles win the 1983 World Series, and he helped lead the 1996 club back to the playoffs. But his career WAR of 68.8 is short of most other players who make the top 100 list. It’s too bad that Steady Eddie doesn’t show up, but I can’t say it really upset me.