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Jered Weaver and the 20 Best Younger Brothers in Major League Baseball History

There have been over 350 brothers to play in Major League Baseball history.

In some of them, the older brother was the better player.  Hank Aaron was easily a better player than Tommie Aaron.  Paul Waner was better than his younger brother Lloyd, but both are in the Hall of Fame.

So, out of all the brothers to play at the major league level, which of the younger brothers were better than their older siblings?

I came up with a list of 20 younger brothers who were better than their older brothers.  Some may surprise you because you may not know they had an older brother in baseball (I know a couple of them surprised me).

This list is not in any particular order, just who I consider the 20 best younger brothers in baseball history when compared to their older brothers.

Let’s start with the active players.

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Derek Jeter Batting Second: The New York Yankees Universe Will Not Explode

What is the big deal with Derek Jeter batting second? Why are the media and some Yankee fans up in arms over this?

How many games has Jeter batted second in his Yankee career? Care to take a guess? Out of his 2,295 games as a Yankee, he’s batted second 1,270 times.

What is the goal of a leadoff hitter? To get on base, see a lot of pitches and steal bases.

Is Jeter the best at those things on the Yankees? No. That honor goes to Brett Gardner, who last season had an OBP of .383, stole 47 bases and saw a league-best 4.61 pitches per at-bat.

My only concern with Jeter batting second would be if he continues to hit ground balls like he did last year. Hitting a lot of ground balls as the No. 2 hitter equals a lot of double plays.

By batting Jeter second, they also would move Nick Swisher down in the order, probably to sixth, which would provide protection to Robinson Cano. I personally think Cano should be batting third, but that’s another story for another day.

Yes, the leadoff hitter is only guaranteed to lead off once per game and the rest of the game is just another hitter (and why Gardner normally batted ninth so they could get two “leadoff” hitters back-to-back).

In my opinion, the most dangerous Yankee lineup is one with Gardner leading off, followed by Jeter and then Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.

While Derek Jeter has been a great Yankee, no one is bigger than the team. If the Yankees would do better with someone else batting leadoff and Jeter batting somewhere else (this includes dropping him to the bottom of the order if he repeats his 2010 season), that’s what needs to happen.

The goal of every Yankee team is to win the World Series, and a lineup with Gardner leading off is the best bet for that to happen.

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Babe Ruth, Not Derek Jeter, Is the Greatest New York Yankee Ever

In a recent poll of over 800 New Yorkers, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was voted No. 1 over Babe Ruth as New York’s greatest athlete.

Yes, you read that right.  According to voters, Derek Jeter is better than Babe Ruth, and Joe Namath also cracked the Top Five.

When I was initially informed of this, the first thought that popped into my head was, “They must have just polled a bunch of 18-to-25-year-old Yankee fans,” because no one older than that and in his right mind would say that Jeter is better than Ruth or that Lawrence Taylor, Mark Messier, Jackie Robinson or Walt Frasier weren’t better than Joe Namath.

All this does is confirm that polls are pretty much pointless.  It also makes me question the sports knowledge of New Yorkers.

No, not all New Yorkers fall into this category.  I’m betting the ones with any sports knowledge didn’t bother to answer the poll. 

What’s even sadder is that 59 percent of those polled consider themselves “sports nuts,” and the best Ruth could get was 11 percent (compared to Jeter’s 14 percent).

The Top Five is comprised of Jeter, Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Namath.  I have no problem with Joe D, Mickey and Babe being in the Top Five. 

I have a major problem with Namath being there at all and with Jeter being ranked higher than anyone.

If I had to do a Top Five just for the Yankees, it would be, in this order: Ruth, Lou Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle and Yogi Berra.  Jeter doesn’t even crack the Yankees‘ Top Five—he’d be sixth on my list.

I’m a Yankee fan and I think Jeter is one of the best ever, but come on, people! 

If you’re going to claim to be a “sports nut” like 59 percent of those polled did, at least have some knowledge of New York sports before 1996!

What do you think?  Am I off base or do you agree?


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MLB’s Smokin’ Aces: The Best No. 1 Pitcher in Each Team’s History

Who is the best starting pitcher in each franchise’s history? 

Is the player from 80 years ago or is he pitching today?

Is there a clear choice or is there a choice to make between two or three pitchers?

The only rules I have as criteria are:

  • The pitcher must have pitched in a minimum of four seasons for the team (unless there wasn’t a very good choice, then any pitcher qualifies)
  • Any starting pitcher in the franchise’s history can be considered, from any city the team played in (for example, any pitcher that was on the Washington Senators that became the Minnesota Twins will be eligible for the Twins)
  • Only stats for that team can be considered, and
  • Any pitcher with ties to PEDs cannot be considered.

We’ll tackle each franchise in alphabetical order.

Please feel free to suggest a different option.  State your case well enough and I just might change my mind! 

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MLB Predictions: Will Robinson Cano Become the Best Second Baseman in History?

Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees is quickly entering the discussion for best second basemen in the game today (if you don’t think he already is), and the question is being asked if he could become the greatest second basemen ever. 

My goal is to see how he compares to the greatest in the game all-time, and see where his career might just end up.

Who are the greatest second basemen ever? They are Rogers Hornsby, Joe Morgan, Nap Lajoie, Eddie Collins, and Rod Carew (click here to see my complete top nine second basemen ever). 

I will compare him in certain key statistical categories and other areas, and then provide a projection based on what I think his final stats will be.

Where will Robbie end up in the annals of greatest second basemen ever? Will he crack my top nine mentioned above, will he crack the top five or he will end up as the greatest ever? Let’s take a look, starting with awards and honors.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Seven Pitchers the Yankees Should Acquire Instead of Liriano

With the recent trade talk involving the Yankees going after the Twins’ Francisco Liriano, who should the Yankees be going after instead?  

While I think the Yankees acquiring Francisco Liriano would be a great benefit to the starting rotation, it is bound to come at a high price (Jesus Montero and several of the young Yankees pitching prospects) for a pitcher who will be either the number two or number three pitcher. 

Even though Liriano is the best pitcher currently available in the trade market, there are others who are available that would cost less (in terms of money or prospects).

Why are the Yankees even bothering to get another pitcher? Don’t they have a bunch of young prospects and former Major Leaguers they signed this offseason? Yes, but the Yankees always want to win and in order to do that you need a solid pitching rotation, not one with a solid number one pitcher followed by four question marks.

If they can shore up just one more rotation spot before the season starts, they’ll feel better overall about their chances.

I came up with a list of seven players, some are targets the Yankees stand a better chance of acquiring, others are long shots that will have to wait till at least June to see if they’re even available and two are still free agents.  

Let’s start with the free agents available because they wouldn’t cost the Yankees any prospects and thus would cost the Yankees the least. 

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Stan Musial: Baseball’s Most Forgotten and Underrated Superstar?

Quick, name the top five overall position players in baseball history.

Now, name the top ten overall position players in baseball history.

Did Stan Musial’s name appear anywhere in your top ten?  For most people, the answer would be no. 

Most people will say the top ten overall position players are some order of Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Willie Mays, Joe Dimaggio, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, Pete Rose, Honus Wagner and Rogers Hornsby with maybe Rickey Henderson, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Mickey Mantle and many others thrown in.

Would it surprise you that Stan Musial belongs in the top ten position players of all-time? 

How about the top eight or top seven? 

What if I told you that an argument could even be made that he belongs in the top six?

Here are five players’ stats; let’s see how you would rank them one through five:

Player A:  .305 batting average, .374 OBP, .555 Slugging Percentage, .928 OPS, 155 OPS+

Player B:  .327 batting average, .391 OBP, .466 Slugging Percentage, .858 OPS, 150 OPS+

Player C:  .331 batting average, .417 OBP, .559 Slugging Percentage, .976 OPS, 159 OPS+

Player D:  .302 batting average, .384 OBP, .557 Slugging Percentage, .941 OPS, 155 OPS+,

Player E:  .325 batting average, .398 OBP, .579 Slugging Percentage, .977 OPS,  155 OPS+

Without having any further stats or player descriptions to go on, I would rank them in the following order:  Player C, Player E, Player A, Player D then Player B. 

Who are these players? 

Player A is Hank Aaron, Player B is Honus Wagner, Player C is Stan Musial, Player D is Willie Mays and Player E is Joe Dimaggio.  Does this mean he’s better than those four other players?  Not necessarily, but it does mean he should always be in the discussion and when discussing all-time ranking, he should at least be in the same neighborhood.

Why is Stan Musial seemingly forgotten and underrated everywhere except in St. Louis? 

I’m not exactly sure; all he did was put up the following stats in 22 years of playing baseball:

Three MVPs (and six other top-5 finishes), 20 time All-Star, 3026 games, .331 batting average, .417 OBP, .559 Slugging Percentage, .976 OPS, 159 OPS+, 475 HRs, 1951 RBIs, 3630 Hits, 1599 BBs and 696 Ks.

Musial was probably the most consistent hitter in baseball history. 

If you look at the stats of most hitters in baseball history, you will see a difference (sometimes a huge difference) between hitting at home or hitting on the road, hitting during the day and hitting at night; this is not the case for Stan. 

He had 1815 hits at home and 1815 hits on the road, batted .336 at home and .326 on the road,  and batted .340 in day games and .320 in night games.  He was a power hitter that could hit for average and had a great eye and was average/above average defensively.

The reason I believe Musial is underrated and “forgotten” is he wasn’t flashy.  He never led the league in HRs, he wasn’t a speed demon, he wasn’t a wizard with the glove; all he did was everything you want a player to do—do his job well and do it the same everyday, everywhere for his entire career.

Where would I rank Stan Musial all-time? 

I believe he is seventh

The top five players (Ruth, Williams, Gehrig, Mays and Cobb) all had one or two parts of their game that were the best ever (power, defense etc) and it makes it hard to rank Musial above them.  The only player you could argue Musial was better than in my list would be Dimaggio (I have him sixth) but I think Dimaggio takes a slight edge; but that’s an article for another day.

My hope is that now if you’re asked who the top 10 players of all-time in baseball history, you remember to include Stan “The Man” Musial somewhere in your list.

What do you think?  Is Musial underrated or “forgotten”, if so why do you think that’s so?  Is he a top 10 player of all-time?  Please comment with your thoughts below.

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Pedro Martinez Versus Sandy Koufax: Who Was the Greater Starting Pitcher?

Last week, I compared Pedro Martinez and Walter Johnson to determine who the greatest pitcher of all time was. My answer was Pedro—and it wasn’t even close.

A commenter disagreed, saying, “I love Walter Johnson and think, of the two, he is the better pitcher; but, for me the greatest ever was Sandy Koufax. WJ had a far longer career than Koufax, but that 6 season period (’61-’66) which SK dominated was astonishing.”

So I decided to compare Pedro and Koufax to see if this commenter was right.

As always, first we take a look at Baseball-Reference, and we come up with the following stats:

Pedro Martinez

Three Cy Youngs (and four other top five finishes), two top five MVP finishes, one AL Pitching Triple Crown, 219 Wins, .687 Win Percentage, 409 Games Started, 46 Complete Games, 17 Shutouts, 2,827.1 Innings Pitched, 2.93 ERA, 154 ERA+, 1.054 WHIP, 3154 Ks, 760 BBs, 4.15 K/BB Ratio, 10.0 K/9 and an eight-time All-Star.

Sandy Koufax

Three Cy Youngs (and one other top five finish), one MVP (and two other top five finishes), three MLB Pitching Triple Crowns, 165 Wins, .655 Win Percentage, 314 Games Started, 137 Complete Games, 40 Shutouts, 2,324.1 Innings Pitched, 2.76 ERA, 131 ERA+, 1.106 WHIP, 2396 Ks, 817 BBs, 2.93 K/BB Ratio, 9.3 K/9 Ratio and a six-time All-Star.

A quick glance at these stats shows Pedro leads in 10 of the categories (Wins, Win Percentage, Games Started, Innings Pitched, ERA+, WHIP, Ks, BBs, K/BB Ratio and K/9) and Sandy leads in four (MLB Pitching Triple Crowns, Complete Games, Shutouts and ERA). I didn’t count Cy Youngs, MVPs or All-Star appearances (those awards have changed how they are handled over time).

Without looking deeper, Pedro is clearly the better pitcher. However, you don’t just do a quick look; you need to delve deeper into what the stats actually mean.

Let’s start with the stats we can “throw away.” In the article comparing Pedro to Walter Johnson, I discussed how wins and winning percentage are almost completely out of the pitcher’s hands, so I don’t really look at those stats when comparing players.

Also, the number of the complete games a pitcher throws and how many innings a pitcher pitches are more dependent on how bullpens are used, so those stats can be “tossed out” because they don’t really tell you how great a pitcher was. By doing this, Pedro now leads in six categories and Sandy leads in three.

As I discussed in my previous article, shutouts by themselves are not a good stat due to how bullpens are used today to maintain the lead in a close game instead of just letting the starter go the distance. What really matters is out of the complete games a pitcher had, what was the percentage of shutouts?

By doing some simple calculations, we find that Pedro threw a shutout in 37 percent of his complete games and Sandy threw a shutout in 29 percent of his; so if given the chance, Pedro was more likely to have a shutout, and that now means Pedro leads in seven categories and Sandy leads in two.

The one category that is clearly in Koufax’ favor is MLB Pitching Triple Crowns. His dominance over the league in 1963, 1965 and 1966 is one of the best stretches of dominance in baseball history. Pedro had one Pitching Triple Crown, but his was “only” for the American League. So Koufax will keep this category in his favor; however, I plan on covering who was actually more dominant a little bit later.

The final category that Koufax leads in is ERA. ERA is tricky because the era it happened in has to be accounted for. In Sandy’s case, ERAs in all of baseball were lower across the board. How do we know this? Well, that’s what ERA+ is for.

If we look at ERA+, we see that even though Pedro’s ERA is higher, his ERA+ is much better in comparison. This means, that relative to other pitchers’ ERAs, his ERA was much better in comparison than Koufax’ ERA was in comparison to ERAs of his time. I’d rather have a pitcher with a higher ERA but better ERA+ than a pitcher with a lower ERA but lower ERA+.

The other stats that Pedro has a lead in (Ks, BBs, K/BB Ratio, K/9 and WHIP) further prove how much of a better pitcher Pedro was. He struck out more batters, walked fewer, had better control (K/BB ratio) and struck out more per inning than Koufax did. His WHIP also shows that he allowed fewer baserunners, and the opposing team can’t score runs if it doesn’t get men on base.

Now let’s talk about dominance. This is what I believe is the main reason the commenter made the initial statement that started this article. Koufax’ stretch of dominant seasons of 1962 through 1966 is among the best such periods of dominance in history. However, Pedro also has a similar period of dominance: 1997 through 2005 (minus injury-riddled 2001).

For this conversation, let’s compare Koufax’ ’62-66 seasons to Pedro’s best seasons during his dominant period (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002).

Koufax’ best WHIP was .875 in 1963; Pedro’s was .737 in 2000. Koufax’ best ERA+ was 190 in 1966; Pedro’s was 291 in 2000. During the periods of dominance, Koufax had an ERA+ over 200 zero times, while Pedro had an ERA+ over 200 four times from 1997-2002. Koufax had a WHIP below 1.000 four times, Pedro five.

What this tells us is that even though Koufax is known for those years of dominance, Pedro had a similar period of dominance that was actually better.

The final thing to consider when comparing players is that you have to take their whole careers into account, not just a period of dominance, and this is where Pedro separates himself even further from Koufax.

They both started their careers at about the same age (19 for Koufax, 20 for Pedro); however, Pedro was a much better pitcher from the start, while Koufax’ first six seasons were average—only had ERA+ over 110 one time, and WHIP was never lower than 1.284. Compare that to Pedro’s first five seasons (his sixth season was the beginning of his dominant period), and you’ll see that his ERA+ was never below 117 and his WHIP was never higher than 1.243.

If Koufax’ career was only based on his last six seasons, he would have an argument as the best pitcher ever; however, when you account for his first six average/below average seasons, he drops in the all-time rankings. When you account for all of Pedro’s career, he’s clearly the best starting pitcher ever, and it’s not even close.

What do you think? Do you agree? Do you want to make a case for someone else? Please leave a comment with your thoughts. Also, if you liked this breakdown and want to see me compare other players, please suggest them—players at the same position work best, but I’ll compare any position to any position if needed (except pitchers, of course; they can only be compared to each other).

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