Inaugural RSCBS Inductees

While discussing Milton Bradley‘s comments that, because no team seemed willing to give him more than a one-year deal, he did whatever possible to preserve statistics for salary maximization purposes, I could not help but think about Reggie Sanders. Not because Sanders in any way ever acted similarly to Bradley but rather that he always seemed to be signing one-year deals with new teams. After eight seasons with the Reds (1991-98), Sanders went onto sign single season contracts in each of the next five seasons. Add in his final year with the Reds and first season on a 2-yr deal with the Cardinals and, from 1998-2004, Sanders played fro seven different teams in seven seasons.

In actuality, Sanders shares more of a bond with Bradley than meets the eye. Both produced at a high level despite missing a plethora of time due to injuries. The biggest difference between the two deals with attitude, in that Bradley is perceived to have a bad one, while nobody really knows anything about Sanders. The fact of the matter is that, regardless of how productive of a career he may have had, Reggie Sanders was a very boring player. Because he lacked commercial appeal and actually spoke humbly with the media, Sanders never became a well-known star and has realistically already been forgotten by hordes of fans.

Which is a shame given that his career really was remarkably better than most remember. Over 16 seasons, Sanders hit .267/.343/.487, with a .359 wOBA, 305 HR and 304 SB. Yes, Reggie Sanders is one of only six members of the 300-300 club, whose other members include Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds, Willie Mays, Andre Dawson, and Steve Finley. On top of that, since 1901, only five players have hit 275+ HR, stolen 275+ bases, recorded an OBP > .335 and an SLG > .475: Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Willie Mays, Eric Davis, and Reggie Sanders.

So, what’s the point of all this? Well, it’s a tad annoying that fans and media members generally want players to be as humble as possible, yet someone with a career as solid as Sanders is instantly forgotten because he wasn’t a cocky or loudmouthed malcontent. Ten years from now, Milton Bradley is going to be remembered… Reggie Sanders is already forgotten by many as I type these words. With that in mind, I am hereby starting the Reggie Sanders Club of Boring Stars, whose members will include players that put up very solid numbers similar to those of Sanders, no shot at the Hall of Fame, and who were boring, or at the very least, not famous for their attitudes or statistics.

Colleague Matthew Carruth pointed out that any sort of query to find such members would need to feature something like OPS+ in order to acknowledge the difference in eras. Sanders had a career OPS+ of 115, so I looked for players with at least 200 HR, 100 SB, and an OPS+ between 105 and 135, and then eliminated anyone who did not fit the aforementioned criteria, IE, non-boring, potential HOFers. The list quickly dwindled to five potential candidates, all of whom I am comfortable with inducting: Ellis Burks, Luis Gonzalez, Shawn Green, Mike Cameron, and Ray Lankford.

If anyone has other suggestions, please let me know, as my ultimate goal here is to recognize the players that actually embody what fans and the media seem to love so much.




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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.

88 Responses to “Inaugural RSCBS Inductees”

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  1. Shaun says:

    I just thought it was funny, that as I was reading, I thought back to this other article I read, about the “Ray Lankford All Stars”, and there he is on your list.

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  2. pygmalion says:

    Mike Cameron – due to be forgotten by everyone but the sabermetric segment of Mariner fans, who adore the defensive wizardry he displayed.

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  3. Ron says:

    Amos Otis and Frank White.

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  4. Irishman says:

    Sanders may be forgotten by loads of fans, but he was a big part of the clubhouse atmosphere that existed during the Cardinals’ dominant run in the NL during his time there. He was well-known for keeping the clubhouse loose while noted workaholics/serious guys like Rolen and Pujols kept the focus.

    Additionally, he was a pretty great weapon for a sneak attack; after a pitcher would battle through the MV3 of Pujols-Edmonds-Rolen, he would exhale in reilef, only to see the big bat of Sanders threatening to take one deep.

    I also thought of him when you posted your comment about Bradley and one-year deals. Nice work bringing him up and showing that his contributions have been somewhat unfairly overlooked.

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  5. Jason says:

    I know this person won some mvp awards and silver slugger awards, but he was never really noticed very much. — Juan Gonzalez.

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  6. Kevin says:

    Juan Gonzalez not a malcontent? Tell that to Tigers fans.

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  7. Matt says:

    I nominate Ryan Klesko.

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  8. Karl says:

    How about Dante Bichette?

    274 homers
    152 steals
    .359 WOBA

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  9. Karl says:

    also, Tim Salmon?

    299 homers
    .382 career WOBA

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    • Eric Seidman says:

      Bichette would be a fine inductee… Salmon I’m not sure of because, for a while, he was the face of the California/Anaheim franchise… he might be too famous.

      But keep the suggestions coming, guys… I’m not claiming to have identified ALL worthy members, just the ones that initially stood out.

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  10. Karl says:

    Kent Hrbek

    293 homers
    128 OPS+

    I’m not sure how many people outside of Minnesota or Atlanta remembers him.

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  11. Karl says:

    Two more potentials before I go to class:

    Raul Mondesi
    Danny Tartabull

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  12. JDB says:

    As a Cards fan, this made me think of Bernard Gilkey. In my mind he hit 200 HR, but I guess his decline was a lot quiker than I had remembered. Still, he was in that vein.

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  13. Lyons says:

    This reminds me a lot of an essay Bill James wrote in the last HBA on the anatomy of an underrated player. There were ten traits in all, I think, but two of them were:
    a.) A player who has their career broken up into chunks – a positional switch, a change in teams, etc, will often go underrated. Reggie Sanders’s team-flopping is well documented.
    b.) A player who does lots of things very well but does not excel in any of them.
    James was writing about his vote for most underrated player of all time: Darrell Evans. I’ll throw him into the hopper. Career 119 OPS+.

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  14. Josh says:

    Cliff Floyd

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  15. CH says:

    Love the idea.

    I nominate Bernie Williams and the aforementioned Steve Finley. Both great guys.

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  16. Jamie says:

    Danny Tartabull is too famous – Seinfeld.

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  17. Jed MC says:

    How about some more outfielders? I can’t think of any infielders.

    Jay Buhner
    Brian Giles
    Andy Van Slyke
    Pedro Guerrero

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  18. Jon says:

    Jesse Barfield. Didn’t quite have 100 SB. Fantastic arm.

    .256/.335/.466, OPS+ 117.

    Ron Gant (maybe a little too well known?) .256/.336/.468, OPS+112

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  19. bpasinko says:

    Some I could think of, tried to do some infielders:

    Travis Fryman
    Robin Ventura
    Cliff Floyd
    Tino Martinez
    Edgardo Alfonzo
    Mike Sweeney
    Tony Fernandez

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  20. bpasinko says:

    oh Devon White too, maybe he was too popular on the championship teams, same goes with Tino above

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  21. Brian Recca says:

    Jeromy Burnitz?

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  22. Brian Recca says:

    I don’t know the Mets television station SNY talks about Edgardo Alfonzo all the time. He might be too famous in the New York area, Met fans love the guy.

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  23. Mike says:

    Boring name, boring dude

    George Foster
    Frank Howard
    Larry Walker
    Brett Butler – nice alliteration though
    Kevin Brown
    Dave Parker
    Jack Clark

    Two guys named Evans

    Dwight Evans
    Darrell Evans

    Holy trinity of boring first basemen

    Will Clark
    Mark Grace
    John Olerud

    The Harold Baines group

    Harold Baines

    If Only I’d Hit One More Homer…

    Andres Galarraga

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    • Eric Seidman says:

      I think you guys might be largely missing the point… we’re not looking for just underrated players with good numbers.

      We’re looking for guys who were humble, had good but not great numbers in numerous areas (Brett Butler never hit HR, etc), but who are forgotten by numerous circles… so people like Tino and Alfonso don’t count because they are still highly regarded in New York.

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  24. MItch says:

    Just an observation, but check out the skin color of a disproportionately high number of the players mentioned here. If these guys were white they would probably be better known to the casual fan because the media would have went wild with stories about them as “consummate pros”, “lunch pale and hardhat guys”, “soft-spoken leaders”, “scrappy everyman” or some other BS.

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  25. Mike says:

    I don’t know, there are a bazillion forgotten white guys.

    And if we are just looking at power/speed combos, not many white dudes have that

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  26. Brian Recca says:

    How about?
    Marquis Grissom
    Dean Palmer
    Kevin McReynolds
    Tony Clark
    Matt Stairs

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  27. Brian Recca says:

    Mitch what the hell are you talking about? There are just as many white guys as black guys.

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  28. Jeff says:

    I second:
    Tim Salmon
    Devon White
    Brian Giles
    Raul Mondesi

    and how about Bret Boone and Todd Zeile

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  29. Chris says:

    One guy that always comes to mind for me is Rusty Greer. He doesn’t have the career statistics because his career was cut short by injuries, but he was well know for being a great guy off the field and played the game the right way on the field. He was one of the most integral parts on the powerful Rangers offenses of the 1990′s but didn’t get as much credit as others such as Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez and Will Clark.

    Some others that come to mind for me are:

    Bobby Bonilla
    Raul Mondesi
    Chili Davis
    Ruben Sierra
    Ron Gant
    Greg Vaughn
    Geoff Jenkins
    Raul Ibanez
    Aubrey Huff
    Vernon Wells
    Eric Chavez
    Todd Zeile

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  30. Brian Recca says:

    Lovin’ the Chili Davis pick

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  31. Chris says:

    A few others I thought of, all consummate professionals:

    Jay Bell
    Jeff Conine
    Wally Joyner

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  32. Jeff says:

    That’s the thing, few remember his Pittsburgh drama. Cameron failed a drug test – people are going to remember that more than Mondesi’s issues. Drama is drama. What about Ray Lankford supposedly wearing out his welcome in St. Louis? The list gets thinner.

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  33. Alex says:

    Jeff Conine’s the perfect pick.

    More perfect, though?

    B.J. Surhoff and Terry Steinbach.

    oh, and Dan Plesac.

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    • Joe says:

      I don’t know about Conine. He was “Mr. Marlin” in South Florida, so he may miss due to his (albeit regional) popularity.

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  34. Brian Recca says:

    I thought about B.J Surhoff, his numbers aren’t anywhere near Reggie Sanders. And since we are using Sanders as the model I think Surhoff would be left out. I still say Marquis Grissom for sure.

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  35. Ken says:

    So many Braves on here:

    Fred McGriff (no. 1 comp on baseball ref is McCovey)
    Julio Franco?
    David Justice (though he played for the Yanks)

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  36. Aaron B. says:

    Would Lou Whitaker count? Willie Davis? Robin Ventura?

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  37. Pat says:

    I don’t think Luis Gonzalez should qualify for this list. His 2001 season was too huge to be boring and I still consider him the all-time face of the Diamondbacks.

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    • FairweatherFan says:

      This. I would suggest eliminating any player who had some sort of ridiculous single season.

      Pretty much everyone who follows baseball knows who Gonzo is, and what he has/hasn’t done.

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  38. Lukas says:

    Kevin McReynolds for sure.

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  39. Sabertooth says:

    Marquis Grissom is one of only a handful of guys with 200 HR and 400 SB.

    Others are Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds, Joe Morgan, Paul Molitor, and Rickey Henderson.

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  40. Kevin says:

    I think Lou Whitaker should count. The guy is insanely humble, and was so overlooked that he was booted from HoF consideration because he didn’t get the 5% necessary votes to stay (despite being a top 15 all time 2nd baseman).

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  41. Sentinel says:

    I disagree with the Mike Cameron pick. You’d be surprised to know that he’s a favorite for many M’s fans. He’s borderline, at best.

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  42. Dan Librot says:

    What about Bobby Higginson? He falls just short of all of the aforementioned criteria: 187 HR, 91 SB, +113 OPS

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  43. So Cal says:

    Dean Palmer .251/.324/.472 OPS+107 275 HR only 48 SB’s though

    Brian Downing .267/.370/.425 OPS+ 122 HR 275 SB’s 50

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  44. John says:

    Jay Buhner, doesn’t have the SB numbers, but I believe he was overshadowed enough by Junior, Big Unit, A-Rod, & edgar to be inconsideration.

    Dean Palmer & Bobby Higginson.

    Shawn Green is hard for me to accept in the BSCBS. I remember from my Strat-o-matic days that green had a 4-5 year run where he was a dominate player: 30-40 HR, good defense, good SB numbers, 3 top 10 MVP voting. It’s just hard for me to find BSCBS candidates because I’ve played Strat-O for 15 years and I had a lot of these “underrated” BSCBS players as starters on my teams over the years.

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  45. JD says:

    Buhner was a Seinfeld reference, which probably eliminates him. Lou Whitaker though, wow, as good as Ryne Sandberg but never received the accolades. Completely deserves to be in the HOF.

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  46. Eric Seidman says:

    Let’s shift the criteria around. After careful consideration, here is what we should be looking for:

    1) Player bounced around the league, playing for several teams.
    2) Player could play several seasons with one team but not have a huge impact (IE, Sanders on the Reds for 8 yrs but not really an impact player)
    3) Player has solid numbers but no shot at the HOF

    Now let’s compile a list.

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  47. Jim says:

    How about Rupert Jones? Not the greatest stats (147 HR, 143 SB), but seems to fit otherwise.

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  48. TomG says:

    Randy Winn?

    .288/.347/.425; 104 HR; 125 SB; generally good defense….easily forgettable.

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  49. jjcole says:

    Jimmy Wynn

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  50. Alex says:

    It’s sounding more and more like Ron Gant’s a safe bet.

    And how about Benito Santiago?

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  51. TomG says:

    While probably a little too popular for the RSCBS, I have a feeling people are soon going to forget how good of a player Moises Alou was at his (healthy) peak.

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    • glassSheets says:

      Moises Alou is way too easily remembered for his technique to harden his hands and for his time with the Cubs.

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  52. TomG says:

    Dave Magadan

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  53. cpstraight says:

    By all accounts LuGo (no not Julio, but Luis) has the lifetime numbers and the personality, but he was a famously late bloomer changing for a gap power doubles guy to someone who hit what 57? HRs in area that would make anyone skeptical. So between that and a top 3 finish in the MVP ballot that year (I think second but thats just off the top of my head) he doesn’t seem to fit as well as Lankford. I dont think Burks would be on the list if not for his back derailing his career which seemed destined to be filled with All Star games, at least to someone who was growing up around Boston when he was making an impact.

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  54. John says:

    sounds like eric is a small-RSCBS guy

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  55. Spike Friedman says:

    Strong second for Randy Winn… looking at the career Value page you can see that he was very quietly very valuable for multiple teams for a decade without being the face of any of them… except maybe that terrible D-Rays team he played for.

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    • Kevin says:

      Even on the D-Rays he wasn’t the face. By the time he started to come into his own, Carl Crawford showed up. I’ll give that a third.

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  56. BSK says:

    HOJO!

    228 HRs, 231 SBs, 117 OPS. He did play the bulk of his career in New York, so he was slightly more famous than some of these other names, but absent the nickname and hotel chain (not related, but still), I don’t know how many people really remember his career.

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  57. Bob R. says:

    I have a few names to consider. My favorite “forgotten” star is Bob Johnson. He only played for 3 teams, so he might not qualify, but his 138 OPS+ is pretty good and is accompanied by 288 home runs and 96 stolen bases. Some others include:

    Gene Woodling: 123 OPS+, 147 home runs, light on SBs with 29

    Howard Johnson (4 teams): 117 OPS+, 228 HRs, 231 SBs. But he was on
    a NY team so he may not qualify.

    Earl Torgeson: 5 teams, 117 OPS+, 149 HRs, 133 SBs

    Larry Hisle: 3 teams, 123 OPS+, 166 HRs, 128 SBs

    Tommy Davis: 9 teams, 108 OPS+, 153 HRs, 136 SBs. But the batting
    title may disqualify him

    Dan Driessen: 5 teams, 113 OPS+, 153 HRs, 154 SBs.

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  58. Ddavid says:

    Tenace, anyone?

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  59. Jason J says:

    I can’t for the life of me explain it, but one of the very few baseball cards I can vividly remember owning — and as such, probably hold in too high regard a player who retired when I was six years old — was one of Carney Lansford. 151 HR, 224 SB, .337 wOBA, 111 OPS+. Plus, he played for three teams. And he had a bright red moustache, which must count for something.

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  60. Kevin S. says:

    Mike Greenwell? Does he get DQ’ed because everybody knows Canseco robbed him of the ’88 MVP? I think people don’t realize how valuable he was outside of that. Even though he played his whole career in Boston, he was overshadowed by Clemens, Vaughn, etc. He didn’t have a very long career (5166 PA), but he posted an OPS+ of 120 and an EqA of .283. Except for the career length, he was very similar to Sanders, who posted an OPS+ of 115 and an EqA of .282. Both were a little below average defensively.

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  61. sergio says:

    LLoyd Moseby?
    Tim Wallach?
    Vinny Castilla?
    Chet Lemon?
    Mike Deveraux?
    Gary Gaetti?
    Hubie Books?

    I agree with Whitaker, McReynolds, Zeile and Grissom

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  62. Bob R. says:

    I find it hard to assimilate all the categories of qualifications. Some seem to be looking for broad based skills, power and speed combined. Others consider nomadism, suggesting a player has to have had a long stretch when he rarely played for a team more than a year or two. Then there is the non-controversial issue, something I often do not know at all.

    But in looking back at some players I remember, two seem reasonably close to filling all the criteria. The first is Tony Phillips. I do not recall him being particularly controversial or difficult. In the last 6 years of his career he played for 7 different teams. Not a power hitter, he still hit 160 home runs (27 one year) and 360 doubles. Not a great speed guy, he still stole 177 bases. And his career OPS+ was 106, which included an 8 year stretch between 101-130. Five times it was over 120.

    He was excellent at getting on base, with a career .374 OBP and three years over .400. In five seasons he walked over 100 times. And on top of that he was very versatile. While not a particularly good fielder, he was good enough to spend 100 or more games at 5 different positions (2B, LF, 3B, SS, RF) and 97 in CF. In many ways, he was a poor man’s Tim Raines (OK, an impoverished man’s Tim Raines.)

    The second player was Reggie Smith. I won’t review his stats, but they are very good, especially his 137 OPS+. He only played for 4 different teams, so perhaps he does not qualify, but it seems to me he was always excellent while not quite a star and overshadowed by teammates on Boston and the Dodgers. He did receive accolades while playing, including 5 all-star game appearances, but is he really remembered any longer except by aficionados of the game’s history? In his only year on the ballot, he got 3 votes for the HOF (.7%).

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  63. Bob R. says:

    With no individual comments except their OPS+, these players moved around a bit and had at least 5000 ABs.

    Gene Woodling: 123
    Toby Harrah: 114
    Johnny Callison: 115
    George Hendrick: 116
    Rico Carty: 132
    Mickey Vernon: 116

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  64. Chris says:

    Trying to think of someone that really bounced around a lot, Roberto Kelly came to mind. Similar to Sanders in that he started his career with a fairly lengthy time with one team (6 years with the Yankees) before bouncing around the league playing for eight different teams in eight years being traded mid-season three times.

    Career .290/.337/.430 with 124 HR and 234 steals and capable of playing all three outfield positions.

    Some of the earlier suggestions that I still think ring true include:

    Bobby Bonilla
    Jeff Conine
    Chili Davis
    Todd Zeile
    Ruben Sierra
    Ron Gant

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  65. Joe D. says:

    Based on updated criteria (with no speed requirement), Matt Stairs is an excellent choice. OPS+ of 118 over 16 seasons for 11 teams. According to Baseball Reference, he made the top-20 in MVP voting exactly once, with a 17th place showing in 1999. My fellow Californians seem to be completely ignorant of Stairs’ contributions for the A’s from 1996-2000. That five year stretch represents his longest run on any one team.
    The Matt Stairs World Tour: Montreal, Boston, Oakland, Chicago (Cubs), Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Arlington (Rangers), Detroit, Toronto, Philadelphia.
    Bonus: Matt has a cool nickname: “Wonder Hamster”. Double-Bonus: Matt’s good deeds are so unrecognized that:
    If you type “Wonder Hamster” into Google, you get about a bajillion links about an obscure thirty second long Weird Al song before a single mention of Mr. Stairs.

    Possible Caveat: I’m not sure if his big homer for Philly has made him a local hero around those parts.

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  66. John says:

    definitely tenace he was better in value across the board than rice in peak and per-season but no one other than bill james people give a crap about him

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  67. Eric says:

    Von Hayes? May have spent too long in Philly, but 143 HR, 253 SB, 113 OPS+.

    Rondell White? He’s been a mercenary since the start in Montreal. 198 HR, 94 SB, 108 OPS+.

    Jose Cruz (Jr)? 204 HR, 113 SB, 102 OPS+

    Brian Jordan? 104 OPS+, 184 HR, 119 SB, but maybe fame due to the whole “two sport” thing – but then again, people might forget him and remember Deion and Bo.

    I was also thinking Glenallen Hill, Jeff Leonard, Preston Wilson, Juan Encarnacion, Jim Eisenreich and Joe Orsulak, but they don’t have the numbers of some of the other guys on the list (yes, I always enjoyed the vagabond fourth outfielder types). Eisenreich might be too famous due to the whole “miss three years due to Tourette’s” thing anyway.

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  68. brandon says:

    gentleman, i offer you Bobby Grich

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  69. brandon says:

    Im young so perhaps he is more famous than i realize and i vaguely remember something about him beating a murder rap but Cesar Cedeno might belong on this list.

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