Commentary on Total Baseball's Top 100 List (2000)

The List

3. Nap LaJoie

Keith -
The makers of Total Baseball now credit LaJoie with 339 Fielding Runs, which is actually down considerably from his number in 2001. Still, this number indicates that LaJoie's fielding value is greater than the offensive values of Keith Hernandez, Boog Powell, Joe Medwick, Hack Wilson, Babe Herman, Chuck Klein, Jack Fournier, and Earl Averill, among countless others. Unless Nap was somehow making diving stops down the third base line and robbing players of home runs all from his spot near the second base bag, then his fielding value has been overestimated here. There is no player in baseball history worth 339 more runs on defense than any other player, and certainly no player worth 339 more defensive runs than the average defensive player, as TB's editors have deemed LaJoie.

9. Ted Williams

Keith -
This list is compiled 100% objectively based on stats, no extra credit is given to any player. So on an objective list that overvalues fielding skills and gives no credit for missed time due to wars, Ted Williams still ranks 9th. That's pretty freakin' impressive.

31. Bill Dahlen

Keith -
This is the highest-ranking Hall of Fame eligible player on the list who isn't actually in the Hall of Fame. Next among such players is Bobby Grich at 40. It's true that these two players, Dahlen in particular, suffer from LODS (LaJoie Overvaluing Defense Syndrome), as Dahlen is now credited with 273 Fielding Runs (down from 310 in 2000) and Grich 126, but these guys have to be in the discussion amongst all-time Hall of Fame snubs.

59. Bid Mcphee

Keith -
McPhee ranks third among second basemen in career Fielding Runs. He also ranks third in Fielding Runs at any position. That's right, Fielding Runs shows the three most valuable defensive players all-time to be second basemen. Intuitively, we know that something's wrong, but what? A big part of the problem is that Fielding Runs credits second sackers for putouts. Putouts do not denote skill for middle infielders, since the second baseman and shortstop decide before hand who is going to cover the bag in certain situations. This also skews statistics in favor of second basemen from 100 years ago, when they played much closer to the bag then they do today.

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