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Thread: The Top "What Might Have Been" players in Baseball

  1. #1
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    The Top "What Might Have Been" players in Baseball

    After watching this show on the MLB Network, I thought it would be a great discussion of who would be on your list of the top "What Might Have Been's" in Baseball. So many tragic stories of guys who could've; would've; and should've, but just didn't.

    This was MLB Network's top 9:

    9) Rick Ankiel
    8) Ray Fosse
    7) Pete Reiser
    6) Lyman Bostock
    5) Herb Score
    4) Tony Conigliaro
    3) J.R. Richard
    2) Bo Jackson

    and no.1......
    1) Satchel Paige


    I don't agree with Rick Ankiel being on the list. Sure he lost his control as a pitcher, but he came back and with a vengance as an OF. If anything he should be on a list for the Top Comback Players in MLB History.

    I agree with the others. The JR Richard situation was really, really tragic, so was Herb Score.

    I would add Josh Hamilton, Dwight Gooden and Shane Spencer on that list. Shane Spencer was a september call up for the Yankees in 1998. He was a beast. in 27 games he hit 10HR's 27 RBI's. I think he hit like 3 Grand slams. He had an awkward knee injury in 1999 and was never the same.

    Who's your "What Might Have Benn" Player? It doesn't have to be just 9 players either.
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    Well, you could include any of dozens of Negro League players on this list, so that makes their inclusion kind of pointless. With that said, Bo Jackson was a better football player than baseball player. but Herb Score could have been a HOFer, same for Richard. Tony C. and Pete Reiser would have been perrenial ASG players, less so for Bostock. And Fosse and Ankiel shouldn't be on the list, but I don't have other options to offer
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  3. #3
    I don't know about that list... seems to me you either include a whole whack of Negro Leaguers, or none.

    Going with the former idea, I'd say just move everyone up one, and put Karl Spooner in at #10.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eastvanmungo View Post
    I don't know about that list... seems to me you either include a whole whack of Negro Leaguers, or none.

    Going with the former idea, I'd say just move everyone up one, and put Karl Spooner in at #10.
    Spooner is an interesting case. Usually I would say picthing only 2 games in the majors is not enough to tell whether or not a pitcher would be a star. But he was so ridiculously lights out in those games that you have have to wonder.

    And you're right about the negro league players. There are about 20 negro players that I can name off the top of my head that makes me wonder what if they were allowed to play in the MLB? I'm still going to list them later on today.
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  5. #5
    Ray Chapman might have ended up in the Hall of Fame if he hadn't been killed.

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    Harry Agannis
    Roy Campanella (Made the HOF anyway, but imagine if he'd had a few more years in LA with that ridiculous left field fence at 250 feet)
    What's the rumpus?

  7. #7
    Benny Kauff was better than most listed so far.

    Ray Grimes
    Monty Stratton

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    Dickie Thon
    Cecil Travis
    David Clyde
    Charlie Keller
    George Sisler (like Campy, still a Hall of Famer, but you wonder what might have been...)

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    Ralph Kiner in the same boat as Campy and Sisler.
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    Funny I was thinking of making a thread of this topic , but nevermind. On topic lots of Negro League players could have been on this list. Also agree with you Cool Papa that Rick Ankiel shouldn't be on this list. What they were thinking was his pitching career. If he had pitch longer they think he could of have been up there with the best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Francoeurstein View Post
    Ralph Kiner in the same boat as Campy and Sisler.
    All these guys are Hall of Famers, they didn't get cheated THAT much.
    Then you might as well include Mantle.
    Just thought of Bill Lange
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    Yeah, I think it's dumb to name Satchel Paige and not name guys like Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, etc.

    Mark Fidrych also belongs in this discussion somewhere, I think.
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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Victory Faust View Post
    Yeah, I think it's dumb to name Satchel Paige and not name guys like Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, etc.
    It's actually uncalled for to name any of them.

    "What might have been"??? These guys "did". Lumping them into "what might have been" means that they didn't do very much with their careers. Uh, yeah, they most certainly did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgarza View Post
    It's actually uncalled for to name any of them.

    "What might have been"??? These guys "did". Lumping them into "what might have been" means that they didn't do very much with their careers. Uh, yeah, they most certainly did.

    I see your point. However, I also can understand the sentiment of wondering "What might have been" with the Negro players. We truly don't know how great these guys were, since their stats were loosely recorded at best.

    We baseball history nuts are obsessed with ranking players, but it's impossible to rank someone based strictly on reputation. Was Gibson as great a power hitter as Babe Ruth? Greater? Was Oscar Charleston as great/greater than Cobb?

    Maybe, but we'll never really know, since all we have are sporadic box scores and legend to go by. So in that sense, I think it's perfectly applicable to ask "what might have been." Sure, they "did it." But few records of their deeds exist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RuthMayBond View Post
    All these guys are Hall of Famers, they didn't get cheated THAT much.
    Then you might as well include Mantle.
    Just thought of Bill Lange
    I actually thought of Mantle. Between his leg injuries and his drinking, he cheated himself out of a lot of potential. Of course he was great anyway, but how much better could he have been if he took care of himself and hadn't been hurt?
    What's the rumpus?

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    I actually thought about Dizzy Dean, too. Wonder what would have happened if Ol Diz didn't have his toe broken at the '37 All Star Game. 250 wins? 300, possibly?

  17. #17
    If we're mentioning Hall of Famers who could've been even greater, what about Addie Joss?

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    Hal Trosky. He's the missing term in the sequence of "Hall of Fame AL First Basemen"

    The sequence runs: Sisler, Gehrig. Foxx, Greenberg, ______________, Killebrew, Murray

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    Quote Originally Posted by ol' aches and pains View Post
    Roy Campanella (Made the HOF anyway, but imagine if he'd had a few more years in LA with that ridiculous left field fence at 250 feet)
    He also got a late start (debuted in Brooklyn at 26) because of segregation. Each end of his career was at least somewhat truncated.
    3 6 10 21 29 31 35 41 42 44 47

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