The GOAT Contest

November 8, 2019

Back when I rooted for the Mets, which was a long time ago, 1963 to about 2006 or -7, whenever Willie Randolph was completing his comical mismanagement regime, I had the thought that I’d seen a lot of GOATs over the years. If not The Greatest of All Time, then legitimate candidates for the GOAT, players who, if you brought them into the conversation about the GOAT pitcher, or GOAT best-hitting catcher, or GOAT best-fielding 1b-man, you would be taken seriously by whoever you were conversing with. I thought it was interesting, how many GOAT candidates I’d actually seen in a Met uniform.

Not just Tom Seaver, or Mike Piazza, or Keith Hernandez, who are strong candidates for the above-described titles, but I’d also seen good candidates for the GOAT base-stealer, the GOAT best-fielding shortstop. the GOAT best defensive catcher, the GOAT best pinchhitter. Again, I’m not claiming that Rickey Henderson, Rey Ordonez, Jerry Grote, and Rusty Staub would win these titles in some imaginary bar-room argument, just that I could make that case for them and not make an idiot of out of myself doing so. Oh, yeah, one other pickup who might qualify for the GOAT, period, Willie Mays, though obviously not during his Met-uniform stage. (The Giant Mays is still my GIESP candidate—Greatest I Ever Saw Play.) Some of these guys, like Mays and Henderson, also qualify in other GOAT categories: best leadoff man, for example, or best all-around centerfielder.

Think of your team, and which GOAT candidates you can come up with, in whatever categories you choose to conjure up. I suspect that, with a broad enough conception of categories and candidates, you will come up with a few that might surprise you. Considering how long baseball has been played, and the rarity of GOAT candidates, I find it sorta amazing that most of us have seen the greatest all-time anything in history, but I think most of us may have seen just that, with our own eyes: the single best human being at some large or small skill who ever lived.

Some of these, particularly the fielding designations, are particularly open to irresolvable debate, since we seem to be decades behind quantifying "fielding" compared to where are in quantifying batting, pitching and even baserunning. Ordonez and Grote, to use my examples, are mostly subjective choices—I have no body of evidence, nor do I know of any I would consider dispositive, to show their greatness. I’ve seen each of them make unusually dexterous plays many and many a time, far more often than I’ve had a chance to see with non-Mets players, but do I know for a fact that their fielding measures up to Ozzie Smith’s or Yadier Molina’s? Of course not, and I don’t see how I could, other than having simultaneously been a nutty Cardinals’ fan, watching hundreds of their games at the same time I was devouring Mets’ games.

More so than with any other facet of the game, fielding stats can only be used to approximate, not to establish, absolute inferiority or superiority. Every stat of every stripe can be argued against: the all-time leader in any category is always performing in a time or place, and often both, that works in his favor. Cy Young was pitching  in an optimal period to rack up Wins, Nolan Ryan strikeouts (hey, I saw his first few hundred Ks as well!), Bonds HRs, and there are always well-reasoned arguments, often winning arguments, against anyone as the GOAT in any category, fielding most of all. The clincher for Keith Hernandez’s goatiness at first base would be his eleven Gold Gloves, except that Hal Chase and Frank Chance and whoever else you’d care to nominate from the depths of history had no chance to chase Gold Gloves and, besides, the game changes enough over time that other metrics Bill and others have devised to quantify fielding probably don’t apply to all contenders equally.  A few years back, Nap Lajoie might have been considered a strong contender for the GOAT fielding second baseman, but Bill pretty much blew a gaping, smoking hole in that argument for me, and the same goes for Andruw Jones, whose stats in center field argue in favor his primacy but for the argument that Jones, like Lajoie, might have been more of a ball-hog than a ball-hawk. Whether or not you’re persuaded by such arguments is what makes such arguments ultimately subjective.

So all we’re left with is various arguments, strong ones, weak ones, ludicrous ones, and brilliant ones, for each GOAT nominee. Limiting your best argument to the one team you’ve watched the most, and the most closely, can anyone top the baker’s dozen GOAT-candidates I’ve personally seen play in my decades as a Mets fan? To wit:

1)      GOAT pitcher: Tom Seaver

2)      GOAT strikeout pitcher: Nolan Ryan

3)      GOAT hitting catcher: Mike Piazza

4)      GOAT fielding catcher: Jerry Grote

5)      GOAT fielding shortstop: Rey Ordonez

6)      GOAT fielding first baseman: Keith Hernandez

7)      GOAT basestealer: Rickey Henderson

8)      GOAT leadoff hitter: Rickey Henderson

9)      GOAT centerfielder: Willie Mays

10)   GOAT pinch-hitter: Rusty Staub

11)   GOAT catcher: Yogi Berra (a bit of a stretch: Yogi had 9 at bats as a Met))

12)  GOAT left-handed pitcher: Warren Spahn (who played many more innings than Berra as a Met, and in whose case I don’t actually believe, but sincere belief is not a requirement here, just the ability to make a respectable argument)

13)  GOAT fielding centerfielder: Richie Ashburn (Mays, too, but Ashburn’s range factors in the same period as Mays are off-the-charts. Don’t actually remember Ashburn—I was eight years old for the first part of the ’62 season, and  more of a Yankee fan than a Mets fan—but I might have seen a few innings on TV or something.)

The rules to this contest are:

You are limited to players for one team only

You must have actually seen (or as with Ashburn, plausibly seen) each player play at least one MLB game for that one team

You must be willing to make a sincere case for that player as the GOAT in whichever category you are naming. If challenged, you must make that case.

Penalties for failing to make plausible cases range up to being mocked and remembered as "That guy who thought Kent Tekulve was the GOAT relief pitcher in history"

No absurd invented categories will be recognized (i.e. GOAT urinal-smasher) as entries, though they may be mentioned in passing if designated as such.

You must have fun making up your list of GOATs

 

Baaah, baaah!

 
 

COMMENTS (63 Comments, most recent shown first)

lazer
steve161
@lazer: point taken. Sometimes I forget that not everyone is as old as I am. Actually I never saw Williams live either: he retired the year before the American League came west.


No worries! I did meet Williams at a Boat Show in the late 70’s though. He was giving fishing demonstrations in an above-ground pool set up in the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. Got his autograph which I still have today. :-)


10:53 PM Nov 18th
 
steve161
@lazer: point taken. Sometimes I forget that not everyone is as old as I am. Actually I never saw Williams live either: he retired the year before the American League came west.
8:48 AM Nov 16th
 
Brock Hanke
Steven - My take on Ordonez is the same as yours as to the very first point - he WAS as flashy a shortstop as I have ever seen, except maybe for Roy McMillan. Rabbit Maranville's reputation for flash is on another planet, but I never saw Rabbit play. But I will argue with you about range, hands, and arm. He was very good, but he was not Ozzie or Oquendo, and probably not as good as Ripken, much less many earlier SS. When I saw him play, the broadcasters always raved, because 1) he was very flashy, 2) he was VERY flashy, and 3) he couldn't hit a lick, and the broadcasters just didn't want to admit that the Mets needed a better SS.

Just to make sure I wasn't playing favorites, I went to the book Win Shares, where they graded defensive players. Ordonez is there, because he had played enough innings by 2000 to make the cut. He gets an A- grade, which I would believe. But, looking over the list, the thing that stood out to me was that there were NO A+ grades for the last half of the 1990s, which is the bulk of Ordonez' career. The highest defensive grade for that time period is Barry Larkin, a straight A. I was aware at the time that Larkin's defense was overlooked by the media because he hit so well. The only other A- was Rey Sanchez, which also makes sense.

So, I think you can make a decent argument that Ordonez was the best defensive SS of the last half of the 1990s, after Ozzie retired, but this thread is talking GOAT, as in of all time. The Win Shares list has about 15-20 shortstops graded as A+. These include Ozzie, Rabbit Maranville, Honus, Dal Maxvill, Herman Long, Bill Dahlen, Marty Marion - basically, everyone you would expect to have the top grade. But no one from the late 1990s. So, I am going to contend that Ordonez' perceived dominance is a matter of a half-decade lull in absolute superglove SS, instead of Ordonez being better than everyone else of all time. There are enough A+ grades that someone who doesn't even have a straight A is not really in the GOAT discussion. GOAT is a very tough standard.
9:26 PM Nov 15th
 
Steven Goldleaf
Rey Ordonez barely makes it in terms of career length, but he made the most amazing plays, and he made them look routine, more than any shortstop I ever saw, more than Ozzie (whom I saw mostly playing against NY, of course, so not as much) and Jose Oquendo (whom I did see playing SS for the Mets before Rey). He had the best hands, the greatest range, the surest arm I ever saw. Night after night, he was "Did I just see what I think I saw?" And he was such a bad hitter, I was mostly, "Ya can't be starting a weak stick like that."
3:45 PM Nov 15th
 
lazer
steve161
Seems to me you left out the most obvious and least controversial Red Sox GOAT:

"A man has to have goals--for a day, for a lifetime--and that was mine, to have people say, 'There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived.'" --My Turn at Bat



Per the rules, I never saw Ted Williams play, so I didn't include him.

12:29 PM Nov 15th
 
Brock Hanke
I go back a little further than Mikeclaw with the Cardinals (I saw my first live game in 1954), so I'll give it a try as long as Mike understands the I'm not really questioning his list; I just go back further. Anyway...

GOAT Pitcher - Gibson. GOAT fielding pitcher - Gibson. GOAT Lefty - Carlton. None of these will win, except maybe with the glove, but they're not bad candidates.

GOAT reliever - Hoyt Wilhelm (the Cards had him for one year in the 50s). I will concede any time that Rivera is the GOAT CLOSER, but I'll take Wilhelm as a reliever, and I think I can win that one.

GOAT catcher - The best the Cards have had in my lifetime was Ted Simmons. Ted, who clearly belongs in the HoF, suffers from playing at the same time as Bench, so he isn't REALLY a legitimate GOAT contender. GOAT catcher glove - Molina. The Cards have had a real good run of catcher gloves recently, from Pagnozzi to Matheny to Molina. In fairness, I did see Jim Hegan play a few games on TV, but he was old and I was young. Not to rain on a parade, but Jerry Grote is not comparable.

GOAT first baseman - Mark McGwire. When evaluating McGwire, you have to remember that he spent the vast majority of his career in Oakland, where fly balls go to be caught by outfielders. Realistically, he's one of the best 5 first basemen of all time, and very probably the best home run hitter of all time. Remember that he set the rookie record for home runs - by ELEVEN! And this was in Oakland, and NOT a steroid year. Jose Canseco's book is very clear. Jose says, on page 7, that he introduced McGwire to steroids in 1988. Mark's rookie season was 1987. Albert Pujols, due to injuries, isn't quite THAT good. GOAT 1B Glove - Hernandez

GOAT Second Base - nobody, really. I never saw Hornsby play. GOAT 2b Glove - Jose Oquendo. Jose was probably the #2 glove at SS during his career. It wasn't his fault that he was playing on the same team as Ozzie. He was wildly overqualified for 2B.

GOAT Third Base - Ken Boyer, while a serious HoF candidate, doesn't belong in a GOAT discussion with Schmidt, Mathews and Brett. So, nobody. Same at 3B Glove. It would be Rolen, but if you're from STL, someone will bring up CLETE Boyer, and your glove argument fails.

GOAT SS - Ozzie is the best we can offer. GOAT SS Glove - Ozzie might well win that one. I missed Marty Marion by one year. I hate to be a party pooper, but Rey Ordonez has no place in a GOAT glove discussion with Ozzie, Rabbit Maranville (who the Cards also had for a couple of years), Marion, and Honus.

GOAT LF - Stan Musial. Won't win, but won't embarrass you. Actually, he will win if you're discussing this in a group of people who place a lot of value on "character."

GOAT CF - Nobody. Jim Edmonds is the best we've had in my lifetime. HoF, maybe, but not GOAT. GOAT CF Glove - Curt Flood might win that one.

GOAT RF - Enos Slaughter, who was with the Yankees when I saw him, is probably the best the Cards can offer. He has no business in a discussion with Hank Aaron or Babe Ruth.

GOAT postseason player - Lou Brock. A serious candidate to win that one. Gibson won't embarrass you as a postseason pitcher, and might have the GOAT spot if he had won Game 7 in 1968.


9:40 PM Nov 14th
 
FrankD
I forgot one GOAT: best dance moves while missing the plate and costing the Twins a win .... Disco Dan Ford
10:07 PM Nov 13th
 
FrankD
He's my spin after following the Twins since '61 (ok, maybe a little later, I do remember staying home from elementary school to watch the 1965 WS.

GOAT P: Blyleven or Kaat
GOAT P defense: Kaat
GOAT P WS: Morris
GOAT RP: Reardon or Marshall

GOAT C: Mauer (with apologies to Battey)

GOAT 1B: Hrbek
GOAT 1B: tackle to win WS Hrbek

GOAT 2B : Carew (with a nod to Knobloch)
GOAT 2B defense WS play: Knobloch fake to Gaetti to save run in Game 7

GOAT 3B: Gaetti

GOAT SS: Gagne (but nod to 1965 Zoilo)

GOAT LF: Allison

GOAT CF: Puckett

GOAT RF: Oliva

GOAT Twin (LF, 3B, 1B, DH): Killebrew

GOAT Game: Game 7 of 1991 WS, Jack Morris wins 1-0 in 10 innings. Knobloch/Gagne infield fake. Overall great Twins defense.


10:04 PM Nov 13th
 
patzeram
These are the GOATs of the players I've seen.
GOAT basestealer-Rickey Henderson (duh!)
GOAT defensive outfielder-Paul Blair
GOAT for pure speed-Mickey Rivers
GOAT defensive third baseman-Graig Nettles
GOAT outfield arm-Aaron Judge
GOAT power-Aaron Judge
GOAT starting pitcher for one year- 1978 Ron Guidry-at one point he won 39 of 43 decisions starting in mid 1977 to 1978 including postseason. You can't be more of an ace than that.
GOAT relief pitcher-Mariano Rivera-about as obvious a decision as can be.
GOAT team for pure excitment-1977-78 Yankees-On and off the field something was always going on.
GOAT team-1998 Yankees
GOAT power arm-Aroldis Chapman


6:07 PM Nov 13th
 
steve161
Seems to me you left out the most obvious and least controversial Red Sox GOAT:

"A man has to have goals--for a day, for a lifetime--and that was mine, to have people say, 'There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived.'"

--My Turn at Bat
4:39 AM Nov 13th
 
lazer
Red Sox GOATs

GOAT pitcher: Pedro Martinez or Roger Clemens
GOAT defensive RF: Dwight Evans
GOAT DH: David Ortiz
GOAT left-handed hitting 3B: Wade Boggs
GOAT World Series HR: Carlton Fisk
GOAT outfield: Jim Rice, Fred Lynn & Dwight Evans
GOAT with a last name that needs to buy a vowel: Carl Yastrzemski
GOAT to play for both "Sox" teams: Carlton Fisk
GOAT first-year manager: Terry Francona, John Farrell & Alex Cora all won the WS as rookie managers
GOAT invented lingo: Dennis Eckersley
GOAT to serve in two wars: Ted Williams
GOAT ballpark: Fenway Park
GOAT ballpark feature: The Green Monster
GOAT ballpark seat: the red seat in the RF bleachers
GOAT curse: The Curse of the Bambino
5:39 PM Nov 12th
 
Jack
There's a case for Pudge as GOAT catcher: he had 68.5 career bWAR, basically the same as Ivan Rodriguez (68.7), more than Yogi (59.8) and Piazza (59.6), less than Bench (75.2), but Fisk played over 500 more games at catcher than did Bench, who never played more than eight games at catcher in a season after age 32.

I threw Iglesias out there because I just love watching him play shortstop -- he is just a supremely great defender, fundamentally just about perfect. I don't really believe he matches up to Ozzie, though.

Likewise, Yaz was a great left fielder, particularly in Fenway during his prime -- nobody played The Wall better. But I seriously doubt he matches up to, say, early career Barry Bonds.

Somewhat different topic, but I do think the overall quality of outfield play in the current era is far and away superior to that of 10, 20, 30 ... 150 years ago. And I think the best of the current crop of great defensive outfielders are probably better than their counterparts of earlier eras.
7:37 PM Nov 11th
 
Steven Goldleaf
Actually, I checked out Schilling entire post-career, and I retract the bloody sock comment--he was genuinely impressive for years and years, and I think he belongs, no questions asked, in the GOAT category for "post-season pitching." (I'm still not sure what "big game" means, aside from lions and tigers and hippos.)
9:14 AM Nov 11th
 
Steven Goldleaf
Jack—of your nine choices in “real” categories, I’d accept 3 as genuine GOAT candidates

GOAT DH: Big Papi
GOAT pitcher: Roger Clemens (career) and Pedro Martinez (peak)

and the other six as valid (i.e., clearly arguable), though I’d like to hear some arguments. In other words, I’ve heard many a Red Sox fan praise rapturously Yaz’s defense, but I haven’t heard any solid reasons for thinking he was the greatest defensive left-fielder ever, outside of Red Sox Nation citizenship-type reasons. (I applied for R.S.N. citizenship myself, btw, about ten years ago.) Are you listing exceptional Sox defensive players, or do you have an actual case for these guys? Pudge is good, but better than Bench? Than Berra? Than Campy? Why?

Personally, I tend to be skeptical of GOAT fielding status for great offensive players, figuring that for most of them, good fielding was a bonus. I.e., “Not only could he drive in and score runs, but he was above average at preventing them” somehow elevates them to GOAT defensive status. I usually figure that a guy whose hitting wouldn’t permit him a long MLB career but who gets one on account of his fielding is more likely the man, i.e., the GOAT—Belanger, Grote, Jim Landis, Hal Lanier get an extra look because you know it wasn’t their bats keeping them on the field.

Also explain Iglesias’s status here: how was he a terrific fielder? Is he still? I haven’t heard much about his exceptional fielding.

And finally if you can, define “big-game pitching” for me? Did Schilling outperform, say, Koufax and Bumgarner and Gibson in the post-season, or are you reacting emotionally to the bloody sock game? That is to say, can you tell me how that argument might be framed?

GOAT catcher: Pudge Fisk
GOAT defensive left fielder: Yaz
GOAT defensive center fielder: Jackie Bradley, Jr. (Fred Lynn and Rick Miller were pretty good also)
GOAT defensive right fielder: two candidates, Dwight Evans and Mookie Betts, both fantastic, especially at Fenway
GOAT defensive shortstop: Jose Iglesias
GOAT big-game pitcher: Curt Schilling

9:05 AM Nov 11th
 
formersd
First – Rickey Henderson, Leadoff Hitter and secondarily Base Stealer.
Scoring runs is the heart of the game. The job of a leadoff hitter is to score runs. This is primarily done by getting on base and having speed to score once you are on base. Rickey Henderson was among the best ever at both of these tasks. He’s 4th all time in for times on base and #1 in stealing bases. He’s the all-time record holder for runs scored, a list which includes some of the greatest players in the history of the game, most of who hit in the middle of the lineup. He led the league in stolen bases 12 times (1st all time), runs 5 times (tied for 3rd all-time) and walks 4 times. Of signature significance is his fantastic 1985 season where he scored 146 runs in 143 games. A runs per game ratio of over 1.0 is an incredibly rare feat that had not been accomplished by any other player since the end of WWII.
As a base-stealer, in addition to being the all-time record holder with nearly 50% more steals than #2, he was a consistent performance as he won his first SB crown at 21 and his last at 39. With the exception of 1994 (he was 11th), he was in the top 10 in steals every year of his career.

Second – Ozzie Smith, best defensive SS.
Ozzie had amazing range and incredible hand-eye coordination backed by a good arm. He set the season record for assists by a SS with 621 and led the league in assists 8 times (#1 all-time), fielding percentage 8 times (tied for 1st all-time), double plays 5 times (tied for 5th) and was the lynchpin of the 1980’s Cardinal defense behind a pitching staff the regularly struck of ~5ish/9 but still posted incredible low runs allowed.

Third – Mike Piazza, best hitting C.
In the mid 90s, Piazza lead the NL in OPS+ twice, he also finished 2nd and 5th one time each. Joe Mauer is the only other catcher to ever lead his league in OPS+. Piazza also holds the all-time HR record for catchers and is one of the few catchers with a lifetime batting average over 300.

Fourth - Trevor Hoffman, Closer

Hoffman was dominant from the mid-90s to mid-00s. He regularly saved 40+ game per season and held the ML record for consecutive saves at one time. He is #2 in saves all-time. In his prime, he was crucial to several pennant races. I recognize Rivera is considered by most and he is tough to argue with, but Hoffman is one of the people that must be considered. Note: I said I ccould make a credible argument on this one, I think most people would rightly choose Rivera.

1:09 AM Nov 11th
 
3for3
Hard to make a good argument for Mays as GOAT hitter, IMO.
11:19 PM Nov 10th
 
Steven Goldleaf
steve161--i have Mays (who did play in my town, both before I was a fan, and after he really couldn't play anymore, but in between as a frequent visitor) as a contender for GOAT player, GOAT CFer, GOAT baserunner, GOAT defensive CFer, and GOAT batter. If the moron who devised these rules had limited us to picking the one most defensible of all the choices, I'd choose Mays as GOAT CFer--I think I could make the best case for that one, out of all five options.
6:22 PM Nov 10th
 
steve161
>They are all intended as the "GOAT in MLB history."

Well then, that's easy. Willie Mays. Willie Mays. Willie Mays.

He didn't play for my team, but I also didn't live in my team's city. I saw Willie a few times at Candlestick, more often in Los Angeles. Bonds might have had an edge as a hitter, but for the whole package, the only one who comes close is Mike Trout, and as great as he is, he doesn't take your breath away like Willie did.
4:09 PM Nov 10th
 
bearbyz
Killebrew, yes, but the 60s are a real decade. He actually averaged over 40 home runs a year from 1961 to 1970 winning that one also. I don't know many players who average 40 homers a year for a decade until the steroid era.

Yes, Carew was bunt base hits, sorry I didn't make it clear. Actually the thing I learned from this is Matty Alou does have a darn good argument.
3:04 PM Nov 10th
 
Jack
Am I really the first Red Sox fan to weigh in?

GOAT catcher: Pudge Fisk
GOAT flashy first baseman: George Scott (probably loses out to Willie Montanez, but still)
GOAT gritty second baseman: Dustin Pedroia (perhaps the overall GrittiestOAT, though David Eckstein partisans will disagree)
GOAT defensive shortstop: Jose Iglesias
GOAT defensive left fielder: Yaz
GOAT "feared" slugger: Jim Rice
GOAT defensive center fielder: Jackie Bradley, Jr. (Fred Lynn and Rick Miller were pretty good also)
GOAT defensive right fielder: two candidates, Dwight Evans and Mookie Betts, both fantastic, especially at Fenway
GOAT DH: Big Papi
GOAT pitcher: Roger Clemens (career) and Pedro Martinez (peak)
GOAT big-game pitcher: Curt Schilling
GOAT first-year manager: Dick Williams 1967
GOAT career cut tragically short: Tony Conigliaro

Alas, I can't nominate Ted Williams for GOAT hitter, as the only time I saw him hit was in an old-timers game.

Also feel I must mention these Red Sox Worst of All Time candidates:
WOAT fielding third baseman: Butch Hobson
WOAT World Series manager: John McNamara 1986
10:01 AM Nov 10th
 
wovenstrap
I think you've got the right idea on the decades, Steven. You know, Dave Stieb? Sure, he was good.
1:10 AM Nov 10th
 
Rich Dunstan
Fewer Giant candidates than I would have expected, given all the great players they have had.

GOAT player Willie Mays
GOAT centerfielder Willie Mays
GOAT defensive centerfielder Willie Mays
GOAT player Barry Bonds (easily refutable, in my view, but obviously the argument is there to be made)
GOAT left fielder Barry Bonds
GOAT home run hitter Barry Bonds
GOAT defensive second baseman Hal Lanier
GOAT lefty Randy Johnson (a stretch, not only on merit but because I saw him pitch for the Giants once at most, on TV)

I never saw Joe Morgan or Warren Spahn play when they were with the Giants, even on TV. If I had they would obviously make this list.
12:52 AM Nov 10th
 
Rich Dunstan
Fewer Giant candidates than I would have expected, given all the great players they have had.

GOAT player Willie Mays
GOAT centerfielder Willie Mays
GOAT defensive centerfielder Willie Mays
GOAT player Barry Bonds (easily refutable, in my view, but obviously the argument is there to be made)
GOAT left fielder Barry Bonds
GOAT home run hitter Barry Bonds
GOAT defensive second baseman Hal Lanier
GOAT lefty Randy Johnson (a stretch, not only on merit but because I saw him pitch for the Giants once at most, on TV)

I never saw Joe Morgan or Warren Spahn play when they were with the Giants, even on TV. If I had they would obviously make this list.
12:52 AM Nov 10th
 
Steven Goldleaf
Taking nothing away from Killebrew, I'm not very impressed by best performances in a decade, which mostly depend on timing. Killebrew was just beginning to show his power when the 60s began, and he tailed off soon after they ended, as opposed to:


Willie Mays, who was washed up as a power hitter the last few years of the decade, and Willie McCovey, who was platooned with Orlando Cepeda the first few years of it, and Cepeda himself, who missed a full year due to injury in the middle of the decade, and Frank Howard, who was struggling to get playing time in the Dodgers' outfield at the start of the decade, and Norm Cash, whose playing time lapses Bill has thoroughly documented, and Ernie Banks, whose best years were in the late 1950s, likewise Mickey Mantle, who was washed up as a slugger by the end of the decade. So basically Killebrew nosed out Hank Aaron, who was a better all-around hitter, and fielder, and baserunner, and finished comfortably ahead of F. Robby, who might have been a better all-around hitter, fielder and baserunner than Aaron.

Again, not taking anything away from him, but I'm pretty sure that if you pick a different nearby decade, like 1957-1966 or 1963-1972, he'd be third or fourth in HRs. 1960-1969 works out for him, but I wouldn't say that's a real distinction.

As to Carew, you mean "bunt base hits," right? Not "base hits."
4:26 PM Nov 9th
 
bearbyz
GOAT Home Run Hitter in the 1960s:

Harmon Killebrew 393
Hank Aaron 375
Willie Mays 360
Frank Robinson 316
Willie McCovey 300
Frank Howard 290
Norm Cash 278
Ernie Banks 269
Mickey Mantle 256
Orlando Cepeda 254

Killebrew not only led the MLB in home runs in the 60s he won his league by more than 100 home runs. He also hit some long shots, breaking a seat at the old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. The seat now hits in the mall of America.

Goat Bunter Rod Carew:

Rod Carew had 91 base hits with the bases empty which is sixth all time. His batting average for base hits with the bases empty was .722 seventh of all time. The only other player in the top 10 in both is Matty Alou who was 90 for 123. Carew however, would often fake a bunt getting the third basemen to move in a little and hit the ball over the left side of the infield, using the bunt as a double edge sword. Also, he laid beautiful bunts. Not seeing Matty Alou as often I can't tell you the beauty of his bunts.
3:42 PM Nov 9th
 
Steven Goldleaf
You guys may well be right about Wagner. I certainly didn't appreciate him when he was the Mets' closer.​
2:17 PM Nov 9th
 
mikeclaw
FreeK -
I don't think Wagner "has a case." I think he's the GOAT on that list, hands down. Chapman may catch him, but Wagner is phenomenal. Most underrated RP ever. Never had ERA over 3.00 in a full season. Frequently under 2.00. Much, much better than Hoffman, who flew into the Hall of Fame with no questions asked.

1:35 PM Nov 9th
 
FreeKresge
Regarding left-handed relievers, here is a list of all lefties with at least 150 saves (plus John Hiller):

In order, the numbers are: saves, rWAR, fWAR (i.e., Chapman has 273 saves, 17.4 rWAR, and 19.4 fWAR).

273 . . 17.5 . . 19.4 . . Aroldis Chapman
424 . . 23.4 . . 16.1 . . John Franco
204 . . 10.4 . . 07.7 . . Brian Fuentes
187 . . 13.2 . . 06.4 . . Eddie Guardado
125 . . 30.5 . . 11.4 . . John Hiller
238 . . 23.2 . . 14.7 . . Sparky Lyle
180 . . 21.8 . . 14.0 . . Tug McGraw
347 . . 15.3 . . 13.6 . . Randy Myers
178 . . 18.2 . . 05.9 . . Ron Perranoski
158 . . 16.9 . . 16.3 . . Dan Plesac
252 . . 21.3 . . 11.4 . . Dave Righetti
422 . . 27.7 . . 24.0 . . Billy Wagner
192 . . 07.3 . . -2.2 . . Mitch Williams

I think that Wagner has a case for being the best of the bunch.

1:04 PM Nov 9th
 
mikeclaw
I'm certain that I've forgotten some from the Cardinals, 1970- present, and I'm not counting Curt Flood (GOAT defensive outfielder) because I have no recollection of seeing him play. But ...

Albert Pujols - GOAT first baseman, GOAT postseason first baseman, GOAT rookie year
Bob Gibson - GOAT postseason pitcher, probably a few others
Lou Brock - GOAT baserunner, GOAT postseason outfielder
Hernandez - GOAT defensive first baseman
Ozzie - GOAT defensive shortstop
Scott Rolen - GOAT defensive third baseman
Yadi - GOAT defensive catcher, GOAT catcher's throwing arm
Kaat - GOAT defensive pitcher
McGwire - GOAT pure slugger
Mark Whiten - GOAT outfield arm
Steve Carlton - GOAT slider
Andres Galarraga - GOAT at getting hit by pitches

Is there any real debate that Mariano Rivera is the GOAT closer? Depending on how much room there is for discussion, I saw Eck, Sutter, Quiz and Lee Smith with the Birds.


12:53 PM Nov 9th
 
FreeKresge
I do not see any Dodgers yet, so I will propose a few GOATs:

GOAT Announcer: Vin Scully

GOAT Spanish-Language Announcer: Jaime Jarrín

GOAT Infield Longevity as a Unit: Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, Ron Cey

GOAT Hitting Catcher: Mike Piazza

GOAT Manager who could get the most out of good to very good but not great players: Tom Lasorda

I will pre-defend the last one. In the twelve seasons from 1977 to 1988, Lasorda won four pennants and two World Series. Over this period he had only one player who is now in the Hall of Fame (Don Sutton). Sutton was not an everyday player, and some dismiss him as simply a compiler (although I do not). Sutton played for Lasorda for only 6 1/2 seasons and did not participate in either World Series that Lasorda won. In other words, in the pre-wildcard era, Lasorda has two more World Series victories without a single Hall-of-Fame player than all other managers combined.

12:32 PM Nov 9th
 
Steven Goldleaf
Gooden does have categories he's the GOAT of, no question. I just don't have much respect for those categories. Definitely the greatest teenaged righthanded pitcher never to win a post-season game, although John Thorn might argue for Jim Creighton. So let's specify "from western Florida" and grant him GOAT status there.
11:51 AM Nov 9th
 
Steven Goldleaf
"Curious time-traveling space alien asks about single game" contest is down the hall, to the right. This is "Greatest of All Time" contest.
11:44 AM Nov 9th
 
wovenstrap
I hear you. I think GOAT Pitcher is that category. If you had a space alien who wanted to see the best pitcher and only 1 game to do it in, you'd pick Gooden in 1985.

It's not that hard! Just because Clemens did almost as well for like 20 years doesn't really give him an edge here.
11:12 AM Nov 9th
 
Steven Goldleaf
What is Gooden the GOAT at, though? "Of all time" doesn't comport with "single-season," does it? Not to me. Greatest young pitcher ever? Define "young". Greatest teenaged player? Maybe. Greatest flash in the pan? I might buy that. Greatest disappointment? Greatest player to enter drug rehab? Name a category, please.
11:09 AM Nov 9th
 
wovenstrap
I still think you're selling Gooden short. If you go to this page on the world's most famous baseball statistics website:

https://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/WAR_season.shtml

you'll see that Gooden, Carlton, and Yaz are the only people after World War II to register a single-season WAR of 12.5 or higher, and his is the best of the three, at 13.3. Merely breathe the words "timeline adjustment" and the case is made that Gooden indeed did attain the highest peak performance in the general department of "pitching" that has ever been witnessed. To the extent that I watched it happen, I also agree with that assessment.

OK, I'll shut up now.
10:41 AM Nov 9th
 
Steven Goldleaf
OK, that's a good start, jeffsol. Admittedly I don't know relievers by handedness, so would have to review the list of lefties, but I recall Wagner and McGraw as being spotty, unreliable at times (as well as lights-out and very reliable at other times, like all relievers), so I'd surprised if they were GOATs of any kind, but I'm prepared to be surprised.

I don't know if I want to get into a WAR-comparison argument, which isn't that much of an argument--it's basically "this integer is higher than that integer, so there"--and "defense" is a fairly subjective argument to make, though of course it has to enter into the discussion. As I say, I was a Mets fan, so my bias will be in favor of Carter, though I'm not immediately going to go there. Is consistency that much of a virtue? I don't know. If Bench's five best years are better than Carter's, does it matter that one's were consecutive and the other's was not?
9:27 AM Nov 9th
 
jeffsol
How is the argument for Billy Wagner even questionable? Certainly other candidates, but if there is a LH reliever clearly better than Wagner, I’m really not sure who it would be. John Hiller?
9:13 AM Nov 9th
 
jeffsol
For me, the argument for Carter over Berra isn’t hard. It’s defense and timeline. Or just lifetime WAR if you want, where Carter is significantly ahead of Berra in either bWAR or fWAR. Which is a reflection of defense. The Bench argument is, I think, harder, but the one that is arguable is sustained and consistent excellence. From 1979-1985, Carter was among the best players in the league (not best Catchers, of which he clearly was during the period) every year. Bench always mixed his best years with off years or injured years.
9:12 AM Nov 9th
 
Steven Goldleaf
And actually Berra was a Met (for about a week) as I noted. Your point about fielding is a good one, and one that I would use in any comparison: since I believe MLB is getting progressively more competitive (i.e., better, harder to do, more demanding of skills, etc.) I'd have to award any ties to the more contemporary player. But maybe that's just me, and the arguments that I would make.
8:04 AM Nov 9th
 
Steven Goldleaf
Maybe I didn't make myself clear, steve161: NONE of these are intended as "GOAT Met" or "GOAT Red" or whatever. They are all intended as the "GOAT in MLB history." I'm just asking folks to nominate players from the team they've presumably seen the most, so we're not going on general impressions or reputations but players we've seen play hundreds of times.
7:55 AM Nov 9th
 
steve161
I would never try to make a case for Gary Carter over Johnny Bench or Yogi Berra. But neither of them were Mets, so if I'm looking for the Met GOAT catcher, I want the guy who is nearly as good a hitter as Piazza and nearly as good a catcher as Grote, and better than either of them in the other category, and that's Gary Carter.

As for fielding, given the approximate nature of pre-Statcast metrics, the eye test has to be a factor. Believing as I do that athletic achievement improves over time, partly because today's players learn what is possible from yesterday's players and then build on it, I think there's a very good chance that the best shortstop who ever lived is active today and is probably named Andrelton Simmons. However, I doubt that it's possible to make a better play than the one Ozzie Smith made as a Padre, where he barehanded a bad hop while diving. So Ozzie's my GOAT until I see a better play, which I think will happen never.
7:32 AM Nov 9th
 
Steven Goldleaf
These are great, guys, keep ‘em comin’. Of the several nominations so far, I’ve picked those that I think are intended seriously (we can evaluate the comically intended ones at another time, place, and dimension) and cut and pasted them below. Some of the categories you’ve proposed may have been seriously intended, but I think are difficult to frame an actual argument around. What standards of discussion could you possibly apply, other than “personal taste,” to “quickest DP turn” or “GOAT team leader”? I’m sure these were intended seriously, but I can’t imagine how an argument would go.

I’m leery enough, as my initial proposal said, even in including “fielding” as a category, since the metrics are themselves up for debate, but we could at least start an argument there to see if you can find some common points of discussion.

Likewise with “multi-position players”: if we could establish parameters to include, say, Musial and Rose but exclude every MLB player who ever played an inning at two or more positions (i.e., every other MLB player except Luis Aparicio), we’d have a basis. (Killebrew goes here, and a few others. Minimum of 500 games at each one? 300? 700? Outfield is one position or three? Is there a difference between utility player and multi-position player, or are they interchangeable terms? We could hash this out pretty quickly.)

I also eliminated things seriously proposed but impossible to quantify, like “greatest slider”: I don’t know how anyone who hasn’t actually faced every slider could begin to make that call. This was why I didn’t include “R.A. Dickey” on my Mets list of GOAT candidates—aside from asserting my biased opinion (and colossal ignorance of other knuckleball pitchers) I have no clue how to make my case. That wouldn’t be arguing, as I see it, it would be more like “Yammering.” (“No, no, ‘Blathering’ is down the hall—this is ‘Bullshit Session’ here.”) BTW, I knew bearbyz was old, but never realized he did see Walter Johnson pitch.

Some of the more interesting arguments to me include the one about GOAT catchers. I would like to hear the case for Gary Carter over Berra and Bench. Not sure how far we’d get before that one devolved into “Okay, wouldja believe eighth-greatest catcher of all-time, then?” but maybe there’s an angle there I’m just not seeing. Likewise “GOAT LH relief pitcher”: I’m not sure of the all-time roster of lefty relievers, but Wagner and McGraw never really jumped out at me as candidates, and I saw an awful lot of them, both with the Mets and the Phils. I’d like to hear some alternate cases. I’m not sure how you’d frame “GOAT bunter” or “GOAT infield arm” but again I’d be interested in how that discussion would go.

Neither am I sure what the standards are for “GOAT manager” (one of my favorite Bill James books is devoted to that discussion, and it doesn’t reach a definite conclusion, as I recall, or even come up with a persuasive way to study the issue, but I’d like to at least start that one, and the one about GMs.) Likewise “announcers,” “durability,” “mid-season pickup”—all arguments I’d enjoy hearing.

My selection of most arguable nominations I’d like to hear (shorn of most comments, remarks, attributions, etc.):

Mets
GOAT Catcher: Gary Carter (not saying is, but can make an argument)
GOAT LH Relief Pitcher: Billy Wagner (or Tug McGraw)

Cubs
GOAT infield arm: Shawon Dunston
GOAT midseason pickup: Rick Sutcliffe

Mets
GOAT rookie pitcher Gooden

Twins
Goat Home Run Hitter of the 1960s: Harmon Killebrew
Goat Bunter: Rod Carew

Braves
GOAT HR hitter: Henry Aaron
GOAT defensive CF: Andruw Jones

Royals
GOAT, fastest baserunner, Willie Wilson
GOAT: submarine pitcher, Dan Quisenberry
GOAT: Defensive outfield, Gordon, Dyson and Cain

Padres
GOAT Defensive SS - Ozzie Smith
GOAT Hitting Catcher - Mike Piazza
GOAT Leadoff Hitter - Rickey Henderson
GOAT Base Stealer - Rickey Henderson
GOAT Closer - Trevor Hoffman

REDS
GOAT Catcher: Johnny Bench.
GOAT Second baseman: Joe Morgan
GOAT multi position player: Pete Rose
GOAT starting eight: 1975-1976
GOAT pitcher: Tom Seaver
GOAT 162 game stretch: Eric Davis
GOAT bullpen: Nasty Boys

Oakland A's:
GOAT player, leadoff man, left fielder, basestealer, hot dog: Rickey
GOAT closer: Dennis Eckersley
GOAT defensive CF: Dwayne Murphy
GOAT defensive 3B: Matt Chapman
GOAT utility player: Tony Phillips
GOAT pinch hitter: Matt Stairs
GOAT switch pitcher: Pat Venditte
GOAT outfield arm: Ramon Laureano
GOAT manager: Tony La Russa
GOAT GM: Billy Beane
GOAT announcers: Bill King, Ken Korach

Phillies
GOAT Third baseman: Mike Schmidt
GOAT pitcher: Pedro
GOAT defensive center fielder: Garry Maddox

CUBS
GOAT pitcher: Greg Maddux
GOAT announcer: Harry Caray


CARDS
GOAT fielding shortstop: Ozzie Smith
GOAT all-around first baseman: Albert Pujols
GOAT multi-position player: Musial.

NYY
GOAT Catcher - Berra
GOAT CF - Mantle
GOAT leadoff hitter/basestealer: Henderson
GOAT Leftside infielder: ARod
GOAT Pitcher - Clemens
GOAT strikeout pitcher: Johnson
GOAT reliever/postseason pitcher: Rivera
GOAT postseason player: Rivera
GOAT postseason position player: Jeter
GOAT team: 1998 Yankees

O’s
GOAT manager: Weaver
GOAT fielding third baseman: Brooks Robinson
GOAT durability: Ripken



7:02 AM Nov 9th
 
jeffsol
Mets fan here so will try to cover some Steven may have missed:

GOAT 19 year old pitcher: Dwight Gooden
GOAT Catcher: Gary Carter (not saying is, but can make an argument)
GOAT Longest one team career without ever actually being good: Ed Kranepool
GOAT LH Relief Pitcher: Billy Wagner (or Tug McGraw)
GOAT Control Pitcher: Bret Saberhagen
GOAT Pitcher from Hawaii: Sid Fernandez
GOAT Strikeout Pitcher who couldn’t hit 90 on the gun: Sid Fernandez
GOAT Baseball Hoax: Sidd Finch


12:22 AM Nov 9th
 
wovenstrap
rynjor:

You missed two good ones:

GOAT infield arm: Shawon Dunston
GOAT midseason pickup: Rick Sutcliffe


Jon Lester? Really?
11:40 PM Nov 8th
 
wovenstrap
It's baffling to me that the word "Gooden" doesn't appear in this.

GOAT rookie pitcher
GOAT curveball
GOAT dominant pitcher at his peak (B-R WAR supports it)
GOAT general pitching ability

And yes, dear reader, I saw him in his prime, in late '84. My team was on the other side of town, though.

11:35 PM Nov 8th
 
OwenH
These are great (or should I say ...Goat?) My favorites so far:

GOAT Written Letter for a Catch He Made: Sam Rice
GOAT longest career by player who could barely hit the ball: Otis Nixon, Rafael Belliard
GOAT, breaking a 7 year old's heart: Chris Chambliss (the only D#$$ed Yankee we will mention here, but it must be said)
GOAT weird manager-owner dynamic: Martin-Steinbrenner
GOAT ballpark even though the team stinks out loud
6:37 PM Nov 8th
 
sayhey
GOAT debut on national TV of a phenom: Mark Fidrych, Monday Night Baseball, June 28, 1976. I was watching.​
4:19 PM Nov 8th
 
bearbyz
Goat Pitcher: Walter Johnson.
Goat Home Run Hitter of the 1960s: Harmon Killebrew
Goat Bunter: Rod Carew
Goat Breaking a 8 year old's heart: Carl Yastrzemski
Goat For Getting Elected to the Hall of Fame Just in Time: Kirby Puckett
Goat Pitcher from Netherlands: Bert Blyleven
Goat Second Baseman Getting Yips Throwing to First: Chuck Knoblauch
Goat Player Not Making the Hall of Fame Because of His Knees: Tony Oliva
Goat Catcher winning batting titles: Joe Mauer
Goat Written Letter for a Catch He Made: Sam Rice
Goat Pitcher from 2004 to 2006: Johan Santana
4:11 PM Nov 8th
 
sansho1
GOAT HR hitter: Henry Aaron
GOAT craftiest pitcher (if not greatest pitcher): Greg Maddux
GOAT defensive SS: Andrelton Simmons
GOAT defensive CF: Andruw Jones
GOAT knuckleballer: Phil Niekro
GOAT quickest DP turn: Alex Gonzalez
GOAT unhittable closer: Craig Kimbrel
GOAT longest career by player who could barely hit the ball: Otis Nixon, Rafael Belliard
GOAT stoneface: Garret Anderson
GOAT dreamboat: Javy Lopez
GOAT corn-fed beef: Ryan Klesko
GOAT unlikeliest HR: Rick Camp
GOAT Bermanism: Oddibe "Young Again" McDowell
GOAT second spitter: Roger McDowell



3:48 PM Nov 8th
 
bhalbleib
Royals fan here, born the same year as my favorite team, so I suppose I could say anything from their entire history, though I really don't remember much before the Playoff years (1976 for those who don't know their ancient history):

GOAT good hitter, terrible baserunner, Lou Pinella;
GOAT, most aggressive baserunner, Hal McRae (if you don't know why, put in Randolph McRae as your search and watch the Youtube from 1977 playoffs);
GOAT, fastest baserunner, Willie Wilson. Oh I suppose someone could tell me that Willie wasn't the fastest, but the man had 13 inside the park home runs between 1979 and 1984, which I am sure is not a record (since at some point in baseball history all HRs were "inside the park"), but almost certainly is a record post divisional baseball
GOAT, taking a run at .400, George Brett 1980. I thought long and hard about what I should say for him and this seems most fitting for him. I could also call him the GOAT for famously taking (now) cranky old Yankees relief pitchers deep.
GOAT, breaking a 7 year old's heart: Chris Chambliss (the only D#$$ed Yankee we will mention here, but it must be said)
GOAT: submarine pitcher, Dan Quisenberry
GOAT: defensive 2nd baseman, Frank White. (a stretch but he might have been the greatest at tracking down balls in the air at 2B)
GOAT: clever managing in an ALCS, Dick Howser 1985
GOAT: Game 7 world series pitching performance, Bret Saberhagen 1985
GOAT: Postseason comebacks, 2014 and 2015 Royals, I supposed this year's Nats are on the podium too.
GOAT: Defensive outfield, Gordon, Dyson and Cain (2014 postseason especially)
GOAT: Greatest teammate, Salvador Perez.



3:15 PM Nov 8th
 
formersd
Padres 1969 to present

1. GOAT Average Hitter - Tony Gwynn
2. GOAT Contact Hitter - Tony Gwynn
3. Defensive SS - Ozzie Smith
4. GOAT Hitting Catcher - Mike Piazza
5. GOAT Leadoff Hitter - Rickey Henderson
6. GOAT Base Stealer - Rickey Henderson
7. GOAT Closer - Trevor Hoffman (meaning I could make an argument)
8. GOAT for Walks - Gene Tenace or Rickey Henderson
9. GOAT Spitballer - Gaylord Perry
10. GOAT Control Pitcher - Greg Maddux
11. GOAT Puerto Rican Player - Roberto Alomar



3:08 PM Nov 8th
 
3for3
I'll take the Reds from 1975-1990:

1. GOAT Catcher: Johnny Bench
2. GOAT team leader: Tony Perez (I think Stargell beats him, but Perez is in the argument.
3. GOAT Second baseman: Joe Morgan
4. GOAT multi position player: Pete Rose
5. GOAT father of a Hall of Famer: Ken Griffey Sr. (OK, this is a stretch)
6. GOAT starting eight: 1975-1976
7. GOAT pitcher: Tom Seaver
8. GOAT 162 game stretch: Eric Davis, GG Centerfielder with 47HR/98SB
9. GOAT bullpen: Nasty Boys

2:25 PM Nov 8th
 
OwenH
Oakland A's GOATS from 1980 onward:

GOAT player, leadoff man, left fielder, basestealer, hot dog: Rickey
GOAT power hitter: Mark McGwire
GOAT overall hitter: Jason Giambi
GOAT starting pitcher: Dave Stewart
GOAT pitcher cheated out of a Cy Young Award: Mike Norris, 1980
GOAT closer: Dennis Eckersley
GOAT defensive CF: Dwayne Murphy
GOAT defensive 3B: Matt Chapman (edges out Eric Chavez)
GOAT utility player: Tony Phillips
GOAT fourth outfielder: Stan Javier
GOAT pinch hitter: Matt Stairs
GOAT switch pitcher: Pat Venditte
GOAT curveball: Barry Zito
GOAT sinker: Tim Hudson
GOAT outfield arm: Ramon Laureano
GOAT manager: Tony La Russa
GOAT GM: Billy Beane
GOAT players who flourished after leaving Oakland: Jose Rijo, Mickey Tettleton, Tony Phillips, Max Muncy
GOAT all-star lineup: LF Rickey, 3B Donaldson, DH Giambi, 1B McGwire, RF Canseco, SS Tejada, CF Murphy, C Steinbach, 2B Ellis
GOAT all-star rotation & closer: Stewart, Hudson, Mulder, Zito, Gray; Eckersley
GOAT announcers: Bill King, Ken Korach
1:35 PM Nov 8th
 
GuillermoMountain
Phillies fan here:

GOAT Third baseman: Mike Schmidt
(also GOAT offensive 3B and GOAT defensive 3B)

GOAT pitcher: Pedro (at the end; no longer dominant, but still...)

GOAT slider: Steve Carlton

GOAT power vs. control pitcher: Curt Schilling

GOAT defensive center fielder: Garry Maddox

GOAT Hot Dog, er, "showman": Willie Montanez (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jq37qN_KPos)
1:06 PM Nov 8th
 
Robinsong
rynjor -
I think that you would have trouble making your case with a straight face for GOAT for any but Maddux. If you were as old as me, you could have tried Banks for SS. You could have added GOAT wait for a championship - 108 years!
12:37 PM Nov 8th
 
Robinsong
Randy of course. Even if Walter had hit the Yanks, I am not that old
12:32 PM Nov 8th
 
rynjor
I'll try this for the Cubs in my viewing years (1982 - forward) in some categories:

1) GOAT pitcher: Greg Maddux

2) GOAT strikeout pitcher: Kerry Wood

3) GOAT hitting catcher: Willson Contreras

4) GOAT fielding catcher: Willson Contreras

5) GOAT fielding shortstop: Javier Baez

6) GOAT fielding first baseman: Leon Durha...err...Anthony Rizzo

7) GOAT basestealer: Ryne Sandberg (more SBs than HRs)

8) GOAT left-handed pitcher: Jon Lester

BONUS) GOAT announcer: Harry Caray
12:14 PM Nov 8th
 
steve161
I've seen a lot of Cardinal greats--Musial and Gibson are probably my favorites--but the only ones I might make an argument for at their positions are

Ozzie Smith (fielding shortstop)

Albert Pujols (all-around first baseman, but I'd give Hernandez the edge as a fielder).

I suppose I could nominate Musial as a multi-position player. And Gibson's slider was hellacious.

And how about Bob Uecker for funniest catcher? (He was pretty good at the position as well. Couldn't hit a lick, of course.)
11:51 AM Nov 8th
 
Steven Goldleaf
Which Johnson pitched for the Yankees--Randy or Walter?
11:44 AM Nov 8th
 
Robinsong
I'll take the Yankees based on my baseball years 1963-2019:
1) GOAT Catcher - Berra
2) GOAT CF - Mantle
3) GOAT LF/leadoff hitter/basestealer: Henderson
4) GOAT Leftside infielder: ARod
5) GOAT Pitcher - Clemens (with shout out to Johnson)
6) GOAT strikeout pitcher: Johnson (with shout out to Clemens)
7) GOAT reliever/postseason pitcher: Rivera
8) GOAT postseason player: Rivera (with shout out to Berra and Mantle and Jeter)
9) GOAT postseason position player: Jeter (with shout out to Berra and Mantle
10) GOAT team: 1998 Yankees
11) GOAT weird manager-owner dynamic: Martin-Steinbrenner
12) GOAT power-speed combination: Henderson (with shout out to Bobby Bonds)
11:24 AM Nov 8th
 
isaaclightstone
I watched Hernandez up close with the Cardinals and then with the Mets and he is most definitely the greatest fielding first baseman I have ever seen.
11:23 AM Nov 8th
 
evanecurb
I'll try with my favorite team:

GOAT manager: Weaver

GOAT fielding third baseman: Brooks Robinson

GOAT all around player who won MVP in both leagues, got traded several times, ended up becoming a manager, and then an executive at MLB, and also was my favorite player, ever: Frank Robinson

GOAT switch hitter who was born in a state that joined the union before 1900: Eddie Murray

GOAT pitcher who modeled underwear: Palmer

GOAT at signing autographs after games: Ripken (OK, really he's GOAT durability, but that's no fun)

GOAT ballpark even though the team stinks out loud
11:05 AM Nov 8th
 
davidt50
I could try but I don't know how much fun I'd have.
10:50 AM Nov 8th
 
 
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