Left Field is a strong position in the best ever debate. The top 3 are baseball immortals as are many who didn't make the cut. Here's my list:
3. Stan Musial "The Man", 3 MVPs, 14 top-tens, 20 straight All-Star teams, 159 OPS+, 3630 hits, 7 batting titles, 3 World Series rings (missed 1945 season becuase of WWII) These next 2 guys must be pretty great to pass Musial.
2. Barry Bonds 7 MVPs, 13 top-teams, 8 Gold Gloves, 182 OPS+, 762 HRs - Best All-Time, 2558 BB - Best All-Time, even has 514 SBs, had a .609 OBP in 1999. (missed most of 2005, but he's no war hero!) Not sure if he'll ever be an HOFer, but he earned it even before his hat size grew.
1. Ted Williams "The Splendid Splinter", 2 MVPs, 12 top-tens, 17 All-Star teams, 191 OPS+, 521 HRs, 6 batting titles, .482 career OBP - Best All-Time. 2 Triple Crowns (missed 1943, 1944, AND 1945 seasons) I thought Bonds would go here, but the three years Williams missed in his PRIME push him over the top.
Others who were considered:
Yaz - 1 MVP, 129 OPS+, 6 Gold Gloves, 18 All-Star Games, Triple Crown
Willie Stargell - 1 MVP, 147 OPS+
Joe Jackson - .356 Avg, .423 OBP, 170 OPS+
Rickey Henderson - 3055 hits, 2295 Runs (Best All-Time), 1406 SB (Best All-Time), 127 OPS+, Best Lead-Off Hitter ever!
Monte Irvin - Hard to say, didn't get his shot in MLB until he was 30
Tim Raines - underrated because of playing with Rickey
Manny Ramirez - 8 straight top-tens in MVP voting, 500+ HR, will get to 3000 hits, 155 OPS+
Current players who have a chance to make the list:
Ryan Braun - now that he has a position (his tenure at 3rd base was awful), Braun has had an excellent first three years of a career, will hit 30+ HR in his first 3 years, 142 OPS+, ROY, 2 All-Star teams, some MVP-voting love. Time will tell.
Those of you jonesing for some Tito. TOMORROW!!!