Friday, May 23, 2008

New Regular Feature: Greatest Ever for Each Team

Fellow blogger Joe Posnanski has a long post today trying to identify the greatest position player ever for the Mets. You should check it out.

It's given me the idea to start another new regular feature on Baseball Mud to identify the greatest two players -- pitcher and position player -- for each franchise. Some will be easier than others.

To start, I'm going to pick my local favorite, the Oakland A's.

Now, the A's spent the first 50 years of their existence in Philadelphia before moving first to Kansas City, then to Oakland. So I'm going to cheat a little and select two sets of winners. Today I'm going to focus on the old Philadelphia A's.


The candidates: Eddie Plank (1901-1914), Chief Bender (1903-1914), Lefty Grove (1925-1933).

They're all Hall of Famers, and they all won championships. Plank is the franchise leader in wins with 284 as an Athletic, followed by Grove with 195 and Bender with 193.

But who are we kidding. Grove is clearly the greatest pitcher to wear a Philadelphia Athletics uniform. He was possibly the greatest pitcher of all time. He won 20+ games 7 times in his 9 seasons in Philly, and was only traded because owner Connie Mack needed the money.

Position Players

The candidates: Eddie Collins (1906-1914, 1927-1930), Mickey Cochrane (1925-1933), and Jimmie Foxx (1925-1935).

At first blush, Eddie Collins would be the obvious choice due to his length of service (13 years for Collins vs. 9 for Cochrane and 11 for Foxx). But Collins also won a couple of pennants with the White Sox (or Black Sox), so he might even qualify as the greatest White Sox ever, too. (We'll get to that later.)

Foxx did a lot of damage as a slugging first baseman and won two championships. Cochrane also won those same two championships before moving to Detroit to win another. Cochrane is one of the top 5 catchers of all time. Foxx is one of the top 5 first basemen.

But Collins is one of the top 2 or 3 second basemen, and he won three championships with the A's (four pennants total, plus two more pennants with the Sox).

It's a slightly difficult decision, but ultimately Collins is my choice for the greatest position player in Philadelphia A's history.

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