Open Chat: Best Players of Each Decade
Who were the best players in each of the decades of so-called modern baseball (1900-present)?
While I hesitate to compartmentalize players by decades, viewing players in this manner helps us identify the most dominant participants in the game. Sure, we could stretch out the time frames to 20 years or even by quarter centuries but certain players will overlap two periods and not fare quite as well under one of the formats. Willie Mays and Mike Schmidt are two players who dominated parts of two decades, yet may not be the best in either of their "clean" 10-year periods.
As food for thought, here are some of the top players in each of the past 11 decades (presented in alphabetical order):
1900-1909. Nap Lajoie, Christy Mathewson, Rube Waddell, Honus Wagner, and Cy Young.
1910-1919. Grover Cleveland Alexander, Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Joe Jackson, Walter Johnson, Pop Lloyd, and Tris Speaker.
1920-1929. Alexander, Oscar Charleston, Harry Heilmann, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth, Turkey Stearnes, and Dazzy Vance.
1930-1939. Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Charlie Gehringer, Josh Gibson, Lefty Grove, Carl Hubbell, Mel Ott, Satchel Paige, and Arky Vaughan.
1940-1949. Joe DiMaggio, Bob Feller, Hal Newhouser, Buck Leonard, Stan Musial, and Ted Williams.
1950-1959. Ernie Banks, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Mickey Mantle, Eddie Mathews, Willie Mays, Musial, Robin Roberts, Warren Spahn, and Williams.
1960-1969. Hank Aaron, Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Mays, and Frank Robinson.
1970-1979. Johnny Bench, Rod Carew, Joe Morgan, Jim Palmer, Pete Rose, Tom Seaver, Mike Schmidt, and Willie Stargell.
1980-1989. Wade Boggs, George Brett, Rickey Henderson, Dale Murphy, Tim Raines, Cal Ripken Jr., Schmidt, and Robin Yount.
1990-1999. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Ken Griffey Jr., Greg Maddux, Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza, and Frank Thomas.
2000-2009. Bonds, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, and Johan Santana.
My choices would be as follows:
Of the above, I believe Wagner, Cobb, Ruth, Williams, and Bonds are no brainers. A case could be made for Gehrig in the 1930s, Aaron in the 1960s, and maybe Schmidt in the 1980s.
How do you see it?