The 50 Most Underrated MLB Players of All Time
Everyone loves labels, especially when it comes to athletes.
We throw around words like ballplayers toss around a baseball during pregame warm-ups in the outfield.
Clutch. Choke artist. Big-time. Money pitcher. You've heard them all—you've used them all.
How about overrated? Underrated?
Yep, we've all used those as well.
While much of how we view athletes is performance-based and backed up with statistics, some of it is simply subjective. The little things that don't necessarily show up in the box score might matter more to you than they do to someone else.
That's the beauty of sports—nobody watches a game the same way.
But enough procrastinating. You've read the headline.
You know why we're here.
Let's take a look at the 50 most underrated baseball players in the history of the game.
Jim Abbott (1989-1999)
Ken Levine/Getty Images
Career Stats: 263 G (254 GS); 87-108; 4.25 ERA; 1.43 WHIP; 1,674 IP; 1,779 H; 1.43 K/BB
How can someone who has a losing record over the course of his career be considered underrated?
When he only has one hand, that's how.
Born without a right hand, Abbott joined the Angels starting rotation in 1989 without having pitched a single inning of minor league baseball, going 12-12 with a 3.92 ERA and finishing fifth in the American League Rookie of the Year Voting.
His best season came two years later with the Angels in 1991, when he went 18-11 with a 2.89 ERA, finishing third in the American League Cy Young Award voting.
Without question, the highlight of Abbott's career came on Sept. 4, 1993 when he threw a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium, walking five while striking out three.
While Abbott wasn't an elite pitcher, the fact that he lasted a decade in major league baseball with only one hand is truly a remarkable feat—and it's a shame that future generations will view him only as an oddity and not as the inspirational figure he truly is—if they notice him at all.
Sal Bando (1966-1981)
Photo courtesy of thebaseballpage.com.
Career Stats: 2019 G; .254/.352/.408; 242 HR; 1,039 RBI; 1,790 H; 982 R; 75-for-121 SB
The glue that held the A's dynasty of the early 1970s together, Sal Bando was often overlooked while the accolades were bestowed on guys like Vida Blue, Gene Tenace, Joe Rudi and Reggie Jackson.
A four-time All-Star, Bando led the A's in RBI three times and was the second third baseman in American League history to hit 200 home runs in their career.
He spent the last five seasons of his major league career with the Brewers, where he took two future Hall of Famers under his wing: Paul Molitor and Robin Yount.
Jay Bell (1986-2003)
Harry How/Getty Images
Career Stats: 2,063 G; .265/.343/.416; 195 HR; 860 RBI; 1,963 H; 1,123 R; 91-for-151 SB
After starting his career with three years of limited playing time in Cleveland, Jay Bell was dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1989, where he became the everyday shortstop for the team that went to the NLCS in three consecutive seasons.
While his accomplishments with the Pirates were overshadowed by the exploits of Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Andy Van Slyke and even manager Jim Leyland, Bell established himself as one of the better shortstops in the game during his time with the Pirates, overcoming his limited range by putting himself in the right position, depending on the batter.
He would sign with the Diamondbacks as a free agent prior to the 1998 season and, in 2001, scored the World Series-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 when Luis Gonzalez hit a bloop single off of Yankees' closer Mariano Rivera.
Wally Berger (1930-1940)
Photo courtesy of the conloncollection.com.
Career Stats: 1,350 G; .300/.359/.522; 242 HR; 898 RBI; 1,550 H; 809 R; SB Data Not Known
A fixture on the first four National League All-Star teams from 1933 though 1936, Wally Berger was a power-hitting center fielder who led the National League in home runs (34) and RBI (130).
After averaging 147 games played over his first five seasons, a shoulder injury that he suffered in 1936 bogged down his career after that, and he would play in more than 100 games only once before calling it quits.
Of the 18 players elected to start the 1934 All-Star Game, Berger is the only one not enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Larry Bowa (1970-1985)
Photo courtesy of philly.com.
Career Stats: 2,247 G; .260/.300/.320; 15 HR; 525 RBI; 2,191 H; 987 R; 318-for-423 SB
A fiery player with a live arm, Larry Bowa was a five-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner with the Philadelphia Phillies, a team with whom he'd spend 11 years of his 15-year major league career as a player.
He would hit .275 or better five times and put together seven consecutive seasons in which he stole at least 20 bases a year.
At the time he retired in 1985, his .980 career fielding percentage was the highest career mark for any shortstop, though that's since been surpassed by seven players, including Jimmy Rollins and Troy Tulowitzki, the new record holder.
Don Buford (1963-1972)
Photo courtesy of oriolecards.blogspot.com.
Career Stats: 1,286 G; .264/.362/.379; 93 HR; 418 RBI; 1,203 H; 718 R; 200-for-305 SB
Part of the excellent Baltimore Orioles teams of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Don Buford was a relatively unknown leadoff hitter who holds the record for grounding into the fewest double plays per at-bat than anyone else, one every 138 at-bats.
The first player to ever open a World Series with a home run, a feat he accomplished in 1969 against the Mets, Buford was generally overlooked due to his more notable teammates getting the majority of the attention: Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Mike Cuellar, Boog Powell and Jim Palmer.
Brett Butler (1981-1997)
Photo courtes of sullybaseball.blogspot.net.
Career Stats: 2,213 G; .290/.377/.376; 54 HR; 578 RBI; 2,375 H; 1,359 R; 558-for-815 SB
One of the great leadoff hitters and bunters of the 1980s and early 1990s, Brett Butler somehow only made one All-Star game over his 17-year career.
He led the National League in hits with 192 in 1990 as a member of the Giants, led the National League in runs scored twice and triples four times while consistently placing near the top of the league in stolen bases.
Bert Campaneris (1964-1981; 1983)
Photo courtesy of sikids.com.
Career Stats: 2,328 G; .259/.311/.342; 79 HR; 646 RBI; 2,249 H; 1,181 R; 649-for-898 SB
When 22-year-old Bert Campaneris made his major league debut in 1964, he took Twins starter Jim Kaat deep in his first major league at-bat. He'd hit another home run off of Kaat in the seventh inning, becoming only the second player in baseball history, at that time, to hit two home runs in his first game.
Considering that Campy finished his career with more triples (86) than home runs (79), that's a pretty impressive feat.
A six-time All-Star and one of the most important pieces on the A's teams that won three consecutive World Series championships from 1972 through 1974, Campaneris was one of the great stolen base artists of his era, leading the league in steals six times.
The A's career leader in hits, his 649 stolen bases ranked seventh on the all-time list when he retired, a number that ranks 14th today.
Norm Cash (1958-1974)
Photo courtesy of sabr.org.
Career Stats: 2,089 G; .271/.374/.488; 377 HR; 1,103 RBI; 1,820 H; 1,046 R; 43-for-73 SB
Norm Cash thrived in the middle of the Tigers' lineup for 15 years, though he was often overshadowed by his teammates Al Kaline and Rocky Colavito.
A five-time All-Star, Cash was a smooth fielding first baseman who was the first player to hit a ball out of Tiger Stadium, clearing the roof on June 11, 1961. He'd accomplish the feat three more times over the course of his career.
A member of the Tigers' 1968 World Series championship team, Cash's single in the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 7 with two outs started a three-run rally that propelled the Tigers to their first championship in 23 years.
Hal Chase (1905-1919)
Photo courtesy of jcnews.com.
Career Stats: 1,919 G; .291/.319/.391; 57 HR; 941 RBI; 2,158 H; 980 R; 363-for-400 SB*
Hal Chase is best remembered for being banned by commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis following the 1919 season as rumors ran rampant that Chase, among other things, served as the middleman between the players and gamblers during the Chicago Black Sox scandal.
But that overshadowed what was a wonderful career on the field, and especially when fielding his position.
Said Bill James in The New Baseball Abstract:
No other player in baseball history was so richly praised for his defensive skill—no one. His brilliance with the glove is easier to document than Ty Cobb's temper, Hack Wilson's drinking or Walter Johnson's fastball; it is all over the literature of the sport.
*Caught stealing totals are incomplete per Baseball-Reference.com.
Dave Concepcion (1970-1988)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Career Stats: 2,488 G; .267/.322/.357; 101 HR; 950 RBI; 2,326 H; 993 R; 321-for-430 SB
The best shortstop of the 1970s, Dave Concepcion paired with Joe Morgan to form one of the great double-play combinations in the history of the game.
A nine-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove Award winner during his 19-year career with the Cincinnati Reds, Concepcion's contributions were routinely overshadowed by his Hall of Fame teammates, namely Pete Rose, Tony Perez and Morgan.
He falls short of being Cooperstown worthy, but Concepcion's career was celebrated in Cincinnati back in 2007, when his jersey, No. 13, was retired by the team.
Jeff Conine (1990: 2007)
Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images
Career Stats: 2,024 G; .285/.347/.443; 214 HR; 1,071 RBI; 1,982 H; 870 R; 54-for-83 SB
Left unprotected by the Kansas City Royals in the 1993 expansion draft, the Florida Marlins took the talented youngster for their own.
Conine enjoyed success for a few seasons, placing third in Rookie of the Year balloting in 1993 and earning an All-Star selection in each of the next two seasons.
Four times he hit over .300, three times he slugged more than 20 home runs and only once did he break the 100 RBI mark. Conine wasn't about gaudy numbers—he was simply consistent.
He is the only player to debut with the Marlins in 1993 and play for both of their World Series teams, in 1997 and 2003.
Doc Cramer (1929-1948)
Photo courtesy of conloncollection.com.
Career Stats: 2,239 G; .296/.340/.375; 37 HR; 842 RBI; 2,705 H; 1,357 R; 62-for-135 SB
A five-time All-Star, Doc Cramer patrolled center field for four different teams over a 20-year-career, one that saw him hit .300 eight times and break the 200-hit barrier on three different occasions.
By the time his career was over, he had become the only player with as many as 2,705 hits before 1975 not elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame—and only two players, Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker, had played more games in center field than Doc Cramer.
Doug DeCinces (1973-1987)
Photo courtesy of nbc.com.
Career Stats: 1,649 G; .259/.329/.445; 237 HR; 879 RBI; 1,505 H; 778 R; 58-for-106 SB
Trailing 5-3 as they headed into the bottom of the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers on June 22, 1979, Doug DeCinces stepped to the plate with two outs, Eddie Murray on first base, and a Ken Singleton home run having cut the deficit to one run.
DeCinces took Tigers' reliever Dave Tobik deep into the night, leading the Orioles to a comeback 6-5 victory on what has been called "the night Oriole Magic was born." Much like the Orioles are doing in 2012, the 1979 team made a habit of posting late-game comebacks en route to taking home the American League pennant.
He was traded from Baltimore to the Angels in 1982 to make room for Cal Ripken Jr.; ironically, DeCinces was the man who had the unenviable task of replacing legendary third baseman Brooks Robinson, so his time in Baltimore was sandwiched in between two all-time greats.
DeCinces wouldn't have the same kind of memorable moments with the Angels as he did with the Orioles, but he was a solid contributor to the Angels success nonetheless.
From 1976 through 1987, DeCinces averaged 19 home runs and 71 RBI. Not bad considering that neither shortstop or second base had really evolved to the slugging positions we've grown accustomed to over the past 15 years.
Bobby Doerr (1937-1944; 1946-1951)
Photo courtesy of sportsillustrated.com.
Career Stats: 1,865 G; .288/.362/.461; 223 HR; 1,247 RBI; 2,042 H; 1,094 R; 54-for-118 SB
When a discussion regarding the best second basemen in the history of baseball ensues, it's a rare occasion when Bobby Doerr's name is bought up.
It shouldn't be such a rare moment.
A nine-time All-Star over his 14-year career spent entirely with the Red Sox, Doerr was not only an excellent bunter but a second baseman with power as well.
In 1939, Doerr began a string of 12 consecutive seasons with 10 or more home runs and 73 or more runs batted in; in 1940 the Red Sox became the 12th team in major league history to have four players wiith 100 RBI as Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Joe Cronin and Doerr each collected at least 105.
He was also an excellent fielder who held multiple fielding records at the time of his retirement that have since been passed.
Despite his achievements on the field, Doerr was not selected to the Hall of Fame until the Veterans’ Committee finally enshrined him in 1986.
David Eckstein (2001-2010)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Career Stats: 1,311 G; .280/.345/.355; 35 HR; 392 RBI; 123-for-168 SB
It would be appropriate if when you opened a dictionary and looked up the word pesky that the definition was simply a photo of David Eckstein.
He wasn't a slugger, but he led the American League with three grand slams in 2002, two of which came in back-to-back games against the Blue Jays at a time when the Angels were floundering. They'd go on to win 20 of their next 23 games and the World Series as well.
Eckstein would reach the World Series a second time as a member of the Cardinals in 2006. After going without a hit in the first two games of the series, he went on a tear. Over the next three games, Eckstein hit .615/.643/.846 with eight hits, three doubles, three runs scored and four RBI—a run that not only led the Cardinals to the World Series championship but one that won him World Series MVP honors.
In 2010, as a member of the Padres, Eckstein went 113 consecutive games without committing an error as a second baseman, a record that stood until this past August when the Cubs' Darwin Barney tied it and later broke it.
Jim Edmonds (1993-2010)
Getty Images/Getty Images
Career Stats: 2,011 G; .284/.376/.527; 393 HR; 1,199 RBI; 1,949 H; 1,251 R; 67-for-117 SB
Jim Edmonds made a career out of producing highlight-reel plays with his glove, winning eight Gold Glove awards over 17 years in the majors.
He was far from a one-sided player though, being selected to four All-Star games. Five times Edmonds hit .300 or better, and he also slugged 30-or-more home runs on five different occasions as well. Throw in four seasons of at least 100 RBI, and you've got yourself a pretty complete player.
Steve Finley (1989-2007)
Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images
Career Stats: 2,583 G; .271/.332/.442; 304 HR; 1,167 RBI; 2,548 H; 1,443 R; 320-for-438 SB
Steve Finley is the perfect example of a "late bloomer," not breaking out offensively until 1996, his eighth major league season at which point he was already 31 years old.
A two-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove award winner, Finley was an integral part of the Diamondbacks team that won the 2001 World Series, batting .368/.478/.526 with one home run, two RBI and five runs scored.
Interestingly enough, Finley could have had multiple 20/20 and 30/30 seasons, but the speed that he exhibited early in his career wasn't quite the same when his power finally developed.
Jim Fregosi (1961-1978)
Photo courtesy of halosheaven.com.
Career Stats: 1,902 G; .265/.338/.398; 151 HR; 706 RBI; 1,726 H; 844 R; 76-for-116 SB
Jim Fregosi became the face of the Angels franchise—and its most popular player—during the 1960s and early 1970s.
A six-time All-Star with the Angels, Fregosi formed one of the most capable double-play combinations in the game with second baseman Bobby Knoop from 1964 until the midway point of the 1969 season.
The first Angel to hit for the cycle, Fregosi was not only the face of the franchise in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but he was regarded as the best hitting shortstop in the game during that span as well.
Upon the discovery of a tumor in his foot and with the Angels having mixed feelings about his future as a ballplayer, Fregosi was traded to the Mets in exchange for four players, most notably a right-handed pitcher named Nolan Ryan.
He also managed the Angels to their first-ever postseason appearance in 1979 (serving as Ryan's manager) and is still regarded as one of the most popular Angels of all time.
Carl Furillo (1946-1960)
Photo courtesy of niashf.com.
Career Stats: 1,806 G; .399/.355/.458; 192 HR; 1,058 RBI; 1,910 H; 895 R; 48-for-74 SB
It's easy to go overlooked when you can call Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese and Gil Hodges teammates during your career.
Nobody in the league could play balls that were hit off of Ebbets Field's high wall in right field like he could, and opposing runners quickly grew tired of testing his arm and failing to advance nearly every time. Furillo led the league in assists in 1950 and again the following season.
The 1953 National League batting champion with a .344 mark, Furillo was an important part of two World Series championship winning teams in 1955 and 1959.
Furillo finished his career needing only one hit to raise his career average to .300.
Brian Giles (1995-2009)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images
Career Stats: 1,847 G; .291/.400/.502; 287 HR; 1,078 RBI; 1,897 H; 1,121 R; 109-for-154 SB
After an inauspicious start to his career as a member of the Indians, Brian Giles found himself traded to the Pirates prior to the 1999 season.
Over the next four seasons, Giles would be named to two All-Star teams while posting an average season of .309/.426/.604 with 37 HR, 106 RBI and 10 stolen bases.
Knowing that they couldn't afford to re-sign him when his contract expired, the Pirates traded him to the Padres in August of 2003 in exchange for Jason Bay and Oliver Perez, though he wouldn't enjoy the same level of success with the Padres.
Giles finished his career with more than 300 more walks than strikeouts, and while he was never the same player in San Diego as he was in Pittsburgh, Giles was one of the most popular Padres during his time with the club.
Tommy Herr (1971-1991)
Photo courtesy of mainlineautographs.com.
Career Stats: 1,514 G; .271/.347/.350; 28 HR; 574 RBI; 1,450 H; 676 R; 188-for-252 SB
The Cardinals starting second baseman in three World Series (1982, 1985 and 1987), Tommy Herr paired with the Wizard of Oz, Ozzie Smith, to form one of the best double-play combinations the game has seen in the past 30 years.
His 1985 season saw him earn his only All-Star berth and finish fifth in the MVP voting, after setting career highs in multiple categories including RBI, with 110 driven in on the season.
He was far from a power hitter, and he only went deep eight times in 1985, making him the last NL player to drive in 100 or more runs in a season while hitting fewer than 10 home runs.
Larry Hisle (1968-1971; 1973-1982)
Photo courtesy of fanbase.com.
Career Stats: 1,197 G; .273/.347/.452; 166 HR; 674 RBI; 128-for-189 SB
While he began his major league career in 1968, it wasn't until 1969 that a 22-year-old center fielder named Larry Hisle got a chance to play on a daily basis, and he rewarded the Phillies with a solid campaign that resulted in a fourth place finish in the Rookie of the Year voting.
It wasn't until he made his way to the Minnesota Twins in November of 1972, however, that his career really began to flourish.
He would make two All-Star teams as a member of the Twins and lead the American League in RBI with 119 in 1977. In 1978, he finished third in the AL MVP voting behind the Yankees' Ron Guidry and the eventual winner, Boston's Jim Rice.
His real claim to fame, however, came in 1973 when he stepped into the batter's box in spring training, becoming the first player to ever bat as a designated hitter.
Hisle was a solid all-around player who never really got his due, largely in part to being overshadowed by his more heralded Hall of Fame teammates with the Twins, Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew.
"Indian Bob" Johnson (1933-1945)
Photo courtesy of ootpdevelopments.com.
Career Stats: 1,863 G; .296/.393/.506; 288 HR; 1,283 RBI; 2,051 H; 1,239 R; 96-for-160 SB
An eight-time All-Star, Robert "Indian Bob" Johnson spent 10 of his 13 major league seasons patrolling left field for the Philadelphia A’s and was a consistent performer year-after-year, but most people have never heard of him.
He hit at least 20 home runs in nine consecutive seasons from 1933 through 1941, and drove in at least 100 runs for seven straight seasons, from 1935 through 1941.
Longtime sports writer and researcher Bob Carroll wrote an article for the National Pastime in 1985 about 12 players he believed should be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Johnson was one of them, and Carroll captured how underrated "Indian Bob" truly was:
Consistency may be the hobgoblin of little minds, but it can also make certain ballplayers nigh unto invisible.
Indian Bob Johnson never had one of those super seasons that make everyone sit up and whistle. While phenoms came, collected their MVP trophies, and faded, he just kept plodding along hitting .300, with a couple dozen homers and a hundred "ribbies" year after year...like a guy punching a time clock.
Ken Keltner (1937-1944; 1946-1950)
Photo courtesy of keltnersabr.com.
Career Stats: 1,526 G; .276/.338/.441; 163 HR; 852 RBI; 1,570 H; 737 R; 39-for-72 SB
A seven-time All-Star and one of the smoothest fielding third basemen of the 1940s, Ken Keltner almost single-handedly ended Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak in 1941.
On July 17, 1941, the Indians were playing the New York Yankees. Joe DiMaggio, who had broken the consecutive-game hitting-streak record two weeks earlier (set by Willie Keeler in 1897) was vying for a 57th straight game with a hit.
Keltner made two outstanding backhanded plays at third to rob DiMaggio, and along with a walk and a ground out, the streak ended.
He led American League third basemen four times in assists, five times in double plays, and twice in fielding percentage.
Dutch Leonard (1913-1925)
Photo courtesy of theoriginalcurse1918.com.
Career Stats: 331 G (273 GS); 139-113; 2.76 ERA; 1.23 WHIP; 2,192 IP; 2,092 H, 1.75 K/BB
A key contributor on three World Series-winning Boston Red Sox teams in the 1910s, Dutch Leonard largely played in the shadow of Babe Ruth and "Smoky" Joe Wood.
Leonard had a career record of 139-133 with a 2.76 ERA, and in 1914, he led the American League with a remarkable 0.96 ERA, the major league record for lowest ERA among pitchers who threw at least 150 innings in the same season.
He also had two no-hitters as a member of the Red Sox with the first coming in 1916 against the St. Louis Browns and the second in 1918 against the Detroit Tigers.
In both the 1915 and 1916 World Series, Leonard threw complete game victories for the Red Sox, allowing just two runs and eight hits.
Hal McRae (1968; 1970-1987)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Career Stats: 2,084 G; .290/.351/.454; 191 HR; 1,097 RBI; 2,091 H; 940 R; 109 -for-185 SB
A three-time All-Star with six .300 seasons under his belt, Hal McRae was named the Designated Hitter of the Year on three separate occasions by both The Sporting News and the Associated Press.
He finished a close second to teammate George Brett for the American League batting crown in 1976, losing out by less than .001 after Brett went 2-for-4 in the final game of the season to barely squeak past McRae.
McRae is one of only a handful of players who have a rule be named after them. "The Hal McRae Rule" requires that runners slide into second base when trying to break up a double play, doing away with McRae's favorite move—the cross-body check, something he terrorized American League middle infielders with for years.
Don Money (1968-1983)
Photo courtesy of bobsbaseballmuseum.com.
Career Stats: 1,720 G; .261/.328/.406; 176 HR; 729 RBI; 1,623 H; 798 R; 80-for-131 SB
While he hit the first-ever home run at Veterans Stadium as a member of the Phillies, it wasn't until Don Money was traded to the Brewers following the 1972 season that he enjoyed the most success of his career.
Playing alongside future Hall of Famers like Paul Molitor and Robin Yount and solid pros in Sal Bando and Gordon Thomas, Money was selected to four All-Star games as part of the "Brew Crew" and set the major league record for consecutive games played at third base without committing an error, 86 games, in 1974.
Hal Morris (1988-2000)
Tom Hauck/Getty Images
Career Stats: 1,246 G; .304/.361/.433; 76 HR; 513 RBI; 1,216 H; 535 R; 45-for-69 SB
Originally a Yankee, Hal Morris was sent to Cincinnati in 1989 in exchange for Tim Leary in a perfect example of how George Steinbrenner used to run the club; trading prospects for veterans.
Morris hit .340 in his first full season with the Reds and was an instrumental part of the team that upset the heavily favored Oakland Athletics in the 1990 World Series.
Six times over his 13-year career, Morris would hit over .300, though he did so with little power—his 16-home-run season of 1996 was the most he'd ever hit.
Morris never made an All-Star team and never achieved superstar status; he was simply consistent and reliable, and that doesn't ever wind up having a spotlight shone on it.
Wally Moses (1935-1951)
Photo courtesy of ootpdevelopments.com.
Career Stats: 2,012 G; .291/.364/.416; 89 HR; 674 RBI; 2,138 H; 1,124 R; 174-for-255 SB
Wally Moses hit .300 or better in seven consecutive seasons to start his career, from 1935 through the 1941 season.
A two-time All-Star, he wouldn't join a winning baseball team until 1946 when he was sold to the Boston Red Sox.
Not only would he help the Red Sox win the American League Pennant in 1946, he did everything that he could to win the 1946 World Series, hitting .417 against the St. Louis Cardinals in what wound up being a Cardinals' sweep.
Jim Northrup (1964-1975)
Photo courtesy of mlive.com.
Career Stats: 1,392 G; .267/.333/.429; 153 HR; 610 RBI; 1,254 H; 603 R; 39-for-77 SB
A versatile outfielder who could play all three outfield positions equally well, Jim Northrup spent all but one of his 12 major league seasons wearing a Tigers' uniform.
Northrup was a streaky power hitter but one who had a short, quick stroke and a good eye at the plate.
Tigers' fans remember him fondly for his contributions during their march to the World Series championship in 1968.
He led the Tigers in hits and RBI, broke up three no-hitters, crushed five grand slams and with Game 7 of the World Series a scoreless tie in the seventh inning, Northrup stroked a two-run double off of the Cardinals' Bob Gibson that wound up being the series-winning hit.
Ben Oglivie (1971-1986)
Photo courtesy of productiveouts.com.
Career Stats: 1,754 G; .273/.336/.450; 235 HR; 901 RBI; 87-for-157 SB
Ben Oglivie is a perfect example of a player that could have had more impressive career numbers had he been given a chance to play on a daily basis. But with a wiry frame—he was 6'2", 160 pounds when the Red Sox drafted him—nobody thought he'd be anything more than someone with gap power.
He never really got a chance to play with the Red Sox as he was behind Billy Conigliaro, Joe Lahoud and eventually a youngster named Dwight Evans on the depth chart. After the 1973 season, he was traded to the Tigers.
While his power numbers increased in each of his four seasons with the Tigers, from four home runs in 1974 to 21 round-trippers in 1977, Oglivie still wasn't given a chance to start everyday.
It wasn't until he was traded to the Brewers prior to the 1978 season that a then 29-year-old Oglivie got a chance to play on an everyday basis.
He would spend nine seasons with the Brewers, making three All-Star teams and leading the American League in home runs with 41 in 1980. Twice a .300 hitter and with two 100 RBI seasons under his belt, Oglivie proved that power hitters don't necessarily come in physically imposing packages.
Jose Oquendo (1983-1984; 1986-1995)
Photo courtesy of fangraphs.com.
Career Stats: 1,190 G; .256/.346/.317; 14 HR; 254 RBI; 821 H; 339 R; 35-for-68 SB
When Jose Oquendo broke into the majors with the Mets in 1983 as a 19-year-old shortstop, he became the first player in franchise history who was younger than the franchise itself. Upon his trade to the Cardinals in 1985, Oquendo faced a bit of a problem—the Cardinals were already set at shortstop with Ozzie Smith.
So Oquendo proved his worth as a super utility player, playing every position except for catcher in 1987 when Cardinals' manager Whitey Herzog dubbed him "the secret weapon." From 1989 through 1990, Oquendo was the Cardinals starting second baseman, and he flourished in the position.
He posted a .994 fielding percentage in 1989, committing only five errors in more than 850 chances. In 1990, Oquendo set the National League record for fewest errors by a second baseman in at least 150 games by committing only three. Amazingly enough, Ryne Sandberg took home Gold Glove honors.
His ability to play anywhere and everywhere on the field made him one of the more valuable players that Whitey Herzog ever had at his disposal.
Amos Otis (1967; 1969-1984)
Photo courtesy of bigbadbaseball.blogspot.com.
Career Stats: 1,998 G; .277/.343/.425; 193 HR; 1,007 RBI; 2,020 H; 1,092 R; 341-for-434 SB
Gil Hodges and the Mets were convinced that Amos Otis was a third baseman. Otis knew better, and he and Hodges clashed until the day that the Mets traded Otis to the Royals prior to the 1970 season.
It was the best thing that ever happened for him.
He would become a five-time All-Star and win three Gold Gloves patrolling center field for the Royals, twice hitting .300 or better while leading the American League in doubles in 1970 and again in 1976.
Otis had power, played excellent defense and had speed, leading the American League with 52 stolen bases in 1971 while also becoming the first player since 1927 to steal five bases in one game.
Freddie Patek (1968-1981)
Photo courtesy of centerfieldgate.com.
Career Stats: 1,650 G; .242/.309/.324; 41 HR; 490 RBI; 1,340 H; 736 R; 385-for-516 SB
One half of a great double-play combination in Kansas City, along with second baseman Frank White, shortstop Freddie Patek was part of the Royals teams that won the American League West from 1976-78.
His offensive numbers aren't impressive, but this list wouldn't be complete without including a player that had great value on the bases and with his glove and little-to-none with his bat.
Rico Petrocelli (1963; 1965-1976)
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Career Stats: 1,553 G; .251/.332/.420; 210 HR; 773 RBI; 1,352 H; 653 R; 10-for-32 SB
The first shortstop to hit 40 home runs in a season, a feat he accomplished in 1969, Rico Petrocelli spent his entire 13-year-career with the Boston Red Sox.
Part of the “Impossible Dream” Sox team that won the 1967 American League pennant in one of the closest races in history, Petrocelli hit two home runs in Game 6 of the World Series, forcing a Game 7 that the Sox ultimately lost to Bob Gibson and the Cardinals.
He moved to third base in 1971 when Boston acquired Luis Aparicio and was still manning the hot corner in 1975 when the Sox won the AL pennant and played in one of the most exciting World Series in history, losing in seven games to the Cincinnati Reds.
Rico never had the attention of the media like his more famous teammate Carl Yastrzemski did, but Boston fans knew that he was a special player, and he remains one of the most popular Red Sox players of the past 50 years.
Willie Randolph (1975-1992)
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Career Stats: 2,202 G; .276/.373/.351; 54 HR; 687 RBI; 2,210 H; 1,239 R; 271-for-365 SB
A six-time All-Star with the Yankees, Willie Randolph was one of the best second basemen in the game for more than a decade.
Randolph was a patient hitter, drawing more than 80 walks seven times in his career, including a career high of 119 in 1980, a number that lead the American League.
He was also a phenomenal defensive second baseman as well and one of the best at turning the double play, yet he never received a Gold Glove Award due to the presence of two other second basemen who were equally as adept with the glove: the Royals' Frank White and the Tigers' Lou Whitaker.
For his career, he drew 1,243 walks while striking out only 675 times.
Steve Rogers (1973-1985)
Photo courtesy of mlb.com.
Career Stats: 399 G (393 GS); 158-152; 3.17 ERA; 1.23 WHIP; 2,837 IP; 2,619 H; 1.85 K/BB
While his lifetime ERA of 3.17 would lead someone to expect Steve Rogers to have a more impressive career win-loss record, he was often the victim of terrible run support during many challenging years in Montreal.
Arguably the best pitcher in Expos history, an average season for Rogers from 1977 though 1983 was a 15-11 record with a 2.83 ERA, though Dick Williams, his manager from 1977 through part of the 1981 season, was never a fan and routinely questioned whether the right-hander was truly giving a maximum effort.
Injuries would take their toll and ultimately end his career in 1985 after only 38 innings of work.
Tim Salmon (1992-2006)
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Career Stats: 1,672 G; .282/.385/.498; 299 HR; 1,016 RBI; 1,674 H; 986 R; 48-for-90 SB
To most of us he's Tim Salmon, but to those in the know, he's simply known as "King Fish."
The American League Rookie of the Year Award recipient in 1993, Salmon spent his entire 14-year career with the Angels and is one of the most celebrated players in franchise history.
Five times he hit more than 30 home runs, twice he broke the 100 RBI barrier and eight times he hit more than 20 home runs and drove in at least 70 runs.
Yet somehow, Tim Salmon was never named to an All-Star team.
Talk about underrated.
Ron Santo (1960-1974)
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Career Stats: 2,243 G; .277/.362/.464; 342 HR; 1,331 RBI; 35-for-76 SB
Some might wonder how someone who is enshrined in the Hall of Fame could possibly be underrated, but without a doubt Ron Santo is arguably the most underrated player to ever play the game.
Santo hit for power, had a great eye at the plate, was smooth with the glove and was one of the most popular Cubs in franchise history.
A nine-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove Award winner during his 15 major-league seasons, Santo wasn't elected to the Hall of Fame until nearly 40 years after his retirement—and tragically, one year after his death.
Roy Sievers (1949-1965)
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Career Stats: 1,887 G; .267/.354/.475; 318 HR; 1,147 RBI; 1,703 H; 945 R; 14-for-33 SB
Winner of the 1949 American League Rookie of the Year as a member of the St. Louis Browns and a four-time All-Star, first baseman/outfielder Roy Sievers kind of blended into the background and never really got much attention from fans or from the media.
Eight times in his 17-year career, Sievers hit at least 20 home runs and drove in at least 80 runs, and his 42 home runs and 114 RBI in 1957 as a member of the Washington Senators led the American League.
Sievers has the "honor" of being the first man with 300 lifetime home runs not to be elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Dave Stieb (1979-1993; 1998)
Photo courtesy of baseballhalloffame.ca.
Career Stats: 443 G (412 GS); 176-137; 3.44 ERA; 1.25 WHIP; 2,895.1 IP; 2,572 H; 1.61 K/BB
When it comes to the great pitchers of the 1980s, much is made of Tigers great Jack Morris and whether he belongs in the Hall of Fame, but nobody ever brings up the Blue Jays' Dave Stieb.
Victimized by a lack of run support for most of his career, largely because he was the best pitcher on some awful teams, Stieb's numbers are even more impressive.
A seven-time All-Star, his 2.48 ERA led the American League in 1985.
From 1980 through 1990, Stieb failed to win at least 11 games only once, posting an average season of 14-10 with a 3.29 ERA and 1.22 WHIP and nine complete games.
Omar Vizquel (1989-2012)
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Career Stats: 2,963 G; .272/.336/.352; 80 HR; 950 RBI; 404-for-571 SB
Widely considered to be one of the greatest defensive shortstops to ever play the game, Omar Vizquel is entering the final two weeks of his career as an active player with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Owner of 11 Gold Glove awards, including nine straight from 1993 through 2001, Vizquel only made three All-Star games, due primarily to the fact that he's been overshadowed by those who were more offensively gifted.
Whether it was Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez or Miguel Tejada, Vizquel was always an afterthought when it came to talking about the best shortstops in the game. Not to take anything away from any of those players, all of whom have had excellent careers, but none of them come close to fielding their position as well as Vizquel.
It's not like Vizquel is the second coming of Rey Ordonez, a slick fielding shortstop who was inept at the plate. Vizquel hit .280 or better eight times, hit more than 30 doubles four times and led the league in sacrifice hits three times.
Tim Wallach (1980-1996)
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Career Stats: 2,212 G; .257/.316/.416; 260 HR; 1,125 RBI; 2,085 H; 908 R; 51-for-117 SB
One of the more versatile players of his time. Tim Wallach could play both corner-infield and outfield positions, and even took the mound twice for the Expos, in 1987 and 1989.
A five-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner at third base, Wallach led the National League in doubles twice and was the first player from Cal-State Fullerton to hit a home run in his first major league at-bat.
Bob Watson (1966-1984)
Photo courtesy of astrosdaily.com.
Career Stats: 1,832 G; .295/.364/.447; 184 HR; 989 RBI; 1,826 H; 802 R; 27-for-55 SB
Bob Watson not only played in relative obscurity for 13 seasons with the Astros but also had his home-run total reduced by the cavernous Houston Astrodome.
Watson became famous for scoring the 1,000,000th run in MLB history on May 4, 1975, narrowly beating Cincinnati's Dave Concepcion for the honor. Concepcion was rounding the bases after hitting a home run and crossed home plate roughly four seconds after Watson.
Of his 184 home runs, only 50 came at the Astrodome. Had he spent the bulk of his career elsewhere, Watson is probably pushing 300 home runs, if not more.
Bill White (1956-1969)
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Career Stats: 1,673 G; .286/.351/.455; 202 HR; 870 RBI; 1,706 H; 843 R; 103-for-171 SB
I grew up with Bill White, watching him team up with Phil Rizzuto on WPIX in New York to call Yankees games from the late '70s through the early '90s.
While I thought he was great at his job back then, it turns out that he was a damn fine ballplayer as well.
Playing the bulk of his career with the Cardinals, White was a five-time All-Star, a seven-time Gold Glove Award winner at first base and one of only a handful of players to hit over .300 and drive in 100 runs in three consecutive seasons.
Devon White (1985-2001)
Photo courtesy of mopupduty.com.
Career Stats: 1,941 G; .263/.319/.419; 208 HR; 846 RBI; 1,934 H; 1,125 R; 346-for-444 SB
Winner of seven consecutive Gold Glove awards in center field and a three-time All-Star, Devon White was one of the more underrated players of the past 20 years.
White made ridiculous catches in the outfield look routine while hitting for power and flashing excellent speed when he got on base. He has two 20/20 seasons on his resume and fell three home runs short of adding three more to his collection.
As a member of the Blue Jays, he was involved in one of the more bizarre plays in World Series history.
In Game 2 of the 1992 World Series against the Braves, David Justice was at-bat with runners on first and second. Justice hit a ball to deep center field. White chased the ball down and caught it while crashing full speed into the wall—a play some have said was more impressive than "The Catch" by Willie Mays—then threw a strike to Blue Jays' second baseman Roberto Alomar.
Alomar threw the ball to John Olerud at first base to double-up the Braves' Terry Pendleton, but Pendelton had already been called out for passing Deion Sanders on the base paths.
Olerud fired the ball to Blue Jays' third baseman Kelly Gruber who clipped the heel of Sanders' foot for what should have been the second triple play in World Series history. Except the umpire missed Gruber's tag and ruled Sanders safe.
White was also one of the two runs that scored on Dave Winfield's 11th-inning-double in Game 6 of that series, the hit that eventually won the championship for Toronto.
Frank White (1973-1990)
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Career Stats: 2,324 G; .255/.293/.383; 160 HR; 886 RBI; 2,006 H; 912 R; 178-for-261 SB
When Frank White broke in with the Royals in 1973, he had the unenviable task of replacing fan-favorite Cookie Rojas at second base and was met with a less-than-warm welcome by Royals fans. By the time his career came to an end, White was celebrated along with Rojas as two of the more popular players in Royals history.
A five-time All-Star, White was one of the smoothest fielding second baseman of his era, winning eight Gold Glove Awards.
He was also named MVP of the 1980 American League Championship Series when he hit .545 with a home run, three RBI and three runs scored as the Royals swept the Yankees in three games.
While the Royals would fall to the Phillies in the World Series, White was also part of the 1985 Royals team that won the only World Series championship in team history.
Roy White (1965-1979)
Photo courtesy of thebaseballpage.com.
Career Stats: 1,881 G; .271/.360/.404; 160 HR; 758 RBI; 1,803 H; 964 R; 233-for-350 SB
A switch-hitting left fielder who spent his entire career with the Yankees, Roy White was an excellent defensive outfielder who led all American League left fielders in fielding percentage from 1968 through the 1971 season.
As the Yankees came back to prominence in 1976, White continued to excel on a team loaded with stars.
A two-time All-Star, White became one of the most popular Yankees during the 1970s with his no-nonsense style of play and remains a fan favorite to this day.
Jim Wynn (1963-1977)
Photo courtesy of notinhalloffame.com.
Career Stats: 2,212 G; .257/.316/.416; 260 HR; 1,125 RBI; 2,085 H; 908 R; 51-for-117 SB
Had Jim Wynn not spent 11 years of his 15-year career playing in the Houston Astrodome, one of the more pitching friendly parks in the history of the game, chances are that he'd have approached—or surpassed—the 400 home run mark for his career.
A two-time All-Star, Wynn led the National League in walks twice over the course of his career and hit 20 or more home runs on eight different occasions.