Top 10 "Should Have Beens" In Baseball History
This is a list of baseballs top 10 should have been franchise players, guys who should have been great, All-Stars, hall of famers, and legends but somehow got off that path and couldn't live up to their expectations or something happened to keep them from full-filling their promise to their team.
This should be a interesting debate and hopefully you guys can fill me in on any guy that I left out.
10. Josh Hamilton
He has had terrific career since he made the majors, but he made the majors when he was 25. Lord only knows that if Josh had made the majors at 20 or 21 and had not taken the path of addiction how good he could be right now. But I am glad Josh made the majors. Talent like his shouldn't be wasted and he is one of my favorite players right now.
9. Pete Reiser
Those who saw Pete Reiser play said he was a hall of famer waiting to happen. Sadly, Pete had a passionate yet dangerous way of playing the game. Reiser was the type of player any team right now would love to have. Pete loved the game and would do ANYTHING to catch a flyball even if it meant crashing into the the stadium walls. Which back then were made of cement.
Pete Reiser played every out like it was his last, and since he would crash into the cement walls, he would keep getting injured. With all the injuries Pete's hitting declined. For those that want to know why Pete is higher then Josh Hamilton, as a rookie Reiser won the batting title and the next year he was hitting .380 untill he ran into a cement wall tracking a flyball.
Even when he was healthy guys like Joe DiMaggio and Ted Willaims took the spotlight from him.
8. Lyman Bostock
Lyman Bostock was described to be a solid line drive hitter a guy that was a lot like Rod Carew. He was a good major league player that could do every thing well and his best tool came on the field. As he was a good defensive center fielder, a lifetime .988 FLD%. He was a good hitter as well, with a life time BA of .311 but unfortunately Bostock's career was cut short because he was shot in Gary, Indiana.
Bostock would have been one of the best best pure hitters of his era. He would have been in the category of Carew, George Brett and other great pure hitters. Statistically if Lyman didn't get murdered he would have collected over 2200 hits and have a BA around .310
7. Darryl Strawberry
Maybe he was the strongest player of his era. Power that was Straws game. However, Darryl would take the road of drugs, alcohol, and addiction.
He was a good major league player for a long time known for his tremendous power and long home runs. In interviews Straw says he used drugs like cocaine because of stress and depression. We will never know how Darryl Strawberry's career could have turned out if he didn't get involved with drugs and if he didn't have legal issues. None the less, Straw did end his career with 1,000 RBI and 335 HR.
With that power he would start his career of with 9 straight seasons of 20+ HR.
6. Dwight Gooden
He was no doubt was one of the best pitchers in baseball from 1984 to 1993, nearly a decade of dominance. Doc bursted on the scene right from A Ball and won the Rookie Of The Year. The next season he won the Cy Young. Doc looked like he was ready to go right to the Hall Of Fame.
The future looked endless for Doc, but drug and alcohol abuse put Doc's career in a decline. He never made more then 30 starts or pitched 200 innings after 1993 and he would still have seven more seasons in the majors after 1993. To add salt in the wound five of the next seven seasons, he would put up a ERA over 4.91. Again you have to ask yourself, would he be a Hall Of Famer if he didn't do drugs and alcohol.
5. Mark Prior
He came out of college given the title as the greatest prospect of all time. He should have been the first overall pick but the Twins probably didn't have the money Mark wanted.
As a rookie, Prior put up a ERA of 3.32, and the next year he put up a ERA of 2.40. It looked like the scouts were completely right about Prior but in that 2003 season Mark had a stretch were he averaged 125.3 pitches a game. Who was the manager of the Cubs then? None other then Dusty Baker.
In only Prior's second season he threw 211.1 innings. Baker didn't take Prior out of games when he clearly was at the end of his tank. Although to Prior's credit, he tried to come back from the arm abuse and next season put up a 4.02 ERA but he had 21 starts. The next year he put up a 3.67 ERA but had 27 starts.
Because of that '03 season and all those pitches Baker made Mark throw, his arm was never strong enough to finish a season. You have to think with the brains that the Twins have to develop pitchers, would Prior still be in the majors if the Twins had developed him and not the Cubs?
4. J.R. Richard
A fireballer right from the beginning, J.R. was the Astros first real arm. He had a fastball that was in the 100's and a 90 mile an hour slider.
Once his place in the rotation was solidified in 1976, for a five year span J.R. was arguably the best pitcher in baseball. In '78 and '79 he topped over 300 strikeouts and the sky was the limit for this fireballer who was quickly compared to a young Bob Gibson.
In 1980 J.R. was headed to the All-Star game with a ERA of 1.90 but the start he had after the All-Star game, he felt extreme fatigue in his pitching arm. One day J.R. was playing catch with his coach and he suddenly heard a loud buzzing sound in his ear. He was taken to the hospital and they found a blood clot in his neck and that ended his career at only age 30.
3. Bo Jackson
A physical freak, Bo Jackson was both a baseball player and a football player. Bo was a player that you had to see to believe with a ridiculous arm, power and speed.
He was going to be the next Willie Mays without a doubt. His first five seasons in the bigs he belted 109 HR and in his first season he only played 25 games.
Since he was a two-sport athlete, Bo was in a Raiders playoff game when he got seriously tackled by linebacker Kevin Walker seriously injuring his hip. Bo tried to make a comeback with the White Sox and Angels but Bo never got to his original form.
In eight seasons in the Majors Bo hit 141 HR and had 82 steals. If Bo had committed just to baseball he without a doubt would have been a hall of famer.
2. Roy Campanella
He was on his way to becoming the greatest all around catcher of all time, as a ROOKIE catcher Roy hit .287, 22 HR, and 82 RBI to win the Rookie of the Year. His best season came when he won the second of his three MVPs hitting .312, 41 HR, 142 RBI, and he only struck out 58 times.
He was one of the poineers in breaking the color barrier. Roy would have added to his great numbers if it wasn't for a car accident that paralyzed him and abruptly ended his playing career.
The eight-time All Star will forever be known as one of the greatest catchers all time. In his 10 year career he hit .276, 242 HR, and 856 RBI. Throw in three MVPs and tell me you don't wonder how Campanella's numbers would look if he didn't get in the accident.
Even without his numbers not being complete, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969.
Ken Griffey Jr.
Without a doubt the most talented player in MLB history and without a doubt a first ballot hall of famer. Jr. was the best player in baseball through the '90s and there was little dispute that Ken was going to hit the 756 HR.
Whatever Ken wanted to do on the field he did, he was amazing with the Mariners. He signed a big deal with the Reds and that's where the problems happened.
Griffey couldn't stay on the field with the Reds. He had knee problems, back issues, hamstring issues and it was just hard to watch every time he broke down on the field.
Although Ken is going to the Hall of Fame, just imagine were his numbers would be if he didn't break down in Cincinnati. There's no doubt in my mind he was going to be the one to hit number 756.
In Ken's 22-year career, he has hit .286, 621 HR, and 1,798 RBI with 10 All-Star appearances, an MVP, and 10 Gold Gloves.