ESPN is celebrating its 20th year in bringing the fans baseball. It decided to do a SportsNation poll on who was the best player at each position in the past 20 years.
I saw the results and they seemed pretty asinine. So I decided to take a survey of Bleacher Creatures and bloggers across the interweb. I asked them the same exact question (with same answer choices) as ESPN did.
Some of ESPN's positions seem a bit off, but that's how they framed the question and answer.
I asked one fan from each team, so there's 30 participants. The player with the most votes is the winner. Eleven people indicated they would not choose persons connected to PEDs. There were only two unanimous selections.
Thanks to all the Bleacher Creatures that helped contribute to this survey. And without further adieu...
Pudge is probably the greatest defensive catcher of all-time. He was a 14-time All-star, 13-time Gold Glove winner, seven-time Silver Slugger, and MVP once. He's also a career .299 hitter with over 300 home runs.
Sandy Alomar, Jr.—2
The Machine was a unanimous selection. He is a two-time MVP, Rookie of the Year, one-time Gold Glover, four-time Silver Slugger, and eight-time All-Star. He is the active leader in batting average, slugging, and on-base percentage.
Many consider Roberto Alomar to be the greatest overall second baseman, ever. Alomar was a ten-time Gold Glover, twelve-time All-Star, and four-time Silver Slugger. He was a career .300 batter that could also steal.
Larry Wayne Jones is a six-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger, and once MVP. His impressive career numbers include being an above .300 avg/.400 OBP hitter with 400+ home runs.
The iron man was a 19-time All-Star, two-time MVP, eight-time Silver Slugger, and two-time Gold Glover. He also had over 3,000 hits and 400 home runs.
Cal Ripken, Jr.—12
Rickey Henderson was the greatest leadoff hitter of all-time. No player in the history of basebll has scored more runs or stolen more bases. He had a career .400 OBP and nearly hit 300 home runs. He was a ten-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger.
The Kid is without a doubt one of the greatest players in history and would be the home run king had it not been for injuries. Griffey was a 13-time All-Star, seven-time Silver Slugger, ten-time Gold Glover, and once MVP. He has 600+ home runs and 1,800+ RBI.
Ken Griffey, Jr.—29
*Note: I don't know why ESPN put Ichiro in center field.
Tony Gwynn never batted below .300 in a full season he played. Gwynn was a 16-time All-Star, eight-time Silver Slugger, and four-time Gold Glover. He batted over .330 in his career and has over 3,000 hits.
The Big Hurt was a five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger, and two-time MVP. He was a .300+ avg/.400+ OBP hitter that hit over 500 home runs.
The Big Unit was the other unanimous selection. Johnson was a ten-time All-Star and five-time Cy Young winner. He has logged over 4,800 strikeouts and 300 wins.
Greg Maddux was an eight-time All-Star, four-time Cy Young winner, and 18-time Gold Glover. He is also part of the 300+ wins and 3,000+ strikeouts club.
Mariano Rivera is arguably the greatest closer ever. He was a ten-time All-Star. He also just passed the 500 saves milestone and is about to record his 1,000th strikeout.
Bobby Cox was a four-time Manager of the Year. He lead the Braves to five National League pennants, including one World Series victory. Not to mention 14 consecutive division crowns.