If you asked 100 baseball fans ranging from casual to knowledgeable to list the 10 or 20 best offensive baseball players from 1997 to 2007, how many would write down Brian Giles? I am guessing not to many.
The reason I posed the above question is because Giles retired this week with very little fanfare. Is Giles a Hall of Famer? Absolutely not. But he was a really, really good player for a span of 10 years and I don’t think many people realize how good he actually was.
Unfortunately for Giles he had one major thing going against him in his career—he always played in terrible markets. Let’s be real here. Unless you are a mega-superstar, nobody is going to care about you nationally if you play in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and San Diego in your career.
As a matter of fact, I am electing Giles into the “Paul Molitor Hall of Fame for players who if they played in New York, Boston, or Chicago would be superstars." I was hesitant to elect Giles into this prestigious class because he had an opportunity to play in Boston at the end of the 2008 season, but vetoed the trade.
Giles really angered me at the time because the Red Sox could have used him. Instead, Boston settled for Mark Kotsay. And while Kotsay performed admirably in Boston, Giles would have been a much better fit and was still at that point a much better hitter.
But I digress and Giles is very much a worthy selection into the Paul Molitor Hall of Fame. Did you know for his career Giles averaged a .291/.400/.502 hitting line with 25 home runs, 95 RBI, 36 doubles, 104 walks, and 10 stolen bases a season?
That is some serious offensive production.
To put in perspective how good Giles was in career, let’s use Baseball Musings’ Lineup Analysis tool . A lineup of full of Giles’ would produce 6.7 runs a game. That is better than a lineup full of Bernie Williams (6.1 runs/game), Carlos Beltrans (5.9 runs/game), Justin Morneaus (5.8 runs/game), and Ichiros (5.7 runs/game).
While Giles was one of the worst players in the major leagues in 2009, we shouldn’t forget that for a very long time, Giles was a good player—a really good player.
You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg