MLB: Greatest Players From Alaska And Arizona

John LewisSenior Writer IAugust 25, 2008

Continuing with the theme of the greatest Major League Baseball players in each state in alphabetical order.  While Alaska is the next state, there were only two notable athletes to make an appearance in the majors.

I've decided to combine Alaska and up next is The Last Frontier state followed by the Grand Canyon State:

Curt Schilling

While his career may be over, Schilling will go down as one of the greatest post-season pitchers who ever lived.  In 19 playoff games, he has an 11-2 record with a 2.23 ERA and 120 strikeouts.

If he never pitches again he will finish with 216 wins, a 3.46 ERA, 3,116 strikeouts, six All-Star selections, three World Series rings and a World Series MVP award in 2001.  He also led the National League in wins in 2001, led the American League in wins in 2004 and led the NL in strikeouts in two other seasons.  

Shawn Chacon

Chacon is the only other baseball player to be born in Alaska and started his career with the Colorado Rockies after being a third round selection in 1996. He made his big league debut in 2001 and has turned into a decent pitcher.

Chacon is known for his altercation with Houston Astros General Manager Ed Wade.  Chacon was suspended indefinitely for insubordination and is currently a free agent.  He has a 45-61 record with a 4.99 ERA and has played with four teams.

Bob Horner

Horner was a star the moment he stepped on a baseball diamond and set numerous records at each level.  He was awarded the 1977 College World Series MVP and the 1978 Golden Spikes award, which is given to the best amateur athlete.

Horner was the first pick in the 1978 draft and also made his debut that same year.  That year he was Rookie of the Year, in 89 games he hit 23 HRs and drove in 63 runs.  He finished his, injury plagued, 10 year career with 218 HRs and 685 RBI.

John Denny

Denny pitched in the Major Leagues from 1974 to 1986 and his career highlight came in 1983 when he won the National League Cy Young Award.  That year he went 19-6 with a 2.37 ERA.

Denny also won game one of the 1983 World Series for the Philadelphia Phillies against the Baltimore Orioles.  He compiled a career record of 123-108 with a 3.59 ERA. Along with his Cy Young Award, that same season Denny also won the Sporting News Pitcher of the Year and the Comeback Player of the Year.     

Hank Leiber

Leiber roamed the outfield for the Chicago Cubs and New York Giants from 1933 to 1942. His best season came in 1935 with the New York Giants when he hit 22 HRs, drove in 107 runs, hit .331 with a .389 on-base percentage and a .512 slugging percentage.

In 10 seasons he compiled 101 HRs, 518 RBI, .288 batting average, .356 on-base and a .462 slugging percentage.        

Ron Hassey

Hassey played for six different teams from 1978 to 1991. Hassey holds the distinction of being the only player to catch two perfect games in the major leagues. On May 15, 1981, Hassey caught Len Barker's perfect game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

On July 28, 1991, he caught a perfect game pitched by Dennis Martinez against the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He also played for the Athletics in three World Series from 1988-1990 winning one and losing two.

Bill Hatcher

Hatcher played for seven different teams from 1984 to 1995.  Known as more of a platoon player, he hit 54 HRs, 399 RBI, batted .264 with a .312 on-base percentage and a .364 slugging percentage.

His best season came with the Houston Astros in 1987 when he hit 11 HRs, 63 RBI, batted .296 with a .352 on-base and a .415 slugging and scored 96 runs. Hatcher did respond big in the post-season with a .404 batting average in three playoff series. 

Alex Kellner

Kellner pitched for three teams from 1948 to 1959. Kellner was a solid pitcher in his first seven seasons, averaging 206 innings and 11 wins.  His best came in his first full season with the Philadelphia A's when he went 20-12 with a 3.75 ERA. 

That year he pitched in 38 games, with 27 starts, 19 complete games, nine games finished and one save.  He would never win more than 12 games in a single season and in 12 years he went 101-112 with a 4.41 ERA.          

Tom Pagnozzi

Pagnozzi played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1987 to 1998.  Known for his defense, Pagnozzi was impressive enough behind the plate that the Cardinals moved Todd Zeile to third base.

He won three gold gloves and made the All-Star team in 1992.  Pagnozzi retired in 1998 at the age of 36, after being released by the Cardinals in August, with a career batting average of .253 with 44 home runs and 320 RBI.

This completes the list of great Major Leaguers from Alaska and Arizona.