We all know who the greatest players of all time are. Willie Mays, Henry Aaron, Walter Johnson. These are the elite, the legends of the game. And they are deserving of the praise they are given. However, there are players who are not worthy of the praise they receive. They are just not as good as some people think. This list features some of them.
Some of the players on this list are not as good as their reputation would have you believe. Some are unjustifiably compared to Hall of Famers and legends, some had just one or two great seasons and some are average players rescued by postseason success. Some are flat-out bad.
Hubbard was a mainstay at second base in Atlanta for a decade. However, his highest batting average was .264, he hit over .250 just four times, 10 home runs once and 50 RBI twice. He never really received much competition for the starting role though, with players like Luis Gomez and Jerry Royster behind him on the depth chart.
The Marlins are only 18 years old, so there are not as many players to choose from for this list. However, Dempster’s name does jump out. He will often be mentioned after Josh Beckett and Dontrelle Willis as one of the better pitchers in the team’s short history. He played in the five seasons separating the Marlins’ two World Championships, and in that time compiled a losing record with a 4.64 ERA.
Ordonez won three straight Gold Glove awards at short, but that is not enough to make up for his woeful bat. In seven seasons, he compiled a .245 average with eight home runs and an average of 37 RBIs a year. 2000 was a particularly low point, where he managed to hit just .188 with only five extra-base hits in 45 games, all doubles.
Rollins is a very good player, but he never really excels at anything other than durability. He may have won the 2007 MVP, but it is very debatable as to whether or not he ever deserved it.
Cabrera never played in Washington. He was traded to Boston in 2004, a year before the Expos moved from Montreal to become the Nationals. In Montreal, though, he was never a great player, but is somehow remembered as one of the best surviving ex-Expos. He hit above .280 just twice, hit 15 HR once, stole 25 bases once and had only one above-average OPS+ season, with 105 in 2003.
Patterson might be a bad player now, but he was terrible in Chicago. He had a good 2003, with a 114 OPS+, but twice batted below .225, had 20 homers once and struck out five times more frequently than he walked.
This might seem like a strange choice, since Rixey is in the Hall of Fame, but other than having a rubber arm, he was very unspectacular.
Cedeno won five consecutive Gold Gloves, but was never overly impressive with the bat, especially for an outfielder. In 12 years with the Astros, he managed a .289/.351/.454 line and an average of 14 HR and 65 RBI.
Moore played in Milwaukee for 14 seasons at a variety of positions, but he was primarily a catcher. And in that decade-and-a-half, he accomplished almost nothing.
Mazeroski had 7,786 at bats in a Pirates uniform, and if it had not been for his 2,404th—in which he hit a World Series-winning walk-off home run—people would rarely talk about him. That hit is one of the greatest moments in baseball history, but the rest of Mazeroski’s career could never compete with it.
He made seven All Star Games and won eight Gold Gloves in 10 years, but as a player, he was never as great as that moment.
Rolen was (and still is, but with the Reds, not the Cards) a very solid all-around player, but you should have a hard time justifying his time in St Louis as great. He was an integral part of two NL Pennant-winning teams in 2004 and in the World Championship campaign of 2006.
Drew has been the D-Backs’ starting shortstop for the last four seasons. In that time, he has been merely average or below in almost every category. Yet there he is, day after day. He is fairly durable, it must be said.
A strange choice, yes, since Castilla hit 40 home runs for three straight seasons with the Rockies, whilst driving in runs by the bucketload. However, people were ready to crown him as an elite player, and he never was. He made two comebacks to the Rox, in 2004 and 2006.
His first return went well, as he somehow managed to hit 35 home runs and drive in 131, but let’s not make any assumptions about how he compiled his stats.
Dreifort did one thing right: He got Scott Boras as his agent. That is why he was being paid $13 million a year by the end of his career, despite the fact he never led the league in a single category, had a winning record just twice and a sub-4 ERA once.
Caminiti often makes it onto lists of greatest-ever Padres—not near the top, of course, with the likes of Tony Gwynn and Dave Winfield. But he will be in the debate for the Top 10, despite the fact he only played four seasons in San Diego.
Yes, in those four seasons he won three Gold Gloves and the 1996 MVP award, but it was four seasons. In that time, he averaged 30 HR and 99 RBI, and a .295 average, but he played with them for just four seasons.
The San Francisco/New York Giants franchise has had some of the best players in history don its uniform, and everyone lauded as being great, is. Pedro Feliz has been with them for a decade. And he has always been awful.
Blair played for the Os for 13 years. His defense was his biggest plus point. He racked up eight Gold Gloves in nine seasons, but batted .254, averaging 10 home runs and 44 RBIs.
It is very difficult not to love Trot Nixon, which is a large part of the reason why he is on this list. For a decade, he patrolled right field; he played hurt, he got his jersey dirty, he had pine tar on his helmet and he was one of the archetypal Idiots of 2004. But no one got as big a break as Nixon did.
If he had the personality and apparent fragility of his RF successor JD Drew, Nixon would not have lasted a decade as a mainstay in the Sox lineup.
Jeter will make it into the Hall of Fame on his first attempt —and deservedly so—but let’s not kid ourselves. The guy is not in the conversation of all-time great shortstops. He has won four Gold Gloves and no one with any knowledge of the game thinks he should have won any. The guy is a great captain and a great player, but he is not in the pantheon of Ozzie Smith or Honus Wagner, and he is no Babe Ruth or Joe DiMaggio.
To some, Pena might be the greatest player in Rays’ history. However, despite his great power numbers and a dubious Gold Glove Award, Pena never really played at the level of his reputation. He failed to reach the Mendoza line in 2010, which would turn out to be his final season in Tampa before moving to the Cubs.
Delgado made two plate appearances in 1993, the year the Jays last won the World Series, and would play in Toronto until 2004. On the whole, he put together a very good career, averaging 28 homers a year with the Blue Jays, but with the exception of his two All-Star seasons of 2000 and 2003, he was rarely great.
It is quite easy to forget how many great players took their cuts in Cleveland. There was a time when Sizemore was expected to join them. Indeed, four years ago, some would have said he was ready to join the team’s elite. He was not then. And he definitely is not now.
Injuries have affected him the last two seasons, there is no doubt, but even before that, he was no more than a very good hitter, though he is a Gold Glove-winning center fielder. Bad player? Of course not. Overrated? Definitely.
Rivera’s career slugging percentage is just 36 points better than Ty Cobb’s batting average (.402 to .366). Somehow, he found himself in the lineup in at least 115 games for the White Sox for eight years.
Hernandez is a case of a player having one spectacular season, and living off its reputation the rest of the way. His first season in Detroit saw him win the Cy Young and MVP. He went on to close out his career with a losing record and an ERA close to 4.
Sweeney batted .300 for four straight seasons at the heart of his career, and left the Royals with his mark just below that. That said, he could not use a glove, and was rarely anything other than a singles hitter.
It beggars belief how Guzman was ever thought of as a good player and how he managed to make $8m last season. In six seasons with Minnesota, his OPS+ was 76. That means a perfectly average player would have been considerably better. He averaged six long balls and fewer than 50 RBIs before leaving for the newly-relocated Nationals.
Glaus gets a bit of a free pass for his heroics in the Angels’ 2002 championship run. He batted just shy of .400 in the series with three home runs and eight RBIs. Across his entire Angels career, though, he was not that impressive. Back-to-back 40 home run seasons were a highlight, if not unusual around the turn of the century. A .253 BA did leave a lot to be desired, as did an average of 112 Ks a season.
Vida Blue had one phenomenal season in 1971. A 24-8 record and a 1.82 ERA propelled him to a Cy Young and MVP double. But he did that once. He had an ERA+ barely above average the rest of his career, at 105.
Martinez is often lauded as the best-ever designated hitter, but a DH does one thing: hit. He played that position almost exclusively from 1993 to 2004 but never led the league in home runs or slugging percentage. He did win two batting titles and finished above .300 for his career. He also walked a fair bit. But for the best DH of all time, he was never a great hitter.
There is serious talk about whether or not Kevin Brown deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. However, all of his stats—except his one 20-win season—came after he left Texas. As a Ranger, he was good, but nowhere near HoF-calibre.