Prince Fielder Free Agent Rumors: Where Would Rangers' Lineup Rank All Time?

Timothy HowellCorrespondent IIDecember 14, 2011

Prince Fielder Free Agent Rumors: Where Would Rangers' Lineup Rank All Time?

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    According to various sources, the Texas Rangers may or may not be after former Milwaukee Brewers slugger Prince Fielder.

    Fielder is a Scott Boras client, and the only thing certain with Boras is that he likes to take his time with his top clients in hopes of procuring every possible penny. Therefore, it could be some time before we learn of Fielder's next destination.

    It already seems much longer than a few days since the Angels stunned the world.

    The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim improved their team dramatically as they inked slugger Albert Pujols and former Rangers number one starter C.J. Wilson, on the very same day.  

    It seemed like the prudent thing for the Rangers to do to answer their AL West competitors was to rescue Prince Fielder from free agent limbo, and to hop-chop on placing a bid on Yu Darvish's service. 

    It was—and is—purely speculation.

    The Texas Rangers could very well just stick to an offseason plan that sees them lock up their "core" guys with extensions. They could also go after either Darvish, Fielder or both.  

    Who knows?

    Regardless, that's the type of guess work that isn't much fun.  

    Much more entertaining than that is to guess just how fantastic a 2012 Texas Rangers offense would be with the addition of the big man and his "beast mode."

    Here's a hint: That offense would definitely crack the top 20 in the history of the game.  Want to find out just where?

    Well, read on, my friends.

No. 20: 2000 Anaheim Angels

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    No, I'm not including this lineup in my top 20 as a way to make peace with the Angels after some of the nasty (and unprintable) things I said about them last week.

    This lineup is outstanding. Some highlights:

    You had two aging veterans in Mo Vaughn and Tim Salmon who had outstanding years—Vaughn walloped 36 home runs, Salmon knocked out another 34.

    You also had the young up-and-comer in Troy Glaus, who blasted 47 home runs and was only 23 years old.

    Plus, perpetually underrated Garrett Anderson hit 35 home runs and led the team in RBI with 117.

    Makes you wonder how this team finished third place in the AL West.  Well, I have two possible answers:

    1. That's how powerful the innate "suck" that Benji Gil once (and probably still does) possessed was. 

    2. The Angels weren't the only team who had players suspected of steroid use on the roster.

    Lineup

    LF Darin Erstad

    2B Adam Kennedy

    1B Mo Vaughn

    RF Tim Salmon

    CF Garrett Anderson

    3B Troy Glaus

    DH Scott Spiezio

    C Bengie Molina

    SS Benji Gil

No. 19: 2003 Atlanta Braves

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    The 2003 Braves were on the tail end of their magnificent run of 14 consecutive NL East titles (due to the players' strike, there was no postseason in 1994).

    Everyone is quick to mention how during their heyday, the Atlanta Braves had one of the best rotations of all time. That is true without a doubt.

    However, they had some good hitting teams as well. The 2003 offense was one of their finest.

    Skeptical? Well consider this:

    The 2003 Braves offense had all starters (non-pitchers) hit at least 11 home runs. If you take away 1B Robert Fick (11) and Rafael Furcal (15), no starter hit fewer than 21 long balls.

    Javy Lopez paced the team with 43, Gary Sheffield mashed 39 and Andruw Jones hit 36.  Plus, Marcus Giles, Chipper Jones as well as Sheffield and Lopez, all hit over .300.

    Lineup:

    SS Rafael Furcal

    2B Marcus Giles

    RF Gary Sheffield

    LF Chipper Jones

    CF Andruw Jones

    C Javy Lopez

    1B Robert Fick

    3B Vinny Castilla

No. 18: 1996 New York Yankees

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    Sounds strange to say, but until 1996 the New York Yankees had gone 17 seasons without a World Series title.

    Well, this was the lineup that made it happen and it should surprise no one.

    One interesting tidbit about the '96 Yankees is that they put together an extremely effective lineup in the middle of the "Steroid Era" that didn't have one player hit 30 or more home runs.  Bernie Williams led the team with 29, Tino Martinez contributed 25.

    They didn't have much power, but this team could flat-out hit.  They had five players hit over .300 on the year: Duncan (.340), Jeter (.314), Boggs (.311), Williams (.305), and O'Neill (.302).

    Lineup:

    3B Wade Boggs (HOF)

    CF Bernie Williams 

    RF Paul O'Neill

    DH Cecil Fielder

    1B Tino Marinez ("BamTino" HOF caliber nickname for sure)

    LF Ruben Sierra (Former Ranger—just sayin')

    2B Marinao Duncan

    C Joe Girardi (current Yankees skipper)

    SS Derek Jeter 

No. 17: 1950 Boston Red Sox

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    This 1950 Red Sox club had it all: two future Hall of Fame members, three men with more than 120 RBI, an outfielder named "Zeke" as well as a backstop named "Birdie."

    Thanks in no small measure to rookie Walt "Moose" Dropo's season for the ages (.322 BA, 33 HR, 144 RBI), the team led the American League in batting average (.302), OBP (.385) and SLG (.464).  

    Yet they somehow missed out on a pennant, as they finished third behind the Detroit Tigers, and eventual World Series Champion New York Yankees.

    Future HOF Bobby Doerr had the lowest batting average of any Boston starter with a more than respectable .294.

    The '50 Red Sox had six players bat over .300 (Dropo, Williams, Tebbetts, Pesky, Zarilla and DiMaggio). That's insane.

    Lineup:

    CF Dom DiMaggio

    3B Johnny Pesky

    LF Ted Williams (HOF)

    SS Vern Stephens

    1B Walt Dropo

    2B Bobby Doerr (HOF)

    RF Al Zarilla

    C Birdie Tebbetts

No. 16: 1961 Milwaukee Braves

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    One of the best third and fourth batting combinations in the history of the game, this '61 Braves lineup was actually led in home runs by Joe Adcock (35).

    It's hard to imagine that this team finished in fourth place in the National League.  

    Okay, maybe not too surprising. They batted .258 as a team, which was below the league average that year.

    However, they did lead the NL in home runs (188) and the fact that you have the Matthews and Aaron punch, plus the Joe Adcock factor, easily places the '61 Milwaukee Braves in the mix for most feared lineup of all time.

    Lineup:

    RF Lee Maye

    2B Frank Bolling

    3B Eddie Matthews (HOF)

    RF Hank Aaron (HOF)

    1B Joe Adcock

    LF Frank Thomas

    C Joe Torre

    SS Roy McMillan


No. 15: 2004 Boston Red Sox

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    The 2004 Red Sox finally managed to erase the "Curse of the Bambino" as they did the seemingly impossible in capturing their first World Series title in 86 years.

    The two-headed monster of Manny Ramirez (43 HR, 130 RBI) and David "Big Papi" Ortiz (41 HR, 139 RBI) did the most damage in this formidable lineup.

    Even with "Papi" and "Man Ram," this offense wouldn't have been the same without Kevin Millar (.297/.383/.474 and 18 HR), Jason Varitek (.296/.390/.482 and 18 HR) or Johnny Damon (.304/.380/.477 with 20 HR and 19 SB).

    Similar to the '96 Yankees, this team had enough postseason clutch hits and rallies to warrant its own thesis on that topic alone. 

    Lineup:

    CF Johnny Damon

    2B Mark Bellhorn

    LF Manny Ramirez

    DH David Ortiz

    1B Kevin Millar

    C Jason Varitek

    RF Trot Nixon

    SS Orlando Cabrera

    3B Bill Mueller

No. 14: 1927 Philadelphia Athletics

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    This is arguably the best team to miss the playoffs by 19 games in the history of Major League Baseball. Actually, with five future Hall of Fame members (six if you count staff ace Lefty Grove), the point is not even worth arguing.

    You had the soon-to-retire Ty Cobb, who, at 41 years of age still managed to bat .357—remarkable, but not enough to lead this team in BA. That goes to Simmons (.392).

    Remarkably, Simmons didn't even win the batting title in '27. That honor went to Harry Heilmann, who batted .398 (and still finished second to Lou Gehrig in the MVP balloting that was one astounding Yankees team).

    Seven of the regulars all hit .311 or better for the A's in '27.  Plus, you have 19-year-old future HOF Jimmie Foxx on the bench as a utility infielder. Wow.

    Lineup:

    2B Max Bishop

    3B Sammy Hale

    RF Ty Cobb (HOF)

    CF Al Simmons (HOF)

    C Mickey Cochrane (HOF)

    1B Jimmy Dykes

    LF Zack Wheat (HOF)

    SS Joe Boley

    *UT Jimmie Foxx (HOF)

No. 13: 1976 Cincinnati Reds

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    The "Big Red Machine" was running on all cylinders in '76, as they would win their second consecutive World Series title.

    Not a shocker they won it all with a team slash line of: .280/.357/.424. The '76 Reds also led the NL in home runs (144) and RBI (802).

    Similar to the aforementioned 1999 Yankees, the Cincinnati Reds dominated offensively without the benefit of a 30-home run season.

    They did have five regulars hit over .300: Griffey (.336), Rose (.323), Morgan (.320), Geronimo (.307) and Foster (.306).  George Foster and Joe Morgan also knocked more than 111 RBI each, with 121 and 111, respectively.

    Lineup:

    3B Pete Rose

    RF Ken Griffey

    2B Joe Morgan (HOF)

    LF George Foster

    C Johnny Bench (HOF)

    1B Tony Perez (HOF)

    CF Cesar Geronimo

    SS Dave Concepcion

No. 12: 1940 Boston Red Sox

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    The more you go back and take a look at some of the best Boston Red Sox lineups in history, the more you start to truly believe in the mystical "Curse of the Bambino."

    How on earth did this group of sluggers only win 82 games in 1940? You had four future members of the Cooperstown Clan, and every one of them knocked in at least 105 RBI—Foxx (119), Williams (113), Cronin (111) and Doerr (105).

    If I could go back in time and interview any former Major Leaguer, I think it might have to be Jimmie Foxx. Remember, he was a 19-year-old who got to play with Ty Cobb, and as an elder statesman at 32, he played with a young (21-year-old) Ted Williams in 1940.

    Pretty awesome stuff right there. 

    Lineup:

    CF Dom DiMaggio

    RF Doc Cramer

    LF Ted Williams (HOF)

    1B Jimmie Foxx (HOF)

    SS Joe Cronin (HOF)

    2B Bobby Doerr (HOF)

    3B Jim Tabor

    C Gene Desautels

No. 11: 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers

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    The previous slide featured a '40 Red Sox club that boasted a lineup that had four-straight HOF members in it. Well, how about this group of Dodgers that has four (five if you count Hodges, who should be in the Hall.)

    The 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers were not only one of the best hitting teams of all time, they are also one of the most overlooked powerhouse teams in history.

    This is due in large part to the relative anonymity of two of their biggest stars: Gil Hodges, and Duke Snider; as well as one of the greatest catchers of all time in Roy Campanella.

    I'm sure we're all familiar with the colloquialism of "looks good on paper." For the most part, it's used somewhat derogatorily at present.  

    In 1955 what you saw—statistically—is what you got: .271/.356/.448 from the team as well as NL-leading 201 HR, and 800 RBI.

    Roy Campanella was the NL's MVP (his third and final) as he hit .318/.395/.583 with 32 HR and 107 RBI. Snider won the RBI crown as he knocked in 136.

    Lineup:

    2B Jim Gillam

    SS Pee Wee Reese (HOF)

    CF Duke Snider (HOF)

    1B Gil Hodges 

    C Roy Campanella (HOF)

    3B Jackie Robinson (HOF)

    LF Sandy Amoros

    RF Carl Furillo

No. 10: *2012 Texas Rangers* (with Prince Fielder)

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    Now, hold on just a minute. I know what you're thinking, and you might not be wrong. You're thinking that there is no way the hypothetical 2012 Rangers would be the 10th best of all time.

    Truth is, we'll never know. But if every player in that lineup performed to their peak and, most importantly, stayed healthy, there's absolutely no reason why they couldn't crack that unofficial top 10.

    The slash lines next to each player represent their career 162-game average.

    Lineup:

    2B Ian Kinsler .275/.355/.465 26 HR 83 RBI

    DH Michael Young .304/.350/.451 16 HR 89 RBI

    LF Josh Hamilton .308/.366/.543 32 HR 117 RBI

    3B Adrian Beltre .276/.329/.469 26 HR 92 RBI

    1B Prince Fielder .282/.390/.540 37 HR 106 RBI

    C Mike Napoli .264/.359/.514 32 HR 85 RBI

    RF Nelson Cruz .270/.330/.504 32 HR 98 RBI

    CF Craig Gentry .246/.314/.306 2 HR 29 RBI

    SS Elvis Andrus .271/.340/.343 4 HR 49 RBI

No. 9: 1930 New York Yankees

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    It's hard to believe this team finished in third place in the AL. You had six players hit over .300—Lou Gehrig (.379), Babe Ruth (.359), Earle Combs (.344), Bill Dickey (.339), Ben Chapman (.316) and Tony Lazzeri (.303).

    This team led the American League in all of the "slash line" categories, going .309/.384/.488, yet somehow finished 16 games out of first place.

    Don't feel too bad for the Yankees though. They'd had plenty of prior success and that's a trend that would continue in the (near) future.

    Lineup:

    LF Earle Combs (HOF)

    CF Harry Rice

    RF Babe Ruth (HOF)

    1B Lou Gehrig (HOF)

    3B Ben Chapman

    SS Lyn Lary

    C Bill Dickey (HOF)

    2B Tony Lazzeri (HOF)

No. 8: 1931 New York Yankees

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    Once again, you get the feeling that this powerhouse team is not only getting some bad breaks, but is also getting ready to explode (in a good way).

    The only major difference between this Yankees club and the 1930 team was that they picked up Joe Sewell, yet another future HOF. That, and they finished in second place rather than third.

    Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth paced the team, hitting 46 home runs each.

    Lineup:

    CF Earle Combs (HOF)

    3B Joe Sewell (HOF)

    RF Babe Ruth (HOF)

    1B Lou Gehrig (HOF)

    LF Ben Chapman

    SS Lyn Lary

    C Bill Dickey (HOF)

    2B Tony Lazzeri (HOF)

No. 7: 1930 St. Louis Cardinals

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    I like the 1930 St. Louis Cardinals. They're pretty much the team that time has forgotten. Go ahead—look up and down that lineup. Not too many household names there.

    Honestly, aside from Frankie Frisch and Jim Bottomley, I don't think I had even heard of a single one of them.  

    Sorry, I'm not 90 years old. Even if I was, I'd have had to of had a pretty darn good memory to conjure up the names of this "Gashouse Gang."

    I mean, 1930 was so long ago that if I was to say "Douthit doth hit," people would probably understand what I was saying and maybe even become mildly amused.

    This team is worth noting because every single starter hit .304 or better.  Think about that...every single starter hit over .300.

    George Watkins (Freestone County, TX in the house) led the charge, batting at a .373 clip. 

    Incredibly, the Cardinals' .314 team batting average was only good for third in the league.

    Lineup:

    CF Taylor Douthit 

    3B Sparky Adams

    2B Frankie Frisch (HOF)

    1B Jim Bottomley (HOF)

    LF Chick Hafey (HOF)

    RF George Watkins

    C Jimmie Wilson

    SS Charlie Gelbert

No. 6: 1929 Chicago Cubs

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    Hard to believe that in 1929, the Cubs hadn't won a World Series in 21 years. Even harder to believe that as of today, it's been 103 years. Yikes.

    This was one great hitting team, one that certainly could have garnered a World Series title with just a few breaks.

    Hack Wilson knocked out 39 homers and drove in 159. The next season Wilson would put up his record 191 RBI—a record that still stands today. Roger Hornsby would put up his last truly great season, as he batted .380 and won his second MVP.

    Between Wilson and Hornsby, 308 runs were knocked in. That's incredible.

    Lineup:

    3B Norm McMillan

    SS Woody English

    2B Rogers Hornsby (HOF)

    CF Hack Wilson (HOF)

    RF Kiki Cuyler (HOF)

    LF Riggs Stephenson

    1B Charlie Grimm

    C Zack Taylor

No. 5: 1929 Philadelphia Phillies

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    So how could a team that has only one Hall of Famer (the last few teams have spoiled us) and that finished 27.5 games out of first have a great offense?

    Chuck Klein, that's how. Plus a little bit of Lefty O'Doul. Both Klein and O'Doul hit over 32 home runs, with 43 and 32, respectively.

    Plus, six of their starters hit over .300, with Lefty O'Doul hitting a robust .398.  O'Doul won the batting title, but lost out to Rogers Hornsby for MVP.

    Lineup:

    2B Fresco Thompson

    LF Lefty O'Doul 

    RF Chuck Klein (HOF)

    1B Don Hurst

    3B Pinky Whitney

    CF Bernie Friberg

    SS Tommy Thevenow

    C Walt Lerian

No. 4: 1966 Baltimore Orioles

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    Frank Robinson, in the prime of his career, won the last Triple Crown as he batted .316 with 49 HR and 122 RBI.

    Brooks Robinson knocked in 100 runs and did his thing on defense, as was the norm. However, ladies and gentleman, there is only one Boog—Boog Powell.

    This team absolutely steamrolled the Dodgers in the World Series with the four-game sweep.

    Aparicio ("Little Louie"), along with Earle Combs, are the only HOF leadoff hitters on this list. He swiped 51 bases and was a general nuisance to the opposition's pitchers.

    Lineup:

    SS Luis Aparicio (HOF)

    LF Curt Blefary

    RF Frank Robinson (HOF)

    3B Brooks Robinson (HOF)

    1B Boog Powell

    2B Davey Johnson

    CF Paul Blair

    C Andy Etchebarren

No. 3: 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates

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    The 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates were a team with very little power, but they were stacked with excellent hitters.  

    Kiki Cuyler batted .357, Max Carey .343 and five other starters were over .308: Grantham (.326), Barnhart (.325), Traynor (.320), Smith (.313) and Wright (.308).

    It took them the full seven games, but the Pirates defeated the Senators to win their first World Series title since 1909.

    Lineup:

    CF Max Carey

    2B Eddie Moore

    RF Kiki Cuyler

    LF Clyde Barnhart (HOF)

    3B Pie Traynor (HOF)

    SS Glenn Wright

    1B George Grantham

    C Earl Smith

No. 2: 1932 New York Yankees

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    Remember when I said it felt like the 1930 Yankees were on the precipice of something great? Then they finished in third place, inexplicably. 1931 saw them acquire a new third sacker in Sewell. Alas, they finished in second place.

    Well 1932 was their year, as they beat the Chicago Cubs (poor Cubbies) in a sweep. This team won 107 games and got a combined 188 RBI from Gehrig and Ruth.  

    This team was amazing, but it certainly wasn't a "Murderer's Row."

    Lineup:

    CF Earle Combs (HOF)

    3B Joe Sewell 

    RF Babe Ruth

    1B Lou Gehrig

    2B Tony Lazzeri

    C Bill Dickey

    RF Ben Chapman

    SS Frankie Crosetti


No. 1: 1927 New York Yankees

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    "Murderer's Row" is synonymous with the '27 New York Yankees, and rightfully so. This team was unbelievable.  

    When you look at their team stats and notice that they led the league with 158 home runs, that doesn't seem like too many long balls.

    But, look further, and you'll notice that they hit 102 more home runs than they their closest competition, the Philadelphia Athletics.

    In a nutshell, this team was led by two of the best players the game has ever seen in Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. In '27, those two combined for 339 RBI.

    The '27 Yankees won 110 games and swept the Pirates in the World Series.  Essentially, from game one of the regular season all the way to their title-winning game, every win seemed just as easy as the last.

    That's the sign of one awesome offense.

    Sure, there were other teams that had more future Hall of Famers in their lineups, but no other offense in the history of the game could touch this group of fearsome sluggers.

    Lineup:

    CF Earle Combs (HOF)

    SS Mark Koenig

    RF Babe Ruth (HOF)

    1B Lou Gehrig (HOF)

    LF Bob Meusel

    2B Tony Lazzeri (HOF)

    3B Joe Dugan

    C Pat Collins