MLB Power Rankings: Cecil Fielder and the 25 Slowest Players in MLB History

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: Cecil Fielder and the 25 Slowest Players in MLB History

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    First baseman Cecil Fielder of the Detroit Tigers at bat during a game.
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Every team looks to have a speedy table setter at the top of its lineup to set the table and serve as a catalyst offensively, and there have been some great speedsters over the years, starting with guys like Rickey Henderson and Lou Brock.

    However, on the other end of the spectrum there have been some incredibly slow players through the years, guys that turn doubles into singles and clog up the basepaths.

    Some were great power hitters to overcome their lack of speed, while others were hindered by it and simply backups. Regardless, here are the 25 slowest players in baseball history.

No. 25: Rusty Staub

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    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 190

    Career At-Bats: 9,720

    Career Steals: 47

    Career Triples: 47

    Staub had a fantastic career that spanned 23 seasons, as he compiled a career line of .279 BA, 292 HR, 1,466 RBI, beginning his career as an everyday player at just 19 years old.

    Even as a youngster, though, he had little foot speed, and while he had a 12-steal season in 1970, he was also caught 11 times that season, and throughout his career he was one of the slowest runners in the game.

No. 24: Russ Nixon

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    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 195

    Career At-Bats: 2,504

    Career Stolen Bases: 0

    Career Triples: 19

    Nixon holds the distinction of having the most career at-bats without successfully stealing a base, as he was 0-for-7 during his 12-year career.

    He was not an overly slow runner, with a decent number of career triples, but his overall lack of base-stealing ability earns him a place on this list.

No. 23: Adrian Gonzalez

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    FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 14:  Infielder Adrian Gonzalez #28 of the Boston Red Sox bats against the New York Yankees during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at City of Palms Park on March 14, 2011 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Ima
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 225

    Career At-Bats: 3,212

    Career Steals: 2

    Career Triples: 9

    Gonzalez is one of the top hitters in the game today, and his trade to the Red Sox was among the biggest moves of the off season, as he will finally move to an offense with some other pieces around him.

    That said, dating back to when he was taken first overall in the 2000 MLB draft, he has been incredibly slow, stealing just 14 bases in six seasons in the minors and then not recording his first big-league steal until 2009.

No. 22: Frank Thomas

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    OAKLAND - AUGUST 18:  Designated hitter Frank Thomas #35 of the Chicago White Sox swings at the pitch during the MLB game against the Oakland Athletics at the Network Associates Coliseum on August 18, 2002 in Oakland, California.  The Athletics won 7-4. (
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Height: 6'5"

    Weight: 240

    Career At-Bats: 8,199

    Career Steals: 32

    Career Triples: 12

    Hard to believe that he was a former running back at Auburn, as Thomas was in fact a terrific athlete overall. However, speed was not one of the assets that he brought to the baseball diamond.

    With over 8,000 at-bats in his career, and with 4,550 total bases and a .301 career batting average, Thomas spent plenty of time on base during his 19-year career, but he never stole more than seven bases in a season, and that was when he was still in prime shape.

No. 21: Greg Luzinski

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    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 220

    Career At-Bats: 6,505

    Career Steals: 37

    Career Triples: 24

    "The Bull," as he was known, was one of the top power hitters of the 1970s and was widely regarded as the strongest player in the league at that time.

    However, his strength made him bulky and clumsy on the bases, and he was a fairly safe bet for a single, a strikeout or a home run, but little else.

No. 20: Mo Vaughn

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    31 May 1998:  Mo Vaughn #42 of the Boston Red Sox in action during a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. The Red Sox defeated the Yankees 13-7. Mandatory Credit: David Seelig  /Allsport
    David Seelig/Getty Images

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 225

    Career At-Bats: 5,532

    Career Steals: 30

    Career Triples: 10

    While Vaughn always carried a decent amount of bulk on his 6'1" frame, he was actually fairly agile in his early days, even stealing 11 bases during his 1995 MVP season.

    However, by the end of his career, his weight ballooned to the 275-pound range, and he was nothing more than a liability in the field and at the plate.

No. 19: Ramon Castro

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    TUCSON, AZ - MARCH 07:  Ramon Castro #27 of the Chicago White Sox bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the spring training game at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium on March 7, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 240

    Career At-Bats: 1,372

    Career Steals: 2

    Career Triples: 0

    Castro is your prototypical backup catcher. He can hit a little, is good at handling a staff and has a little bit of power.

    He is also your prototypical slow baserunner, and thanks to his big frame, he is not only slow but clumsy as well on the bases, and it is probably for the best that he only plays once a week.

No. 18: Jason Phillips

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    DUNEDIN, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  Jason Phillips of the Blue Jays poses for a portrait during the Toronto Blue Jays Photo Day at the Bobby Mattick Training Center on February 25, 2006 in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 180

    Career At-Bats: 1,382

    Career Steals: 0

    Career Triples: 0

    Phillips was a valuable player who could catch and play first base while providing some pop. Not to mention he rocked a pretty sweet pair of goggles.

    For being a relatively small guy compared to most catchers, he was surprisingly slow. He was 0-for-5 in his career on stolen base attempts, and that was almost certainly five more attempts than he should have had.

No. 17: Matt LeCroy

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    10 Apr 2000:  Matt LeCroy #24 of the Minnesota Twins at bat during the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals defeated the Twins 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Stockman  /Allsport
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 225

    Career At-Bats: 1,388

    Career Stolen Bases: 0

    Career Triples: 1

    One look at the stout LeCroy was all you needed to tell that he was not a man that was going to burn up the basepaths, and he was thrown out on all four of his career stolen base attempts.

    Before he retired, LeCroy was the active leader for the most at-bats without a stolen base, and he stands at seventh on the all-time list.

No. 16: Edgar Martinez

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    19 Aug 2001:  Edgar Martinez #11 of the Seattle Mariners at bat during the game against the New York Yankees at Yankee stadium in the Bronx, New York. The Mariners defeated the Yankees 10-2.Mandatory Credit: Al Bello  /Allsport
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 170

    Career At-Bats: 7,213

    Career Steals: 49

    Career Triples: 15

    While the 49 career steals look rather gaudy compared to the rest of this list, and he even had a career best of 14 steals in 1992, during the second half of his career he was largely recognized as the slowest player in baseball.

    While his Hall of Fame candidacy will be something that is debated in the years to come, his lack of speed is something that everyone can agree on.

No. 15: Smoky Burgess

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    Height: 5'8"

    Weight: 185

    Career At-Bats: 4,471

    Career Steals: 13

    Career Triples: 33

    Burgess was the very definition of stocky, and despite his frame, he was actually a very good hitter and was a six-time All-Star to boot.

    However, he was incredibly slow, as one would expect simply from looking at him, as he never had more than three steals in a season and was actually caught 14 times in his career on top of the 13 attempts he was successful with.

No. 14: Johnny Estrada

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    CHICAGO - JUNE 29: Johnny Estrada #33 of the Milwaukee Brewers swings at the pitch during the game against the Chicago Cubs on June 29, 2007 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Height: 5'11"

    Weight: 209

    Career At-Bats: 2,079

    Career Steals: 0

    Career Triples: 0

    Estrada made noise as a member of the Braves in 2004, when he hit .314 in his first full season, making the All-Star team and winning the Silver Slugger, and he has been a solid offensive catcher since.

    However, he is as plodding as they come, even for a catcher, and he has yet to even attempt a stolen base in his career, while also going without a triple despite being a very good hitter.

No. 13: Sean Casey

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    CINCINNATI - APRIL 21:  Sean Casey #27 of the Cincinnati Reds bats against the Pittsburgh Pirates during their game on April 21, 2005 at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Pirates won 4-2. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 215

    Career At-Bats: 5,066

    Career Stolen Bases: 18

    Career Triples: 12

    As far as his size, Casey is one of the smaller guys on this list at just 215 pounds, and he was a fantastic fielder with great footwork around the bag at first base.

    However, "The Mayor," as he was known, plodded along the basepaths in such a way that there are a number of actual mayors who could smoke him in a footrace.

No. 12: David Ortiz

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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 15:  David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox bats against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 15, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 240

    Career At-Bats: 5,730

    Career Stolen Bases: 19

    Career Triples: 16

    Ortiz is a lumbering man, and watching him run is not a pretty sight. That said, he is a fairly good baserunner given his overall lack of speed.

    He has recorded at least one triple every year since 2000 and already has one this year, while his career high for steals came in 2007, when he swiped three bases.

No. 11: Yadier Molina

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    ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 09:  Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on September 9, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Height: 5'11"

    Weight: 230

    Career At-Bats: 2,721

    Career Steals: 21

    Career Triples: 2

    Molina is hands down the best defensive catcher in baseball right now, and he is a terrific situational hitter, but aside from his brother, he may be the slowest player in baseball today.

    He is actually a very good baserunner, which has resulted in 17 steals over the past two seasons, but there is no doubt he is incredibly slow.

No. 10: Matt Stairs

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    13 Aug 2000: Matt Stairs #12 of the Oakland Athletics steps into the swing during the game against the Detroit Tigers  at the Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Tigers defeated the Athletics 5-3.Mandatory Credit: Tom Hauck  /Allsport
    Tom Hauck/Getty Images

    Height: 5'9"

    Weight: 200

    Career At-Bats: 5,145

    Career Steals: 30

    Career Triples: 13

    Stairs has made a career of being a left-handed bat off the bench who steps up to the plate trying to do one thing and one thing alone, and that is hit a home run.

    Now 43 years old and playing with the Nationals, he has obviously lost a step or two, but in his case he didn't have a step to lose in the first place. He has stolen a total of seven bases since 2005, and that is still more than most would have expected.

No. 9: John Olerud

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    BRONX, NY- AUGUST 9 : Infielder John Olerud #5 of the Seattle Mariners at bat against the New York Yankees during the MLB game at Yankee Stadium on August 9, 2003 in the Bronx, New York. The Mariners defeated the Yankees 2-1 . (Photo by Chris Trotman/Gett
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Height: 6'5"

    Weight: 205

    Career At-Bats: 7,592

    Career Steals: 11

    Career Triples: 13

    Olerud was one of the best hitters of the 1990s, but he set a record with nine seasons in which he had at least 400 at-bats but did not register a steal.

    Olerud was a slick fielder and had one of the smoothest swings in the game, but speed was by no means a part of his game.

No. 8: Alvin Davis

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    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 195

    Career At-Bats: 4,240

    Career Steals: 7

    Career Triples: 10

    Mr. Mariner was the first true star player in the Mariners' fairly short history, as he won Rookie of the Year in 1984 with a .284 BA, 27 HR, 116 RBI season.

    However, Davis had zero speed, and after swiping five bases his rookie year, he stole just two more bases the rest of his career.

No. 7: Jim Thome

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    08  Apr 2002 :  Jim Thome #25 of the Cleveland Indians in action against  the Minnesota Twins during the opening day game at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians won 9-5. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Tom Pidgeon /Getty Images
    Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 250

    Career At-Bats: 8,012

    Career Steals: 19

    Career Triples: 26

    Thome is among the best sluggers to ever play the game, with 590 career home runs, and he is still dangerous at the age of 40 playing for the Twins.

    However, he was slow when he first broke into the league at 20 years old, and now 20 years later he is one of the slowest players in all of baseball.

No. 6: Gus Triandos

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    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 205

    Career At-Bats: 3,907

    Career Steals: 1

    Career Triples: 6

    Triandos was one of the best offensive catchers of the 1950s, reaching double digits in home runs for seven straight seasons from 1955-1961, but he was incredibly slow.

    He only topped 20 doubles twice in his career, despite his considerable power, and his one career steal speaks to the type of baserunner he was.

No. 5: Ed Herrmann

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    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 195

    Career At-Bats: 2,729

    Career Steals: 6

    Career Triples: 4

    Catchers are generally among the slowest players on the field, with the exception of guys like Russell Martin and Jason Kendall, but Herrmann was a different kind of slow.

    Power was really the only asset he brought to the plate, as he was a .240 career hitter with a .310 on-base percentage, although he did manage to make an All-Star team in 1974.

No. 4: Willie McCovey

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    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 198

    Career At-Bats: 8,197

    Career Steals: 26

    Career Triples: 46

    McCovey was the prototypical power hitter during his career, launching 521 home runs, as he was a consistent force in the middle of the Giants lineup.

    However, he was already slow to begin with to start his career, and he ran into knee problems near the end of his career and was virtually unable to run, making him one of the slowest players ever.

No. 3: Bengie Molina

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    SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 14:  Bengie Molina #1 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Houston Astros at AT&T Park on May 14, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Height: 5'11"

    Weight: 190

    Career At-Bats: 4,812

    Career Steals: 3

    Career Triples: 6

    A footrace between the Molina brothers would be quite a sight, but Bengie has quite an impressive track record of being incredibly slow.

    His peers echoed those sentiments in a 2006 Sports Illustrated poll, when 56 percent of the players surveyed chose Molina as the slowest player in all of baseball.

No. 2: Cecil Fielder

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    First baseman Cecil Fielder of the Detroit Tigers at bat during a game.
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 230

    Career At-Bats: 5,157

    Career Stolen Bases: 2

    Career Triples: 7

    Fielder was a man built for one thing, and that was hitting home runs, and he did that like few players did in the early 1990s, hitting 51 bombs in 1990, among other impressive seasons.

    However, if the ball didn't leave the yard, Fielder also clogged up the basepaths like few players ever have. Aside from his ridiculously low stolen base and triple numbers, he also never topped 25 doubles in any of his 13 seasons, as it was hard enough for him to make it the 90 feet to first base.

No. 1: Ernie Lombardi

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    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 230

    Career At-Bats: 5,855

    Career Steals: 8

    Career Triples: 27

    The career triples are deceiving, as Lombardi played in an era when the triple was far more common, and Lombardi is widely considered the slowest player to ever play the game.

    He ground into an impressive 261 double plays in his career, and the stat was not even kept during the beginning of his career, but despite his lack of wheels, he was a great average hitter, winning a pair of batting titles and posting a career .306 average.

    He was so slow that the infielders would play in the outfield grass, yet he still hit for such a high average, as he really is one of the most underrated hitters of all time, but also the slowest player in MLB history.

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