Saturday, July 07, 2012


'Ladies and gentlemen, I give you baseball’s best player: Mariano Rivera,' Hendrickson, Forbes

7/5/12, "Major League Baseball: Who's The Best Now, Who's The Best All Time?," Forbes, Mark Hendrickson, op-ed

"Greatest player today: This question is complicated by the fact that we are talking about players at different stages in their careers. Pujols, with 10 years under his belt, is a viable candidate, but in my book, there is one player today whose statistics elevate him so far above his peers that he deserves to be recognized as baseball’s best. Today’s greatest baseball player is a pitcher.

As baseball evolved, scoring increased. Thus, the list of pitchers with the lowest career ERAs is dominated by pre-World War II pitchers. In fact, of the 100 lowest career ERAs of all time, only six belong to players who have competed during my lifetime. Four of those are found near the bottom of the list: Whitey Ford, ranked 87th; Dan Quisenberry, 93rd; Sandy Koufax, 94th; and Ron Perranoski, 100th. Only two pitchers who have played during my lifetime managed to crack the top 50: the great knuckleballer, Hoyt Wilhelm, at #45,
For a pitcher today to have an ERA lower than any other pitcher of the past 60 years—even lower than Babe Ruth’s and right behind the Big Train, Walter Johnson—is magnificent. Today’s greatest player has the 13th-best ERA of all time: 2.21. No other active pitcher with more than 1,000 innings pitched has an ERA below 3.00. That’s huge—a quantum gap separating him from everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen,
Unfortunately, Rivera cannot compete in this year’s All-Star game due to a flukish knee injury eerily reminiscent of the one that torpedoed Fidrych’s career. Get well soon, Mariano.

Enjoy the All-Star game, all you baseball fans. And feel free to nominate your own baseball “bests” in the “Comment now” link."


Ed. note: The 2.21 ERA is of course regular season only. Rivera's 141 post season innings have a .70 ERA.


Hendrickson says Babe Ruth is the best player of all time.


"Mark Hendrickson, Contributor

I am Adjunct Professor of Economics at Grove City College and Fellow for Social and Economic Policy for the Center for Vision & Values, for whom I've written 200+ articles in the last five years. My interests are varied—graduate work in law at the University of Michigan, literature at Oxford, moral education at Harvard, and economics under the tutelage of Hans F. Sennholz, who earned his doctorate under Ludwig von Mises. My libertarian economics is fused with traditional American values. My most recent book is “Famous But Nameless: Lessons and Inspiration from the Bible’s Anonymous Characters (2011).

The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer."

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