After writing about pitchers yesterday, a refresher on the rules:
• "Best" remains the most important criterion here. We’ll lean on objective metrics as we always do. But there’ll be some subjectivity too. I’m not above giving bonus points for flair. Roughly speaking, we’re counting a player’s accomplishments as 70 percent of the equation, cool factor as about 30 percent.
• To be eligible, players had to have played at a time when I was old enough to watch and appreciate baseball. I was born in 1974. Ed Delahanty just misses the cut.
• Players are ranked by both peak and career achievements. This is similar to the concept behind Jay Jaffe’s excellent JAWS system of player evaluation, and the same way I’d vote for Hall of Famers, if I had a vote.
• All-time greats who did their best work before my time don’t count. I only got to see players like Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, and Pete Rose when they were near the end of their amazing careers, so they don’t make the cut. My first vivid baseball memory is from 1981 (it was very painful, let us never speak of it again). So the players likely to get the most consideration either broke in around or after 1981 (or not much earlier), or were so great that even if a decent chunk of their career happened beforehand, they still warranted consideration.
• Finally, we expanded the list to 20 for position players because, well, baseball teams carry more position players than pitchers (or they used to, before managers lost their damn minds). There are already enough omissions on this list to fill multiple All-Star teams. Had we restricted this list to just 10, there might’ve been a riot (or whatever it is you call it when people on the Internet register their disgust throughout the world).