Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Joe Posnanski Acknowledges Bobby Ray

Joe Posnanski writes long posts. He's proud of that fact (the subtitle of his blog is "Curiously Long Posts"). Yet I at least scan through every one of them. He has just posted a column about the best players in baseball, as he writes:
I was doing my usual investigative mayhem to get a better feel for the Hall of Fame ballot, and I thought it would be worthwhile to come up with the best players in baseball since, say, 1970. I don’t mean the overall best players — I mean, who were the best players in baseball at any given time.
He was doing this in advance of his Hall of Fame ballot (which will include Bert Blyleven, because he's adamant about that).

Incidentally, I'm not in the Blyleven camp. He's a little too "Don Sutton" for my taste.

Anyway, Joe starts his analysis in 1970, and writes this:
1970-74: Joe Morgan
Close: Pete Rose, Johnny Bench.
In the discussion: Bobby Murcer, Willie Stargell, Bobby Bonds.
Of course, he's right. Bobby Ray should be in the discussion because, around this time, he was one of the five best players in baseball. With the exception of raw rookie Thurman Munson and veteran Roy White, Murcer was all the Bombers had at this time (with Mel Stottlemyre pitching).

Onto his next entry, where Joe writes:
1971-75: Joe Morgan
Close: Nobody
In the discussion: Rose, Stargell, Jackson, Bench, Murcer.

Comment: Even moderate Joe Morgan fans probably do not appreciate just how good he was from 1970-78. He was the best player in baseball all five periods, and nobody was especially most of those years. Notice Bobby Murcer is on the list again — he’s one of the more underrated players in baseball history.
The italics are mine. The words are Joe's.

I'm glad Joe Posnanski recognizes that. Few unfortunately do, as they're so hung up on how Bobby Murcer wasn't Mickey Mantle (well, duh). They all think he was just a bumpkin from Oklahoma who said funny things on TV.

Yeah, OK. Bobby Murcer, if you don't know, was one of the best - yes, one of the best ever - athletes to come out of the state of Oklahoma.

Incidentally, in that four-year stretch of 1971-1974, Murcer averaged .299 with 22 home runs (damn you, 1974 and Shea Stadium), with 27 doubles, 93 RBI's and 87 runs scored. Not too shabby.

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