Picking the “10 greatest living baseball players”

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In honor of Stan Musial’s 90th birthday Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch wrote an interesting article laying out his picks for the “10 greatest living baseball players” (retired only, with no active guys).

Here are his 10 picks: Hank Aaron, Yogi Berra, Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson, Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Frank Robinson, Tom Seaver, Mike Schmidt.

Goold is one of my favorite mainstream baseball writers, so not surprisingly his list is a good one and his reasoning behind the picks are sound, but I disagree with a few of his selections.

However, instead of focusing on my opinion I thought it would be interesting to select the “10 greatest living baseball players” based strictly on the numbers, and more specifically their career totals in Wins Above Replacement. In other words, which 10 living, retired players were worth the most runs and wins above a replacement-level player at their position.

Here’s the WAR-based list: Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roger Clemens, Stan Musial, Rickey Henderson, Mike Schmidt, Frank Robinson, Tom Seaver, Joe Morgan.

The only difference between Goold’s list and WAR’s list? Goold has Yogi Berra and Sandy Koufax, while WAR has Roger Clemens and Joe Morgan. Greg Maddux wasn’t on Goold’s list and also narrowly missed the WAR top 10, which surprised me as he’d probably crack my top 10.

And, of course, Neifi Perez.