clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The best Cleveland area players in baseball history

New, 11 comments

Root, root, root for the home player

A few weeks back there was a comment about the best players in Ohio history. I'm going to try to choose the best Cleveland players instead.

And just what is a Cleveland player? Is it the city boundaries? For this exercise I have used three distinct sets of criteria. First I'll determine the best players from Cuyahoga County. Then I'll add players from the Greater Cleveland Area: Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties. Later in the week I'll add players from Ashland, Ashtabula, Carroll, Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit, Trumbull and Wayne counties to look at Northeast Ohio, what might be considered Indians territory.

In addition to players born in these places, I also included those who played at high schools, junior colleges and/or universities there.

Cuyahoga County Batters

Hitter

Years

PA

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS+

bWAR

C

Terry Kennedy

1978-91

5421

264

314

386

96

21.5

1B

Joe Kuhel

1930-47

9094

277

359

406

104

26.6

2B

Jim Delahanty

1901-15

4688

283

357

373

122

19.1

3B

Sal Bando

1966-81

8287

254

352

408

119

61.4

SS

Roger Peckinpaugh

1910-27

8381

259

336

335

86

45.0

LF

Ed Delahanty (HOF)

1888-1903

8400

346

411

505

152

69.5

CF

Dode Paskert

1907-21

6988

268

350

361

108

24.4

RF

Elmer Flick (HOF)

1898-1910

6414

313

389

445

149

53.2

DH

Mike Easler

1973-87

4061

293

349

454

118

12.9

C

Ed McFarland

1893-1908

3364

275

335

369

103

18.7

1B/3B

Bill Bradley

1899-1915

6047

271

317

371

108

37.1

2B/SS

Bill Wambsganss

1914-26

6107

259

328

327

78

3.8

OF

Joe Vosmik

1930-44

6088

307

369

438

104

12.9

That lineup looks pretty decent, including two Hall of Famers. The catching spot was basically a toss-up between Kennedy and McFarland. Jim Leyritz was another option, but he really didn't catch a ton. I can honestly say I didn't know of Kuhel before this. He had a long career with the Senators and White Sox. But the only other real option at first was Mike Hegan. I like having Bradley as a reserve as he was regarded as one of the best defensive players in the game and is one of the Top 100 Indians.

Jim Delahanty was the easiest choice over Ray Mack and Wambsganss. Delahanty is one of four brothers (all from Cleveland to play in the nineteenth century. Mack had more WAR than Wambsganss, but unassisted triple play in the World Series gives him the nod as well. Peckinpaugh was another easy choice and could be the manager as well. I unfortunately could not add Jerry Dybzinski to the squad as much as I wanted to.

Having two Hall of Famers in Ed Delahanty and Flick make this outfield very strong. Paskert is another guy I didn't know, but he had a very solid career for the Reds, Phillies and Cubs. Vosmik can play all three outfield spots while Easler was the only player truly to have been a DH. Mickey Hatcher would be my first call up for an injury as he was a true utility guy and solid pinch hitter.

Overall there were 103 hitters to choose from with 36 of them exceeding 1000 PAs, while 43 had fewer than 100 PAs.

Cuyahoga County Pitchers

Pitcher

Years

W-L

GS

WHIP

K/9

ERA+

bWAR

SP-R

Urban Shocker

1916-28

187-117

412

1.256

3.3

124

54.9

SP-L

Rube Marquard

1908-25

201-177

536

1.237

4.3

103

34.2

SP-R

George Uhle

1919-36

200-166

513

1.405

3.3

106

44.4

SP-R

Ed Seward

1885-91

89-72

176

1.225

3.6

107

20.8

SP-R

Steve Stone

1971-81

107-93

320

1.355

5.4

98

18.9

SV

GR

CL-R

Jeff Shaw

1990-2001

203

614

1.244

5.8

119

13.8

RP-R

Matt Guerrier

2004-14

6

552

1.262

5.9

119

7.8

RP-R

Dale Mohorcic

1986-1990

33

254

1.313

4.3

119

4.4

RP-R

Tom Murphy

1968-79

59

204

1.328

3.9

94

8.5

RP-R

Dave Tobik

1978-85

28

194

1.283

5.8

111

3.4

RP-L

Buddy Schultz

1975-79

12

165

1.333

7.2

103

1.1

RP-R

Jim Bagby Jr.

1938-47

9

105

1.454

2.3

97

8.9

As decent as the lineup looks, the staff isn't quite as nice. Having another Hall of Famer in Marquard is nice, but to me Shocker has the better numbers, and he spent half of his career with the pitiful St. Louis Browns. Uhle is another Indian I am happy to have on the staff. Stone makes an alright #5 guy. Seward is another of those nineteenth century players I know nothing about. He did pitch briefly for the Cleveland Spiders in 1891, but 98% of his games came with the Philadelphia Athletics from 1887-1890.

There were only fourteen starters to pick from that made 100 career starts. Bagby I decided to make my swing man for doubleheaders. Other options included Brett Tomko and Dave Mlicki.

Jeff Shaw is a fine closer to have on board. Guerrier and Murphy would be the setup men. But I would have liked and upgrade to Schultz, or to find another decent lefty. But almost every other choice is right-handed: Gary Glover, Al Aber, Art Decatur, Bob Kelly.

Overall, the lineup is good (not great) and the starters are solid, but the bullpen is lacking.

Normally I would have made a separate post for the Greater Cleveland Area (Cuyahogaa, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties). Adding the four surrounding counties of the Cleveland metro area brings only 32 more players to choose from, so it turns out there isn't much to change:

Changes for the Greater Cleveland Batters:

Hitter

Years

PA

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS+

bWAR

2B

Ed McKean

1887-99

7626

302

365

417

114

38.5

2B/SS

Scott Fletcher

1981-95

5976

262

332

342

85

32.0

Of the 13 hitters to choose from, three had over 5000 PAs while the other 10 had fewer than 200. McKean played for both the Cleveland Blues and Spiders and is an easy replacement for Delahanty. Fletcher is another easy choice to replace Wambsganss on the bench as he can actually play more positions.

Changes for the Greater Cleveland Pitchers:

None. There were only 13 pitchers to sort. Lee Richmond and Andy Sonnanstine being the best of them. The pitching staff doesn't change.