200 Best Major League Baseball Players Ever - #200 RON CEY

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

#200 RON CEY 3B Dodgers
OPS+ 121
BFW 21.2
WARP3 97.4

In a comment, I noted that Duke Snider is essentially #201; his WARP3 is just a tick lower than is Cey's, with the positional value of 3B outweighing Snider's better bat just a tiny bit. There is almost no statistical distinction among players #200-160 on the list and another dozen or so who didn't make it. That's why, in my initial run at this, the rankings vary from how they will look now, as really, given the nature of equivalency stats and my ham-slamming together the universal theory of everything numbers that I believe are most indicative of value, it's fair to slot the first 40 guys virtually any way one likes.

But, I didn't like my initial slotting and have decided to be as mathematically precise as I can; I am a list junkie, a devotee, and have been literally as far as my memory goes; the lists that made up my earliest childhoos were sports lists, just like this. So, even if it's just to clear up a particularly well worn space in my head - I had to put together what I really do feel is the definitive Top 200 list of ML Baseball players ever.

With that - Cey is 200, he and Reggie Smith are the only Dodger position players from that 70s team to make the list. Cey's forever part of that LA infield, one of the more famous in ML history, here's how the other 3 rate:

Steve Garvey
OPS+ 117
BFW -6.1
WARP3 79.2

Davey Lopes
OPS+ 106
BFW 12.1
WARP3 82.2

Bill Russell
OPS+ 82
BFW 1.0
WARP3 69.7

The moral of the story - there's no debate that Cey had the best career, and there's no debate that Lopes was 2nd. Garvey's the one you know; he was a glamor player at a glamor position in a glamor town; I don't know if there were 5 better known baseball players on the planet in the late 1970s than Steve Garvey. But he had no power, didn't walk, and hurt you with his glove; he was just another guy. He was nice to me in 2000; as a guy, I have nothing bad to say about Garvey, but he wasn't as good as we were led to believe. If you're a baseball fan about my age, in your (gulp) late 30s, and your sense of baseball was formed in the late 70s, to learn that not only was Darrell Evans a better baseball player than Steve Garvey - but that it isn't even close is a transformative experience. That's a good litmus test, actually, for your local beat writer, ask him who was better, Evans or Garvey. If he gets it wrong, literally never listen to another syllable.

Russell couldn't hit at all, his glove wasn't special enough to elevate him; Lopes's, however, was; the high WARP3 reflects a strong showing in the defensive metrics (and his baserunning), given his run of the mill bat.

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