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Johnnie's Top 1,000 MLB Players of All-Time: 976-1,000

Updated: Apr 13

Lists. As baseball fans and sports fans in general, we love lists. Greatest this, best that, most valuable whoever...we can't get enough. These endless lists invite argument and debate. Well, here is another list. However, this one is a bit longer than most. Don't worry. I won't be spitting out a thousand baseball players in one article. They will be split up among 40 articles as a series that should last until mid-March.

Be sure to check out the rest of our series: MLB 951-975 | 926-950 | 901-925 | 876-900 | 851-875 | 826-850 | 801-825 | 776-800 | 751-775

Let's Celebrate MLB's History

More than just a ranking, which is nearly impossible over 150+ years of baseball, this group of 1,000 players is a celebration of many who have either been forgotten or underrated. Even the most ardent baseball fan will find a player they never heard of or didn't know something about. While I did try to list them in order of baseball prowess, these rankings are not to be taken quite so literally as to think player #842 is much better than player #867. I would also like to mention that just being on this list puts these players in the top 4.3 percent who have ever played.

How I ranked them is a combination of longevity, peak, offense, defense, and the era they played in. While WAR is a stepping stone for this list, it was not the be all, end all. I used some of my own judgment as I'm sure anyone would agree, it is kind of hard to determine dWAR from a third baseman in the 1890s. Similarly, the game has changed since 1871. Not just on how it is played between the foul lines but also on how the rules have affected change. Enough of my explanation. It is time to start with players 976-1,000 in the first of this series. I hope you will take this trip with me through the history of MLB...the game we love.

#1,000 - Cesar Tovar - Utility - 1965-1976

Tovar was one of the first and most prolific super-utility players. He logged over 200 games at each outfield position as well as at second base and third base. He also played 77 games at shortstop. He led the league in doubles (36) and triples (13) in 1970. Tovar also led the league in hits in 1971 with 204 while batting over .300 in both seasons. He finished his career with 226 stolen bases.

#999 - Edgar Wesley - First Base - 1920-1927

Wesley made a splash in his debut for the Detroit Stars in 1920 leading the league with 11 home runs. While he was a very good hitter in his short career, 1925 was his career season. He hit .404 with a 1.184 OPS and 17 home runs. Wesley started his baseball journey late as he debuted when he was 29. Nevertheless, the left-handed hitter finished with a .923 OPS and drove in 403 runs in just 502 games.

#998 - Jeff Montgomery - Relief Pitcher - 1987-1999

Montgomery was traded to the Royals before the 1988 season. Kansas City realized a year later they had found their closer to replace the stalwart Dan Quisenberry. From 1989-1993, Montgomery had 159 saves (leading the AL in 1993 with 45) and a sparkling 2.22 ERA. He finished his career with 304 saves in 700 appearances.

#997 - Nick Swisher - Outfield/First Base - 2004-2015

Swisher had nine seasons in a row of 20+ home runs. In 2009 he helped the New York Yankees to the World Series blasting 29 homers with an .869 OPS. He finished his career with 245 home runs and a .799 OPS.

#996 - Ellis Kinder - Right-handed Pitcher - 1946-1957

Kinder was primarily a starter from 1947-1950 and wasn't horrible even posting a 23-6 record and a 3.36 ERA for the Boston Red Sox in 1949. He switched to the bullpen in 1951 and led the league in saves in two of the next three seasons. When his playing days were over, he was the first pitcher ever with 100 wins and 100 saves.

#995 - Rafael Devers - Third Base - 2017-Present

Devers has put himself on the map as a great hitting third baseman. Over his past five years, Devers has an .877 OPS with a 130 wRC+. the slugger led the league in doubles (54) and total bases (359) in 2019. He has also averaged 33 homers and 100 RBIs in the last three years.

#994 - Matt Cain - Right-handed Pitcher - 2005-2017

Cain was a workhorse for a solid six-year stretch from 2007-2012. He averaged 216.2 innings and maintained a 3.18 ERA. He also tossed the only perfect game in Giants franchise history on June 13, 2012.

#993 - Joakim Soria - Relief Pitcher - 2007-2021

Soria wasn't always a closer even though he logged 229 saves in his career. He was an excellent relief pitcher for a long time. In 2008, he finished with a 1.60 ERA with 42 saves. In 2010, he had a 1.78 ERA and 43 saves. When he finally hung it up, Soria struck out nearly 10 batters per nine and gave up fewer than a HR per nine.

#992 - Marcell Ozuna - Outfielder - 2013-Present

In his final year in Miami, Ozuna was part of one of the best-hitting outfields in baseball in recent memory along with Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich. Ozuna hit 37 home runs that year and drove in 124. In the Covid-shortened season, Ozuna led the league with 18 homers and 56 RBIs. He blasted 40 last year with an even 100 runs driven in.

#991 - Bret Boone - Second Base - 1992-2005

Boone started his career with the Seattle Mariners, but it was his second stint in the Pacific Northwest that gets him on this list. While Boone was a solid glove and had a little pop in his younger years, he exploded in 2001 with the Mariners. Boone slashed .331/.372/.578 with 37 home runs and a league-leading 141 RBIs. He was 32 years old that season. Boone had a couple of good seasons left in him before hanging it up in 2005.

#990 - Jose Quintana - Left-handed Pitcher - 2012- Present

Quintana took the ball every fifth day for seven years in Chicago. From 2013-2019 the southpaw made at least 31 starts and tossed 170+ innings each season to the tune of a 3.72 ERA while also having a K/BB rate of 3.23:1.

#989 - Kerry Wood - Right-handed Pitcher - 1998-2012

After his first four starts, Wood showed his strikeout potential but was hittable. His fifth start would go down in history as one of the best games ever pitched. On May 6, 1998, the Cubs' righty struck out 20 Astros while allowing just an infield single to Ricky Gutierrez. Wood continued his career battling injuries and finding success here and there. He finished with over 10 strikeouts per nine innings and a 3.67 ERA.

#988 - Ozzie Albies - Second Base - 2017- Present

With this past season, Albies has moved himself into the top 1k. Albies has been up and down through his career so far with Covid 2020 and then an injury in 2022 that ended his July and August. However, he showed his talent last year hitting 33 homers and driving in 100.

#987 - Don Gullett - Left-handed Pitcher - 1970-1978

Gullett was a talent with the Cincinnati Reds. After his first two years, he was a good starter for the Reds before moving on to the Yankees for the 1977-78 seasons. Injuries ended his career at 27, but he had a stellar 3.11 career ERA and won 109 games to 50 losses. Don Gullett passed away this past Wednesday at 73. RIP.

#986 - Joe Rudi - Outfielder/First Base - 1967-1982

It was easy to be lost on the 1970s Oakland A's with the star power they had. Rudi was one of the guys that made that engine run. He led the league in hits (181) and triples (9) in 1972 and doubles (39) in 1974. Rudi also finished second in MVP voting both years and was a three-time Gold Glove winner. In three World Series, the Oakland left fielder slashed .300/.355/.414.

#985 - Doug Jones - Relief Pitcher - 1982, 1986-2000

Jones was a journeyman closer, pitching for seven teams during his career. He saved at least 20 for five of them. His overall numbers are pretty impressive. He allowed only 86 home runs in 1,128.1 innings which is minuscule considering he pitched mainly in the steroid era. He also walked just two batters per nine. His 303 saves are 29th all-time which is made even more impressive considering he didn't get his first save until he was 29 years old.

#984 - Kevin McReynolds - Outfielder - 1983-1994

McReynolds was a very good player for a seven-year stretch. From 1986-1992 he had an .803 OPS and averaged 22 home runs and 83 RBIs. With the New York Mets in 1988, McReynolds became the first player in history to have 20+ stolen bases and not be thrown out. It has happened only five times since then.

#983 - Willie Horton - Outfielder - 1963-1980

While Horton played for six teams in his major league career, 75 percent of them were for the Detroit Tigers. He endeared himself to fans immediately blasting 56 home runs and driving in 204 runs in his first two full seasons in left field. In 1968, Horton finished fourth in MVP voting and had his best season with a career-high 36 homers and .895 OPS. His heroics in the 1968 World Series cemented his place in Tigers lore. With Detroit down three games to one, Horton threw out Lou Brock at home in Game Five. The Tigers went on to win the series as Horton went 5-for-11 with four runs, a double, and a triple in the final three games. His 262 home runs are fifth all-time in franchise history.

#982 - Jack McDowell - Right-handed Pitcher - 1987-1988, 1990-1999

McDowell threw 83 percent of his major league innings over seven years. During that time, he was a workhorse. Black Jack averaged 32 starts and 224 innings in that span which includes the strike year of 1994. He won the AL Cy Young Award in 1993 after finishing second in 1992. Since 1991, there have been 26 pitcher seasons of 10 or more complete games. The only pitcher other than McDowell to have three such seasons is Randy Johnson.

#981 - Ed Bailey - Catcher - 1953-1966

Bailey started his career off with a bang. In his first full season behind the plate for the Cincinnati Reds in 1956, Bailey slashed .300/.385/.551 with 28 bombs and 75 RBIs. Those would be career-highs for the left-handed hitting backstop. Bailey was a six-time All-Star and finished his career with a .784 OPS. He was also a very good defensive catcher, throwing out 49 percent of would-be base stealers in his prime and never allowing more than six passed balls in a season.

#980 - Del Ennis - Outfielder - 1946-1959

In his prime from 1948-1957, Ennis was one of the league's best run-producers. During that decade, only Gil Hodges and Stan Musial had 250 home runs and 1,000 RBIs along with Ennis. In nine of those seasons, the slugging outfielder had 20+ homers and 95 RBIs, leading the league in 1950 with 126 driven in. Ennis finished his career with 1,284 RBIs, 288 home runs, and an .812 OPS, all while striking out just nine percent of the time.

#979 - Matt Kemp - Outfielder - 2006-2020

Kemp had an impressive blend of power and speed. That talent culminated in 2011 when he fell one home run short of a 40-40 season. He still led the league with 39 bombs, 126 RBIs, and 115 runs scored. Injuries slowed him over the next two seasons, and he wound up stealing just 40 more bases in his career after the 2011 season. Kemp's power was still there though. In 2016, he hit 35 homers with 108 RBIs between San Diego and Atlanta.

#978 - Jeff Reardon - Relief Pitcher - 1979-1994

While the closer position is usually quite volatile, Reardon was one of the most consistent of them. He made over 60 appearances each season from 1982-1989 saved more than 20 games 11 years in a row and saved 30 seven times. He led the league in saves in 1985 with 41. He tossed 4.2 innings of shutout ball in the 1987 World Series to help the Minnesota Twins to their first title. Reardon is 12th all-time with 367 saves.

#977 - Dave Stewart - Right-handed Pitcher - 1978, 1981-1995

Stewart was primarily a relief pitcher through 1986, appearing in 247 games (72 starts). He was 39-40 with a 3.96 ERA and 19 saves. His first full season in Oakland however saw him turn his career around at 30 years old. Over the next four seasons, Smoke was 84-45, averaging 265 innings and completing 28 percent of his starts while logging a 3.20 ERA. He finished in the top 4 in CYA voting all four seasons. In the postseason, Stewart really shined. He won the World Series MVP in 1989 and won two LCS MVP awards in 1990 and 1993. In the ALCS, Stewart was 8-0 in 10 starts with a 2.03 ERA.

#976 - Ray Boone - Third Base/Shortstop/First Base - 1948-1960

The second Boone on this list is the grandfather of the group. Ray was a solid hitter and an overall good player. In the 1950s, he slashed .277/.362/.437 averaging 15 home runs and 70 RBIs despite also averaging 124 games per season. He led the league in RBIs in 1955 with 116 and hit 20 home runs four seasons in a row for the Tigers.

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