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Johnnie's Top 1,000 MLB Players of All-Time: 901-925

Updated: May 27

As we wrap up the first 100 in our series, we enter the top four percent of all players who ever played in the major leagues. If you have followed the past three articles, I am sure you have seen plenty of players that did not ring a bell. As we continue to move toward the top in our celebration of the MLB best, there will be more recognizable names. However, as much fun as it is for me to write these articles, I hope it is as much fun for you to read a bit about the game's greatest and its history.

Be sure to check out the rest of our series: MLB 976-1,000 | 951-975 | 926-950 | 876-900 | 851-875 | 826-850 | 801-825 | 776-800 | 751-775 | 726-750 | 701-725 | 676-700 | 651-675

#925 - Travis Hafner - First Base - 2002-2013

Although he played 12 years in the majors, Hafner's games played amount to only about seven and a half seasons. For three years, he was arguably the best hitter in baseball. From 2004-2006 the slugger had a 1.030 OPS, swatted 103 homers, and drove in 334 runs. Unfortunately, he would play only one more season of more than 120 games. Hafner remained productive despite numerous injuries. He finished his career with an .874 OPS and averaged 29 home runs and 100 RBIs per 162 games.

#924 - Greg Vaughn - Outfielder - 1989-2003

Vaughn was a feared power hitter in the late 90s. He is still the only San Diego Padre ever to hit 50 home runs in a season. He eclipsed 40 homers three times and finished fourth in MVP voting back-to-back years in 1998 and 1999. Vaughn was a four-time All-Star and finished his career with 355 home runs, over 1,000 runs, and over 1,000 RBIs.

#923 - Howard Johnson - Third Base - 1982-1995

Johnson had one of the best five-year peaks of any non-HOF third baseman. From 1987-1991, HoJo averaged a 30-30 season while maintaining an .840 OPS. He also averaged 101 runs and 100 RBIs per 162. Johnson also finished in the top 10 of MVP voting three times. In 1991, he led the NL with 38 home runs and 117 RBIs.

#922 - Andy Cooper - Left-handed Pitcher - 1920-1930, 1937-1939

Cooper was a pitcher who took the ball whenever his team needed him. In 1922 for the Detroit Stars, he led the league starting 21 games and throwing four shutouts. The following year he led the league with six saves while completing 12 of his 19 starts. Cooper finished with a 3.58 ERA (122 ERA+) and a two-to-one K/BB rate. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.

#921 - Tex Hughson - Right-handed Pitcher - 1941-1944, 1946-1949

Hughson was Boston's ace in the mid-40s. He missed 1945 as he served in the military, but from 1942-1946, he was one of the best pitchers in the majors. In those four seasons, he sported a 2.58 ERA while tossing over 1,000 innings. He led the league in wins and strikeouts in 1942. He also led the league in K/BB rate in both 1944 and 1946.

#920 - Charley Jones - Left Fielder - 1875-1880, 1883-1888

Jones had his best season in 1879. He slashed .315/.367/.510 and led the league in runs (85), home runs (9), and RBIs (62) despite the season being just 84 games. After missing 1881 and 1882, Jones came back to lead the league in RBIs in 1883 with 80. He finished his career with an impressive .789 OPS. That may not seem like much but his OPS+ was 150.

#919 - George Hendrick - Outfielder - 1971-1988

The big right fielder made his name with the St. Louis Cardinals in the late 70s/ early 80s. From 1977-1983, Hendrick slashed .297/.353/.478 while averaging 23 home runs and 102 RBIs per 162. He finished his career with 267 home runs, over 1,100 RBIs, and nearly 2,000 hits. Hendrick was also an above-average fielder in his prime with an excellent arm.

#918 - Joe Horlen - Right-handed Pitcher - 1961-1972

Horlen was a tough-luck pitcher for most of his career. Despite a 3.11 ERA, he finished with a losing record (116-117). During his peak from 1964-1968, Horlen had a 2.32 ERA, yet was only 67-56. In 1967, he led the league with a 2.06 ERA and finished second in CYA voting. Horlen dealt with arm issues throughout his career although he managed six straight years of 200+ innings.

#917 - Elston Howard - Catcher/Left Fielder - 1948, 1955-1968

Howard had a cup of coffee with the Kansas City Monarchs as a 19-year-old in 1948. He didn't get to the Yankees until 1955. Even then he was a somewhat part-time left fielder. From 1958-1964, Howard made his mark slashing .296/.341/.478 while averaging 22 home runs and 94 RBIs per 162. He won the 1963 AL MVP and a couple of Gold Gloves behind the plate.

#916 - Marty McManus - Second Base/Third Base - 1920-1934

While he was never an offensive force, McManus was a solid contributor and had an excellent glove. Whether at second or third, he was well above average in the field. Offensively from 1922-1930, he slashed .298/.365/.451 while averaging 12 homers, 13 stolen bases, and 97 RBIs per 162. McManus also led the league in doubles in 1925 with 44 and stolen bases in 1930 with 23.

#915 - Brandon Nimmo - Outfielder - 2016-Present

While Nimmo may not seem like he should be here, let's consider that he has a 133 wRC+ for his career. His slash of .270/.380/.447 is good and his 40 home runs over the last two years have moved him into this list. He led the league in triples with seven in 2022 and had 102 runs scored the same year.

#914 - Tom Henke - Relief Pitcher - 1982-1995

Henke was mowing people down when many others weren't doing it. From 1985-1995, the reliever struck out 10 per nine innings while maintaining a 2.54 ERA. He also saved 308 games in that time, leading the league in 1987 with 34. Henke struck out over 100 batters three times and his 3.63-to-1 K/BB rate is even more impressive considering it was done in the 80s and 90s.

#913 - Buck Freeman - Outfielder/First Base - 1891, 1898-1907

After failing as a pitcher in 1891, Freeman turned himself into the top power hitter of his time. He made it back to the majors in 1898 and, in 1899, he had one of the best rookie seasons ever. Freeman slashed .318/.362/.563 with 122 RBIs and 107 runs. He hit 25 home runs and had 25 triples that season and it still stands as the only time it has ever been done. Freeman led the league in home runs (13) and RBIs (104) in 1903 and helped Boston win the first World Series.

#912 - Harvey Kuenn - Outfielder/Shortstop/Third Base - 1952-1966

Kuenn hit the ground running as he batted .325 in his 19 games in 1952 for the Detroit Tigers. He won the AL ROY in 1953, leading the league with 209 hits. From 1953-1960, Kuenn led the league in hits four times, doubles three times, and led the AL in batting in 1959 (.353). He finished with over 2,000 hits and a .303 lifetime average.

#911 - Lew Burdette - Right-handed Pitcher - 1950-1967

Like Kuenn, Burdette's peak was from 1953-1960. In that time, he had a 3.36 ERA and averaged 17 wins and nearly 250 innings. Burdette finished third in CYA voting in 1958. He won the 1957 World Series MVP award as he shut down the New York Yankees. After allowing two runs in nine innings in a Game Two victory, Burdette shut out the Yankees in Game Five and returned three days later to shut them out again in Game Seven.

#910 - Richie Zisk - Outfielder/Designated Hitter - 1971-1983

While Zisk may not have any "black ink" during his career, from 1973-1982 he was a top-10 hitter in the majors. In that time, he hit 194 home runs and slashed .291/.356/.470 with a 129 wRC+. In 1977, Zisk became just the second White Sox player to bat .290 with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs joining Dick Allen.

#909 - J.R. Richard - Right-handed Pitcher - 1971-1980

While not quite on the level of Sandy Koufax, Richard's career ended abruptly when he was still in his prime. From 1976-1980, the big right-hander was a force. During that time, Richard was 84-55 with a 2.79 ERA. He led the league in strikeouts in 1978 and 1979 surpassing 300 each season. He also finished in the top 4 of CYA voting in those two years.

#908 - Pete Reiser - Outfielder - 1940-1942, 1946-1952

Reiser looked like he was going to be one of the best players of his generation. In his first full season in the majors, Reiser won the batting title (.343) and led the league in runs (117), doubles (39), and triples (17). He finished second to teammate Dolph Camilli in the MVP voting, an award Reiser should have won. In 1942, he was batting .356 when he ran full speed into the outfield wall. He would never be the same. Although Reiser did manage to lead the league in stolen bases in 1942 and 1946. In the five seasons he played in from 1940-1947, Reiser slashed .310/.384/.467.

#907 - Ross Barnes - Second Base/Shortstop - 1871-1877, 1879, 1881

One of the first stars of professional baseball, Barnes was considered by his contemporaries as one of the greatest. While his stats were accumulated against players who didn't wear gloves yet, they are still video-game-like. From 1971-1976, Barnes slashed .398/.424/.532. He also averaged 50 stolen bases, 144 RBIs, and 286 runs per 162. Yes, you read that correctly. Barnes scored 585 runs in 331 games.

#906 - Don Wilson - Right-handed Pitcher - 1966-1974

Wilson tragically passed away just a month before his 30th birthday. He still put up impressive numbers in his time in the majors. He won 104 games and had a 3.15 ERA. He set a career-high in strikeouts with 235 in 1969. He had his best season in 1971 going 16-10 with a 2.45 ERA while leading the NL in hits per nine (6.5).

#905 - Wilbur Cooper - Left-handed Pitcher - 1912-1926

Cooper spent 13 years with the Pirates and in that time won 202 games with a 2.74 ERA. From 1917-1924, the southpaw won 17+ games each season and threw at least 268 innings, leading the league in that category in 1921 with 327. His 202 victories still stand as the Pirates' franchise record.

#904 - Elmer Valo - Outfielder - 1940-1943, 1946-1961

At his peak from 1946-1955, Valo was an on-base machine as well as an excellent outfielder. In that decade he slashed .292/.414/.408 and averaged 103 walks to just 27 strikeouts per 162. Unfortunately, his career was marred with injuries from running into walls and catchers. He finished his career with a .790 OPS and had more extra-base hits than strikeouts.

#903 - Jeff Tesreau - Right-handed Pitcher - 1912-1918

Another player who had a short career, Tesreau's time in the majors ended when he was just 30. The right-hander led the league with a 1.96 ERA in 1912. He led the league in shutouts in 1914 with eight and twice led the league in starts. He is one of only six pitchers since 1912 to have a career ERA below 2.50 with at least 1,500 innings pitched (2.43).

#902 - Mike Greenwell - Left Fielder - 1985-1996

For a couple of years, it looked like Greenwell was going to continue the great line of left fielders in Red Sox history. He slashed .328/.386/.570 in 1987 and finished fourth in AL ROY voting. Greenwell followed that up with a second-place finish in MVP voting in 1988 slashing .325/.416/.531 while setting career-highs in home runs (22) and RBIs (119). Multiple injuries hurt Greenwell throughout his career, but he managed to bat .303 with an .831 OPS.

#901 - Gary Nolan - Right-handed Pitcher - 1967-1973, 1975-1977

While his final season in the majors is worth forgetting, the years from 1967-1976 were quite memorable. Nolan pitched to a 2.97 ERA while going 106-66 for the Cincinnati Reds. He was an All-Star in 1972 and finished fifth in CYA voting going 15-5 with a 1.99 ERA. He did his best work in the NLCS. In four starts he allowed just four runs in 26.2 innings against his NL peers.

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