So now we discuss the position players, or those players
reaching greatness largely for their ability to swing a stick. Can you
feel it? Can you catch the fever? Here's the list of players you
Okay so the first name in the list is Mickey?
Alright, we begin the position players with a bang, a true legend, even
those who have never of the Yankees have heard of Mr. Mantle, and...
Woah, who the hell is this guy? His ears sure do look funny, and
from the look on his face, if he had a sleaze 'stache, I'd say he'd be a
registered sex offender.
Mickey Cochrane was a Catcher from the mid 20s to the later 30s, smack dab
in the live ball era, so as 'great' of an offensive player he might have
been, there were others who topped him. The caption should've
mentioned something about his above average defensive work or the fact he
has two MVPs on his resume. And one of those MVPs came at a year he
hit two home runs. Hitting 1/25 the homers of the league leader at a
time when offense ruled is unheard of today, so Mickey really must've been
offering some special faggotism to the powers that be.
Is he a Legend? Cochrane is was a prime example of a player who was
greater than his numbers. Unfortunately, this still doesn't put him
anywhere near legendary status, and perhaps qualifies him for Level 2-dom.
There's some Engrish they don't make any more, even if it's no longer
entirely true (although it was at the time). Funny thing is that
I'm pretty sure this game was made by Westerners. And look at that
face. Does that puppy dog gaze look like that of a slugger?
Sluggers are supposed to be look mean, gritty and hungover.
They're supposed to look like the day after the best of worst night of
their lives, but either way, they don't remember and they don't want to
answer questions about it.
Is he a Legend? Uh, yeah. I don't really have a whole lot
of say about him. Just take a look at the stats, he's Level 5
there alone (although I argue to transcend into Legend, you'll need more
than stats), then realize this is just half of the equation. Then
there's that LDS thing, which that alone arguably puts him in there.
I mean, how awesome do you have to be to have a rehabilitating disease
named for you?
Yet another live baller, although he comes largely from the
latter end of it. Come to think of it, is the live ball era only
really from 1920-1940? Offenses wouldn't really recede until,
like, the mid-50s or something. Anywho, you know a player is
comparatively boring when this is all you have to say about him.
Led what in home runs? That's not even a complete thought, and is
barely half of one. This statement, especially coming after the
extremely vague and uninspired phrase 'Power Hitter' is more redundant
that a Rudy Guliani speech.
Also worthy of note is the anxiety with which he comments. You
make whatever witty statement about physical violence onto people you
want to make here. Moreover, why the hell is third base listed as
a position? He played all his games at first, save for eight in
the outfield. Zero at the hot corner.
Is he a Legend? No. Especially when you have Gerhig in
tow, you're never going to use Mize. Officially, he's a Level 1
guy, although he deserves better in my opinion. He was one of the
top ten players in the National League for over a decade there, and is
at least a Level 2, probably more like Level 3 guy.
Good lord, what the hell is this guy doing here? The
only reason I can think of is an excuse to use that cool-looking
portrait. You'll probably notice that lesser player have portraits
greater than themselves in this game. We have another live ball
era position player whose lifetime stats fail to raise an eyebrow.
All the game can say about him is that he's fast and he stole an
unimpressive number of stolen bases (Babe Ruth had speed that could best
be described as lumbering and he stole twice more than as many) at a
time when the stolen base was roughly as important of a baseball
statistic as the Gamerscore point.
Is he a Legend? 'El no. The Veterans elected him making
him a Level 1 guy, though, I don't see why. Only reason I can
think of, besides that plaque-ready, uber-baseball face of his, is that
he had a few kickass seasons, some of them with the Cubbies. Do
you know who else fits this description? Lee Smith. Andre
Dawson. Ron Santo. All of whom, are in my opinion, more
deserving of a Billy's Hall spot.
Seriously, what is it with these live ball guys? At
least this guy's clearly got the inflated offensive numbers of of the
era, and the MVP votes to show dominance. You can also see his
defensive flexibility, although perhaps lack of mastery in any position
as his apprehension might attest. Oh, and Foxx, a man against whom
all speed records were safe, stole more bases than Herman. Just
thought I should throw that one in there.
Is he a Legend? He's one of those borderline guys, but I'll
give him the nod because of his utility potential. Granted he
played some 90% of his career at first, but was available at other
positions in case they decided baseball would be more fun while drunk.
Now we're talking: Best second baseman ever. Don't
let anyone tell you otherwise. If some geek tries to shove Joe
Morgan or Eddie Collins down on you, bop 'em. Best offensive
second baseman ever; if one were to compile the best offensive seasons
by second basemen in the history of baseball, like seven of them would
be Hornsby's (one each by Ryne Sandberg, Jeff Kent and Nap Lajoie round
it out). An above average fielder, too, although not spectacular.
He's so great I almost forgot to complain he's another live baller.
So far that makes six for six. The same Billy Herman caption used
for Hornsby? Talk about injustice. If you run out of text
space and must reuse a caption, put one of the generic 'great hitter'
ones here, at least that one is true. Or better yet, apply it to a
relative nobody like Herman. Nobody's ever going to press Select
while the flashing cursor is by his name.
Is he a Legend? Read the above paragraph. No, the fact he
might have attended a KKK rally with Tris and Ty has nothing to do with
Where to begin with this guy. Imagine Ozzie Smith's
glove and speed plus Tony Gwynn's bat. Yeah, the best attributes
of two all-time greats (Smith a Level 3 guy, Gwynn a Level 4 in my
book), and he has them both (granted, his defensive percentages weren't
so good, but he was so much better than pretty much every other
shortstop of his day). If you don't like baseball, but for some
reason liked this feature so far, you have issues. But if this is
the case, picture Hornsby with less power and more defense. If
this is still too much for you, the
respected baseball historian Bill James declared Honus to be the
player of all time, anywhere, everywhere, anytime.
To add to this, Honus decidedly falls before live ball era, unlike
all the previously discussed position players who fall within it... his
entire career was played in the dead ball era (1900-1920),
meaning in some years his ostensibly meager home run total equaled that
of many teams and his batting average was often some hundred points
above the league's average.
But is he a Legend? Ya think?
You know what? I don't need to tell you about Babe
Ruth. Instead, what say I examine what info the game provides.
His batting average is like 5th all time or something, I always knew he
was an underrated average man. The notes about him actually
contain some pretty good, lesser-known, if not awkwardly phrased
tidbits. He was a pitcher, where he had six years, not eight,
where he was mainly a pitcher, and a good one at that, could've been a
number two starter. Had he not spent that time pitching, he'd
still be the home run king, perhaps even bettering Sadaharu Oh's 868.
And that 60 homers in a season were mammoth at the time, like Wagner, a
total that better the home run total of many teams in that year.
Unlike Wagner, though, the long ball is a statistic that actually
mattered in Ruth's time (the live ball era - one some say the Babe
What's really noteworthy, though, is the comment. He's the
frickin' Sultan of Swat and all he has to say is that he might make
another error. Again, like Steve Charlton, I have yet to see an
error in Legends of the Diamond. Again, like Carlton, I'll assume
he was partying too hard the night before, but unlike Carlton, Ruth had
a reputation for doing that.
Just for kicks, let's see what else he has to say for himself by
resetting the machine. Hopefully, it is a quote more becoming of
very probably the greatest player ever.
Not only are bad performances implied, but he also speaks like a
drunk. But look at the numbers. I don't particularly care
what he's doing; I'm not about to make him do a 180 on his practices if
they're working this well.
Ty Goddamned Cobb. That was the name his mother had for
him because he was suck a prick. It was also the name given to him
by the opposition because his skills were legendary, even if he done
used some prickish tactics. Even in his in-game portrait, he looks
like he's searching for a way to cheat. Cobb was king of the
stolen base and base hit during the dead ball era, which pretty much
means he was the era's Babe Ruth (see: highest lifetime career batting
average of .366 at a time many teams were batting .240). He was
also no slouch in the field, although he did make his fair share of
But is he a Legend? Damn right. A top 10 all timer in
many a books.
Imagine everything I said about slightly mollified:
hitting, Cobb was slightly better, though Tris is one of the all-great
greats himself; Cobb's personality was slightly more abrasive, although
Speaker wasn't known for his friendliness; Cobb has enough scandals and
shiftiness surrounding him to make Pete Rose look like a boy scout,
Speaker has less. Both played the same position in the same era.
Speaker was the better defender, though, and some consider him the best
centerfielder ever (the message there would've been better off
commenting on this than typing in some vague statement about his hitting
prowess, which were legendary, admittedly).
But is he a Legend? Yes. I don't care if he did fix a
game or two or didn't like black people. You can't have a hall of
legends without, as many experts would believe, one of the dozen
Now imagine everything about Speaker and Cobb, only 99% less
interesting. His career perfectly straddles the dead and live ball
eras, in the former Roush's numbers stod out (but received little
attention for them) and in the latter, his numbers certainly did not
(although he got some MVP voter love later on). Really, there are
no sexy or interesting stories to tell about the man. Played well
for a very long time, but never reached crotch-rocking levels of great.
But is he a legend? No. Officially a Level 1 guy, I
suppose he fits quite well there. A pretty long way to go before
that legendary plateau is reached. But at least the string of
actual Legends is broken, take from that what you will. The streak
of hitters coming from the dead and/or lie ball eras still annoyingly
A fairly pedestrian Hall of Famer, if there is such a
thing. Even the description looks bored. It doesn't even
look interested enough to mention he 'led in batting (average)' in 1943
as well. I mean, the man himself seems more interested in some
off-camera shenanigans than anything else. So why should anybody
else be interested in any Luke Appling Legends of the Diamond-related
anything (or anyone Legends of the Diamond-related anything?)
Answer: that comment. Damn right you won't be useful today,
you're never useful if Honus Wagner's available. The comment
coupled up with a lack of regret or disappointment on his face leads one
to believe he'd rather be chasing skirt than chasing baseballs.
Appling seems almost eager to exclaim his lack of use to the powers that
But is he a Legend? No. The greatest non-scandal-ridden
White Sock ever is a Level 2 to Level 3 guy. You'll more or less
need two Luke Applings to make a legend.
You will note that pickings for catchers are slim in
Legends of the Diamond. Indeed - the statistical animals of all
time tend to be outfielders and their numbers diminish as one proceeds
inward. By the time one reaches the catcher position, offensive
production is damn nearly cut in half. Mike Piazza, for example,
is a Hall of Fame shoo-in, but if you put him in leftfield and he put up
those numbers, he might not get the required five percent to remain on
I've honestly never heard of Bill Freehan before this game. He
was pretty good, it turns out. Not exactly somebody who could put
butts in seats by himself, but arguably the game's top catcher of the
late 60s. His window of butt-kicking was very short and not very
Freehan's inclusion is cause for celebration since he's the first
position player to come from an era not often called dead or live.
I'm sure those who saw him play will remember him as the backstop for
some great Detroit Tiger teams, a great defender behind the plate
(although his comment gives otherwise impressions), and a twelve-time
all-star. I, though will remember him from that thing on his head.
Earflaps? Are you shitting me? What are you, an all-star
catcher or duck hunting? For a game whose crown jewel are the
above-average player portraits, those things around Freehan's ears are
quite unseemly. The careful detail of the face and hat are
juxtaposed by... that. How quaint.
But is he a Legend? No. In fact, the first non-Hall of
Famer, a Level 0 guy, one of three in this game, and I won't be
disappointed if he stays that way forever, although if Gary Carter can
get in, I won't be too surprised if the Veterans find something they
like about Freehan. Still, the least legendary man on the cart.
Gee, I kinda thought a guy with the nickname Mr. Cub
would've been the best player on the New York Mets for a long time.
And the fact it doesn't say "Let's play two!" in the comment really
makes me wince.
But is he a Legend? I have Banks straddling the third and fourth
levels of the Hall, so no, although the utility abilities bump him up a
notch, but not high enough (even if he never technically was a utility
player, which is the ability to play a variety of positions at any time,
when he began at short, moved to first base and never returned).
If not for that stretch in the middle of his career where he wasn't that
good, I'd say he's a sure legend. But lo! Such as not the
My first instinct was to poke fun at the portrait for its
probable exaggerated features, only upon greater research (searching his
name on Google images and picking the first result) to find out that,
once again, it's a
pretty good visual representation. Also, anybody else find it
amusing that in the place that appears to be honors McCovey earned:
Rookie of the Year, MVP, Hall of Fame. And Tax Evasion.
Other problem with the game's description is that McCovey wasn't all
that great of an all around player, at least not nearly to the level of
some others. As you may know, .270 was just a smidge above average.
And he sure as hell didn't win any awards for his glove, nor would he
excite with his blazing speed. Rather, he was one of top power
guys of his (or any) day, regularly reaching 30 homers and 100 ribbies
at a time those stats actually mattered.
But is he a Legend? No. His career stats are as gaudy as
they are largely because he stuck around for a decade after he was more
or less the game's top long ball threat, when he did reasonably well,
but not much better, most of the time. But a solid Level 3 guy,
Why are his lips puckered up? And is that a 10
degree tilt on that cap? All he needs is a designer muscle shirt
and a scantly clad gal who doesn't know better, and he's got a day
dedicated to him at the hot chicks with douche bags blog. It is
also here where portraits begin to get... easier for fun-poking.
But is he a Legend? Remember I said Freehan was the least legendary
man from whom you can pick? Looks like I'm forced to eat crow
because Legends of the Diamond has Bobby Richardson in it. He's
best known for being a terrible leadoff hitter. Otherwise, he was
a good defender (as long as he wasn't at short) who made the tough plays
look easy and the easy plays look tough and good clutch hitter (some
called him the best .260 hitter ever). He's also known for his
career ending abruptly and inexplicably at the young age of 30.
Please note the lack of overwhelming moments that make a Legend or even
a Hall of Famer. He's a Level 0 guy.
The man demonstrated considerable baseball genius during
his playing days and how as a Houston Astros announcer. You'd
think he would be able to find and put on a hat that fits, or at least
wear it so that it doesn't look like it's about to fall off. Yeah,
it says he's fast and a great defensive player and all, but how much so?
Why not discuss his Gold Gloves (five, some think he should have had
more) and his stolen base total (689). This information is likely
more useful than his height, a particularly moot stat since all players
appear the same height in the game itself. Of course, all players
also seem to move at the same speed and play defense equally well at all
positions, rending all strategy, and even the game itself very moot.
But is he a Legend? Bill James has him as the number 15 player
ever, a figure I have a hard time grasping. While he was an
exciting, productive baseballer for many years, there aside from his
days in the mid-70s Big Red Machine, which were huge, I don't imagine
thinking "man, I gotta see Joe Morgan!" As with McCovey, his
career, several years before and after the Reds' glory days, were closer
to average than greatness. Normally, I'd say he was a level 4 guy,
but because I don't feel like finding anybody else better, I'll leave
When people called him "Killer", surely they were
talking about the looking in his eyes, and it was not a term of
endearment about his name and what he does to baseballs. The
caption is equally worthy of ridicule: both facts can be inferred by the
info above. You don't see a whole lotta 210 lbers in the Majors
who are all flab, and 'Over 500 home runs' is also noted above in the
statistics. Moreover, these two facts are as redundant, since, you
know, it's hard to donk nearly 600 dingers without being a strong
But is he a Legend: I would say no since that batting average reeks
so many degrees of suck. And by suck I mean around the average for
the rest of the league. Not legendary. But he is a true
utilitary player in that he played no one position for the majority of
his career. Killbebrew's defensive playing time was spread among
the outfield, third base and first base, the power positions, and I
don't see why the game doesn't allow this when when other players of
less utility have the ability. Plus he was good for 40 homers a
year in a pre-HGH, big strike zone world. So this lets him in the
Club of Legends in the scope of this game, I suppose, but because no
utility option in this game, I'd give the nod to George Brett.
He sure looks unhappy... and bald... and old... and out
of place (how many players in this game wear their hats like Kevin
Fedderline?). Was he even at any point a ballplayer?
Yes he was! And how! See, Mr. Robinson is feeling great
even if he doesn't look it. And how can you not take a shine to
that weird caption? Reading it and attempting to comprehend that
hilarious assault on the English language will impede your ability to
write eloquently and shit (case in point - see this entry).
But is he a Legend? I dunno... He's basically Joe Morgan for
his position, with less steals, more Gold Gloves (16!), and more
consistently ranking among the game's best... And Morgan's considered
the far better player for some reason. While I find it very hard
to get behind a man who didn't really provide as much offense as he
should, I find it hard not to get behind who some call the best glove
man the game ever knew. Truth is, pickings are pretty slim at the
hot corner even resorting to the Negro Leagues, and act that almost
always produces at least one Legend, yielded only Ray Dandridge, a man
who wouldn't rank among the top 10 third basemen in the Majors. So I
won't gripe as much about Robinson as I do about others. I'd still
prefer George Brett, though, even if he was still compiling his resume
when this game hit. Robinson straddles Hall Levels 3 and 4.
Is it the goal of the captions to make the player seem as
unlegendary as possible? Because the one for Clemente is so
pedestrian and incomplete it literally borders on defamation. A
quick gander at his statistics would reveal he was the Natoinal League's
batting champ four times, not only in 1961. He also won an MVP in
'66, a slightly more impressive achievement. Not only is this
information incomplete, but it's also misleading. Clemente was not
known for his blazing speed, and was a next to nil threat to steal (in
17 years, he stole as many bases as Lou Brock, playing at the same time,
would steal in one). Finally, it omits the facet of his game which
is perhaps best known, his defense. More on that later.
But is he a Legend? No. Granted, the in-flux of Latinos
in pro baseball has elevated Clemente to a mixture of saint and baseball
deity of unrivaled skill. A further examination, however, reveals
this isn't quite the case. Some call him the best player to ever
play right field. I don't know how you can say that with a
straight face since Babe Ruth, Frank Robinson and Hank Aaron, all trump
Clemente by some pretty fair margins, were all known to play some right
field. There is much ado about his fielding prowess, and indeed,
alot of this is deserved. He was something of a human highlight
reel in his day making tough plays look easy. He also made too
many easy plays look tough as his error count, which is higher than
average and fielding percentage, which is lower than average by a
notable amount. His lack of power and non-legendary speed don't
help him either.
Clemente's a Level 4 guy. He was one of the most exciting
players of his day and kickass year in and year out. If not for
his untimely death (he was kicking butt at age 37, long after the prime
of most players) or if his moments earlier in his career had been more
inspiring, I think I would consider him a legend. Oh! And if being
a philanthropist meant baseball greatness, Mother Theresa would be the
best ballplayer ever, transcending the sport's gender barrier. But
since that doesn't matter, it doesn't too much help his cause here.
I don't have much to say about his picture or the words
in the text box. Actually, I do. I'm diggin' the burns, I
say Stargell should've grown some full-blown chops. And the stuff
in the caption makes has levels of repetition and grammar that make one,
once again, yearn for the writing styles of the students in "Are You
Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?"
But is he a Legend? He spent much of his career playing on the
same team and the same time as Clemente, always lurking in his shadow.
If Clemente's not in the hall of lengedary, then neither is Stargell,
although much of what can be said about Clemente can also be said about
Stargell (less defense and contact hitting, more power), plus some
utility prowess (though the game doesn't acknowledge it). He's a
Level 3 guy.
I remember the first time I saw that picture, the first
thought to pop into my mind was something along the lines of "hey, those
are cartoons people would draw to make fun of black people!" A
close inspection reveals otherwise, with nothing exaggerated except that
smile and the size of the bill of his cap. It also appears crooked
K-Fed style from where I'm sitting. And that quote is awfully
messy, but such statements are so common in these parts, one that is
eloquent, informative and effective would be noteworthy.
But is he a Legend? I feel stupid having to comment on this.
You should be able to glean the answer from looking at the screenshot,
the home run total and weight number should prove he did it reasonably
cleanly, too. If there is any further question about his legendary
credentials, check the link to Baseball Reference and note all that blue
text. If you're still not sure by this point here is a picture of
the seventh letter in the alphabet for you to play with: G.
Baseball has produced a whole lotta players with some
very fine mustaches, and I'm a tad surprised it has taken this long for
the first such incident in Legends of the Diamond. You know what,
who wouldn't feel great with a 'stache that nice?
But is he a Legend? No. Much to the chagrin of many
sportswriters, who are so damn sure he's nothing less than a high Level
3 guy, it took him five tries to get into the Hall. Even these
guys are going to shake their heads at the thought of Williams beside
Aaron and Ruth in the floor of Legends. He was rarely dominating,
but at least good (seriously, no humiliating seasons unless you count
his time with Oakland) for a very long time. This is the
definition of the Level 2 guy.
I must say that most of these portraits are pretty damn
good, or at least pretty interesting with a good amount of detail.
It just goes to show how good eight bits can look with a little effort.
Granted, I would prefer if this effort was used in creating a game
experience we weren't burnt out on three years before the game hit, but
we'll take what we can get. Not so much with Torre, though.
He was actually a reasonably
non-ugly guy in his playing days, if I say so myself. In his
portrait, though, he looks like he's teetering the balance between drunk
and hungover, with a smile that teeters between skirt-chasing sleaze and
And what about that caption? Yeah, redundancy and awkwardness
in one nice little package. We are truly in Legends of the
Diamond. But Torre's the last of them. And he's feeling
great! So, one more time...
But is he a Legend? No. He's not even a Hall of Famer,
although he gets pretty close with the Veterans Committee. If he
would've spent his career behind the plate and put up those same
numbers, I'd say he's at least a Level 3 guy. Aside from that
amazing 1971 season, one so great they mentioned it twice by name in the
text box, there was nothing remotely transcendent about his career,
although he was quite good for very long. Quite good, though,
doesn't cut it in the Hall and it certainly doesn't cut it in Legends of
Yeesh, that last sentence makes this game look good or something.
What a way to conclude.
I'd prefer it, if...
was in for Cochrane
Stan Musial for Mize
Eddie Collins for Herman
Pop Lloyd for Luke Appling
Josh Gibson for Freehan
Pete Rose for Ernie
Buck Leonard for McCovey
Jackie Robinson for Richardson
Charlie Gerhinger for Morgan
George Brett for Killebrew
Mike Schmidt for
Frank Robinson for Clemente
Oscar Charleston for Stargell
or Cool Papa
Bell for Billy Williams
for Joe Torre. I don't care they didn't play the same positions.
This kind of crap doesn't matter in Legends of the Diamond, and no list of
baseball Legends is complete without Ted Williams, I felt like an idiot for
forgetting him in the original lineups.
Averaging out the Legendary content among the position players in
this game brings us to about 3.37 or something, pretty much right where Willie Stargell
or Willie McCovey belong. I was hoping for a bona fide legend, but as you can see,
doing things perfectly or even remotely well is not what this game's creators do best.
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