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The Golden Hall of Fame: MLB’s All-Time Top-100

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Earlier this year, we revealed MLB’s all-time top 100 baseball players in MLB history with the Golden Hall of Fame. With the new season in full swing, now is as good a time as any to provide the full list in one place, complete with breakdowns by teams, eras, home nations, regions, and states.

Golden Hall of Fame Vs. Hall of Fame

Four critical differences make the Golden Hall of Fame a project distinct from the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Lineups

The Cooperstown Hall of Fame considers candidates without respect to their position. Wide disparities have resulted, with only 17 third basemen being inducted compared to 26 shortstops and 83 pitchers.

The Golden Hall of Fame attempts to mirror the game itself by imagining the best starting lineups possible. Players were grouped by their primary position, and voters cast their ballots accordingly. Ten such starting lineups were created. A bench of ten additional players, regardless of position, supplemented those lineups to arrive at an even 100.

Fans

The Cooperstown Hall of Fame voters are a closed society. Only members of the Baseball Writers Association of America and a handful of selected veterans and baseball long-timers have a vote.

The Golden Hall of Fame recognizes that baseball is more than this, and fans deserve a voice in the process of naming the best of all time. In a series of polls on social media over several months, thousands of fans cast their votes. These were collected to create the People’s Ballot, cast alongside those of Overtime Heroics writers.

Static versus Evolving

The Cooperstown Hall of Fame is a fixed entity. Players are inducted, and decisions are irreversible. Sometimes mistakes are made. Players get just ten years for consideration on the writers ballot and then occasionally another look by a select committee. This process lends itself to some recurring criticisms of the Hall of Fame.

The Golden Hall of Fame is not static. By design, voters will cast ballots every decade. This method provides newer players an opportunity to be included, gives skipped-over players from the previous edition a new chance, and allows for mistakes to be rectified. Voters can use new statistical methods that might be developed in the interim, as well as older analyses reapplied.

Size

The Cooperstown Hall of Fame does not have a fixed size and is potentially limitless in membership. There are certainly positive aspects to this arrangement, as there are many great players who help to tell the story of baseball. The drawback is that sometimes the truly greatest are lost in the shuffle. Inductees currently number at 365, approximately 1.5 percent of big leaguers are in the Hall of Fame.

The Golden Hall of Fame is intended to serve as a supplement to the Hall of Fame, with the 100 greatest players highlighted via ten starting lineups and bench to capture those positions with a plethora of stars. Only the elite 0.4 percent will be honored.

The Golden Hall of Fame Members

Now, in one place for the first time, presenting the Golden Hall of Fame First Edition in its entirety. You can click on each team to read more about the lineups.

First Team

Second Team

Third Team

Fourth Team

Fifth Team

Sixth Team

Seventh Team

Eighth Team

Ninth Team

Tenth Team

The Bench

How closely did you pay attention? Try this quiz to see if you can name all the Golden Hallers.

Teams Breakdown

Thirty-four teams are represented in the Golden Hall of Fame. Players are assigned based on the team for which they played more games than any other.

TeamPlayers
Yankees10
Braves6
SF/NY Giants6
Pirates6
Red Sox6
Cardinals5
Reds5
Tigers5
Athletics4
Cubs4
Dodgers4
Indians4
Mariners4
White Sox3
Angels2
Astros2
Brewers2
Grays2
Mets2
Orioles2
Rangers2
Twins2
ABCs1
Blue Jays1
Cotton Farmers1
Expos1
Tokyo Giants1
Monarchs1
Padres1
Peaches1
Phillies1
Royals1
Senators1
Spiders1

Eras Breakdown

Using Bill James’s eras but with perhaps more refined names, here is the Golden Hall of Fame breakdown with players assigned to the era in which they played more games than any other.

EraYearsPlayers
Pioneer1871-18921
Spit Ball1893-19199
Gibson-Ruth1920-194616
Postwar1947-196823
Astroturf1969-199223
Cathedral1993-202128

Nations Breakdown

Astute readers and amateur accountants will notice that the total here is greater than 100. This is because some players held dual citizenship even in their earliest playing days and the double counting of Puerto Ricans as both a distinct nation and as part of the American total.

NationalityPlayers
American88
Dominican6
Puerto Rican4
Japanese2
Panamanian2
Venezuelan1
Taiwanese1
Cuban1
Curacaoan1

Regions Breakdown

Broken down by the larger geographic areas where players spent a majority of their youth.

RegionPlayers
West23
Northeast22
South20
Midwest19
Caribbean14
Asia2

States/Provinces/Prefectures Breakdown

Players are assigned to their country’s primary administrative subdivision (states, provinces, prefectures) based on where they spent most of their youth and not necessarily their birthplace. Bill Dickey, for example, was born in Louisiana but spent his childhood and adolescence in Arkansas. Dickey is included in the Natural State total and not the Pelican State’s.

State/Province/PrefecturePlayers
Aichi1
Alabama5
Aragua1
Arkansas2
California19
Colon1
Connecticut1
Curacao1
Florida3
Georgia3
Idaho1
Illinois1
Indiana1
Iowa1
Kansas1
Louisiana1
Maryland4
Matanzas1
Michigan1
Minnesota1
Missouri1
National District4
Nebraska1
Nevada1
New Hampshire1
New Jersey1
New York7
North Carolina1
Ohio7
Oklahoma3
Pennsylvania7
Puerto Rico4
Rhode Island1
San Pedro de Macoris1
South Carolina1
Texas4
Tokyo1
Washington2
West Panama1
Wisconsin1

So if you are looking to find or raise a Golden Hall of Fame ballplayer, history recommends that you start with the Golden State.

2030 Golden Hall of Fame Edition

The Golden Hall of Fame Second Edition voting will take place in 2030. Fans will once again have a ballot, and writers will likely be joined by Golden Hall and Hall of Fame players in being offered a vote.

So stay tuned, and let the debate over the top 100 continue!


Follow me on Twitter at @GoldenHalloFame for more of my content. Don’t forget to check out our baseball podcast, Cheap Seat Chatter! We’ll see ya there!

Come join the discussion made by the fans at the Overtime Heroics forums! A place for all sports fans!

Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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