The Peach State, Georgia
329 Georgians have played in the big leagues, but the undisputed king is Ty Cobb. After all, who can better represent the Peach State than the Georgia Peach himself? Cobb is baseball’s all-time batting champion with an impressive .366 average. While he was no one’s idea of a nice guy, he’s still on the short list of the greatest players ever.
- Most Hits: Cobb (4189, second all-time)
- Most Home Runs: Frank Thomas – yes, this one is the Big Hurt. (521, 18th all-time)
- Most Steals: Cobb (897, fourth all-time)
- Most Wins (Pitcher): The Gambler, Kenny Rogers (219)
- Most Strikeouts: Kevin Brown (2397)
- Most Saves: Todd Jones (319, 16thall-time)
- Most Wins (Manager): George Stallings (879)
- Best Active Player: There are a few good Georgians in the league right now, but the best is Giants catcher and 2012 NL MVP Buster Posey.
- Hall of Famers: Cobb, Johnny Mize, Bill Terry and Jackie Robinson.
- Other Notables: Mike Cameron, Bucky Dent, Tony Phillips, Adam Wainwright, Moises Alou, Tim Hudson, Marquis Grissom and Brian McCann.
The Constitution State, Connecticut
194 MLB players have come from Connecticut, but many of those played in the league’s early years, including the best of the bunch: Jim O’Rourke. Talk about a blast from the past: Orator Jim’s full-time playing career ended in 1893. One of the Deadball Era’s stars, O’Rourke was a lifetime .310 hitter and three-time league homer champ. Of course, back then you could lead the league with five or six home runs.
- Most Hits: O’Rourke (2639)
- Most Home Runs: Mo Vaughn (328)
- Most Steals: Tommy Corcoran (387)
- Most Wins (Pitcher): Bill Hutchinson (182)
- Most Strikeouts: Charles Nagy (1342)
- Most Saves: Ricky Bottalico (116)
- Most Wins (Manager): Ned Hanlon (1313)
- Best Active Player: That would be Mets ace Matt Harvey, but due to his recent Tommy John surgery we won’t see him pitch again until 2015. The best Connecticut-born player who will actually play next season is probably Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia.
- Hall of Famers: O’Rourke and Roger Connor represent Connecticut as players. Hanlon is in as a manager.
- Other Notables: Bobby Valentine, Brad Ausmus, Carl Pavano, Steve Blass, Rajai Davis, Rob Dibble and John McDonald.
The Bay State, Massachusetts
My home state has given the big leagues an impressive 651 players, and the most impressive of all is Jeff Bagwell. The longtime Astros superstar was one of the greatest first basemen of all time thanks to his combination of power, patience, defense and smart baserunning. He’s a Rookie of the Year, an NL MVP and a future Hall of Famer.
- Most Hits: Rabbit Maranville (2605)
- Most Home Runs: Bagwell (449)
- Most Steals: Tommy McCarthy (468)
- Most Wins (Pitcher): Tim Keefe (342, 10th all-time)
- Most Strikeouts: Tom Glavine (2607)
- Most Saves: Jeff Reardon (367, seventh all-time)
- Most Wins (Manager): None other than Connie Mack (3731, first all-time)
- Best Active Player: I’m admittedly biased because he’s from my hometown, but I give this honor to Marlins closer Steve Cishek, who owns a 2.48 ERA through his first three full seasons.
- Hall of Famers: Mack, Leo Durocher and Wilbert Robinson are in as managers. Candy Cummings is in for inventing the curveball (he probably did not invent the curveball, and if he did he evidently didn’t throw it very well). Among players, we have Maranville, Pie Traynor, Joe Kelley, Tim Keefe, Mickey Cochrane, Tommy McCarthy, John Clarkson and Jack Chesbro; Traynor and Maranville hold the dubious distinction of being two of the worst players the BBWAA ever elected.
- Other Notables: Mark Fidrych, Steve Bedrosian, Mark Belanger, Tony Conigliaro, Greg Gagne and Jerry Remy.