Roger Connor, the Pete Best of Baseball

I was fooling around doing some baseball research on-line the other day and ended up on a site called baseball.com - how do they come up with these imaginative names? It was a decent enough site, and I noticed it had a Top 100 players of All-Time List, so I checked it out. It included major stars from the Negro Leagues, which is nice - a lot of these lists don't bother. Otherwise, it had mostly the names you'd expect – Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and so on. So, I'm going down the list, thinking to myself, like Goldilocks: Too high, too low, that's about right, Eddie Matthews 30th? - interesting, etc. - until I came to number 65, and it listed Roger Connor. Roger Connor? I thought, Who the hell is Roger Connor? There must be some mistake. I looked him up in my trusty 1976 McMillan Baseball Encyclopedia, and, sure enough, there he was. He played first base in the National League from 1880 - 1897, which is a bit far back even for a retro-maniac like me. My knowledge of baseball and players from that long ago is a bit sketchy at best, so no wonder I hadn't heard of him. If you've never seen the Encyclopedia, it's the Rosetta Stone, the Holy Grail of baseball books. You can take mine anytime - from out of my cold, dead hands, as baseball sage Bill James once said. Every single player who was ever in the big leagues has an entry, with a few biographical details like place and date of birth/death, nicknames, height and weight, left or right-handed. There's a statistical more [...]