Open Thread: Who Is the Best Player You’ve Seen?

In the midst of last week’s delighful discussion about players we wished we’d seen, reader Tom Waits wondered about the best players we’ve actually seen. Come to think of it, so do I.

At the big-league level, Barry Bonds is the obvious choice. And I have fond memories of Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman. Going back further, I remember watching Mike Schmidt and the tail end of Johnny Bench’s career. I’ve told you my Ken Griffey Jr. and Robin Yount stories.

From a more subjective standpoint, two guys amazed me with their abilities. These are not the most accomplished players I ever saw, but they are the two whose exploits I am least likely to forget. Their names are Eric Davis and Bo Jackson, and they did things on a baseball field that I didn’t (still don’t) believe were possible.

At the minor-league level, my answer should be Felix Hernandez, but I saw him on the only bad day he ever had in the California League. The best player I saw in the minors was Jake Peavy, and it’s not close.

College? Easy. Stephen Strasburg.

High school? I’ve attended a few Aflac All-American classics, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t remember seeing Jason Heyward in 2006. But he was there, and so was I. I’ll go with Heyward over Madison Bumgarner, who I also don’t remember seeing that year.

So. How’s about you?

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