By - bungabunga94
So many Yankee legends missed out on full careers for one reason or another. Mantle with injuries, Munson with the plane crash, DiMaggio with WWII, Gehrig with ALS...
...but I am genuinely curious to see what kind of a career a healthy Brien Taylor has. For those who don't know, Taylor was the #1 overall pick by the Yankees in 1991. After lighting up the minors for two years and being labeled the 2nd-best prospect in baseball behind Chipper Jones, Taylor got into a fight defending his brother in the offseason following the 1993 season, injured his shoulder, and was never close to the same pitcher.
Holy Crap, I was going through a shoebox of ball cards late last week and saw his UD RR card. I wonder what happened to him I said to myself.
Also Mattingly’s back.
If he doesn’t step on that sprinkler as a rookie (on a ball hit by Willie Mays, of course), he might have posted records we’d still be talking about today.
I’m not a religious person, but I could believe that Mike Trout exists because the universe wanted to see what Mantle could have been like healthy and stable. Fuck he was even raised in Yankee Stadium’s backyard.
Mike trout ain’t fully healthy
Mans litterally played on a torn ACL his entire career
Also if you’ve never come across Mickey’s favorite Yankee stadium memory, google it and have a good laugh.
I'm biased, but I feel like this is the right answer. Between the ACL tear and the hip infection, this guy just couldn't get a break and was failed by the physicians of his time.
Don’t forget his devil may care attitude because he was convinced he would die young like his grandfather and father.
MF played drunk or hungover a lot
For sure. Might be revisionist history, but it's been said that he did that because he was in pain
Those Yankee teams got well and drunk often.
His lifestyle also played a big role. I remember reading something where he said he’d harmed his own rehab efforts by drinking and partying instead of resting.
Or Junior. They were remarkably similar in that regard.
Lou Gehrig... because screw ALS.
Even if he fell off just so the man wouldn’t suffer from ALS
You ever think what a coincidence it is that Lou Gehrig died of Lou Gehrig’s disease?
Mickey Mantle. Guy hit 536 home runs on one knee and drinking insane amounts of alcohol due to the pain. Could he have hit 800 if he was truly healthy?
Or, not injury, but his own demons....Dwight Gooden.
Gooden’s issues were more the fact that he had thrown an insane number of innings and pitches at an early age.
The cocaine didn’t help but he was abused in an era when they didn’t really get that
Bo Jackson and Troy Tulowitski
Tulo/Cargo as a bundle.
Cargo had the prettiest swing.
Bo is the answer for me. He's truly one of a kind.
My first thought was Tulo too.
Bo Jackson is the only correct answer. Man was the greatest athlete I have ever seen and it's not close.
Def Bo cause that’s a 2 sport athlete that could dominate.
I feel like the overwhelming answer for this would be Griffey Jr.
At least that's my answer.
Griffey without any injuries would have had a real shot at the home run record. I mean he missed around 3 full season, and was a shell of his former self after he tore his hamstring, and still managed to hit 630. No injuries 763 would certainly be in the realm of possibilities.
Griffey without injuries has a shot at being called the greatest ever. Not just the HR title
I feel like his major injuries robbed him of ATLEAST one 50 HR season. And then the nagging ones of probably another 10 to 15 a season for 6 or 7 seasons.
IIRC he was on pace to break Maris's HR record in the strike-shortened season as well.
Damn shame a torn hamstring started the line of injuries. Doesn’t seem serious enough but one off movement can’t set off a chain in you’re everyday stride. Wonder if the modern preventative medicine could’ve fixed that. Amongst other things that was a time when an acl injury ended careers
Junior being healthy and winning a World Series in Cinco would have been amazing and I’m a Braves fan. Also, I always wanted to see him in a Braves uniform.
> I always wanted to see him in a Braves uniform.
I think every team's fan would have liked to see Junior in their team's uniform.
That stint he had with the white Sox is still one of those things where you see pictures and it doesn’t quite look right. Not quite “Jordan on the wizards” weird, but it’s up there.
No doubt. I know late in his career there was talk of him signing but I don’t know how serious that was.
> World Series in Cinco
Took me a while to figure out this was a typo of Cincy, I was thinking "I'm pretty sure the Mariners stadium was never called Cinco, unless that was a complete butcher job of SafeCo
You mean like this? https://images.app.goo.gl/sXgPX57ZH21nGmiW7
You beat me to it
Most Reds fans would wish that. It's such a shame that his years with us were so injury-filled...
Same. His swing was pure beauty.
Before I clicked this thread I knew what the top answer would be. 100%
100%. Better thread would have been “other than Junior”
I met him when I was like 13(?). Nicest ball player ever, I always really liked him afterwards and was always waiting for him to take off...
Can you imagine that HOF ceremony? "Captain America" signs and flags everywhere, not to mention The 7 Line Army showing up in full force.
"Captain America" on the plaque, next to Seaver and Piazza.
He'd definitely be a HOFer, and I'd STILL vote for him today if I could.
Man, there’s no telling what would have happened in Miami if Jose Fernandez didn’t die. Like, finally win the division, make a run at the WS. So sad.
Fernandez always said that he was going to sign with the Yankees after the 2019 season and that he'd bring Stanton with him. He also predicted that they would both start the 2017 All Star Game, Stanton would hit 60 homers and win NL MVP. I would have loved to see his whole career even if he wasn't a Yankee, he was one of those players where you stopped what you were doing and watched them because you knew something special was taking place.
Eric Davis had the exact blueprint of a 5 tool player, if he could've stayed healthy, top 3 reds player ever
My all time favorite player
Eric the Red will always be a legend in our hearts
Not a dbacks fan but came to say his name. He was amazing!!
Came here to say the same thing. A two headed monster of Webb and Kennedy could’ve carried us to a championship in 2011.
Man, I was so excited for Opening Day 2009. That joy dissipated *rapidly*.
Just in this century we’ve had some absolutely heartbreakers. Mauer’s knees, Morneau’s concussions, and Buxton’s everything.
Mauer stopped playing catcher due to a concussion too. Likely would’ve been the greatest hitting catcher of all time had he remained relatively healthy behind the plate
While I agree they had shorten careers, I think Kirby Puckett is the right Twin to put here. He went to sleep a baseball player and woke up to his career over.
☝This guy knows
I can't believe he's not the only name on this list. Just a man amongst boys.
He went down in his prime years. He was an absolute beast and was getting even better—having a career year even—when he had his stroke.
My father always said he was the best he ever saw besides Koufax and Gibson
I believe Astros would have made the World Series in 80/81 with him around and healthy. Hopefully winning one, wouldn’t quite feel comfortable calling 86 but 86 with Scott, Ryan, and Richard would have been amazing
Actually maybe Ted Williams.
> Ted Williams
That's the most altruistic answer, since it would mean the Second World War and the Korean War don't happen.
Or America never got involved in either, which isn’t as good of a timeline
Or it means that Ted didn't want to sign up for the army.
Marines, not Army, and he enlisted but he was 1-A so he would have been drafted anyway.
He was actually 3-A. He was listed as 1-A at first, but since he was the sole provider for his mother, he asked to be moved down, and the Draft Board did bump him down to 3-A. It actually caused a whole controversy at the time, people were claiming he was dodging and being a coward. He lost his sponsorship with Quaker Oats because of it, and he claimed for a long time that he lost the AL MVP that season even though he won the Triple Crown.
Lol, the fact that Quaker Oats dropped him for not wanting to fight in the war.
Quakers are famously bloodthirsty, after all
Mickey Mantle. The dude was a top 10 talent *with a torn ACL*
Or maybe Ted. Because then WW2 and the Korean War don’t happen. And he hits 700+ HRs and well over 3000 hits
Big time Timmy Jims!
Josh Gibson. Retired after the ‘46 season because of health problems, and died in January of ‘47 of a brain tumor.
Alternatively, every single Negro Leagues player.
Can you imagine if Satchel Paige had played his whole career in MLB? It's a level of dominance I frankly can't fathom.
Would’ve ushered in Civil Rights much much sooner.
Ya Oscar Charleston also died young but had a long career. I think he's my favorite in the negro leagues.
As an Indians fan it is obligatory I add Grady Sizemore anytime this thread pops up.
Grady or Hal Trosky, add them both together. Fuck it, Addie Joss too, man y'all got some choices.
Grady’s career, relative to his projections, is so sad
He was a legit five tool player with the most promise of any young player I've seen myself. Crazy to see how quickly he fell off
Came here to say this. Would love to see the old timers people are mentioning but Griffey and Sizemore would be my modern picks.
The Bird, Mark Fidrych
Him or Kerry Wood would be my pick
Came here to find these dudes.
Same.. feel I had to scroll down too far to find them. These guys would have dominated the league for years if not for piss poor usage by Baker
Fuck Larry Rothschild.
All of the other answers so far are better, but my mind first went to Grady Sizemore.
My homer pick would be the Z Man, Ryan Zimmerman. He's had a solid career for sure, but he was always a defense first player when he originally came up and that all went away after injuries made it so he could no longer throw a baseball.
I suppose the answer to that though would be to look at Evan Longoria.
I’d go back to October 4, 1951. As DiMaggio is leaving the stadium after game 1 of the World Series, I’d be outside dressed as a maintenance worker, and I would “accidentally” drop a sledgehammer on Joe D’s foot.
Game 2, Mantle starts in centerfield because DiMaggio is out. He never steps in the drain pipe, and I spend the next twenty years watching the indisputably greatest career of all time.
Randy Johnson’s bird.
Aye, ol gull had a rich future of terrorizing docked boats ahead of him.
Mantle, Eric Davis, JR Richard
Glad to see so many mentions of Eric Davis here. He was my favorite as a kid in Cincinnati.
Ted Williams if Adolph Hitler didn’t have a small dick
Tony Conigliaro or David Wright
If someone didn't say Conigliaro, I was going to.
Doc Gooden, if we are counting all the drug use under unfortunate circumstances.
If we’re just talking injuries, Mantle.
Clayton Kershaw. Dude’s had a tremendous career. Imagine if his back had been healthy that whole time.
On a more personal note, Jarrod Parker. Dude was a top prospect, had TJ, came roaring back, had TJ *again*, and then still almost managed another comeback before another elbow injury ended his career for good. Really sucks to see so much potential beaten down by injuries.
Since the Red Sox fans have abandoned their guy….
Conigliaro, for anyone out of the know, was a touted prospect who came out of the gate strong in ‘64 and set a record as the youngest AL player to reach 100 home runs. He was an All Star in ‘67, then took a fastball to the eye and was carried off on a stretcher. He never played the same again and after retirement had a massive stroke at 37, ultimately passing 8 years later.
This is who I came to say!
Griffey or Eric Davis
You guys definitely got robbed of some greatness with those two
Someone else already said Josh Gibson so I'll throw out Shoeless Joe Jackson, assuming he falls under 'unfortunate circumstances'.
I guess he falls under that category.
Michael Jordan. Unbelievable athlete but he stopped pursuing baseball very early. He ended up playing some other sport that didn't maximize his true potential
I mean, tragic as his death was, we kind of did see his whole career.
He was 37, he didn’t have a whole lot of career left to play.
I understand that position, I just don’t think he was necessarily on that trajectory. His age 37 year was an all star season, he hit .310, and although he had some ankle trouble it didn’t have to be debilitating. He could possibly have played 4, 5, 6 more seasons. Just my speculation of course
Tony Conigliaro for me.
He *still* holds the record for home runs by a player under age 20.
He wouldn't be my first choice, but I was surprised how far down I had to scroll before I saw Hamilton's name. Seemed like he absolutely could have been one of the all-time greats.
Ray Chapman. Killed by a hbp. Shouldn’t happen to anybody.
In a few years we might be saying Degrom.
Don’t you dare. I get sooo juiced for deGrom day.
You can put Trout on that list too. I hope not though.
Rich Harden. Dude was filth.
Nomar Garciaparra. Fernando Valenzuela. Chris Carpenter. Darryl Strawberry
Just to name a few.
Nomar is my favorite player. I have his Red Sox and Dodgers jerseys and plan to get his Oakland and Cubs ones as well. Without Nomar, the Red Sox don’t make the greatest comeback happen, and they don’t reverse the curse. Broke my heart to see him leave Boston, but I was giddy and hopeful to have him in LA.
I have dual-citizenship.
Ken Griffey Jr
Ken Griffey Jr.
I wish Bagwell could've finished his career healthy, only 51 HRs from 500!
David Wright. Easy HoFer plus we win the WS in 2015 with him healthy
Mike Soroka :(
JR Richard, maybe without him injured Astros are the team of the early 80s
Imagine the career Ted Williams would’ve had if he didn’t have to pause in his prime to become a decorated fighter pilot.
The greatest athlete of all time, Bo Jackson
Going with a name I haven’t seen yet, but Nomar Garciaparra’s body just broke down once he hit 30
Gehrig, Koufax, Valenzuela, or hell Bo Jackson
Edit: also realized I forgot Jose Fernandez
Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. Those two at the top of the rotation would have netted the Cubs at least one of not more WS in the late '90's, early '00's.
Bo Jackson. He would’ve been absolutely insane
I mean, it isn’t an injury, but there are a whole list of players that served in WWII and had their careers cut short or had a huge gap
Mickey Mantle suffered an injury in every single season of his career
Surprised I haven’t seen Pedro on here. I think he’s arguably the GOAT pitcher anyways, if you give him perfect health his whole career I think it removes all doubt.
Jose Fernandez :(
I haven’t seen Josh Hamilton listed here yet.
That dude was a goddamned beast when he was sober. That home run derby was godly. Wish he’d have kept it together.
Bo knows who!
Ken Griffey Jr hands down. Prolly could have been the career HR king if he never got hurt.
Give me Babe Ruth. I need to see how the game looks compared to modern day.
He put up top 2-3 all-time numbers in his first decade - then sadly went so far downhill for his last decade, in large part due to body breaking down.
If his second decade could have been more like his first, he could have been the true GOAT.
Dude just got old. No real specific injury or unfortunate circumstances.
You could stick your legs in a wood chipper and have healthier feet than Albert Pujols. Dudes been playing on flesh colored razor blades for like 15 years.
Pedroia. Would have been a hall of famer. Fuck Machado.
There are a decent number that I would take before him but I really wanted to see how long Yelich could play in terminator mode. Fuck that stupid kneecap swing
Mickey Mantle (would have been 3x as good if he didn’t tear his acl on the pipe) or Shoeless Joe (might have been best player to every play if he had more time to grow his stats
George Sisler and Ted Williams.
This next one is a reach but WHAT IF Rogers Hornsby didn't have the "unfortunate circumstance" to think his future lay in managing?
I always rooted for Nomar after his injuries. HOF for sure with a few more great seasons.
Tony Conigliaro, Boston Red Sox
Griffey Jr and Bo Jackson. Ya mantle but not the same thing.