Neyer: When being a great baseball player just isn’t enough

From SABR member Rob Neyer at Baseball Nation on June 26, 2013:

When we use the term physically gifted or athletic, we rank Bo Jackson and Yasiel Puig above Mike Trout. But why? Because Trout doesn’t play professional football? Puig doesn’t play professional football. Because Trout doesn’t throw particularly well? Well, maybe. When it comes to words like physically gifted, strength matters more than accuracy. To be considered as physically gifted as Bo Jackson (and now Yasiel Puig), I suppose you must possess four attributes:

– run like Willie Wilson
– hit like Mark McGwire
– throw like Jesse Barfield

Except there’s never been a player in major-league history who did all of those things. So you must nearly do all of those things. Oh, and here’s the fourth thing: You must look like a creation of the baseball gods.

Yasiel Puig qualifies on all counts. Bo Jackson qualified. Mickey Mantle qualified, at least before his knees went completely south on him. Eric Davis did the things, but didn’t have the look.

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Originally published: June 26, 2013. Last Updated: June 26, 2013.