I suppose it shouldn’t come as a great surprise that a state that ranks as one of the smallest in both land mass and population, would not have produced a great number of MLB talent. 56 players in history were born in The First State. But, only 3 ever appeared in a single All-Star Game.
Perhaps honorable mention here could go to Sadie McMahon. He pitched for the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association for a couple years, before spending 7 years with the Baltimore Orioles. But, not those Baltimore Orioles. Sadie was a part of the Orioles team that was a part of the National League from 1882-1899. It was a successful team (Sadie was on the championship team in 1896), but after the 1899 season, the National League contracted from 12 teams to 8, leaving the Orioles behind. Two years later, the American League was formed, and the reorganized Orioles were a part of it. But, that’s not the Orioles you’re familiar with either. Because two years later, the team had ceased play again, and two men purchased the franchise, moved it to New York City, and renamed it the New York Highlanders. Which is the team you likely know as … the New York Yankees (a name change that occurred in 1913).
So, aside from some ancient baseball history, choosing the best player from the state of Delaware was actually quite easy.
Paul Goldschmidt – It really isn’t even close. McMahon is the next best player from the state, and Goldschmidt is going to continue to put distance between himself and the rest of the pack. He leads all Delaware natives in HR (234), RBI (768), OPS (.918), and even batting average (.293) among anyone with at least 100 plate appearances.
The state of Florida produces a large number of athletes. Many play football or basketball, but it should not be overlooked when it comes to great baseball talent. Many excellent players from the past have come from The Sunshine State. Including Gary Sheffield, Dwight Gooden, and Fred McGriff. There are also several Florida natives that are currently playing in the majors. And, some of them are some of the best in the game – Zack Greinke, Chris Sale, Andrew McCutchen, Manny Machado, and Josh Donaldson.
But, we’re looking for all-time best, so I had to limit it to players in the Hall of Fame. There are 4 players from Florida that have been inducted into Cooperstown. The runners-up include Andre Dawson, Tim Raines, and Chipper Jones. Each of these were great talents in their era. Power, speed, defense, a switch-hitter. It’s all represented here. But, ultimately, the best player from Florida was a pitcher.
Steve Carlton – Carlton is among the 3 best left-handed pitchers to ever play the game, no matter which metric you use. 329 wins, 4,136 strikeouts, 10 All-Star Games, 4 Cy Young Awards. The Miami native spent all or part of 24 seasons in the majors, and was a part of 2 World Series champions (Cardinals in ’67 and Phillies in ’80).
Florida may have more players that have played in the majors, and have more All-Star Game appearances … but, Georgia actually has more players in the Hall of Fame, with 5. The one player/manager on their list is Bill Terry, who played for the New York Giants from ’23-’36, and also managed them to a World Series championship in 1933. He hit .341 for his career!
There are some notable names not in Cooperstown from The Peach State. Kevin Brown, Tim Hudson, Moises Alou. And, among those still active, there’s Buster Posey, Adam Wainwright, and Lorenzo Cain. But, the Hall of Famers from the state of Georgia include some of the absolute best of their generation: Frank Thomas, Johnny Mize, and Jackie Robinson. You would think that with names like these, it would be difficult to choose the best from the state of Georgia. But, there’s only one “Georgia Peach.”
Ty Cobb – The man with the highest career batting average in history (.366) is from the small town of Narrows, GA. He hit over .400 not once, not twice, but three times in his career (1911, 1912, and 1922 at the age of 35!). And, even with 4,189 hits, Cobb was far more than just a singles hitter (unlike the only man in history with more hits). Cobb’s career SLG is over .500, because he led the league in doubles and triples several times. His career OPS is .945. And, he stole an amazing 897 bases! He may not have been the nicest guy – but, he was definitely the best ever from Georgia.
The Aloha State has only produced 44 major league players, most of whom have had less than remarkable careers. No Hall of Famers, and only six have ever appeared in an All-Star Game. But, there are a few players who had decent careers over the years: Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez (one of just two that appeared in more than one All-Star Game), and Charlie Hough.
There are a couple current players that were born in Hawaii that are decent contributors to their teams: Kurt Suzuki (who has spent much of his career as a high-quality back-up catcher), and Kolten Wong (who is right around a league-average hitter, and one of the better defenders at second).
But, the Wailuku native with the nickname “Flyin’ Hawaiian” was the clear choice here…
Shane Victorino – he was a 2-time All-Star, 4-time Gold Glove winner, and an important part of two World Series championship teams (Phillies in ’08, Red Sox in ’13).