Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; July 20

A few thoughts to jump start your Wednesday morning...

If you have closely followed the career of Jim McElwain, then you know he expects quarterbacks to do the following: (1) Know the offense well enough to be an extension of the coaches on the field; (2) make the right reads in a timely manner and get rid of the football; (3) avoid turnovers and negative plays and (4) make the guys in the huddle better players. That’s what Mac was talking about Tuesday when he spent the day up in Bristol, headquarters of ESPN.

Here are some highlights of his appearance on Sports Center.

About the quarterback room: “I gotta tell you this … I love our quarterback room. Our quarterback room is something that … it’s something that people don’t think about but the individual position rooms sometimes and how they can affect everybody in the organization. Obviously the greatest affect you can have is in that quarterback room.

About the leadership of veterans Luke Del Rio and Austin Appleby: ”We’ve got two guys who are kind of veteran kind of guys who know what to do. We’ve got two young guys (Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask) with unbelievable arm talent. It’s exciting. To see how those guys (Del Rio and Appleby) are really affecting everyone every single day to take a little step forward … It isn’t that that guy has to make all the plays. Successful quarterbacks, no matter where they’ve  played and what they do, the other 10 around them play better because they’re in the huddle. That’s the key and we’ve got a couple that I feel really comfortable with.”

Also Mac talked about discipline for Tyrie Cleveland and Rick Wells: “We have freedom of choice. The thing we don’t have is freedom of consequences based on our actions. Our guys know they are going to be dealt with. That’s the way we handle things, the way I handle things. I think my track record proves that and yet, it’s not about that as much as it’s the education of what you learned from your actions. That’s the thing as a teacher and a coach – the thing you go through every single day – is trying to help all these young men learn from past historical data. That’s where we’re at. These guys will be dealt with and taken care of.”


David Schoenfield, a senior writer with ESPN, listed his 10 best players in Major League Baseball history on Monday, a list that had Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds as his 1-2-3. It is a list that didn’t have Joe DiMaggio in his top 10 and had Greg Maddux and Mike Schmidt as the number 9 and 10 players all-time.

I’ve been writing about sports for nearly 50 years and much of my time was spent writing about baseball. My top 10 list will probably differ with a lot of folks, but I doubt anyone will have the same list. So, I’ll give you my top 10 and list what I think are 15 of the greatest every day players and 15 pitchers for you to form yours.

My top 10:

1. Joe DiMaggio
2.  Ted Williams

3. Hank Aaron

4. Willie Mays
5. Walter Johnson
6. Babe Ruth
7. Bob Feller

8. Bob Gibson
9. Sandy Koufax

10. Roberto Clemente

Here are 15 non-pitchers and their stats:

Joe DiMaggio: 13 years; .325 career batting average; 2,214 hits, 389 doubles, 131 triples, 361 homers, 1,537 RBI; 790 walks, struck out only 369 times; 2-time AL batting champion; 2-time AL home run champion; two 200-hit seasons; 3-time MVP; 56-game hitting streak (longest in MLB history); missed three full seasons because of WWII.

Ted Williams: 19 years; .344 career batting average; 2,654 hits, 525 doubles, 71 triples, 521 homers, 1,839 RBI; 2,021 walks, struck out only 709 times; 2-time AL MVP; 6-time AL batting champion; 4-time AL home run champion; last player to hit .400 (.406 in 1941); .482 on base % (best in MLB history); missed three full seasons because of WWII and parts of two seasons for Korean War

Stan Musial: .22 years; 331 career batting average; 3630 hits, 725 doubles, 177 triples, 475 homers, 1,951 RBI; 1,599 walks, struck out only 696 times. 7-time NL batting champion; six 200-hit seasons; 3-time NL MVP;  

Babe Ruth: 22 years; .342 career batting average; 2,873 hits, 506 doubles, 136 triples, 714 homers, 2,214 RBI; 2,062 walks, struck out 1,330 times; 12-time HR champ; 1-time AL batting champion; 12-time AL home run champion; three 200-hit seasons; 1-time AL MVP; .690 slugging % (highest in MLB history)

Lou Gehrig: 17 years; .340 career batting average; 2,721 hits, 534 doubles, 163 triples, 493 homer, 1,995 RBI; 1,508 walks, struck out only 790 times; 2-time AL MVP; 1-time AL batting champion; 1934 AL triple crown; 2,130 consecutive games played

Ty Cobb: 24 years; .366 career batting average (best in MLB history); 4,189 hits, 724 doubles, 295 triples, 117 homers, 1,933 RBI; 897 stolen bases; 12-time AL batting champion (most in MLB history); 1-time AL home run champion; nine 200-hit seasons; 1-time AL MVP; 1909 triple crown

Willie Mays: 22 years; .302 career batting average; 3,283 hits, 523 doubles, 140 triples, 660 homers, 1,903 RBI; 1,464 walks, struck out 1,526 times; 338 stolen bases; 2-time NL MVP; 1-time NL batting champion; 4-time NL home run champion; 12 Gold Gloves 

Hank Aaron: 23 years; .305 career batting average; 3,771 hits, 624 doubles, 98 triples, 755 home runs, 2,297 RBI, most in MLB history; 1,402 walks, struck out 1,383 times; 240 stolen bases; 4-time NL home run champion; 3-time NL batting champion; 1 NL MVP; three 200-hit seasons; three Gold Gloves.

Roberto Clemente: 18 years; .317 career batting average; 3,000 hits, 440 doubles, 166 triples, 240 homers, 1,305 RBI; 621 walks, struck out 1,230 times; 3-time NL batting champion; four 200-hit seasons; 1-time NL MVP; four 200-hit seasons; 12 Gold Gloves

Mike Schmidt: 18 years; .267 career batting average; 2,234 hits, 408 doubles, 59 triples, 548 homers, 1,595 RBI; 1,507 walks, struck out 1,883 times; 174 stolen bases; 3-time NL MVP; 10 Gold Gloves.

Barry Bonds: 22 years; .298 career batting average; 2,935 hits, 601 doubles, 77 triples, 762 homers, best in MLB history; 1,996 RBI; 2,558 walks, best in MLB history, struck out 1,539 times; 514 stolen bases; 2-time NL batting champion; 2-time NL home run champion; 7-time NL MVP; 8 Gold Gloves

Alex Rodriguez: 22 seasons (still active); .295 career batting average; 3,113 hits, 547 doubles, 31 triples, 696 homers, 2,084 RBI; 1,337 walks, 2,278 strikeouts; 329 stolen bases; 1-time AL batting champion; 5-time AL home run champion; three 200-hit seasons; 3 NL MVP; 2 Gold Gloves

Ken Griffey Jr.: 22 seasons; .284 career batting average; 2,781 hits, 524 doubles, 38 triples, 630 home runs, 1,836 RBI; walked 1,312 times, struck out 1,779 times; 184 stolen bases; 4-time AL home run champion; 10 Gold Gloves

Tony Gwynn: 20 seasons; .338 batting average; 3,141 hits, 543 doubles, 85 triples, 135 home runs, 1,138 RBI; 790 walks, struck out 434 times; 319 stolen bases; five 200-hit seasons; five Gold Gloves

Pete Rose: 24 seasons; .303 career batting average; 4,256 hits (most in MLB history), 746 doubles, 135 triples, 160 homers, 1,314 RBI; walked 1,586 times, struck out 1,143 times; 198 stolen bases; 3-time NL batting champion; 1-time NL MVP; ten 200-hit seasons; two Gold Gloves

Here are 15 pitchers and their stats:

Bob Feller: 266-162; 3.25 ERA; 2,581 strikeouts; 279 complete games; 44 shutouts; six 20-win seasons; three no-hitters; one pitching triple crown (wins, ERA, strikeouts); missed three full seasons due to WWII;

Nolan Ryan: 27 seasons; 324-292; 3.19 ERA; 5,714 strikeouts (most in MLB history); 222 complete games; 61 shutouts; two 20-win seasons; seven no-hitters (most in MLB history)

Tom Seaver: 20 seasons; 311-205; 2.86 ERA; 3,640 strikeouts; 231 complete games; 61 shutouts; one no-hitter; four 20-win seasons; three Cy Young Awards

Bob Gibson: 17 seasons; 251-174; 2.91 ERA (1.12 ERA in 1968); 3,117 strikeouts; 255 complete games; 56 shutouts (13 in 1968); one no-hitter; five 20-win seasons; 1-time NL MVP; two NL Cy Young Awards

Sandy Koufax: 12 years; 165-87; 2.76 ERA; 2,396 strikeouts; 137 complete games; 40 shutouts; three 20-win seasons; four no-hitters; 1-time NL MVP; three NL Cy Young Awards

Warren Spahn: 21 seasons; 363-245; 3.09 ERA; 2,583 strikeouts; 382 complete games; 63 shutouts; two no-hitters; 12 20-win seasons; one Cy Young Award

Roger Clemens: 24 seasons; 354-184; 3.12 ERA; 4,672 strikeouts; 118 complete games; 46 shutouts; six 20-win seasons;  two pitching triple crowns; 1-time AL MVP; five Cy Young Awards

Steve Carlton: 24 seasons; 329-244; 3.22 ERA; 4,136 strikeouts; 254 complete games; 55 shutouts; six 20-win seasons; one NL pitching triple crown; four Cy Young Awards

Greg Maddux: 23 seasons; 355-227; 3.16 ERA; 3,371 strikeouts; 109 complete games; 35 shutouts; two 20-win seasons; four Cy Young Awards

Walter Johnson: 21 years; 417-279; 2.17 ERA; 3,509 strikeouts; 531 complete games; 10 20-win seasons; two 30-win seasons; 110 shutouts; 2-time AL MVP; 10 consecutive seasons with at least 20 wins

Randy Johnson: 22 seasons; 303-166; 3.29 ERA; 4,875 strikeouts; 100 complete games; 37 shutouts; one perfect game, one no-hitter; three 20-win seasons; five Cy Young Awards

Lefty Grove: 17 years; 300-141; 3.06 ERA; 2,266 strikeouts; 298 complete games; 35 shutouts; six 20-win seasons, 1 30-win season; 1-time AL MVP

Jim Palmer: 19 seasons; 268-152; 2.86 ERA; 2,212 strikeouts; 211 complete games; 53 shutouts; eight 20-win seasons; three Cy Young Awards

Carl Hubbell: 16 seasons; 253-154; 2.98 ERA; 1,677 strikeouts; 260 complete games; 36 shutouts; one no-hitter; five 20-win seasons; 2-time NL MVP

Jim “Catfish” Hunter: 15 seasons; 224-166; 3.26 ERA; 2,012 strikeouts; 181 complete games; 42 shutouts; one perfect game; five 20-win seasons; one Cy Young Award


Mike Miller might be a bit long in the tooth by NBA standards (he’s 36) and his best days might be behind him but he’s still a valuable commodity. The Denver Nuggets just signed him to a 2-year contract.

Aroldis Chapman threw a 105.1 mph pitch Monday night, tying for the fastest pitch ever recorded. I have to wonder what the fastest pitches of Bob Feller, Herb Score, Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax might have been if today’s technology had been available during the early years of their careers.

Johnny Manziel  has apologized to Aggie fans everywhere and tweeted “I’ll do whatever I can to make it right. I’m an AGGIE for life.” Manziel claims he’s doing quite well now and claims he’s not boozing it up these days. However, Manziel told The Washington Post, “I’m not saying I’m never drinking again, but for now just mostly being healthy.” Sounds like trouble just waiting for a time to happen.

Is this the kiss of death? Sammy Watkins of the Buffalo Bills says “it will be sad” if Bills coach Rex Ryan is fired after this season.

While at ESPN, Nick Saban called Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson “the best player in college football since Cam Newton.” Last year, Watson was good for 5,214 total yards and 47 touchdowns.


Who would make your list of the 10 best players in Major League Baseball history?


In 1991, old friends George Harrison and Eric Clapton teamed up for a tour of Japan that turned out to be Harrison’s last solo release before his death. The album was simply titled, “Live in Japan” and the band included the great Nathan East on bass, Chuck Leavell on keyboards and Steve Ferrone, now the drummer for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.



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