A while back we looked at the best baseball players ever to come out of Louisiana. So today, we thought we’d revisit that premise in a different way. So we’re going to look at the best players at each position from Louisiana.
Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Born in rural Bastrop, Louisiana in 1907, Bill Dickey eventually made it all the way to New York City. Making his Major League debut at the age of 21 in 1928, Dickey quickly became the starting catcher for the New York Yankees. Between 1928 and 1943, Dickey made 10 All-Star games and won seven World Series championships. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1954. Nicknamed “The Man Nobody Knows” Dickey later managed the Yankees and helped teach Hall of Famer Yogi Berra the finer points of catching.
|Bill Dickey in 1937|
Former San Francisco Giants first baseman and New Orleans native Will Clark never quite fit the offensive profile of a first baseman. Generally, first baseman are supposed to be big, lumbering power hitters. While Clark had some power—he hit 35 home runs in 1987—he was better known for his discerning batting eye and his ability to hit doubles. In 1988, he lead the league with 100 walks and only 129 strikeouts.
Connie Ryan had a lengthy career in Major League Baseball. The New Orleans resident attended LSU before appearing in 1,184 games in 12 seasons. Throughout his career, Ryan played second and third base. He had 58 career home runs and 988 career hits. Ryan spent much of his career with the Braves as they moved from Boston to Milwaukee to Atlanta. After retiring, Ryan worked as a coach and scout and had two brief stints as a manager for the Braves and the Texas Rangers.
John Peters, a New Orleans native, played for five different teams in his ten year career. He first reached the majors in 1874 with the Chicago White Stockings. In 1876, Peters had the best offensive season of his career, hitting .351/.357/.418 good for 3.3 wins above replacement.
Oliver “Ghost” Marcell played third base in the Negro Leagues from 1918-1928. Known for his abrasive temperament, Marcell fought with umpires and opposing players and apparently retired from baseball after having his nose bit off in a fight. The Thibodaux native, however, was also a fantastic fielder and hitter. His contemporaries claimed that Marcell was the greatest third baseman in the entire league. He played in two Negro League World Series for the Bacharach Giants.
Mell Ott, a Gretna native, played his entire career for the New York Giants. He appeared in 12 All-Star games and won the World Series in 1933. In that World Series, he hit two home runs, drove in four runs and had a .389 batting average. In his career, Ott hit 511 home runs and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951, just four years after he retired.
Reggie Smith, a native of Shreveport, was a hard-throwing outfielder who throughout his 16-year career played for the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Francisco. While Smith was a strong defender in right and center field, he also could hit. In 1977, he led the league in on-base percentage. He averaged 26 home runs per season over the course of his career and twice led the league in doubles. The seven time All-Star also won the 1981 World Series with the Dodgers.
|Albert "Corky" Belle|
Cleveland Indians left fielder and Shreveport native Albert Belle hit 381 home runs and anchored the lineup of the 1990s Indians, Belle had a rather checkered career in the major leagues. In 1994, Belle was suspended for using a corked bat. Belle then convinced a teammate, Jason Grimsley, to climb through a ceiling panel in order to steal his corked bat out of the umpires’ dressing room and swap it with a different one. Belle had a reputation for destroying clubhouse equipment and being rude to teammates and the media.
Besides having a great name, New Orleans native Rusty Staub was primarily known for hitting home runs and doubles. He was a part of the first Montreal Expos team and became that team’s first star player. He still holds the Expos record for career on-base percentage, .402. The six-time All-Star was nicknamed “Le Grand Orange” by Expos fans for his red hair.