This list will count them down to number one using the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) metric. I use WAR to rate and rank players against one another because even though the same number may mean slightly different things from year-to-year, it's always a relative rank against current competition. I totaled up WAR for each Marlin to play in a major league regular season game, including hitting for every player and pitching for each applicable player (even if it was only for one inning). This lets us use one measure for everyone, regardless of position or exactly when they played the game. We will start out with five players per day for the first 60 articles. Once we get to 200, we will do four per day for 20 days, three per day for 20 days, and so on. This countdown will keep you (and me) busy all the way until spring training.
A quick note on WAR: A low WAR doesn't necessarily mean that a player is bad, exactly, but a high WAR almost always favors the best of the best. You'll notice that there are some fan favorites here in the bottom part of the countdown, even though some of them may have had some memorable moments. As much as I hate putting a fan favorite so low in the countdown, the relative worth of these players when stacked up against other major league players in the seasons in which they played will sometimes correspond with a low or even negative WAR rating.
In more precise terms, a team comprised entirely of players with a WAR rating of zero will complete a season with a .294 winning percentage, or, a 48-112 team. www.baseball-reference.com has compiled all every meaningful statistic, and explain WAR in detail here, here, and here. Oh, and a little bit here, too. Be forewarned, though, eat some fish and bring your thinking cap before you dive into these. A lot of it, well heck, most of it, is on a 15th grade comprehension level. I'm eternally grateful to the folks over at Baseball Reference for compiling this stuff and making it available to the rank-and-file volunteer sportswriters like myself. Without further adieu, let's dive into the Fish Tank and take a look back at these heroes of yesterday (and tomorrow).