Who are the Greatest Baseball Players of All Time?
By Space Coast Daily // April 23, 2020
Ask anyone who the greatest baseball of all time is, and you will most likely be met with an array of different answers.
Whether it be a player they idolised when they were younger, or the one that scored the most homeruns, it’s difficult to narrow it down.
However, there have been players over the decades that have been the best in the league, the best of their generation, or the best that the game has ever seen, and you can bet that their talent will live on for years to come. These players are, without doubt, the best to play the game.
Honus Wagner was famous for many things. Most modern day fans and baseball card collectors will know him as the player who is the subject of one of the most valuable cards of all time, the rare 1909-1911 T206 Wagner card, which nowadays is worth a staggering $2 million.
Honus was known as the “Flying Dutchman” and led the league in batting average 8 times over his career. He retired with a .328 average, despite playing during the time known as the “dead-ball era”
When he retired in 1917, Wagner finished the second most hits (3,420), doubles (643), triples (252) and runs batted in (1,732) in major league history. His stats still put him in the top 25 of all time.
A St. Louis Cardinal through and through, “Stan the Man” played his entire 22 season career at the Cardinals. He led the Cardinals to 3 World Series victories (1942, 1944, 1946) as well as picking up the MVP award 3 times (1943, 1946, 1948) and finishing with a lifetime average of .331.
Considering Stan barely missed, his highest single-season strikeout total was just 46, in 505 appearances at the plate. Most pitchers at the time didn’t even try to strike him out, with some saying they would throw their best pitch and quickly backup third.
Ty Cobb is a controversial entrant on any “Greatest” list. Was he a great player? Absolutely, was he a decent human being? Many people would say no.
He was a relentless racist, sharpened his spikes to maximise injuries on fielders when sliding, and also once got into a brawl with a fan. His views on race did change after his retirement though.
However, his stats are undeniable. He has the greatest batting average in Major League history (.366). He led the American League in batting average 12 times during his 24 year career, and he led the AL in slugging percentage (a stat that measures a hitters power production).
He batted over .400 in three seasons, and when he retired in 1928, he retired as the all-time leader in hits (4,189), runs scored (2,246), and stolen bases (892). All of these records stood until the late 20th and early 21st century.
Hammerin’ Hank Aaron held the title of Home Run King while he played, but he was far more than just a homerun machine. His career 755 home runs was a record for 33 years, but he also had 2,297 runs batted in, as well as 6,856 total bases.
He had a career average of .305, and he also won the Golden Glove award 3 times for his abilities in the field. He was also selected for the All-Star game 21 years in a row, and hit at least 30 home runs in 15 seasons. He also finished his career in 1976 with the what was then the second most hits (3,771) and runs scored (2,174)
Another highly controversial figure with undeniable talent. Barry Bonds was the poster boy for the Steroid Era in baseball. Even though he was well on his way to a Hall of Fame spot before he supposedly began juicing, steroids wouldn’t have given him, or helped, his absolutely incredible hand-eye coordination.
He had an all-time high of 2,558 career walks, and an insane .444 lifetime on-base percentage. He had an unsurpassed 762 home runs, including a record 73 in one season. 7 MVP awards, and 688 intentional walks. It’s hard to say if steroids helped him achieve this, but either way, his career statistics are staggering.
The Godfather of Barry Bonds needs no introduction. Willie Mays was a raw baseball player with some of the most incredible statistics the game has ever seen. His numbers at the plate are out of this world, with 3,283 hits, 660 home runs, 1,903 runs batted in.
He was also just as great as a fielder, and he won 12 consecutive Golden Glove awards. Many believe, and few disagree, that May’s is the best all-rounder to ever play the game.
He only won 1 World Series, but his lack of team success didn’t stop him from being an All Star 20 times, and the MVP twice.
Of course Babe Ruth is the greatest player of all time. This isn’t even an argument anymore. He may have played with and against a limited pool of players, before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and before training regines turned regular players into baseball machines, but his skill and stats were out of this world.
He had a personal high of 60 homeruns in one season in 1927, and he also led the American League for home runs 12 times, and his slugging percentage of 0.690 is still the highest of all time.
He could also pitch, and damn, could he pitch. During his early years, he led the American League with a 1.75 ERA in 1921, and pitched 29 and a two-thirds consecutive scoreless innings across 2 World Series.
Babe Ruth is still spoken about today as the greatest of all time. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who could genuinely put forward a candidate better.
His exploits with the Yankees put baseball on the map, and gave it the wide appeal that it still enjoys today.
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