The Greatest Baseball Player of All Time: A Comprehensive List

The Greatest Baseball Player of All Time: A Comprehensive List

Baseball is one of the most played and watched sports in America that has been around longer than any other sports league in the US.

The iconic sport features many legendary names, historic talents, and inner-circle Hall of Famers.

But, who is the greatest baseball player of all time?

Our ranking of the best baseball players that stepped on the field comes down to the top 10. 

Babe Ruth

Born: 6 February 1895
Babe Ruth Stats:
as a hitter: 183.1 WAR, 8399 AB, 2873 H, 714 HR, .342 BA, 2174 R, 2214 RBI, 123 SB
as a pitcher: 2.28 ERA, 488 SO, 1,221 IP, 20.4 bWAR
Position: Outfielder and Pitcher
Clubs: Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Boston Braves
Trophies: 7x World Series Champion/ 1x AL MVP/ MLB All-Time Team
Bats: Left

Many players can make an impact on a sport but few can change it like George Herman “Babe” Ruth, the greatest baseball player ever in the history of baseball.

This prodigious power hitter was born in 1895 in Baltimore, MA, and after spending a couple of years with the Boston Red Sox he joined 14 New York Yankees, marking the beginning of a new era in the world of baseball.

He played 22 seasons, from 1914 through 1935, making an astonishing .690 career slugging percentage that remains the best of all time. Not only did he break records but he often out-homered entire teams. 

Many credit Ruth’s performances for the popularity of the sport and for transforming it into a powerful game.

Willie Mays

Born: 6 May 1931
Willie Mays Stats: 156.1 WAR, 10924 AB, 3293 H, 660 HR, .301 BA, 2068 R, 1909 RBI, 338 SB
: New York Giants, San Francisco Giants, New York Mets
Position: Centerfielder
Trophies: 1x World Series, 2x NL MVP
Bats: Right

Widely recognized as the greatest center fielder and all-around player that baseball has ever seen, Willie Mays, nicknamed “The Say Hey Kid” and “Buck”, is right next to Ruth as the greatest baseball player of all time. 

The 20-time All-star and two-time MVP was born in 1931, in Westfield, AL He spent 21 seasons with the San Francisco Giants (and two with the Mets), during which he racked up a total of 3,283 hits, 660 home runs, and 1,903 runs batted in.

Barry Bonds

Born: 24 July 1964
Barry Bonds Stats: 162.8 WAR, 9847 AB, 2935 H, 762 HR, .296 BA, 2227 R, 1996 RBI, 514 SB
: Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants
Position: Left-fielder
Trophies: 7x NL MVP
Bats: Left

Another one of the top baseball players of all time, Barry Bonds was born in Riverside, CA in 1964. 

The all-time leader in homers was a left fielder who spent his 22-seasons career playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants. His top-notch eye-hand coordination (the best in MLB) led to some amazing numbers: an all-time high of 2,558 career walks, a staggering .444 lifetime on-base percentage, and eight Gold Gloves to accompany his record seven career MVP awards.

He was an exceptional hitter and holds many MLB records, including the most career walks.

He was also known for being one of the hottest baseball players at that time.

Hank Aaron

Born: 5 February 1934
Henry Aaron Stats: 143 WAR, 12364 AB, 3771 H, 755 HR, .305 BA, 2174 R, 2297 RBI, 240 SB
: Indianapolis Clowns, Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Braves
Position: Rightfielder and First Baseman
Trophies: 1x World Series, 1x NL MVP
Bats: Right

“Hammerin’ Hank” is arguably one of the best power hitters of all time. 

He held the Home Run King title for a generation (which Barry Bonds eventually took over) and made history when he reached No. 715 home run, finishing his pursuit of Babe Ruth’s career homer record.

An AL native, Henry Louis Aaron was born in 1934. He spent 23 seasons in Major League Baseball, playing from 1954 through 1976 as a right fielder. His historic talent produced 755 career homers and a lifetime average of 3.771 hits, ranking him third in all-time hits and second in home runs. 

Ted Williams

Born: 30 August 1918,
Ted Williams Stats: 122 WAR, 7706 AB, 2654 H, 521 HR, .344 BA, 1798 R, 1839 RBI, 24 SB
: Boston Red Sox
Position: Left-fielder
Trophies: 2x AL MVP
Bats: Left

Renowned for his uncanny eye, Ted Williams aka ”The Splendid Splinter,” who was born in San Diego, CA in 1918, has long been called “the greatest pure hitter who ever lived.”

He was the icon for one of the most valuable sports teams, the Boston Red Sox playing his entire 19-year career in Major League Baseball primarily as a left fielder. He reached an all-time high .482 lifetime on-base percentage, despite having missed almost five full seasons of his prime to military service, and is the last one to reach a .400 batting average.

 Not only did he put in astronomical numbers, but he also changed the approach to hitting and even wrote a book about it titled “The Science of Hitting.”

Ty Cobb

Born: 18 December 1886
Ty Cobb Stats: 151.5 WAR, 11440 AB, 4189 H, 117 HR, .366 BA, 2245 R, 1944 RBI, 897 SB
Clubs: Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Athletics
Position: Centerfielder
Trophies: 1x AL MVP
Bats: Left

Ty Cobb, nicknamed “The Georgia Peach” was a Georgia native and was an extremely talented outfielder who played a smart game.

He spent most of his career with the Detroit Tigers and his last years on the field with the Philadelphia Athletics. 

Not only does he hold the greatest lifetime batting average in the history of one of the most profitable sports leagues, the MLB (.366), but he retired in 1928 as the all-time leader in hits (4,189), runs scored (2,246), and stolen bases (892). 

Lou Gehrig 

Born: 19 June 1903
Lou Gehrig Stats: 113.6 WAR, 8001 AB, 2721 H, 493 HR, .340 BA, 1888 R, 1995 RBI, 102 SB
: New York Yankees
Position: First Baseman
Trophies: 6x World Series/ 2x AL MVP
Bats: Left

The New York Yankees legend was born in 1903 in Yorkville, NY. 

In addition to his hitter skills, he was renowned for his durability, which earned him his nickname “The Iron Horse”. 

During his 17-season career in Major League Baseball, he had played in a record 2.130 consecutive games and hit an impressive .340/.447/.632 slash line with 493 home runs. 

Unfortunately, Gehrig left baseball earlier than he intended due to an ALS diagnosis. He announced his retirement in his iconic “Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth” speech at Yankee Stadium in 1939.

Walter Johnson

Born: 6 November 1887
Walter Johnson Stats: 164.9 WAR, 2.17 ERA, 34 S
: Washington Senators
Position: Pitcher
Trophies: 1x World Series, 2x AL MVP
Bats: Right

The Washington Senators’ right-handed pitcher is undeniably one of the best baseball players of all time that defined dominant pitching for decades.

Walter Perry Johnson, nicknamed “The Big Train”, was born in 1887 in Humboldt, Kansas. He started his baseball career in 1907 and spent the next 21 years in Major League Baseball breaking some impressive records. 

A generational talent, he threw 110 complete-game shutouts (20 more than any other pitcher ever), won 417 games, and finished with 3,509 career strikeouts.

Stan Musial

source: bnd

Born: 21 November 1920
Stan Musial Stats: 128.6 WAR, 10972 AB, 3630 H, 475 HR, .331 BA, 1949 R, 1951 RBI, 78 SB
: St. Louis Cardinals
Position: Outfielder and First Baseman
Trophies: 3x World Series Champion/ 3x NL MVP
Bats: Left

Stan Musical, also known as “Stan the Man,” was a first-ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

Born in 1920 in Donora, Pennsylvania, he started his career in 1941 and spent the next 22 seasons playing for the St. Louis Cardinals as a first baseman and outfielder, racking up records and awards. 

His highest single-season strikeout total was a trifling 46, with a .331 batting average. Over the course of his career, he won seven batting titles and three MVP awards. 

Roger Clemens

Born: 4 August 1962
Roger Clemens Stats: 139.2 WAR, 3.12 ERA, 0 S
: Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Houston Astros
Position: Starting pitcher
Trophies: 2x World Series / 1x NL MVP
Bats: Right

One of the best baseball players and most dominant pitchers in major league history, Roger Clemens aka “Rocket” was born in 1962 in Dayton, Ohio. 

He spent a total of 24 years in Major League Baseball with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, the latter of which he led to four World Cup series in five years.

During his days on the field, he amassed a record seven Cy Young awards, threw 4,672 strikeouts (the third most of all time), won 352 games, and had a 3.12 earned run average.

Wrapping up

The American national pastime is a superb game that brought many legends into the world of sports.

Many baseball players, including active players,  are nationally recognised athletes that have broken records, defied odds, and made a permanent impact on a national level. But, few can carry the greatest baseball player of all time title.

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