Baseball’s Top 100 of All-Time (Pitchers and Negro League players not included)
* (S)- Steroid use confirmed
1. Babe Ruth- Predictable? Cliché? I dare you to find someone more dominant. Babe’s numbers have stood the test of time. Are you going to argue with a .342 average, 714 homers, and a .690 slugging percentage? In 1920, only one team hit more home runs collectively than Ruth did as an individual. To top it off, he logged a 94-46 record with a 2.28 ERA and 107 complete games as a pitcher.
2. Willie Mays- What couldn’t Willie do? Whether at the plate, on the bases or in the field, Mays was the ultimate natural. Say Hey managed to slam 660 career homers while spending most of his prime in the spacious Candlestick Park. Mays was a two-time MVP, 24-time All-Star and a 12-time Gold Glove winner. The list goes on: 3,000+ hits, 12 seasons of at least 100 runs and 300+ stolen bases. He remains the only player in history with at least 3,000 hits, 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases.
3. Ty Cobb- He was nasty, brutish—and amazing. The best player of the dead-ball era, Ty Cobb’s .366 career average remains one of baseball’s greatest feats. The Georgia Peach is 2nd all-time in hits, runs and triples, and third in doubles. Cobb stole nearly 900 bases and won a Triple Crown. In 24 seasons, he batted below .300 just once.
4. Lou Gehrig- The Iron Horse was an RBI machine. A gentleman to his last day, Gehrig’s consecutive games played streak is second only to Cal Ripken Jr. (#35) With nearly 2,000 RBI in just 17 seasons, Gehrig had eight straight years of at least 120 RBI. The numbers truly boggle the mind: a .340 average, a .447 OBP, a record 23 grand slams and 6 championships.
5. Ted Williams- He is quite possibly the greatest pure hitter in baseball history. Despite missing three years of his prime while serving his country during WWII, Williams managed 521 homers and a .344 average (the highest for any member of the 500 HR club). The Splendid Splinter won not one, but two Triple Crowns and he is the last player to hit .400 in a season. Williams hit a home run in his final at-bat and his lifetime .482 OBP is simply astonishing.
6. Hank Aaron- In many eyes, Hammerin’ Hank is still the home run king. For more than two decades, Aaron was the model of consistency. He hit at least 24 homers in every year from 1955 to 1973, and is the only player to belt at least 30 or more in at least 15 seasons. The all-time leader in RBI, extra base hits and total bases, Aaron stole a commendable 240 bases and won three Gold Gloves. He is a true hero for all he was put through in his pursuit of Babe’s record.
7. Barry Bonds (S)- A cheat or not, you cannot ignore Barry Bonds’ accomplishments. From 1987-1998 (it is alleged that his steroid use began following the 1998 season) Bonds compiled the following averages per season: 107 runs, 31 doubles, 32 home runs, 97 RBI, 34 SB, .294 AVG and .981 OPS. Whether you like it or not, he is the leader in career home runs. Bonds is first all-time in walks and second in runs. An 8-time Gold Glove winner, he stole 514 bases and finished with a 1.051 OPS.
8. Rogers Hornsby- The only National League player to win two Triple Crowns, Hornsby may be the greatest right-handed hitter in history and he is easily the game’s best second baseman. Between 1921 and 1925 Hornsby, a career .358 batter, hit an amazing .402. He belted more home runs and had more RBI than any other National Leaguer in the 1920s.
9. Stan Musial- The bedrock of the St. Louis Cardinals for nearly a quarter of a century, Musial won three MVP awards and finished with more than 3,600 hits. He remains an underappreciated and underrated star. Stan the Man won seven batting titles and compiled 725 doubles, 475 homers and a .976 OPS.
10. Joe DiMaggio- Joltin’ Joe’s career was limited to 13 seasons, but, gosh, they were a spectacular 13 seasons. Holder of the coveted 56-game hitting streak, DiMaggio was an All-Star in each year of his career and was a three-time MVP winner. He was a 9-time world champion. Although Yankee Stadium was not suited for right-handed power hitters in those days, DiMaggio blasted 361 round-trippers anyway. He averaged 132 RBI per year between 1936 and 1942. All of this while missing 1943 to 1945 due to military duty.
11. Jimmie Foxx- The greatest right-handed slugger ever, Foxx is the second-youngest player to reach 500 homers. He lived to rip the cover off a baseball. Between 1929 and 1940 Foxx averaged 40 homers, 136 RBI, a .334 AVG and a .644 SLG% per year. With 12 consecutive years of at least 30 homers, Foxx finished with 534 for his career.
12. Honus Wagner- Wagner is the best shortstop to ever play the game. He stole 722 bases and pounded out 993 extra base hits. An 8-time batting champion, Wagner had 3,415 career hits and finished with a .327 average.
13. Mickey Mantle- Despite injuries and a high-flying lifestyle, Mantle had a stellar career. He was a three-time MVP and a seven-time world champion who still holds a number of postseason offensive records. The greatest switch hitter of all-time, Mantle blasted 536 homers and is famous for his tape-measure shots. He averaged 42 homers per year between 1956 and 1961.
14. Ken Griffey Jr.- After all these years, through injuries and “what-ifs,” Griffey stands as the greatest clean player (let’s pray) of his generation. His numbers between 1996 and 1999 are unreal: four consecutive years of at least 45 HR and 130 RBI. Fifth on the career HR list, Griffey also has 10 Gold Gloves.
15. Tris Speaker- Another all-timer who doesn’t get much ink, Speaker is baseball’s career leader in doubles and outfield assists. He was a lifetime .345 hitter with more than 3,500 hits and 400 steals. In 7,707 at-bats between 1913 and 1927, Speaker, a three-time world champion, struck out only 215 times.
16. Albert Pujols- Although he has completed only eight full seasons, Pujols, another presumably clean player from the steroid era, no doubt deserves this lofty ranking. He leads all active players with a .333 average and a .628 slugging percentage. Sir Albert has already amassed eight All-Star selections, two MVPs and a world championship. Along with Ralph Kiner, Pujols is the only player to hit at least 300 homers (319) in his first eight seasons. He has averaged 122 RBI per year and is arguably the best defensive first baseman in baseball.
17. Mel Ott- Master Melvin was the first National Leaguer to hit 500 homers and lead the league in round-trippers six times. A New York Giants fixture for more than two decades, Ott averaged 103 RBI per year between 1929 and 1945. He was a career .304 hitter.
18. Frank Robinson- Robinson remains the only player to win MVP awards in both the American and National Leagues. He finished with 586 career homers and 1812 RBI, all while hitting .294 and stealing 204 bases.
19. Rickey Henderson- Henderson is the greatest leadoff hitter of all-time. He ranks first in career runs and stolen bases, and second in walks. The Man of Steal managed to swipe more than 100 bases in a season three times. Although Henderson was only a .279 career hitter, he belted 297 home runs and batted .339 in World Series appearances.
20. Pete Rose- Charlie Hustle was a ball of energy. Baseball’s all-time leader in games played, at-bats and hits, Pete Rose was an MVP, a 3-time world champion and the 1975 World Series MVP. He was a 17-time All-Star at five different positions (1B, 2B, 3B, RF and LF). Rose averaged 100 runs per season between 1963 and 1981. He was a .321 postseason hitter in 268 at-bats. Although he made his share of mistakes, it’s time to put Rose in the Hall of Fame.
21. Mike Schmidt- Schmidt is undisputedly the game’s greatest third baseman of all-time and possibly the best player of the 1980s. From 1974 to 1987 Schmidt averaged 99 runs, 36 homers, 103 RBI, .274 AVG and a .933 OPS. Although he was only a .267 career hitter, he blossomed in later years. In his first nine seasons he .259; in his last nine, his average increased to .276. In addition, Schmidt was a magician at third, winning 10 Gold Glove awards. He led the National League in homers eight times.
22. Nap Lajoie- As one indicator of his hitting prowess, Lajoie is one of only five players in history to be intentionally walked with the bases loaded. He won the Triple Crown in 1901 batting .426 with 14 homers and 125 RBI. He also scored 145 runs and pounded out 232 hits. In 21 seasons, Lajoie stole 380 bases and batted .338.
23. Al Simmons- Born Aloisius Szymanski, “Bucketfoot” Al Simmons recorded 11 consecutive seasons of at least 100 RBI and a .300 AVG. A career .334 hitter, Simmons won two batting titles and was the anchor of the 1929 and 1930 World Series champion Philadelphia Athletics. His averages for those two seasons: 133 runs, 211 hits, 35 RBI, 161 RBI and a .373 AVG.
24. Hank Greenberg- Although WWII disrupted about five years of Greenberg’s career, the original Hammerin’ Hank belted 331 homers and had 1276 RBI. He had more than 140 RBI in a season four times. Greenberg was a two-time MVP and led the league in homers four times. All he did in 1937 was hit .337 with 40 homers, 183 RBI and 137 runs—and came in third in MVP voting.
25. Charlie Gehringer- Gehringer produced at least 200 hits in seven seasons and finished with a .320 AVG. A great fielder, Gehringer’s 7,068 assists are the second highest total in history for a second baseman. He was the 1937 AL MVP and finished with nearly 1,800 runs.