Baseball's Best Hitters of All-Time
ProBaseball-fans.com has asked once again for a top ten list after our successful best starting pitchers article earlier this month. This time around we have decided to add Major League Baseball’s Top 10 All-Time Best Hitters.
This list is more than just the numbers. This list will not only include some stats for each individual hitter but also a little insight about why each member made it on my top 10 hitters list.
Also be sure to check out the best hitters honorable mention list at the end of this story.
On to the top hitters list:
#10 Cal Ripken Jr.– A fact that few may know is that Cal was baseball’s tallest shortstop standing at a whopping 6’4” tall, and also the cutest eyes in baseball according to my girlfriend. But she gets Ripken and Nolan Ryan confused so what does she know? Ripken, the Iron Man of baseball, knew a few things about hitting that he acquired from his father. Ripken Junior played his entire 20 year career in Baltimore before retiring with stats that included 3,189 hits and 1,078 Extra-Base Hits.
#9 Willie Mays – Would you believe it if I told you that the "Say Hey Kid" started his career 0-12 at the plate? It was his Lucky 13th at-bat that started his career off right. It was that at-bat when Willie Mays unleashed a homer over the left field wall giving a jump start to his storied career. Willie later waltzed into the Hall Of Fame with 3,283 hits and an impressive 660 home runs.
#8 Carl Yastrzemski – With big shoes to fill Carl had the honor of replacing the great Ted Williams in Boston. Yaz accepted that task and filled those shoes. Yaz was a 18 time all star, the AL Triple Crown award winner in 1967, and winner of numerous batting titles. Career numbers for Carl Yastrzemski include 3,419 hits, 1,157 Extra-Base Hits, and 452 Home Runs.
#7 Tris Speaker – If you are like me you might not recognize this name right off. If you are a hard nose baseball stat person you may know Speaker as being 5th on the All-Time Career Hits List. Speaker played from 1907 through 1928 and may not be a household name, but his career numbers make him deserving of this list. Not only did Tris Speaker have 3,514 career hits he also maintained a .345 career batting average. This is not bad considering he played only 21 seasons...
#6 Tony Gwynn – Gwynn made a career out of being a consistent contact hitter. Gwynn loved to hit the ball between the third baseman and shortstop in an area he called the 5.5 hole. Gwynn, a 8 time batting title champion was nicknamed "Captian Video" for his devotion to improvement. Gwynn loved to study video of himself and other great players as well and he never batted under .300 in any full season. Tony Gwynn finished his career with 3,141 hits and a career average of .338.
#5 Stan Musial – The best way to pitch to Musial was summed up by one pitcher saying he would throw him 4 wide ones then try to pick him off at first base. A very consistent hitter, Musial had exactly 1,815 hits at home and exactly 1,815 hits on the road. Playing 22 seasons for St. Louis, Musial would end his career with 3,630 hits and an amazing 1,377 of those were Extra-Base hits.
#4 Babe Ruth – Known as a prolific power hitter, Ruth was also a consistent hitter. Babe might not have had 3,000 career hits, but he started his career off as a pitcher. An injury took care of The Babe's pitching career, but Boston wanted him to stick around and play a little outfield. This move proved to be wise for both sides as Babe went on to be one of the best hitters of all time. Ruth finished his career hitting .342; a stat that is unheard of from a power hitter.
#3 Ted Williams – Batted a career .344 average despite having to leave Major League Baseball twice to serve in World War II and the Korean War. This Boston left fielder also had 1,839 RBI’s, 2 Triple Crowns, and an outstanding on base percentage of .483. All of these numbers even after Williams had to sit out 2 full seasons due to injuries, as well as being out of baseball because of the two wars; time spent away from baseball due to WWII during the prime of his career as well. To put a story book ending on this great career, Williams was able to supply his own great ending hitting a Home Run in his final at bat in 1960. Williams was a real hero and a salute to all our soldiers past and present.
#2 Ty Cobb – The “Georgia Peach” held the title of most career hits for almost half a century which at one time was thought of as an unbreakable task. Cobb, was not the most liked player in the game, but you can’t ignore his numbers. Cobb entered the Hall of Fame with 4,191 hits and a career average of .367.
#1 (tie) Pete Rose - The All Time Hit King. Just like Cobb, Rose wasn’t well-liked by many fellow ball players, but like Cobb as well, his numbers don’t lie.
These are just a few of the accomplishments from Peter Edward Rose’s career.
A Rose quote “I’d walk through hell in a gasoline suit to keep playing baseball.”
It almost seems that it is what he is going to have to do since being banned from baseball in 1989 because of a gambling controversy. Still today, Mr. Rose is not allowed in baseball or allowed into the hallowed grounds of the Hall of Fame.
#1 (tie) Hank Aaron – You cannot have a top ten hitters list and leave Hammerin' Hank Aaron off of your list. Hank hit for power and average and did both very well. Aaron finished his career with 3,771 hits, 755 home runs, and a average of .305. Pork chop was one of many nicknames he picked up thru out his career; this one coming while playing ball in the negro leagues, and only eating pork chops when he traveled with the team. Hank Aaron was still able to put up great numbers despite having to face racial issues even into the 1970’s. Sports Illustrated summed it up best with the following quote - "Is this to be the year in which Aaron, at the age of thirty-nine, takes a moon walk above one of the most hallowed individual records in American sport...? Or will it be remembered as the season in which Aaron, the most dignified of athletes, was besieged with hate mail and trapped by the cobwebs and goblins that lurk in baseball's attic?"
Top All-Time Hitters Honorable Mention:
By Bill Smith
More "baseball's best" articles from MLB Center & Por Baseball Fans include: