Baseball is America’s national pastime, and throughout the sport’s storied history, there have been countless players who have left their mark on the game. From Babe Ruth to Willie Mays to Barry Bonds, the list of all-time greats is a long one. But who are the very best players to ever step onto a diamond? In this article, we’ll take a look at the top baseball players of all time and rank them based on their statistical achievements and overall impact on the game.
When it comes to baseball’s all-time greats, Babe Ruth is undoubtedly at the top of the list. The “Sultan of Swat” is considered one of the greatest hitters of all time, and his impact on the game is still felt to this day. During his 22-year career, Ruth hit a staggering 714 home runs, a record that stood for 39 years. He also had a career batting average of .342 and an on-base percentage of .474. Ruth’s power and ability to draw walks revolutionized the game, and he’s often credited with popularizing the home run as a means of scoring runs.
Willie Mays, also known as “The Say Hey Kid,” is widely regarded as one of the best all-around players in baseball history. Mays played for the New York Giants and San Francisco Giants for 22 seasons, and his statistics are truly impressive. He hit 660 home runs, had a career batting average of .302, and won 12 Gold Gloves for his defensive play in center field. Mays was also an excellent base runner, stealing 338 bases during his career. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1979 with the highest voting percentage ever (98.79%).
Barry Bonds is one of the most polarizing figures in baseball history, but there’s no denying his talent. Bonds is the all-time leader in home runs with 762 and also holds the single-season record with 73 in 2001. He also has a career on-base percentage of .444, and he won eight National League MVP awards during his career. Bonds’ achievements on the field are undeniable, but his association with performance-enhancing drugs has led to some debate about his legacy.
Hank Aaron is another player who is often mentioned in discussions about the best baseball players of all time. Aaron played for the Milwaukee Braves and Atlanta Braves for 23 seasons, hitting a total of 755 home runs, which was the record for 33 years. He also had a career batting average of .305 and an on-base percentage of .374. Aaron was also a solid defender, winning three Gold Gloves during his career. He’s widely considered one of the best right-handed hitters of all time.
Ty Cobb is one of the oldest players on this list, but his accomplishments are still impressive by today’s standards. Cobb played for the Detroit Tigers for 24 seasons, and his career statistics are truly remarkable. He has the highest career batting average of all time at .366, and he also stole 897 bases during his career. Cobb was also a ten-time American League batting champion and won the MVP award in 1911.
Walter Johnson is considered one of the greatest pitchers of all time, and his statistics certainly back up that claim. Johnson played for the Washington Senators for 21 seasons, and he has the most career shutouts (110) and the second-most career strikeouts (3,508) of any pitcher in baseball history. He also won 417 games, which is the most by a right-handed pitcher, and he had a career earned run average (ERA) of 2.17. Johnson was known for his powerful fastball, and he was the first player to strike out 3,000 batters in a career. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1936.
Cy Young is another pitcher who is often mentioned in discussions about the best baseball players of all time. Young played for five different teams during his 22-year career, and his statistics are truly impressive. He has the most career wins of any pitcher with 511, and he also has the most complete games with 749. Young also had a career ERA of 2.63, and he struck out 2,803 batters during his career. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1937.
Stan Musial is considered one of the best hitters in baseball history, and his statistics back up that claim. Musial played for the St. Louis Cardinals for 22 seasons, and he hit 475 home runs and had a career batting average of .331. He also won seven National League batting titles and was a three-time MVP. Musial was known for his consistency and his ability to hit for both power and average. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969.
Ted Williams is widely considered one of the best hitters of all time, and his statistics certainly back up that claim. Williams played for the Boston Red Sox for 19 seasons, and he has the highest career on-base percentage of any player in baseball history at .482. He also hit 521 home runs and had a career batting average of .344. Williams was a two-time MVP and a six-time American League batting champion. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1966.
Honus Wagner is considered one of the greatest shortstops of all time, and his statistics back up that claim. Wagner played for the Pittsburgh Pirates for 21 seasons, and he hit .328 for his career, which is the highest batting average of any shortstop in baseball history. He also hit 101 home runs and stole 723 bases during his career. Wagner was an eight-time National League batting champion and a four-time MVP. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1936.
Baseball has a rich history, and there have been countless players who have left their mark on the game. The players on this list are considered the best of the best. Their statistics and overall impact on the game are truly impressive. From Babe Ruth to Ty Cobb, these players have set the standard for what it means to be a great baseball player. Their legacies will live on forever in the annals of baseball history.