Baseball’s Greatest Hitters
Baseball is one of the most popular sports in America. Evolving from bat and ball games played in England, it has now gained world renown and stands as one of the most famous games in the world. As with anything famous, it is greatly discussed. From measured statistics to personal opinion, any fan has something to contribute.
As such, it has become harder and harder over time to point out baseball’s best players, although some consensus has been reached on most top-rankers. Like all games, the most attention is placed on the position that brings the team to victory. In baseball, that is the batter (hitter). Their performance and success can be measured in specific metrics, which include:
· Batting Average: A number between zero (000) and one (1.000) obtained by dividing a player’s hits by his at-bats, the number of turns they have taken batting against the pitcher.
· Hits: When the batter hits the baseball into fair territory, reaching base without an error or having it be a fielder’s choice.
· Home Runs: Hitting the ball in a way that enables the hitter to circle to all bases and back to home plate
· RBI’s (Runs Batted in): A metric that credits a batter for playing a move that allows a run to be scored by himself or other team members.
In MLB (Major League Baseball), the top-tier professional playing platform, many have achieved greatness, but only a few have made it to the hall of fame. Our rankings of baseball’s greatest hitters in history include:
10. Albert Pujols
Batting Average: .300 Hits: 3,202 Home Runs: 656 RBIs: 2,075
Dominican-born José Alberto Pujols Alcántara went into baseball early thanks to his father, a popular pitcher in the Dominican Republic. He made a name for himself in high school and college baseball, joining the major league and playing for The Cardinals. He was a shoo-in for the 2001 National League Rookie of the Year award, was twice runner-up for the MVP award (2002 and 2003), and won it in 2005.
9. Pete Rose
Batting Average: .303 Hits: 4,256 Home Runs: 160 RBIs: 1,314
Peter Edward Rose started playing at age eight and was groomed to be both a right and left batter. He joined the major league playing for the Cincinnati Reds and was named Rookie of the year at the end of his joining season. He became MVP in 1973, his finest year, and later helped the Philadelphia Phillies win the World Series in 1980.
8. Willie Mays
Batting Average: .302 Hits: 3,283 Home Runs: 660 RBIs: 1,903
Willie Howard Mays, aka the ‘Say Hey Kid,’ started playing professional baseball soon after the color ban (a discriminative law restricting people of color from notably taking part in several activities, including sports), standing out as an exceptional batter and fielder.
He played in the Major League for the New York Giants, being named ‘Rookie of the Year at the end of that very season. Another accolade of his is being named an All-Star in 20 of a total of 22 seasons in his career.
7. Stan Musial
Batting Average: .331 Hits: 3,630 Home Runs: 475 RBIs: 1,951
Stanley Frank Musial, popularly known as ‘Stan the Man,’ showed great baseball talent from a young age, signing his first professional contract when he was still in high school. He made his professional debut playing for the Cardinals, playing a major role in their 1942 World Series victory. He attained the MVP (Most Valuable Player) award thrice throughout his career, winning the first at age 22.
6. Tris Speaker
Batting Average: .345 Hits: 3,514 Home Runs: 117 RBIs: 1,529
Tristram E. Speaker, also known as ‘Spoke’ or ‘The Grey Eagle,’ was possibly one of the best center fielders in Major League Baseball history. His batting average ranks number four in the hall of fame. His major league debut began with the Boston Red Sox, which he led to victory in the World Series championships in 1912 and 1915.
5. Hank Aaron
Batting Average: .305 Hits: 3,771 Home Runs: 755 RBIs: 2,297
Henry Louis Aaron began his professional career in 1952, playing for the Indianapolis Clowns and the Boston Braves. Two years later, he moved to the majors playing for the Braves. During his career, he broke several MLB records for hitting, RBIs, extra-base hits, and total bases.
He even overtook Babe Ruth’s career home run record for 33 years. MLB still recognizes his feats, naming an award after him – The Hank Aaron Award, which is given to the league’s most dominant offensive player. A true class act and one of baseball’s greatest hitters.
Batting Average: .358 Hits: 2,930 Home Runs: 301 RBIs: 1,584
Also known as ‘The Rajah,’ this youngest sibling of six made his MLB debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1915 at the age of 19. His lifetime batting average of .358 comes second only to Ty Cobb, thanks to his notably powerful swings.
3. Ted Williams
Batting Average: .344 Hits: 2,654 Home Runs: 521 RBIs: 1,839
Nicknamed ‘The Kid’ for his boyish looks, Theodore Samuel Williams showed great talent for the game as a child, gaining popularity in his youth to eventually join up with the Red Sox in 1939. To this day, he still holds the highest batting average in MLB history, with a base percentage of .482.
2. Babe Ruth
Batting Average: .342 Hits: 2,873 Home Runs: 714 RBIs: 2,213
This burly hitter with a shrouded past made his debut in the MLB playing as a pitcher for the Red Sox and was later bought by the New York Yankees. He went on to break the American League record for most home runs in a single season. For this, he is still lauded as one of the greatest baseball players in history.
1. Ty Cobb
Batting Average: .367 Hits: 4,191 Home Runs: 117 RBIs: 1,938
Tyrus Raymond Cobb, also known as ‘The Georgia Peach,’ made his debut in professional baseball at the age of 18, playing for the Detroit Tigers. His aggressive nature on the pitch drove him to be among the greatest, still holding records that have been unbeaten to date (highest batting average and 12 career batting titles.) This earns him the top spot on my baseball’s greatest hitters list.
- Barry Bonds
- Tony Gwynn
- Ichiro Suzuki
- Mickey Mantle
- Mike Trout
- Manny Ramirez
- Derek Jeter
- Jackie Robinson
- Miguel Cabrera
- Rod Carew
- “Shoeless” Joe Jackson
- Honus Wagner
Although many have achieved greatness in MLB, only a few have made it to the hall of fame and attained the level of success these men accomplished. Some of the greatest ballplayers include Deadball era greats such as Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth, and others.
While also including more modern players such as Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Derek Jeter, and others. These players will always be remembered for their impressive hitting statistics, individual awards, championships, and contributions to the game. Who is on your list of baseball’s greatest hitters? Let me know in the comments below!