Baseball is a sport enjoyed by many, and often those who love the game can debate on who are the best players of all time. There have been thousands of baseball players throughout the years. Some were great, some were not so great. But only a select few can be considered the best of the best. Who are the best players in baseball history? This question has been asked for many years and likely will continue to be asked for many more.
Whether you’re a player, fan, or journalist, we hope this list provides some helpful information and inspiration. Who knows – maybe one day you’ll be able to say you were part of determining the top 10 baseball players of all time!
So, let’s get started with everyone’s favorite part, but remember that these players have not been arranged in any particular order of their merit.
1. Ted Williams (1918-2002)
Williams is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest hitters of all time. While he compiled impressive numbers in both his 20s and 30s, it’s probably fair to say that no player in history played entirely as he did during the 1941 season when the 36-year-old hit .406. He led the league in batting average, on-base percentage (.553), slugging percentage (.735), runs (131), hits (200), and total bases (364), becoming just the third player in history to reach .400. Not only was he named American League MVP, but when fans voted for who should be depicted on a commemorative silver dollar, they chose Williams over Babe Ruth.
2. Joe DiMaggio (1914-1999)
Joe DiMaggio was a New York Yankee from 1936 to 1951 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He was known for his durability and dominance in the outfield, where he became well-known for his graceful style. He retired with a .325 batting average and 361 home runs, which were both high at the time; he also held records for having more career hits than any other player after Ted Williams.
Does reading about such legends push you towards getting started with Baseball? You can learn more here.It’s never too late, and even if it is, it is better late than never.
3. Ty Cobb (1886-1961)
Ty Cobb spent 22 seasons playing baseball with the Detroit Tigers before retiring in 1928. Nicknamed “The Georgia Peach,” Cobb’s legacy took on mythic proportions over the years thanks to legends that have sprung up about Cobb’s violence and racism. As a ballplayer, however, the stories about Cobb are much more positive; he won 12 batting titles, including one at age 41 in 1928, when he hit .323. He also set numerous single-season records that remained unbroken until long after his death. The most notable of those was stealing 96 bases in 1915 (he broke his own record by swiping 98 the following year).
That’s not the only impressive stat that Cobb had, though. In addition to his high batting average, Cobb also averaged roughly 150 hits per season which is absolutely insane considering no other player in MLB history has been able to come close to doing what Ty Cobb did for so many years.
Cobb retired with a lifetime batting average of .366. However, it should be noted that this mark has been considered slightly “inflated” because walks were counted back then as hits for the purposes of determining averages.
4. Babe Ruth (1895-1948)
Babe Ruth is widely regarded as one of the best baseball players ever. Ruth had multiple career accomplishments that helped reshape the game in a significant way; his bombastic personality, in addition to his talent, saw him become an early icon in sports history. He is widely considered to be one of the best sluggers, if not the best slugger in history, and he helped improve baseball from a niche sport into something more mainstream. He was well known for his home run power, but he could also pitch pretty well too. Nobody should put him high on their list at all costs because you will likely get roasted by fellow fans who love this man’s talent and charisma as much as they do.
5. Hank Aaron (1934-Present)
Hank Aaron is widely regarded as one of the greatest baseball players ever. Aaron was a key figure in helping break the color barrier, and he had a record on his mantle for years until Barry Bonds broke it. Few can argue that he belongs among the best to have played.
Hank Aaron played for the Atlanta Braves throughout his major league career, from 1954 until 1976. He broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record on April 8, 1974, with 714 home runs. He was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1982 and later became a senior vice president with the Braves organization. Despite never winning an MVP award during his time on the field, many consider Aaron one of the best baseball players ever because of his incredible talent, work ethic, and sportsmanship.
6. Willie Mays (1931-Present)
Mays made an immediate impact when he first entered the league in 1951, quickly distinguishing himself as one of the top players in baseball. He was a fantastic athlete who could hit, run, throw, and most importantly, catch anything that came his way. He is considered by many to be perhaps the best defensive player of all time. His power at the plate made him one of the game’s greatest home run hitters as well. Mays combined talent with personality better than any other player who has ever played, which helped him become an early icon in sports history. His impact on the game cannot be understated, nor can his ability as a player be denied. He’s a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame for a reason.
7. Lou Gehrig (1903-1941)
The first baseman played his entire 13-year career with the New York Yankees. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1951, and he is also a member of the St. Louis Cardinals’ All-Century Team. Gehrig was often called “the Iron Horse” for his durability throughout his career. He led all American League players by appearing in 2130 consecutive games, extending from May 15, 1925, until June 1, 1938. Lou Gehrig holds many major league records, including most grand slams (23), RBIs in a single game (12), and most consecutive games played (2,130).
8. Jackie Robinson (1919–1972)
Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier when the Brooklyn Dodgers signed him in 1947. He became known as the first African American player in Major League Baseball since its integration in 1847 when Moses Fleetwood Walker played for Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association. Robinson led the team to six league championships and won one MVP award during his career. Today, he is widely considered as one of the greatest baseball players ever.
So who are the best baseball players in history? The list of potential candidates is extensive. However, some players clearly rise above the rest. We’ve attempted to look at career numbers and their overall impact on the game, and how they changed it for the better. So, what do you think? Who did we leave off this list? Did we get anything wrong? Feel free to give us your opinion in the comments section below!