If that aroma of a freshly mowed lawn and the munching sound of the Cracker Jack reminds you of baseball, then this blog is for you. Being the national pastime of the United States, Baseball describes summer like nothing else. So step up to the plate and get ready for an exhilarating ride where we will take you through the history of baseball and talk about the legends who shattered records and ruled the hearts of millions of American fans.
As baseball enthusiasts, we often discuss the greatest baseball players of all time, from iconic sluggers to masterful pitchers. But as the game continues to change and evolve, it becomes difficult to rank the best Major League Baseball (MLB) players who have left a lasting impact with their perfect play. In this blog, we have curated the best baseball players known to possess the perfect blend of offence, defence, and situational play strategies.
10 Best MLB Players of All Time and Their Legacies
We shall now explore the best MLB players, their accomplishments, iconic feats and interesting trivia moments. These legends are more than simply athletes; they’re role models, stretching the bounds of human possibility and motivating future generations.
1. Babe Ruth
George Herman “Babe” Ruth was an American professional baseball player who played for 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), from 1914 through 1935. He started his Major League Baseball career as a brilliant left-handed pitcher with the Boston Red Sox, earning the nicknames “the Bambino” and “the Sultan of Swat.”
- Babe Ruth hit 29 home runs in 1919 and broke the Ned Williamson record for the most home runs in a season with 27. No one else scored 20 until he broke that mark the next year with 54.
- He led or tied the AL in home runs twelve times between 1918 and 1931. In that period, the Sultan of Swat smashed 602 long balls.
- Pitching 650 innings in 1916 and 1917 combined, he earned 47 wins and a 1.88 ERA before becoming a full-time outfielder.
Beyond Home Runs
- 12 times American League Home-run champions.
- The Baltimore Sun ranked him as the greatest Maryland athlete of all time in 2012.
- Voted the greatest New York Yankee of all time by DHL Hometown Heroes in 2006
Ruth was arrested in Manhattan on June 8, 1921, for speeding for the second time in a month—albeit just 26 miles per hour—and given a jail term that would keep her incarcerated for the remainder of the day.
2. Willie Mays
Willie Howard Mays Jr., known as “the Say Hey Kid,” is an American who played centre field in Major League Baseball (MLB) and is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. In 1948, Willie Mays began his baseball career as a player with the Birmingham Black Barons in the Negro Leagues.
- Mays is ranked second on most all-time lists, including ESPN and The Sporting News, only behind Babe Ruth.
- He finished his career with a batting average of .302 and 660 home runs.
- He won the National League Inaugural of the Year title in his inaugural season, in addition to hitting .274 with 20 home runs.
Beyond Home runs
- In 1954 and 1965, during his career, Mays was selected as the National League’s most valuable player (MVP).
- Mays was selected as an All-Star 20 times, showcasing his exceptional abilities.
- While playing centre field, he made a historic over-the-shoulder catch in the 1954 World Series that began on September 29, 1954, with Game 1 held at the Polo Grounds in New York.
When Willie Mays began donning the number 24 on his uniform, he became famous, and there was a myth going around that Mays loved Rickey Henderson so much that he wore the number 24 jersey.
3. Berry Bond
American retired professional Baseball left fielder Barry Lamar Bonds spent 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). From 1986 to 1992, Bonds was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates; from 1993 to 2007, he was a member of the San Francisco Giants.
- With 762 home runs, including a single-season record of 73 in 2001, he currently holds the record.
- His unprecedented seven career MVP trophies are proof of his supremacy in the game.
- His 688 deliberate walks are more than twice as many as the individual with the second-highest total in baseball history.
Beyond Home runs
- In addition to holding the record for most home runs ever, Bonds is a select member of the 500-homer, 500-steal club.
- Bonds achieved an incredible 232 walks in 2004—120 of which were deliberate. Bonds’s plate discipline and offensive ability were demonstrated by his ability to reach base via walks.
- Became the only player in history in 2004 to have played more at-bats (376) than there were in total (373). This resulted from a record number of walks, which are considered plate appearances and time on base but not at-bats.
Barry Bonds is not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame despite having a stellar career. The reason for this is that he did not secure the requisite proportion of votes to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
4. Ty Cobb
Known by his nickname “the Georgia Peach,” Tyrus Raymond Cobb was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) centre fielder who played for the Detroit Tigers for 22 seasons and is one of the best baseball players of all time. He concluded his career with the Philadelphia Athletics.
- Ty Cobb set an amazing hitting record while he was a member of the Detroit Tigers 300 or higher in 23 straight seasons, a run that lasted from 1906 to 1928.
- With an astounding 897 stolen bases over his career, Cobb ranks fourth in career stolen bases.
- His twelve batting titles demonstrate his supremacy as one of the best hitters in the league.
Beyond Home runs
- Cobb led the league in runs batted in (107), home runs (9), and batting average (.377) in 1909 to win the Triple Crown.
- With a lifetime average of .366, Cobb has the highest career batting average in Major League Baseball history.
- When Cobb retired, he had amassed 4,189 hits in his career.
During his era, he was the highest-paid player in the game. He invested his money early in Coca-Cola and United Motors. Cobb’s estimated net worth at the time of his passing was $12 million.
5. Hank Aaron
Known by his nicknames Hammer or Hammerin’ Hank, Henry Louis Aaron spent 23 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a designated hitter and right fielder. He played two seasons in the American League (AL) with the Milwaukee Brewers and twenty-one seasons in the National League (NL) with the Milwaukee / Atlanta Braves.
- In his first year of eligibility, 1982, Aaron was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- With 2,297 RBIs, he ranks among the all-time leaders, which is a testament to his reliability.
- Aaron was recognized in the design of the Braves’ 2021 World Series championship ring, which features 44 emerald-cut diamonds to symbolize Aaron’s Braves uniform number and 755 total diamonds to celebrate Aaron’s career home runs.
Beyond Home runs
- Major League Baseball established the Hank Aaron Award in 1999 to recognize Aaron’s achievements in Baseball and to mark the 25th anniversary of Aaron’s surpassing Babe Ruth’s career home run record of 714 home runs.
- On January 8, 2001, President Bill Clinton gave Aaron the Presidential Citizens Medal.
- The highest civilian honour in the nation, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, was given to him by President George W. Bush in June 2002.
During the 1973–1974 offseason, Aaron received a lot of hate mail and death threats from those who did not want to see Aaron surpass Ruth’s almost infallible home run record. The threats also went out to journalists who wrote favourable stories on Aaron.
6. Ted Williams
Theodore Samuel Williams was an American professional baseball player and manager who played his whole 19-year career for the Boston Red Sox, mostly as a left fielder, from 1939 to 1960. He goes by several nicknames, including “Teddy Ballgame,” “the Kid,” “the Splendid Splinter,” and “the Thumper.”
- Williams has a higher career batting average than Babe Ruth (.342), with an amazing .344. In addition, his .482 on-base percentage is the highest in history.
- Ted Williams won the Triple Crown twice and was a six-time batting champion.
- The highest civilian honour in the nation, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, was given to Williams by President George H. W. Bush in 1991.
Beyond Home runs
- Williams was the highest-ranked left fielder on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 greatest baseball players in 1999, coming in at number eight.
- Williams was among 37 Baseball Hall of Fame members recognized in 2013 for his World War II service in the United States Marine Corps by the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award.
- With a stunning 1,839 runs batted in (RBIs) and 521 career home runs, Ted Williams was renowned for his strength at the plate.
It is believed that Williams’ desire to be cryogenically frozen was reportedly influenced by his atheism. On this, Claudia, his daughter, expresses that it was comparable to a religion, something we could trust in, much like the idea that one would see their loved ones again in paradise.
7. Lou Gehrig
Henry Louis Gehrig, an American professional baseball first baseman who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees (1923–1939), is celebrated as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He is renowned for his exceptional strength and longevity, which earned him the nickname “the Iron Horse” in the world of baseball.
- In 1999, fans voted to choose the Major League Baseball All-Century Team, and Gehrig was the player with the most votes, sixty years after bidding adieu to Baseball.
- Gehrig was placed sixth on the Sporting News “Baseball’s 100 Greatest Players” list in 1999 by the editors.
- Won six times World Series championships.
Beyond Home runs
- He is a seven-time winner of Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
- The first player in history to reach 400 base totals in five different seasons.
- His parting speech on July 4, 1939, was picked by fans as the fifth-greatest moment in Major League Baseball history in 2002.
Film Producers sought to find a replacement for Johnny Weissmuller, who had been playing Tarzan for several years, and Lou Gehrig got a chance to travel to Hollywood for this role. But he was rejected.
8. Walter Johnson
Called “Barney” and “The Big Train” by his peers, Walter Perry Johnson was an American manager and professional baseball player. From 1907 to 1927, he spent his whole 21-year Major League Baseball career as a right-handed pitcher for the Washington Senators. He is regarded as the greatest baseball player of all time for his several outstanding records.
- The two-time MVP, known as the Chalmers Award when he first won it in 1913, became only the second pitcher, after Rube Waddell, to record 300 strikeouts in a single season.
- In 1925, he hit two home runs in a single game and finished his career with a batting average of .235.
- Walter Johnson amassed an incredible record of 110 shutouts, which remains unbroken in Major League Baseball, and a career ERA of 2.17.
Beyond Home runs
- Johnson set a record for the most strikeouts in a career with 3,509 during his career. He was a true ace on the mound because of his capacity to accumulate strikeouts while keeping his ERA low.
- In 1925, he hit two home runs in a single game and finished his career with a batting average of.235.
- For most of his career, he consistently produced strong .315/.435/.550 rates. In 1960, he even concluded his career with a remarkable.316/.451/.645 performance.
As one of the “first five” original members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Johnson was chosen in 1936. His name has come to be associated with friendly competition, and he is still regarded as a model of excellent sportsmanship because of his famous gentle disposition.
9. Stan Musial
The nickname “Stan the Man” refers to Stanley Frank Musial, an American baseball outfielder who is regarded as the best MLB player of all time. Stan Musial played for the St. Louis Cardinals for 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), from 1946 to 1963 and from 1941 to 1944.
- His three National League MVP titles and twenty-four All-Star selections highlight his hitting prowess.
- With 3,630 career hits, Musial joins an exclusive group of hitters with over 3,000 hits, demonstrating his longevity.
- Stan Musial, who had a career batting average of .331 and 475 home runs, possessed a combination of power and contact hitting.
Beyond Home runs
- He was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame in 1989.
- He won the batting title seven times, was a member of three World Series-winning teams, and was three times selected as the National League’s (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP).
- Along with Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, he holds the Major League record for the most All-Star Games played.
It may come as a surprise that Baseball was not Musial’s first sport; gymnastics was. He was a talented tumbler, and his early training made him more nimble as a base runner and fielder, according to author Joseph Stanton.
10. Roger Clemens
William Roger Clemens, also known by his nickname “Rocket,” is an American who spent 24 seasons as a Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher, mostly with the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, and Boston Red Sox. He was well known for his intense competitive spirit and intimidating, hard-throwing pitching technique.
- Clemens had won two pitching triple crowns, an MVP award, and seven Cy Young Awards.
- Along with his 11 All-Star selections, he has earned five Sporting News Pitcher of the Year Awards, and in 1986, he was awarded the All-Star MVP.
- He is also the sixth player in big league history to achieve 1,000 or more strikeouts. Clemens has 2,590 strike totals to his credit.
Beyond Home runs
- With an incredible 4,672 strikeouts in his career, good for third place on the all-time strikeout list, he led the league in strikeouts five times.
- On June 21, 2019, Clemens was inducted into the Pawtucket Red Sox Hall of Fame after first being inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2014.
- Clemens was included in Sports Illustrated’s “all-time” squad in October 2006.
The Mitchell Report claimed that Roger Clemens had used anabolic steroids in his later career, primarily based on testimony from Brian McNamee, his former trainer. Under oath before the US Congress, Roger Clemens categorically refuted these accusations, which prompted congressional leaders to refer his case to the Justice Department on the grounds of possible perjury.
These greatest baseball players have made a lasting impression, from Babe Ruth’s soaring home runs to Willie Mays’ gravity-defying catches, from Ty Cobb’s unmatched hitting to Hank Aaron’s ground-breaking victories. Their tales capture the steadfast spirit of the game in a way that goes beyond numbers. These players serve as a constant reminder that Baseball is more than just a game—it’s a living legacy—thanks to the unbreakable records they set, the exhilarating moments they produced, and the social barriers they broke.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Question 1: Who was the best baseball player in history?
Answer: Babe Ruth is honoured for both his early success as a pitcher and his amazing hitting prowess. His ability to hit home runs was exceptional, and over his career, he broke multiple records for the most home runs in a season and career.
Question 2: Who is the highest-paid player in the MLB?
Answer: The MLB player with the highest salary is Mike Trout. He and the Los Angeles Angels agreed to a contract extension that was reportedly worth $426.5 million in total over the length of the deal.
Question 3: Is Ohtani the greatest of all time?
Answer: Yes. Shohei Ohtani is considered to be the greatest of all time. This Japanese player pitches and hits well. His exceptional two-way abilities earned him the title of American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2021.
Question 4: How many baseball players have 700 hours?
Answer: Eight players have hit 700 or more home runs in their lifetime, according to the Major League Baseball career. They are Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., and Jim Thome.