Every sport in existence has had players who have revolutionized the sport. Basketball had Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and today LeBron James, field hockey had Wayne Gretzky, golf had Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. We could go on and on listing the sports that have made their mark. But what about baseball, the sport we are so passionate about? At Coppel Cowboys Baseball, we thought we’d list the top ten baseball players of all time. It was far from easy, some decisions might make you cringe, but here are our top five players of all time!
#1 – Babe Ruth
How could we not put the man who was nicknamed The Bambino at the top of this ranking of the best players in baseball? Just look at Babe Ruth’s statistics to see the impact he has had on baseball: over his 21 seasons in the MLB, The Mass has seven World Series wins (three with the Boston Red Sox and four with the New York Yankees), 2,503 games played, 2,217 runs scored, a .342 batting average, which puts him in ninth place among the best batting averages. And to emphasize the importance of the player to his team, after he left Boston for New York, the Red Sox had to wait 86 years to win the World Series again, which is known as the “Curse of the Bambino.”
With a long and successful career, he was one of the first players inducted into the prestigious Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. And to top it all off, of the 194 records set by Babe Ruth, 53 still stand to this day.
#2 – Willie Mays
The man who was nicknamed The Say Hey Kid was at the top of the MLB for 22 seasons, between 1951 and 1973. The time for him to be named 24 times All-Star of the MLB, where only Hank Aaron does better with 25 and 12 Golden Glove Awards, a record for an outfielder. In his first season, he was named Rookie of the Year. He won the World Series only once, in 1954, with the New York Giants, but in such a way. He and his team easily defeated the Cleveland Indians, where Mays made his mark by striking out Vic Wertz by catching the ball unexpectedly, a move that made baseball history, nicknamed The Catch.
He retired in 1974 after playing nearly 3,000 games. To this day, he still has the most strikeouts, with 7,095. He also joined the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, with 95% of the votes.
#3 – Barry Bonds
When your godfather is Willie Mays, you’re off to a great start in your career. And the least we can say is that Bonds did his godfather proud! Yes, he never won a World Series, but the impact he had on the game is simply unmatched.
Bonds has always been recognized as the ultimate all-around player. He was named National League MVP seven times, won the Silver Slugger Award for best offensive player 12 times, and won eight Golden Glove Awards for best defensive player! It’s hard to get more complete than that! On top of that, Barry Bonds holds the record for most career home runs, with 762, and the record for most home runs in a season (71 in the 2001 season). And yet, Bonds is still not in the Baseball Hall of Fame, due to some extra-athletic setbacks.
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#4 – Ted Williams
When a player chooses to spend his entire career in one franchise, and on top of that he succeeds, that’s all it takes to be in this top! This is the case of Ted Williams, who played for 19 years with the Boston Red Sox.
As soon as he arrived in the big league in 1939, the one nicknamed Teddy Ballgame immediately established himself as one of the best batters in the MLB. In 1941, he had a .406 batting average, which has never been achieved since. He finished his career with a .344 average, the seventh best average in history. With numerous All-Star selections, home runs galore and an induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966, the only title missing from Ted Williams’ record is the World Series, which he played in only once, in 1946.
#5 – Hank Aaron
When you can break a record set by the great Babe Ruth, it automatically guarantees you a place in the top tier of players in history. But beyond that, Hank Aaron had a successful career in an era when being black in a major league sport in the United States was complicated.
Throughout his 23 seasons in MLB, Aaron won the World Series once, in 1957 against the defending champion New York Yankees. He holds several records that still stand, such as the most RBIs, ahead of legend Babe Ruth.
His struggle off the field is also remarkable. A longtime victim of racism, he immediately became involved in the fight for equal rights.