Top 10 Best Baseball Players of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Babe Ruth George Herman Ruth Jr., better known as Babe Ruth, was an American professional baseball player whose career in Major League Baseball spanned 22 seasons, from 1914 through 1935.

If one looks at just the ridiculous numbers alone (hitting and pitching), there can be little doubt about Ruth being the best ever. If it's by the numbers, it's not even close. Yes, Aaron caught and passed the HR record, and it was a monumental achievement, but Ruth set the standard for HR hitters in an era when hitting HRs was still an anomaly.

I've heard many arguments against The Bambino by both the uninformed and the exceptionally well-informed. I must admit, some of the well-informed have given me pause, as the overall pitching talent in Ruth's era was not up to today's standards. In fact, it was not up to 1960s MLB standards. Were there starters throwing at 95-105 mph? There were not. Were there relievers throwing cut fastballs at similar speeds that cut sharply as they approached the plate? There were not.

The players in Ruth's era were not the great athletes, on both sides of the diamond, that we've seen in baseball since at least the '70s and probably much farther back. But we can't project how Ruth and others of his era would have fared against modern pitchers. It's simply not an accurate accounting.

Was Ruth a great athlete? I think it's obvious, even by his day's standards, that he was not. But we simply can't compare. Ruth could smack the heck out of a baseball, plain and simple. His numbers across offensive categories are crazy and untouchable. Numbers vs. numbers (outside the juiced ball and player era), he is the greatest hitter the game has ever seen.

2 Willie Mays Willie Howard Mays Jr., nicknamed "The Say Hey Kid," was an American Major League Baseball center fielder who spent almost all of his 22-season career playing for the New York/San Francisco Giants before finishing with the New York Mets.

Willie Mays was the best all-around baseball player ever. The guy could do everything at an elite level. Hank Aaron would be next in line. He was another great all-around player who hit all his home runs "legitimately." I would place Ruth at three. The guy was an excellent power hitter, but not a great all-around player.

Mays, Aaron, and Ruth are my top three. Mays and Aaron were tremendous all-around athletes. Ruth was a great power hitter but wasn't a five-tool talent.

Lou Gehrig, Albert Pujols, and Ted Williams should get consideration for the top five. All were outstanding players of their eras.

3 Hank Aaron Henry Louis Aaron, nicknamed "Hammer" or "Hammerin' Hank", was an American Major League Baseball right fielder who served as the senior vice president of the Atlanta Braves.

I think Aaron should be ranked above Willie Mays because Aaron was three times better than Mays. True, he never hit 50 home runs in a season, but he had many seasons with 40 home runs. What's surprising is that even though Hank Aaron had more total bases than anyone else, he had a lower slugging percentage than guys like Mays, Hank Greenberg, and Ted Williams.

While Babe Ruth was a great player, Aaron was the greatest hitter of all time. Ruth excelled as both a hitter and a pitcher, but Aaron was a great all-around player. If you take away all of his 755 home runs, he would still have 3,000 career hits. This is because he had 3,771 hits in his career. Subtract the total number of home runs from that, and he would have 3,016 hits.

Aaron also had a large number of doubles and nearly 100 triples in his career. In terms of power, he surpassed both Ruth and Mays. I believe he would still hold the home run record, as I don't think Barry Bonds deserves it.

When Bonds was with the Pirates, he was slim and a really good player, but not exceptional. Once he left Pittsburgh, his home run totals started to increase each year, and he began breaking all sorts of records. I'm a big Pirates fan, and both I and many others in Pittsburgh dislike Bonds. I think he should have been suspended for using steroids.

4 Ted Williams

Ted Williams has the highest OBP ever. He would have had the best OBP season if not for a cheater named Barry Bonds. He would have beaten Ruth's home run record if he hadn't gone to WWII and the Korean War. He hit everything. He drew a ton of walks, only behind Bonds and two players who played a lot more than him.

His rookie season was amazing. He led the league in RBIs and extra-base hits, came second in total bases and runs scored, and was up on the list in every other hitting category except for batting average. His 1940 season was also great. 1941 doesn't even have to be discussed. Every season after that was also great. He homered in his last at-bat. An all-time great without a doubt. Incredible seasons. Incredible career. Williams was the greatest hitter of all time. He was also the greatest player.

5 Ty Cobb

Cobb is number one, end of debate. Look at just about every offensive statistical category out there, and this Tiger great retired atop or near the top of almost all of them. Who else can say that? Ruth? No. Bonds? No. Mays? No. Aaron? No. Rose? No. How many of these guys hit over .400? None. Cobb did it three different times.

Cobb also retired near the top of the all-time putouts and assists records for outfielders, so he wasn't just a great hitter who couldn't play defense. I don't know what the official "criteria or template" is to determine who the greatest player ever is, but there isn't a single player who excelled in more areas of the game than Ty Cobb.

6 Lou Gehrig Henry Louis Gehrig, nicknamed "the Iron Horse", was an American baseball first baseman who played his entire professional career in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees, from 1923 until 1939. Gehrig was renowned for his prowess as a hitter and for his durability, which earned him his nickname... read more

If Gehrig hadn't gotten sick and continued on his trajectory, he would have broken all of Ruth's records and would be considered the gold standard bearer of baseball. He did it all: played sick, hurt, and in the shadow of Ruth, but still made an indelible name for himself.

He was the best. He played better than most here while having ALS and not knowing it until he finally started having severe muscle weakness and was only then diagnosed with the disease. The average lifespan with ALS is three years after diagnosis. Many people have it for years before being diagnosed.

7 Mickey Mantle

Mickey Mantle is easily in the top three list of the greatest baseball players of all time. Had he been healthy throughout his illustrious career, there is little doubt that he would have hit 800 or more home runs. He was unquestionably the most powerful home run hitter ever, the fastest player ever, especially to first base. He could do it all!

In my view, he was a better player than Mays and Aaron. If Mantle had played in a smaller ballpark, like Ebbets Field or Wrigley Field, he likely would have hit 100 home runs in a season! Perhaps, close to 1,000 for his career!

8 Ken Griffey Jr. George Kenneth Griffey Jr. nicknamed "Junior" and "The Kid", is an American former professional baseball outfielder who played 22 years in Major League Baseball.

Think about this: look at his numbers now and consider that he had five prime years taken away from him. There is no doubt about it. He would have literally had every record in the book - home runs, RBIs, hits, and maybe Gold Gloves. He also changed the way baseball was marketed, similar to the way Magic Johnson and Larry Bird did in the NBA. He made baseball relevant and cool again.

And forget Bonds and everyone else. He was the best player of his generation. Not to mention, he just received the highest voting percentage in the history of the Hall of Fame. What does that tell you?

9 Jackie Robinson Jack Roosevelt Robinson was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era.

I could easily vote for Willie Mays, but no baseball player changed the game today, made everyone play together, not separated, like Jackie Robinson did. He earns everyone's respect. As a Giants fan, I think Jackie Robinson should be the only athlete in the world to be idolized because of what he did.

The pain he went through alone tells you that he's a revolutionary athlete. He's the grandfather of modern sports. Without him, there would only be white players in MLB, and not just MLB, but in all other professional sports as well. Because he broke the color barrier, history has changed forever. Thank you, Jackie Robinson.

10 Walter Johnson

No doubt, Walter Johnson was the better pitcher between himself and Cy Young. I have read probably 25 biographies of Hall of Famers, mostly notable hitters from the 1880s to the 1930s. All of them spoke of Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson. Not one mentioned how tough it was hitting off Cy Young.

Plus, the guy pitched nearly every other game, giving him more opportunities to win games. Just imagine how many games Walter could have won if he were not in a three or four-man rotation.

The greatest pitcher ever, and remember, pitching is 90% of the game. Don't get starstruck by the Babe's homers or Ty's hits. Johnson did more for his team than any other player.

For an entire decade (1910-1919), he won 265 games, which was 34% of all the games won by the Senators. He won a total of 417 games as a Senator. No pitcher or ballplayer was more valuable to their team.

The Contenders
11 Honus Wagner

The only players who should be above Wagner are Ruth and Gehrig. For Pujols to be above him is sacrilege. This list is a joke.

WAGNER: One of the greatest hitters of all time, one of the greatest fielding shortstops of all time, could pitch a few quality innings if needed. A true gentleman, an extremely positive presence in the clubhouse.

Wagner is by far the greatest SS in history. Rogers Hornsby at 2B, Mike Schmidt at 3B, Gehrig at 1B, Johnny Bench at C, Mays, Ruth, T. Williams, and Cobb, with Aaron too - 5 OF. I think juicer stats are a joke. Palmeiro had as much power as Mark Grace until he juiced up. Look at ARod's juiced years in Texas. Bonds, Sosa, and McGuire looked like swollen up freaks as they juiced up for 5-10 years. All juicers should be on a separate record list and have asterisks. NONE should ever be in the HOF, ESPECIALLY BONDS, whose stats in the last 10 years are ludicrous, bizarre, and out of keeping with his first 10 years. He may be the original juicer. Look at the laughable list of bums who hit 45-50 HR a year in the juicer era. The leadoff hitter for the Orioles hit 51 HR.

12 Stan Musial

The most balanced hitter of all time should not be stuck at number 13. The guy had the exact same number of hits on the road as he did at home in his career. That is the definition of balance when it is used in this sense.

A 24-time All-Star (there were two years, the first two of his career, where he was elected twice because, back at that point in baseball history, there was a spring all-star game and a fall all-star game. This changed after his second year), a WWII veteran (during his playing career), a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, and one of the nicest and most down-to-earth ballplayers that you could've met: this man deserves to be higher on this list.

13 Albert Pujols José Alberto Pujols Alcántara is a Dominican American professional baseball first baseman for the Los Angeles Angels of Major League Baseball.

Albert's first 11 seasons in MLB are the best 11-year stretch in MLB history, which alone should put him in the top 10. If it wasn't for that juicehead Bonds, Pujols would easily have six or seven MVP awards.

His accomplishments get overlooked because his era was tainted due to cheaters like Bonds, Sosa, A-Rod, Manny, etc. Also, he's the nicest human being I've ever met.

Even Lou Gehrig did not match the consistency of performance that Albert Pujols has demonstrated over his first 10 years in MLB. Albert has not benefited from having the level of players around him that Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig had.

In his early years, Albert had McGwire, Rollins, and Edmonds. Currently, he has Holliday, Rasmus, and Ludwick. These do not match up with the players Ruth and Gehrig had on their teams.

14 Pete Rose

Who cares if he gambled? At least he was a tough ball player and was not afraid to get his shoes dirty, unlike players now who are traded to different teams every couple of years. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, not like Cal Ripken Jr., who nobody even knows about or gives a hoot about.

I know a lot about baseball, and my statement is very true. I am not saying Pete Rose should be first place, but at least give him third place or something like that.

Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. MLB is turning into the NCAA, portraying themselves as holier-than-thou. If you removed all the players from the Hall of Fame due to infractions that are a detriment to the game, there wouldn't be many left. Rose is arguably the most consistent player of all time, though not the greatest.

15 Joe DiMaggio Joseph Paul DiMaggio, nicknamed "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper", was an American baseball center fielder who played his entire 13-year career in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees.

DiMaggio - 13? His 56-game hitting streak will never be broken. He played for 13 years, with 3 MVP wins, and made the All-Star game every year. He won the World Series 9 times with 10 pennants. He was one of the greatest fielders to play, and he had more home runs than strikeouts.

Furthermore, his hitting was phenomenal. He led the AL in home runs and RBIs twice and was the AL batting champion two times. He even stood out outside of baseball: he married Marilyn Monroe, went to war, got shot in his wrist, and proceeded to make the All-Star game again. He should not be number 1 but somewhere in the top 5!

16 Barry Bonds Barry Lamar Bonds is an American former professional baseball left fielder who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants.

Let's look at his situation logically. Early in Barry's career, more specifically in the late '80s to early '90s, he was hitting 40 home runs and stealing 40 bases a year, all while striking out less than 100 times per year. This was when he was at least 50 lbs lighter than his 2001 physique (i.e., pre-steroids). We cannot discredit his athletic achievements solely on the fact that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

In the early 2000s, we saw his home run totals drastically rise and his stolen base numbers fall as he transitioned to more of a pure power hitter. This man's strength was unreal - look no further than his home run against Troy Percival in the 2002 World Series. He was one of the greatest players of all time.

17 Sandy Koufax

One game. Game 7 of the World Series, or even if the future of the planet hangs in the balance. You can choose any pitcher in their absolute prime. This is the guy you choose, period.

If your life depended on the outcome of a baseball game, you would want Sandy Koufax to pitch for you.

Sandy Koufax was the most dominant pitcher over a five-year period than at any other time in the game.

18 Roberto Clemente Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker was a Puerto Rican professional baseball right fielder who played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

To play baseball, you need a glove. Roberto Clemente has 12 Gold Gloves, the most for an outfielder. He was simply the Great One in the outfield. To play baseball, you also need a bat. Roberto Clemente amassed 3,000 hits because a tragedy ended his career early. He was the first member of that prestigious 3,000 club that every baseball player aspires to join.

He had an all-time .317 batting average, including 4 batting titles, with two of them being .351 and .357 averages. Not to mention his 12 All-Star selections, 1966 NL MVP, 1971 World Series MVP, and two World Series Championships. His number 21 needs to be the second number retired across the entire MLB. Robinson and Clemente. Roberto Clemente lived greatly, played greatly, and died greatly. Roberto Clemente is simply, the GREATEST ONE in baseball.

19 Greg Maddux

I think Cy Young created this award for Maddux. He certainly won his share. He pitched like David Copperfield - now you see it, now you don't. A great competitor.

If you're going to put Greg Maddux on this list, you have to include Tom Glavine as well. They were the best Braves pitchers and maybe the best pitchers of all time. And yes, I'm a Braves fan.

Maddux was incredible, considering he didn't throw more than 90 mph. He revolutionized pitching with his multitude of pitches, grips, and finger pressure. A great fielder with great numbers on great teams! Hall of Fame - YES. Top 25 - YES.

20 Tony Gwynn

The Derek Jeter of the West Coast as far as being a person. A great hitter. Never played with a winner but was a winner himself.

Gwynn was a great player and a great person, an amazing athlete. He could hit for average and could have been the last player to hit .400 if it wasn't for the strike.

21 Satchel Paige

Satchel Paige is the greatest pitcher of all time, period! Remember, the Negro League was competitive, and he dominated players like Robinson, Campanella, and others. Mickey Mantle said that Paige was the best pitcher he ever faced.

I'd like to see the pitchers above him on this list pitch at age 50.

Paige is a genuine legend! He played ball 12 months a year and was an MLB "rookie" in his 40s. He dominated batters effortlessly.

We'll never know, but this is without a doubt, way too low.

22 Derek Jeter Derek Sanderson Jeter is an American former professional baseball shortstop, current businessman and baseball executive who is the chief executive officer and part owner of the Miami Marlins of Major League Baseball.

I've been a Yankees fan all my life. Jeter is a winner, but he is not even close to being the best Yankee. He wasn't even the best shortstop of his era, or the second best. He had decent range, not great. He had an accurate but so-so arm. For a 6'3 guy, he had little power.

But, he had all the intangibles and played the game intelligently. An incredibly hard worker and as humble a superstar as you'll ever find. Playing in New York helped his star power, and he got 5 rings because he was an integral part of some GREAT teams. Hall of Fame - NO DOUBT. Best Yankee ever - NO WAY. Top 25 players all-time - BIG ARGUMENT.

23 Ricky Henderson

The best leadoff man in history. There will be players who eventually break the home run record by Bonds, the all-time hits by Rose, and maybe even the 56-game hitting streak by DiMaggio. But no one will ever come close to the stolen base record. Turning a single or walk into a double and getting into scoring position must have driven opposing managers crazy.

He made pitchers focus on him when on base, which was a complete distraction from what the pitcher's main focus should have been - the hitter. Easily top 5 all-time.

24 Johnny Bench

When people think of great baseball players, the catcher doesn't usually come to mind first. It should. I am going to argue that it's the hardest position to play well. And Bench played it exceedingly well. He definitely should be in the top 15 because he is that good.

Also, catcher is my favorite position in baseball.

Johnny Bench should be ranked above Mickey Mantle. Mantle was great, but Johnny Bench was not only a good hitter, he was likely the best catcher of all time. He was a leader and positively influenced other players.

25 Bob Gibson

Listen to player/broadcasters from that era. They speak in complete awe of this man. A fierce competitor. One of the greatest clutch World Series pitchers of all time. It is a joke that he is so low on this list, behind some guys who aren't even the best of their era, let alone all time.

If I want to win a game, Bob Gibson is my starter. I saw him pitch three or four times at Shea Stadium. You knew the game was going to be over in about two hours or less. I could list stats, but it was the intangibles that made him one of the greatest. No batter wanted to face him.

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