By Jordan Underwood
With baseball season returning once again, it is proper that we dedicate this week’s Top 10 to the best MLB batters of all time. Without further ado, my list of the top 10 greatest hitters of all time:
10. Willie Mays
Mays is considered to be one of the greatest outfielders of all time. Not just for his spectacular basket catches and his diving plays on the field, but his batting numbers shove him into the top 10 greatest batters of all time. He is the first member of the 300-300 club (steals and homeruns) as well as ranking in the top 25 in 7 different categories. He is #11 in hits (3283), #3 in total bases (6066), #10 in RBIs (1903), #7 in runs (2062), #4 in home runs (660), #19 in walks (1464) and #21 in slugging percentage (.557).
9. Mickey Mantle
Even though Mantle struck out over 100 times 8 times in his impressive 18-year career, his batting totals are still considered to be some of the best of all time, especially for a switch hitter. Mantle ranks in the top 10 in OBP (.422) and walks (1733) and he is #13 in homeruns with 536. He also had 1509 RBIs, 2,314 total hits and 344 triples. He still holds the records for most World Series home runs (18), RBIs (40), runs (42), walks (43), extra-base hits (26), and total bases (123).
8. Honus Wagner
The highest ranked shortstop, Honus Wagner is ranked in the top 10 in hits (3415), doubles (640), triples (252) and stolen bases (722). He is also #21 in both total bases (4862) and runs (1736) while #18 in RBI (1732). Wagner also had a career batting average of .328, which is #27 of all time.
7. Jimmie Foxx
Foxx was a perennial Triple Crown threat in the 1930s and he won it once in 1933 when he hit .356, hit 48 homers and drove in 163 runs. He almost won it the year before, but came up short in batting average with .364 while Dale Alexander edged him out with a .367 batting average. He also nearly won it in 1938, but his 50 homeruns was beat out by Hank Greenberg who managed 58 that season. Foxx also ranks in the top 10 in OBP (.425), RBI (1922) and slugging % (.609). He is also ranked in the top 20 in total bases (4956), runs (1751), homeruns (534) and walks (1452). His career batting average of .325 is #29 ranking of all time.
6. Tris Speaker
Speaker is a 4-time MLB MVP spanning his 22-season career with Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia Athletics and the Washington Senators. He is all time leader in doubles with 792 is #4 all time in batting average with a .345 and #5 in hits (3514). Speaker is also in the top 15 in OBP #11 (.417), total bases #14 (5101), runs #11 (1882) and triples #6 (222).
5. Stan Musial
Musial is one of the best batters in major league history, as well as ranking at the top, or near the top in all categories in St. Louis Cardinal history. He is the only player in MLB history to be in the top 50 in 11 of 12 positive categories (minus stolen bases). Musial is ranked #2 in total bases (6134), #3 in doubles (725) and #4 in hits (3630). Musial is also #6 in RBI (1951), #9 in runs (1949) and #12 in both OBP with .417 and walks (1599). Musial held a career batting average of .331, which is #21 all time #28 in homeruns (478).
4. Ted Williams
You cannot walk through the alleys and bleachers of Fenway Park without hearing utterances of the great Ted Williams, one of the most celebrated players in Red Sox history. He is ranked #2 all time in slugging % with .634, #4 in walks (2019) and #5 in batting average (.344). Williams is also #20 in total bases (4884), #13 RBI (1839) and #17 in runs (1798) and homeruns (521). If Williams had not missed three seasons from 1943-1945 because of World War II, we may be talking about him being in the top 3 of all time.
3. Lou Gehrig
The “Iron Horse” Lou Gehrig is one of the greatest 1st basemen of all time, as well as one of the greatest players to ever wear pinstripes as a Yankee. He is #3 all time in slugging % (.632), #4 in OBP (.442), #5 in RBI (1995) and #10 in runs (1888). Gehrig had a career batting average of .340, which is #12 all time, #15 in walks (1508) and total bases (5060). He also smacked 493 career homeruns, which is good for #25 all time. Adding to his dominance in batting, he also crushed 23 grand slams throughout his career, which is #1 all time.
2. Ty Cobb
Edging out Yankee great Lou Gehrig for the #2 best batter of all time, Cobb ranks the highest in point total in all categories. He is highly considered to be the greatest Detroit Tiger of all time as well as one of the best outfielders in Major League history. Cobb is the all time leader in batting average with career average of .367, which is an outstanding .009 (or 9%) better than the next player on the list (Rogers Hornsby). He is #2 in hits (4191), runs (2245) and triples (297). Cobb is also #4 all time in doubles (723) and stolen bases (892) and is #5 in total bases (5859). He is #7 in OBP (.424) and RBI (1938).
1. Babe Ruth
No matter how much you hate the Yankees, I do not think there is any question that the Babe is the greatest MLB batter of all time. He is in a league of his own when it comes to most batting statistics and it is hard to argue that he should not be the #1 greatest hitter of all time. Ruth is the all time leader in slugging % with (.690) and #2 in OBP (.469) and RBI (2213). He is #3 all time in both homeruns (714) and walks (2062) and #4 in runs (2174). He is also #6 in total bases (5793), which is made up of 136 triples, 506 doubles and 2873 hits. Ruth’s .342-career batting average is also #7 all time. You may think these numbers are indeed worthy of making the Top 10, but why he is #1 might baffle some. Ruth is #1 is because these numbers were done when he was splitting time at first base, right field and pitcher. He compiled a 2.28 career ERA as a pitcher and during that time, he made far fewer at bats, as pitchers do not hit in the American League. If Ruth was a full time outfielder or first baseman, who knows how much higher his batting statistics could have been.