When you think of the greatest baseball players who’ve ever lived, who do you think of? Maybe you have some favorites or maybe you love to root for the underdog. We have our favorites here in this list, but we know many, many more legends of baseball have come and gone, both old and new. Obviously, we cannot name them all, but here are our picks for the greatest baseball players of all time.
5 – Hank Aaron
Otherwise known as the Home Run King, Hank Aaron is remembered for being a man who knew his way around a bat, hitting the ball with tremendous power. His stellar career totals a whopping 755 homers, which earned him another famous moniker: Hammerin’ Hank. For his play in the outfield, he won himself three Gold Gloves and played in the All-Star Game for 21 years straight. That solidifies him an honored place on our prestigious list.
4 – Ted Williams
Ted Williams was a man who rarely missed a ball he aimed to hit. “The greatest pure hitter who ever lived” holds the highest on-base percentage at .482. When it comes to the total number of homers, runs, runs batted in, and walks, he easily earns his place in the top 20 of all time. And all this despite having missed five full seasons due to serving in the military—and those seasons lost in his prime! Even with all his fame, he hated the limelight, and avoided it whenever he could.
3 – Barry Bonds
Did we say Barry Bonds? This controversial Hall of Famer isn’t revered by all, for it has long been known he most likely used steroids. But is he an illegitimate choice on our list? You be the judge. It’s believed he was a Hall of Famer even before he began steroids, and there can be no doubt about his uncanny hand-eye coordination. By that alone, he was able to achieve 2,558 career walks and an on-base lifetime percentage of .444, which cannot be ignored. All this on top of 762 home runs, seven MVP awards over the course of his career, and 688 intentional walks. Love him or hate him, Bonds has more than earned his place on our list.
2 – Willie Mays
When you think of baseball, Willie Mays cannot be far from your mind. This man has staggering totals at the plate, with 3,283 hits, 1,903 runs batted in, and 660 homers, however, his fabulous record in the outfield earned Mays twelve Gold Glove Awards, and all those over twelve consecutive years. Many believe Mays to be the greatest all-around player ever seen in the game. Who could forget one of baseball’s most iconic moments when Mays caught an over-the-shoulder ball at the 1954 World Series during a tied eighth inning? That move alone helped the Giants win the championship and gave Mays the one and only title of his entire career. It’s a no-brainer as to why Willie Mays is one of baseball’s absolute greats.
1 – Babe Ruth
What list could possibly be complete without Babe Ruth, and him at the very top? Despite athletic rules changing over the years (and Babe looking as if he couldn’t say no to a plate of pasta), no one has ever been able to touch Ruth’s powerhouse .690 slugging percentage, which remains to this day the greatest of all time. Such a vast canyon lies between Ruth’s first place percentage and second place, that no one has much hope of ever achieving it again. It is the same-size gap that comes between second place and ninth place! Babe’s fame, both on and off the diamond, helped to launch the game of baseball into the hearts and minds of the American people. If Babe was playing, no one would miss it!