Best in Baseball - MLB Heroes
Baseball Hall of Fame
Welcome MLB fans to the baseball hall of fame - best baseball players of all time in MLB!
Vote on your favorite in baseball prospects for this top ten list of players in MLB history. While you are here, you can also browse our ever-changing collections of unique memorabilia and rare baseball cards.
Enjoy this journey through baseball history and speak UP about your own favorite players and baseball stories of all time.
Who are YOUR top favorite players ever in the baseball hall of fame?
Listen to Harry Carey while viewing if you like, it's a classic!
Remember Harry Caray leading this song before the games?
"Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowd..."
The video below is included here as a tribute to the one and only
Harry Caray was considered to be the most popular baseball announcer of all time
and certainly was a legendary part of the MLB for many decades.
Remember this? "It might be, it could be...it IS! A home run!" and of course... "Holy Cow!"
1. Babe Ruth, the Great Bambino, the Sultan of Swat
Nicknamed 'the Great Bambino' and 'the Sultan of Swat', Babe Ruth was a Major League baseball player from 1914-1935. His major league career began with the Boston Red Sox as a starting pitcher.
Babe Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees in 1919, and then he converted to a full-time right fielder. Soon afterward he became one of the hottest hitters in MLB history. The Yankees won seven pennants and four World Series titles during Babe Ruth's time with the team.
Babe Ruth retired after a short stint with the Boston Braves in 1935 and in 1936 he became one of the first five players ever to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Great Bambino, the Sultan of Swat, was he the greatest EVER? Or NOT?
2. Willie Mays - The Say Hey Kid - Willie Mays - Considered the greatest all-around baseball player of all time!
Quote from Leo Durocher about Willie Mays. "He could do the five things you have to do to be a superstar: hit, hit with power, run, throw, and field. And he had that other ingredient that turns a superstar into a super superstar. He lit up the room when he came in. He was a joy to be around."
Willie Mays Career Highlights:
* elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, his first year of eligibility.
* won two MVP awards and tied Stan Musial's record with 24 appearances in the All-Star Game
* ended his career with 660 home runs, fourth place in all-time.
* highest-ranking living player according to the Sporting News in 1999
* the only Major League player to have hit a home run in every inning from the 1st through the 16th
* finished his career with a record 22 extra-inning home runs
* one of only five players in the MLB to have eight consecutive 100-RBI seasons
* hit 50 or more home runs in both 1955 and 1965, making this the longest stretch between 50 plus home run seasons for any player in Major League Baseball history.
Most of his baseball career was spent with the New York Giants and the San Francisco Giants. He was with the New York Mets when he retired.
3. Ty Cobb - December 18, 1886 - July 17, 1961
Also known as The Georgia Peach - Ty Cobb was described by the Detroit Free Press as "daring to the point of dementia."
Ty Cobb set an amazing 90 Major League Baseball records during his career. He still still holds several of them as of 2011, including the highest career batting average of 367. Nicknamed 'The Georgia Peach' after his home state,
Cobb was an outfielder who spent 22 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, and then finished his career with the Philadelphia Athletics. His prowess as an athlete was sometimes shadowed by an aggressive playing style and surly attitude.
His father had died tragically and Cobb later attributed his ferocious play to the death of his father, saying, "I did it for my father. He never got to see me play ... but I knew he was watching me, and I never let him down."
Baseball is 90% mental.
The other half is physical.— Yogi Berra
4. Walter Johnson - November 6, 1887 - December 10, 1946
Walter Johnson - The Big Train - His overpowering fastball was the main reason for Johnson's exceptional baseball statistics. Walter Johnson played his entire 21-year baseball career on the Washington Senators from 1907 until 1927. His pitching records were legendary, and some remain unbroken today. For example he remains the all-time career leader in shutouts with by far with 110.
Johnson was the only player in the 3,000 strikeout club for over 50 years until Bob Gibson broke that record in 1974. Johnson's gentle nature was legendary, and to this day he is considered an example of good sportsmanship and friendly competition.
"As far as I'm concerned, (Hank) Aaron is the best ball player of my era. He is to baseball of the last fifteen years what Joe DiMaggio was before him.
He's never received the credit he's due."— Mickey Mantle about Hank Aaron
5. Hank Aaron - Hammerin' Hank - Hank set the record for most home runs in a baseball career at 755!
Hank Aaron played baseball at a consistently high level for decades. One of his many notable achievements was breaking the career home run record set by Babe Ruth and he is the only player to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times.
Aaron made the All-Star team every year from 1955 until 1975 and won three Gold Glove Awards. In 1957, he won the National League MVP Award and won the World Series with the Braves that same year.
Hank Aaron is the last of the Negro league baseball players to have played in the major leagues. Hank was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
6. Lou Gehrig - The Iron Horse - Lou Gehrig is remembered in MLB for his prowess as a hitter
As a 17 year old high school boy, Lou Gehrig earned national attention while playing in a game at Cubs Park (now Wrigley Field) on June 26, 1920. His high school team was playing in front of a crowd of more than 10,000 spectators when Gehrig hit a grand slam completely out of the ballpark! This was an unheard-of feat for a 17-year old high school kid.
Gehrig played first base for his entire 17-year baseball career (1923-1939) with the New York Yankees. He set many major league records and still holds the record for most career grand slams at 23.
Gehrig is remembered for his prowess as a hitter, for his "Iron Horse' durability in consecutive games-played, and also his sad farewell from baseball at age 36, when he was stricken with a fatal neurological disease.
7. Christy Mathewson - The Big Six
Christy Matthewson - The Big Six - 373 career wins as a pitcher
During his 17-year career as a right-handed pitcher, Mathewson won 373 games and lost 188 for an outstanding .665 winning percentage. His career ERA of 2.13 and 79 career shutouts are among the best all-time for pitchers. His 373 wins remains still the number one record for pitching in the National League.
The Giants won the 1905 World Series over the Philadelphia Athletics with Matthewson dominant on the pitching mound. During that series in a span of only six days, Mathewson had pitched three complete games without allowing even one run!
Baseball or Moneyball?
Has modern baseball become moneyball?
Changes in the MLB
Some baseball fans are appalled at the emphasis on money and player salaries having a large effect on modern MLB decisions. Heard the story "Moneyball" which has been produced both in book and film? Links below.
Player salaries and large differences between various ball club budgets emerge as a force to be reckoned with in the MLB.
Moneyball - The Book
Whether you agree with this author or not, most will find this an interesting perspective on the game of baseball. If player budgets are critical in putting together a winning MLB team, then how could one of the poorest teams in the MLB be a recurring winner?
Using the Oakland As as an example, this is a compelling read about the inner workings inside the history of baseball in the US.
Which IS it? Baseball or moneyball?
"Moneyball" the Movie
The film "Moneyball" is about the true story of the 2002 season for the Oakland A's. Manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) rebuilt the entire team against enormous financial constraints using only computer analysis and player stats.
This was was a pivotal moment in MLB history, one well worth documenting. Moneyball takes the audience into the mind of Oakland A's manager as he faces tough circumstances.
Brad Pitt is in top form in this film as he expresses the determination of a manager who has not achieved success yet isn't ready to give up.
8. Ted Williams - August 30, 1918 - July 5, 2002
Ted Williams - "The Thumper" - 521 Career Homeruns in MLB!
Williams played his entire 21-year Major League Baseball career as the left fielder for the Boston Red Sox. He was a two-time American League MVP winner, and earned the nickname "Thumper' for his amazing prowess at batting.
He led the league in batting six times and won the Triple Crown twice. A 19 time All-Star, he had a career batting average of .344 with 521 home runs, the highest career batting average in history. His career best year was 1941 - that season he hit an amazing .406 with 37 HR, 120 RBI, and 135 runs scored.
The Thumper was an obsessive student and teacher of hitting. He is known for using a lighter bat than most sluggers, because it generated a faster swing. He warned teammates not to leave their bats on the ground because they would absorb moisture and become heavier (1949). After retiring he published a book about hitting.
9. Rogers Hornsby - The Rajah
Hornsby's baseball career started when the St. Louis Cardinals signed him in 1915. He remained with the Cardinals until 1926, a World Series winning year for the Cards.
He was traded to the New York Giants after that season, then to the Boston Braves, and then traded again to the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs released him in 1932, and he ended up with the St. Louis Browns until his final season in 1937. He managed the Browns and the Cincinnati Reds in the 1950s after his career had ended.
Hornsby was one of the best batters ever to play baseball. His career batting average of .358 is second only to Ty Cobb in MLB history. He also won two Triple Crowns, and he batted .400 or more three times during his career. He is the only player to hit 40 home runs and bat .400 in the same year (1922).
His batting average for the 1924 season was .424, a mark that no player since has matched. Hornsby was renowned for his speed and many call him the fastest player to have ever played major league baseball. His speed was compared to that of the young Mickey Mantle.
10. Stan Musial - MLB Hero - STAN THE MAN!
STAN the MAN Musial ==> 24 MLB All Star Games and a .331 lifetime batting average!
Stan Musial's first professional contract was in the role of a pitcher in 1938, but Musial was converted into an outfielder prior to his major league debut in 1941. Musial played 22 seasons in the MLB for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1941 to 1963.
Musial established himself as a consistent and productive hitter, and is often noted for his unique batting stance. The Cardinals won the World Series during Musial's first season in 1942. Then the next year, he led the National League in six different offensive categories and earned his first MVP award.
He was also named an All-Star for the first time that year and was selected to every All-Star Game in every season he played from then on, which tied with Willie Mays record at 24 all star games.
Following his retirement, Musial has been a successful businessman and restaurant owner. Stan the Man remains a popular figure in the Saint Louis area. When asked why he always seemed so happy, he remarked, "If you had a .331 lifetime batting average, you'd be happy all the time, too!"
In 1985, Stan the Man opened and operated the Inn at Grand Glaize at the Lake of the Ozarks, Mo. In 1989, he was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
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© 2009 Carolan Ross