In the game of baseball, one swing of a bat can change the course of a game.
For every dominant pitcher, there is a batter out there who has his number. Throughout the history of baseball, there have been numerous hitters who have had the ability to influence the course of a game.
From the early days of the sport, watching a natural hitter has been a mesmerizing experience.
No, it's not all about home runs. In fact, home runs are merely an added bonus in terms of great hitting. A great hitter affords his team the opportunity to win a game. He gets on base and drives in runs.
Pitchers will intentionally walk a great hitter, much like throwing in the towel in a classic boxing match.
This is a list of those hitters. The Rocky Marcianos of baseball. Men who owned the batter's box and helped to transform the greatest game into an unparalleled game of strategy and skill.
While Mark Grace never won an MVP, he did prove himself to be a great hitter over the course of his 16-year career.
The two-time All-Star led the league in doubles with 51 in 1995, on his way to racking up 511 with 2445 career hits.
Grace owns a .303/.383/.442/.825 batting line in 2,245 career games played.
Seventeen years in the majors spent mostly with the Cardinals, though he spent a good six-and-a-half seasons in New York with the Mets before being traded to Cleveland.
Keith Hernandez is a five-time All-star, 11-time Gold Glove winner, two-time Silver Slugger and was the 1979 NL MVP.
He's led the league in runs twice, doubles once, walks once, batting average once and OBP on one occasion.
He would finish his career with a .296 batting average and .384 OBP with 2,182 hits.
Best known for his walk-off home run to clinch the 1993 World Series for the Blue Jays, Joe Carter was racking up the hits and awards for six different teams over the course of his 16-year MLB career.
Carter is a five-time All-Star with two Silver Slugger awards on his shelf.
He finished his career with 2,184 hits. In 1986, he led the American League in RBI with 121 and went on to finish his career with a total of 1,445 while contributing 1,170 runs of his own.
Of his 2,184 hits, 881 were for extra bases.
Though his career was shortened to just 10 seasons due to injuries, Ralph Kiner was one of the most devastating sluggers in baseball history, let alone Pirates history.
He is a six-time All-Star who led the National League in home runs for seven consecutive seasons, from 1946 through 1952. He led the NL in RBI with 127 in 1949.
Kiner would go on to lead the NL in slugging percentage and OPS in 1947 and 1949 while leading in OBP, SLG and OPS, as well as walks and runs in 1951, arguably his finest season as a professional ballplayer.
Of all his impressive batting statistics, the most amazing to me is the fact that in 1,472 career games and 6,256 plate appearances, Kiner was only intentionally walked once in his final season, 1955, while playing for the Chicago Cubs.
Jack Clark, or "Jack the Ripper," played 18 seasons in the big league. Over the course of his career, he racked up 1,826 hits, of which 711 were for extra bases.
While best known as a member of the San Francisco Giants, Clark's finest season came in 1987 as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, where the four-time All-Star led the league in walks, OBP, SLG and OPS with a batting line of .286/.489/.597/1.055.
Clark is a two-time Silver Slugger award recipient who finished with 340 career home runs and a .476 slugging percentage.
Unfortunately for the former second baseman, Joe Morgan is known by younger fans today as the man who provided God-awful color commentary for ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball over the past few years.
That said, Morgan was an incredible hitter, specifically during his tenure with the Cincinnati Reds, though having played for a total of five teams over the course of his 22-season career. 10 of which came in Houston.
Morgan was a beast from 1972 through 1979, where he racked up eight consecutive All-Star appearances and won two NL MVP awards consecutively in 1975 and 1976.
In all, Morgan was a 10-time All-Star with five Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger award to his credit. He led the league in OBP on four occasions, with his finest season coming in 1976, where he posted a batting line of .320/.444/.576/1.020.
He finished his career with 2,517 hits, 1,133 RBI and 1,650 runs.
Mr. Second Base, aka Nellie Fox, was one of the greatest hitting second basemen in baseball history, let alone Chicago White Sox history.
In what was an impressive stretch from 1951 through 1961, Fox led the league in hits on four occasions and triples once while compiling 11 consecutive All-Star game nominations (he would finish with 12 total during his 19 seasons) and one American League MVP award in 1959.
Fox consistently was involved in the MVP conversation while obtaining top-20 votes nine times in his career with a top-30 vote once.
Dale Murphy spent 18 seasons playing professional baseball, 15 of which for the Atlanta Braves.
There was a stretch of six seasons from 1982 through 1987 where Dale Murphy was untouchable. He racked up six of his seven All-Star appearances while winning the 1982 and 1983 American League MVP awards. Along with his solid defending (he owns five Gold Glove Awards), he also has earned four Silver Slugger Awards.
He’s led the AL in home runs, RBI and SLG on two occasions each. However, he has also led the league in strikeouts on three occasions.
That notwithstanding, Murphy finished his career with 2,111 hits, 787 of which were for extra bases, or 37 percent of the times he connected.
I afforded myself one biased selection on this list. That selection is Bo Jackson.
Growing up, Jackson was easily my favorite baseball player. He was a spectacular athlete and a prolific hitter who suffered from plate discipline. There was no two ways about it; he either crushed it or struck out.
Unfortunately for Bo, his hip injury while playing for the Oakland Raiders significantly hampered the career he could have had. While only an All-Star once in his career, he managed to put up impressive slugging numbers. Jackson finished his eight-year career with 598 hits. In that, 141 were home runs, or 24 percent of his hits. Moreover, his 241 extra base hits translate into 40 percent of his hit total.
He had all the potential in the world and certainly would have gone on to have a borderline Hall of Fame career.
Unfortunately for David Ortiz, his first six seasons playing in the majors were in Minnesota, where he produced results unbecoming of the (dare I say) future Hall of Fame DH.
Once arriving in Boston in 2003, David Oritz became Big Papi, arguably the greatest clutch hitter in Boston Red Sox history.
He has been voted to seven All-Star games to date while bringing home five Silver Slugger awards.
Ortiz led the American League in home runs in 2006 with 54 and has led the AL in RBI as well as walks twice, while leading in OBP once in 2007 with a .445.
For a designated hitter, Ortiz draws his fair share of fear from opposing pitchers.
In his first five years in Boston, he finished in the top five for American League MVP voting: a considerable feat for a DH.
Steve Garvey spent 14 of his 19 years in the big leagues playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers. During that time, he was an eight time All-Star for the Dodgers while later being voted to the All-Star Game twice for the Padres.
Garvey was the 1974 NL MVP on the heels of an impressive season that consisted of a .312/342/.469/.811 batting line with 21 home runs, 111 RBI and 95 runs scored on 200 hits.
Throughout his career, Garvey would compile 2,599 hits and drive in 1,308 runs.
Though he spent 13 of his 24 years of Major League Baseball playing in Chicago for the White Sox, Carlton "Pudge" Fisk is most widely recognized as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
His No. 27 sits retired in the hallowed grounds of Fenway Park.
During his tenure on Yawkey Way, Fisk was a seven-time All-Star and won the 1972 AL Rookie of the Year award. Whats more, he won a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove award, respectively, in the hub.
As far as catchers go, there is a very small list of which that are feared when at bat. Carlton Fisk certainly makes that list.
Speaking of catchers...
Yogi Berra played 18 of his 19 years as a professional baseball player as a member of the New York Yankees.
From 1946-1965, Berra was voted a 15 (consecutive) time All-Star while racking up three AL MVP awards in 1951, 1954 and 1955 respectively.
While he never led the league in any offensive categories, Berra was always a threat at the plate. He would finish his career with a total of 2,150 career hits for the Bombers (and, well, sort of the Mets.)
Larry Walker, the 1997 National League MVP, spent 17 seasons playing Major League Baseball. Ten of which came for the Colorado Rockies from 1995 until he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004.
Walker is arguably the greatest Rockie, but certainly one of the greatest in the team's history.
He is a five-time All-Star for the Rox with seven Gold Gloves and three Silver Slugger awards on his self.
Walker led the NL three times in batting average, once in doubles, once in home runs and twice in OBP, SLG and OPS respectively.
He finished his career with 2,160 hits. Whats more impressive is his 916 career extra-base hits that equates to roughly 42 percent of his career totals.
With a swing that drew comparisons to that of Ted Williams, Darryl Strawberry was one of the most imposing and feared batters from 1983 through roughly 1991.
Ever controversial off the field, on the field, Straw was an eight-time All-Star, the 1983 National League Rookie of the Year and a two-time Silver Slugger award winner.
1988 was his finest season as a professional. He led the league in home runs with 39 while posting a batting line of .269/.366/.545/.911 and finishing second in the MVP voting. His SLG and OPS led the NL.
Here's a fun fact: Strawberry is one of only five Major League Baseball players to hit two pinch-hit grand slams in the same season.
Now in his 16th season, Todd Helton, or "The Toddfather," has played his entire career for the Colorado Rockies.
Helton is a five-time All-Star with four Silver Slugger awards and three Gold Gloves.
He holds the Rox club records for hits, home runs, doubles, walks, runs scored, RBIs, on-base percentage, games played and total bases.
In 2000, Helton led the NL in hits, doubles. RBI, BA, OBP, SLG and OPS while finishing second in the MVP voting.
At 38, he owns 2,403 career hits.
Alongside Barry Bonds and Andy Van Slyke, Bobby Bonilla was part of one of the scariest outfields in baseball during the late 1980's and early 1990's.
While generally speaking, Bonilla ended up being a bit of a baseball nomad, going through six different teams in his 16-year career, most fans would have to identify him as a member of the Pirates.
A six-time All-Star throughout his career, four of those appearances wearing Pirate laundry. He took home three Silver Slugger awards and led the National League in doubles in 1991, with 44.
From one former Pirate on to another...
Dave Parker, Cobra, played 19 seasons in the bigs, 11 of which were for Pittsburgh. In that time, he was a four-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove award winner and took home the 1978 National League MVP award.
Parker has led the league in hits once, doubles twice, RBI once, batting average twice, OBP twice, SLG once and OPS once.
He owns 2,712 career hits, 526 career doubles and finished with a lifetime .290 batting average (.305 in his 11 seasons with the Bucs).
His 170 career intentional walks places him 29th on the all-time leaderboard.
John Wesley Powell, or lovingly known as Boog Powell to his adoring fans in Baltimore, was a monster of a player during his 17-year playing career.
Powell played 14 of his 17 seasons playing in Baltimore as an extremely important part of the Orioles’ World Series Champion teams in 1966 and 1970.
The four-time All-Star led the American League in slugging in 1964 with an impressive .604 average and would go on to be the 1970 AL MVP.
Not only was Reggie Smith a dominant hitter, he was a switch-hitting dominant hitter.
Smith was a seven-time All-Star with a Gold Glove. He was also the 1967 American League Rookie of the Year runner-up.
He led the league in doubles twice and OBP once.
From the left side of the plate, he owned a .287/.369/.503/.872 batting line with 1,423 career hits. From the right side of the plate: .288/.358/.455/.813 or pretty comparable to his natural, left-handed batting position.
Over the course of his 17 seasons in the big leagues, Smith would manage 2,020 total hits. He may best be remembered for hitting three home runs for the Dodgers in the 1977 World Series.
Big Daddy Cecil Fielder had a four-year stretch with the Detroit Tigers from 1990-1993 where he was just "the man."
He was a three-time All-Star, runner-up for the American League MVP twice and took home two Silver Slugger Awards.
During that stretch, he led the league in home runs twice, RBI three times and slugging once.
Fielder put together seven straight seasons of 28 or more home runs. He also had four consecutive seasons of 115 or more RBI.
Hall of Famer Jim Ed Rice played his entire 16-year career in Boston.
The 1978 American League MVP was an eight-time All-Star with two Silver Slugger awards on his shelf and was the runner-up for the 1975 AL Rookie of the Year. He was beat out by his Red Sox teammate, Fred Lynn.
Rice led the league twice in both RBI and slugging percentage.
He finished his career with 2,452 hits; 834 of them were for extra bases. That works out to roughly 34 percent of his hits resulting in extra bases, and that was a contributing factor to his 1,423 career RBI and 1,249 runs scored.
In just his sixth season in Major League Baseball, Josh Hamilton has proven himself to be the best player in the game today.
On his way to his fifth consecutive All-Star nomination, Hamilton is a two-time Silver Slugger award recipient and was the 2010 American League MVP.
He is leading the league in RBI for the second time, while he's led the league in batting average once and is currently leading in SLG and OPS for the second time each.
Hamilton has already racked up 775 career hits in just 649 games with 487 RBI with 140 home runs
Hall of Fame centerfielder Duke Snider, the Silver Fox, was an eight time All-Star, seven times coming as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
From 1950 to 1957, Snider was extremely efficient at the plate, leading the league in runs three times, hits once, home runs, RBI, walks and OBP once while leading SLG and OPS twice respectively.
He went seven straight seasons of 160 or more hits from 1949 through 1955.
Lovingly known as Dewey to Red Sox Nation, Dwight Evans played 20 seasons in Major League Baseball, 19 of them coming in Boston.
From 1977 through 1985, Dwight Evans was an incredible hitter for Boston. He would pepper in eight Gold Glove Awards among being a perennial AL MVP candidate and taking home two Silver Slugger awards.
Dewey led the league in runs, home runs and OBP once, respectively. He led the AL in walks three times and OPS twice.
Sometimes, being a dominant hitter involves a player's capability to get on base and drive in runs. Evans was capable of doing both at a high level.
Back when the Milwaukee Brewers had a much cooler logo, they also had Robin Yount, the Hall of Fame shortstop and centerfielder.
The two-time AL MVP has three Silver Sluggers and two Gold Gloves to his name.
The man was also a doubles machine. He ranks 17th all-time in that category with 583 lifetime. He is also one of only 28 players in MLB history in the 3,000-hit club, having 3,142 lifetime.
As part of the Houston Astros Killer B's of the early 2000's, Lance Berkman was outright scary to face. In his 14-year career, he has led the league in doubles twice and RBI once.
While never an MVP, Berkman has finished in the top seven vote recipients six times in his career.
He owns an impressive career .409 OBP and .546 SLG.
Shoeless Joe Jackson played professional baseball for 13 seasons from 1908 through 1920. During that time, the man had over 200 hits four times, leading the league twice.
While having only played 1,332 career games, Jackson managed 1,772 hits. Baseball-Reference translates that into 216 hits over the course of a 162-game season.
His batting line is very impressive: .356/.423/.517/.940.
That .356 average is good enough for third all-time behind only Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby.
In his 17 seasons playing baseball, Jeff Kent played for six different teams. Call him a journeyman if you'd like, but San Francisco Giant fans know him as a man who could rake.
The five-time All-Star owns four Silver Slugger awards and took home the 2000 NL MVP award.
While he never led the league in any statistical category, Kent compiled 2,461 career hits, 560 doubles and 1,518 RBI.
For having played a relatively short amount of time, 12 seasons, Kirby Puckett was one of the most phenomenal players in Major League Baseball.
He came in third in the 1984 AL ROY voting. In 1985, he finished 21st overall in MVP voting. Then, his career took off. For the next 10 consecutive seasons, Puckett was voted to the All-Star Game. He would also take home six Gold Glove and six Silver Slugger awards.
Seven times, he would finish in the top seven vote recipients for the AL MVP. In his final season in 1995, he finished 21st overall once again.
He led the league four times in hits, once in RBI and once in OBP.
For 22 seasons Jim Thome has been a beast in the batters box.
The 41-year-old Thome own 608 career home runs and counting while having appeared in five career All-Star games.
His best season came in 2002 as a member of the Cleveland Indians, where he led the league in walks, slugging and OPS.
Twelve times in his career Thome has belted 30 or more home runs and owns a lifetime .959 OPS.
All throughout the 1990's, Juan Gonzalez was terrific for the Texas Rangers.
The two-time AL MVP was a three-time All-Star with six Silver Slugger awards to his credit. Twice Juan Gone led the league in home runs, five times in his career going deep 40 or more times.
He led the league in 1998 with 157 RBI.
While coming shy of 2,000 career hits, Gonzalez still managed to terrify opposing pitchers with his power and ability to get on base.
While having never finished a season leading the league in any statistical category, Konerko has maintained a steady bat for the Chicago White Sox for 14 years.
The five-time All-Star has over 2,101 hits and counting, having seemingly found the fountain of youth in 2012. At the age of 36, Konerko is currently leading all AL batters with an eye-popping .362 average and .438 OBP.
Most famously known for being nicknamed "The Human Vacuum Cleaner" because of his other-worldly defense, Brooks Robinson had quite the bat to back up his defense.
In his 23-year career, the 1964 AL MVP strung together the most impressive run of offense and defense between 1960 and 1974, during which time he made 15 straight All-Star games and, counting 1975, 16 straight Gold Glove awards.
Robinson would put together 2,848 hits in his career.
From 1985 through 1991, though steroid-fueled, Jose Canseco was an incredibly impressive hitter.
He was the 1986 AL ROY and was an All-Star. Just two years later, he would become the 1988 AL MVP. He led the league twice in home runs and once in RBI.
The six-time All-Star has four Silver Slugger awards to his credit and owns an impressive .515 career SLG.
The two-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger award winner Carlos Delgado is easily one of the greatest hitters in Toronto Blue Jays team history.
For 10 straight years, Delgado blasted 30 or more home runs while driving in 115 or more runs six consecutive times.
In total, Delgado would hit 2,038 hits, drive in 1,512 RBI and draw 186 intentional walks, 21st all-time.
Tony Perez spent 16 of his 23 seasons playing for the Cincinnati Reds. He is sixth in Reds history in terms of hits.
Throughout his career, Perez amounted 2,732 hits, 505 doubles, 79 triples and 379 home runs.
The seven time All-Star was an invaluable part of the Reds from the mid-1960's through the mid-1970's.
It was hard to decide which uniform to show Orlando Cepeda in.
Ultimately, the Giants seemed to be the most logical fit, considering he spent nine seasons there, was the 1958 NL Rookie of the Year and was a six-time All-Star there as well.
In 1961, he led the league in home runs (46) and RBI (142) on his way to a second-place finish for the NL MVP award.
He would later get that honor as a member of the 1967 St. Louis Cardinals.
Sam Crawford played 19 seasons in the big leagues, of which 15 came as a member of the Detroit Tigers.
He is the all-time triples leader with 309, having led the league six times.
Crawford finished just shy of 3,000 hits, racking up 2,961 total.
Edgar Martinez spent 18 seasons playing professional baseball. Many would consider him the greatest designated hitter of all-time.
The seven time All-Star brought home five Silver Slugger awards, led the league in doubles and batting average twice, OBP three times and OPS once.
His career .312/.418/.515/.933 batting line is pretty impressive to boot.
Aside from defining the term 'intimidation' with his general size and remarkable strength, White Sox legend Frank Thomas was about as dominant a hitter baseball has ever seen in the batter's box.
A two-time AL MVP and former batting champion, Thomas was an uncanny combination of power and consistent contact during his prime.
The ability to remain a .300 career hitter while slugging 521 home runs is amazing enough, but he was also able to limit strikeout totals and produce outrageous OBP totals with a keen eye.
Thomas never led the league in HR or RBI in his career, which hurts his cause in an offensively-dominated (and often PED-aided) era, but he absolutely belongs on any Top 100 hitter list.
Seventh all-time on the home run list with 609, seven-time All-Star Sammy Sosa was part of the resurgence of baseball at the end of the 1990's.
Still the only player to have hit 60 or more home runs three times in his career, ironically, he didn't lead the league in homers any of those seasons. Sosa racked up a total of 2,408 hits and 1,667 RBI.
Sosa led the league in runs three times, home runs twice and was the 1998 NL MVP.
His first eight years in the league were spent with the San Francisco Giants, and that is where Will Clark was at his best.
The six-time All-Star has led the league in runs, walks, RBI and SLG as well as intentional walks.
Clark owns two Silver Slugger awards and one Gold Glove.
A seven-time All-Star for the Montreal Expos, Tim "Rock" Raines was a deadly combination of power and speed.
He led the league in runs twice, doubles once, BA once and OBP once while leading the league in stolen bases four consecutive years.
Raines would finish his career with 2,605 hits, 808 stolen bases and 430 doubles.
How does one pass up the opportunity to post pictures of two Expos greats back-to-back? No disrespect to Angels fans.
Vlad the Impaler is a nine time All-Star, eight time Silver Slugger award winner and was the 2004 American League MVP.
Four times in his career, Guerrero had 200 or more hits.
For 15 years, Jeff Bagwell gave everything he had to the Houston Astros.
From becoming the 1991 NL ROY, 1994 NL MVP and a four-time All-Star, Bagwell should one day see his name in Cooperstown.
He has 2,314 career hits and over 400 doubles and 400 home runs to his credit.
Having played for eight teams over his 22-year career, Gary Sheffield proved his longevity as a hitter, racking up 2,689 hits.
He has 509 career home runs with 467 doubles.
The nine-time All-Star has five Silver Slugger awards to his credit.
Al Simmons spent his 20-year career with seven different teams. His most productive seasons came as a member of the Philadelphia Athletics from 1924 to 1932.
During that period, he led the league in hits twice, once racking up 253 hits in one season.
Six times in his career, Simmons would garner 200 or more hits, once falling one short at 199.
In total, he would finish with 2927 hits, 539 of which doubles, 149 triples and 307 home runs, leading to a career .334/.380/.535/.915 batting line.
Crime Dog Fred McGriff spent 19 seasons playing the bigs. While never an All-Star in Toronto, he had some of his best years playing north of the border.
In 1989, he led the league in home runs with 36 and OPS with a .924.
Across the board, he was statistically at his best at the plate playing as a member of the Blue Jays. McGriff was intentionally walked 171 times during his career.
For 25 years, Eddie Collins played either for the Philadelphia Athletics or Chicago White Sox.
Seven times, he was a threat to win the AL MVP award, taking it home in 1914.
He led the league in runs three times, stolen bases four times and is the all-time leader in sacrifice hits with 512.
Collins was never a player to hit for power, but he did finish his career with 3,315 hits with a lifetime .333 batting average. That is an amazing feat, especially after 25 seasons, playing until the age of 43.
The Hawk, Andre Dawson, started his career off as the 1977 NL Rookie of the Year and never looked back.
He racked up eight All-Star appearances, eight Gold Gloves, four Silver Slugger awards and was the 1987 NL MVP for the Chicago Cubs.
He's led the league in hits, home runs and RBI.
With 12 All-Star appearances, 10 Silver Slugger awards and the 1993 NL Rookie of the Year award on his resume, Mike Piazza is an obvious choice for this list.
Arguably, he is the greatest hitting catcher in history. Again, arguably.
With over 300 doubles and 400 home runs, Piazza's accomplishments are impressive, especially when you consider the pounding his glove hand took over the course of 1,912 career games.
Rafael Palmeiro ranks 16th all-time in doubles with 585.
He is 12th all-time in home runs with 569.
Palmeiro is also a member of the 3,000-hit club, finishing his career with 3,020 while driving in 1,835 runs.
Miguel Cabrera is in his 10th season as a professional baseball player and has already established himself as one of the most dominant hitters of the modern era.
Six All-Star games, MVP consideration every season as a professional and three Silver Slugger awards to his name.
He has led the league in doubles, home runs, RBI, BA and OBP twice while already drawing 150 intentional walks.
Joltin' Joe DiMaggio, the Yankee Clipper, played 13 seasons for the New York Yankees.
Unfortunately for the game, DiMaggio lost three seasons in the prime of his life to fighting in World War II.
That said, DiMaggio was an All-Star every year he played. He was a three-time AL MVP and finished in the top 10 in MVP voting 10 times, top 20 on two occasions.
If DiMaggio had those three seasons back, there is a possibility he would be a member of the 3,000-hit club. Nevertheless, he was easily one of the most feared hitters in the 1930's and 40's. The most incredible statistic among his impressive resume: DiMaggio was never intentionally walked.
Nineteen seasons in the bigs, and 40-year-old Chipper Jones is still at it.
The seven-time All-Star was the 1999 NL MVP, and he owns a couple Silver Slugger awards as well.
He is not a member of the 3,000-hit club, but his 2,650 career hits are nothing to be ashamed of. Nor is his career .933 OPS.
Big Mac, Mark McGwire, averaged a home run once every 10.61 at bats during his 16-year career. That equates to the lowest at-bats per home run ratio in baseball history.
McGwire also owns the record for most home runs by a rookie, with 49 in 1987. Briefly, he also owned the single season record for home runs with 70 in 1998, where he finished the season with a jaw-dropping .752 slugging percentage.
Say what you will about McGwire, but there is no denying that the 12-time All-Star was a monster at the plate.
A-Rod was hard to place on this list.
The three-time AL MVP has led the league in runs five times, hits once, doubles once, home runs five times, RBI twice, BA once, SLG four times and OPS twice.
He is currently fifth all-time in home runs with 639 with a very real possibility of passing Willie Mays in the coming months, and may even someday break Barry Bonds 762 HR record.
More impressive is how close A-Rod is to joining the 3,000-hit club, as he sits at 2,839.
Mr. October had established himself as a future Hall of Famer as a member of the Athletics from 1967 through 1975.
It was there he led the league in runs twice, home runs twice, RBI once, slugging twice and OPS twice.
He is a 14-time All-star, two-time Silver Slugger award winner and took home the 1973 AL MVP award.
Wade Boggs played 18 seasons in the big league, none of which more important than the 11 he spent in Boston as a member of the Red Sox.
There he led the league in hits once, doubles twice, walks twice, batting average five times, OBP six times and OPS twice.
He led the league in intentional walks for six straight seasons from 1987 through 1992. Boggs is a 12-time All-Star with eight Silver Slugger awards and two Gold Gloves to his credit and would finish his career with a lifetime .328 batting average.
Willie Stargell, Pops, spent 21 years playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The seven-time All-Star was the 1979 NL MVP at the tender age of 39.
He led the league in doubles once, home runs twice, RBI once, SLG once and OPS twice. He was intentionally walked 227 times during his career, eighth all-time.
Speedy left fielder Lou Brock was a master of getting on base.
When he did, he took advantage of it. Brock racked up 3,023 hits in his career and added 938 stolen bases, second all-time.
Brock owns a career .343 OBP, led the league in runs twice, doubles once, triples once, stolen bases eight times and was a six-time All-Star.
"...and I've got mad hits like I was Rod Carew." - R.I.P. Adam Yauch, co-founder of the Beastie Boys.
Rod Carew was a hit machine. The 1967 AL ROY was an All-Star 18 of his 19 seasons in MLB, not being selected in his final season.
He was the 1977 AL MVP for the Minnesota Twins, stringing together an impressive 239 hits with 16 triples. He would lead the league in hits three times (all over 200), but more impressively, led the league in batting average seven times, OBP four times and OPS once.
For 20 years, Craig Biggio played Major League Baseball. All 20 came in a Houston Astros uniform.
From 1995 to 1999, he was at his best. He would lead the league in doubles three times and stolen bases once.
Biggio is a member of the 3,000-hit club with a total of 3,060 with 668 career doubles, fifth all-time.
The original Hebrew Hammer, Hank Greenberg was a monster for the 12-years he played as a member of the Detroit Tigers.
A two-time American League MVP, Greenberg led the AL in home runs four times, doubles twice and RBI four times.
His 58 home runs in 1938 tied Jimmie Foxx's 1932 record for the most home runs in one season by any player between 1927 and 1961.
It took Roberto Clemente a couple years to get comfortable in the big leagues, but then from 1960 to 1972, he never looked back.
He became a 12-time All-Star with 12 Gold Gloves.
Clemente was named the 1966 NL MVP for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would finish his career with 3,000 hits exactly.
Dave Winfield was fantastic as a member of the Padres into his years playing for the New York Yankees in the 1980's.
He was voted to 12 straight All-Star Games while bringing home seven Gold Gloves and six Silver Slugger awards.
Winfield has his ticket punched in Cooperstown and owns 3,110 career hits.
Nap Lajoie led the league in hits four times, doubles five times, home runs once, RBI three times, batting average five times, OBP twice, SLG four times and OPS three times.
In his 21 seasons, he racked up 3,242 hits and 657 doubles. That places him 13th in hits all-time and seventh overall in doubles.
From 1998 through 2007, Manny Ramirez was one of the most feared hitters in all of baseball. His swing was beautiful. His at-bats, appointment viewing.
The 12-time All-Star was never an MVP, but he did bring home nine Silver Slugger awards.
He owns over 500 doubles (547) and 500 home runs (555), led the league in home runs once, RBI once, OBP, SLG and OPS three times, respectively, while being intentionally walked 216 times.
Having played 22 seasons in the big league, Harmon Killebrew cemented himself as arguably the greatest Minnesota Twin of all-time.
He led the league in home runs six times, RBI three times, walks four times, SLG and OBP once.
The 11-time All-Star was the AL MVP in 1969. He was the pure definition of slugger.
Al Kaline played 22 years for the Detroit Tigers, and from 1954 through 1967, he was a terror at the plate.
The 15-time All-Star only ever led the league in hits, doubles, BA, SLG and OPS once respectively over the course of his career; however, he compiled fantastic numbers year in and out.
He would finish his career with 3,007 hits, 498 of which were doubles, and 399 home runs.
Had he not been plagued with injuries, Ken Griffey, Jr. would likely have gone down as the greatest baseball player to have ever lived.
From 1989 through 1999, Griffey was on a fast track to Cooperstown. The 1997 AL MVP is a 13-time All-Star with 10 Gold Gloves and seven Silver Slugger awards to his name.
He is sixth all-time in home runs with 630 with 2,781 hits to his name.
Greatest Phillie of all-time?
Three-time NL MVP Mike Schmidt has to be.
Twelve All-Star appearances, 10 Gold Gloves, six Silver Sluggers, led the NL in home runs eight times, RBI four times, walks four times, OBP three times, SLG five times and OPS five times.
He's been pitched around 201 times, but racked up 4,404 total bases in his career.
Two-time NL MVP Ernie Banks is one of the greatest Chicago Cubs of all-time.
From 1954 through 1962, he was incredible for the team, making eight of his 11 career All-Star games.
He owns a Gold Glove as well as a plaque in Cooperstown, labeling him one of the greatest of all-time.
From 1977 through 1986, Eddie Murray was the backbone of the Baltimore Orioles offense
He was the 1977 American League Rookie of the Year before going on to appear at eight All-Star Games, win three Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers.
Murray has 3,255 career hits and has the most sacrifice flies in MLB history with 128. It is also worth noting that he led the league in intentional walks three times, finishing his career with 222.
Paul Molitor is No. 9 all-time in career hits, with 3,319.
On his way to that mark, he led the league in hits three times, doubles once and triples once.
He is a seven-time All-Star whose numbers suggest you don't need to have an MVP on your shelf to be one of the greatest players the game has seen.
Molitor owns a lifetime .306 batting average with four Silver Slugger awards.
Carl Yastrzemski is one of the greatest Red Sox hitters of all-time.
He is an 18-time All-Star with seven Gold Gloves to his credit. Yaz was the 1967 AL MVP.
In his 23 seasons in Boston, Yaz led the league in hits only twice, but finished his career with 3,419, which places him eighth all-time.
His 1,845 RBI places him 13th all-time.
Anyone whose nickname is "Mullet" is pretty cool in my book to begin with, but the 1980 AL MVP George Brett is one of the finest baseball players ever and easily earns the honor of being the greatest Royal ever.
He is a 13-time All-Star with three Silver Sluggers and a Gold Glove to his name.
Brett led the league in hits three times en route to his career 3,154 and was intentionally walked 229 times.
Adrian "Cap" Anson was the greatest Chicago Cub of all-time.
He is third lifetime in RBI with 2075 and sixth all-time in hits with 3,245.
In his amazing 27 years playing professional baseball, Cap Anson was never recorded as having been intentionally walked.
He led the league in hits once, but led in RBI eight times.
Are you scratching your head at this one? You shouldn't be. All Derek Jeter does is hit and win. He has been clutch ever since entering the league and is the most recent inductee to the 3,000-hit club, sitting at 3,174 at the time of this write-up.
He is a 12-time All-Star, was the 1996 AL ROY, owns five Gold Gloves and four Silver Slugger awards.
Lifetime, he is a .313 batting average, and here he is at 38 years old leading the American League in hits. Love him or hate him, you have to respect Jeter for what he is: one of the most dominant hitters of all-time.
Mel Ott spent 22 seasons as a member of the New York Giants.
He is an 11-time All-Star with an uncanny ability to get on base. He owns 2,876 career hits with 1,708 walks.
Ott led the league in home runs six times, four of which coming in the prime of his dominance, 1934 through 1938.
Ott owns an impressive .947 career OPS.
Three-time American League MVP Jimmie Foxx may have spent a majority of his time as a member of the Philadelphia Athletics; however, he is best remembered as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
He led the league in home runs four times, RBI three times, BA twice, OBP three times, SLG five times and OPS five times.
Tony Gwynn led the National League an impressive seven times in hits during his 20 seasons in MLB.
He is a 15-time All-Star with 3,141 career hits who has led the NL in batting average eight times as well. Gwynn owns seven Silver Slugger awards and five Gold Gloves.
While never named an MVP, Gwynn's value as a hitter is undeniable with a career .338 BA and .388 OBP while being intentionally walked 203 times lifetime.
Frank Robinson is the only player in Major League Baseball history to win both an American League MVP award and a National League MVP award.
One came in 1961 with Cincinnati. The other came in 1966 with Baltimore.
Robinson finished his career with 2,943 hits, doing most of his damage from 1960 through 1967.
He is a 12-time All-Star and was the 1956 NL Rookie of the Year.
Tris Speaker was the 1912 American League MVP for the Boston Red Sox.
Through his 22-year career, Speaker led the league in hits twice, but finished with 3,514 lifetime, fifth all-time, doubles eight times which resulted in 792 total—most all-time.
Speaker owns a .345 lifetime batting average to boot. Quite impressive especially when you factor in his longevity.
George Kostanza wanted to name his son "seven" after the Yankee great, Mickey Mantle.
The three-time American League MVP was selected to 14 consecutive All-Star games, appearing in 16 total during his 18-year career.
What offensive category didn't Mantle lead in? Five times in runs, once in triples, four times in home runs, once in RBI, five times in walks, once in BA, three times in OBP, four times in SLG and six times in OPS.
Rogers Hornsby played 23 years in Major League Baseball.
He owns an incredible 1.010 lifetime OPS from a .358 batting average, .434 OBP and .577 SLG.
Hornsby is a two-time National League MVP.
He led the league in runs five times, hits four times, doubles four times, triples twice, home runs twice, RBI four times, walks three times, BA seven times—including six consecutive times from 1920 to 1925—OBP nine times with the same six-season consecutive stretch, SLG nine times with the same six-year consecutive stretch and OPS 10 times with that same consecutive stretch.
So what if Rickey Henderson played for nine different teams during his 25-year career?
He is the all-time leader in runs with 2,295, all-time leader in stolen bases with 1,406 and has 3,055 career hits.
Whats more, he was the 1991 AL MVP and is a 10-time All-Star with a Gold Glove and three Silver Slugger awards on his resume.
Ichiro didn't come to play in America until he was 27 years old. The now 38-year-old Suzuki has racked up 2,499 career hits to date.
He's led the AL in hits seven times while obtaining 200 or more hits 10 times in his career.
He won the 2001 AL MVP and ROY while making the first of his 10 consecutive All-Star appearances. Suzuki also owns 10 Gold Gloves and three Silver Slugger awards.
If you want to factor in his 1,278 hits in nine seasons in Japan, that would put Ichiro at 3,777, or good enough for third all-time and climbing.
With 21 seasons playing professional baseball, Honus Wagner tallied 3,420 career hits, 1,733 career RBI and 643 doubles.
While he never won an MVP award and there was no such thing as an All-Star game during his playing time, Wagner was impressive across the board.
I asked Boston Red Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach who he thought was the most dominant hitter of all-time. Without hesitation, he said Albert Pujols.
Modern-day, that's hard to argue.
- 2001 NL ROY
- Nine time All-Star
- Two Gold Gloves
- Six Silver Slugger Awards
- Three-time NL MVP
Am I missing anything here? Oh, .326 lifetime batting average, 2,139 career hits, 1.026 career OPS... yeah, he's really good.
A two-time American League MVP, Lou Gehrig was other-wordly for the New York Yankees from 1933 to 1939 upon his retirement.
During his career, he racked up 2,721 career hits, 1,995 RBI and owned a .340 lifetime batting average.
If you were to consider that players in the 1930's played until they were roughly 40 years old, Gehrig was cheated out of four more years of productivity, which would likely have landed him in the 3,000-hit club, and maybe even 2,500 RBI.
Stan "the Man" Musial played 22 seasons in the big leagues, sacrificing the 1945 season to military service.
Nevertheless, he was a three-time National League MVP and 20-time All-Star.
He finished his career with 3,630 hits, fourth all-time.
The Say Hey Kid was the 1951 NL Rookie of the Year.
By 1954, he was voted to his first of 20 All-Star Games. Mays would also win two NL MVP awards and owns 12 Gold Gloves.
His 660 career home runs is fourth all-time to go with his 3,283 career hits, 523 doubles and 192 career intentional walks.
Pete Rose is the all-time leader in games played with 3,562, plate appearances with 15,890, at-bats with 14,053 and ultimately hits with 4,256.
He was the 1973 NL MVP, 1963 NL ROY and a 17-time All-Star.
Rose owns a lifetime .303 average in 24 seasons of major league play.
Ty Cobb owns the record for highest career batting average with .366.
He was the 1911 American League MVP and is second all-time with 4,189 career hits.
From 1907 through 1918, Ty Cobb was arguably the best hitter in all of baseball, consistently leading the league in BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, RBI and hits.
It is amazing that he only took home one MVP award considering the overall body of work.
The 1959 NL Rookie of the Year, Willie McCovey gave a preview of the career he was about to unleash on the rest of MLB.
McCovey led the league in home runs three times, finishing with 521 in his career. He would lead the league in RBI twice, walks once, OBP once, SLG three times, OPS three times and intentional walks four times for a lifetime total of 260.
One of the most intimidating power hitters of his era, McCovey was called "the scariest hitter in baseball" by pitcher Bob Gibson. If you can intimidate one of the greatest pitchers of all-time, you're one hell of a dominant hitter.
Hammerin' Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's all-time home run record and cemented his legacy as one of the greatest hitters of all-time.
It was more than that, though.
Aaron is third all-time in hits with 3,771, first overall in RBI with 2,297 and of course, now second in home runs with 755.
That said, Aaron owns a lifetime .305 batting average over the course of his 23 seasons playing major league baseball. He was the 1957 NL MVP and appeared in 21 consecutive All-Star games.
Aaron was a Gold Glove defender, winning the award three times.
If this list were meant to argue the greatest baseball player of all-time, Babe Ruth would likely be No. 1. His impact on the game alone gives him that honor.
That said, there have been two hitters more dominant than the Great Bambino. No disrespect to the man.
He was the 1923 AL MVP and a two-time All-Star.
His lifetime SLG and OPS are both major league records at .690 and 1.164, respectively. Obviously, the 714 home runs speak for themselves. He owns a .342 lifetime batting average and a .474 career OBP.
Ted Williams was the greatest pure hitter of all-time. Though he gave up three key years of his baseball career to serve in WWII, Williams still played 19 seasons professionally.
He owns the record for highest OBP in MLB history at .482. His .634 SLG is second only to Babe Ruth, as is his 1.116 OPS.
While not a member of the 3,000-hit club, Williams does own 521 career home runs, 525 doubles, 71 triples and 2,654 total hits.
He is a 17-time All-Star and two-time American League MVP.
Just imagine what his numbers would have been if he could have played when he was 24, 25 and 26 years old, respectively, especially considering that at the age of 22, he hit .406 on the season.
In terms of sheer dominance, there is no debate: Barry Bonds was the most dominant hitter in all of Major League Baseball history.
The seven-time NL MVP owns a record 12 Silver Slugger awards, eight Gold Gloves and was named to 14 All-Star Games.
He is the all-time home run leader with 762, as well as the all-time walks leader with 2,558. Speaking of which, he leads the intentional base on balls category as well with no competition. He was put on base 688 times. Hank Aaron is second all-time with 293.
Bonds is also the only player in baseball history to record 500 or more home runs and 500 or more steals, as he swiped 514 career bases.
He is sixth all-time in SLG and fourth in OPS.
While he falls short of the 3,000-hit club, he did account for 2,935 hits to go with all of those walks. However, 49 percent of his career hits were for extra-base hits. There's no wonder why he was pitched around so frequently.
Regardless of your thoughts on Bonds, there is no denying his impact on the game of baseball.