This is the second slideshow in my series running down the top players at each position in each team's history, and this one will focus on first basemen.
Pictured are the two best of all time in my eyes: Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx.
In case you missed it, the first slideshow was on catchers, and here is the link to that article:
My only restriction for my rankings is that only the stats that a player had for the team he is representing will be considered.
For example, take the case of Johnny Mize. He is a Hall of Famer and one of the best first basemen of all time.
However, his career is pretty evenly split between the Cardinals and the Giants. So while he may have had a better career than the player I chose from the Giants, he did not have a better Giants career.
I will be the first to admit that I value offense at the first base position, and while guys like J.T. Snow and Doug Mientkiewicz were great on defense, you will not see them on this list.
On the catcher's slideshow, I wondered if anyone else would represent two teams, as Carlton Fisk was my choice for both the Red Sox and White Sox.
I must say I seriously considered naming Jimmie Foxx for the Red Sox and A's, but ended up choosing another Red Sox, so perhaps with second basemen we will see another multiple-team representative.
Well, enough with the introduction, and if you have read this far without moving on to the rankings, I commend you. Let's get on with the list.
Years with Team: 2005-2007, 2008-2009
Stats with Team: .259 BA, 57 HR, 172 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 13.9
162-Game Average: .259 BA, 24 HR, 74 RBI
With Conor Jackson seemingly settled in the outfield and Chad Tracy bouncing all over the field, there were not a whole lot of options here.
Mark Grace had one good season, as did Shea Hillenbrand and Travis Lee.
In the end, Tony Clark's one good season was better than Grace or Hillenbrand's one good season, so he got the nod.
In 2005, Clark put up a .305 average, 30-home run, and 87-RBI season in only 349 at-bats. That averages out to 52 HR and 150 RBI over a full 600 at-bats.
Years with Team: 1953-1962
Stats with Team: .285 BA, 239 HR, 760 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 17.7
162-Game Average: .285 BA, 32 HR, 102 RBI
Adcock teamed with Eddie Mathews and Hank Aaron to form one of the best 3-4-5 hitting trios in baseball history.
He launched over 20 home runs in six of his 10 seasons with the Braves and topped the 100 RBI mark twice.
Fred McGriff and Chris Chambliss also were considered, but McGriff was only with the team for four years, and Chambliss is better known for his time with the Yankees.
Years with Team: 1977-1988, 1996
Stats with Team: .294 BA, 343 HR, 1224 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 20.6
162-Game Average: .294 BA, 29 HR, 105 RBI
Accolades: seven-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves, two-time Silver Slugger, Rookie of the Year
It was a tough choice between Murray and Hall of Famer George Sisler, who hit over .400 twice and had a career average of .344.
However, I feel that Murray was perhaps the premier player of the 1980s, whereas Sisler was overshadowed by his peers.
Murray is one of only four guys to have 3,000 career hits and 500 career home runs, and he is one of the best switch hitters in baseball history.
He led the AL in home runs and RBI during the strike-shortened 1981 season, and he hit over .300 five times during his time with the Orioles.
Boog Powell also deserves a mention, as he was one of the most feared hitters of his time.
Years with Team: 1991-1998
Stats with Team: .304 BA, 230 HR, 752 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 16.6
162-Game Average: .304 BA, 36 HR, 116 RBI
Accolades: three-time All-Star, one Silver Slugger award, one MVP award
While Jimmie Foxx put up some huge seasons with the Red Sox, Vaughn is my pick here. I am interested to see what Red Sox fans think of this selection.
Vaughn took home the AL MVP in 1995, as he put up a line of .300 BA, 39 HR, 126 RBI.
The best season of his career actually came the next year, as he posted career highs in home runs (44) and RBI (143) with a .326 batting average.
Always a fan favorite, Vaughn left for Anaheim and a big $80 million contract. But he was a huge disappointment with the Angels, and his career was over a few years later.
Kevin Youkilis is deserving of at least a mention, as he is quickly becoming a great one.
Years with Team: 1876-1897
Stats with Team: .329 BA, 97 HR, 1879 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 93.8
162-Game Average: .329 BA, 7 HR, 129 RBI
Accolades: Hall of Fame
Anson is one of the most underappreciated players in baseball history, as he was by far the game's best run producer prior to 1900.
He led the league in RBI eight different times, with a career high of 120 in 1891 in a year where he only hit eight home runs.
His 2,076 career RBI are third all-time, and he is a deserving Hall of Famer.
He also managed the Cubs from 1879-1897 as a player-manager.
While Ernie Banks played a lot of first base, I am considering him a shortstop. Mark Grace is also deserving of a mention, as is MVP winner Phil Cavaretta.
Years with Team: 1990-2005
Stats with Team: .307 BA, 448 HR, 1465 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 15.5
162-Game Average: .307 BA, 37 HR, 122 RBI
Accolades: five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger, two-time MVP
While the point can be made that Thomas played more designated hitter than he did first base, he was at his best as a first baseman when he won back-to-back MVP awards, so that is where I will put him.
Thomas enjoyed a seven-year stretch from 1991-1997 where he was arguably the best hitter in baseball, as he batted at least .308 with 24 home runs and 101 RBI in any season.
His .427 on-base percentage and batting average regularly in the .320 range showed that he was not only a feared slugger, but also a very patient hitter.
Thomas put together a monster line of .353 BA, 38 HR, 101 RBI in just 113 games during the strike season of 1994, as he took home his second straight MVP.
Paul Konerko also deserves recognition for his consistent hitting, as the converted catcher has been a staple in the middle of the Sox lineup for 11 seasons now.
Years with Team: 1964-1976, 1984-1986
Stats with Team: .283 BA, 287 HR, 1192 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 23.9
162-Game Average: .283 BA, 24 HR, 99 RBI
Accolades: seven-time All-Star, Hall of Fame
Perez was at the center of one of baseball's greatest dynasties: the Big Red Machine.
He had eight seasons with 20 or more home runs and six seasons with over 100 RBI, and he enjoyed his best season in 1970, when he hit .317 with 40 home runs and 129 RBI and finished third in MVP voting.
I gave serious consideration to Ted Kluszewski for this spot. Ted had a line of .302 BA, 251 HR, 886 RBI in his 11-year Reds career.
He also enjoyed one of the best three-season stretches in history:
1953: .316 BA, 40 HR, 108 RBI
1954: .326 BA, 49 HR, 121 RBI
1955: .314 BA, 47 HR, 113 RBI
In the end, though, I think Perez being part of the Big Red Machine helped him out in my mind, as did his consistency.
Years with Team: 1933-1941
Stats with Team: .313 BA, 216 HR, 911 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 20.2
162-Game Average: .313 BA, 31 HR, 131 RBI
Now, the obvious choice here would seem to be Jim Thome, but hear me out.
Trosky drove in essentially the same number of runs as Thome (927), but he did so in 253 fewer games.
Also, it was not until 1997 that Thome made the move over to first base. Prior to that, he was a third baseman.
Finally, Trosky struck out only 373 times, while Thome fanned a whopping 1,377 times in his time with the Indians.
So there is my argument for Trosky, but I can certainly see why someone would pick Thome.
Years with Team: 1997-Present
Stats with Team: .328 BA, 317 HR, 1161 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 19.5
162-Game Average: .328 BA, 30 HR, 109 RBI
Accolades: five-time All-Star, four Gold Gloves, three-time Silver Slugger
Considering how young the franchise is, they have had two great first basemen in Helton and Andres Galarraga.
But Helton is the obvious choice here.
He is one of the best hitters of the 2000s, and the season he put together in 2000 was incredible, even by his standards.
He finished the season with a line of .372 BA, 42 HR, 147 RBI, leading the league in batting average, RBI, doubles, hits, and on-base percentage. He made a legitimate run at both a .400 average and a Triple Crown that season as well.
Helton has never hit under .300 in a full season and currently ranks 36th all-time in career batting average.
Years with Team: 1933-1941, 1945-1946
Stats with Team: .319 BA, 306 HR, 1202 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 15.7
162-Game Average: .319 BA, 39 HR, 154 RBI
Accolades: four-time All-Star, two-time MVP, Hall of Fame
As great as Greenberg's career was, it could have been even better had it not been for the three seasons he lost while serving our country.
He had a 58-home run season, a 183-RBI season, a 63-double season, and a 144-run season. All of these numbers occurred in different seasons, making them even more impressive.
He led the league in home runs four times and RBI four times, and he never hit under .300 in a full season.
Special mention to Norm Cash, who finished with a line of .272 BA, 373 HR, 1087 RBI in his Tigers career. He was great and should be a Hall of Famer in my opinion.
Years with Team: 1998-2003
Stats with Team: .264 BA, 129 HR, 417 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 21.9
162-Game Average: .264 BA, 25 HR, 80 RBI
Accolades: one Gold Glove
While he did not quite realize his potential until he was traded to the Cubs, Lee was a solid player and a middle of the order threat with the Marlins.
The Lee for Hee Seop Choi trade did not exactly benefit the Marlins, as Lee broke out with the Cubs. But in his final season with the Marlins, Lee hit 31 home runs and helped lead them to the World Series.
No worries, Marlins fans, Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine was not snubbed here. I am considering him a left fielder for this.
Years with Team: 1991-2005
Stats with Team: .297 BA, 449 HR, 1529 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 17.4
162-Game Average: .297 BA, 34 HR, 115 RBI
Accolades: four-time All-Star, one Gold Glove, three-time Silver Slugger, one MVP
In the age of free agency and players playing for that next big contract, the fact that Bagwell spent his entire career with the Astros is impressive in itself.
Bagwell topped the 30-home run plateau nine times, and drove in over 100 runs eight times.
He took home the MVP in the strike-shortened 1994 season with a line of .368 BA, 39 HR, 116 RBI. He also won the Gold Glove that season.
Glenn Davis had six straight 20-plus home run seasons for the Astros in the 1980s, and he, along with Lance Berkman, received consideration.
Years with Team: 1995-2007
Stats with Team: .299 BA, 197 HR, 837 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 23.7
162-Game Average: .299 BA, 25 HR, 105 RBI
Accolades: five-time All-Star
For a seven-year stretch from 1999-2005, the only seven seasons in which Sweeney has played over 100 games, he was one of the best in baseball.
He averaged a .313 average, 29-home run, 119-RBI season during that span, twice hitting over .330 and making the All-Star team five times.
His 2000 season was by far his best, as he put together a line of .333 BA, 29 HR, 144 RBI.
John Mayberry, the Royals' first baseman during the 1970s, deserves a mention, as he was a two-time All-Star and had 143 home runs in his Royals career.
Years with Team: 1986-1991, 2001
Stats with Team: .286 BA, 117 HR, 532 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 28.9
162-Game Average: .286 BA, 21 HR, 96 RBI
It was between Joyner and an aging Rod Carew for this spot, so I went with Joyner.
He came out of the gate impressively enough, hitting .290 with 22 home runs and 100 RBI as a rookie, as he made the All-Star team and finished eighth in MVP voting.
He followed that up with an even better sophomore campaign, batting .285 with 34 home runs and 117 RBI.
Joyner seemed to be on his way to stardom.
However, his career never really went anywhere from there, as he never again topped 100 RBI and only topped 20 home runs once more.
Years with Team: 1943, 1947-1961
Stats with Team: .274 BA, 361 HR, 1254 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 19.1
162-Game Average: .274 BA, 29 HR, 102 RBI
Accolades: eight-time All-Star, three Gold Gloves
Often overshadowed by his teammates, Hodges was a key member of the great Dodgers teams of the 1950s.
He was another guy who lost significant time during his prime while he served our country, and his numbers could be even better.
He hit over 20 home runs nine straight seasons, with a career high of 42 coming in 1954.
He was also a great fielder and would have won several more Gold Gloves had the award existed prior to 1957.
Steve Garvey was a key part of the success of the 1980s Dodgers teams, and his career Dodgers stats were .301 BA, 211 HR, 992 RBI with eight All-Star appearances, four Gold Gloves, and an MVP Award in 1974.
Eric Karros was also worth a look, as he had 270 home runs with the Dodgers and won the Rookie of the Year Award.
Years with Team: 1977-1987
Stats with Team: .302 BA, 201 HR, 944 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 29.9
162-Game Average: .302 BA, 22 HR, 103 RBI
Accolades: five-time All-Star, two Gold Gloves, three-time Silver Slugger
Cooper was the face of the franchise throughout the 1980s, as he was a perennial All-Star.
He hit over 20 home runs five times and drove in over 100 runs four times. He also logged over 200 hits three different times.
Cooper was not all power though, as he hit over .300 eight times, including a career-best .352 average in 1980.
George Scott was also in the running, as he won the Gold Glove in each of his five seasons with the team and hit 115 home runs. Prince Fielder is also worth a mention.
Years with Team: 1954-1974
Stats with Team: .258 BA, 559 HR, 1540 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 14.0
162-Game Average: .258 BA, 39 HR, 108 RBI
Accolades: 11-time All-Star, MVP, Hall of Fame
Killebrew was an absolute beast, and while one knock on him might be his low batting average, he did have a career on-base percentage of .378 and led the league in walks four different times.
Think Adam Dunn, only with more consistency.
He led the American League in home runs six different times and topped 40 eight different times in his career.
His best season came in 1969, when he had a .276 batting average with 49 home runs and 140 RBI and won the MVP after leading the league with a .427 on-base percentage.
Kent Hrbek and his 293 career home runs deserve a mention, but he was no Killebrew.
Years with Team: 1983-1989
Stats with Team: .297 BA, 80 HR, 468 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 39.6
162-Game Average: .297 BA, 15 HR, 86 RBI
Accolades: three-time All-Star, five Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger
While he was in his prime with the Cardinals, most baseball fans remember Hernandez from the 1986 World Series Mets team.
Offensively, Hernandez was the 1980s version of Mark Grace, as he was good for a .300 average, 15-home run, 85-RBI season every year.
Defensively, Hernandez was one of the best to ever play the position, and he holds the record with 11 Gold Gloves at first base.
Ed Kranepool deserves a mention, as he was a staple at first from 1962-1976 and was a solid performer.
Years with Team: 1923-1939
Stats with Team: .340 BA, 493 HR, 1995 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 16.2
162-Game Average: .340 BA, 37 HR, 149 RBI
Accolades: seven-time All-Star, two-time MVP, Hall of Fame
Gehrig is the best first baseman of all time, and he put together some truly magical seasons hitting in the four hole behind Babe Ruth.
While Ruth gets all the glory for his 60 home runs in 1927, it is often overlooked that Gehrig actually won the MVP that year, as he put together a line of .343 BA, 47 HR, 175 RBI.
Gehrig also took home the Triple Crown in 1934 with a line of .363 BA, 49 HR, 165 RBI.
Don Mattingly was a good one, but he really had no chance against Gehrig. Tino Martinez is also worth mentioning.
Years with Team: 1925-1935
Stats with Team: .339 BA, 302 HR, 1075 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 14.6
162-Game Average: .339 BA, 39 HR, 139 RBI
Accolades: three-time All-Star, two-time MVP, Hall of Fame
Simply put, Foxx was one of the best hitters to ever play the game, and in my eyes, he is a close second to Gehrig as the best first baseman of all time.
In 1932, he put together an MVP season, as he led the league in home runs (58) and RBI (169) and batted .364.
He followed that up with a line of .356 BA, 48 HR, 163 RBI the next season, as he won the Triple Crown and took home his second straight MVP.
Statistically, Mark McGwire was impressive, but Foxx is head and shoulders above him as a player.
Years with Team: 2004-Present
Stats with Team: .277 BA, 196 HR, 550 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 11.9
162-Game Average: .277 BA, 50 HR, 141 RBI
Accolades: All-Star, Silver Slugger, MVP, Rookie of the Year
If not for Jim Thome blocking his path, Howard would have gotten his career rolling earlier. Instead, he did not make his debut until he was 25 years old.
Still, he has put up some epic numbers in his time as a starter. His best season came in 2006, when he hit .313 with 58 home runs and 149 RBI and won the MVP award.
His 2008 season was equally impressive, as he led the NL with 48 home runs and 146 RBI and helped the Phillies to the World Series.
Don Hurst and John Kruk deserve a mention, as they both hit over .300 in their Phillies career with moderate power.
Years with Team: 1961-1968
Stats with Team: .280 BA, 106 HR, 488 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 33.2
162-Game Average: .280 BA, 17 HR, 81 RBI
I want to start off by saying that Willie Stargell played nearly 400 more games in left field than he did at first base, so that is where I am putting him as well. Otherwise, he would certainly be the pick here.
Clendenon was consistent, if nothing else, in his time with the Pirates, as he hit double-digit home runs in all six of his seasons as a starter.
His best season came in 1966 when he posted a .299 average, 28-home run, 98-RBI season.
Overall, though, it was slim pickings at this position, with Sid Bream deserving of a mention.
Years with Team: 2006-Present
Stats with Team: .286 BA, 112 HR, 344 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 18.3
162-Game Average: .286 BA, 33 HR, 103 RBI
Accolades: All-Star, one Gold Glove
After a slow start to his career, Gonzalez is finally living up to the potential that made him the first overall pick in the 2000 draft.
With over 30 home runs and over 100 RBI the last two years, he has established himself as one of the best sluggers in the game today, and he is well on his way to the best numbers of his career this season.
Nate Colbert deserves a mention, as he had 163 home runs in his Padres career and was a three-time All-Star.
Years with Team: 1959-1973, 1977-1980
Stats with Team: .274 BA, 469 HR, 1388 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 15.4
162-Game Average: .274 BA, 34 HR, 100 RBI
Accolades: six-time All-Star, MVP, Rookie of the Year
This was a tough one, as there were a pair of Hall of Famers to choose from with McCovey and Bill Terry. Also in the mix was fan favorite Will Clark.
Johnny Mize was also spectacular in his four-and-a-half seasons with the Giants, leading the league in home runs in back-to-back seasons with 51 in 1947 and 40 in '48.
In the end, McCovey's prolific power, as well as his longevity, were the deciding factors, as he topped 30 home runs seven different times and played 19 seasons with the Giants.
He won the Rookie of the Year in 1952 despite playing in just 52 games, finishing with an impressive line of .354 BA, 13 HR, 38 RBI.
He went on to win the MVP in 1969 when he led the league in home runs (45) and RBI (126) and hit .320.
Years with Team: 1984-1991
Stats with Team: .281 BA, 160 HR, 667 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 25.9
162-Game Average: .281 BA, 22 HR, 93 RBI
Accolades: All-Star, Rookie of the Year
Before Ken Griffey Jr. came along, Davis was the face of the Mariners, and he is without a doubt the best first baseman they have had.
He started off his career with a bang, winning the ROY Award while posting a line of .284 BA, 27 HR, 116 RBI, and making the All-Star team.
While his stats were never incredible, he was a consistent hitter, as he launched at least 17 home runs in seven straight seasons.
Years with Team: 2001-Present
Stats with Team: .334 BA, 342 HR, 1035 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 14.0
162-Game Average: .334 BA, 43 HR, 129 RBI
Accolades: seven-time All-Star, one Gold Glove, four-time Silver Slugger, two-time MVP, Rookie of the Year
While there have been a few solid first basemen in Cardinals history, including Keith Hernandez, who took home an MVP while with the team, Pujols is the obvious choice.
For the record, Stan Musial is an outfielder in my book, although he did play a lot of first base at the end of his career.
When it is all said and done, I think Pujols will be viewed as no worse than the third-best first baseman of all time, behind Gehrig and Foxx.
He has the potential to pass even them, however, if he continues to put up the numbers he has.
Some guys end up with career numbers that look better thanks to a few big seasons, but Pujols has been solid his entire career.
His career WORSTS in the Triple Crown categories are .314 batting average, 32 home runs, 103 RBI.
For some guys, that is a career year. For Pujols, it's him struggling.
It really is hard to sum up how good he is in a few paragraphs—and I am a Cubs fan, so while it pains me to praise him, it is certainly earned.
Years with Team: 1999-2001, 2004
Stats with Team: .291 BA, 99 HR, 359 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 20.9
162-Game Average: .291 BA, 28 HR, 101 RBI
While he is just keeping this spot warm for Carlos Pena, McGriff is currently the best first baseman the Rays have had in their short history.
He, along with Jose Canseco and Greg Vaughn, were the first real "big names" that the Rays landed, and while they did not bring about a whole lot of success, they at least made the Rays seem like a legitimate team in the early going.
McGriff was an All-Star in 2000 when he posted a line of .277 BA, 27 HR, 106 RBI. He actually had a better year the previous season, though, with a .310 average, 32-home run, 104-RBI season.
The two 100-RBI seasons are made more impressive by the fact that he had guys like Miguel Cairo and Dave Martinez hitting in front of him.
Years with Team: 1989-1993, 1999-2003
Stats with Team: .290 BA, 321 HR, 1039 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 18.2
162-Game Average: .290 BA, 33 HR, 107 RBI
Accolades: two-time All-Star, one Gold Glove, Silver Slugger
First off, I hate the man, and his whole finger-pointing act in front of Congress was one of the bigger idiot moments in sports history.
That said, anyone who has read any previous ranking list of mine knows that my stance when ranking is to look at the numbers and lay all else aside. Maybe this is naive, but this is how I approach the steroid issue, and that gets Palmeiro the top spot.
And my, were Palmeiro's numbers impressive, as he hit over 30 home runs seven times with the Rangers and was more or less a lock for a .300 average, 30-home run, 100-RBI season throughout his career.
Years with Team: 1993-2004
Stats with Team: .282 BA, 336 HR, 1058 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 14.9
162-Game Average: .282 BA, 38 HR, 121 RBI
Accolades: two-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger
While John Olerud was a great player and was integral to the success of the early 1990s Blue Jays, Delgado was the obvious choice here.
He hit at least 30 home runs in eight straight seasons and put together an incredible season in 2000.
Coming off of his first 40-home run season with 45 in 1999, Delgado followed that up with a line of .344 BA, 41 HR, 137 RBI, along with an AL-high 57 doubles.
While the power numbers were not out of the ordinary, the average was by far the best of his career, as he finished fourth in all three Triple Crown categories.
A converted catcher, it took Delgado a few years to establish himself as a starter, or his numbers might be even better.
Years with Team: 1985-1991, 2002
Stats with Team: .269 BA, 115 HR, 473 RBI
At-Bats Per Home Run: 29.1
162-Game Average: .269 BA, 20 HR, 81 RBI
Accolades: All-Star, two Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger
While he is probably best remembered for the prolific power numbers he put up in Colorado, Galarraga was a solid first baseman right out of the gate with the Expos.
He led the NL in hits (184) and doubles (42) in 1988, and he hit over .300 for the second straight season.
In reality, there really was no one else to choose here. Lee Stevens had a few decent seasons, and Dmitri Young made an All-Star team, but that was about it.