Is Pujols Among The Best Ever: Comparing The Top Five Hitters Of All Time

Sergio ValdezContributor IIJuly 13, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 31:  Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a broken bat single in the ninth inning of their game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on May 31, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

There have been a lot of fans raving about how Pujols might be the best ever.

Or about how he will break certain records and such. When I hear these comments, my gut reaction is to deny that he could ever become the greatest hitter of all time. But how does he stack up to the all time greats and other guys said to break records. I decided to take a look at five players who are arguably the five best hitters ever and compare them to Pujols.

I also included A-rod on the list because he was a player who had the potential to also break a couple of hitting records. The only realistic comparison in my mind is one where we take the stats from a set number of at bats at the beginning of each players career. At the beginning of this season Pujols had 4,578 at bats. I decided that I would compare the players first 4,500 at bats give or take a few.

I made an excel sheet of all the data and graphs, but here they are: 

At bats
Pujols 4,578
Ruth 4,281
Mays 4,669
Aaron 4,717
Williams 4,555
Gehrig 4,542
A-rod 4,382

Pujols .334
Ruth .357
Mays .317
Aaron .319
Williams .350
Gehrig .343
A-rod .309

On-base Percentage
Pujols .425
Ruth .494
Mays .392
Aaron .373
Williams .485
Gehrig .444
A-rod .386

Slugging Percentage
Pujols .624
Ruth .740
Mays .585
Aaron .565
Williams .642
Gehrig .640
A-rod .579

On-base Plus Slugging Percentage
Pujols 1.049
Ruth 1.234
Mays .978
Aaron .938
Williams 1.127
Gehrig 1.084
A-rod .965

Pujols 342
Ruth 293
Mays 233
Aaron 264
Williams 338
Gehrig 321
A-rod 255

Home Runs
Pujols 319
Ruth 396
Mays 279
Aaron 253
Williams 293
Gehrig 267
A-rod 298

Some reactions of mine:

Ruth is by far the best through his first 4,500 at bats note that these at bats include when he was pitching. His slugging percentage blows my mind.

A-rod does not stack up in almost all of the categories.

Ted Williams is an obvious No. 2 among these players.

Mays and Aaron are not as good through this many at bats as I thought they would be.

Gehrig and Pujols are very similar Gehrig beats out Pujols in all categories except home runs and doubles. But they are close in all others.

But remember this is only through each players first 4,500 at bats I'm not saying one player is better than another based on this info. Well I am willing to say Ruth is better than all of them. If anyone says this is proof that Pujols is better than any player on this list let me show you something.

Jimmie Foxx
AB 4,397
AVG .339
OBP .440
SLG .640
OPS 1.079
Doubles 257
Home Runs 302

Jimmie was a great player but he is not one of the greatest ever. These numbers put Jimmie ahead of a few people on this list. But in terms of career he is ahead of no one except maybe A-rod.

I hope this brings some perspective.