MLB Debate: The Greatest Hitters Of All Time

Kale TunnessenContributor IMay 19, 2008

Below is my attempt to identify the nine greatest hitters of all time. I thought about making it a nice round ten, but there should never be ten hitters aloud to hit for one team—the EH, that's ridiculous.

I did not include any current players, so there very well could be someone on your television right now that you think deserves to be on my list. That is another list for another time. So I guess this is really my attempt to identify the nine greatest hitters of all time who haven't picked up a bat in at least 30 years. At least we can assume that none of the players were too juiced up.

The main statistics I used to organize this list were H, R, HR, RBI, BB, BA, and OBP—all of which I averaged over a 162 game season. I know it's not perfect, but at least the numbers will be consistent for everyone. I also tried to factor in the era in which they played by comparing each players stats to other dominant hitters during the same era.

Well, here is the list. Feel free to chime in with any comments or questions.


1. Babe Ruth

As closed-minded as it my sound, I will never listen to an argument that involves someone other than Babe Ruth being the greatest hitter of all time. Anyone who argues this point is obviously just trying to sound educated, while proving they know nothing about baseball. Ruth is King. No matter how much you hate the Yankees, or think he was a fat son of a bitch (which he wasn't), one cannot deny how great he really was.

162 Game Averages:

BA: .342   OBP: .474   H: 186   R: 141   HR: 46   RBI: 143   BB: 133


2. Lou Gehrig

Lou Gehrig was a guy who was always being overshadowed by the greatest of greats, while he continued to put up phenomenal numbers of his own. When comparing Gehrig's seven statistical categories against those of Babe Ruth, it's unbelievable how similar they are.

He was also overshadowed in 1934, when he won the triple crown with Ruth on his team, yet failed to win the American League MVP. It was given to Mickey Cochrane of the Detroit Tigers.

162 Game Averages

BA: .340   OBP: .447   H: 204   R: 141   HR: 37   RBI: 149   BB: 11


3. Ted Williams

We all know that Teddy Ballgame was the last player to hit .400 in a season. He was also one of only two players to win the triple crown twice—the other being Rogers Hornsby.

Maybe more importantly, during his Hall-of-Fame speech in 1966, Williams was quoted as saying, "I've been a very lucky guy to have worn a baseball uniform, and I hope some day the names of Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson in some way can be added as a symbol of the great Negro players, who are not here only because they weren't given a chance." This statement is now regarded as one of the bigger steps taken to ultimately include deserving Negro League players into Cooperstown

162 Game Averages

BA: .344   OBP: .482   H: 188   R: 127   HR: 37   RBI: 130   BB: 14


4. Rogers Hornsby

This is where it gets difficult. Cobb and Jackson could just as easily be placed at number four without much of an argument from me. I think the fact that Hornsby was a right-handed hitter helped his cause a little bit, simply because the game favors lefties so much.

I'm sure some of you will try to tell me that Jimmie Foxx was the greatest right-handed hitter of all time—and maybe he was, but also keep in mind that Hornsby was a second baseman hitting 22 home runs a year (162 game avg.) all throughout the 20s, which I think is pretty absurd.

162 Game Averages

BA: .358   OBP: .434   H: 210   R: 113   HR: 22   RBI: 114   BB: 74


5. Ty Cobb

Ty Cobb was one of the first five inductees into Cooperstown. He received the highest percentage of votes (98.2) in a class that included Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson. He also still holds the record for career batting average at .366.

No one can deny that Cobb was probably the meanest, most racist ballplayer to ever play the game. Just don't forget that he was also very good at hitting a baseball.

162 Game Averages:

BA: .366   OBP: .433   H: 224   R: 120   HR: 6   RBI: 103   BB: 67


6. Joe Jackson

Shoeless Joe Jackson was involved in one of the most disappointing stories in baseball history. Because of this, he will probably never be elected to the Hall, and we'll never know how great his numbers could have been. However, during the period in which he did play, his numbers were spectacular, placing him at number six on this list.

162 Game Averages:

BA: .356   OBP: .423   H: 216   R: 106   HR: 7   RBI: 95   BB: 63


7. Jimmie Foxx

At 32 years, 336 days, Jimmie Foxx is second only to Alex Rodriguez on the list of youngest players to reach 500 home runs. He is a rare breed of power hitter that also has a career BA of .325. It's a shame his name isn't mentioned more with the Gehrigs, DiMaggios, and Mays of the world. This is another name that could definitely be higher on the list.

162 Game Averages:

BA: .325   OBP: .428   H: 185   R: 122   HR: 37   RBI 134   BB: 102


8. Joe DiMaggio

Joe DiMaggio got a hit in 56 straight baseball games. That stat alone gets him on this list. The Yankee Clipper was the most graceful player to ever play the game. He was an offensive machine that was just as talented in center field. Sometimes people see Joe as such an iconic figure because of his relationship with Marilyn Monroe, as well as his New York persona, that they forget how awesome his numbers really were.

162 Game Averages:

BA: .325   OBP: .398   H: 207   R: 130   HR: 34   RBI: 143   BB: 74


9. Stan Musial

As much as I would have liked to put Stan higher on the list, I think number nine is perfect. One of my favorite players, and the greatest to ever wear a Cardinal uniform, Stan the Man will go down as one of the nicest men ever. He was also a bangin' baseball player.

162. Game Averages:

BA: .331   OBP: .417   H: 194   R: 104   HR: 25   RBI: 104   BB: 86


Well, that's it. Let me know what you think.