The Top-50 Hitters Ever: Nos. 21-25

Ryan WilliamsCorrespondent IAugust 28, 2008

The following is the sixth part of an 11-part series chronicling the Top-50 hitters of all-time.


25. John McGraw, 3B, Baltimore Orioles/St. Louis Cardinals/New York Giants (1891-1906)

John McGraw was one of the great hitters of the 19th century and one of the best on-base threats in MLB history.

McGraw’s .466 career OBP ranks third all-time, behind only Ted Williams and Babe Ruth. This mark was .108 above the league average during his career.

During his career, McGraw also had three seasons with an OBP above .500, with marks of .547 (fourth all-time), .505, and .508, in three straight years from1899-1901.

McGraw had just 13 home runs during his career, and a total of just 204 extra-base hits.  However, he still had a career wOBA of .406, due to his amazing ability to get on base.

During his 16 MLB seasons, McGraw was never close to being a power hitter, partly due to the era he played in, but his ability to get on base at a premium rate helped to cement his spot in baseball history.


24. Alex Rodriguez, SS/3B, Seattle Mariners/Texas Rangers/New York Yankees (1994-2008)

Despite what the New York fans think of him, Alex Rodriguez will surely go down as one of the best hitters of all-time.

With a career wOBA of .414 in 15 seasons, it is easy to see why the 32-year-old Rodriguez could have a chance at the all-time home run record.

Rodriguez already has 546 homeruns in his career, while maintaining a solid OBP of .389.

A-Rod’s career OPS of .968 is .194 above the league average during the span of his career, as well. This is impressive, of course, but incomparable to some of the all-time greats and even some of the better players of his generation.

Also, his career OPS+ of 148 ranks 40th all-time, and this number, while solid, shows that Rodriguez may be a product of his era and ballparks.

Still, it is hard to deny the talent of Rodriguez, and if he can maintain his current pace and approach the all-time home-run record, he will certainly go down as one of the all-time greats.


23. Mel Ott, RF, New York Giants (1926-1947)

Mel Ott stood at just 5’9” and 170 pounds, but the New York Giants’ right fielder was one of the most feared power-hitters ever.

In addition to becoming the first National League player to have 500 home runs (he ended his career at 511), Ott led the league in home runs six times and finished among the top-three home-run hitters 14 times.

His career OPS+ of 155 ranks 23rd all-time, while he had an impressive wOBA of .405 throughout his career.

Ott’s career OPS of .947 was a very impressive .207 above the league average during his career, and Ott had a very impressive balance of ability to get on base and slug.

His career OBP of .414 was .072 above the league average, while his career SLG of .533 was .136 above the league average.

Ott’s power, in addition to his OBP, which ranks 28th all-time, helped to make him one of the great hitters ever and come in at 23rd on my list.


22. Johnny Mize, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals/New York Giants/New York Yankees (1936-1953)

Johnny Mize was never put in the same light as other stars of his generation, such as Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, and Stan Musial, but he deserves any kind or recognition he can get for his career.

Mize compiled a career OPS+ of 158, 18th of all-time and had a career wOBA of .413, comparable to some of the all-time greats.

In light of all of these great statistics, Mize also lost three years of his prime to World War II, seasons in which he would be in his prime at 30, 31, and 32-years-old.

Still, Mize had 359 homeruns in his 15 MLB seasons, while compiling an OPS of .959, .219 above the league average.

Mize was one of the most impressive hitters of all-time, and, although he is overlooked by many, he deserves to be in the company of the top hitters ever.


21. Joe DiMaggio, CF, New York Yankees (1936-1951)

Joe DiMaggio is one of the greatest players of all-time and currently holds the record for the longest hitting-streak ever, with a 56-game streak in 1941.

Hitting streak aside, DiMaggio was one of the greatest hitters ever.

His career wOBA of .416 is one of the best marks of all-time.  Also, his career OPS+ of 155 ranks 22nd all-time.

It could also be argued that DiMaggio’s numbers aren’t as high as they could have been. Like Mize, he lost three seasons of his prime (when he was 28, 29, and 30-years-old) due to fighting in World War II.

In his 13-year career, DiMaggio had an OPS of .977, .218 above the league average. 

One potential knock on DiMaggio was the fact that his OBP, while a very impressive .398, was only .044 above the league average during his career.

Although his counting statistics (including his 361 career home runs) aren’t up-to-pace with the all-time greats, largely because of his three lost seasons, DiMaggio’s percentages prove that he was truly an all-time great hitter.

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