The Top-50 Hitters Ever: Nos. 16-20
The following is the seventh part of an 11-part series chronicling the Top-50 hitters of all-time.
20. Manny Ramirez, LF, Cleveland Indians/Boston Red Sox/Los Angeles Dodgers (1993-present)
Aside from the “Manny being Manny” shenanigans, Manny Ramirez is surely one of the best hitters to ever play the game.
In his 16 MLB seasons, Ramirez has a career wOBA of .416, which is right around the top-10 all-time. His career OPS+, meanwhile, is 154, 25th all-time.
The slugger has 517 homeruns and 497 doubles in his career, helping him to a career SLG of .590, eighth all-time, and a career OPS of 1.000, tenth all-time.
When his numbers are compared to the league average during his career, Ramirez’s case as an all-time great improves.
Ramirez currently has a career OPS of 1.000, .218 above the league average, while his career OBP of .410 is .066 above the league average and his career SLG of .590 is .152 above the league average.
Though Ramirez still has a few seasons left that could bring down his career percentages, they are currently still up with some of the best players of all-time.
19. Frank Robinson, RF, Cincinnati Reds/Baltimore Orioles/Los Angeles Dodgers/California Angles/Cleveland Indians (1956-1976)
Frank Robinson is one of the greatest power hitters ever, and one of the greatest hitters of his generation.
His 586 homeruns ranks seventh all-time, and prove his spot as one of the best sluggers of all-time.
Robinson also holds a career wOBA of .396, and a career OPS+ of 154, 26th all-time, during his 21 MLB seasons.
The fact that his OPS+ ranks 26th all-time and his non-adjusted OPS ranks 42nd all-time proves that Robinson could have put up even better power numbers if he had played in a more offensive-friendly era.
Still, Robinson dominated the league-average numbers during his career.
Robinson’s OPS of .926 was .201 points above the league average during the time, while his OPS of .389 was .070 above the league average and his SLG of .537 was .141 above the league average.
These dominating power numbers, as well as above-average on-base skills help Robinson come in at a very solid 19th on the list.
18. Tris Speaker, CF, Boston Red Sox/Cleveland Indians/Washington Senators/Philadelphia A’s (1907-1928)
When Tris Speaker injured his left arm in a football injury, doctors advised amputation.
Speaker refused, and that same left arm helped him to become one of the best hitters in baseball history.
Speaker’s career OPS+ of 158 ranks 17th all-time, while he had a solid wOBA of .394 despite a lack of home runs.
He hit just 117 home runs in his career, but made up for with his record 792 career doubles, 222 career triples, and .428 career OBP.
Speaker’s .428 career OBP ranks 12th all-time, and was .081 above the league average during his career.
Despite his low amount of homeruns, Speaker had very solid power numbers for his era, as his .500 SLG was .127 above the league average, while his .928 OPS was .208 above the league average.
Speaker’s great on-base ability, and his amazing amount of doubles, help him rank as one of the best hitters of all-time.
17. Hank Greenberg, 1B, Detroit Tigers/Pittsburgh Pirates (1930-1947)
Despite the fact that injuries limited his career, and he lost three years of his prime to fighting in World War II, Hank Greenberg still goes down as one of the best hitters in baseball history.
His .424 career wOBA is one of the highest marks of any player on this list or in baseball history.
Also, his career OPS+ of 158 ranks 16th all-time.
During his career, Greenberg’s OPS of 1.017 was an astonishing .237 above the league average, as his OBP of .412 was .051 above the league average and his SLG of .605 was .186 above the league average.
These numbers aren’t even as high as they could have been for one of the most overlooked players in baseball history, since he lost three years of his prime (when he was 31, 32, and 33-years-old) because of World War II.
His 6,096 plate appearances are one of the lowest totals for any players on the list, but in those plate appearances, Greenberg made an impact that is unrivaled by many.
16. Hank Aaron, RF, Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves/Milwaukee Brewers (1954-1976)
Baseball’s long-time home run king comes in at 16th on the list, but that takes nothing away from the career of one of the best hitters ever.
Aaron’s .391 career wOBA is lower than most players around him, but his pitching-oriented generation and the longevity of his career can be attributed to that.
His OPS+ comes in at 155, 24th all-time, but, like his wOBA, his career’s longevity caused this number to fall somewhat.
During his five best seasons, Aaron’s OPS+ averaged out to 182, comparable to some of the all-time greats and higher than almost every player he tops in my rankings.
Largely due to his 755 career homeruns and 624 career doubles, Aaron’s career OPS of .929 was .207 above the league average during his career.
Aaron’s biggest weakness during his career was his .374 OBP, which was .047 above the league average during his career.
Still, he is arguably one of the top-5 sluggers to ever play the game, and his incredible slugging prowess helped to make him one of the best hitters ever.
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