Baseball's Greatest Players of All Time

Jeremy KaufmanSenior Analyst IJanuary 24, 2008

Hypothetically, if you can go back to the very dawn of baseball itself, and assemble a team of the greatest players of all time, what would your starting lineup be?

It’s a tough one, I know. However, I’m going try to figure it out. Feel free to argue with my picks, I’m sure a lot of you will.

Catcher: Josh Gibson

That’s right, I did it. I picked a player who never even played a game in the majors. But you know what, it doesn’t even really matter. Gibson was one of the greatest hitters to ever live.

While there are no official statistics from the Negro Leagues, it is a generally accepted consensus by the testimonies of fellow players that Gibson had approximately 800 career home runs.

And besides, Jackie Robinson came from the Negro leagues, and went on to have a Hall of Fame career.

The scary thing is Josh Gibson was even better.

First Base: Lou Gehrig

A career .340 hitter and 493 career home runs, Lou Gehrig was one of the greatest Yankees of all time. He was an outstanding player and an outstanding person, and I would take him at first base over anyone else out there.

Second Base: Roger Hornsby

Can you possibly imagine anyone, let alone a second baseman, hitting above .400? Well Hornsby did it, a more than once actually.

Hornsby was one of the greatest hitters of all time, for any position. His defense wasn’t great, but his unrealistic hitting made up for it.

Third Base: Mike Schmidt

Not only was his batting amazing, his defense was too. Schmidt never was the most popular player in the league, but he certainly was one of its best.

Shortstop: Alex Rodriguez

I’m sure a lot of you don’t like this one, but come on, let’s be real, A-Rod’s offense is out of this world, and he already had two gold gloves before switching positions. It was a very hard choice, but I had to give it to him.

Left Field: Barry Bonds

Yeah I know, I didn’t want to give it to him either. You can’t argue with the talent though, the man is out of this world.

Even before Bonds’ alleged juicing days, he had Hall of Fame batting numbers, tons of stolen bases, and about seven gold gloves (I can’t think of another left fielder that has one).

Even though he may not be the greatest human being in the sport, I still feel he is one of baseball’s greatest players.

Center Field: Willie Mays

Yet another tough one, but in the end though, Mays really did have everything—power, speed, and incredible defense. Overall, he was likely one of the top ten players of all time.

Right Field: Babe Ruth

I dare you to argue with this one; I dare you.

Ruth is the greatest player of all time, with over 700 homeruns and an incredible batting average. In addition, he hit home runs in a time when they didn’t exist, at least not like that.

Even if that isn’t good enough, he had Hall of Fame-type pitching numbers before becoming a right fielder.

Designated Hitter: Ted Williams

He might be the best pure hitter of all time. If I’m not mistaken, he was the most recent player in baseball history to have over a .400 batting average in a season, meaning it happened in a time in which the pitching was far superior to the kind that hitters like Hornsby and other .400 hitters faced.

Starting Pitcher: Walter Johnson

With 417 career wins, a 2.17 career ERA, and a 100 mph fastball, Walter Johnson was the most dominant pitcher of his ERA, and in my opinion, of all time.

Oh yeah, he also had 24 career home runs. Not bad for a pitcher.

Closer: Mariano Rivera

Rivera is simply the most dominant closer of all time. While most great closing pitchers stay great for only a few years at max (see Eric Gagne), Rivera managed to maintain his dominance for over a decade.

In the 9th inning with a game on a line, Rivera is the man I want with the ball.