San Francisco Giants: Power Ranking the 50 Greatest Hitters in Team History
The New York/San Francisco Giants franchise is one of the best in major league history. After being established in 1883 in New York, and the franchise moved out West in 1958, and the Giants have had an incredible run of players along the way.
The black and orange has been donned by some of baseball's greatest players. Some players stuck around for just a season or two, while others played their entire careers with the team.
Take a look at who the 50 greatest hitters in Giants history are!
50. Harry Danning
Harry Danning, the Giants catcher in the 30s and early 40s, is acknowledged as one of the top defensive catchers of his era. However, it was his combination of a great glove with consistent hitting that led Danning to four straight All-Star selections with the Giants from 1938-1941.
Over those four seasons, he enjoyed his greatest success with the Giants, teaming with the great Mel Ott to drive in an average of 11 HR and 70 RBI per season. He has been likened to Tony Pena, the Pittsburgh catcher in the 1980s. Danning cut his career short at age 30 to join the Army.
49. Jeffrey Leonard
With a nickname like “Hac-Man” there was no way that the Giants’ left fielder of the 1980s, Jeffrey Leonard, was going to be left off of this list.
Nicknamed due to his free-swinging nature at the plate, Leonard led the team in RBI from 1983 to 1985. He averaged 78 a season, all the while striking out enough to make the league’s top 10 strikeout list three consecutive years as well.
48. Al Dark
Al Dark, the Giants’ shortstop of the 1950s, was one of the finest all-around shortstops of his era. Dark’s six-year run with the Giants included three All-Star bids and four consecutive top five finishes in hits from 1951 to 1954. He also had three consecutive top 10 finishes in runs from 1951 to 1953.
As a team captain, Dark was an impressive .290-plus hitter during his time with the Giants and averaged 16 homers and 69 RBIs.
47. Freddie Lindstrom
Hall of Famer Freddie Lindstrom was the Giants’ everyday third baseman from the late 1920s to the early 1930s.
Lindstrom batted .300-plus in six straight seasons and was a great plate setter for guys like Bill Terry and Mel Ott, who were two of the top hitters of the era.
Lindstrom had great discipline and rarely struck out (just five percent over his career with the Giants). His career path and hitting dominance commonly gets him compared to Royals’ great George Brett.
46. Dan McGann
Dan McGann was a model of consistency for the New York Giants, manning first base from 1902 to 1907 under manager John McGraw.
McGann did lots of the little things at the plate, finishing in the top 10 in sacrifice hits three years with the Giants while posting a .280 average across all five. McGann was a renowned hot head, giving the Giants a bad-boy mentality. Not a coincidence, McGann also led the league in hit by pitches twice, and finished in the top five in the other three years.
45. Felipe Alou
The oldest of the Alou brothers (Jesus and Matty were the others), Felipe Alou was the Giants’ everyday right fielder from 1961 to 1963.
Playing with guys like Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda, Alou’s name often gets overlooked. In his three full seasons, however, Alou posted some great numbers, averaging 21 homers and 77 RBI to go along with a .296 average.
44. Fred Merkle
Fred Merkle was the New York Giants’ starting first baseman from 1910 to 1916. Although regrettably remembered for a 1908 base-running error, dubbed “Merkle’s Boner” that eventually lost the Giants’ the National League pennant, Merkle had a solid career with the Giants.
He finished in the top 10 in home runs four times over his seven seasons with New York and was a consistent top-20 RBI man as well. Over his six seasons of everyday duty, Merkle averaged seven home runs and 72 RBIs.
43. Ray Durham
After being one of the league’s top leadoff hitters early in his career, Ray Durham was a middle-of-the-lineup threat with the Giants from 2003 to 2007 and their everyday second baseman.
With the tall order of replacing Jeff Kent, Durham was very productive over his first four seasons with the team, posting a .288 batting average to go along with a consistent 15-20 home runs and 60 RBI. In 2006, his finest season, Durham led the team with 26 home runs while driving in 93 runs, nearly 20 more than his previous career high.
42. Moises Alou
Felipe’s son Moises was one of the Giants’ greatest two-year rentals in team history, despite playing two injury-plagued seasons in the Giants’ outfield from 2005 to 2006.
An All-Star player in 2005, Alou posted two .300-plus years while averaging 21 homers and 69 RBI despite missing over 100 games between the two years.
41. Travis Jackson
Hall of Famer Travis Jackson was a lifelong New York Giant and the team’s starting shortstop from 1924 to 1934.
Known as the league’s top defensive shortstop throughout his entire career, he made an impact at the plate as well, hitting above .300 six times over his career. From 1927 to 1931, Jackson finished in the top 15 in MVP voting four times and averaged 13 home runs and 85 RBI. These are remarkable statistics for shortstops of the era.
40. Jo-Jo Moore
Another lifelong Giant, Jo-Jo Moore was the starting left fielder and one of the franchise’s best leadoff hitters from 1932 to 1941.
Playing with Mel Ott during the prime years of his career, Moore was often overlooked but certainly benefited from playing with Ott, scoring 100 runs in three seasons.
In seven consecutive seasons from 1932 to 1938, Moore batted .290 or better and was recognized as an All-Star in five straight seasons. While a free-swinger, Moore had an incredible ability to put the ball in play, striking out less than five percent of the time over his career. His game is most comparable to the 1990s Blue Jays outfielder Shannon Stewart.
39. Rogers Hornsby
Despite only playing one season for the New York Giants, Hornsby's incredible 1927 season alone gets him on the list. The Hall of Fame second basemen batted .361 with 26 home runs and 125 RBI.
He was first in OBP, sluggin, runs, second in batting average and third in home runs and RBI. Although the year was certainly not the best of his career, his RBAT (Runs Batting Above League Average, used in RAR, a subset of WAR) slots him as the 17th-best single season in franchise history. He was simply dominant.
And to top it off, he actually player-coached in 1927.
38. Ellis Burks
Ellis Burks was the Giants’ full-time right fielder from the middle of the 1998 season through the 2000 season.
Hitting behind Giants legends, Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent, Burks made for a formidable lineup addition. Over his two-plus seasons with the team, Burks had a slash line of .312/.404/.568 and averaged 28 home runs and 96 RBI between his two complete seasons.
37. Irish Meusel
Irish Meusel spent five-plus seasons as a New York Giants everyday outfielder in the 1920s.
Although never viewed as a big power threat, Meusel finished in the top 10 in home runs in four seasons and eclipsed the 100 RBI mark four times. Meusel was a great contact hitter as well, batting .314 over his career with the Giants.
36. Darrell Evans
Despite posting his best seasons as an Atlanta Brave, Darrell Evans was a great power hitter for the San Francisco Giants from 1976 through 1983 and the team’s starting third baseman.
Overshadowed by Mike Schmidt in the NL East, Evans was never viewed as the No.1 power threat in San Francisco. Nonetheless, Evans made his impact felt in the Giants lineup, averaging 19 home runs and 70 RBI across seven seasons.
He hit a mediocre .255 average with the team, but posted a .358 on-base percentage, a testament to his phenomenal ability to draw walks. Evans finished in the top 10 in walks six of the seven years in San Francisco. He was an All-Star in his final season with the team in 1983.
35. Chili Davis
Developed in the Giants’ minor leagues, Chili Davis was San Francisco’s center fielder in the 1980s. An All-Star in 1984 and 1986, Davis was a rather inconsistent player with the team, hitting for a high batting average in some seasons, while in others dropping his average significantly for elevated power numbers.
In 1984, Davis finally put them together with a .315 average, good for third in the majors, to go along with 21 homers and 81 RBI. Over his six-year tenure, Davis batted a modest .267 while averaging 17 home runs and 70 RBI.
34. Chief Meyers
Chief Meyers, the New York Giants’ starting catcher from 1910 to 1915, was arguably the best offensive catcher of the Deadball Era.
In his finest years from 1911 to 1913, Meyers led the team in batting average, finished in the top 10 in MVP voting and staffed a pitching rotation that led the team to three consecutive pennants. Over the three seasons, Meyers batted .334 while averaging 54 RBI. He was touted as “one of deepest students of batting” by a New York Times reporter and batted .301 over his career with the team.
33. Bill Joyce
Scrappy Bill Joyce was a New York Giants everyday outfielder in 1897 and 1898.
In his two-plus years with the team, he batted .292 with a remarkable on-base percentage of .426. He even flashed some power, leading the team (and nearly led the league) in home runs in 1898.
32. Willard Marshall
Known for his cannon arm and sure-handed defense, Willard Marshall also made a name for himself at the plate as a New York Giant outfielder in the late 1940s.
After debuting with the team in 1941, Marshall served three years in WWII with the Marines before returning to the team in 1946.
In his four years post-service, Marshall became a steady power threat, posting top-10 home run and RBI numbers twice. He earned All-Star bids and MVP votes in both 1947 and 1949. Over the four years, Marshall hit .288, averaging 19 homers and 78 RBIs. He made for a great No. 2 threat behind Johnny Mize.
31. Sid Gordon
Similar to Willard Marshall, Sid Gordon served two years with the Coast Guard in WWII, before returning to the New York Giants as a starting corner outfielder and third basemen in the late 1940s.
A fan favorite from Brooklyn, Gordon developed into a power hitter with the help of coach Red Kress after his return from military service.
In his final two years with the team in 1948 and 1949, Gordon batted .292, averaging 28 home runs and 97 RBI. Those numbers were good for top five offfensive WARs (Wins Above Replacement, a tell-all hitting statistic) and spot in the top five in home runs. He earned his only two All-Star bids of his career in those two seasons.
30. Brett Butler
Brett Butler was the San Francisco Giants’ center fielder from 1988 and 1990 and is arguably the Giants’ top leadoff hitter in franchise history.
Leading off for a lineup that featured big boppers like Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell and Matt Williams, Butler’s job was to simply get on base…and that he did.
Over three seasons, Butler batted .293 with a .381 on-base percentage. He had fantastic strike-zone discipline and was in the top three in the majors for walks in 1988 and 1990. By getting on base, Butler was in the top four in runs scored in all three seasons, including leading the league in 1988. His superb play garnered MVP votes in all three seasons.
29. High Pockets Kelly
Hall of Famer George “High Pockets” Kelly was the New York Giants’ first baseman from 1920 through 1926.
An all-or-nothing type hitter, High Pockets Kelly was a top home run hitter and a top 10 RBI man all six seasons in New York. He led the league in home runs in 1921 with 23 and led the league in RBI in 1920 and 1924.
Over the six seasons, Kelly batted .306 while averaging 17 home runs and 106 RBI, dominant totals for a player in that era. The one downfall to Kelly was his high strikeout rate, finishing in the top eight in K’s all six years in New York.
28. Jim O'Rourke
Hall of Famer Jim O’Rourke was the New York Giants’ everyday left fielder from 1885 to 1893 and one of the premier contact hitters of his era.
With the Giants, O’Rourke posted a .299 batting average, finishing in the top 10 in batting average six times. Only once did he bat below .285. He was a model of consistency for the early Giants. O’Rourke came back to play one game with the team in 1904 at the age of 53, a testament to his passion for the game.
27. Bobby Thomson
Bobby Thomson, the Giants legend who hit the famous “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”, was actually more than just a one-hit-wonder. The three-time All-Star was an everyday outfielder for the New York Giants for seven seasons from 1947 to 1953.
Even without his historical home run in the 1951 National League pennant, Thomson was an established slugger with the Giants, charting in the top 10 in home runs and RBI five times and four times, respectively. He averaged 26 home runs over the seven seasons and hit less than 24 just once while in New York.
26. Monte Irvin
Hall of Famer Monte Irvin, one of the first African-American players to enter baseball after Jackie Robinson, was the Giants left fielder in the early 1950s.
After playing in the Negro Leagues for 10 years, Irvin joined the Giants at the age of 30, in the tail end of most players’ primes. Due to injuries and age, Irvin only played four seasons of 100-plus games with the Giants, 1950, 1951, 1953, and 1954. Between the four seasons, Irvin batted .301 while averaging 20 home runs and 87 RBI.
It is a serious shame that Irvin did not get the opportunity to play in the MLB until 1949.
25. Benny Kauff
One of the Federal League’s all-time greats, Benny Kauff was an outfielder for the New York Giants during the late 1910s.
Despite never living up to his Federal League numbers, Kauff finished in the top 10 in OPS, home runs and RBI during three of his four seasons in New York. The other season was shortened due to his service in World War I. Across the four seasons, Kauff batted a respectable .287 while averaging seven home runs and 62 RBI.
Kauff was banned from the MLB at just the age of 30 due to involvement in a car theft ring.
24. Matt Williams
Matt Williams, the Giants’ starting third baseman from 1990 to 1996, was one of the league’s most dangerous hitters during his time in the Bay Area.
A four-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger award winner, Williams had the ability to absolutely crush the ball, hitting 30-plus home runs four times with the Giants. In 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1994, Williams had finishes in the top four in both home runs and RBI.
In 1994, Williams ended the shortened season with 43 home runs. No doubt, Williams was on pace to make a run at Roger Maris’ single-season home run record of 61.
In the seven seasons in which Williams was a full-time starter, he batted .277 with 30 home runs and 92 RBIs.
23. Buck Ewing
Frequently regarded as the best player of the 19th century, Buck Ewing was the New York Gothams and eventually the New York Giants’ starting catcher in the 1880s. In the late 19th century, catchers rarely batted above .250 and showed any flashes of power potential. Ewing did just that, on a consistent basis nonetheless, batting .303 in his 10 full seasons with New York, while placing top 10 in slugging percentage during eight of the campaigns. To make things clearer, Ewing’s superiority over his position-mates was quite like Mike Piazza’s in the 1990s. With the Giants, Ewing averaged six home runs and 57 RBI per season, impressive numbers for the Deadball Era.
22. Frankie Frisch
Hall of Famer Frankie “The Old Flash” Frisch bounced back and forth between full-time starting roles as the second baseman and third baseman for the Giants in the early 1920s. Frisch was an elite contact hitter, combining great mechanics (as taught by John McGraw) with blazing speed. Over the six seasons, not once did Frisch bat below .314 and he eclipsed the 100-run mark four times, leading the league once in 1924. His style of play most resembles that of the speedy Roberto Alomar who thrived in Toronto, Baltimore and Cleveland in the 1990s.
21. Roger Bresnahan
The inventor of catcher’s protective equipment, Hall of Famer Roger Bresnahan was the Giants’ star catcher from 1903 to 1908. Considered one of the best catchers of the decade, Bresnahan was a consistent contributor and was a top 10 offensive WAR performer during his six seasons with New York. A .293 hitter with the Giants, Bresnahan hit below .280 just once, while consistently knocking in between 35-55 runs each of the seasons.
20. Larry Doyle
“Laughing Larry” Doyle was the everyday second baseman for the Giants from 1908 to 1916 and again from 1918 to 1920. Doyle was one of the few second basemen of his generation who swung a powerful bat, especially in the Deadball Era. Doyle posted a top 10 slugging percentage in seven of the seasons, averaging six home runs and 65 RBI over his entire stint with the team. However his greatest impact on the organization came between 1911 and 1913 when Doyle led the team to three straight National League pennants. Doyle was clearly the top player on the team in each of the three seasons, even winning the league MVP award in 1912.
19. Jim Ray Hart
One of the most forgotten sluggers in the franchise’s history, Jim Ray Hart manned third base everyday for the San Francisco Giants from 1964 to 1968. A fan favorite, Hart thrived on hitting the long ball, launching his way into the top 10 for home runs in four of his five seasons during that stretch. Over the five seasons, Hart averaged 28 home runs and 89 RBI to go along with an impressive .285 average. As remarkable as his numbers were, Hart not only played in an era deemed “the second Deadball Era” but also played in one of the most difficult stadiums for right-handed pull hitters to hit home runs. In all likelihood his numbers could have been even better. While most players enter their prime in their late 20s, Hart’s 27-year old season in 1969 marked the rapid decline of his career.
18. Kevin Mitchell
One of the most talented ballplayers to ever put on the Giants uniform, Kevin Mitchell was San Francisco’s everyday third baseman in 1988 and left fielder from 1989 to 1991. Mitchell, who played for five teams before he even had 10 years of major league service, was one of the best hitters in the late 1980s, but temper and off-the-field issues limited Mitchell’s ability to play up to his potential. Fortunately, 1989 and 1990 were the only two years in his career when Mitchell did in fact reach his potential. In 1989 while batting cleanup, Mitchell led the league with 47 home runs and 125 RBI, earning MVP honors and followed it up with a 35 home run, 93 RBI encore. In both seasons, he batted .290 and received All-Star bids.
17. Bobby Bonds
Bobby Bonds, one of the best power/speed combos in franchise history, was the everyday right fielder for the San Francisco Giants from 1969 to 1974. Despite playing with the likes of Willie McCovey and Willie Mays late in their careers, it was clear that the Giants were Bobby’s team during his six-year tenure. As the team’s leadoff hitter, Bonds was a run-scoring machine, finishing first or second in the league five years straight from 1969 to 1973. He also had great pop in his bat, averaging 30 home runs and 86 RBI per season. A two-time All-Star in the Bay, Bonds did have a few flaws, posting a modest .273 average and led the league in strikeouts three times (he also finished second once and third twice).
16. George Van Haltren
George van Haltren was the Giants’ starting center fielder in the late 1890s. “Rip” was one of the most consistent and durable stars of his era, posting eight consecutive seasons of .300-plus averages (1894-1901) and seven straight seasons of 100-plus runs (1894-1900). In an age in which triple totals were indicative of the top hitters, van Heltren posted three 16-plus triple seasons with New York (that gave him fifth, first and second place finishes in the league).
15. Jack Clark
Jack Clark was the San Francisco Giants’ everyday right fielder from 1977 to 1983. While quite a few of Clark’s seasons were shortened by injury, “Jack the Ripper” was the lone bright spot in San Francisco during the doldrums of the late 1970s to early 1980s. He led the team in home runs and RBI in five consecutive seasons and was the team’s clear top lineup threat. Over Clark’s seven mostly healthy seasons in San Francisco, he batted .276 while averaging 21 home runs and 77 RBI.
14. George Burns
The extremely durable George Burns was the New York Giants’ starting left fielder in the 1910s. Over Burns’ nine seasons as an everyday starter, he batted .291 with a .366 on-base percentage. He had great strike-zone discipline, leading the National League in walks in four of his last five seasons with New York. As the Giants’ leadoff hitter for most of his career with the team, Burns scored runs at a huge clip, leading the league an unprecedented five times while with the Giants. He had top five finishes in three other seasons as well. As a run producer, Burns consistently drove in between 40-60 runs each year, great numbers out of the top spot.
13. Ross Youngs
Standing at 5’8” and referred to as one of the Giants’ biggest “gamers” of all-time, Hall of Famer Ross Youngs was an everyday right fielder for the New York Giants from 1918 to 1926.
Said to have one of the smoothest swings in his era, Youngs was described by many as a “smaller Ty Cobb” exuding the same grit and ability as the Detroit great.
Beginning with his rookie season in 1918, Youngs went on to post seven consecutive seasons of .300-plus hitting, ending in 1925 when Youngs began to face complications from Bright’s disease, a kidney disorder that took his life at age 30. With a knack for getting on base, “Pep” finished top 10 in walks during seven seasons (including five top-four finishes), helping him to a .399 on-base percentage over his career. Like Freddie Lindstrom, Youngs too draws comparisons to Royals’ great George Brett.
12. Jeff Kent
One of the greatest hitting second basemen of all-time, Jeff Kent truly realized his potential in San Francisco as the team’s starting second baseman from 1997 to 2002. Upon joining the Giants in 1997, Kent immediately slotted behind Barry Bonds, making them the deadliest 1-2 punch in franchise history.
Kent’s greatest strength was the uncanny ability to drive in runners. Kent knocked in 100-plus runs in each of his six seasons in San Francisco, including three seasons of 120-plus.
During his stay in the Bay Area, Kent batted .297 while averaging 29 home runs and 115 RBI, easily one of the great historical marks by a middle infielder. Kent received the Silver Slugger award three times, represented the National League in the All-Star game three times and most importantly took home the MVP trophy in 2000 with an incredible 65 RBAT season, the 14th greatest single-season performance by a player in franchise history.
11. Mike Tiernan
One of the great superstars of the 19th century, Mike Tiernan served as an everyday outfielder for the Giants in the 1890s. Teamed up with first baseman Roger Connor, the duo led the Giants to two pennants in 1888 and 1889. One of only seven players to hit over 100 home runs in the 1800s, Tiernan had seven top 10 finishes in home runs with the Giants including a league leading 13 in 1890 and 16 in 1891. In his 13 seasons with the team, Tiernan batted .312 with nine home runs and 71 RBI.
10. Orlando Cepeda
Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda was the first basemen for the Giants from 1958 through 1964. Homegrown in the Giants farm system, Cepeda made a huge splash in the Giants’ first season in San Francisco, winning Rookie of the Year unanimously.
He would go on to be an All-Star in the following six consecutive seasons. Cepeda was an extremely consistent and well-rounded hitter. In addition to banging out a .308 average with the Giants, Cepeda posted top-10s in slugging percentage, home runs and RBI all seven seasons in San Francisco, averaging 32 home runs and 109 RBIs.
Despite the incredible numbers, Cepeda was constantly overshadowed by his teammates Willie Mays and Willie McCovey who he played with around their primes.
9. George Davis
Hall of Famer George Davis was the starting shortstop for the New York Giants in the 1890s. A great hitter with surprising pop for a shortstop, Davis batted .332 with the Giants, never falling below .300 in a single season. In a high scoring offense like 1890s Giants’ with the likes of Roger Conner, Mike Tiernan and George van Haltren, runs and RBI came easily with the high average.
Over his tenure with the Giants, Davis averaged a fantastic 94 runs, six home runs and 91 RBI per season.
8. Will Clark
Will Clark was the starting first baseman for the San Francisco Giants in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A very durable and talented ballplayer, Clark became one of the National League’s premiere first baseman just a year into his major league career. A four-time top-five MVP vote getter, Clark had his finest season in 1989, when he led the team to the World Series. He posted an RBATof 59, the 24th best single-season performance in Giants history. Over eight seasons with the Giants, “Will the Thrill” compiled a slash line of .299/.373/.499 with 22 home runs and 89 RBI per season.
7. Bill Terry
Hall of Famer Bill Terry was a lifelong Giant and was the team’s starting first baseman from 1927 through 1935. From the time Terry took over full-time in 1927 to the time he retired in 1936, the left-handed slugger had dominated every offensive category imaginable. He batted .350 and finished top four in batting average every season from 1929 to 1935. He compiled a streak of six seasons in which he scored at least 100 runs and drove in 100 runs. His 1930 season was the 13th-best single-season performance in Giants history, capped by a .401 batting average, a mark that has not been reached since.
6. Johnny Mize
Behind absurd slugging percentages and power totals, Hall of Famer Johnny Mize was the first baseman for the New York Giants in 1942 and again from 1946-1948. Despite playing just four years for the Giants (with WWII service breaking up the dates), Mize’s power numbers get him all the way into the top 10. Using RBAT to see his offensive impact, he was generating, on average, 50 runs of offense above the average player in each of his four seasons with the Giants. He led the league in home runs twice and was second twice. He was top four in offensive WAR each year. To cap it off, his four seasons in New York were four of the top 80 single-season performances in Giants history.
5. Roger Connor
Hall of Famer Roger Connor was the home-run king for 23 years and was the New York Giants’ star first baseman of the 1880s. A fantastic high-average/high-power hitter, Connor finished every year between 1883 and 1889 within the league’s top four of offensive WAR. Over his career with the Giants he batted .319, averaging eight home runs and 79 RBI per season. Connor has claim to six of the top 100 single-season performances in Giants history, including four of the top 50.
4. Willie McCovey
Hall of Famer Willie McCovey was a Giant regular from 1959 through 1973, beginning in left field before taking over first base full-time. A six-time All-Star with the Giants and Rookie of the Year winner, McCovey was one of the most consistent power hitters in the franchise’s history. Playing a bulk of his career in the “Second Deadball Era," McCovey batted .274 over a total of 19 seasons with the Giants, however he had great plate discipline, posting an impressive .377 on-base percentage after finishing in the top 10 in walks eight times during his career.
As a power presence, McCovey hit double-digit home run totals in every single year between 1959 and 1973, eight of which landed him in the top 10 for the year. Overall, McCovey’s best year was his 1969 MVP performance in which he batted .320 with 45 home runs and 126 RBI was the seventh-best single-season performance in Giants history.
3. Mel Ott
The next three players could all easily have been slotted in the No. 1 slot. These three players are three of the best to ever play the game, period.
Hall of Famer and lifelong Giant Mel Ott was a starting outfielder for New York from 1928 to 1945. One of the greatest hitters of his era, Ott posted a .304 lifetime batting average with a .414 on-base percentage from posting 10 seasons of 100-plus walks. As a power threat, he finished in the top 10 for slugging percentage during 16 seasons.
He topped 25 home runs thirteen times during his career and drove in 95-plus runs in 10 consecutive seasons from 1929 to 1938. He wrapped up his career making 11 All-Star games straight. Twelve of Ott’s seasons made the list of top single-season performances, including five in the top 21!
2. Willie Mays
The Say Hey Kid, who made 19 straight All-Star games in the 1950s and 1960s, was the starting center fielder for the Giants from 1951 to 1971. For over a decade from 1954 to 1965, he never batted worse than .296 in a single season, and over Mays’ 21 years with the Giants, he batted .304. Fourth on the all-time home-run list with 660 career home runs, Mays hit no less than 29 home runs in a 13-year period from 1954 to 1966, amassing 518 home runs over that time. Over that same time period, Mays only hit below 96 RBI once. When using RBAT to analyze Mays’ career, only one year (1956) between 1954 and 1966 was not a top 100 single-season performance. Ten of the seasons were top 50 performances.
1. Barry Bonds
When solely looking at hitting numbers, it is impossible to choose anyone other than Barry Bonds as the best hitter of all-time.
The left-handed rare talent was the Giants’ left fielder from 1993 to 2007. To make matters simple, Bonds has 12 of the top 100 single season performances. To break it down a little further to make matters even more clear, he has eight of the top 10 single season performances in Giants history.
The man was simply incredible. Bonds was a .312 average lifetime hitter with the Giants and hit roughly 40 home runs and 100 RBI per season. Even if he played in an era in which numbers were inflated, RBAT shows that Bonds was head and shoulders above his league-mates, averaging 70 generated runs above the league average player. Incredible.