Smashing in at #27 is the most underrated hitter in baseball history Manny Ramirez. Man-Ram battered pitchers in a way that hasn’t been seen since Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, literally. Manny and Ruth are the only two players in history with at least 550 career home runs, a .410 on-base percentage, and a .310 batting average. Manny and Ted Williams are the only players since 1936 with at least a .310 batting average and a .585 slugging %. Manny is 8th all-time in career slugging % and has the third-highest slugging % since 1958. He’s 10th all-time in AB/HR and his 165 RBIs in 1999 are the most in a single season since 1937. He tallied seven seasons of at least 120 RBIs which trails only Alex Rodriguez for the most since 1937. Manny’s regular-season career was extraordinary, but his postseason performance is the secret weapon that puts Manny’s career in the pantheon of baseball sluggers. He led 11 teams to the postseason, winning two World Series titles in four appearances while also being named the 2004 World Series MVP. His 29 postseason home runs are seven more than any other player in history. He’s the all-time leader in postseason RBIs (78) and tied for the lead in walks (72), and he is third all-time in postseason hits (117) and runs (67). While these sound like video game numbers, this was simply Manny being Manny.
Speeding in at #28 is the ultimate leadoff man Rickey Henderson. Rickey’s career was so unique that simply trying to describe it is an exercise in fun. Rickey’s 1,406 career stolen bases are the most in MLB history and a whopping 468 ahead of Lou Brock for second place. There are only 47 players in history who even reached 468 stolen bases as a career total. The gap between Rickey and Brock is bigger than the gap between Brock and 45th place. Rickey’s 2,295 career runs are the most in history. His 2,190 non-intentional walks are also the most in history. He’s the only player in history with 3,000 hits and 2,000 walks. He’s the only player in history with 3,000 hits, 2,000 runs, and a .400 on-base percentage. Just to put into perspective how remarkable Rickey’s career was, if we cut in half his career hits, runs, walks, stolen bases, and home runs total, there is only one player in major league baseball history to reach those marks (Tim Raines). Rickey is the only player in MLB history with 100 walks, 100 stolen bases, and 100 runs in a single season and he did it three times. He joins Stan Musial as the only two players in history with 3,000 hits, 295 home runs, and a .400 OBP. He led the league in stolen bases a record 12 times including in 1998 when he reached an astonishing 66. Rickey was the table-setter for eight playoff teams and two World Series champions while also being named the 1989 ALCS MVP.
Lumbering in at #29 is Florida Marlins and Detroit Tigers hit-man Miguel Cabrera. Miggy brought the total package of patience, power, and an elite hit tool to the batter’s box during his stellar peak that extended from 2004-2016. During this time, he won back-to-back AL MVPs, finished in the top-5 seven times and the top-10 nine times. He holds the record for most seasons with 175 hits and 100 RBIs (12). His 10 consecutive seasons with at least 320 total bases is the second-longest streak of all-time behind only Willie Mays. He’s the only player since 1949 to lead the league in batting average four times and home runs twice. In 2012, he became the first player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown. He’s on pace to become the first player in history with 3,000 hits, 500 home runs while hitting above .305. and the first player in history with 500 home runs, 600 doubles while hitting above .305. It remains to be seen where Miggy will finish on all-time lists but he’s poised to enter the top-15 in hits, home runs, RBIs, doubles, extra-base hits, total bases, and runs created, and he’s already 9th all-time in intentional walks. Not to be outdone in the postseason, Miggy helped lead the Marlins to the World Series title in 2003 while also setting the record for most postseason home runs, hits, RBIs, and runs by the age of 20. He led the Tigers to four consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in franchise history and a World Series appearance in 2012.
Toeing the rubber at #30 is starting pitcher Warren Spahn. There is a pretty convincing argument that Spahn is squarely in the conversation of the greatest pitcher of all time. Quite literally, there is an 85-year stretch where Spahn’s career was unrivaled. From 1915 to 2000, Spahn won 34 more games than any other pitcher and threw 26 more complete games than any other pitcher. He threw a minimum of 260 innings in 14 different seasons during this stretch, which is four more seasons than anyone else. Even more remarkable is that Spahn was a 13-time 20-game winner, which is the most in history. He led the league in wins eight times and complete games nine times, both are the most in history. Spahn was a 17-time all-star selection, which is five more than any other pitcher in history. His Black Ink and Gray Ink scores are the highest of any pitcher since 1930. Spahn’s durability showed up in the postseason as well. He is the only pitcher since 1912 to throw two 10-inning games in the World Series, including in Game 4 of the 1957 series, helping propel the Minneapolis Braves over the heavily favored New York Yankees. It’s fun to imagine what Spahn’s career might have looked like had he not missed three-and-a-half seasons of his prime serving in WWII.
Joltin’ in at #31 is Joe DiMaggio. With just 7,642 career plate appearances due to three years serving in WWII, Joltin’ Joe had one of the shorter careers among the top-100, but he made the most of them. In just 13 seasons, he won three AL MVPs with two runner-ups and 10 top-10 finishes while also leading the Yankees to nine World Series titles. DiMaggio spent his entire career at or near the top of statistical leaderboards. He finished in the top-5 in home runs and slugging % 10 times, RBIs, runs created, and total bases nine times, and OPS+, extra-base hits, and triples eight times. He owns the only season in MLB history with 215 hits, 45 home runs, and 150 runs and the only season with 45 home runs, 150 runs, and fewer than 40 strikeouts. Oh, by the way, he was only 22 years old when he did it. Joe’s the only player in history with more than 700 career walks, fewer than 400 strikeouts, and a .579 slugging %. He joins Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, and Lou Gehrig as the only five players in history with 350 home runs, a .325 batting average, and a .579 slugging % and his six consecutive 125 RBI-seasons are third behind only Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth for most all-time. DiMaggio’s .579 career slugging percentage is the 10th highest in baseball history.
Striking the list at #32 is New York Giants hurler “Big Six” Christy Mathewson. Without adjusting for league strength, few pitchers, if any, have more impressive career numbers than Mathewson. He’s third all-time in wins and shutout, 9th all-time in ERA and WHIP, and 10th all-time in WAR for pitchers. He led the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio nine times, BB/9 seven times, ERA+ six times, WAR, ERA, and strikeouts five times and wins, WHIP, and shutouts four times. He’s the only pitcher in history with 12 consecutive seasons of at least 22 wins. He’s also the only pitcher in history with eight consecutive seasons of at least 23 wins. He led the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio a record eight consecutive seasons and his 11 300-inning seasons are the most in MLB history. Mathewson’s regular season totals are stuff of make believe so it’s even harder to believe that his postseason numbers are even better. Among starting pitchers, he holds the records for lowest ERA (.97) and WHIP (.836) in posteason history (min 60 innings). He holds the records for most career complete games and shutouts in the World Series and he’s the only pitcher in history with three shutouts in a single World Series.
Swinging in at #33 is “the Kid” Ken Griffey Jr. At 19 years old in the spring of 1989, Griffey was arguably baseball’s most hyped phenom ever. By the summer, he was a superstar. In just 455 at-bats, Griffey produced the first and only 60-RBI, 60-run, 15-home run, and 15 stolen base-season by a teenager. In 1993, he produced the first and only 45-home run, 100-RBI, 100-run, and 17 SB-season by a 23-year-old. Griffey would be robbed of full seasons in 1994 and 1995 by a strike and injuries but his per-game averages remained elite setting up a 1996 season that would be the start of a stretch unparalleled in baseball history. From 1996 to 1998, Griffey became the first and only player in history with three consecutive seasons of 120 runs, 49 home runs, and 140 RBIs. From 1996 to 1999, he became the only player in history with four consecutive seasons of 120 runs, 48 home runs, and 134 RBIs. There have only been nine seasons in history with 48 home runs, 134 RBIs, 120 runs, and 15 stolen bases, and Griffey has four of them. By the age of 30, Griffey was well on his way to breaking Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record. Unfortunately, Griffey’s 30s would be plagued by injuries as he only managed to reach 600 plate appearances just once in his final 10 seasons. As disappointing as it was for fans to see injuries prevent Griffey from making a run at Aaron’s record, his career production is still among the most impressive in history. He’s 7th all-time in home runs and 8th all-time in extra-base hits and intentional walks.
Hittin’ the list at #34 is Frank Robinson. Few players in history were more productive for a longer period of time than Robinson. Despite playing in an era dominated by pitching, Robinson ranks among the top-25 all-time in OPS+, home runs, RBIs, runs, total bases, walks, runs created, extra-base hits, WAR, and intentional walks. Robinson was a fixture on league leaderboards finishing in the top-10 in slugging % 17 times, on-base % 16 times, and home runs 15 times. Robinson won the NL MVP in 1961 and the AL MVP in 1966, becoming the only player in history to be named MVP in both leagues. He finished in the top-10 of MVP voting 10 times and received MVP votes in 15 seasons. Robinson played in five World Series while winning two with the Orioles. In Game 4 of the 1966 World Series, he hit the series-clinching home run which earned him the series MVP and made him the only player in history with multiple league MVPs, a World Series MVP, and an all-star game MVP.
Coming in at #35 is Red Sox extra-base machine, David Ortiz. Given that Big Papi didn’t reach 600 plate appearances in a season until he was 28, it’s astonishing that he was able to put together a hall of fame regular-season resume while also becoming a postseason legend. Ortiz’s production per plate appearance was always impressive but it wasn’t until 2004 that he put together a full season’s worth of at-bats, and the results were stellar. His first three seasons with 600+ plate appearances produced at least 41 home runs and 137 RBIs, joining Babe Ruth, Sammy Sosa, and Ken Griffey Jr as the only four players in history to hit those totals in three consecutive seasons. In 2005 he started a streak of three consecutive seasons with at least 115 runs, 115 RBIs and, 85 extra-base hits, becoming the first player to do so since 1932. Ortiz joins Lou Gehrig and Sammy Sosa as the only players in history with four consecutive seasons of at least 85 extra-base hits. He joins Albert Pujols as the only two players in history with 540 career home runs and 630 doubles, and he’s 8th all-time in extra-base hits. Ortiz’s regular-season dominance continued until the day he retired as he became the first player in his 40s to lead the league in doubles. His 48 doubles were 13 more than any other player in their 40s. He also became the first player in his 40s to lead the league in RBIs. His 127 RBIs were 19 more than any other player in their 40s. He also holds the record for most home runs by a 40-year-old with 38. Of course, Ortiz is most known for being one of the greatest postseason players in MLB history. He’s in the top ten in the postseason in hits, runs, RBIs, home runs, doubles, extra-base hits, and walks, and he’s #1 all time in win probability added. He was named the 2004 ALCS MVP and the 2013 World Series MVP, leading the red sox to three World Series titles.
Muscling in at #36 is “the Big Hurt” Frank Thomas. Thomas combined patience, power, and an elite hit tool to put together a truly unique career at first base. He won back-to-back AL MVPs for the White Sox in 1993 and 1994, finishing in the top-4 six times and the top-10 nine times. He led the league in on-base percentage, runs created, and walks four times, and OPS+ three times. He’s the only player since 1959 with at least 1,000 career plate appearances to hit .300 with a .419 OBP and a .554 slugging %. Thomas joins Babe Ruth and Ted Williams as the only three players in history with 520 home runs, 1,600 walks, and fewer than 1,400 strikeouts. He’s the only first baseman since 1930 with a least 500 home runs and a .419 on-base percentage. He’s the only player since 1960 to hit at least .300 with 500 home runs and an OPS+ of 156., and he joins Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds as the only three players in history with 10,000 career plate appearances, a 156 ops+ and 1,600 walks.
Towering in at #37 is Mr. October Reggie Jackson. When Jackson wasn’t being programmed to threaten the Queen of England or lighting up the scoreboard in RBI Baseball, he was launching rockets into the darkness of the night, typically in the month of October. Jackson wore three different uniforms over his 21-year career and he mashed in all of them. He’s the only player in MLB history to lead the league in home runs for three different franchises. He won the 1973 AL MVP with Oakland and finished in the top-5 of the MVP voting five times. He led the league in OPS+ four times and finished in the top-10 11 times. He led the league in home runs four times, finished in the top-10 13 times, and the top-five 11 times. While Jackson’s regular-season exploits made him the premier slugger in the American League in the 1970s, it’s what he did in the World Series that earned him the moniker Mr. October. Jackson’s heroics were never on display more than when he hit three home runs on three pitches in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, clinching the championship for the Yankees and earning him the World Series MVP. Jackson also won the 1973 World Series MVP becoming the only player in history to win a World Series MVP with two different teams and the only hitter in history to win two World Series MVPs. Jackson led five teams to World Series titles in six appearances. He shares the record for most home runs in a single World Series game, most home runs in a single World Series, and his 10 career World Series home runs are the most since 1956.
Hittin’ the list at #38 is Cardinals starter Bob Gibson. Gibson’s legendary performance in the 1964 World Series helped propel the Cardinals over the Yankees in a 7-game thriller, but it was his performance in the 1967 World Series that would solidify him as one of the best big-game pitchers baseball has ever seen. Gibson won all three of his starts yielding just three earned runs over 27 innings. His complete game, 10 strikeout performance in Game 7 propelled the Cardinals to victory. Gibson’s brilliance over nine World Series starts places him right at the top of the list of greatest postseason pitchers in history. He’s the only pitcher to throw 30 strikeouts in a single World Series, and he did it twice. He also holds the 5th highest single World Series strikeout mark for good measure. He holds the record for career K/9 innings in the World Series (min. 30 innings) and his eight complete games in the World Series are the most since 1940. He’s the only pitcher since the dead-ball era to average at least nine innings per start in the World Series (min. five starts). Gibson’s heroics weren’t just limited to the postseason. His 1968 Cy Young-winning regular season is arguably the greatest season by a pitcher since the dead-ball era. His 1.12 ERA in ’68 is the lowest single-season ERA by a starting pitcher since the dead-ball era (min. 150 innings). His .853 WHIP in ’68 is the lowest single-season WHIP by a starting pitcher since the dead-ball era (min. 275 innings). It remains the only season in baseball history that yielded 300 innings, a 1.12 ERA, and a .853 WHIP. After winning another Cy Young in 1970, Gibson joined Sandy Koufax as the only two pitchers in history with at least two Cy Youngs, two World Series MVPs, and a regular-season MVP.
Backstopping the list at #39 is Reds catcher Johnny Bench. Known as Little General, Bench led the Big Red Machine to two World Series titles in four appearances in the 1970s. Bench excelled in all facets of the game, ranking third all-time in offensive WAR among catchers and 6th all-time in dWAR among catchers. He’s the only catcher in history with three seasons driving in at least 125 runs, and the only catcher in history to lead the league in RBIs three times. His 45 home runs and 148 RBIs in 1970 are the most by a catcher in history, and his 355 total bases in 1970 are tied with Mike Piazza for the highest single-season total by a catcher. Bench is the only catcher in history to lead the league in home runs, and he did it twice. He was named the World Series MVP in 1976, joining Mike Schmidt and Frank Robinson as the only players in history with two regular-season MVPs and a World Series MVP. During his World Series MVP run, Bench hit a robust .533 with 17 total bases in Cincinnati’s four-game sweep of the Yankees.
Curving in at #40 is Dodgers lefty Sandy Koufax. The Man with the Golden Arm had arguably the greatest four-year stretch in Major League Baseball history at any position. Koufax helped lead the Dodgers to three World Series titles, becoming one of only three players in history to win two World Series MVPs. Koufax is the only player in history with two World Series MVPs over a three-year stretch. He won the 1963, 1965, and 1966 Cy Young awards becoming the only player in history with three Cy Young awards and two World Series MVPs, and he accomplished it over just four seasons. Koufax is the only player in history to lead the league in ERA for five consecutive seasons. He’s also the only player in history to lead the league in H/9 for five consecutive seasons. No player in history led the league in WHIP for more consecutive seasons than Koufax’s four. He’s the only pitcher since 1945 to win at least 25 games three times in a four-year stretch. His 382 strikeouts in 1965 are second all-time and just one shy of Nolan Ryan’s single-season record. His .825 career World Series WHIP is the lowest in history among pitchers with at least 40 innings, and he’s the last pitcher to throw two shutouts in a single World Series.
Popping in at #41 is Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Willie Stargell. Legends are made in the postseason and that’s exactly where Pops shined brightest. He led the Pirates to six playoff appearances and his performance in a losing effort in the 1974 NLCS solidified his status as a postseason powerhouse, but it was what he did in the 1979 postseason that still echoes through the halls of baseball history. Stargell led the Pirates to a three-game sweep of the Reds in the 1979 NLCS, hitting two home runs, two doubles, and driving in six on his way to the NLCS MVP. In the World Series, Stargell was even better as he piled up 12 hits, three home runs, four doubles, and seven RBIs in a 7-game thriller against the Orioles. His home run and two doubles in Game 7 helped clinch the series for the Pirates and the World Series MVP for Pops. He also won the National League MVP, making him the only player in Major league baseball history to win an LCS, World Series, and regular-season MVP in the same season–and he did it at 39 years old! Stargell’s regular-season accomplishments are nothing to scoff at either. Aside from winning the 1979 MVP, he finished runner-up twice, led the league in home runs and OPS+ twice, finished in the top-10 in home runs 10 times, and finished with a 147 career ops+.
Powering in at #42 is New York Giants Hall of Famer Mel Ott. The diminutive Ott took his 5’9, 170-pound frame and turned it into a run-producing machine. Although the people responsible for giving him the nickname “Master Melvin” should be ashamed, there was nothing shameful about Ott’s career totals. Over 22 seasons with the Giants, Ott surpassed 500 home runs, 1,850 RBIs and runs, and did so with a .304 batting average, .414 on-base percentage, and a 155 OPS+. Ott is the only player in history with 2,800 hits and 1,700 walks with fewer than 900 strikeouts, and he’s the only player in history with 500 home runs and 1,850 RBIs with fewer than 900 strikeouts. Ott and Babe Ruth are the only players in history to lead the league in home runs and walks at least six times each. Ott’s streak of 18 consecutive seasons with an OPS+ of at least 130 is just one behind Hank Aaron for the all-time record. Ott’s 10th-inning home run against the Washington Senators in Game 5 of the 1933 World Series clinched the championship for the Giants. Ott led all players in the series in hits, runs, RBIs, home runs, and walks.
Coming at #43 is the namesake of Major League Baseball’s pinnacle award for pitching, Cy Young. Young is pretty much the major league leader in every pitching category, holding the top spots in career wins, losses, games started, complete games, innings, hits allowed, and earned runs allowed. His 7,356 career innings are over 1,400 more than any other pitcher in history. Behind Young’s massive volume is one of the most frugal pitchers ever when it comes to issuing walks. Young led the league in BB/9 a record 14 times, five more than any other pitcher. He led the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio a record 11 times and no other pitcher led the league in WHIP and shutouts more often. Young’s 16 20-win seasons are the most in history and his streak of 14 consecutive seasons of 20-wins is the longest in history. Young also led the Boston Americans—soon to be Boston Red Sox—to victory in 1903 in the first-ever World Series between the American League and the National League.
Doubling onto the last at #44 is The Gray Eagle Tris Speaker. Speaker’s 792 career doubles make him baseball’s king of the two-bagger. He led the league in doubles a record eight times and holds the record for 30, 40, and 50-double seasons. Few players in history can equal Speaker’s lofty place in the record books where he stands 5th all-time in hits, 6th in batting average and triples, 9th in WAR, and 11th in on-base percentage. He has the most 145-hit seasons and the most consecutive 145-hit seasons in history. He’s the only player in history with at least 1,300 career walks and fewer than 400 strikeouts. He’s the only player in history with 3,000 career hits and 400 stolen bases with fewer than 400 strikeouts. He’s the only player in history with 3,500 hits and 750 doubles, and he’s the only player in history with 3,500 hits and 300 sacrifice hits. No player in MLB history has more seasons with both a .370 batting average and a .460 on-base percentage than Speaker’s six (Babe Ruth also has six). Speaker played in three World Series leading his team to victory on all three occasions.
Winding up at #45 is Orioles ace, Jim Palmer. Prior to the 19-year-old Palmer showing up in Baltimore in 1965, the Orioles had won zero world titles and made one World Series appearance. During his 19 seasons with the O’s, Palmer helped lead them to three World Series titles in six appearances. Palmer’s shutout of Sandy Koufax and the defending World Series champion Dodgers in Game 2 of the 1966 World Series got the ball rolling on Baltimore’s dynasty. Palmer would play an integral part in Baltimore’s subsequent playoff success. His eight postseason wins are the most in franchise history and his 2.61 postseason ERA is the 4th best all-time among pitchers with at least 120 career postseason innings. Palmer was even better in the regular season. He won the AL Cy Young in 1973, 1975, and 1976 and finished runner-up in 1977 and 1982 on his way to eight top-5 finishes. Palmer’s eight 20-win seasons are the most by any pitcher since 1955 and he has the most 290-inning seasons since 1970. Palmer is one of only four pitchers since 1935 with 265 career wins and a .638 winning percentage.
Taking the mound at #46 is “Lefty” Steve Carlton. Carlton’s four Cy Young awards are the third most in history, and for the first 40 years the award existed no pitcher won more of them. Carlton is the only pitcher in Major League Baseball history with at least 325 wins, 5,000 innings, and 4,000 strikeouts. No pitcher since 1930 has more seasons of at least 23 wins (Lefty Grove, Robin Roberts, and Bob Feller also have four) and no pitcher since 1950 has more 230-inning seasons (Seaver also has 15). Carlton’s 16-consecutive seasons of at least 10 complete games are the most since 1948. He’s 4th on the all-time strikeout list, 9th in innings, and 11th in wins. Carlton helped the Cardinals reach two World Series including a World Series title in 1967. He also led the Phillies to two World Series appearances and the 1980 World Series title in which he pitched a masterpiece in game six to close out the series.
Sliding in at #46 on the list is SpongeBob’s favorite baseball player, “The Flying Dutchman” Honus Wagner. Wagner was the original “greatest of all time” when Major League Baseball was officially formed in 1903. While his reign at the top was usurped by Ty Cobb by 1910, Wagner’s imprint on the sport is still felt today as his 1909 T206 baseball card has been the most sought after on the market for over a century. Few players in history appear in baseball record books as often as Wagner. He’s third all-time in triples, 8th in hits, and 10th in doubles and stolen bases. Among shortstops, he’s the all-time leader in hits, doubles, triples, stolen bases, WAR, batting average, and OPS+. Wagner led the league in WAR for position players 11 times, batting average and OPS eight times, doubles, extra-base hits, and runs created seven times, total bases and slugging % six times, on-base percentage and RBIs four times, triples three times, and hits and runs twice. Wagner was the star of the 1909 World Series as he led the Pirates to the title over the Tigers, throwing one last salvo at Cobb before the changing of the guard.
Switch hittin’ the list at #48 is Braves third baseman and 1995 NL MVP Chipper Jones. Chipper’s combination of contact, power, and plate discipline is unrivaled at the hot corner. He’s the only third baseman in history to reach both 1,600 career runs and RBIs. He’s the only third baseman in history with a .300 career batting average and 450 home runs. He’s the only third baseman in history with a .300 career batting average and a .529 slugging percentage. He’s the only third baseman in MLB history with at least a .300 batting average and a 140 OPS+. He’s the only third baseman in history with at least a .400 on-base percentage and 1,100 extra-base hits, and he’s the only third baseman in history with at least 2,700 career hits and an OPS+ of 140. His .930 career OPS is the most all-time for a third baseman with at least 6,000 plate appearances, and he’s second all-time among third basemen in on-base percentage and slugging %. Chipper wasn’t just a regular-season on-base machine. His .409 postseason on-base percentage is the 9th best in history among qualifiers and the highest mark in postseason history among players with at least 340 post-season plate appearances. He’s the all-time leader in postseason walks and 4th all-time in postseason intentional walks.
Storming into the list at #49 is Royals third baseman, George Brett. Brett spent all 21 of his seasons with the Royals. Brett won the AL MVP in 1980 and had a strong case in 1976 and 1985, finishing runner up in both seasons. He led the league in OPS+, hits, triples, slugging percentage, and runs created three times and he won three batting crowns. He joins Stan Musial as the only two players in history with at least 650 doubles, 130 triples, and 300 home runs, and he also joins Musial as the only two players in history with 3,100 career hits and 300 home runs with fewer than 950 strikeouts. He’s the only player since 1942 to hit at least .390 in a single season (min. 500 plate appearances). He’s 10th all-time in intentional walks, 6th in sacrifice flies, and 7th in doubles. As impressive as Brett’s regular-season career was, he was even more impressive in the playoffs. He won the ALCS MVP in 1985 while leading the Royals to a World Series title. Among players with at least 180 postseason plate appearances, Brett is second all-time in career postseason slugging percentage (Nelson Cruz), batting average (Steve Garvey), and OPS (Albert Pujols).
Joining the list at #50 is Boston slugger Carl Yastrzemski. Yaz spent 23 seasons with the Red Sox which are tied with Brooks Robinson for the most seasons spent with a single franchise. Yaz didn’t just play for 23 seasons, he was a productive player for 23 seasons, amassing 18 all-star game appearances, and receiving MVP votes in 14 different seasons. Yastrzemski is the only player in history with 3,400 career hits and 1,800 walks. He’s also the only player in history with 3,000 hits, 1,800 RBIs, 1,800 runs, and 1,800 walks. Yaz is in the top-10 all-time in hits, doubles, walks, and total bases and he led the league in on-base percentage five times, OPS+ four times, runs, and doubles three times while also winning three batting crowns. He joins Babe Ruth and Ted Williams as the only players in history with 1,800 career walks, 1,100 extra-base hits, and fewer than 1400 strikeouts. He joins Hank Aaron and Stan Musial as the only players in history with 3,400 career hits and 1,100 extra-base hits, and he joins Musial and Albert Pujols as the only players in history with at least 645 career doubles and 450 home runs. Yaz won the AL Triple Crown in 1967 on his way to the league MVP, and he hit .352 with a .438 on-base percentage in two World Series appearances.
Up next at #51 is starting pitcher Curt Schilling. The two most important traits a pitcher can have are limiting contact and avoiding walks. Schilling’s arsenal might have featured the best mix of both the league has ever seen. Schilling is the only pitcher since 1920 to pitch at least 3,000 innings with a K/BB ratio of at least 4.38. He’s the only pitcher in history with 3,000 strikeouts and fewer than 715 walks. Schilling and Juan Marichal are the only two pitchers since 1920 with at least 215 career wins and fewer than 715 walks. What makes Schilling’s power/control mix so remarkable is that he was able to maintain it while also being one of the preeminent workhorses in Major League Baseball. He’s the last pitcher to throw back-to-back seasons of 250 innings, and he led the league in complete games four times. Since 1988, only Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux have more complete games. Schilling’s regular-season numbers are Hall of Fame-worthy on their own. He’s the last pitcher to have three seasons of at least 21 wins and he led the league in strikeout to walk ratio five times, but it’s the success he had in the postseason that makes him one of the most unique pitchers baseball has ever seen. Over 133 and 1/3 career postseason innings, Schilling went 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and .97 WHIP while winning four World Series titles in four appearances. He was named the 1993 NLCS MVP and 2001 World Series MVP. He holds the record for most innings pitched in a single postseason without a loss (48 and 1/3 in 2001). He holds the record for most strikeouts in a single postseason (56 in 2001). He holds the record for Win Probability added in a single postseason (2.1 in 2001), and he has the highest postseason winning percentage in history among starting pitchers with at least 55 postseason innings.
Joining the list at #52 is second baseman Joe Morgan. Morgan was a vital cog to Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine, combining with Pete Rose to provide a 1-2 punch at the top of the order that rivals any in history. Morgan helped lead the Reds to two World Series titles in four appearances. Morgan was the perfect combination of speed, power, and patience. He joins Rickey Henderson as the only two players in history with 1,800 career walks, 1,600 runs, and 650 stolen bases. Morgan and Henderson are the only two players in history with 250 career home runs and 650 stolen bases. Among second basemen, Morgan is arguably the greatest since 1930. His 1,865 walks are the 5th most in history regardless of position and 366 more than any other second baseman. Morgan’s 689 career stolen bases are the most by a second baseman since the dead-ball era. Morgan joins Rogers Hornsby as the only second basemen to win two league MVPs and he racked up 19.1 more WAR than any other second baseman since 1930.
Next up at #53 is Grover Cleveland Alexander, or Ol’ Pete. Pete was one of Major League Baseball’s original OGs as he threw straight fire for the 10-year stretch from 1911-1920. Over that decade, Pete would lead the league in innings seven times, wins, WAR for pitchers, strikeouts, complete games, and shutouts six times, and ERA five times. During this remarkable run, Pete put together three consecutive 30-win seasons and four consecutive 350-inning seasons. No pitcher in the modern era has duplicated either accomplishment. Pete’s 373 career wins are tied for the third-most all-time. He’s fourth all-time in WAR among pitchers and second in shutouts. Pete is one of only five pitchers in the modern era with at least 3,500 innings and a .642 winning percentage, and one of only six pitchers in the modern era with at least 3,500 innings and a 135 ERA+.
Hitting the list at #54 is baseball’s hit king, Pete Rose. Charlie Hustle’s 4,256 career hits are the most all-time and once Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, and Yadier Molina retire, no active player will be within 2,000 of his total. Rose’s records are too numerous to name, but we can at least give it a try. He’s tied with Ichiro as the all-time leader with 10 200-hit seasons. He led the league in hits seven times which is tied with Tony Gwynn for the most since the dead-ball era. He finished first or second in hits 13 times which is the most in history. He has the most doubles since the dead-ball era. He’s the only player in history with 4,000 hits and 1,500 walks. Rose reached base an unfathomable 5,929 times which will likely remain the record for as long as MLB exists. He won three batting titles and finished in the top-10 13 times. Rose was also no stranger to winning hardware. He won three World Series titles while also being named the 1975 World Series MVP. He won the 1973 NL MVP and finished in the top-10 in MVP voting 10 times.
Captaining the list at #55 is “Mr. November” Derek Jeter. Jeter earned his nickname by becoming the face of postseason baseball, winning a remarkable five World Series titles in seven appearances during his 20-year career. No player since 1957 has won more or appeared in more World Series. He’s the all-time playoff leader in hits, doubles, triples, and runs. He’s third all-time in playoff home runs, 5th in walks, and 6th in stolen bases. Jeter was no slouch in the regular season, finishing in the top-10 in MVP voting eight times. His 3,465 career hits are the 6th most in history, and he has the most hits ever by a shortstop and ranks second in runs by a shortstop.
Coming in at #56 is Yankees legendary backstop Yogi Berra. No player in history had more playoff success than Berra. He won a surreal 10 World Series titles with Yankees and played in 14 World Series overall. Both are the most in history. He is the all-time World Series leader in hits, doubles, and plate appearances. He’s second all-time in RBIs, runs, total bases, and third all-time in home runs and walks. While Yogi is synonymous with the World Series, his regular-season accomplishments are nothing to scoff at. Berra won three American League MVPs which are tied for the most in AL history and tied for the second-most in MLB history. His 1,430 RBIs are the record by a catcher and he ranks third among catchers in runs and fourth in home runs. His 18 all-star selections are four more than any other catcher in history. Yogi joins Joe DiMaggio as the only two players in history regardless of position with at least 1,430 career RBIs, 350 home runs, and fewer than 420 strikeouts.
Coming at #57 is Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell. Bagwell’s career is marked not by robust career numbers—although they are impressive—but by his ridiculous per-162 game totals. Bagwell joins Ted Williams as the only two players since 1940 with 162 game averages of at least 114 runs, 114 RBIs, and a .400 on-base percentage. He’s the only player in history to play 2,150 games or less and reach 1,500 runs and 1,500 RBIs. Bagwell is the first player since 1931— and only the third player in history along with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig—with back-to-back 140-run seasons. He’s the only player since 1936 to reach 152 runs in a single season. He’s the only player since 1949 with at least 143 runs and 143 walks in the same season, joining Babe Ruth and Ted Williams as the only players ever to do it. He’s one of only four players since 1950 with 1,500 runs, a 149 ops+ and a .405 on-base %, and he’s the only first baseman since the dead-ball era with 1,500 career runs and a 149 ops+. Bagwell won the NL MVP in 1994 when became just the third player since 1927 along with Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire with a single-season slugging percentage of at least .750.