Topping our list at #1 is the greatest player in baseball history, Barry Bonds. Babe Ruth was a larger-than-life figure who assaulted the record books on a nightly basis but imagine if Ruth put up his numbers in a global, fully integrated league with twice as many players to compete against. Well, that’s Bonds. There are many statistics to support Bonds’ claim to the top spot so let’s start with some of the heavy hitters. First off, Bonds is the all-time home run king with an unbelievable 762 round-trippers. He’s also the all-time walk king with an absurd 2,558 free passes which are 368 more than any other player. Bonds was so feared by opposing managers that he was intentionally walked 688 times–a total that is 375 more than any other player. He holds the single-season record for on-base percentage with a ludicrous .609 mark (min. 500 plate appearances) in 2004. He also owns the 2nd highest single-season on-base percent total (.582 in 2002). In fact, Bonds’ 2nd best single-season on-base percentage is still 29 points ahead of any other season in history. Bonds owns the single-season slugging percentage record with a comical .863 mark. He also owns three of the top five single-season slugging percentage marks of all time. Bonds owns the three highest single-season OPS+ marks of all time, topping out with an absurd 268 in 2002. He owns the three highest single-season walk totals in major league history, including a Bondsian total of 232 in 2004 which is 62 more than any other player has achieved. The difference between Bonds’ all-time single-season walks record and the non-Bonds player with the next most walks—Babe Ruth—is the difference between Ruth and the 316th player on the single-season walks list. Bonds is also #1 all-time in War for Position players and runs created, 3rd in OPS+ and runs, 4th in OPS and total bases, 5th in slugging percentage, and 6th in RBIs and on-base percentage. He’s the only player in history with at least 350 home runs and 400 stolen bases and he did it with 762 home runs and 514 stolen bases! He won seven MVPs which is four more than any other player. He finished in the top-2 nine times which is the most all-time. He’s the only player in history with at least 1,140 extra-base hits and 400 stolen bases and he did it with 1,440 extra-base hits and 514 stolen bases. He’s the only player in MLB history with 500 career stolen bases and a .440 on-base percentage. He’s the only player in history with 500 stolen bases and a .600 slugging percentage. He’s the only player in history with 500 stolen bases and a 1.000 OPS. He hit at least 33 home runs in 13 consecutive seasons which is the all-time record. He has five seasons of 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases which is tied for the most all-time (with his dad). He has 10 seasons of at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases which is tied for the most all-time (with his dad). He led the league in WAR for position players 11 times and came in the top-5 15 times; both are tied for the most in history. He led the league in walks 12 times which is the most in history. He led the league in runs created nine times which is tied for the most in history. He led the league in intentional walks 12 times which is the most ever. He joins Babe Ruth as the only two players in history to hit at least .340 with 45 home runs in three consecutive seasons. There have only been eight seasons in history that have produced 45 home runs and a .500 on-base percentage and Bonds has four of them. Oh, and he did it four years in a row! Bonds walked 181 more times than he struck out in 2004 and walked 151 more times than he struck out in 2002. Nobody has ever even come close to those margins. Despite never playing with a Hall of Famer, Bonds led seven teams to the playoffs and produced one of the great World Series performances of all-time when his Giants lost a 7-game thriller to the Angels in 2002. In 30 at-bats, Bonds had a make-believe 1.994 OPS, an unfathomable 1.294 slugging percentage, and a ludicrous .700 on-base percentage.
Slugging in at #2 is the Sultan of Swat, the Colossus of Clout, the King of Crash, “The Great Bambino” Babe Ruth. Without the context of competition level, Babe Ruth is the greatest baseball player of all time. He dominated the league in a way no other player in history has been able to duplicate. Ruth led the league in home runs 12 times which is the most all-time and four more than anyone else. He had 11 forty home run seasons which are the most all-time and three more than anyone else. He had four seasons of at least 54 home runs which are the most in history. He had nine seasons of at least 46 home runs, nobody else has more than five. His six consecutive seasons of at least 46 home runs is the longest streak of all time. Ruth’s home run power was so prodigious that he nearly tripled the ML single-season home run record in 1919 and nearly doubled it again in 1920. Ruth’s home run ledger is just the appetizer to a resume that is stuffed with statistics that seem, well, made up. He’s #1 all-time with a .690 slugging percentage, a 1.164 OPS, and a 206 OPS+. He’s #1 all-time in WAR, #2 in RBIs, on-base percentage, and runs created, #3 in home runs and walks, #4 in runs and extra-base hits, and #10 in batting average. He’s the only player in history with 2,200 RBIs, 2,100 runs, and 2,000 walks. He led the league in slugging percentage 13 times which is the most all-time and four more than anyone else. He had nine seasons with at least 500 plate appearances and a .700 slugging percentage. No other player has more than four. His four seasons with at least a .750 slugging percentage and 600 plate appearances are the most all-time. There have only been four seasons in history with at least a .800 slugging percentage and 600 plate appearances and Ruth has two of them. Ruth’s 10 seasons of at least 130 RBIs are the most all-time. His nine seasons of 135 runs are tied for most all-time, and his 10 seasons of at least 125 walks are also tied for most all-time. Ruth had three seasons of 150 RBIs and 150 runs and five seasons of 140 RBIs and 140 Runs. Both are the most in history. His eight seasons of 130 RBIs and 130 runs are tied for most all-time. There have only been 11 seasons of 130 RBIs, 130 Runs, and 130 walks in history; Ruth has seven of them. No other player has more than two. There have only been eight seasons of 135 RBIs, 135 Runs, and 135 walks in history. Ruth has six of them. Ruth led the league in OPS 13 times which is the most all-time and OPS+ 12 times which is tied for the most all-time. His 10 seasons of at least 40 home runs and a 200 OPS+ are the most ever and twice as many as any other player. He had seven seasons with at least a 1.200 OPS and 500 plate appearances which is the most all-time. No other player has more than four. He had eight seasons with at least a 215 OPS+ and 500 plate appearances. Nobody else has more than four and only two other players have more than one. He led the league in WAR 10 times which is tied with Willie Mays for most in history. He led the league in runs eight times which is the most in history. He led the league in runs created nine times and extra-base hits seven times; both are tied for the most all-time. There have only been 11 seasons in history when a player hit at least .355, with 40 home runs and a 210 OPS+. Ruth has eight of them. His four seasons with at least a .370 batting average and 90 extra-base hits and his five seasons of 40 home runs with a .500 on-base percentage are the most ever. He joins Barry Bonds as the only two players in history to hit at least .340 with 45 home runs in three consecutive seasons. There have only been eight seasons in history with 45 home runs and a .500 on-base percentage and Ruth has four of them. In 1921, Ruth hit 119 extra-base hits and had 457 total bases; both are the most in history. He also scored 177 runs in 1921 which is the most since MLB was formed in 1903. To get even sillier, Ruth was the best pitcher in the American League in 1916, leading the league in ERA, games started, H/9, and winning percentage (min. 23 starts) while also giving up 0 home runs in 323.2 innings. He’s the only player in MLB history to lead the league in ERA in one season and home runs in another. While Ruth shattered regular-season records on a nightly basis, he was truly the king of the post-season. He led the Yankees to four World Series titles in seven appearances and the Red Sox to three World Series titles in three appearances. On the mound, he went 3-0 with a .87 ERA and a .935 WHIP in three World Series starts with the Red Sox, including a 14 inning 1-run complete game masterpiece in Game 2 of the 1916 World Series at 21 years old. That is still—and will probably always be—the postseason record for most innings pitched in a single World Series start. At the plate, his .744 postseason slugging percentage is the highest in history and 54 points higher than his career regular-season mark and his 1,214 postseason OPS is tied with Lou Gehrig for the highest in history.