Baseball Legends

Major League Baseball’s history dates back over 150 years, which makes it the oldest organized sports league in the United States. Baseball’s origins go back well into the 1800s. In the span of well over a century, we have seen the game produce no shortage of legendary players.

Baseball’s history doubles that of sports like basketball and football in terms of length. At the time of writing, there are 333 members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, which is notorious for being more exclusive than the Halls of Fame in other American sports.

Countless baseball players have made names for themselves thanks to their statistical accomplishment. Others have become household names as a result of their exploits both on and off the field. Who are some of the most legendary players in the history of Major League Baseball?

Let’s take a look below.

Alex Rodriguez

Alex RodriguezAlex Rodriguez is one of the most divisive players in baseball history. While his track record with performance-enhancing drugs will almost surely prevent him from joining several of his fellow greats in the Hall of Fame, A-Rod’s statistical achievements are still impressive.

Rodriguez was one of the best defensive infielders of his era. He began his career as a star shortstop with the Seattle Mariners before blossoming into a dominant all-around player during his years with the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees. In 2001, he signed the most lucrative deal in baseball history when he agreed to a 10-year contract worth a whopping $252 million to join the Rangers.

Despite winning an American League MVP award and leading the AL in home runs in each of his three seasons with Texas, the lack of winning took a toll. He was eventually traded to the Yankees before the 2004 season. While his time in the Bronx was hampered by injuries and PED-related scandals, he did win two more MVPs with the Yankees and helped the franchise to its 27th World Series title in 2009.

Rodriguez retired after the 2016 season. He finished his decorated career with 696 home runs, which ranks fourth all-time. A-Rod was a 14-time All-Star, and he is the only player in baseball history to have hit at least .295 with over 600 home runs, 2,000 runs batted in, 2,000 runs scored, 3,000 hits, and 300 stolen bases.

Alex Rodriguez Career Stats

  • Games Played: 2784
  • At Bats: 10566
  • Batting Average: .295
  • On-base %: .380
  • Slugging %: .550
  • Hits: 3115
  • Home Runs: 696
  • RBI: 2086
  • Runs: 2021
  • Stolen Bases: 329
  • Walks: 1338
  • Strikeouts: 2287

Babe Ruth

Babe RuthWhen you think of the greatest American athletes of all-time, Babe Ruth is almost surely one of the first names that pops into your head. While there were great baseball players before him, Ruth was really baseball’s first home run king.

His 6’2″, 215-lb. frame likely wouldn’t stand out nowadays, but back during his playing days, he was one of the most physically imposing players in the game. Home runs weren’t nearly as prevalent back then as they are today, but Ruth was one of the few players that left the yard with regularity. The Babe finished his career with 714 home runs, which now ranks third on the all-time list behind only Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron.

Ruth began his career as a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox, but he was infamously sold to the rival New York Yankees in 1920 for $100,000. Ruth would go on to enjoy his most prolific seasons with the Yankees, and he set a new single-season record for home runs in 1927 when he slugged 60 of them. His record stood until 1961, when it was broken by Roger Maris.

Babe Ruth Offensive Career Stats

  • Games Played: 2503
  • At Bats: 8399
  • Batting Average: .342
  • On-base %: .474
  • Slugging %: .690
  • Hits: 2873
  • Home Runs: 714
  • RBI: 2214
  • Runs: 2174
  • Stolen Bases: 123
  • Walks: 2062
  • Strikeouts: 1330

Babe Ruth Pitching Career Stats

  • Wins: 94
  • Losses: 46
  • ERA: 2.28
  • Games Pitched: 163
  • Saves: 4
  • Innings: 1221.1
  • Runs: 400
  • Earned Runs: 309
  • Strikeouts: 488
  • WHIP: 1.159

Barry Bonds

Barry BondsBarry Bonds would have been a Hall of Fame-caliber player even if he hadn’t decided to dabble in performance-enhancing drugs. He possessed a combination of power and speed that hasn’t often been seen in the history of the game. But later in his career, he transformed into an all-out power threat. While his accomplishments are surely marred in the eyes of many by his presumed PED use, his numbers still jump off the page.

Bonds set the single-season record for home runs when he smacked 73 in 2001. A couple of years later, he eclipsed Aaron’s all-time record for career homers, and he retired after the 2005 season with 762. That record still stands, and it will likely last for quite some time.

Bonds was a 14-time All-Star during his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. He also won a record seven National League MVP awards, including five straight from 2000 until 2004. In addition to his incredible home run feats, Bonds also holds the career record for walks (2,558). He also posted an absurd on-base percentage of .609 back in 2004, which is by far and away the highest mark any player has posted in a single season.

Bonds is another player who will likely never make it into the Hall of Fame, but he is still considered by many to be one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen.

Barry Bonds Career Stats

  • Games Played: 2986
  • At Bats: 9847
  • Batting Average: .298
  • On-base %: .444
  • Slugging %: .607
  • Hits: 2935
  • Home Runs: 762
  • RBI: 1996
  • Runs: 2935
  • Stolen Bases: 514
  • Walks: 2558
  • Strikeouts: 1539

Cal Ripken Jr.

Cal Ripken JrCal Ripken Jr. earned the nickname “Iron Man” for a reason. Ripken played his entire 21-year big league career with the Baltimore Orioles. He finished his career with a .276 batting average, 431 home runs, and over 3,100 hits.

Ripken was notorious throughout his career for his remarkable durability. The 19-time All-Star and two-time American League MVP played in a record 2,632 consecutive games, which broke Lou Gehrig’s longstanding record for the longest such streak in baseball history. Many believed Gehrig’s mark was unbreakable. Given the way the game is played now, Ripken’s mark is now the one that seems unlikely to ever be broken.

Ripken was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007 by accruing over 98.5% of the vote, which is the sixth-highest percentage of anyone ever elected. He won his first and only World Series title during his rookie season with the Orioles in 1983.

Cal Ripken Jr. Career Stats

  • Games Played: 3001
  • At Bats: 11551
  • Batting Average: .276
  • On-base %: .340
  • Slugging %: .447
  • Hits: 3184
  • Home Runs: 431
  • RBI: 1695
  • Runs: 1647
  • Stolen Bases: 36
  • Walks: 1129
  • Strikeouts: 1305

Cy Young

Cy YoungSpeaking of unbreakable records, Cy Young is one of the most decorated pitchers to ever play the game. His career spanned from 1890 until 1911. During that time, he won a whopping 511 games, which is easily the most in the history of the sport. With the way teams nowadays prioritize their bullpens, Young’s record for wins is among the most unbreakable in all of American sports.

One of the most popular baseball bets is betting on the annual award given to the best pitchers in both the American and National Leagues that is named after Young, who also holds career records for innings pitched, starts, and complete games. Young recorded three no-hitters, as well as a perfect game across 22 big league seasons.

Cy Young Career Stats

  • Wins: 511
  • Losses: 315
  • ERA: 2.63
  • Games Pitched: 906
  • Saves: 18
  • Innings: 7356
  • Runs: 3167
  • Earned Runs: 2147
  • Strikeouts: 2803
  • WHIP: 1.130

Derek Jeter

Derek JeterDerek Jeter is arguably the most well-known Yankee of the modern era. Much like Ripken with the Orioles, Jeter spent his entire 20-year career with the same franchise, and his list of accomplishments is a lengthy one. The former Yankee captain earned 14 All-Star game nominations and helped the Yankees win five World Series titles between 1996 and 2009.

Jeter earned World Series MVP honors in 2000, which was New York’s third-straight championship-winning season. He finished his career with 3,465 hits, which is easily the most any player has ever recorded in Yankee pinstripes. Jeter leads all shortstops in career hits, and he had his jersey number (2) retired by the team in 2007.

Jeter received 396 of a possible 397 Hall of Fame votes in his first year of eligibility. That’s the highest percentage of the vote any player has ever earned.

Derek Jeter Career Stats

  • Games Played: 2747
  • At Bats: 11195
  • Batting Average: .310
  • On-base %: .377
  • Slugging %: .440
  • Hits: 3465
  • Home Runs: 260
  • RBI: 1311
  • Runs: 1923
  • Stolen Bases: 358
  • Walks: 1082
  • Strikeouts: 1840

Ernie Banks

Ernie BanksThe Chicago Cubs are one of baseball’s landmark franchises. While they earned the nickname “Lovable Losers” for years due to their lack of on-field success, the team has had a number of high-profile players. Chief among them is Ernie Banks, who was a 14-time All-Star during his 19 seasons with the Cubs between 1953 and 1971.

He began his pro career with the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues before becoming one of the first great African-American players in the major leagues. He finished his career with over 2,500 career hits, and he hit 512 home runs. Unfortunately, the Cubs never had much success during Banks’ lengthy career. He holds the record for most career games (2,528) without a single postseason appearance.

Banks was known for his love of the game. He coined the catchphrase, “It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame… Let’s play two!” He says he could’ve played a doubleheader every single day if the schedule called for it.

Ernie Banks Career Stats

  • Games Played: 2528
  • At Bats: 9421
  • Batting Average: .274
  • On-base %: .330
  • Slugging %: .500
  • Hits: 2583
  • Home Runs: 512
  • RBI: 1636
  • Runs: 1305
  • Stolen Bases: 50
  • Walks: 763
  • Strikeouts: 1236

Greg Maddux

Greg MadduxMost dominant pitchers in the modern era are known for their velocity, but Greg Maddux was one of the exceptions to that rule. Rather than blowing opposing hitters away, Maddux was known for his impeccable control and command of the strike zone.

Maddux debuted for the Cubs in 1986, but he became a superstar in the 1990s as a member of the Atlanta Braves. The right-hander is the only pitcher in the history of the sport to rack up at least 15 wins across 17 consecutive seasons. While he wasn’t known for his strikeouts, he is still one of just 10 pitchers in history with at least 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts. Maddux recorded 363 wins, which is the second-highest total for a pitcher behind Warren Spahn since 1920.

Maddux was also known for his prowess in the field. He won 18 Gold Glove awards, which is a record for any player at any position. He also won four straight NL Cy Young awards between 1992 and 1995 and helped the Braves to a World Series crown in ‘95.

Greg Maddux Career Stats

  • Wins: 355
  • Losses: 227
  • ERA: 3.16
  • Games Pitched: 744
  • Saves: 0
  • Innings: 5008.1
  • Runs: 1981
  • Earned Runs: 1756
  • Strikeouts: 3371
  • WHIP: 1.143

Hank Aaron

Hank AaronGreg Maddux may be the most well-known pitcher in Braves history, but their most noteworthy player is almost surely Hank Aaron. Hammerin’ Hank had one of the longest major league careers in history, spanning an incredible 21 years between the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers.

Aaron hit at least 24 homers in every season between 1955 and 1973, and he hit at least 30 homers 15 different times. Incredibly, though, Aaron never led the major leagues in home runs in a single campaign. The 1957 NL MVP won three Gold Glove awards, but he is most known for breaking Babe Ruth’s longstanding career home run record.

Aaron slugged his 715th home run in 1974, and he finished his career with 755. His record stood for over 30 years before being broken by Barry Bonds in 2007. Primarily serving as a right fielder, Aaron is also the last Negro League player to appear in a major league game.

Hank Aaron Career Stats

  • Games Played: 3298
  • At Bats: 12364
  • Batting Average: .305
  • On-base %: .374
  • Slugging %: .555
  • Hits: 3771
  • Home Runs: 755
  • RBI: 2297
  • Runs: 2174
  • Stolen Bases: 240
  • Walks: 1402
  • Strikeouts: 1383

Ichiro Suzuki

Ichiro SuzukiThe vast majority of baseball’s best players in history hail from the United States, but the game has started to expand globally in recent years. Back in 2001, Ichiro Suzuki came to the Seattle Mariners after a standout career in his native Japan. Ichiro arrived in the US with plenty of hype, but he somehow managed to exceed even the loftiest expectations.

Ichiro played a total of 28 seasons across the Nippon Professional Baseball league and MLB. He was named the American League Rookie of the Year and AL MVP in his first season with the Mariners in 2001, and he never stopped hitting. Ichiro set a new big league record for hits in a single season with 262 in the 2004 season. He racked up at least 200 hits in 10 straight seasons, which is the longest such streak for any player all-time.

Ichiro was a star right fielder that won a Gold Glove in each of his first 10 seasons in the US, and he was named to 10 All-Star Games, as well. He was a key member of the 2001 Mariners team that won a record 116 games during the regular season. Unfortunately, Seattle was defeated in the Division Series that year by the New York Yankees.

He finished his career with 3,089 hits in the big leagues. Between Japan and the US, Ichiro recorded 4,367 total base hits.

Ichiro Suzuki Career Stats (MLB)

  • Games Played: 2653
  • At Bats: 9934
  • Batting Average: .311
  • On-base %: .355
  • Slugging %: .402
  • Hits: 3089
  • Home Runs: 117
  • RBI: 780
  • Runs: 1420
  • Stolen Bases: 509
  • Walks: 647
  • Strikeouts: 1080

Ichiro Suzuki Career Stats (Japan)

  • Games Played: 951
  • At Bats: 3619
  • Batting Average: .353
  • On-base %: .421
  • Slugging %: .522
  • Hits: 1278
  • Home Runs: 118
  • RBI: 529
  • Runs: 658
  • Stolen Bases: 199
  • Walks: 384
  • Strikeouts: 333

Jackie Robinson

Jackie RobinsonJackie Robinson is one of the most iconic baseball players of all time. He is most known for being the first African-American player to appear in a major league game. Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier when he started a game for the Brooklyn Dodgers in April of 1947. The unprecedented move by the Dodgers effectively ended segregation at the top levels of professional baseball in the United States.

Oh, and it just so happens that Robinson was quite the player as well. He was named to six All-Star Games during his time with the Dodgers, and he helped the team win the 1955 World Series. He earned National League MVP honors in 1949, when he won the league’s batting title.

His No. 42 jersey was retired across all of Major League Baseball in 1997, and he became the first pro athlete in any sport to earn the honor. MLB created “Jackie Robinson Day,” which is celebrated around the league every April 15 to honor the anniversary of his big league debut. Robinson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962 in his first year on the ballot.

Jackie Robinson Career Stats

  • Games Played: 1382
  • At Bats: 4877
  • Batting Average: .311
  • On-base %: .409
  • Slugging %: .474
  • Hits: 1518
  • Home Runs: 137
  • RBI: 734
  • Runs: 947
  • Stolen Bases: 197
  • Walks: 740
  • Strikeouts: 291

Joe DiMaggio

Joe DiMaggioJoe DiMaggio was one of the first ballplayers to blur the lines between pro sports and pop culture. Joltin’ Joe played just 13 professional seasons with the New York Yankees, but he sure made his mark. DiMaggio finished his career with a .325 batting average, and he earned an All-Star nod in all 13 big league seasons.

DiMaggio was named AL MVP three times (1939, 1941, 1947), and led the Yankees to a remarkable nine World Series championships. His most noteworthy baseball accomplishment came in the 1956 season when he recorded at least one hit in 56 straight games. That remains the longest hitting streak in baseball history, and many believe it’s a record that is unlikely to be broken.

DiMaggio is known by many for his off-field exploits, including his marriage to actress and model Marilyn Monroe.

Joe DiMaggio Career Stats

  • Games Played: 1736
  • At Bats: 6821
  • Batting Average: .325
  • On-base %: .398
  • Slugging %: .579
  • Hits: 2214
  • Home Runs: 361
  • RBI: 1537
  • Runs: 1390
  • Stolen Bases: 30
  • Walks: 790
  • Strikeouts: 369

Johnny Bench

Johnny BenchJohnny Bench is one of the few catchers known as one of baseball’s all-time greats. Bench spent his entire career with the Cincinnati Reds from 1967 until 1983. During that time, he was named to 14 All-Star Games and led the “Big Red Machine” to back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976.

Bench won a pair of NL MVP awards as well as a World Series MVP in ’76. Catchers aren’t often known for their hitting, but Bench led the National League in home runs twice and led the NL in runs batted in on three separate occasions. He was known for his durability, as he caught at least 100 games in 13 straight seasons. Many believe Bench is the best all-around catcher the game has ever seen.

Johnny Bench Career Stats

  • Games Played: 2158
  • At Bats: 7658
  • Batting Average: .267
  • On-base %: .342
  • Slugging %: .476
  • Hits: 2048
  • Home Runs: 389
  • RBI: 1376
  • Runs: 1091
  • Stolen Bases: 68
  • Walks: 891
  • Strikeouts: 1278

Lou Gehrig

Lou GehrigThe list of greatest Yankees of all-time is a long one, but it would be incomplete without Lou Gehrig. The franchise’s longtime first baseman played 17 years for the team between 1923 and 1939. During that span, he hit .340 with 2,721 hits, 493 home runs, and nearly 2,000 runs batted in.

Gehrig was a seven-time All-Star that helped New York win six World Series titles. He also won baseball’s Triple Crown in 1934 when he led the league in batting average, homers, and RBI. Gehrig is also just one of 18 players to have hit four home runs in the same game.

Gehrig’s consecutive games streak (2,130) was broken by Ripken in the 1990s. In 1939, his streak ended when he took himself out of the lineup. Gehrig announced that he had come down with a disease, which we now know as ALS. Gehrig’s speech, during which he proclaimed himself to be “the luckiest man on the face of the earth” is one of the most iconic moments in baseball history. He died in 1941 at the age of 37 as a result of the disease.

Lou Gehrig Career Stats

  • Games Played: 2164
  • At Bats: 8001
  • Batting Average: .340
  • On-base %: .447
  • Slugging %: .632
  • Hits: 2721
  • Home Runs: 493
  • RBI: 1995
  • Runs: 1888
  • Stolen Bases: 102
  • Walks: 1508
  • Strikeouts: 790

Mariano Rivera

Mariano RiveraYou could call him one of the most dominant pitchers in MLB history, even though he only threw one pitch. Mariano Rivera’s cut fastball still gives hitters nightmares to this day. When you hear “Enter Sandman” by Metallica playing, you knew the game was over.

Mariano Rivera not only holds the MLB record for the most saves of all time, but he also has the lowest ERA in postseason history with a 0.70 across 141 innings pitched. The 5x World Series champion dominated across three different decades and will go down as the best closer ever. He was also the first player to ever be unanimously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 2019.

Mariano Rivera Career Stats

  • Wins: 82
  • Losses: 60
  • ERA: 2.21
  • Games Pitched: 1115
  • Saves: 652
  • Innings: 1283.2
  • Runs: 340
  • Earned Runs: 315
  • Strikeouts: 1173
  • WHIP: 1.000

Mickey Mantle

Mickey MantleMickey Mantle, regarded by many as the best switch-hitter in baseball history, is also arguably the greatest Yankee ever. Mantle was a 20-time All-Star over the course of his career with New York. The Mick led the Yankees to seven World Series titles between 1951 and 1962, and the three-time AL MVP also won the Triple Crown in 1956.

Mantle ranks second all-time in OPS+ among center fielders, which ranks second in league history behind Mike Trout. He played in the World Series 12 times during his career, and he holds World Series records in a number of categories, including homers (18), RBIs (40), runs (42), and extra-base hits (26).

Mantle was known for his off-the-field partying, and at the time of his retirement, he ranked third on baseball’s all-time home run list with 536. Mantle’s record of 2,401 games played with the Yankees was eventually broken by Derek Jeter in 2011.

Mickey Mantle Career Stats

  • Games Played: 2401
  • At Bats: 8102
  • Batting Average: .298
  • On-base %: .421
  • Slugging %: .557
  • Hits: 2415
  • Home Runs: 536
  • RBI: 1509
  • Runs: 1676
  • Stolen Bases: 153
  • Walks: 1733
  • Strikeouts: 1710

Mike Schmidt

Mike SchmidtThere have been a number of third basemen in baseball history known for hitting for power with excellent defense, but Mike Schmidt may top the list. Schmidt played 18 seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies between 1972 and 1989, during which he was named to 12 All-Star rosters and won a trio of NL MVP awards.

Schmidt led the National League in homers a whopping eight times, and he also won 10 Gold Gloves for his work at the hot corner. Schmidt finished his career with 548 home runs, which is the most in Phillies history and puts him 16th on the all-time list. Schmidt also led the Phillies to a World Series title in 1980, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995.

Mike Schmidt Career Stats

  • Games Played: 2404
  • At Bats: 8352
  • Batting Average: .267
  • On-base %: .380
  • Slugging %: .527
  • Hits: 2234
  • Home Runs: 548
  • RBI: 1595
  • Runs: 1506
  • Stolen Bases: 174
  • Walks: 1507
  • Strikeouts: 1883

Nolan Ryan

Nolan RyanNolan Ryan had one of the longest careers of all-time, spanning 27 seasons between the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros, and Texas Rangers. Ryan was one of the most dominant pitchers of all-time, a notoriously hard thrower that intimidated opposing hitters in the batter’s box.

An eight-time All-Star, Ryan had a win-loss record of 324-292. He struck out 5,714 hitters over the course of his career, which is by far and away the most strikeouts any pitcher has ever recorded. Randy Johnson, who ranks second all-time, is over 800 behind Ryan. Ryan walked more hitters (2,795) than any pitcher ever, but his career batting average against (.204) is also the lowest among starting pitchers ever.

Ryan is one of five Hall of Fame pitchers that finished his career with more strikeouts than innings pitched. He was known for his toughness, and he infamously pummeled Robin Ventura after Ventura charged the mound during a game in his final season in 1993. Ryan led the big leagues in strikeouts 11 times, and his seven career no-hitters is a big-league record.

Nolan Ryan Career Stats

  • Wins: 324
  • Losses: 292
  • ERA: 3.19
  • Games Pitched: 807
  • Saves: 3
  • Innings: 5386
  • Runs: 2178
  • Earned Runs: 1911
  • Strikeouts: 5714
  • WHIP: 1.247

Pete Rose

Pete RosePete Rose is one of the more divisive players in baseball history. He’s also one of the few that may be known more for what he did off the field than on it. Rose is baseball’s all-time leader in hits (4,256) and games played (3,562). He spent the vast majority of his career with the Cincinnati Reds, with whom he won two World Series titles.

The 17-time All-Star was permanently banned from Major League Baseball in August of 1989 after he was accused of gambling on baseball while serving as the manager of the Reds. The league alleged that Rose bet on his own team during his time as manager. In 1991, the Hall of Fame voted to deny access to anyone that was deemed permanently ineligible for induction.

So, despite being one of the most prolific hitters the game has ever seen, Rose is actually better known for his gambling exploits (betting on baseball games he was playing in) and lifetime ban from baseball. He has appealed the ruling on numerous occasions, but MLB has repeatedly denied his reinstatement.

Pete Rose Career Stats

  • Games Played: 3562
  • At Bats: 14053
  • Batting Average: .303
  • On-base %: .375
  • Slugging %: .409
  • Hits: 4256
  • Home Runs: 160
  • RBI: 1314
  • Runs: 2165
  • Stolen Bases: 198
  • Walks: 1566
  • Strikeouts: 1143

Randy Johnson

Randy JohnsonRandy Johnson is essentially the left-handed Nolan Ryan of his era. The lanky 6’10” fireballer is not only one of the tallest players in big league history, but he is also one of the most dominant pitchers to ever climb a big-league mound. Johnson was a 10-time All-Star, known primarily for his stints with the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Johnson helped lead the Diamondbacks to the franchise’s first and only World Series title in 2001. He won five Cy Young awards, including four straight from 1999 through 2002. Johnson led the majors in ERA four times, and he finished his career with the second-most strikeouts in MLB history (4,875). He is one of just seven pitchers to have thrown at least one perfect game and one no-hitter, and he is just one of just five pitchers to have ever struck out 20 hitters in a single game.

Randy Johnson Career Stats

  • Wins: 303
  • Losses: 166
  • ERA: 3.29
  • Games Pitched: 618
  • Saves: 2
  • Innings: 4135.1
  • Runs: 1703
  • Earned Runs: 1513
  • Strikeouts: 4875
  • WHIP: 1.171

Rickey Henderson

Rickey HendersonRickey Henderson put on the uniform for nine different teams between 1979 and 2003, including four different tenures with the Oakland Athletics. Henderson is one of the few players in baseball history known almost exclusively for his speed. He broke the single-season record for most stolen bases in a season in 1982 when he swiped 130 bags. Henderson is also the only American League player ever to steal at least 100 bases in a single campaign, a feat he accomplished three times.

Henderson was a 10-time All-Star, and he earned AL MVP honors in 1990 during his second stint with the A’s. He won two World Series titles and led the AL in stolen bases an incredible 12 times. Henderson stole 1,406 bases in his career, which is first on the all-time list. He eclipsed 3,000 career hits in 2001 as a member of the San Diego Padres.

Rickey Henderson Career Stats

  • Games Played: 3081
  • At Bats: 10961
  • Batting Average: .279
  • On-base %: .401
  • Slugging %: .419
  • Hits: 3055
  • Home Runs: 297
  • RBI: 1115
  • Runs: 2295
  • Stolen Bases: 1406
  • Walks: 2190
  • Strikeouts: 1694

Roger Clemens

Roger ClemensRoger Clemens is yet another player whose Hall of Fame career has been marred by cheating allegations. As is the case with Barry Bonds, Clemens would have been a Hall of Famer even before he decided to use performance-enhancing drugs later in his career. The right-hander rose to prominence as a member of the Boston Red Sox in the mid-1980s. The Rocket wound up pitching 24 seasons in the major leagues for four different teams. He won a pair of World Series titles with the New York Yankees, and his resume is among the most impressive you will ever see.

Clemens earned 11 All-Star nominations and won a record seven Cy Young awards. His first Cy Young came in 1986, nearly 20 years before his last trophy (2004). Clemens is one of the few pitchers to have won an MVP award, and he led the league in ERA on seven different occasions.
Clemens is the one and only major league pitcher to have won at least 350 games while racking up at least 4,500 strikeouts. He has repeatedly denied the use of steroids, but lingering suspicions of doping will likely keep him out of the Hall of Fame.

Roger Clemens Career Stats

  • Wins: 354
  • Losses: 184
  • ERA: 3.12
  • Games Pitched: 709
  • Saves: 0
  • Innings: 4916.2
  • Runs: 1885
  • Earned Runs: 1707
  • Strikeouts: 4672
  • WHIP: 1.173

Sandy Koufax

Sandy KoufaxSandy Koufax had one of the shorter careers among baseball’s all-time greats, but there’s no questioning his legacy. The left-hander played his entire career with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers between 1955 and 1966 when he surprisingly retired at the age of 30. He cited arthritis in his throwing elbow for his decision to call it quits early.

Koufax made the most of his limited time on the field, though. The six-time All-Star earned NL MVP honors in 1963, as well as three Cy Young awards in four seasons between 1963 and 1966. Koufax also became the first pitcher to ever throw at least four no-hitters and just the seventh to throw a perfect game. He led the Dodgers to four World Series titles between 1955 and 1965.

He and Clayton Kershaw are widely regarded to be the best pitchers in Dodgers franchise history.

Sandy Koufax Career Stats

  • Wins: 165
  • Losses: 87
  • ERA: 2.76
  • Games Pitched: 397
  • Saves: 9
  • Innings: 2324.1
  • Runs: 806
  • Earned Runs: 713
  • Strikeouts: 2396
  • WHIP: 1.106

Shoeless Joe Jackson

Shoeless Joe JacksonShoeless Joe Jackson was one of baseball’s earliest stars. The South Carolina native played 13 seasons between 1908 and 1920. He finished his career with one of the highest batting averages (.356) in baseball history, but he’s another player whose legacy has been marred by controversy. Jackson was involved in the Black Sox Scandal, where he and other members of the Chicago White Sox were found to have illegally fixed the 1919 World Series. He was subsequently banned from baseball after the 1920 season.

Jackson was held out of the Baseball Hall of Fame as a result of the scandal, though some believe he may have had nothing to do with it. Regardless, he is still thought of by many to be one of the best hitters the game has ever seen, and he is still the White Sox’ and Cleveland Indians’ all-time record-holder for highest batting average.

Shoeless Joe Jackson Career Stats

  • Games Played: 1332
  • At Bats: 4981
  • Batting Average: .356
  • On-base %: .423
  • Slugging %: .517
  • Hits: 1772
  • Home Runs: 168
  • RBI: 792
  • Runs: 873
  • Stolen Bases: 202
  • Walks: 519
  • Strikeouts: 233

Stan Musial

Stan MusialStan “The Man” Musial is arguably the greatest St. Louis Cardinal of them all. He spent all 22 years of his career in St. Louis, which included a missed season in 1945 due to World War II. Musial was a 24-time All-Star, and he led the Cardinals to three championships between 1942 and 1946. The seven-time batting champ is the National League’s all-time leader in hits, RBI, runs, doubles, and games played. At the time of his retirement, his 475 home runs was the second-most in NL history.

Musial held 17 different major league records at the time he retired. Success followed his post-playing career as well. He was the Cardinals’ general manager in 1967, when the team won the World Series. Musial abruptly resigned from the job after just one season. In 2011, he became one of the few baseball players to have ever been given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor for United States citizens.

Stan Musial Career Stats

  • Games Played: 3026
  • At Bats: 10972
  • Batting Average: .331
  • On-base %: .417
  • Slugging %: .559
  • Hits: 3630
  • Home Runs: 475
  • RBI: 1951
  • Runs: 1949
  • Stolen Bases: 78
  • Walks: 1599
  • Strikeouts: 696

Ted Williams

Ted WilliamsSome will tell you that Ted Williams is the best hitter the game has ever seen. Williams played 19 seasons for the Boston Red Sox between 1939 and 1960. Teddy Ballgame earned an All-Star nomination in all 19 seasons he played, and he won a pair of AL MVPs in addition to six batting titles during his stint in Beantown.

Williams finished his career with a .344 batting average, 521 home runs, and over 2,600 hits. His .482 career on-base percentage is the highest in the history of the sport. He hit .406 in 1941, making him the most recent player to hit at least .400 over the course of a full season.

Ted Williams Career Stats

  • Games Played: 2292
  • At Bats: 7706
  • Batting Average: .344
  • On-base %: .482
  • Slugging %: .634
  • Hits: 2654
  • Home Runs: 521
  • RBI: 1839
  • Runs: 1798
  • Stolen Bases: 24
  • Walks: 2021
  • Strikeouts: 709

Tom Seaver

Tom SeaverTom Seaver played for four different teams over the course of his Hall of Fame career, but the right-handed pitcher is known best for his time with the New York Mets. Seaver was a 12-time All-Star, and he was a key cog in the Mets’ shocking World Series-winning season in 1969. The three-time Cy Young award winner won NL Rookie of the Year honors in 1967, and he led the league in strikeouts on five different occasions.

Seaver finished his career with one of the lowest ERAs in baseball history (2.86) as well as 311 wins and over 3,600 strikeouts. Seaver earned 98.84% of the vote in his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot in 1992, which was the highest percentage any player had ever received at the time.

Tom Seaver Career Stats

  • Wins: 311
  • Losses: 205
  • ERA: 2.86
  • Games Pitched: 656
  • Saves: 1
  • Innings: 4783
  • Runs: 1674
  • Earned Runs: 1521
  • Strikeouts: 3640
  • WHIP: 1.121

Ty Cobb

Ty CobbTy Cobb debuted for the Detroit Tigers way back in 1905, and his big league career would span 22 total seasons between the Tigers and Philadelphia Athletics. Cobb is one of just two players (Pete Rose is the other) to have recorded at least 4,000 major league hits. He set 90 major league records, and his total of 4,065 runs scored and batted in his the highest total ever recorded.

Cobb’s .366 career batting average is the highest in baseball history. He held the record for most stolen bases in a career at the time of his retirement, and he still has the most steals of home (54) of any player that has ever stepped on a big league field.

Ty Cobb Career Stats

  • Games Played: 3034
  • At Bats: 13103
  • Batting Average: .366
  • On-base %: .433
  • Slugging %: .512
  • Hits: 4189
  • Home Runs: 295
  • RBI: 1944
  • Runs: 2245
  • Stolen Bases: 897
  • Walks: 1249
  • Strikeouts: 680

Willie Mays

Willie MaysWillie Mays’ major league resume stacks up against any you will find. The outfielder spent the vast majority of his career with the New York/San Francisco Giants. During his 22 seasons, he was an All-Star 24 times and a two-time National League MVP. He led the Giants to a World Series title in 1954, and he earned 12 Gold Gloves for his incredible defense in center field.

Mays made one of the most iconic catches in baseball history with his over-the-shoulder catch in Game 1 of the ’54 World Series. He finished his career with a total of 660 home runs, which is currently fifth behind Bonds, Aaron, Ruth, and Rodriguez on baseball’s all-time list. He is widely regarded to be the best player in Giants history, and he is another player to have earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Willie Mays Career Stats

  • Games Played: 2992
  • At Bats: 10881
  • Batting Average: .302
  • On-base %: .384
  • Slugging %: .557
  • Hits: 3283
  • Home Runs: 660
  • RBI: 1903
  • Runs: 2062
  • Stolen Bases: 1903
  • Walks: 1464
  • Strikeouts: 1526

Yogi Berra

Yogi BerraIf Johnny Bench is the best catcher of all-time, Yogi Berra isn’t far behind. He spent most of his career with the New York Yankees before playing his final season with the Mets. Berra was an 18-time All-Star thanks to his excellent defense behind the plate, though he is also one of the most prolific power-hitting catchers to ever play. Berra hit 358 home runs in his career, which ranks fourth all-time among catchers behind Mike Piazza, Johnny Bench, and Carlton Fisk.

Berra was known for his often-confusing public statements, including “It ain’t over til it’s over.” Berra was named to Major League Baseball’s All-Century team for the 1900s and earned induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. His jersey number (8) was retired by the Yankees that same year.

Yogi Berra Career Stats

  • Games Played: 2120
  • At Bats: 7555
  • Batting Average: .285
  • On-base %: .348
  • Slugging %: .482
  • Hits: 2150
  • Home Runs: 358
  • RBI: 1430
  • Runs: 1175
  • Stolen Bases: 30
  • Walks: 704
  • Strikeouts: 414