Baseball is one of the greatest sports that have ever been played, and it has seen its share of fantastic talent. Fans and pundits alike love to debate who the greatest players in the game are. Naturally, this decision is a tough one to reach an agreement on because many accomplished and legendary players have graced the baseball field. However, there are some top-ranking players who definitely belong on the list of all-time best players the sports has ever seen. For us, the guys below shouldn’t be left out in any list of famous baseball players of all time who were exceptional in the bat-and-ball game.
Famous Baseball Players of All-time
10. Stan Musical
You can’t talk about baseball without Stan Musical’s name coming up. He’s one of the greatest players to ever swing a bat; in fact, his technique is still being studied by the new generation of players and coaches. Stan’s career lasted 22 wonderful years, during which he won seven titles, hit 475 home runs, accrued 725 doubles the third-highest number after Rose and Speaker. He would have done a lot more with his career had it not been for the time he took a break to serve in World War II. At the time of his retirement, Stan had set records for RBIs, hits, at-bats, doubles, and runs scored. He is known for having perfect consistency, one of the best the game has ever seen. Without any doubt, he remains one of the most famous baseball players of all time.
9. Willie Mays
Willie Mays is one of the few players to appear in 24 All-Star Games and is regarded as one of the greatest center fielders of all time. He was so good he invented a style of defensive play called “The Catch” that is viewed as of the best play sports has ever seen. Despite his position, Willie was a well-rounded player and appeared in a total of 2,992 games.
Mays hit 660 home runs, with a .302 average and 156 OPS+. He was known by his nickname, Say Hey Kid and only had one bad season in his entire career. Willie won 12 Gold Gloves, NL Rookie of the Year, four home run and stolen base leader, two NL MVPs. He hit over 50 homers and 100 RBIs in consecutive seasons. Mays was a truly incredible talent and would no doubt be one of the top picks.
8. Ty Cobb
Pete Rose is the only player in the world with a higher all-time hit record than Ty Cobbs, but Ty was the youngest to do it. For the 23 seasons he played, Ty never batted below .316, and he holds the record for the best batting average at .366, the second in triples at 295, and the fourth-highest stolen bases at 897. He is definitely one of the best things baseball has ever seen. He won 12 batting titles during his career, setting over 90 records, some of which remain unbroken to this day, nearly a century after he retired. Ty was the first player to be inducted into the hall of fame, that’s how amazing he was. He certainly created baseball’s past and continues to define its present. You can’t keep him off any list of famous baseball players.
7. Hank Aaron
Hank belongs to the ranks of players who have played the most All-Star Games. He surpassed Babe Ruth as the player with the most home runs in baseball history, and he held that record until the era when performance-enhancing drugs like steroids hit the sport. However, Hank still holds the record for the most extra-base hits, RBIs, and total bases. He has the third-highest game appearances and is the only one of two players to accrue more than 30 home runs in 15 seasons, and a total of 755 throughout his career, making him one of the best hitters of all time. Hank remained consistent throughout his active years, maintaining a strikeout percentage below 10.0. He is one of the most elite players the sports has seen.
6. Jimmie Foxx
It took a while for Jimmie Foxx to earn playing time. Although he joined the Philadelphia Athletics when he was 17, it took three years before he came off the bench and immediately began hitting .328/.416/.548, becoming an instant success. Unlike other top players, Jimmie’s career only lasted 14 years, most of which was spent playing first base, but he still managed to churn out 534 long balls. Jimmie appeared in three MVP campaigns, each of which saw him pull off a slugging percentage of .700, and RBI tallies that came in top 10 for two seasons out of three. It suffices to say that Jimmie was phenomenal when it came to hitting balls. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951, a recognition he undoubtedly deserved. As far as many are concerned, he’s among the best and most famous baseball players in history.
5. Honus Wagner
Honus Wagner is popularly known for his baseball card, so valuable and rare that it sold for over $3 million. Still, Wagner’s status as one of the finest shortstops in the history of baseball is not up for debate. Despite retiring a century ago, he still maintains the number eight spot for all-time hits with 3,420. He also holds the record for being one of 10 players who have over 700 stolen bases. He was never the kind of player who could do more than a dozen home runs a season, but what he lacked in homers he made up for with doubles and triples.
He is the only shortstop with a wOBA above .400, he won 8 batting titles, no small feat at the time, even by today’s standards. Wagner was a man with many talents, he could hit hard, run base, and field like his life depended on it. He was one of the first five players to secure a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame. At the time of his retirement, he had more steals, hits, RBIs, triples, doubles, and runs than any other player in the National League.
4. Walter Johnson
Walter Johnson might not be a name that many recognize, primarily because he belongs to a different era of players whose careers ended nearly a century ago. Despite how much time has passed since the player fondly known as The Big Train graced the field, his 21-year career is still regarded as astounding. He started in 666 games and completed 531 of them. He was beloved by those he played with and against. He saw his team to over 300 victories at home and on the road, accruing over 320 innings for seven consecutive seasons with an ERA of 1.90, a winning streak that only ended after a 2.21 ERA in 1917.
He won the Chalmers Award for MVP twice, joining Rube Waddell as the second pitcher to accrue 300 strikeouts in one season. He was a long-term starter and his ERA stats were better than most of his mates’, he was the only pitcher to complete more than 100 shutouts. Walter Johnson has earned his reputation as one of the all-time best and famous baseball players that the world has ever seen.
3. Ted Williams
From the moment Ted Williams’ career began, he churned out incredible stats, and his profile would have been more outstanding had it not been for the three years he spent in the military during World War II, and later the Korean War. As far as hitters go, Ted ranked second behind Babe Ruth, even eclipsing the latter in batting average with .344 to Ruth’s .342, and holding the best on-base percentage of all-time at .482.
Even by today’s plate standards, Ted would still be a legend, he won 6 batting titles, two Triple Crown awards (one of two players to ever do so), and his rates never fell below .315/.435/.550 until the season he clocked 40 years old. He corrected that performance with mind-blowing stats in the final game of his career. Ted was the last player to hit over .400 in a single season and appeared in 19 All-Star Games during the span of his career.
2. Lou Gehrig
Lou’s career ended prematurely after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The Yankee stadium reverberated with echoes and screams when he gave his retirement speech on July 4, 1939. The player who called himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth at the time of his retirement, played 2,130 consecutive games, a record that wasn’t broken until 1998 by Cal Ripken Jr. Lou who led his team to seven World Series games, six of which they won. In his final season, he hit 29 home runs with .295/.410/.523 rates. He holds the record for third-best wRC+ and fourth best-adjusted OPS, his ranking as one of the greatest players the sports has ever seen is a no-brainer.
1. Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth’s name can be used interchangeably with baseball. To this day, his impact on the game cannot be overstated. He was responsible for the Yankee’s rise to the top of the league and the list of the best teams in the history of the sports. He has seven World Series Championships to His name, along with 12 AL home run lead and 6 AL RBIs. Even as a pitcher, Babe was a sight to behold, he was the first player to belt 29 home runs after he broke Ned Williamson’s record in 1919, returning the following year to break his own with 54 home runs, over twice as much as any player at the time.
During the span of his career from 1918 – 1931, Babe punched 602 long balls, no one else could manage to hit even 300. with .342/.474/.690 rates as an outlier and rank topmost in wOBA, wRC+, OPS+, and WAR, without taking into account his mind-blowing 2.28 ERA over 1,221.1 innings on the mound. Babe is considered the greatest hitter in the history of baseball, and the sport wouldn’t be what it is if the legend had never rocked a bat. In fact, it’d be blasphemous to omit his name in any list of best and most famous baseball players of all time.