This is a special series in which we take a look at the top MLB players in the history of each current franchise that rounds out their Mount Rushmore. Someone missing? Let us know
1. Luis Gonzalez: Gonzo is a five-time All-Star and when you think of their 2001 championship, he sticks out the most with his heroics. In 2010, the Diamondbacks retired his #20 jersey in honor of him.
- Officially licensed by the MLB
- Officially licensed by the MLB
2. Randy Johnson: Much like Gonzalez, Johnson will be remembered for his famous 2001 season. He even went in the Hall of Fame with a Diamondbacks hat on in 2015, first in history. He’s a nine-time strikeouts leader, four-time ERA leader, five-time Cy Young winner, Triple Crown in 2002 and a World Series MVP in 2001. The Diamondbacks retired his #51 jersey in 2015.
3. Paul Goldschmidt: He’s now a Cardinal but his best years were with the Diamondbacks, where he became a six-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner, four-time Silver Slugger winner and carried the team on his back the entire time there.
4. Curt Schilling: With the five teams he played for in his 19-year career, the Diamondbacks and Red Sox might be his most memorable. He was Co-World Series MVP with Randy Johnson in 2001 on top of being the wins leader in 2001 and a six-time All-Star.
1. Hank Aaron: Behind Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron might very well be the most widely known name in all of baseball. Aside from being the Home Run king in the eyes of many, he leads the Braves in almost every offensive category.
2. Chipper Jones: His entire 19-year career was spent with the Braves, and in those 19 years he held a career batting average of .303 with 2,726 hits and 468 home runs. He also ranks second in every offensive category behind Hank Aaron.
3. Greg Maddux: Of Atlanta’s Big Three (Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz) in the 1990s, Maddux was the king. He’s a four-time NL Cy Young Award winner, three-time MLB wins leader and four-time ERA leader, and a very impressive 18-time Gold Glove winner on top of his 1995 World Series Championship. His #31 jersey is retired in Atlanta and with the Chicago Cubs and he ranks among the franchise’s leaders in most pitching categories.
4. Warren Spahn: Depending on who you ask, Spahn rivals Maddux as being Atlanta’s best pitcher of all-time. He leads the franchise in wins, and topped the league in wins eight times. He won a World Series in 1957, and like Maddux, has had his #21 jersey retired.
1. Cal Ripken Jr.: Perceived by many to be the best shortstop of all-time, Ripken is the franchise leader in almost every category. Many know him as the “Iron Man” because of his 2,632 consecutive games played in 21 seasons. He also has two MVP awards under his belt to add to his impressive repertoire.
2. Brooks Robinson: Robinson is easily the second most popular player in franchise history and defensively the best third baseman ever, that’s why he gets the two-spot. The “Human Vacuum Cleaner” is an 18-time Gold Glove winner and 16-time All-Star to go along with his his 1964 MVP and two-time World Series Champion.
3. Frank Robinson: He is the only player to ever win MVP honors in both the American and National leagues. He’s a two-time World Series champion and has his number retired by three of the five teams he played for.
4. Earl Weaver: To this day, the fiery manager is a staple of the franchise’s history. Hard to believe 1970 was his only World Series Championship. He ended his career with a 1,480-1060 record (.583 winning percentage). The game misses the passion Earl Weaver had very much.
BOSTON RED SOX
1. Ted Williams: Ted was born to hit. Left field in Fenway will always be his home. He easily might be on MLB’s Mount Rushmore with these numbers: .344 batting average, 521 home runs, and a .482 OBP, which is the highest of all-time.
2. Carl Yastremski: After Teddy’s retirement, Yaz led the team in every offensive category for nearly two decades. He has multiple batting titles to his resume and is a member of the 3,000 hit club.
4. Pedro Martinez: 2015 Hall of Fame inductee Pedro Martinez is one of the best pitchers in the Sox’s entire history. Much like Ortiz, he brought flair and character to a franchise that was cursed for so long and help bring them to league supremacy. He’s also a three-time Cy Young winner.
1. Ernie Banks: Even though the Cubs haven’t been “winners” until recently, Mr. Cub will always be tops on this list. He is the Ted Williams of the Chicago Cubs. His legendary status carried Cubs fans for decades before their recent success. His catchphrase, “It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame … Let’s play two!” will live on in Cub history forever.
2. Ryne Sandberg: A consecutive 10-time All-Star and 9-time Gold Glove winner, Sandberg is considered a top-three defensive second baseman ever. When he ended his playing career in 1997, he had a .989 fielding percentage, which was second all-time among second basemen.
3. Harry Caray: No voice is more mimicked in sports than that of famed Chicago sportscaster Harry Caray. Though he passed in 1998, his legacy has been carried on since and his presence is still felt. From 1982-1997, he brought a certain color to the lowly Cubs franchise that, at that time, embraced their World Series curse.
4. Kris Bryant: 2016 World Champion Cubs gave a face lift to one-time cursed franchise. In this new era, Kris Bryant is the face of the franchise. He was Rookie of the Year in 2015 and won the MVP the following year. Though his 2018 was plagued with injuries he should continue his reign as the new Mr. Cub, thus knocking off close contenders such as Ron Santo, Ferguson Jenkins and Billy Williams on Chicago’s Mount Rushmore.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
1. Frank Thomas: The Big Hurt was scary at the plate. So much so, that he ended his career with 521 homers. The one thing lacking from his two-time MVP and numerous hitting accolades is a World Series championship. It’s a shame he never won the big one while he was playing on the south side.
2. Paul Konerko: Konerko was apart of the 2005 World Series team that broke the 88 year curse. He was captain of the Sox from 2006-2014 and has recently had his jersey retired by the franchise. His most memorable moment, though, will be his grand slam in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series to lead his crew to win and gave put them in the driver’s seat for the rest of the series. It was the first grand slam in postseason history to give a team the lead when trailing in the seventh inning or later.
3. Luis Aparicio: The final two slots here was tough to pick. Ozzie Guillen, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Carlton Fisk, Mark Buehrle and even Harold Baines could’ve easily been here. But let’s appreciate slick-fielding shortstop Luis Aparicio. Aparicio quietly put together an impressive career up the middle for the Sox, where he won nine Gold Gloves and topped the AL in stolen bases nine times as well.
4. Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson: Chicago was lucky to have two great sportscasters like Harry Caray of the Cubs and Hawk Harrelson for the White Sox. Both are legends in their own right. Hawkisms like “You can put it on the board!” and “Mercy!” are still favored among Chicago fans. Many players come and go but the Hawk seems to always remain.
1. Pete Rose: Like Ty Cobb, Rose played with a certain live or die flare that expressed his love for the game. And like Cobb, he wasn’t the fastest, strongest or even best glove in the field, but he played hard and had a knack for hitting. It was a science to him. Rose is a lifetime .303 hitter with a league best 4,256 hits and a plethora of offensive records. Hall of Fame controversy aside, he might be the greatest hitter to ever live.
2. Johnny Bench: Many come close but Johnny Bench is the best catcher to ever play the game. He was a mix of grace and grit and he did everything right. If the Big Red Machine of the 70s had a leader, he was it. Much like everyone else on this list, Bench won the MVP also … twice.
3. Joe Morgan: Rose, Bench, and Morgan were the big three of the Big Red Machine. Even now, after all these years since his 1990 Hall of Fame induction, Morgan is still considered one of the greatest second basemen ever. He’s a two-time MVP, two-time World Series champion and became a legendary baseball broadcaster after his playing career.
4. Joey Votto: Votto is nearing the last hurrah of his career, and when done, will go down as one of the best Reds to ever play. Though a one-time MVP, his accolades don’t jump off the page, and his stats are very strong but don’t either. No, it’s his ability to get on base that he’s mastered beautifully his entire career that makes him a great player. If there ever was a Mr. Reliable in Cincinnati it’s Joey Votto. Hard to say if he’ll finish his career there, but his forever mark has been left.
1. Kenny Lofton: Lofton isn’t even a Hall of Famer and is tops on the Indians list out of sheer love for him in Cleveland. That’s why Cleveland put him in their own Hall of Fame. He was a leader on and off the field, and roamed their center field for close to nine seasons. He was lightning quick on the base paths and a magician with his glove in the outfield.
2. Jim Thome: In 2018, Jim Thome entered the Hall of Fame with with 89.8% of the votes as a Cleveland Indian. His best years were in Cleveland, where he knocked 337 home runs and a great .566 slugging percentage in 13 seasons. He would end his career as part of the 600 home run club (612) and 1,699 RBIs.
3. Bob Feller: If you ask the great Ted Williams and Stan Musial, they believe Feller is the greatest pitcher of all-time. Rightfully so, what he was able to do in his first six seasons, then serve in WWII as part of the Navy, only to return in 1946 and pick up where he left off is almost God-like. The year he won the Triple Crown in 1940, he had an ERA of 2.61, 27 wins and 261 strikeouts. Many believe if he hadn’t served in the military that he would’ve amassed over 300 wins and 3800 strikeouts by the time he retired after the 1956 season.
4. Tris Speaker: Sometimes Speaker gets lost in the mix of the greats he played with from 1907-1928. It’s almost a shame that he had to take a backseat to the great Hall of Fame class of 1936, behind the likes of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner, just to name a few. In his own right, Speaker was one of, if not, the greatest center fielder of his day. Speaker ended his career with 3,514 hits, a lifetime batting average of .345 and an OPS of .928. I should also note that he managed during his playing days with Cleveland too where he had a record of 617–520 (543% winning percentage).
1. Todd Helton: Helton had a hell of a start to his career. He broke out on the scene as hitting machine. Of the many premiere first basemen in the league during the early-2000s, Helton was top-three for sure. 2000 was arguably his best season. He lead both leagues in batting average (.372), RBIs (147), doubles (59), total bases (405), extra base hits (103), slugging percentage (.698) and OPS (1.162). That same year he led the NL in hits with 216 and had an on-base percentage of .463. His National League-leading numbers in on-base percentage, slugging percentage and batting average gave him the “percentage triple crown.” Helton became the second Rockies player, behind Larry Walker in 1999, to accomplish the feat.
2. Larry Walker: Walker is probably the best Canadian to ever play the game. He started his career with Montreal, and then joined Colorado, where his career sky-rocketed. 1997 might have been his best year. That year he hit .400 nearly the entire year, battling neck-and-neck with Tony Gwynn in the NL. He ended the campaign with a .366 batting average, 49 home runs, 130 RBIs, 208 hits, 143 runs scored, 33 stolen bases, .720 slugging percentage, 1.172 OPS, 409 total bases and 9.8 WAR. To top it off he won the NL MVP that year. Walker became and remains the only player to have reached at least 30 stolen bases and a slugging percentage of .700 in the same season, the second with at least 45 home runs and 30 stolen bases, and the fifth with 40−30.
3. Troy Tulowitzki: Tulo remains the best shortstop to ever play for the Rockies. He was a five-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove winner and two-time Silver Slugger. The disappointed groaning from the Rockies can still be heard from his 2015 trade that sent him to Toronto, thus ending his impressive time with the club.
4. Nolan Arenado: Like Trout, below, Arenado has put up the sort of numbers and has brought home so many accolades in his short career, already, that it’s hard to keep him off this list. He’s 27 and already one of the best third basemen the NL has ever seen, offensively and defensively. Arenado made his debut in 2013 and since then has garnered six Golden Gloves, four Silver Sluggers and is a four-time All-Star. He’s nearing 1,000 hits and could surpass 700 RBIs this coming 2019 season. By the end of his career, if still with the Rockies, he will easily be atop this Rockies list.
1. Ty Cobb: Loved by baseball, hated by people, Ty Cobb played with his teeth and fists clenched. Simply known as “The Georgia Peach”, Cobb was a polarizing player, who shockingly received the most votes of any player on the inaugural Hall of Fame ballot in 1936 (98.2%), beating out even Babe Ruth and rival Honus Wagner. Cobb is credited with setting 90 records during his career, several he still holds today.
2. Al Kaline: Nicknamed ‘Mr. Tiger’ Al Kaline played his entire 22-year career with the Tigers. His cannon arm he displayed in right field was widely feared among baserunners. Kaline ended his playing career with 18 All-Star appearances, 10 Gold Gloves and a 1968 World Series championship.
3. Miguel Cabrera: Though injuries have staggered him some these past couple seasons, Miguel Cabrera’s greatness precedes him. When he was traded to the Tigers in 2008 from the Marlins, he developed into one of the greatest hitters of all-time. Even now, he’s still considered the best. Now 35-years-old, Miguel is nearing 500 home runs and 3,000 hits. If he were to retire today he’d be a first ballot Hall of Famer.
4. Hal Newhouser: It was tough to leave the likes of Justin Verlander and Hank Greenberg out of this list, but Newhouser was dominant in his time and is recognized as so. He was a two-time MVP, a Triple Crown winner (1945), World Series champion (1945) and has led the AL in multiple pitching categories throughout the 1940s. Though there are those who question the competition he played against during a time where many of the league’s stars were serving in WWII, you can’t take away what he accomplished.
1. Craig Biggio: It’s a shame Biggio and Jeff Bagwell couldn’t win a World Series in Houston. What they did in there was incredible. Really, it brought Houston back to relevance. Biggio played all of his 19 years in Houston, where he batted .281 lifetime and has 3,060 hits to his name. He currently holds franchise records for most career games, atbats, hits, runs scored, doubles, total bases and extra base hits. Following his admired career, the Astros retired Biggio’s number 7, following his retirement.
2. Jeff Bagwell: It took seven times, but Bagwell finally made the Hall of Fame in 2017. For him and Biggio, the sort of era they played in will always be plagued by the PED scandal. Bagwell has never tested positive for PED’s, so his numbers should speak for themselves. He is the only player in MLB history to have six consecutive season (1996-2001) with 30 homers, 100 RBIs, 100 runs scored and 100 walks. Bagwell is also the only first baseman to achieve the 30-30 club more than once.
3. Jose Altuve: By the time Altuve retires he could move up to number one on this list. At only 28-years-old, Altuve is already a three-time AL batting champion, six-time All-Star, AL MVP, five-time Silver Slugger winner and of course, the biggest of them all, World Series champion. Altuve’s story of his rise to the top could become a Hollywood movie one day. Basically an unknown prospect, who was not on any scouts’ map, he attended a Houston Astros’ tryout camp in Maracay, Venezuela when he was 16. Many mocked his short 5’6″ frame and didn’t let him allow to participate because of it, thinking he was not of age. When he returned the next day with a birth certificate to prove his age, he was allowed to tryout… and the rest is history.
4. Nolan Ryan: Ryan is the only player in this entire piece to be on three teams. Even though he went in the Hall as a Texas Ranger, Nolan Ryan played nine years with Houston, the longest of any team he played for during his entire 27-year career. With Houston he went 106-94 with a 3.13 ERA and 1,866 strikeouts. His number 34 is retired by the club.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
1. George Brett: George Brett’s 2,154 career hits are the most by any third basemen in league history. He is also one of four players in league history to amass 3,000 hits, 300 home runs and hold a .300 batting average. The Royals have never had a player of his caliber since.
2. Brett Saberhagen: While George Brett was doing what he does best at the plate, Saberhagen was doing what he does best on the mound. Saberhagen was a two-time Cy Young winner that was lights out in the mid-80s.
3. Frank White: White was a prominent figure in the Royals’ 1985 World Series run. From 1973-1990, White played his entire career with the Royals and was a staple of the franchise. The Royals retired his number 20 and elected him to their Hall of Fame.
4. Alex Gordon: Much like White, Gordon is a longtime Royal who could finish out his career with the team he started with. He’s a 2015 World Series champion and a six-time Gold Glove winner. By the time he retires he could surpass White and Saberhagen on this list.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
1. Mike Trout: Trout has taken the league by storm. By the end of his career he could be on Major League Baseball’s Mount Rushmore. He’s not even played a decade yet and he’s considered a Hall of Famer. Twice he has taken home the MVP, as well as been runner-up for the award for years he hasn’t won during his short career. At just 27-years-old, Trout could be Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays rolled into one. So he shoots to the top of the Angels’ top four.
2. Nolan Ryan: The Ryan Express could’ve retired as an Angel too, as he had eight great seasons there. He went 138-121 with a 3.07 ERA and 40 shutouts. Ryan also threw four out of his seven career no-hitters with the Angels. Two of them were in 1973.
3. Tim Salmon: Before there was Trout, there was another beloved Angels hitter with a fish last name, Tim Salmon.
4. Vladimir Guerrero: Vlad is on two teams in this piece. After he left Montreal, Vlad received the recognition he deserved and won the AL MVP . Before then he barely garnered any love outside of Canada. He also won Silver Slugger Awards four years in a row (2004-2007) and then again in 2010. Shortly after he retired he was entered the Angels’ Hall of Fame.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
1. Jackie Robinson: Many give acclaim to Robinson for breaking the color barrier, which yes, puts him among the all-time greats, but sometimes his play has been overlooked. A six-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year in 1947 and 1949 NL MVP, it brings serious thought on what Robinson could’ve done if given more time in the bigs. It is the great unknown.
2. Sandy Koufax: Behind Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax might be the greatest pitcher that ever lived. Koufax is undoubtedly the greatest left-handed pitcher ever. He’s a four-time World Series champion, a three-time Cy Young winner, won the NL MVP in 1963, pitched four no-hitters and one perfect game (1965). What makes Koufax even more incredible is that he only played ten years. He ended his career with a 2.76 ERA and 2,306 stikeouts. Had he played longer, his numbers could’ve been astronomical, almost video game-like.
3. Don Drysdale: It’s kind of head-scratching that it took Drysdale until the 10th ballot to get into the Hall of Fame. Behind Koufax, Drysdale was an incredible pitcher for his time. He ended his career a three-time World Series champion, a 1962 Cy Young winner as well as finishing with a 2.95 ERA.
4. Clayton Kershaw: It wasn’t as hard you would think putting Kershaw on a Dodgers list that has seen many greats play for them. Behind Koufax, Kershaw is the Dodgers best ever left-hander. At age 20, Kershaw’s MLB debut was highly anticipated. Since then he has played out of his mind. He’s a three-time Cy Young winner, won the NL MVP in 2014 and won the Triple Crown in 2011. By the end of his career he’s projected to amass well over 3,000 strikeouts. The only thing that’s missing to date is a World Series title. Whether he surpasses Koufax on this list is yet-to-be determined but he has plenty of time to do so.
1. Giancarlo Stanton: Stanton was the first superstar to have stayed the longest with the franchise. Before the head-scratching trade last season, the 2017 NL MVP was easily the National League’s most feared hitter. Now that he’s with Aaron Judge and the Yankees, he could continue his legacy with the storied-franchise or fall out of the spotlight. Regardless, he is Miami’s most popular player of all-time … so far.
2. Hanley Ramirez: Ramirez came to the Marlins from a Red Sox trade before the 2006 season. At the time, the Marlins were still trying to find their identity after their 2003 fire sale. Ramirez was a big-hitting shortstop, who burst on the scene and won the 2006 Rookie of the Year. In his seven years with Miami, he hit 148 home runs, 482 RBIs and had a .873 OPS. He was their lone bright spot after Miguel Cabrera left a couple years later.
3. Miguel Cabrera: Right from the start Miguel Cabrera was seen as a rising star at the young age of 20, when he made his big league debut. That same year he helped the Marlins win their second World Series title in less than a decade. Like Ramirez, Cabrera put up solid stats in the short time he was there and seemed to be their future. He was runner-up in the NL MVP chase almost every year and basically had the stature of the next coming of Barry Bonds. That was before they traded him to the Detroit Tigers before the 2008 season. Had he not been traded, Miami could’ve seen a Stanton/Cabrera/Ramirez juggernaut.
4. Gary Sheffield: Hard to say if Sheffield will enter the Hall of Fame one day, but even if not, there is no taking away what he did with the franchise. He was their center piece. Sheffield hit 112 home runs with the Marlins from 1994 to 1998, including 42 in 1996, making the All-Star Game in 1996, and leading them to victory in their first World Series in 1997.
1. Robin Yount: Yount is still beloved by Milwaukee. At the end of his 20-year career he was a two-time MVP and a member of the 3,000 hit club.
2. Bob Uecker: Bob Uecker has been entertaining people for years as a sportscaster, comedian, actor and even baseball player. Dubbed “Mr. Baseball” by the late-great Johnny Carson, Uecker has held the role of play-by-play announcer for the Milwaukee Brewers since 1971. In the dark days of Milwaukee, and there has been many of them, Uecker has eased the pain of losing franchise by reminding everyone that baseball is fun. He is the last of the golden era of announcers in the sport.
3. Paul Molitor: Molitor wasn’t the flashiest of players but he was seemed to always be a solid atbat. This might’ve resulted in him getting the best of pitchers for 21 years. Molitor ended his playing career with a .306 batting average and 3,319 hits.
4. Ryan Braun: Like him or not, Braun might retire as one of the better Brewers in history. A couple years after his 2011 MVP season, it came to light that he failed a PED test back in the 2011 season. After his 2013 suspension he hasn’t been the same but given what he did between 2007 and 2012, those numbers alone might put him on the Miller Park Walk of Fame.
1. Kirby Puckett: Puckett played his entire career in Minnesota, where he became their all-time leader in career hits, runs and total bases. When he retired in 1995, he had a batting average of .318, which was the highest by any right-handed AL hitter since Joe DiMaggio. To this day there are some who feel Puckett is the greatest center fielder they had ever seen.
2. Rod Carew: Rod Carew had a career similar to Robin Yount and even Paul Molitor, who quietly put together impressive stats and accomplishments. Carew was elected to the All-Star game in every year he played but his last. Carew wasn’t a player that would knock the cover off the ball but he made a career out of being an exceptional contact hitter. He ended his Hall of Fame career with a .328 batting average and 3,053 hits as well as taking home seven batting titles, a 1967 Rookie of the Year and a 1977 AL MVP.
3. Harmon Killebrew: The Killer played in an era that was loaded with superstars. In the American League the Yankees reigned supreme, so the Twins and quiet Killebrew were constantly overlooked. However, Killebrew was the Twins’ essential star. He was a stock 5’11” hitter with a compact swing that generated tremendous power. Power that hit 573 homers in his career.
4. Joe Mauer: Mauer might never see the Major League Hall of Fame but he’s a shoe-in for Minnesota’s. Mauer retired after 15 years, every one of them he spent in Minnesota. Though he ended his career as a DH and first baseman, Mauer started his career as a catcher and one of the best at the time. He is the only catcher in MLB history to win three batting titles, and surprisingly the only catcher to win a batting title in the American League.
NEW YORK METS
1. Tom Seaver: Though Seaver played for four different teams during his 20-year career, he is most remembered for his time with the New York Mets and his role in the team’s first World Series championship in 1969. Seaver was a stats darling, finishing his career with a 311-205 record, a 2.86 ERA and 3,640 strikeouts. When he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, he compiled the highest percentage of votes ever recorded at the with a 98.84%. A record that was broken by Ken Griffey Jr. in 2016.
2. Dwight Gooden: Gooden had a lot of hype his rookie season in 1984, where won Rookie of the Year. The next season he took home the Cy Young and won the Triple Crown. If drugs had not derailed a promising career, it’s hard to say what Gooden could’ve been.
3. Mike Piazza: At the start of his career, Piazza was the best all-around catcher in baseball. By 1998 he joined the Mets, the team he would later go into the Hall of Fame with. Piazza was a 12-time All-Star and 10-time Silver Slugger winner at catcher. He recorded 427 home runs— a record 396 of which were hit as catcher—along with a .308 batting average and 1,335 RBIs.
4. Keith Hernandez: Hernandez was a solid hitter but also the master of walks. He had a walk rate of 12.5%, putting his career hitting productivity above 31%. Hernandez was also a good glove in the field, bringing home 11 Gold Gloves during his time. In 1997, the Mets inducted Hernandez into their Hall of Fame.
NEW YORK YANKEES
1. Babe Ruth: Ruth has been the face of Major League Baseball for almost 100 years now. The Sultan of Swat, the King of Clout, and as Ham from The Sandlot put it, “The Great Bambiiinoooo….” Ruth was a phenomenon in the dead ball era, where home runs were few. He changed the game. And homers aside, many forget he also won seven, that’s right, seven World Series championships as a New York Yankee.
2. Lou Gehrig: If Babe Ruth was Batman, Gehrig was Robin. Before Cal Ripken Jr. broke his consecutive games played streak (2,130), Gehrig was the original Iron Horse. Gehrig ended his career a two-time MVP winner, a Triple Crown winner (1934) and many more offensive accolades. In 1939 his number 4 was the first number to be retired by any team shortly before he died two years later.
3. Mickey Mantle: Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Mariano Rivera, Whitey Ford, the list of great Yankees could go on, but the most popular, aside from Babe Ruth, might just be Mickey Mantle. His story was great. His feats were great. The heroic persona that seemed to mesmerize fans was the perfect fit for the Bronx. What Mantle did during his career was impressive but also a tease of what could have been if not for injuries plaguing much of his career. When picturing what a baseball player should look like, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed titan from Oklahoma seems to fit the image more than most.
4. Derek Jeter: The Captain. Jeter was homegrown and brought the Yanks back from a few decades of losing. His 1998 team might have been one of the greatest squads of all-time. Jeter began and ended his career as a Yankee, hitting .310 lifetime, 3,465 hits, 14-time All-Star, five-time World Series champion, five-time Gold Glove winner, 1996 Rookie of the Year and many more hitting accolades. To top it off, his final atbat was an RBI single.
1. Rickey Henderson: Now a 60-year-old man, I bet Rickey could still play the game. No one was as good as Rickey on the base paths. No one. A catcher’s worst nightmare.
2. Dennis Eckersley: Eckersley had success as a starter but his notable fame as closer is what he is most remember for. He was the first of two pitchers in history to have both a 20-win season and a 50-save season in a career— a feat we may never see again.
3. Reggie Jackson: Reggie became Mr. October in New York, but before that, he was raking them all over the field in Oakland. Jackson won his first of five World Series in Oakland and since then the organization hasn’t forgotten him. He also won his lone MVP award with Oakland.
4. Billy Beane: The only front office executive on this entire list, Billy bleeds the green, gold and white. Billy changed the game. When discussing analytics, his name should always be mentioned. The sacrifices and his tenacity for change has made the game in this new era that much better.
1. Mike Schmidt: If Brooks Robinson is the greatest fielding third baseman ever, than Mike Schmidt is the greatest hitting third baseman ever. The sort of power Schmidt had was unmatched during his time. The ball screamed off his bat. He ended his career with three MVPs and 1980 World Series championship.
2. Steve Carlton: Carlton won four Cy Young Awards with the Phillies before he left for greener pastures. At the time, he was the first pitcher to win the award four times. Carlton is also the last NL pitcher to win 25 games or more in a season.
3. Robin Roberts: From 1948-1961 Roberts was accumulated 234 wins, a 3.46 ERA and 35 shutouts. While he didn’t win any big accolades, he nonetheless is a Hall of Famer and was one of the best right-handed pitchers in the NL in the 1950s.
4. Jimmy Rollins: If there was one player to put on this list from the 2008 championship team it’s Jimmy Rollins. Rollins earned the reputation as a tremendous fielding shortstop and leadoff hitter. From 2001-2001, Rollins remained the team’s leadoff hitter. In 2007 he won the NL MVP.
1. Roberto Clemente: Even in present day, no player has even come close to impacting the organization like Roberto Clemente had. Though he left us too soon, Clemente left his mark on the game that’s felt to this day. At the time of his death he had a lifetime batting average of .317 and exactly 3,000 hits. His two World Series championships made him the first Latin American and Caribbean player to help win a series as a starting position player (1960), to receive an NL MVP (1966) and to receive a World Series MVP (1971)
2. Honus Wagner: Wagner was one of the first stars of Major League Baseball. He is an eight-time NL batting champion, that to this day is still unbroken, and matched only once, in 1997 by Tony Gwynn. Though Cobb is regarded as the greatest player of the dead-ball era, some argue Wagner was the better all-around player than Cobb.
3. Willie Stargell: “We are family!” was sang proudly in Pittsburgh’s heyday. And if that rings true, then Willie ‘Pops’ Stargell was the father. Pops played his entire 21-year career with Pittsburgh, winning two World Series, an MVP (1979) and World Series MVP (1979). After the passing of Clemente, Stargell took the reigns of the team and willed them to the ’79 series win.
4. Bill Mazeroski: Maz’s 1961 walk-off home run in Game 7 of the World Series is among one of the best moments in baseball to this day. Maz was considered one of the best defensive second baseman to play the game. He won eight Gold Gloves and ended his career in Pittsburgh with a fielding percentage of .983%.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
1. Tony Gwynn: Gwynn was taken too soon. What he left us was something special though. A hitter among hitters, Gwynn made it look easy. An eight-time batting champion, a member of the 3,000 hit club and a lifetime batting average of .338 he will always be San Diego’s favored son.
2. Trevor Hoffman: Hoffman was the first relief pitcher to enter the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Randy Johnson said it best about him: [Hoffman is] unique in the sense that what he does, closing, is usually a power pitcher’s game. His change-up isn’t just great, but dominating. What he does puts things in perspective. It’s pitching, not just throwing, and using whatever stuff you have. He throws a pitch that looks so tempting that you can’t lay off it. … I feel vulnerable when I throw 93-96 mph. He’s throwing 81 and doing it with full confidence.
3. Dave Winfield: Winfield might’ve became a name with the Yankees but he ended up going into the Hall as a San Diego Padre. With the Padres, Winfield hit 1,134 of his 3,110 career hits and slammed 154 of his 465 career homers. Winfield was a giant of a man and produced in the field as much as he did at the plate, winning seven Gold Gloves as a right fielder.
4. Randy Jones: Though Jones’ success was short-lived, he was one of the best southpaws in the late-70s. His only Cy Young was in 1976 and the Padres retired his number as well as inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 1999.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
1. Willie Mays: He IS the greatest player in Major League Baseball history. Willie Mays could do it all during his 22 seasons in the majors. Legitimately the first recognized five-tool player, he was the most exciting player to watch. Mays could do it at the plate and in the field, and entered the Hall of Fame in 1979.
2. Barry Bonds: Hated by many but loved in San Fran, Bonds’ legacy is complicated. Before his PED scandal, the one-time Pittsburgh Pirates phenom was the next coming of his godfather Willie Mays. Whether these stats are tainted or not, he hit 762 home runs and and had an OPS of 1.051. As newer voters enter the ranks, it’s inevitable that Bonds will be a Hall of Famer one day, regardless of PEDs or not.
3. Willie McCovey: McCovey’s greatness had always come second to Willie Mays’. But McCovey was one of the greatest Giants to ever play. He was a fearsome left-handed hitter that even scared Bob Gibson. When it was all said and done, McCovey had 521 home runs during his long career.
4. Buster Posey: To this day, Buster Posey may be the last of great hitting catchers in the league. He’s may also be the last of the gladiator catchers that once —– home plate collisions —–. The kind of accolades and stats Posey has put up in nine years is the stuff of legends. He’s a three-time World Series champion, six-time All-Star, 2010 Rookie of the Year, 2012 MVP, 2012 NL Batting Champion, 2016 Gold Glove winner, and a four-time Silver Slugger winner. By the end of his career, he could rival Johnny Bench as the best catcher of all-time.
1. Ken Griffey Jr.: The 1990s belonged to Ken Griffey Jr. From his rookie year in 1989 to 2000, there wasn’t anyone quite like him. He could hit, hit for power, field, throw and steal— the essential five-tool player. While he was one of the most prolific home run hitters ever, he also brought baseball into the modern age with lucrative endorsement deals and brands that have since developed the league into what it is today. Griffey was the coolest, most exciting player to watch during his era. Children everywhere mimicked his swing and swagger. His 2016 he was elected to the Hall of Fame, receiving a record 99.30% of the vote, breaking pitcher Tom Seaver’s 1992 record of 98.8%.
2. Ichiro Suzuki: Like Jackie Robinson, many wonder the career Ichiro would’ve had if he had been in the league sooner. That said, upon his arrival in 2001, Ichiro was electric. He could hit, run, field and throw. A pure baseball player in every sense of the word. There’s talk of a comeback, but if he were to retire today he would end his famed career with a .311 batting average, 3,089 hits, 10-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner, 2001 Rookie of the Year, and a 2001 AL MVP. Safe to say he’s a first ballot selection.
3. Randy Johnson: He retired a Diamondback but he’s most remembered as a Mariner. The Big Unit was 130-74 during his career with Seattle and ended his career with 303 total wins, which is fifth all-time by a left-handed pitcher. He also finished second in strikeouts, behind Nolan Ryan, with 4,875. In 1992, Johnson struck out 18 batters in eight innings while throwing 160 pitches, a pitch count that has not been touched since.
4. Edgar Martinez: Before there was David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz, there was Edgar Martinez. He was the first designated hitter to really leave his mark on the game. Martinez wasn’t a wrecking, knocking balls over the wall left and right, no, he was more of a pure hitter, who was able to spray the ball to all sides of the field. He was a two-time AL batting champion and ending his career with a .312 batting average. He is best remembered for his heroics in the 1995 ALDS against the Yankees, where he hit what would always be called “The Double” that brought in two runs, after being down 5-4 in the 11th inning, to win the series 3-2.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
1. Stan Musial: The American League had Ted Williams, the National League had Stan ‘The Man’ Musial. Considered one of the greatest and most consisten hitters in history, Musial was a 24-time All-Star, three-time MVP, seven-time NL batting champion and a member of the 3,000 hit club. While the Cards have had many legends grace their fields, Musial was the king of the Midwest.
2. Bob Gibson: No pitcher was feared during his playing days like Bob Gibson was. The late 60s belonged to Bob Gibson. He was of the fiercest competitors the sport has every seen, which led to a 2.91 ERA and 3,117 strikeouts in his career. The biggest moment of Gibson’s career was in 1968, when he posted a 1.12 ERA for the season and then followed that by recording 17 strikeouts during Game 1 of the 1968 World Series.
3. Albert Pujols: From 2001-2011, Albert Pujols was highly regarded hitter with devastating power. Before his move to the Angels, Pujols solidified his future Hall of Fame induction by raking in a few MVP awards and two World Series titles. Now 38-years-old, Pujols has 3,082 hits, 633 homers and 1,982 RBIs and is coming back for the 2019 season.
4. Roger Hornsby: Before there was Ted Williams, there was Rogers Hornsby. Nicknamed the “The Rajah” because he was hitter royalty, Hornsby was widely regarded as the best hitter of his time. Ted Williams modeled his approach to the game after Hornsby. Hornsby didn’t smoke, drink or go to the movies for fear it would damage his eye sight for hitting. A two-time Triple Crown winner, Hornsby has two MVP awards to his name and many hitting accolades. He finished his career with a .358 batting average and 2,930 hits. He is also the only player to bat .400 and hit 40 home runs in the same year (1922).
TAMPA BAY RAYS
1. Evan Longoria: Longoria’s career with Tampa is very reminiscent to that of Todd Helton’s or even Troy Tulowitzki’s. He was the face of the franchise from 2008-2017 before he was traded to San Fransisco. Aside from his solid hitting, Longoria is known for his acrobatic defensive game that has won him three Gold Glove Awards.
2. David Price: When the Rays drafted Price with the number one pick in the 2007 draft, few doubted the impact he would have in the organization. An organization that needed a star at the time. Price fit the bill. A crafty southpaw that moved up the minor league ranks fairly easily, he made his debut in 2008 and never looked back. In 2012, he won the AL Cy Young Award.
3. Carl Crawford: Though Crawford faded away in the last handful of years in his career, he made his name in Tampa Bay. Crawford was toolsy outfielder who hit left and threw left. He was a four-time All-Star as a member of the Rays and one his only Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award with them in 2010. He was lightning quick on the bases and topped the AL in stolen bases four times.
4. Joe Maddon: When it’s all said and done, Maddon might be remembered most as the manager of Chicago Cubs, but he first started his winning ways in Tampa Bay long ago. From 2006-2014 he won two Manager of the Year Awards and led the Rays to their first AL Eastern title (2008) as well as their first ALDS win (2008).
1. Nolan Ryan: Nolan Ryan went in the Hall as a Texas Ranger, because he’s from Texas. It’s fitting he ended his famed-career with them. When The Ryan Express rolled into its final station, he was 324-292 (51-39 with Texas), a 3.19 ERA (3.43 with Texas) and 5,714 strikeouts (939 with Texas).
2. Ivan Rodriguez: Pudge remains one of the best defensive catchers of all-time. No one could catch a game like Pudge. To date, he is the major league career leader in putouts by a catcher. He had the best caught stealing percentage of any major league catcher at 45.68%.
3. Adrian Beltre: The impact Adrian Beltre had with the Rangers cannot be measured. In 2017 he became the first player from the Dominican Republic to enter the 3,000 hits club. He ranked in the top ten all-time at third base when he retired in games played, assists, putouts and double plays.
4. Juan Gonzalez: In the tainted time of big home run hitters in the 1990s and early-2000s, Juan Gonzalez might’ve been the best in the American League. He hit over 40 homers five times and had at least 100 RBIs eight times. He also had a batting average of .310 or higher in five seasons. In his career as a whole, Gonzalez averaged 42 home runs and 135 RBI per 162 games, placing him well within the top ten all-time in these season-adjusted statistics.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
1. Roberto Alomar: Alomar was a superstar second baseman during his playing days. His best years were with Jays, an organization he played the longest for. He’s a 12-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner and won both of his World Series titles with the Jays.
2. Roy Halladay: The late Roy Halladay spent 12 season with the Blue Jays, the team that drafted him in the first round in 1995. He was an All-Star eight times and had his number retired by the Jays shortly after his death. He won one Cy Young with the Jays (2003) and the second with the Phillies (2010).
3. Joe Carter: Carter’s best years were with the Jays, where he won two Silver Slugger Awards and two World Series titles. He is most remembered for his walk-off home run to win the 1993 series against Philadelphia Phillies.
4. Jose Bautista: Joey Bats and his bat flips will always be a Toronto thing. Batista was a six-time All-Star with the Jays and won three Silver Slugger awards with them too. In 2010, Bautista became the 26th member of the 50 home run club while leading the major leagues in homers for the first of two consecutive seasons and, from 2010–15, hit more home runs than any player in the major leagues.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS (MONTREAL EXPOS)
1. Bryce Harper: This might be a somewhat premature, but in the Nationals’ short history, Harper is really the only name that makes sense here. If he leaves Washington, Scherzer will most likely take this top spot. No one had more hype coming into the league at a young age like Harper did. The sort of publicity he gained as a teen followed him throughout his career. In 2015 he won NL MVP and is currently a six-time All-Star. The past two seasons haven’t been his best, but he could continue his dominance again. It’s up in the air at this point, but for now he’s the face of the franchise’s history.
2. Max Scherzer: Max came out of nowhere and made a name for himself with the Detroit Tigers. A Cy Young later, he left Motown for Washington where he has won two more Cy Young awards and has led the NL in Wins and Strikeouts for most of his tenure there. It should also be noted that he has pitched two no-hitters in his career and will surpass 2,500 career strikeouts this coming season.
3. Vladimir Guerrero: Much like others on these lists, Vlad doesn’t get the respect he deserves because of the era he played in. The man didn’t wear batting gloves in the modern age for God’s sake! Also, maybe, because of the low market team he played for in Montreal for eight years. Before there was Harper and Scherzer there was Vlad first, and then everyone else followed. He has been most regarded as the best bad-ball hitter of his time, due to his aggressive batting style. His only MVP award came a year after he left the Expos for the Angels. Before that he was always just a runner up in the race, hence giving argument to playing for a low market team. A 2018 Hall of Fame inductee, Vlad ended his career with a .318 batting average and 449 home runs.
4. Tim Raines: Raines is arguably one of the best leadoff hitters and baserunners in baseball history. His time with the Montreal Expos is his most notable. There, he became a seven-time All-Star, a Silver Slugger and NL batting champion in 1986 and led the league in stolen bases four times. Raines fifth all-time for career stolen bases. On the tenth ballot he entered the Hall of Fame in 2017 as well.