This author is a former teacher of gifted and talented students, where creative thinking and problem solving is a primary focus.
Baseball Hall of Fame - Top 10 MLB Retired Players of All Time
Welcome baseball fans to the retired players hall of fame. Visit the featured players, then vote YOUR favorite among these best baseball players of all time in MLB!
Enjoy this journey through baseball history and speak UP about your own favorite players and baseball stories of all time.
Who are YOUR top favorite players ever in the baseball hall of fame?
1. Babe Ruth "The Great Bambino" & "The Sultan of Swat"
Babe Ruth was a Major League baseball player from 1914-1935. His major league career began with the Boston Red Sox as a starting pitcher.
Babe Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees in 1919, and then he converted to a full-time right fielder. Soon afterward he became one of the hottest hitters in MLB history. The Yankees won seven pennants and four World Series titles during Babe Ruth's time with the team.
Babe Ruth retired after a short stint with the Boston Braves in 1935 and in 1936 he became one of the first five players ever to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Great Bambino, the Sultan of Swat, was he the greatest EVER? Or NOT?
2. Willie Mays - MLB Hero "The Say Hey Kid"
Quote from Leo Durocher about Willie Mays. "He could do the five things you have to do to be a superstar: hit, hit with power, run, throw, and field. And he had that other ingredient that turns a superstar into a super superstar. He lit up the room when he came in. He was a joy to be around."
Willie Mays Career Highlights:
* elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, his first year of eligibility.
* won two MVP awards and tied Stan Musial's record with 24 appearances in the All-Star Game
* ended his career with 660 home runs, fourth place in all-time.
* highest-ranking living player according to the Sporting News in 1999
* the only Major League player to have hit a home run in every inning from the 1st through the 16th
* finished his career with a record 22 extra-inning home runs
* one of only five players in the MLB to have eight consecutive 100-RBI seasons
* hit 50 or more home runs in both 1955 and 1965, making this the longest stretch between 50 plus home run seasons for any player in Major League Baseball history.
Most of his baseball career was spent with the New York Giants and the San Francisco Giants. He was with the New York Mets when he retired.
3. Ty Cobb - MLB Hero "The Georgia Peach"
Also known as The Georgia Peach - Ty Cobb was described by the Detroit Free Press as "daring to the point of dementia."
Ty Cobb set an amazing 90 Major League Baseball records during his career. He still still holds several of them as of 2011, including the highest career batting average of 367. Nicknamed 'The Georgia Peach' after his home state,
Cobb was an outfielder who spent 22 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, and then finished his career with the Philadelphia Athletics. His prowess as an athlete was sometimes shadowed by an aggressive playing style and surly attitude.
His father had died tragically and Cobb later attributed his ferocious play to the death of his father, saying, "I did it for my father. He never got to see me play ... but I knew he was watching me, and I never let him down."
Baseball is 90% mental.
The other half is physical.
— Yogi Berra
4. Walter Johnson - MLB Hero "The Big Train"
Walter Johnson - "The Big Train" - His overpowering fastball was the main reason for Johnson's exceptional baseball statistics. Walter Johnson played his entire 21-year baseball career on the Washington Senators from 1907 until 1927. His pitching records were legendary, and some remain unbroken today. For example he remains the all-time career leader in shutouts with by far with 110.
Johnson was the only player in the 3,000 strikeout club for over 50 years until Bob Gibson broke that record in 1974. Johnson's gentle nature was legendary, and to this day he is considered an example of good sportsmanship and friendly competition.
"As far as I'm concerned, (Hank) Aaron is the best ball player of my era. He is to baseball of the last fifteen years what Joe DiMaggio was before him.
He's never received the credit he's due."
— Mickey Mantle about Hank Aaron
5. Hank Aaron - MLB Hero "Hammerin' Hank"
Hank set the record for most home runs in a baseball career at 755! He played baseball at a consistently high level for decades. One of his many notable achievements was breaking the career home run record set by Babe Ruth and he is the only player to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times.
Aaron made the All-Star team every year from 1955 until 1975 and won three Gold Glove Awards. In 1957, he won the National League MVP Award and won the World Series with the Braves that same year.
Hank Aaron is the last of the Negro league baseball players to have played in the major leagues. Hank was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
6. Lou Gehrig - MLB Hero "The Iron Horse"
As a 17 year old high school boy, Lou Gehrig earned national attention while playing in a game at Cubs Park (now Wrigley Field) on June 26, 1920. His high school team was playing in front of a crowd of more than 10,000 spectators when Gehrig hit a grand slam completely out of the ballpark! This was an unheard-of feat for a 17-year old high school kid.
Gehrig played first base for his entire 17-year baseball career (1923-1939) with the New York Yankees. He set many major league records and still holds the record for most career grand slams at 23.
Gehrig is remembered for his prowess as a hitter, for his "Iron Horse' durability in consecutive games-played, and also his sad farewell from baseball at age 36, when he was stricken with a fatal neurological disease.
7. Christy Mathewson - MLB Hero "The Big Six"
Christy Matthewson - The Big Six - 373 career wins as a pitcher
During his 17-year career as a right-handed pitcher, Mathewson won 373 games and lost 188 for an outstanding .665 winning percentage. His career ERA of 2.13 and 79 career shutouts are among the best all-time for pitchers. His 373 wins remains still the number one record for pitching in the National League.
The Giants won the 1905 World Series over the Philadelphia Athletics with Matthewson dominant on the pitching mound. During that series in a span of only six days, Mathewson had pitched three complete games without allowing even one run!
7th Inning Stretch - Talking Moneyball
More "Moneyball" - the Movie with Brad Pitt
8. Ted Williams - MLB Hero "The Thumper"
Ted Williams - "The Thumper" - 521 Career Homeruns in MLB!
Williams played his entire 21-year Major League Baseball career as the left fielder for the Boston Red Sox. He was a two-time American League MVP winner, and earned the nickname "Thumper' for his amazing prowess at batting.
He led the league in batting six times and won the Triple Crown twice. A 19 time All-Star, he had a career batting average of .344 with 521 home runs, the highest career batting average in history. His career best year was 1941 - that season he hit an amazing .406 with 37 HR, 120 RBI, and 135 runs scored.
The Thumper was an obsessive student and teacher of hitting. He is known for using a lighter bat than most sluggers, because it generated a faster swing. He warned teammates not to leave their bats on the ground because they would absorb moisture and become heavier (1949). After retiring he published a book about hitting.
9. Rogers Hornsby - MLB Hero "The Rajah"
Hornsby's baseball career started when the St. Louis Cardinals signed him in 1915. He remained with the Cardinals until 1926, a World Series winning year for the Cards.
He was traded to the New York Giants after that season, then to the Boston Braves, and then traded again to the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs released him in 1932, and he ended up with the St. Louis Browns until his final season in 1937. He managed the Browns and the Cincinnati Reds in the 1950s after his career had ended.
Hornsby was one of the best batters ever to play baseball. His career batting average of .358 is second only to Ty Cobb in MLB history. He also won two Triple Crowns, and he batted .400 or more three times during his career. He is the only player to hit 40 home runs and bat .400 in the same year (1922).
His batting average for the 1924 season was .424, a mark that no player since has matched. Hornsby was renowned for his speed and many call him the fastest player to have ever played major league baseball. His speed was compared to that of the young Mickey Mantle.
10. Stan Musial - MLB Hero - STAN THE MAN!
STAN the MAN Musial ==> 24 MLB All Star Games and a .331 lifetime batting average!
Stan Musial's first professional contract was in the role of a pitcher in 1938, but Musial was converted into an outfielder prior to his major league debut in 1941. Musial played 22 seasons in the MLB for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1941 to 1963.
Musial established himself as a consistent and productive hitter, and is often noted for his unique batting stance. The Cardinals won the World Series during Musial's first season in 1942. Then the next year, he led the National League in six different offensive categories and earned his first MVP award.
He was also named an All-Star for the first time that year and was selected to every All-Star Game in every season he played from then on, which tied with Willie Mays record at 24 all star games.
Following his retirement, Musial has been a successful businessman and restaurant owner. Stan the Man remains a popular figure in the Saint Louis area. When asked why he always seemed so happy, he remarked, "If you had a .331 lifetime batting average, you'd be happy all the time, too!"
In 1985, Stan the Man opened and operated the Inn at Grand Glaize at the Lake of the Ozarks, Mo. In 1989, he was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
YOUR Vote for Best EVER in the MLB? - The #1 BEST Baseball Player of All Time is ... ?
Before you go... Did you shout out your MLB Hero Picks?
You can also join the MLB all star discussion below in the comments.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2009 Carolan Ross
Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on April 30, 2014:
One of my favorite Squidoo baseball lenses. This has been featured on the "Review This" blog today. http://reviewthispersonalreviews.blogspot.com/
Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on April 08, 2014:
Stopping back by today to celebrate one of the 'best of the best' Hank Aaron on the 40th anniversary of his 715th home run (4/8/1974), breaking Babe Ruth's record!
BrendanRichardson on February 11, 2014:
It's tough to overtake Babe Ruth as the best, but I'm honored to share the same birthday as the great Willie Mays!
lesliesinclair on February 06, 2013:
What a lot of interesting facts and fan information.
Thankfultw on September 07, 2012:
My favorite: Bill Russell of the Dodgers. Not a baseball expert, just know who I like, lol....
sentanta lm on August 15, 2012:
@kglobal: do you think jeter is better than wagner?
anonymous on July 30, 2012:
Isn't it weird that most of the greatest players were from long ago? Is that because not enough years have past for us to appreciate today's greats like Ken Griffey Junior?
Hal Gall from Bloomington, IN on May 26, 2012:
Great list! I really enjoyed watching the Harry Carey video.
Ronald Tucker from Louisville, Kentucky on May 24, 2012:
Excellent list of some of the greatest players to ever play the game. I especially like Willie Mays for his fielding skills( the "basket catch" is forever imprinted in my mind) ...Mr. Mays played with a lot of flair.
Hank Aaron is another of my favorite player because of his consistency and hitting prowess. Had the opportunity to see many of his bats turned while an employee of Hillerich & Bradsby from 1969 to 1973.
anonymous on April 28, 2012:
Hard for me to vote for anyone other than Hammering Hank. Third most career hits and second on home run list. Never hit 50 homers in any given season, which means he was consistent.
Leah J. Hileman from East Berlin, PA, USA on April 28, 2012:
Honorable mention to Bill Mazeroski and Roberto Clemente :)
mrducksmrnot on April 28, 2012:
Great lens covering many wonderful baseball's best players. I have always loved playing but lost interest in a lot of sports at the pro level as the players were owned. It was no longer a game but became like politics. It's hard now to even find little town softball leagues going on. Sports brought pride and folks together, now it's all about money, sad but true. Love this lens of days gone by.
anonymous on April 27, 2012:
Well I knew of more than half...I like Hank
Ruthi on April 27, 2012:
Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, two greats--in baseball and as men.
KateHonebrink on April 27, 2012:
I grew up on the farm, where we routinely had the radio on in the hog barns, to help pass the time during cleaning and feeding times. My brothers and I whiled away many hours listening to Minnesota Twins baseball will working at our barn chores. Great memories and a great lens! Well done!
entertainmentev on April 27, 2012:
What a great walk down memory lane! These were the best baseball players around. :)
SunshineLollipops on March 12, 2012:
I love baseball. I've been to Cooperstown in NY. It was great to see the Baseball Hall of Fame... so many incredible ball players. The Boston Red Sox are my favorite followed by the Chicago Cubs. Great lens... thanks!
Carolan Ross (author) from St. Louis, MO on February 09, 2012:
@ben10ten lm: Yeah Barry Bonds held a great record, wasn't included here NOT only due to steroid use though that was an obvious negative, also his ego the size of Wyoming and lack of a team player attitude kept him from being included in this list.
ben10ten lm on January 05, 2012:
No matter if he used roids or not, I think Barry bonds should be on this list. Cool lens.
homeschoolmomof4 on December 20, 2011:
Great amount of information. Tough choice.
Gerald McConway on December 14, 2011:
Tough to argue the list, but everyone has their own opinion and can argue why their favorites were not posted. This is what makes sports so great. I would point towards players that I actually saw, like Mike Schmidt and Nolan Ryan and make their case to get on this list. Great lens!
Sojourn on November 16, 2011:
I love that you included the nicknames for each of the top ten baseball players. I was familiar with most of them, at least by name if not by their accomplishments, but hadn't seen all of the nicknames before. Very cool! Nicely presented, too. Well done and a great read!
yano jl on November 04, 2011:
Very cool list - not just for content but because it encourages a really fun debate. For my money, Willie Mays is No.1 - Everything he did, he did better. This is already a popular lens, but I'm adding one more SquidLike because I dig this kind of stuff. Thanks.
anonymous on October 28, 2011:
Mays,Aaron and Clemente then it's a discussion after them!!!!
Carolan Ross (author) from St. Louis, MO on September 26, 2011:
@gogolf162: Ironic? I grew up listening to guys like Harry Caray & Jack Buck, dad always had them on the radio during baseball season. So in my mind those guys are an important part of baseball history in the US. Maybe you have to be from the midwest to 'get' that. :-)
Carolan Ross (author) from St. Louis, MO on September 26, 2011:
@Wednesday-Elf: Yep, Berkman is awesome for sure, and we are fortunate to have him. Though my favorite is still Yadi. :-)
anonymous on September 24, 2011:
sure was great viewing this. Saw pictures that I never saw before. If you also like browsing lens like I do, mine has a great educational topic with poll questions for my readers to enjoy.
ScareYouDiva on September 08, 2011:
I never heard of Christy Mathewson before - thanks for the info. Ty's my fave though.
Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on July 31, 2011:
Just got through watching the Cardinals and the Cubs on Sunday Night Baseball, so decided to stop back by to say hi to another Cardinal fan. :-) BTW, I've decided my new favorite Cardinal is Lance Berkman. I have enjoyed his performance as a Cardinal this season so much. And he got HR #28 (tops in the NL) tonight. Good game (despite the loss).
gogolf162 on July 31, 2011:
Harry Caray featured with the top 10 baseball players? How ironic.
QuinnWolf LM on June 12, 2011:
This must have been such a hard lens only limiitind it to 10 players. So many had to be left out like Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, etc.
DMWaters on May 18, 2011:
I love your top ten picks. I couldn't agree more. I am glad that you did not forget the older playsers as they really were GREAT!
Carolan Ross (author) from St. Louis, MO on May 11, 2011:
@OhMe: Hey thanks, will do same. Best to you!!!
Carolan Ross (author) from St. Louis, MO on May 11, 2011:
@hunksparrow: Micky Mantle and Joe DiMaggio have been added to the list above, thanks for visiting and that suggestion - agree they are among the greatest in baseball of all time.
hunksparrow on May 06, 2011:
Great list--it's tough to do one. Two of my favorites (who didn't make the list) I like to read about are Mickey Mantle and Joe Dimaggio.
anonymous on April 27, 2011:
Including players prior to segregation is certainly suspect;baseball talent peaked during the baby boomer age that included ALL. Mays, Clemente ,Aaron and Mantle are the premier players of that PEAK ERA
Jools99 on April 17, 2011:
I'm a UK baseball fan and just learning about the baseball greats so thank you!
anonymous on April 10, 2011:
@garyrh1: to state that Babe Ruth is overrated .is like saying The Beatles are overrated , have you looked at the stats ? both as a Hitter and Dominating Pitcher. he could have been a HOF pitcher if he had stayed in that roll. it is hard to compare eras, but i do know Ruth didn't use steroids either. look at the numbers, the consistency, Overrated? I think not.
garyrh1 on March 25, 2011:
In all honesty, I've believed for a long time that Babe Ruth was overrated. Yes, he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, but the pure amount of love and the belief by many that he is the greatest person to ever play the game is a bit much.
Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on March 18, 2011:
Just had to return -- as the 2011 Baseball Season gets ready to begin -- and tell you how much I've enjoyed this story. All spruced up for Springtime Baseball! Go Cards! :-)
Carolan Ross (author) from St. Louis, MO on March 18, 2011:
@Spook LM: Yeah, the Great Bambino will always be legendary to baseball, no doubt about it.
anonymous on September 27, 2010:
Nice lens! I'd like to put in a good word for Warren Spahn, the greatest left handed pitcher of all time.
clouda9 lm on September 16, 2010:
@CrossCreations: Cheers Carolan! Me thinks @peapers has a bowel obstruction! Sour pusses need to talk to themselves in the mirror before spouting off <---makes ya look ridiculous I say!
anonymous on September 14, 2010:
Loved to watch Willie Mays play ball when I was a kid! Great list you have going here!
Carolan Ross (author) from St. Louis, MO on September 13, 2010:
@VarietyWriter2: Thanks you angel you!
Carolan Ross (author) from St. Louis, MO on September 08, 2010:
@anonymous: My what big negativity you have, Mr. Peapers! A list of '10 best' reflects an opinion. Feedback and comments about such is very welcome from any person who can do so with dignity.
anonymous on September 07, 2010:
Every time I read one of these "best baseball player" opinions I am immediately struck by the stupidity of the author. Time after time, the opinion of the article is based solely on the stats of the player and the success of the team said player happens to have played on. This lack of true baseball knowledge is a good indicator, to me, that the writer has no idea what makes a good ball player. These people are what I refer to as a "baseball card collectors". Those nerdy kids who couldn't actually play the game well, so they collected baseball cards and argued with their other nerdy friends about who got to be Mickey Mantle during their backyard whiffle ball tournament.
When choosing a "best" player in baseball, you should put yourself into the shoes of a manager and ask yourself one question: other than pitcher, which player would I want to have playing every position on my field.
Given that criteria, you would consider the ENTIRE scope of that player's game and choose the player with the most applied talent, not just number of homeruns, World Series wins, best batting average or slugging percentage. A playerâs ability to win games with their abilities and ONLY their abilities should be your considered opinion.
This is the measure of a true-to-life baseball player to anyone who actually knows how to play the game. All of this other bullshit is merely the squawkings of baseball card collectors who shouldn't be coaching a little league team, let alone commenting on Major League Baseball players.
Let me put it to you this way: an entire team of made solely of Willie Mays would beat the tar out of an entire team made solely of Babe Ruth any day.
Joan4 on September 04, 2010:
Wow! Hubby will love this one! Super lens!
anonymous on August 18, 2010:
Get ready to add A-Rod to this list.
Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on May 25, 2010:
I've been reading Bevspaper's lens 61 In 61 and thought I would browse around to see what else had been written about baseball. I am glad that I came upon this great lens and enjoyed my visit here very much. Your Top Ten Baseball Players Of All Time was an education as I learned some new facts about many of these very special Baseball Players. Thanks.
SportsCollectorsD on May 07, 2010:
Great stuff for baseball fans. Many times the media says the baseball card market is dying. Nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to the greats of the game. Their high-grade cards grow in value virtually every year.
LadyelenaUK on April 26, 2010:
Lovely Lens - we are missing this in the UK. I like the way Baseball and Basketball are big Sports in America. From your Lens, Stan the Man is my favourite.
Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on March 21, 2010:
These baseball players are certainly in the top ten of all time in my opinion, too. Wonderful summary of these great players. I love baseball and have many 'favorite' players, past and present. A current favorite is Albert Pujols and I believe he will one day join this list of Top Baseball Players of All Time. I also once met "Stan the Man' - a fun memory to this fan. Lensrolled to my new baseball lens.
Angela F from Seattle, WA on October 26, 2009:
Great sports lens. I'm not an avid baseball fan, but happy that I recognized at least 7 of your list! :)
lakern26 lm on October 15, 2009:
Great lens! Well done - loved the pics and I must say that song brought back a lot of memories. It's always been one of my favorites. Nice touch! Oh and congrats on graduating RM . . . again ;)
WindyWintersHubs from Vancouver Island, BC on October 10, 2009:
Great List for Baseball Fans! I will tuck this list away for my baseball fans! Thanks!
kimmanleyort on October 08, 2009:
You are a superb lensmaster!
Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on October 08, 2009:
Great choice of baseball players!
Carolan Ross (author) from St. Louis, MO on October 07, 2009:
whew...I was holding my breathe thinking...no WAY could she have left out Stan the MAN! But you didn't, just saved the best for last :-) ..and some might wonder ...where's Bob Gibson and Albert Puhols?
VERY well done page here. 5*s and lensrolled to a baseball lens I just finished ... Top 10 Gifts for Cardinal Baseball Fans
oztoo lm on October 07, 2009:
Wow, some really legendary figures in this top 10 collection. Great lens.
Mary from Chicago area on October 07, 2009:
Fantastic idea for a lens, beautifully executed! I know 2 guys in this house who would love it :) 5*