The game of baseball has been much-loved for decades. Over its more than a century long run, this amazing sport has brought to fore some of the finest athletes and sportsmen the world has ever seen.
Did You Know?
The National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum is an American history museum situated at Cooperstown, New York. It was opened in 1939 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of baseball.
Baseball has its origins in the United Kingdom as well as the United States. The Americans started playing semi-professional baseball back in the 1860s, and from there until the present times the unstoppable growth in the popularity of this sport has been historical. Over the years, several famous baseball players have come and gone. They have managed to prove their skills both, on and off the field, and have subsequently captured the hearts of millions of fans all over. From among them, we list out ten of the best players of all time, who shall forever be remembered as the greatest the great game of baseball has ever had.
Tyrus Raymond (Ty Cobb)
Tyrus Raymond, popularly known as Ty Cobb, was born on December 18, 1886. He was also known as ‘The Georgia Peach’. Cobb was the player who received the most votes among any player on the 1936 inaugural Hall of Fame Ballot.
He is widely credited with setting 90 Major League Baseball records during his career. He has several records to his name, including the highest career batting average (.367). His other impressive career statistics include 4,191 hits, 117 home runs, 1,938 RBIs, and 892 stolen bases. Cobb’s great legacy as an athlete, however, was sometimes overshadowed by his surly temperament, aggression on the field, and several alleged instances of racism.
Quote: Baseball is a red-blooded sport for red-blooded men. It’s no pink tea, and mollycoddles had better stay out. It’s a struggle for supremacy, a survival of the fittest. ―Ty Cobb
George Herman Ruth (Babe Ruth)
George Herman Ruth, known as Babe Ruth, was born on February 6, 1895. He is also known as ‘The Bambino’ or ‘The Sultan of Swat’. He was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) player from 1914 to 1935, and has been named as the greatest baseball player in history in various surveys and rankings. He was the first to hit sixty home runs in one season. Ruth’s lifetime total of 714 home runs at his retirement in 1935 was a record that stood for 39 long years, until Hank Aaron broke it in 1974.
Among his other stellar career statistics, include a batting average of (.342), 2,873 hits, 2,213 RBIs, and a win-loss record of 94-46. He was a two times All-Star, 7 times World Series champion, and 12 times AL Home Run champion. Babe Ruth became an inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.
Quote: As soon as I got out there, I felt a strange relationship with the pitcher’s mound. It was as if I’d been born out there. Pitching just felt like the most natural thing in the world. Striking out batters was easy. ―Babe Ruth
Lawrence Peter (Yogi Berra)
Lawrence Peter, fondly known as Yogi Berra, is a former professional MLB player, widely considered to be the greatest catcher in the history of the game of baseball.
Born on May 12, 1925, in St. Louis, Missouri, Yogi Berra played his entire career for the New York Yankees. He was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, and is one of only four players to be named the Most Valuable Player of the American League three times. Yogi quit school in the eighth grade, and is very popular for his malapropisms and twisting of the English language in interesting ways. He is also equally famous for making funny and interesting quotes. One such example is a quote in which he says, “I never said half the things I really said.”
This great player’s career statistics include a batting average of (.285), 358 home runs, and 1,430 RBIs. He was 18 times an All-Star and 13 times a World series champion. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
Quote: I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself? ―Yogi Berra
Eddie Clarence Murray (Steady Eddie)
Born on February 24, 1956, in Los Angeles, California, Eddie Clarence Murray is a former Major League Baseball first baseman. Murray was known as one of the most reliable hitters of his time, and hence, was nicknamed as Steady Eddie.
Murray, who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003, is considered to be one of the best switch hitters ever. He spent most of his MLB career with the Baltimore Orioles, and ranks fourth in team history for both the number of games played and hits. Even though he never won an MVP award, he finished in the top ten list several times. After retirement, he coached the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.
His career statistics include a batting average of (.287), 3,255 hits, 504 home runs, and 1,917 RBIs. He was an 8 times All-Star, 3 times Gold Glove Award winner, and 3 times Silver Slugger Award winner.
Quote: Eddie Murray’s bronze bust in Cooperstown will chatter only slightly less than the man himself. The first line of text on the monument should read: He spoke rarely and carried a mighty bat. ―David Ginsburg (Associated Press Sportswriter)
Joseph Paul DiMaggio (Joltin’ Joe)
Joseph Paul DiMaggio was born on November 25, 1914, in Martinez, California, from where his family moved to San Francisco when he was one year old. Fondly known as Joltin’ Joe, or the Yankee Clipper, DiMaggio played his entire Major League career for the New York Yankees.
DiMaggio was a three time Most Valuable Player (MVP) award winner, and a thirteen time All-Star. He was known for his accomplishments in both, offense and as a center fielder on defense. This magnificent player had the fifth-most career home runs (361), and sixth-highest slugging percentage (.579) in history, when he decided to retire at the age of 36. Not only this, DiMaggio is the only player in the history of baseball to be selected for the All-Star Game in every season he played.
DiMaggio had a batting average of (.325), 2,214 hits, and 1,537 RBIs. He achieved a 56-game hitting streak, which has been called baseball’s most glorious achievement. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955, and was voted as the greatest living player of the sport in 1969.
Quote: I’m just a ballplayer with one ambition, and that is to give all I’ve got to help my ball club win. I’ve never played any other way. ―Joseph Paul DiMaggio
Willie Howard Mays (The Say Hey Kid)
Willie Mays, popularly known as ‘The Say Hey Kid’, was born on May 6, 1931, in Westfield, Alabama. He exploded into the big league when he was 20 years old, playing for the New York Giants. From there on, till his retirement in the year 1973, Willie Mays had a sparkling baseball career, which has led to an ever-growing opinion that he was possibly the best overall baseball player ever.
In the beginning of his career, he came into the spotlight thanks to his spectacular dives and catches, before he made a name for himself as an amazing hitter. His career comprised 660 home runs, 3,283 hits, 1903 RBIs, and 338 stolen bases. He had a batting average of (.302), and was the league topper for home runs in 1955, 1962, 1964, and 1965. Since they began awarding it in 1957, Mays won the Gold Gloves for 12 consecutive years. He was also named an All-Star in 20 of the total 22 seasons that he played.
His career home run total was 660 with 3,283, which made him a part of a small group of players with more than 3,000 career hits. He led the league in home runs in 1955, 1962, and 1964-65, won 12 consecutive Gold Gloves (1957-68), and was named an All-Star in 20 of his 22 seasons. In the year 1979, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame.
Quote: They throw the ball, I hit it. They hit the ball, I catch it. ―Willie Mays
Barry Lamar Bonds
How could the son of Bobby Bonds, an outfielder for the San Francisco Giants, the cousin of the baseball great Reggie Jackson, and most importantly, the godson of his father’s teammate: the legendary Willie Mays, not turn out to be great? Saying that Barry Bonds had baseball running through his blood would be an understatement. Those who have seen his mind-boggling performances on the field would agree that, within Barry Bonds, baseball was in fact exploding!
Born on July 24, 1964, Bonds experienced early success in baseball. After a noteworthy career in high school, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1985. Soon, he established a name for himself as one of the most productive hitters around. He had a career batting average of (.300), and was considered so dangerous by opposing team managers that they used to intentionally walk him when men were on base. He was also a tremendous base runner, having a total of 500 stolen bases in 2003. He won the National League’s MVP award 7 times, becoming the first player in either league to win this award more than 3 times.
Barry Bonds holds the Major League record for most home runs in an entire career (total 762). He also holds several other records, including 2,558 walks and 688 intentional walks. Other career statistics include 2,935 hits and 1996 RBIs.
In 2005, his personal trainer pleaded guilty to distributing banned steroids. However, in 2003 Bonds testified before a grand jury that he never knowingly or intentionally took steroids or received any injections from his trainer. This scandal overshadowed his otherwise luminous career. Despite being an exceptional player, he hasn’t been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Quote: I was born to hit a baseball. I can hit a baseball. ―Barry Bonds
Theodore Samuel “Ted” Williams (Teddy Ballgame)
Nicknamed Teddy Ballgame and ‘The Thumper’, among others, Theodore Samuel “Ted” Williams was an American professional baseball player who is considered by many as the greatest hitter that the world has ever seen. He played his entire 19-year-long Major League career for the Boston Red Sox.
Born on August 30, 1918, Ted Williams played baseball all through his youth, and finally ended up joining the Red Sox in 1939. He soon came to fore as one of the best hitters in the sport, when in 1941, in just his third season, he posted a (.406) batting average. During his sophomore season, his batting performance took a dip in the initial months, which gave rise to a lot of criticism from the sporting press, souring William’s relationship with the media and Boston fans until the very end.
In 1942, Williams was deemed unpatriotic by the media, when he requested a draft deferment because he was his mother’s sole support. He would later enlist in the U.S. Navy and serve as a naval flier from 1943-45, and then again from 1952-53 in the Korean War.
Even though he lost five prime years to military service, Ted managed to achieve a staggering career record in baseball. He hit a career total of 521 home runs, with a batting average of (.344), which is the highest of any MLB player. He had to his credit 2,654 hits and 1,839 RBIs. He was a two-time American League MVP, six time Batting Champion, 17 time All-Star, and a two time Triple Crown winner. Williams was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.
Quote: A man has to have goals-for a day, for a lifetime-and that was mine, to have people say, ‘There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived. ―Barry Bonds
Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron (Hammerin’ Hank)
“Hammerin’ Hank” is the nickname of Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron, an MLB player who played from 1954 to 1976 as a right fielder. Hank was born on February 5, 1934, in Mobile Alabama. From an early age, he aspired to play baseball professionally. At the age of 16, he began playing as shortstop, with the semi-professional Mobile Black Bears, and later for the Negro League team – the Indianapolis Clowns. Soon, his performance and raw talent began attracting the attention of the bigwigs, until finally, he was acquired by the Boston Braves. He played for the Braves for most of his career, before finally ending up with the Milwaukee Brewers in the final two years.
Throughout his illustrious career, Aaron posted outstanding numbers and reached several batting milestones. In 1970, he became the first player to hit over 500 home runs, and also to score 3,000 hits. But perhaps, the highest point in his career was when he overtook the celebrated Babe Ruth’s long-standing record for the most number of home runs.
In 1972, Aaron began receiving a number of hate mails and even death threats from baseball fans, who were upset at the prospect of an African-American overtaking one of the nation’s most beloved sports figures. Aaron, with his characteristic calm, bore through the pressure, and on April 8 1974, he hit his 715th home run, breaking the then existing record.
Aaron ended his career after playing 23 seasons, scoring a total of 755 home runs, with a lifetime batting average of (.305), and 2,297 RBIs. He was a 25 times All-Star, 3 times Gold Glove Award winner, 4 times national home run champion, and 2 times national batting champion. He was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
Quote: I looked for the same pitch my whole career, a breaking ball. All of the time. I never worried about the fastball. They couldn’t throw it past me, none of them. ―Henry Aaron
William Roger Clemens (Rocket)
William Roger Clemens, nicknamed (Rocket), was a professional MLB player who was one of the most dominant and successful pitchers in the history of the game. Clemens was born on August 4, 1962, in Dayton Ohio. He played baseball in college for the University of Texas, until in 1983, when he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox. Only a year later, he debuted in the Major League, and thereafter went on to become one of the best pitchers ever.
He played for different teams during different points in his career. Starting with the Boston Red Sox, he played for the Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Yankees, the Houston Astros, and then finally for the Yankees once again. He set shattering career records, including 4,672 strikeouts, an earned run average of 3.12, and a win-loss record of 354-184.
Clemens became the first pitcher to win the prestigious Cy Young award seven times. He was also the first pitcher in history to strike out 20 batters in a nine-inning Major League game. He was the American League MVP in 1986. The other highlights of his career include: 11 times All-Star, 2 times World Series Champion, 2 times Triple Crown, 5 times AL strikeout champion, 4 times AL Win Champion, and 7 times ERA Champion.
In December 2007, Clemens was accused of using steroids in baseball by former U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell. Clemens denied the accusations, but in 2010, he was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of perjury, among others. Following a mistrial in 2011 in the following year, he was found not guilty on all charges.
Quote: My only day off is the day I pitch. ―Roger Clemens