Greatest MLB Hitters of All Time
It's been said that the hardest thing to do in sports is hit major league pitching. When you consider the guts it takes to just stand in the batter's box against someone throwing 100 miles per hour, this makes a lot of sense.
Through every era of baseball history, the game has been defined by players who can hit the ball. They are the reason teams win World Series, dynasties exist and contracts are huge.
These players had the most hits in MLB history.
30. Wade Boggs — 3,010 Hits
Born: June 15, 1958 (Omaha, Nebraska)
Career: 18 seasons (1982-99)
Teams: Boston Red Sox (1982-92), New York Yankees (1993-97), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998-99)
Position: Third base
Stats: .328 BA, 118 HR, 1,014 RBI, .443 SLG
Career highlights: World Series champion (1996), 12-time MLB All-Star (1985-96), two-time Gold Glove Award winner (1994, 1995), eight-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1983, 1986-89, 1991, 1993, 1994)
Bottom line: The Boston Red Sox drafted Wade Boggs out of Plant High School in Tampa, Florida, not knowing he would become one of the greatest hitters in major league history.
Boggs won five American League batting titles while he was with the Red Sox, and they were in a six-season stretch from 1983 to 1988. In 18 seasons, he only hit under .300 three times — .259 in 1992, .292 in 1997 and .280 in 1998.
He also led the league in 12 different statistical categories throughout his career and was in the top 10 in MVP voting four consecutive seasons.
29. Rafael Palmeiro — 3,020 Hits
Born: Sept. 24, 1964 (Havana, Cuba)
Career: 20 seasons (1986-2005)
Teams: Chicago Cubs (1986-88), Texas Rangers (1989-93), Baltimore Orioles (1994-98, 2004-05), Texas Rangers (1999-2003)
Position: First base/left field
Stats: .288 BA, 569 HR, 1,835 RBI, .515 SLG
Career highlights: Four-time MLB All-Star (1988, 1991, 1998, 1999), three-time Gold Glove Award winner (1997-99), two-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1998, 1999)
Bottom line: Rafael Palmeiro is looked at as one of the biggest cheats in baseball history, thanks in no small part to his finger-wagging performance testimony at a congressional hearing in 2005, where he denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs.
But Palmeiro did use performance-enhancing drugs and eventually got dinged for it. That doesn't mean he wasn't a great hitter. In a case of supremely poor timing, he was suspended for anabolic steroid use just days after recording his 3,000th hit.
Palmeiro received just 11 percent of the vote to enter the Hall of Fame in 2011, his first year of eligibility, and was off the ballot after 2014, when he received 4.4 percent.
28. Lou Brock — 3,023 Hits
Born: June 18, 1939 (El Dorado, Arkansas)
Died: Sept. 6, 2020 (age 81, St. Charles, Missouri)
Career: 19 seasons (1961-79)
Teams: Chicago Cubs (1961-64), St. Louis Cardinals (1964-79)
Position: Left field
Stats: .293 BA, 149 HR, 900 RBI, .410 SLG
Career highlights: Two-time World Series champion (1964, 1967), six-time MLB All-Star (1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1979)
Bottom line: Lou Brock led the National League in stolen bases eight times and retired with the MLB career and single-season records for stolen bases.
Brock, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985, also led the National League in doubles and triples in 1968 and helped lead the Cardinals to a pair of World Series championships in the 1960s.
It's amazing Brock succeeded Stan Musial in left field for St. Louis. They are two of the greatest hitters in MLB history.
27. Rod Carew — 3,053 Hits
Born: Oct. 1, 1945 (Gatun, Panama Canal Zone)
Career: 19 seasons (1967-85)
Teams: Minnesota Twins (1967-78), California Angels (1979-85)
Position: First base/second base
Stats: .328 BA, 92 HR, 1,015 RBI, .429 SLG
Career highlights: 18-time MLB All-Star (1967-84), American League MVP (1977), American League Rookie of the Year (1967)
Bottom line: Rod Carew could see pitches like few people who ever picked up a baseball bat. He led the American League in batting average a whopping seven times and retired with a .328 career batting average.
His seven batting titles are second in American League history behind just Ty Cobb, and in 2016, the American League batting title was renamed for Carew.
Carew's life seems drawn out of a movie script. He was born traveling aboard a segregated train in the Panama Canal Zone, and his mother named him after the doctor who delivered him.
26. Rickey Henderson — 3,055 Hits
Born: Dec. 25, 1968 (Chicago, Illinois)
Career: 25 seasons (1979-2003)
Teams: Oakland Athletics (1979-84, 1989-93, 1994-95, 1998), New York Yankees (1985-89), Toronto Blue Jays (1993), San Diego Padres (1996-97, 2001), Anaheim Angels (1997), New York Mets (1999-2000), Seattle Mariners (2000), Boston Red Sox (2002), Los Angeles Dodgers (2003)
Position: Left field
Stats: .279 BA, 297 HR, 1,115, .419 SLG
Career highlights:Two-time World Series champion (1989, 1993), American League MVP (1990), 10-time All-Star (1980, 1982-88, 1990, 1991), ALCS MVP (1989), Gold Glove Award (1981), three-time Silver Slugger Award (1981, 1985, 1990)
Bottom line: Rickey Henderson was as dynamic and complete a baseball player who ever lived. Henderson still owns MLB career records for stolen bases (1,406), runs (2,295) and leadoff home runs (81) and also owns the MLB single-season record with 130 stolen bases.
Henderson, who led the AL in stolen bases 12 times, played in the majors until he was almost 45 years old and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
In an interesting twist of fate, Henderson was a big-time college football recruit out of high school but chose baseball after his mother, Bobbie, told him that baseball players had longer careers.
25. Craig Biggio — 3,060 Hits
Born: Dec. 14, 1965 (Smithtown, New York)
Career: 20 seasons (1988-2007)
Teams: Houston Astros
Position: Second base/catcher
Stats: .281 BA, 291 HR, 1,175 RBI, .433 SLG
Career highlights: Seven-time MLB All-Star (1991, 1992, 1994-98), four-time Gold Glove Award winner (1994-97), five-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1989, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998)
Bottom line: Until the emergence of Jose Altuve, Craig Biggio was widely regarded as the greatest all-around player in Houston Astros history and was the first player to enter the Hall of Fame as an Astro.
Biggio was an All-Star at two positions — second base and catcher — and there was very little he couldn't do on a baseball field.
Besides winning Gold Gloves, he led the league in plate appearances five times, runs twice, doubles three times, hit by pitch five times and even once in stolen bases, in 1994.
24. Ichiro Suzuki — 3,089 Hits
Born: Oct. 22, 1973 (Kasugai, Japan)
Career: 19 seasons (2001-19)
Teams: Seattle Mariners (2001-12, 2018-19), New York Yankees (2012-14), Miami Marlins (2015-17)
Position: Right field
Stats: .311 BA, 117 HR, 780 RBI, .402 SLG
Career highlights: American League MVP (2001), 10-time MLB All-Star (2001-10), American League Rookie of the Year (2001), 10-time Gold Glove Award winner (2001-10), three-time Silver Slugger Award winner (2001, 2007, 2009)
Bottom line: Ichiro Suzuki played professionally in Japan for a decade before finally making it to the majors in 2001, when he won American League MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in his first season.
Ichiro set the single-season MLB record with 262 hits in 2004 and is the only player in MLB history with 10 consecutive seasons of 200-plus hits.
What's even more amazing is looking at his career hit total in Japan and MLB. He had 4,367 hits across the two leagues.
23. Dave Winfield — 3,110 Hits
Born: Oct. 3, 1951 (Saint Paul, Minnesota)
Career: 23 seasons (1973-88, 1990-95)
Teams: San Diego Padres (1973-80), New York Yankees (1981-88, 1990), California Angels (1990-91), Toronto Blue Jays (1992), Minnesota Twins (1993-94), Cleveland Indians (1995)
Position: Right field
Stats: .283 BA, 465 HR, 1,833 RBI, .475 SLG
Career highlights: World Series champion (1992), 12-time MLB All-Star (1977-88), seven-time Gold Glove Award winner (1979, 1980, 1982-85, 1987), six-time Silver Slugger Award (1981-85, 1992)
Bottom line: Dave Winfield could have also had a professional basketball career. He was a hoops star at the University of Minnesota and selected by the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA draft and Utah Stars in the ABA draft.
Winfield chose baseball and became one of the greatest outfielders in MLB history, surpassing 3,000 hits and winning six Gold Glove Awards.
He also had one of the most notorious beefs in sports history with New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who made Winfield the highest-paid player in MLB history with a 10-year, $23 million contract in 1981.
The problem? Steinbrenner misunderstood a "cost-of-living" clause in the contract and thought he was signing Winfield for $16 million.
22. Alex Rodriguez — 3,115 Hits
Born: July 27, 1975 (Manhattan, New York City)
Career: 22 seasons (1994-2013, 2015-16)
Teams: Seattle Mariners (1994-2000), Texas Rangers (2001-03), New York Yankees (2004-13, 2015-16)
Position: Third base/shortstop
Stats: .395 BA, 696 HR, 2,086 RBI, .556 SLG
Career highlights: World Series champion (2009), three-time American League MVP (2003, 2005, 2007), 14-time MLB All-Star (1996-98, 2000-08, 2010, 2011), two-time Gold Glove Award winner (2002, 2003), 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1996, 1998-2003, 2005, 2007, 2008)
Bottom line: It's tough to look at Alex Rodriguez's legacy and separate the baseball player he was from his use of performance-enhancing drugs, for which he served a one-year suspension in 2014.
Rodriguez banked a whopping $440 million in career earnings over 22 seasons and also won three American League MVP awards. How much of that can be attributed to modern medicine is the big question.
For all of his accomplishments, Rodriguez won just one World Series, in 2009 with the New York Yankees.
21. Tony Gwynn — 3,141 Hits
Born: May 9, 1960 (Los Angeles, California)
Died: June 16, 2014, (age 54, Poway, California)
Career: 20 seasons (1982-2001)
Team: San Diego Padres
Position: Right field
Stats: .338 BA, 135 HR, 1,138 RBI, .459 SLG
Career highlights: Fifteen-time MLB All-Star (1984-87, 1989-99), five-time Gold Glove Award winner (1986-87, 1989-91), seven-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1984, 1986-87,1989, 1994-95, 1997)
Bottom line: Tony Gwynn won eight National League batting titles (tied for the most in history) and never hit below .309 in a single season during his 20-year career. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility with a whopping 97.6 percent of the vote.
Gwynn wasn't just one of the greatest players in MLB history. He's also one of the game's greatest statesmen. His brother, Chris, also played in the majors, as did his son, Tony Gwynn Jr., who recorded his first MLB hit exactly 24 years to the day following his father's first MLB hit, with both father and son connecting for doubles.
Gwynn died of salivary gland cancer in 2014, at just 54 years old.
20. Robin Yount — 3,142 Hits
Born: Sept. 16, 1955 (Danville, Illinois)
Career: 20 seasons (1974-93)
Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Position: Shortstop/center field
Stats: .285 BA, 251 HR, 1,406 RBI, .430 SLG
Career highlights: Two-time American League MVP (1982, 1989), three-time MLB All-Star (1980, 1982, 1983), Gold Glove Award (1982), three-time Silver Slugger award (1980, 1982, 1989)
Bottom line: Robin Yount was drafted No. 3 overall by the Brewers out of Taft High in Los Angeles when he was just 17 years old. He was the team's everyday shortstop by the time he was 18 years old.
Yount played a decade at shortstop before shoulder problems forced his move to the outfield, and you have to wonder what his career numbers would have been if he hadn't dealt with those injury issues.
Yount was still a two-time American League MVP, led the Brewers to the World Series in 1982 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1999.
19. Paul Waner — 3,152 Hits
Born: April 16, 1903 (Harrah, Oklahoma)
Died: Aug. 19, 1965 (age 62, Sarasota, Florida)
Career: 20 seasons (1926-45)
Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates (1926-40), Brooklyn Dodgers (1941, 1943-44), Boston Braves (1941-42), New York Yankees (1944-45)
Position: Right field
Stats: .333 BA, 113 HR, 1,309 RBI, .473 SLG
Career highlights: National League MVP (1927), four-time MLB All-Star (1933-35, 1937)
Bottom line: Paul Waner and younger brother Larry Waner were both Hall of Famers and also had the best nickname combo in sports history — "Big Poison" for Paul and "Little Poison" for Larry.
Paul was a three-time National League batting champion and had his best season in 1927, when he led the NL in hits, triples, RBI, batting average and total bases on the way to winning National League MVP honors.
Paul played the first 15 years of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and made his only postseason appearance in 1927, when the Pirates lost to the New York Yankees in the World Series.
18. George Brett — 3,154 Hits
Born: May 15, 1953 (Glen Dale, West Virginia)
Career: 21 seasons (1973-1993)
Team: Kansas City Royals
Position: Third base/first base/designated hitter
Stats: .305 BA, 317 HR, 1,596 RBI, .487 SLG
Career highlights: World Series champion (1985), American League MVP (1980), 13-time MLB All-Star (1976-88), ALCS MVP (1985), Gold Glove Award (1985), three-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1980, 1985,1988)
Bottom line: George Brett played all of his 21 seasons with the Kansas City Royals and accomplished everything imaginable for a ballplayer. He won three American League batting titles, made 13 All-Star teams, won American League MVP in 1980 and led the Royals to a World Series championship in 1985.
Brett also pulled off one of the more unique statistical accomplishments in MLB history. He won a batting title in three different decades, taking the top spot in 1976, 1980 and 1990.
Brett's "Pine Tar Incident" on July 24, 1980, is one of the more infamous moments in MLB history, when he was ejected from a game against the New York Yankees after hitting a home run. The home plate umpire determined he had too much pine tar on his bat and nullified the home run, and the Royals lost the game.
The Royals protested the game, and the game was resumed 25 days later, and the Royals won.
17. Adrian Beltre — 3,166 Hits
Born: April 7, 1979 (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
Career: 21 seasons (1998-2018)
Teams: Los Angeles Dodgers (1998-2004), Seattle Mariners (2005-09), Boston Red Sox (2010), Texas Rangers (2011-18)
Position: Third base
Stats: .286 BA, 477 HR, 1,707 RBI, .480 SLG
Career highlights: Four-time MLB All-star (2010-12, 2014), five-time Gold Glove Award winner (2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2016), four-time Silver Slugger Award winner (2004, 2010, 2011, 2014)
Bottom line: Will Adrian Beltre be a first-ballot Hall of Famer? He should be.
Beltre is one of the greatest third basemen in MLB history, even though his career was as unheralded as any star in history, and he only made four All-Star teams in 21 seasons.
Beltre is the first player from the baseball-rich Dominican Republic to record 3,000 career hits, and he also may have saved Jose Bautista's life when he broke up a fight with teammate Rougned Odor.
16. Cal Ripken Jr. — 3,184 Hits
Born: Aug. 24, 1960 (Havre de Grace, Maryland)
Career: 21 seasons (1981-2001)
Teams: Baltimore Orioles
Position: Shortstop/third base
Stats: .276 BA, 431 home runs, 1,695 RBI, .447 SLG
Career highlights: World Series champion (1983), two-time American League MVP (1983, 1991), , 19-time MLB All-Star (1983-2001), MLB All-Star Game MVP (1991), American League Rookie of the Year (1982), two-time Gold Glove Award winner (1991, 1992), eight-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1983-86, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994), MLB All-Century Team
Bottom line: Cal Ripken Jr. is best known for breaking an "unbreakable" record — Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak of 2,130 consecutive games that stood for 56 years before Ripken broke it in 1995.
Ripken pushed the streak to 2,632 games before it ended, although his career was much more than the streak.
Ripken won the World Series and was named American League MVP in 1983, named American League MVP again in 1991, the same year he was named All-Star Game MVP.
15. Nap Lajoie — 3,243 Hits
Born: Sept. 5, 1874 (Woonsocket, Rhode Island)
Died: Feb. 7, 1959 (age 84, Daytona Beach, Florida)
Career: 19 seasons (1896-1914)
Teams: Philadelphia Phillies (1896-1900), Philadelphia Athletics (1901-02, 1915-16), Cleveland Naps (1902-14)
Position: Second base
Stats: .338 BA, 82 HR, 1,599 RBI, .466 SLG
Career highlights: Triple Crown (1901), Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame
Bottom line: Nap Lajoie had a fierce rivalry with Ty Cobb. The two dominated American League pitchers throughout their careers, including one season where the AL batting title wasn't decided until after the last game of the year, when the two were dueling for a free car. Cobb won in a controversial decision by AL president Ban Johnson.
Lajoie finished his career with five AL batting titles, and four times led the AL in hits. He became just the third player in MLB history to record 3,000 career hits in 1914 and was also sharp on defense. He led the league in putouts three times and assists three times.
14. Albert Pujols — 3,244 Hits
Born: Jan. 16, 1980 (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
Career: 20 seasons (2001-present)
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals (2001-11), Los Angeles Angels (2012-present)
Position: First base/designated hitter
Stats: .298 BA, 604 HR, 2,106 RBI, .546 SLG
Career highlights: Two-time World Series champion (2006, 2011), three-time National League MVP (2005, 2008, 2009), NL Rookie of the Year (2001), NLCS MVP (2004), two-time Gold Glove Award winner (2006, 2010), six-time Silver Slugger Award winner (2001, 2003, 2004, 2008-10), Roberto Clemente Award (2008)
Bottom line: The second half of Albert Pujols' career looks a lot different than the first half, but he's still almost assuredly a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Pujols won two World Series championships and three National League MVP awards in the first decade and is just one of four players with 3,000 hits and 600 home runs alongside Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Alex Rodriguez.
Pujols signed a 10-year, $254 million contract with the Angels in 2011 and has played in the postseason just once since — a sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 ALDS.
13. Eddie Murray — 3,255 Hits
Born: Feb. 24, 1956 (Los Angeles, California)
Career: 21 seasons (1977-97)
Teams: Baltimore Orioles (1977-88, 1996), Los Angeles Dodgers (1989-91, 1997), New York Mets (1992-93), Cleveland Indians (1994-96), Anaheim Angels (1997)
Position: First base/designated hitter
Stats: .287 BA, 504 HR, 1,917 RBI, .476 SLG
Career highlights: World Series champion (1983), eight-time MLB All-Star (1978, 1981-86, 1991), American League Rookie of the Year (1977), three-time Gold Glove Award winner (1982-84), three-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1983, 1984, 1990)
Bottom line: Eddie Murray was surrounded by greatness at an early age. He was high school teammates with fellow Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith at Locke High in Los Angeles. Murray then paired with Cal Ripken Jr. on the great Baltimore Orioles teams in the early 1980s.
Eddie Murray played for over two decades and carved out a career as one of the greatest first basemen in history. Murray was one of the more understated superstars in MLB history. He only made eight All-Star teams and never won an MVP.
12. Willie Mays — 3,283 Hits
Born: May 6, 1931 (Westfield, Alabama)
Career: 22 seasons (1951-52, 1954-73)
Teams: New York Mets/San Francisco Giants (1951-52, 1954-72), New York Mets (1972-73)
Position: Center field
Stats: .302 BA, 660 HR, 1,903 RBI, .558 SLG
Career highlights: World Series champion (1954), two-time National League MVP (1954, 1965), National League Rookie of the Year (1951), 12-time Gold Glove Award winner (1957-68), 24-time MLB All-Star (1954-73), MLB All-Century Team
Bottom line: Willie Mays is one of the few baseball players who can claim GOAT status — truly one of the greatest to ever do it.
Mays came out of abject poverty in rural Alabama and was playing professionally in the Negro Leagues by the time he was 16 years old. He was in the majors by the time he was 19 years old with the New York Giants.
Mays still holds the MLB record with 22 extra-inning home runs and is one of just a handful of players to hit over 600 home runs and record 3,000 hits. Even with all that power, he still had a career .302 batting average.
11. Eddie Collins — 3,315 Hits
Born: May 2, 1887 (Millerton, New York)
Died: March 25, 1951 (age 63, Boston, Massachusetts)
Career: 21 seasons (1906-26)
Teams: Philadelphia Athletics (1906-14, 1927-30), Chicago White Sox (1915-26)
Position: Second base
Stats: .333 BA, 47 HR, 1,299 RBI, .429 SLG
Career highlights: Six-time World Series champion (1910, 1911, 1913, 1917, 1929, 1930), American League MVP (1914)
Bottom line: Eddie Collins might be Exhibit A for what the dead ball era did to elite players. He only hit 47 home runs in 21 seasons, which is the least amount of home runs for any player in the 3,000 hit club.
What Collins did better than almost any player in MLB history is win. He's the only non-New York Yankees player to win at least five World Series championships with the same team.
Collins actually won the World Series six times — five with the Philadelphia Athletics and one with the Chicago White Sox.
10. Paul Molitor — 3,319 Hits
Born: Aug. 22, 1956 (Saint Paul, Minnesota)
Career: 21 seasons (1978-98)
Teams: Milwaukee Brewers (1978-92), Toronto Blue Jays (1993-95), Minnesota Twins (1996-98)
Position: Infield/designated hitter
Stats: .306 BA, 234 HR, 1,307 RBI, .448 SLG
Career highlights: World Series champion (1993), World Series MVP (1993), seven-time MLB All-Star (1980, 1985, 1988, 1991-94), four-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1987, 1988, 1993, 1996)
Bottom line: Paul Molitor was a dynamic athlete with a rare combination of speed and hitting ability. He starred for the Milwaukee Brewers for over a decade before winning his only World Series championship in 1993, his first season with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Molitor, who was also the World Series MVP in 1993, was part of one of the greatest second base-shortstop combos in history when he played alongside fellow Hall of Famer Robin Yount on the Brewers. Both players are still in the top 20 for career hits.
9. Carl Yastrzemski — 3,419 Hits
Born: Aug. 22, 1939 (Southampton, New York)
Career: 23 seasons (1961-83)
Teams: Boston Red Sox
Position: Left field/first base
Stats: .285 BA, 452 HR, 1,844 RBI, .462 SLG
Career highlights: American League MVP (1967), Triple Crown (1967), 18-time MLB All-Star (1963, 1965-79, 1982, 1983)
Bottom line: Carl Yastrzemski played all 23 years of his MLB career with the Boston Red Sox but never won a World Series.
"Yaz" was an 18-time All-Star and had his best season in 1967, winning the American League Triple Crown and American League MVP. He's still Boston's career leader in RBIs, runs, hits, singles, doubles, total bases and games played.
Yastrzemski, just 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds, was a phenomenal athlete. He actually went to Notre Dame on a basketball scholarship before making the move to baseball full-time.
8. Honus Wagner — 3,420 Hits
Born: Feb. 24, 1874 (Chartier Borough, Pennsylvania)
Died: Dec. 6, 1955 (age 81, Carnegie, Pennsylvania)
Career: 21 seasons (1897-1917)
Teams: Louisville Colonels (1897-99), Pittsburgh Pirates (1900-17)
Stats: .329 BA, 101 HR, 1,732 RBI, .467 SLG
Career highlights: World Series champion (1909), MLB All-Century Team
Bottom line: Honus Wagner was known as "The Flying Dutchman" and led the National League in stolen bases five times and RBIs five times.
Wagner also won eight batting titles while playing almost his entire career for the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he won his lone World Series title in 1909.
Wagner's legacy today isn't so much about his playing career but the infamous Honus Wagner T206 baseball card. Only 57 were made, and in 2016, a PSA-5 grade T206 sold for $3.2 million, breaking its own record for the most expensive baseball card ever sold.
7. Cap Anson — 3,435 Hits
Born: April 17, 1852 (Marshalltown, Iowa)
Died: April 14, 1922 (age 69, Chicago, Illinois)
Career: 26 seasons (1872-97)
Teams: Philadelphia Athletics (1872-75), Chicago White Stockings (1876-97)
Position: First base
Stats: .334 BA, 97 HR, 2,075 RBI, .447 SLG
Career highlights: Six-time National League pennant (1876, 1880-82,1885-86)
Bottom line: Cap Anson was one of MLB's first stars and also was one of the most racist professional athletes in history.
Anson refused to play with or against Black players during his career and fought for segregation in baseball throughout his career.
In a long line of MLB villains, Anson might be the worst.
6. Derek Jeter — 3,465 Hits
Born: June 26, 1974 (Pequannock Township, New Jersey)
Career: 20 seasons (1995-2014)
Team: New York Yankees
Stats: .310 BA, 260 HR, 1,311 RBI, .440 SLG
Career highlights: Five-time World Series champion (1996, 1998-2000, 2009), World Series MVP (2000), AL Rookie of the Year (1996), 14-time MLB All-Star (1998-2002, 2004, 2006-12, 2014), AL Rookie of the Year (1996), five-time Gold Glove Award winner (2004-06, 2009-10), five-time Silver Slugger Award winner (2006-09, 2012)
Bottom line: Derek Jeter played all 20 seasons of his MLB career with the New York Yankees and is one of the most beloved players in MLB history.
Jeter, who won five World Series championships, also won five Silver Slugger Awards during his career and five Gold Glove Awards as well. Jeter's penchant for clutch hitting and clutch plays in the field may be unrivaled in the history of the game.
Jeter and Bruce Sherman purchased controlling shares of the Miami Marlins in 2017, and Jeter was put in charge of day-to-day operations as the franchise's CEO.
5. Tris Speaker — 3,514 Hits
Born: April 4, 1888 (Hubbard, Texas)
Died: Dec. 8, 1958 (age 70, Whitney, Texas)
Career: 22 seasons (1907-28)
Teams: Boston Americans/Red Sox (1907-15), Cleveland Indians (1916-26), Washington Senators (1927), Philadelphia Athletics (1928)
Position: Center field
Stats: .345 BA, 117 HR, 1,531 RBI, .500 SLG
Career highlights: Three-time World Series champion (1912, 1915, 1920), American League MVP (1912), MLB All-Century Team
Bottom line: Almost 100 years after his final MLB season, Tris Speaker still holds MLB records for doubles (792) and outfield assists, double plays and unassisted double plays by an outfielder.
At 5-foot-11 and 193 pounds, he was exceptionally well-built for his era, and it makes you wonder how he might have fared in today's MLB. We think his skill set would have made him an All-Star.
Speaker, like many of the players from his era, has a complicated legacy. Was he the villain some people have accused him of being, or was he someone who tried to help MLB change for the better?
4. Stan Musial — 3,630 Hits
Born: Nov. 1, 1920 (Donora, Pennsylvania)
Died: Jan. 19, 2013 (age 92, Ladue, Missouri)
Career: 22 seasons (1941-44, 1946-63)
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals
Position: Outfield/first base
Stats: .331 BA, 475 HR, 1,951 RBI, .559 SLG
Career highlights: Three-time World Series champion (1942, 1944, 1946), three-time National League MVP (1943, 1946, 1948), 24-time MLB All-Star (1943, 1944, 1946-63), MLB All-Century Team
Bottom line: Stan Musial led the St. Louis Cardinals to three World Series titles and was a three-time National League MVP. He was also one of the greatest left-handed hitters of all time.
Musial was elected to the All-Star team an MLB-record 24 times, named to the MLB All-Century Team in 1999 and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
In an interesting twist, 49 years to the day after Musial was born, on Nov. 1, 1969, Ken Griffey Jr. was born in the same hospital as Musial in Donora, Pennsylvania — meaning two of the greatest left-handed hitters in MLB history were born on the same day in the same hospital.
3. Henry Aaron — 3,771 Hits
Born: Feb. 5, 1934 (Mobile, Alabama)
Died: Jan. 22, 2021 (age 86, Atlanta, Georgia)
Career: 23 seasons (1954-76)
Teams: Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves (1954-74), Milwaukee Brewers (1975-76)
Position: Right field
Stats: .305 BA, 755 HR, 2,297 RBI, .555 SLG
Career highlights: World Series champion (1957), National League MVP (1957), 25-time MLB All-Star (1955-75), three-time Gold Glove Award winner (1958-60), MLB All-Century Team
Bottom line: Hank Aaron is still the MLB career leader in RBI and extra-base hits, and he's closing in on 50 years since his career ended.
Aaron broke one of the most hallowed records in sports when he became the MLB career leader for home runs in 1974, and his 755 career home runs stood as the record until Barry Bonds broke it in 2007. Consistency was Aaron's strength, and he averaged 32 home runs and 99 RBI for 23 seasons.
Aaron died in Jan. 2021, at 86 years old.
2. Ty Cobb — 4,189 Hits
Born: Dec. 18, 1886 (Narrows, Georgia)
Died: July 17, 1961 (age 74, Atlanta, Georgia)
Career: 27 seasons (1902-28)
Teams: Detroit Tigers (1902-26), Philadelphia Athletics (1927-28)
Position: Center Field
Stats: .366 BA, 117 HR, 1,944 RBI, .512 SLG
Career highlights: American League MVP (1911), Triple Crown (1909), MLB All-Century Team
Bottom line: Ty Cobb is one of the legendary figures in all of sports history — a 12-time American League batting champion who also led the AL in stolen bases six times, RBI four times, and still holds the MLB record for career batting average at .366.
What Cobb's legacy doesn't include is a World Series championship. But it did include a heaping of tragedy. He was 18 years old when he played his first game in the majors, which also came three weeks after his mother murdered his father.
1. Pete Rose — 4,256 Hits
Born: April 14, 1941 (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Career: 24 seasons (1963-86)
Teams: Cincinnati Reds (1963-78, 1984-86), Philadelphia Phillies (1979-83), Montreal Expos (1984)
Stats: .330 BA, 160 HR, 1,314 RBI, .409 SLG
Career highlights: Three-time World Series champion (1975,1976,1980), National League MVP (1973), World Series MVP (1975), NL Rookie of the Year (1963), 17-time MLB All-Star (1965, 1967-71, 1973-83, 1985), two-time Gold Glove Award winner (1969, 1970), Silver Slugger Award (1981), MLB All-Century Team
Bottom line: Pete Rose may never make the Hall of Fame after being banned permanently from the game for betting on his own team, but his records can never be taken away from him.
Rose, who has been retired for 35 years, still holds MLB career records for hits, singles, games played, at-bats and plate appearances.
Rose also was a winner. He won back-to-back World Series championships with the Reds in 1975 and 1976, then again with the Phillies in 1980.
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