Baseball is a simple game that requires you to focus on the moment. If you can hit it, run, and catch, then you have a chance to experience greatness in this sport.
History teaches us that most professionals can do two out of the three requirements well. Hitting is an art form that a rare handful of players were able to achieve greatness in during their careers. Here is a list of the best.
#1. Babe Ruth
The 59 home runs that he hit in 1921 are still called one of the greatest seasons ever by a player in baseball history. His career batting average was .342, his offensive WAR is a crazy 164.6, and he even finished up with 136 triples.
#2. Ty Cobb
Cobb led baseball as the best hitter in the league for 11 seasons. It used to be 12, except for an error found during the 1910 campaign decades later. He even led in home runs for a season. His 4,189 hits were considered an unbreakable record for decades, helping him to receive 98.2% of the vote during the inaugural election for the Hall of Fame.
#3. Ted Williams
Williams is the last hitter to eclipse the .400 mark for a batting average in the season. He also led the league in walks and on-base percentage when he was playing. Let’s not forget that he hit 521 home runs over the course of his career. What’s scary is that his stats would have been even better if he hadn’t gone off to serve in World War II.
#4. Pete Rose
Because of his betting on baseball, Rose doesn’t usually get included on lists like this. He deserves to be here though. With 4,256 hits, more than 2,000 runs, and over 3,500 games played, this 17-time all-star won three World Series titles, was a three-time batting champion, and made it to the plate almost 16,000 times. The 44-game hitting streak he had is third all-time behind DiMaggio’s 56 and Willie Keeler’s 45.
#5. Mickey Mantle
Although Mantle’s batting statistics aren’t above .300 for his career, he did finish with 536 home runs and more than 1,500 RBIs as a switch-hitter, which was unheard of during his era. He won the Triple Crown in 1956, frequently led in home runs and runs, and was still hitting for power during the final season of his career. He also won three MVP awards.
#6. Rogers Hornsby
Only Nap Lajoie, who played for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1901, had a higher batting average (.426) than Hornsby (.424) in the 20th century. He had back to back .400 seasons in 1924-1925. Because his team wasn’t “championship caliber,” writers left him off the MVP ballot that year. His .358 batting average is still the second-best of all time.
Other hitters, like Shoeless Joe, Lefty O’Doul, Ed Delahanty, and Tris Speaker all had high career batting averages which could include them on this list. Even George Sisler, who batted .340 and had two .400 seasons, could be here. Which names do you feel that we left out?