Greetings all. Last week I discussed movies, and though it is one of my favorite topics to discuss, I am going to try not to repeat the general topics from week to week. So this week I will be discussing sports and since the greatest sport in the history of creation is baseball, that will be the sport from which this week's top ten list is derived. So without further delay:
Top Ten Greatest Baseball Position Players of All Time (Pitchers Not Included):
10. Mickey Mantle. On top of his natural skill, Mickey Mantle was one of the greatest athletes in major league history as well. He was a switch hitter that completely mashed from both sides of the plate and also hit for average. He hit over 500 homers, won three MVPs and holds like a million world series records. The sucky part about the whole thing, if you are a "glass is half empty type of person," is that he played his entire career on bad knees. He had structural damage in his cartilage or something, but he was always hurt. People often speculate what his career numbers would have looked like if he had been healthy.
9. Alex Rodriguez. When his career is done, we may say he is the greatest. It's pretty rediculous what he has done (and how much he is getting paid to do it for that matter) at such a young age. If you don't know about him then you probably have not had a tv or something for like the last ten years. But that's cool. No judgement.
8. Joe DiMaggio. DiMaggio was the center fielder for the yankees right before Mantle got there and was a savage on both offense and defense. He also holds one of the most ridiculous records in all of sports. He hit safely in fifty six straight games. Most guys don't even play in fifty six straight games. Plus he married Marilyn Monroe.
7. Ty Cobb. From what I've heard, this guy was kind of an asshole. He was racist and a dirty player. But he could swing the stick with the best of them, and that is what we are talking about on this list. He set about ten million records until the "modern era" of baseball came to be. But he still holds the record for career batting average, .366, and is one of only two players to ever hit four thousand hits.
6. Honus Wagner. He and Cobb are considered the best players to play before the "modern era," and Wagner is widely considered the best shortstop of all time. They called him the Flying Dutchman because he was from Germany and his speed was insane.
5. Barry Bonds. Say what you will but this guy can seriously hit. I'm not even a Giants fan and I still respect his abilities regardless of whatever extra help he allegedly used. I'm not going to take a particular stance on the steroid issue in this post today but I will say that Barry Bonds may have very well been the greatest baseball player any of us will ever see. The man could just flat out hit.
4. Henry Aaron. Hammerin Hank, as they called him, is a model of consistency. He held the home run record for 33 years but did not do so like Barry Bonds by hitting 70 bombs out of nowhere. He consistently hit his forty home runs or so every year his entire career. I was watching a special on him one time and someone said that they never considered him to be a great power hitter, just a great hitter and then all of the sudden he was chasing the record. He was a quiet superstar that came out and did his job. He also still holds the records for most RBIs. And he did all of that over extreme pressure because nobody wanted him to break Ruth's record.
3. Ted Williams. Boston fans will tell you that Ted Williams, also known as the Splendid Splinter, was the greatest hitter that ever lived. And if they are wrong, they are not wrong by much. For starters, Williams was the last person to hit for a .400 average at .406 and that was before they didn't count sacrifice flies. So he really should have had a better average. He is of course a member of the illustrious 500 home run club and he achieved that despite missing two of his prime years for service in WWII. He also hit the triple crown three times. Unbelievable. And he hit a homer in his very last at bat.
2. Willie Mays. The Say Hey Kid was incredible. If there was one player that I wish I could travel back in time to watch him play, it would be Willie Mays. Mays was the essential five tool talent. He could hit, hit for power, defend, run, and had a cannon of an arm. Until Barry Bonds came along, he was one of three people to ever hit 600 home runs with 660. And the thing that I think is probably the most ridiculous of all his achievements is the fact that he appeared in a record 24 all star games. Only one other player did that. Most don't even come close to playing that long. He is amazing.
1. Babe Ruth. Ruth's fame was bigger than his baseball stature and has now become legendary. Ruth started his major league career as a pitcher and was quite successful. Many experts suspect that if he had finished his career as a pitcher he would have made it to the hall of fame from the mound. But he hit so many damn home runs that they had move him to right field so he could hit every day. Before Ruth came about and became the godly baseball player he is, the record for hitting home runs was 138. Ruth hit 714. There are so many stories about him that he has become a baseball legend. Even now his numbers are hard to contemplate. Once in a game, he pointed to the center field wall while he was at the plate indicating where he was going to hit the ball. The next pitch sailed into the stands where he was pointing.
Just Missed the List:
Roberto Clemente. Arguably the best defensive right fielder ever, he had a complete cannon. He was also a pretty good hitter, making it to the elite 3000 hit club with exactly 3000 hits. He was tragically killed shortly after in a plain crash ending his incredible career prematurely.
Ken Griffey Jr. Oh how it would have been if not for the injuries. He was on pace to break all the records before the injuries plagued the latter days of his career, and still do for that matter. And he won ten gold gloves in center field, so he wasn't just an offensive juggernaut.