Today’s post is the 3rd in a series of 9 focusing on the greatest baseball players of all time. This installment centers on first basemen.
1. Lou Gehrig – 1923-1939 (NYY) Before ALS claimed the life of the greatest first baseman ever, the Iron Horse nearly hit 500 home runs, including 23 grand slams, which is still a Major League record. Lou also holds the record for most career RBIs by a first baseman with 1,995. He was a 6 time World Series champion and an all-star in 7 consecutive seasons. Gehrig was unanimously elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.
2. Jimmie Foxx – 1925-1945 (PHI, BOS, CHC, PHI) Foxx had ‘…muscles in his hair,’ according to former Yankee pitcher Lefty Gomez. Jimmie won the triple crown (leader in average, home runs and RBI) in 1933 and was named the AL MVP. He was a 9 time all-star and blasted over 530 home runs. Jimmie finished his career with a .325 average and 1,922 RBIs. Foxx was voted into the Hall in 1951.
3. Harmon Killebrew – 1954-1975 (WSH/MIN, KC) Killebrew is known not just for his 573 homers, but for how far he hit them. He holds the record for the longest shots at the old stadiums in Minnesota and Baltimore and accounted for 25% of the balls which exited Tiger Stadium over the left field roof. Harmon was an 11 time all-star and an MVP. Killebrew has been a member of the Hall of Fame since 1984.
4. Cap Anson – 1871-1897 (RF, PHI, CHW) Anson was the first player to ever tally 3,000 hits, finishing his career with 3,418. Although he only hit 97 home runs, he was the first player to hit 3 consecutive home runs, record 4 doubles in a game, score 6 runs in a game and perform 2 unassisted double plays in a game. Anson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.
5. George Sisler – 1915-1930 (STL, WSH, BOS) Sisler’s record of 257 hits in a season stood for 84 years until 2004 when Ichiro broke it by 5. Sisler did end up with over 2,800 hits and a .340 average in his lifetime though. George led the league in stolen bases 4 times. He was also a 2 time batting champion and was the MVP of the American League in 1922. Sisler is a member of the 1939 Hall of Fame class.
6. Mark McGwire – 1986-2001 (OAK, STL) McGwire has unfortunately been labled as a ‘steroid player.’ He was the first player to hit 70 dingers in a season, achieveing the task in 1998. He ended his career with 583. Big Mac hold the record for lowest at bats per home run ratio ever at 10.61. He has won 3 Silver Slugger Awards and is a 12 time all-star. His 49 rookie season home runs are also a record.
7. Eddie Murray – 1977-1997 (BAL, LAD, NYM, CLE, BAL, ANA, LAD) Murray is regarded as one of the best power hitting switch hitters in history. He ended his career as an 8 time all-star with 504 home runs. In addition, he won 3 consecutive Gold Gloves. Eddie is one of four players who have 3,000 hits and 500 home runs along with Aaron, Mays and Palmeiro. Murray was voted into the Hall in 2003.
8. Willie Stargell – 1962-1982 (PIT) Stargell played 21 seasons in the majors and accounted for 2,232 hits, including 423 doubles and 475 home runs. He also had 1,540 ribbies and has 2 World Series rings along with a World Series MVP trophy. He warmed up using a sledgehammer instead of the conventional lead weight. Willie was a 7 time all-star. Pops was enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988.
9. Albert Pujols – 2001-present (STL) Pujols is the youngest player to reach 300 home runs and already ranks 115th all time. He is likely to be in the top 100 by the end of the season. He has been on the all-star team every year of his career except 2002. Phat Albert has 921 RBIs and his .619 slugging percentage is first among active players. Pujols has won a Silver Slugger at 3 different positions (1B, 3B, LF).
10. Hank Grenberg – 1930-1947 (DET, PIT) Greenberg was one of the first Jewish superstars in pro sports. In 1934, he drew national attention when he refused to play on Yom Kippur. Hank missed 3 full seasons and parts of 2 others due to serving in WWII. However, he had 331 home runs and 1,276 RBIs in just 1,394 games. Many believe he would have 500 home runs and 1,800 ribbies if his career wasn’t shortened. Greenberg was inducted into the Hall in 1956.
And the Chuck Norris joke is…
Chuck Norris is the reason Waldo is hiding.
Second basemen are next, don’t miss it!