Baseball is a unique game. A player who fails seven out of ten times is considered one of the best. Many players have hit .300 over a week, month, even a season. However, only the best are able to do it over the long haul. Here are the best five hitters in modern baseball history. Those guys are all retired now, however if you still want to bet on some other players you can using our Pointsbet Promo Code.
5. Albert Pujols
Albert Pujols came into this world on January 16, 1980. Born in the Dominican Republic, Pujols has quickly risen to legendary status during his nine year career with the St. Louis Cardinals. In his first big league season, “El Hombre” hit a lofty .329 with 37 dingers and a mind-boggling 130 RBI en route to winning the 2001 Rookie of the Year Award. Pujols has continued his torrid pace year after year. He has hit over .310 in each of his nine years in the big leagues, hitting over .330 five times and over .350 twice. His power numbers have been some of the most consistent of the decade. He has not finished with fewer than 32 home runs in any season. Add that to the fact that Albert has had more walks than strikeouts in every season except for his rookie campaign and it is easy to see why he is the most complete hitter of his era and the one of the top five hitters in baseball history.
4. Tony Gwynn
Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 3rd round of the 1981 draft, Tony Gwynn was a model of consistency over his twenty year career. Gwynn hit over .300 nineteen times. The left-handed hitting outfielder managed to do this by peppering the 5.5 hole with base hit after base hit. The fact that Gwynn was able to wait so long before swinging only strengthened his uncanny ability to make contact. He hit over .350 seven times. This does not tell the whole story however. Over those seven seasons, Gwynn collectively struck out 156 times. Ryan Howard struck out 199 times last year. Gwynn’s ability to make contact was unique. In spite of his power numbers, Tony Gwynn is easily one of the best five hitters of all-time considering the power-happy era in which he played.
3. Babe Ruth
The Bambino. The Sultan of Swat. The Babe. Baltimore’s own, George Herman Ruth, made his Major League debut on July 11, 1914 for the Boston Red Sox. The lore of the Babe grew exponentially when he was dealt to the New York Yankees in 1920. That was the year in which Ruth hit 54 home runs. After his first year in the Bronx, Ruth only continued to gain notoriety. In a power-starved era, he hit over 40 homers in eleven different seasons. Ruth’s 714 career home run mark does not tell the whole story of his ability as a hitter. The man was an on-base machine before on-base percentage became such a highly regarded statistic. Ruth had five seasons in which he finished with an on-base percentage of higher than .510. His career batting average was .342, good for 10th all-time. When taking all of the Babe’s numbers into account, it is clear as to why he is considered one of the greatest hitters of all-time.
2. Pete Rose
Charlie Hustle made his debut with the Reds in April of 1963. Cincinnati had no clue what they had on their hands when they inked this spark plug to a contract in 1960. Pete Rose hit over .300 in fifteen of his twenty-four big league seasons. While this may not seem as incredible as Gwynn’s accomplishments, Rose is “The Hit King.” The switch hitter was able to amass an unthinkable 4256 hits, which allowed him to eclipse the once seemingly untouchable total of 4189 by Ty Cobb. Pete Rose was able to do this by totaling over 200 hits in ten separate seasons. Rose is also known for his run at Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak of fifty-six games. In spite of the fact that Pete truly thought he was destined to break the record, his streak of forty-four games with a hit came to an end at the hands of Gene Garber and his devastating change-up. Although Rose was upset after being unable to extend it, his streak tied the National League record of consecutive games with a hit which was held by Willie Keeler. Rose’s collective achievements clearly make him one of the greatest hitters of all-time.
1. Ted Williams
Born on August 30, 1918, the Splendid Splinter was known for his powerful left-handed stroke and keen eye. In his first major league season at age twenty, Williams had 31 home runs and 145 RBI. He was the first rookie ever to lead the league in RBI. It was clear to everyone that Ted was going to be something special because of his unique abilities and his obsession with hitting. After just three years in the big leagues, Williams hit .406. He is the last person to achieve this feat. After winning the Triple Crown by batting a whopping .356 with 36 home runs and 137 RBI in 1942, Ted Williams went off to fight World War II. Three years later, he returned to play for Boston and continued right where he left off. In 1946, he hit .343 with 38 home runs, 123 RBI, and an on-base percentage of .497. Ted Williams retired at age 41 even though he had hit .316 during the 1960 campaign. Had Williams not lost three years to World War II and most of the 1952 and 1953 seasons to the Korean War, it is widely believed that he would have toppled Babe Ruth’s career mark of 714 home runs. Williams’ career batting average of .344 is good for eighth best all-time. He won the Triple Crown twice in his career. In spite of what the numbers could have been, Williams’ achievements are more than enough to earn him the nod as the greatest hitter of all time.
*statistics obtained through http://www.baseball-reference.com/