With baseball still stuck in a lockout, we haven’t had the chance to put new baseball content out much over the last few months. I mean who would want to talk about baseball when the most played sports video game last year was MLB the Show and the polarizing figure it all of sports is Shohei Ohtani right? Right! I’m convinced that no one hates baseball more than commissioner Rob Manfred and all of those rich losers in charge of these teams. They are killing the game right as it is revitalizing itself. Now I could sit here and write a one million word article about why these pieces of garbage in charge of Major League Baseball are a waste of breath, but that will be for another day. Let’s take a turn and focus on something positive. This article will detail the five greatest hitters to ever walk the planet. From all eras, from all backgrounds, from all play styles, these guys are the greatest. Let’s get into this.
5. Barry Bonds
The very controversial Barry Bonds will start our list off here at #5. Bonds may have the greatest hitter resume ever from a statistical standpoint. The legendary Bonds is a seven time MVP, twelve time silver slugger, fourteen time all star, and won two batting titles. In all honesty, there is no one who has ever matched that resume in the history of baseball. The problem? His link to performance enhancing substances. It kept it out of the Hall of Fame (AKA the Hall of Writer Bias at this point) and left a stain on his legacy that will never fully be cleaned.
The simple fact of the matter is that a discussion about the greatest hitters ever needs to include Bonds, whether you like him or not. No one will ever put up the numbers that Bonds did. He posted four straight seasons of an on base percentage above .500, one was .609! He hit 73 home runs in a season and 762 for his career, both records that still stand. With a career as legendary as this, Bonds needed to be on the list, even with his link to steroids making his role in baseball history a foggy and controversial one.
4. Willie Mays
There may never be a two way player that finds as much success as Willie Mays. He is one of the best defenders ever, but his bat was also electric. You have to dominate every facet of the game to put up a 156.1 career WAR like Mays did. That is fifth all time among all MLB players ever. Mays was a 24 time all star, a two time MVP, and won a batting title in his illustrious career. After returning from a year of military service, the heroic Mays began his prime. He won MVP in his first season back and posted averages of .300 in 11 of his next 13 seasons, and 90 RBIs in 12 of his next 13 seasons.
His run of dominance was one of the best in baseball history, and he did it all while winning 12 Gold Glove awards in center field. I know defense doesn’t matter for this list, but it is worth noting for Mays because of how amazing he truly was on both sides of the game. Mays retired in 1973 with 3293 hits, 660 home runs, 1909 RBIs, and a career batting average over .300. What a career for Mays, he earned his spot on this list.
3. Babe Ruth
I know what you are thinking. “What! Babe Ruth at three! You kids don’t know true greatness!” Yeah yeah, I’ve heard it before. I understand it. I simply believe that there are two hitters that had better careers in the batter’s box than The Babe. There has never been a more influential player, that is for certain, but the two guys above him were just simply more talented with the bat. Ruth is the face of baseball, the greatest to ever live. These two guys we’ll mention later outdid him at the plate though. Anyways, The Great Bambino won an MVP and batting title on his way to seven world series championships. Ruth posted 130 RBI seasons a whopping ten times. Yeah. Wow. Advanced stats nerds will tell you that it doesn’t matter, but it does. Tell them to be quiet.
He posted on base percentages above .500 in five seasons, and came very close a few other times as well. His 714 career home runs was the record until a player higher on this list broke it, and his RBI total was also the record until this player broke it as well. There will be another player that has the same celebrity status and impact on the game of baseball as Ruth. The numbers cement him as one of the game’s greatest hitters. His .342 career batting average, .474 career on base percentage, 1,164 career OPS, 714 home runs, and 2214 RBIs are absurd. The Babe has earned his folk hero status, so these two guys above him had to have some unbelievable hitting skills to top him.
2. Hank Aaron
Hank Aaron is a player of unmatched career longevity and career statistics and undeniably one of the greatest hitters. He posted sixteen seasons of 90 RBIs, fourteen seasons of a batting average above .300, eleven seasons of 35+ home runs, and won an MVP, batting title, and World Series. If you want to put Hammerin’ Hank’s career longevity into perspective: he was a 25 time all star. Yes you read that right. Aaron’s consistent play through his career helped him move past Babe Ruth in career home runs and RBIs, records that people thought would never be broken.
The beauty of Aaron’s game was his unbelievable prime, and how long it lasted. Hank Aaron is a legend who dethroned the Great Bambino. He was a Braves legend, and his death in January 2021 was tragic, but he is clearly still with us in some way as the Braves powered through an up and down season and won the 2021 World Series to honor him. It was a beautiful story to watch play out, and Hank was right there with them. His legendary career will never be forgotten, and he lands himself at #2 all time on this list.
1. Ted Williams
Ted Williams has a special place in my heart, and I will die on the hill of him being the greatest hitter that the game has ever witnessed. He burst onto the scene with 31 home runs and 145 RBIs as a rookie, while posting a .327 batting average and .436 on base percentage. He continued an amazing run of success all the way through his fourth season. Then World War II hit the United States. The brave Ted Williams went to fight in the middle of his prime. He missed three full seasons serving in the U.S. military. This sacrifice cannot go understated, because a lot of people knock Williams when discussing the greatest hitters ever because he is slightly behind in career statistics. People gloss over the fact that he spent three seasons serving his country in the middle of his prime, and still put up absurd career stats, and even more absurd seasonal stats throughout his illustrious career. Williams was a two time MVP, and won an amazing two triple crowns.
He was able to win an outstanding six batting titles, and was an all star on nineteen different occasions. He posted nine seasons with 110+ RBIs, an unreal 14 seasons with a batting average above .325, and 16 seasons above a .450 on base percentage. That is simply unbelievable. His skill set as a hitter is simply unmatched. No one can ever change my mind and I strongly urge you to do some extensive research if you disagree. In his career, Ted Williams had a career batting average of .342, a career on base percentage of .482 (wow), 521 home runs, and 1839 RBIs, all while missing three key seasons bravely serving our country in World War II. In “Teddy Ballgame”’s final game, he crushed a home run. A perfect send off for the best hitter of all time.