There have been generations of great players in Major League Baseball. Since the league’s official inception around 1869, there have been many different eras and changes to the game. It is difficult to place each great player against each other, but here is the CHEAP SEATS take on the greatest players, by position, the game has ever produced. (All stats are current of June 1, 2010 & scoring rubric is below)

**First Base**

First base is one the most star-studded positions in the history of the game. Many of the greatest overall hitters in the history of the game have manned the position. So many in fact that an equally impressive list of player who didn’t make this list could be assembled. Ideally a complete first baseman is quick on his feet and protects his side of the field in addition to being a constant power source, but in many cases it is a spot to put lesser athletes while keeping their considerable bats in the lineup. Such as a catcher, there are a variety of talents here that scale every type of player to man the position. Below are mixture of American icons from the legendary Murderer’s Row of the 1920’s, to a current legend that is quickly climbing the ranks of his legendary peers with each game.

An American icon, Gehrig was the first player in history to have his number retired.

1. Lou Gehrig: New York Yankees (1923-1939): 71 points

–          .340 Avg. 493 HR, 1995 RBI, .447 OBP, 2721 Hits, 1888 Runs, 102 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 6 World Series, 2 MVPs, 0 ROY, 1 Batting Title, 1 Triple Crown, 3 Home Run Titles, 7 All-Star Games

Known as the “Iron Horse” for his consecutive games played streak of 2130 games which stood for 56 years. He produced three of the top 6 runs batted in seasons ever and his 23 Grand Slams are still a Major League record. His diagnosis of a debilitating nerve disease and subsequent retirement speech is one of the iconic moments in American history.

2. Jimmie Foxx: Philadelphia A’s/Boston Red Sox (1925-1945): 70 points

–          .325 Avg. 534 HR, 1922 RBI, .428 OBP, 2646 Hits, 1751 Runs, 87 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 3 MVPs, 0 ROY, 1 Batting Titles, 1 Triple Crown, 3 Home Run Titles, 9 All-Star Games

Second player to ever hit 500 home runs and is the second youngest to ever reach the mark. His three MVP awards are the second most of all-time.

3. Eddie Murray: Baltimore Orioles (1977-1997): 53 points

–          .287 Avg. 504 HR, 1917 RBI, .359 OBP, 3255 Hits, 1627 Runs, 110 SB

–          3 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 MVP, 1 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 1 Home Run Title, 8 All-Star Games

A switch hitter, he hit home runs from both sides of the plate 11 times, a Major League record. One of only four players to have both 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.

4. Frank Thomas: Chicago White Sox (1990-2008): 49.5 points

–          .301 Avg. 521 HR, 1704 RBI, .419 OBP, 2468 Hits, 1494 Runs, 32 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 2 MVP, 0 ROY, 1 Batting Title, 0 Triple Crown, 0 Home Run Titles, 5 All-Star Games

One of the most balanced hitters in the history of the game, “The Big Hurt” is one of only four players to have a .300 batting average, 500 home runs, 1500 runs batted in, 1000 runs scored and 1500 walks in his career.

5. Albert Pujols: St. Louis Cardinals (2001-Present): 48.5 points

–          .333 Avg. 378 HR, 1151 RBI, .427 OBP, 1780 Hits, 1103 Runs, 66 SB

–          2 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 3 MVPs, 1 ROY, 1 Batting Title, 0 Triple Crown, 0 Home Run Titles, 8 All-Star Games

In only his tenth season, Pujols has had an incredible start to his career. Already a three-time MVP, he is the second player to have nine consecutive seasons with a .300 batting average, 30 home runs, 30 doubles and 100 RBI, with Lou Gehrig.

The best in the game now is quickly rising amongst the greatest to ever play.

6. Rafael Palmeiro: Texas Rangers (1986-2005): 47.5 points

–          .288 Avg. 569 HR, 1835 RBI, .371 OBP, 3020 Hits, 1663 Runs, 96 SB

–          3 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 0 MVPs, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crowns, 0 Home Run Titles, 4 All-Star Games

One of the four players to ever hit both 500 home runs and 3,000 hits. He has the highest career home run total for a player to never lead a League in the category.

7. Harmon Killebrew: Minnesota Twins (1954-1975): 47 points

–          .256 Avg. 573 HR, 1584 RBI, .376 OBP, 2086 Hits, 1283 Runs, 19 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 1 MVPs, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crowns, 5 Home Run Titles, 11 All-Star Games

One the most powerful hitters of all-time, “Killer” set the distance mark for homers in several stadiums. He hit 40 home runs 6 times in his career and led the American League in the statistic six times and RBI’s three times.

8. Mark McGwire: Oakland A’s/St. Louis Cardinals (1986-2001): 46 points

–          .263 Avg. 583 HR, 1414 RBI, .394 OBP, 1626 Hits, 1167 Runs, 12 SB

–          1 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 MVPs, 1 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crowns, 4 Home Run Titles, 12 All-Star Games

Hit a home run once every 10.81 at bats, the best ratio in Major League history. His 73 home run mark in 1998 broke Roger Maris’ 37 year record of 61. Holds the record for most home runs by a rookie with 49. Hit 50 home runs four consecutive years from 1996 to 1999.

9. George Sisler: St. Louis Browns (1915-1930): 45 points

–          .340 Avg. 102 HR, 1175 RBI, .379 OBP, 2812 Hits, 1284 Runs, 375 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 1 MVP, 0 ROY, 2 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crowns, 0 Home Run Titles, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 9 awarded)

His 257 hits in 1920 stood as a single season record for 84 years. Led the National League in stolen bases four times and had a 41 game hitting streak in 1922.

Sisler's hits record stood for 84 years until Ichiro Suzuki broke it in 2004.

10. Johnny Mize: St. Louis Cardinals (1936-1953): 43.5 points

–          .312 Avg. 359 HR, 1337 RBI, .397 OBP, 2011 Hits, 1118 Runs, 28 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 5 World Series, 0 MVP, O ROY, 1 Battling Title, 0 Triple Crown, 2 Home Run Titles, 10 All-Star Games

Holds the major league record for most games with three home runs, with six.

Close runners-up: Hank Greenberg, Willie Stargell, Willie McCovey

Batters Study Rubric

Batting Average– .350 & above (10 pts), .349 to .330 (9 pts), .329 to .320 (8pts), .319 to .310 (7 pts), .309 to .300 (6 pts), .299 to 290 (5 pts), .289 to .280 (4pts), .279 to 270 (3 pts), .269 & below (2 pts)

Home Runs– 600 & above (10 pts), 599 to 550 (9 pts), 549 to 500 (8 pts), 499 to 450 (7 pts), 449 to 400 (6 pts), 399 to 350 (5 pts), 349 to 300 (4 pts), 299 to 250 (3 pts), 249 & below (2 pts)

Runs Batted In– 1900 & above (10 pts), 1899 to 1800 (9 pts), 1799 to 1700 (8 pts), 1699 to 1600 (7 pts), 1599 to 1500 (6 pts), 1499 to 1350 (5 pts), 1349 to 1200 (4 pts), 1199 to 1050 (3 pts), 1040 & below (2 pts)

On Base Percentage– .470 & above (10 pts), .469 to .450 (9 pts), .449 to .430 (8 pts), .429 to .410 (7 pts), .409 to .390 (6 pts), .389 to .370 (5 pts), .369 to .340 (4 pts), .339 to .320 (3 pts), .319 & below (2 pts)

Hits– 4000 & above (10 pts), 3999 to 3600 (9 pts), 3599 to 3300 (8 pts), 3299 to 3000 (7 pts), 2999 to 2700 (6 pts), 2699 to 2400 (5 pts), 2399 to 2100 (4 pts), 2099 to 2070 (3 pts), 2069 & below (2 pts)

Runs– 2100 & above (10 pts), 2099 to 2000 (9 pts), 1999 to 1900 (8 pts), 1899 to 1800 (7 pts), 1799 to 1700 (6 pts), 1699 to 1600 (5 pts), 1599 to 1500 (4 pts), 1499 to 1400 (3 pts), 1399 & below (2 pts)

Stolen Bases– 1,000 & above (10 pts), 999 to 850 (9 pts), 849 to 700 (8 pts), 699 to 550 (7 pts), 549 to 450 (6 pts), 449 to 300 (5 pts), 299 to 150 (4 pts), 149 to 50 (3 pts), 49 & below (2 pts)

Accolades

Gold Glove Awards: .5 point

World Series Championships: .5 points

Most Valuable Player Awards: 2 points

Rookie of the Year Awards: 1 point

Batting Titles: 1 point

Triple Crowns: 3 points

Home Run Champion: 1 point

*All-Star Appearances: 1 point

*Presumptive All-Star points are given to a player whose careers either proceeded or largely was played before the All-Star Game began in 1933. Formulated as 60% x the total number of years played.

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