Talking about the lockout is just depressing at this point. As the march toward the regular season continues to move at a snail’s pace, let’s look back on 10 of the coolest mashers in baseball history.
10. Harmon Killebrew
“The Killer” is 12th all-time on the home run list and was the lifeblood of the Minnesota Twins’ offense for two decades. Over his career he made 13 all-star appearances, was a 6 time AL home run leader and made an incredible 1969 AL MVP campaign as he mashed 49 homers and 140 RBI.
He’s easily the greatest player in Twins history and was known as a humble and quiet guy off the field.
9. Jimmie Foxx
He’s 19th on the all-time home run leader board and Jimmie Foxx, AKA “Double X” or just “The Beast” raked with an extraordinary swagger.
He played from 1925-1945, and in that time accrued 534 total homers, 3 AL MVP awards, a lifetime .325 batting average, won 2 world series and made 9 all-star appearances.
His 2nd MVP campaign in 1933 was a season to remember. Foxx hit .356 with 48 homers and 163 RBI, and that was actually a slight downgrade from his 1932 performance!
He wore short sleeves to show off his muscles, and the way he knocked the ball out of Shibe Park, it’s easy to tell why.
8. Willie Stargell
Willie Stargell AKA “Pops” played for the Pirates for every season of his 20 year professional career. He led the Pirates to glory in 1979 as they won the World Series, something they have not done since.
In 1979 alone, he also won NL MVP, NLCS MVP and World Series MVP. Pops was known for being a beyond stand up guy as he fought to cure sickle cell anemia and formed the Black Athletes Foundation.
The Reds’ legendary 2nd baseman Joe Morgan said of Stargell, “He never made anybody look bad and he never said anything bad about anybody.”
7. Stan Musial
When you think of the Saint Louis Cardinals, the first person who comes to mind should be Stan Musial.
Over his long and storied career, “Stan the Man” won 3 NL MVPs, 3 World Series’, 7 batting titles, and made 24 all-star appearances on top of hitting 475 career home runs; all with the Red Birds.
Musial is 32nd all time on the home run list, which may be a bit lower than others, but his stats and the kind of person he was put him 8th on this list.
Musial was the son of Polish immigrants and proved himself to be an American hero as he also served in the Navy during World War II.
6. Albert Pujols
The only active player on this list, “The Machine” is just that; a machine. Once the season gets going he’s going to have a good chance to pass A-Rod’s spot at 4th on the all-time home run leader.
He’s a 3 time NL MVP, 2 time World Series winner and 10 time all-star and that’s just scratching the surface of Pujols’ accomplishments. If he had retired 7 years ago he still would’ve been a first-ballot hall of famer, and he’s not done yet.
Beyond being a top five home run hitter of all time, Pujols has done incredible charity work both in the United States and the Dominican Republic, his home country. It’s hard to think of a better ambassador for the game right now.
5. Ted Williams
Ted Williams defined the Red Sox organization for decades and arguably continues to. He swatted a career 521 homers, over 2600 hits and a career .344 batting average and was a 2 time AL MVP, Triple Crown winner, 4 time AL home run leader and a 19 time all-star.
Beyond being tied for the 20th most home runs in MLB history, he’s perhaps better known for his batting average. Williams hit .406 in 1941, something no player has been able to since. He also owns the greatest all-time career on-base percentage with an astonishing .482.
That would all be impressive enough, but Williams’ achievements go way beyond the diamond. He served in both World War II and Korea and rose to the rank of Captain and earned at least 11 medals and commendations.
“Teddy Ballgame” as he was also known, is a true American hero and put up some of the most impressive numbers in MLB history, and put that on hold twice to serve his country.
4. Mickey Mantle
It’s hard to think of someone who defined baseball or sports in general in the 50’s more than Mickey Mantle. He was called the “Commerce Comet” for a reason.
His total accomplishments would take too long to list but he raked 536 career home runs, won 7 World Series, 3 AL MVPs and the 1956 triple crown.
Mantle ruled the capital of baseball for 17 years and played practically his entire career with a bad knee. Every Yankee fan knows the significance of the number 7.
3. Hank Aaron
“Hammerin’ Hank” only won the NL MVP once in his long career, but he’s 2nd all-time behind only Barry Bonds. He passed Babe Ruth for all-time on the home run list on April 8th 1974 and passed a record that many baseball fans agreed would never be beaten.
There’s no better representative of the Braves’ organization. He braved racism and hate through much of his career, and never backed down to it.
His 755 career home runs are 2nd only to the controversial Barry Bonds. He made a mind-boggling 25 career all-star appearances, is a member of the 3,000 hit club and is the all-time leader in both RBI and total bases.
2. Willie Mays
He’s the “Say Hey Kid” for a reason. Willie Mays is an American icon and is arguably the greatest ballplayer when you look at both his offense and defense together. The fact that he has 660 home runs, 6th on the all-time list and his most memorable moment is a defensive play speaks volumes about the pure talent and spark he possessed.
He won 2 NL MVPs, the 1954 World Series and a 4 time NL home run leader, 3 of those coming in a 4 season period.
Willie Mays very well may have been the first 5 tool player ever. He is still the face of the Giants and remains an inspiration to baseball fans everywhere at age 90.
1. Babe Ruth
This shouldn’t be a surprise. He’s the “Bambino”, the “Sultan of Swat”, the “Caliph of Clout”, but he’s better remembered as just the Babe.
There isn’t an individual player in any sport who had more of an impact on their sport’s future. Babe Ruth came to the Yankees at a time when the MLB was reeling from the 1919 Black Sox scandal and almost immediately restored the nation’s faith in the American game.
He hit a career 714 career home runs which stood until Hank Aaron came around. He was a 12 time home run leader, AL MVP and AL Batting Champion just to name a few of his many many accolades.
He’s the all-time leader in slugging, OPS and OPS+ and single handedly popularized the home run
He’s the greatest American sports icon of all-time, and there’s really no debate.
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