Baseballs Greatest Hitters of All Time

Three-Four- Five Club

INTERPRETATION OF CAREER STATISTICS

 

          Statistically, Major League Baseball’s greatest hitters have traditionally been highlighted by reaching milestone numbers.  For example the 3,000 hit club, the 500 or even the 600 home run clubs etc., at www.baseballsgreatesthitters.com we do agree that these are very impressive statistical clubs but not enough to fairly evaluate the greatest hitters in baseball history. There are many players in the Hall of Fame who have compiled impressive career numbers due to longevity, but some of these players were not the most dominate players in their era.

 

            Keep in mind there are many of the greatest hitters in baseball are not in the 3,000 hit club and some of the games greatest sluggers never passed the career 500 home run plateau. Some of the games greatest hitters not in the 3,000 hit club include: Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Greenberg, Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson, Edgar Martinez, and Manny Ramirez.  Absent sluggers from the 500 home run club include Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Greenberg, Johnny Mize, Ralph Kiner, Frank Howard, Willie Stargell, Fred McGriff, Mike Piazza just to name a few.

 

            Single season numbers and lists are interesting and make for some good sports talk, however when evaluating the career of the player single season stats are in many ways overvalued. For example, in the history of baseball only 26 players have had 50 plus home run seasons. Some of the games greatest home run hitters never made this list include Hank Aaron, Harmon Killebrew, Willie McCovey, Reggie Jackson, and Mike Schmidt.  On the other hand Greg Vaughn, Andruw Jones, Luis Gonzales, Brady Anderson and Chris Dayis have all hit the 50 mark in a season. The most recent example of how single season stats can be mis-interpreted is, Mark Teixeira, who passed the 30 home run/100 RBI mark for the 8th consecutive season in 2011. This impressive accomplishment recently raised the question in sports media “Is Mark Teixeira the one of the greatest switch hitter in the history of the game?” Once again, here is another example of how statistics and numbers can be interpreted incorrectly and in turn create an inaccurate evaluation of a players career.  Clearly Mark Teixeira is one of the best hitters in the game today and could possibly be on his way to Cooperstown, but when compared to the all-time greatest switch hitters, he is not at the same level as Mickey Mantle or Eddie Murray.

 

At www.baseballsgreatesthitters.com, we do put a very strong emphasis on the era the hitter played in and the dominance of the player in his era. We also carefully examine the player’s home/away splits, and recognize “productive” longevity as opposed to the player who compiled impressive numbers as a result of longevity.

 

At www.baseballsgreatesthitters.com, through much research, we have developed four new hitting clubs (The Three-Four Club, The Three-Five Club, The Four-Five Club, and the Three-Four-Five Club) With the current 500 Home Run Club, the 3,000 Hit Club and the addition of the four new hitting clubs that we have developed, we feel most of the greatest hitters in baseball history will be found in or more of these clubs.

 

 

The .300 Club (AVG.)

  • .300 Career Lifetime Batting Average
  • Minimum 5,000 career at bats
  • Only 113 retired players since 1901 have finished their career with 5,000 at bats and a.300 batting avg.
  •  Of those 113 players 68 are in the Hall of Fame

 

The .400 Club (OBP.)

  • .400 Career Lifetime On Base Percentage
  • Minimum 5,000 career at bats
  • Only 29 retired players since 1901 have finished their career with 5,000 at bats and a .400 on base percentage.
  •  Of those 29 players 22 are in the Hall of Fame

 

The .500 Club (SLG.)

  • .500 Career Lifetime Slugging Percentage
  • Minimum 5,000 career at bats
  • Only 80 players since 1901 have finished their career with 5,000 at bats and a .500 slugging percentage
  •  Of those 80 players 37 are in the Hall of Fame

 

                                                         CHART

   Players with 500 Home Runs +          Players with 3,000 Hits *

 

 Three-Four-Club

 Three- Five Club

 Four- Five  Club

Three-four-Five Club

 

 25- Players

 39- Players

 23- Players

17- Players

 

 

 

 

Babe Ruth +

Babe Ruth +

Babe Ruth +

Babe Ruth +

Lou Gehrig

Lou Gehrig

Lou Gehrig

Lou Gehrig

Ted Williams +

Ted Williams +

Ted Williams +

Ted Williams +

Jimmie Foxx +

Jimmie Foxx +

Jimmie Foxx +

Jimmie Foxx +

Hank Greenberg

Hank Greenberg

Hank Greenberg

Hank Greenberg

Chipper Jones

Chipper Jones

Chipper Jones

Chipper Jones

Stan Musial *

Stan Musial *

Stan Musial *

Stan Musial *

Rogers Hornsby

Rogers Hornsby

Rogers Hornsby

Rogers Hornsby

Ty Cobb *

Ty Cobb *

Ty Cobb *

Ty Cobb *

Tris Speaker *

Tris Speaker *

Tris Speaker *

Tris Speaker *

Mel Ott +

Mel Ott +

Mel Ott +

Mel Ott +

Harry Heilmann

Harry Heilmann

Harry Heilmann

Harry Heilmann

Frank Thomas +

Frank Thomas +

Frank Thomas +

Frank Thomas +

Edgar Martinez

Edgar Martinez

Edgar Martinez

Edgar Martinez

Manny Ramirez +

Manny Ramirez +

Manny Ramirez +

Manny Ramirez +

Larry Walker

Larry Walker

Larry Walker

Larry Walker

Todd Helton

Todd Helton

Todd Helton

Todd Helton

Joe Kelley

Albert Pujols

Mickey Mantle +                    

Mickey Cochrane

Joe DiMaggio

Barry Bonds +

 

Jessie Burkett

Hank Aaron + *

Brian Giles

 

Wade Boggs *

Willie Mays + *

Jim Thome

 

Jackie Robinson

Goose Goslin

Jeff Bagwell

 

Arky Vaughan

Johnny Mize

Lance Berkman

 

Paul Waner

Hack Wilson

 

Charlie Gehringer

Chuck Klein

 

Al Simmons

 

 

Earl Averill

 

 

 

Babe Herman

 

 

 

Wally Berger

 

 

 

Hal Trosky

 

 

 

Bill Terry

 

 

 

Joe Medwick

 

 

 

Jim Bottomley

 

 

 

Mike Piazza

 

 

 

Moises Alou

 

 

 

Vladimir Guerrero

 

 

 

Miguel Cabrera

 

 

 

Ryan Braun

 

 

 

Nomar Garciaparra

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note, when we examine the clubs developed by baseballsgreatesthitters.com, we will focus on the three factors listed below:

  • Players who are admitted or suspected steroid users.  
  • Players whose career home/away splits are highly unbalanced. 
  • Players who have had their careers overshadowed by other greats in the same era.

 

The Three-Four-Five Club: Currently there are 17 players listed in this club, five players are members of the 500 home run club, three players are members of the 3,000 hit club and three players are active.

 

·         Manny Ramirez is the only player of this club to have been found guilty of steroid use.

 

·         Three players Mel Ott, Larry Walker and Todd Helton are the players we have found to be in the category of having very unbalanced home/away splits

 

·         There are five players on our list, Harry Heilmann, Hank Greenberg, Frank Thomas, Edgar Martinez and Chipper Jones, who we feel, fall into the category as players who have had their careers overshadowed by other great hitters of their era.

 

The Four-Five Club: Currently there are 23 players listed in this club, eight players are members of the 500 home run club, three players are members of the 3,000 hit club and five players are active.

 

  • Four players Jeff Bagwell, Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi have been found guilty or suspected of steroid use.  
  • Three players, Mel Ott, Larry Walker and Todd Helton are players we have found to be in the category of having very unbalanced home/away splits.  
  • There are nine players on our list, Harry Heillmann, Hank Greenberg, Frank Thomas, Edgar Martinez, Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Lance Berkman and Brian Giles, feel, fall into the category of players who have had their careers overshadowed by other great hitters of their era.

The Three- Four Club: Currently there are 26 players listed in this club,six players are members of the 500 home run club, four players are members of the 3,000 hit club, and no players are active.

 

  • Manny Ramirez is the only player of this club to have been found guilty of steroid use.  
  • Three players, Mel Ott, Larry Walker and Todd Helton are players we have found to be in the category of having very unbalanced home/away splits. 
  • There are five players on our list, Harry Heillmann, Hank Greenberg, Frank Thomas, Edgar Martinez and Chipper Jones, who we feel, fall into the category of players who have had their careers overshadowed by other great hitters of their era.

 

The Three- Five Club: Currently there are 39 players listed in this club eight players are members of the 500 home run club, five players are members of the 3,000 hit club and three players are active.

 

  • Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez are the only players of this club to have been found guilty of steroid use. 
  • Three players Mel Ott, Larry Walker and Todd Helton are players we have found to be in the category of having very unbalanced home/away splits. 
  • There are a number of players, Hank Greenberg, Harry Heillmann, Goose Goslin, Johnny Mize, Hack Wilson, Chuck Klein, Al Simmons, Earl Averill, Babe Herman, Wally Berger, Hal Trosky, Bill Terry, Joe Medwick, Jim Bottomley, Frank Thomas, Edgar Martinez and Moises Alou, who we feel, fall into the category of players who have had their careers overshadowed by other great hitters of their era.

STEROIDS, SPLITS, SINGLE SEASON NUMBERS, AND OVER-SHADOWED GREATS.

STEROIDS

  When looking back at baseball history, the Hall of Fame and statistics, we all very familiar with the negative effects the steroid era has had on the game. At baseballsgreatesthitters.com, we feel our Home Run Curve did an adequate job in evaluating the careers of baseballs top hitters.

 

SINGLE SEASON NUMBERS

Single season numbers and milestones are very impressive, and by no means should be over-looked, but in many cases they do not properly evaluate the full career of a player. Single season accomplishments do make very interesting sports talk, but  they do not define a player’s career and in some cases can even be meaningless in player career comparisons. Numbers and statistics are only useful if used properly Here are a few of many examples :

  • In 2011, Mark Teixeira had his 8th consecutive  30 home run ,100 R.B.I. season, while Mickey Mantle surprisingly in his career, had only four 100 R.B.I.seasons in his 18 year career, Bobby Abreu has eight 100 R.B.I. seasons twice as many as Mantle.
  • Andrew Jones and Carlos Lee in their careers, have topped the 30 home run mark in 4 consecutive seasons… In 21 seasons, Reggie Jackson has never once topped the 30 home run mark in consecutive seasons.
  • Adam Dunn, in 11 seasons, has had five 40 plus home run seasons, matching the combined total of Hall of Fame sluggers Willie McCovey (2), Reggie Jackson(2), and Frank Robinson(1).
  • George Foster, a very good power hitter, hit 52 home runs in the 1977 season and Mike Schmidt, who we consider to be one of the 10 greatest home run hitters of all-time, played in the same era, never topped the impressive mark of a 50 plus home run season.
  • Don Mattingly, who played 14 seasons and did put together 6  Hall of Fame seasons between 1984 and 1989, falls short of the Hall of Fame because his career did not have productive longevity.  

OVERSHADOWED GREATS

Over the years, many of baseballs greatest hitters, some are even listed in our top 20, have had their careers overshadowed by other great hitters who played in the same era. Listed below are some examples:

  • Lou Gehrig, our  number one ,had his career over-shadowed by Babe Ruth. Baseball fans seem to forget that Lou Gehrig also out- homered teams in his career. At baseballsgreatesthitters.com we feel, had there been no Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig would have possibly been considered the greatest hitter who ever lived and his numbers would have set the standard of greatness for all the future players to follow.
  • Hank Greenberg, listed as one of our top 20 hitters, played the first part of his career behind Gehrig and Foxx and the second part  of his career behind DiMaggio and Williams.
  •  Stan Musial, who listed in our top 10, held most National League hitting career numbers when he retired in 1963. When looking back at this great career, the first part he played behind Williams and DiMaggio and the second half once again behind Williams as well as Mantle and Mays.
  • In the 50’s, while the Mantle- Mays debates captured the media attention, keep in mind at the end of the 1960 season, Eddie Matthews had more career home runs than both Mickey and Willie.
  • Frank Robinson, another of our top 20 hitters, might be one of the most under-rated hitters in the history of baseball history. Unfortunately for Robinson he played in the same era as Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.
  • Billy Williams, who is very seldom mentioned, may not be at the same level as Mantle, Mays, Aaron and Robinson, but he is one of baseballs all-time greatest hitters that have been forgotten.
  • Two of the most feared hitters in baseball history, Richie Allen and Jim Rice, have definitely been under-rated. Richie Allen, a great slugger, who played most of his career in the pitching era, was surrounded by a number of top sluggers. In his career Richie Allen competed with 10 0f the 25 members of the 500 home run club. Jim Rice, who also spent part of his career in the pitching era, had his career over-shadowed  by his teammate Carl Yazstremski as well as other great hitters of his era that include, Schmidt, Jackson, Morgan, Brett and Winfield to name a few.
  • Currently we have Jim Thome, who we think has been one of the most under-rated players in the last 20 years. In his career Jim Thome, for some reason has had his impressive career statistics downplayed because he played in the steroid era, though he has never been suspected of steroid use. We feel Jim Thome, who is one of the games greatest hitters as well as one of only 8 players to have hit 600 career home runs, should without a doubt be a first ballot Hall of Famer.

 

HOME- AWAY SPLITS

At baseballsgreatesthitters.com we do not have a baseball park factor in our rating system, but instead we factor in the home/away splits of the players career. When doing a players hitting ranking, the ball park factor may not be very accurate since in the last 40 years, many of the top players have played for multiple teams. The chart below clearly shows how unbalanced splits should be factored in when we are evaluating a players hitting career.

 

PLAYER

SPLITS

RUNS

H.R

R.B.I.

AVG.

O.B.Pct.

Slg Pct.

Paul Konerko

Home

632

261

757

289

368

531

 

Away

530

178

655

269

341

444

Todd Helton

Home

874

227

859

345

441

607

 

Away

527

142

547

287

386

469

Larry Walker

Home

789

215

747

348

431

637

 

Away

566

168

564

278

370

495

Ryne Sandberg

Home

726

164

607

300

361

491

 

Away

592

118

454

269

326

412

Kirby Puckett

Home

626

113

601

344

388

521

 

Away

445

94

484

291

331

430

Ernie Banks

Home

722

290

909

290

348

537

 

Away

584

222

727

259

311

462

CarlYazstremski

Home

994

237

1063

306

402

503

 

Away

822

215

781

264

357

422

Mel Ott

Home

954

323

947

297

422

558

 

Away

905

188

917

311

408

510

PLAYER

SPLITS

RUNS

H.R.

R.B.I.

AVG.

OB Pct.

Slg.Pct.

Albert Pujols

Home

805

277

909

315

401

574

 

Away

865

314

908

304

384

571

Derek Jeter

Home

1,013

138

666

313

384

448

 

Away

910

122

645

306

370

431

Ryan Howard

Home

446

198

580

262

352

532

 

Away

402

184

614

255

335

499

Manny Ramirez

Home

778

282

947

311

413

591

 

Away

766

273

884

314

409

580

Barry Bonds

Home

1105

379

980

301

449

618

 

Away

1122

383

1016

296

440

597

Cal Ripken

Home

777

214

841

267

336

435

 

Away

870

217

854

283

344

459

Hank Aaron

Home

1081

385

1117

303

379

557

 

Away

1094

370

1180

306

369

552

Mickey Mantle

Home

825

266

744

305

428

569

 

Away

850

270

765

291

413

545

Willie Mays

Home

1017

335

929

302

387

567

 

Away

1043

325

974

301

382

549

Mike Piazza

Home

477

195

623

294

364

515

 

Away

571

232

712

320

388

572

Joe DiMaggio

Home

648

148

720

315

391

546

 

Away

742

213

818

333

405

610

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When checking the home/away splits, the chart speaks for itself. At baseballsgreatesthitters.com we would like to bring out a few points:  Many of the greatest hitters in baseball history with long careers, players such as Mantle, Mays, Aaron, Bonds, Ramirez, etc. incredibly have equal home and away numbers. Examining the home/ away splits of players such as Larry Walker, Todd Helton, Paul Konerko and Carl Yazstremski etc. it is very clear that some of these players benefited from there home numbers. Looking at the splits of some of theses players, there home away numbers look like two different careers.

·         Todd Helton has a .620 home Slg.% while his slugging pct. on the road is .478, a .140 difference !! and the slugging pct. numbers for Larry Walker are .637 home and .495 away also the home number of a plus .140

·          Carl Yazstremski  is a 285 career hitter but when we break down his splits, his career batting average at home is .306 and only .264 in his career away games… 42 points lower. When rating the hitting career of Carl Yastremski, his career splits have to be considered as well as compiling great lifetime numbers due to longevity.

·         Mel Ott, a hall of fame member and the 3rd player in baseball to enter the 500 home run club, has the largest home/away home run differential. As a left-handed pull hitter, Mel Ott definitely used the 258 ft. right field line at the Polo Grounds to his advantage. His home run number of  323 home runs at home to 188 away home runs  represents the  largest split of any player in the 500 home run club.

·         We will now turn to two players, Joe DiMaggio, one of our top ten hitters, and Mike Piazza rated as top hitting catcher on baseballsgreatesthitters.com. Joe DiMaggio, as a right handed hitter in Yankee Stadium, dealt with dealt with the center/left-centerfield dimensions of 461ft. 457ft. 402ft. but as a great hitter he made the proper home field adjustments. DiMaggio’s home run numbers at Yankee Stadium were lower than those hit on the road but he still managed to put up Hall of Fame statistics at home with his .315 batting average to go along with his .391 on base pct. and .546 slugging pct.

·         Mike Piazza , despite putting up better numbers on the road, made adjustments to his home field and put up Hall of Fame numbers. Currently Mike Piazza currently is rated as the greatest hitting catcher on www.baseballsgreatesthitters.com

HOME/AWAY SPLITS OF THE TOP 25 CAREER HOME RUN LEADERS

NO.

PLAYER

HOME RUNS

H.R. HOME

H.R. AWAY

 

    1

Barry Bonds

762

379

383

Away  + 4

2

Hank Aaron

755

385

370

Home  +15

3

Babe Ruth

714

347

367

Away  +  20

4

Alex Rodriguez

696

354

342

Home  + 12

5

Willie Mays.

660

335

325

Home  + 10

6

Ken Griffey Jr.

630

332

298

Home  + 34

7

Jim Thome

612

339

273

Home  + 66

8

Sammy Sosa

609

321

288

Home  + 33

9

Albert Pujols

591

277

314

Away  +  37

10

Frank Robinson

586

321

265

Home  + 56

11

Mark McGwire

583

285

298

Away  + 13

12

Harmon Killebrew

573

291

282

Home  + 9

13

Rafael Palmiero

569

      311

258

Home  + 53

14

Reggie Jackson

563

280

283

Away  +  3

15

Manny Ramirez

555

282

273

Home  + 9

16

Mike Schmidt

548

265

283

Away  + 18

17

David Ortiz

541

241

300

Away +  59

18

Mickey Mantle

536

266

270

Away  + 4

19

Jimmie Foxx

534

299

235

Home  + 64

20

Ted Williams

521

248

273

Away  + 25

21

Willie McCovey

521

264

257

Home  + 7

22

Frank Thomas

521

312

209

Home  + 103

23

Ernie Banks

        512

290

222

Home  + 68

24

Eddie Matthews

512

238

274

Away  +  36

   25

Mel Ott

511

323

188

Home  + 135

As we begin the 2017 baseball season, there are 27 players in the 500 home run club. The chart above lists the top 25, ( #26 Gary Sheffield with 509 and #27 Eddie Murray with 504 ) The home/away splits are as follows : 15 players have hit more home runs at home and 10 players (40%) have more home runs on the road. With further examination of the list, Aaron(15), Sheffield(15), Rodriguez(12), Mays(10), Killebrew(9). Ramirez(9), McCovey(7), Mantle(4),Bonds(4),Jackson(3) are10 players who virtually have a balanced career of home run splits. When we carefully check the total home run  splits on this list, there is not much of a home field edge in 15 of the 25 (60%) players in this club.

READING THE STATISTICS… A recap of how we read a player’s lifetime statistics and properly rank baseballs all-time greatest hitters.

Our formula using the player’s career statistics.

  • 1.)The addition of our Home Run Curve which deals with the steroid era.

    2.)Putting the emphasis on career totals and putting less focus on single season numbers and milestones

    3.)Strong consideration of the era that the player has played in.

  • 4.)Since we do not have a ballpark factor in our formula, we do factor in the players    home/away splits.

    5.)Examining the lifetime statistics of the over-shadowed hitters and giving these great hitters a proper rating.

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