Monday, August 13, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 9: #15-11 8/13/18

Hey baseball fans!

Welcome to the Top 15! It's such an exciting time during the summer, as we near the end of my top 50 Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history. But anyway, let's get to it!

#15: Wade Boggs
Boggs is the AL hitting machine successor to Rod Carew. Both hitters had crazy batting averages and made a ton of All Star Games. Boggs went to twelve Midsummer Classics from 1985-1996, led the league in batting average in five seasons, and batted a staggering .328 lifetime. It took Boggs 11 years to bat under .300 (.259 in 1992) in a season and he only did that two more times in his entire career. His 3,010 career base hits rank 30th on the all-time list and, overall, he's one of the most heralded hitters in Red Sox history.

#14: Roberto Clemente
Batted .317 lifetime. 3,000 hits on the dot in only 17 years in baseball. Four-time batting champion. Had over 200 hits in a season on four occasions. Won 12 consecutive Gold Gloves for the outfield from 1961-1972. 12-time All Star. Two-time World Series champion. Most beloved hitter in the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates. But most of all, gone too soon, just because he had a charitable soul. Rest in peace, Roberto.

#13: Frank Robinson
There's Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, but there's also Frank Robinson. One of the more unsung power hitters of the 1950s and 1960s, Robinson could slug the baseball with the best of them. His 586 home runs rank tenth on the all-time home runs list and his 1,812 RBIs and .294 career batting average aren't so bad, either. He was the first hitter in baseball history to win the MVP in both leagues (1961 with the Reds and 1966 with the Orioles), even winning the Triple Crown in '66 with Baltimore. He hit 30 or more homers in 11 seasons and led the league in slugging percentage in four seasons. To top it all off, he's the first black manager in baseball history.

#12: Tony Gwynn
Sorry, Wade Boggs, but it's Tony Gwynn who actually owns the highest batting average out of all the ballplayers who debuted after 1950. Gwynn's .338 lifetime batting average is 18th on the all-time list, leading the league in batting eight times, even batting .394 at the age of 34 in 1994. Gwynn led the league in hits seven times and his 3,141 career base knocks rank 19th all time. On top of all of this, "Mr. Padre" is the only member of the franchise to participate in both of the team's World Series appearances, 1984 and 1998.


#11: Cal Ripken Jr.  
Ripken played in 2,632 consecutive games, a record that will most likely never be broken. Don't get me wrong, this is an amazing achievement, but Cal is way more than a games played streak. For example, did you know that he is 15th on the all-time hits list with 3,184 hits? Did you know he hit 431 career home runs? Did you know he made 19 straight All Star Games? Did you know he's a two-time MVP? Did you know he's probably the most celebrated hitter in the history of the Orioles? Maybe you did, maybe you didn't, but either way, what a career for "The Iron Man."

Next post is the top ten! What do you think of the list so far? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, August 6, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 8: #20-16 8/6/18

Hey baseball fans!

We're getting to the point where the names on this list will be some of the most famous in baseball history! I'm so excited that we've finally reached my top 20 Hall of Fame hitters! Let's get started with this post with #20!

#20: Mickey Mantle
The Commerce Comet is not only my favorite of the Yankees' historical "Big 4," but also the youngest. From 1951-1968, Mantle smacked 536 homers out of the park, good for 18th on the all-time list. The 1956 AL Triple Crown winner and three-time MVP had 30 or more homers in a season nine times, eight of them being consecutive. The most underrated stat about Mantle is his record 18 World Series home runs and his seven World Series rings rank tied for seventh all time.

#19: Ken Griffey Jr.
As good as his dad was, Junior was infinitely better. His 630 home runs puts "The Kid" in seventh place on the all-time home runs list. Yes, he was injury-prone when he went to play for his hometown Reds, but he will always be remembered for his time with the Mariners. Griffey played 11 seasons in Seattle, making ten straight All Star Games from 1990-1999, winning seven Silver Slugger awards and ten straight Gold Gloves. The four-time home run champ wasn't even on Seattle's 116-win team in 2001, but could you imagine if he was?


#18: Mike Piazza
Let this be known to all who choose to argue with me: Mike Piazza is the greatest hitting catcher in baseball history and, to be frank (sorry, Johnny Bench), it's not even close. His 427 homers rank first all-time amongst catchers, his 1,335 RBIs rank second, and his .308 batting average is third all-time for backstops. Sure, Ivan Rodriguez, Mickey Cochrane, and Bill Dickey are also great, but Piazza was a revolutionary talent. Ask anyone from the 1990s to confirm that last statement because I'm sure they will do so gladly.

#17: Tris Speaker
In his 22-year career from 1907-1928, "The Grey Eagle" was one of the best hitters of his era. His 3,514 career hits rank fifth on the all-time list and his 792 career doubles actually rank first all time. It's not a record you think about like other records, but for the Dead Ball era especially, it matters a lot. In fact, Speaker's .500 career slugging percentage is up there with some of the other hitting greats that played during the dawn of the World Series era. Oh, and his .345 lifetime batting average wasn't that bad, either.

#16: Eddie Murray
This is probably a very controversial pick, but let me say this: Eddie Murray is one of the most underrated hitters in baseball history and the reason is quite simple. There are three Hall of Famers with 500+ homers and 3,000+ hits, making them twice as worthy for the Hall of Fame. Two of them are Hank Aaron and Willie Mays and you won't see them on this list for a couple of weeks. The other one, with 504 career homers and 3,255 career hits, is none other than "Steady Eddie" Murray. The eight-time All Star batted .287 lifetime and in the strike-shortened 1981 season, led the AL with 22 homers and 78 RBIs. He's not the best Oriole that will appear on this list, but he is certainly up there.

What do you think of these players' rankings? Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, July 30, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 7: #25-21 7/30/18

Hey baseball fans!

Congratulations to the recently-inducted Hall of Fame class! None of you are mentioned in this particular post, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be read, so let's do it!

#25: Carl Yastrzemski
I don't buy the whole "Ted Williams is the best hitter ever" thing (but that doesn't mean he won't be very high on my list). But this guy is one of the most underrated hitters in Red Sox and baseball history. Let me break down Yaz's career for you: 3,419 hits, 452 dingers, 1,844 RBIs, 1,845 walks, and a .285 batting average. Oh yeah, and he single-handedly led the Red Sox to the 1967 World Series by winning the AL Triple Crown and MVP that year.

#24: Mike Schmidt
My favorite player of all time is also one of the most efficient power hitters in baseball history. In his 18-year career with the Phillies, he led the league in homers eight times and slugging percentage five times. His 548 home runs rank 16th on the all-time list. On top of all of this, he's a three-time MVP, 12-time All Star, and helped the Phillies win the franchise's first World Series when he won the 1980 World Series MVP.



#23: Cap Anson
Cap who? The oldest player on this list comes in at #23 and for good reason. In 27 seasons from 1871-1897, Cap collected 2,075 RBIs, the 4th-highest RBI total in history. He also batted .334 lifetime, led the league in batting average four times, and even batted .335 in 1895 at the young age of 43. Sure, it was a different era, but he's a Hall of Famer for a reason. 

#22: Frank Thomas
Let's jump about a century into the future from Anson and look at the Big Hurt! Frank the Tank was a five-time All Star and back-to-back MVP in 1993 and 1994. He hit more than 30 homers in nine seasons and is one of only a few players with 500+ career homers (521 to be exact) and a lifetime batting average better than .300 (.301). From 1991-2007, he averaged a staggering 30 homers and 97 RBIs a season. 

#21: Mel Ott
To keep this one simple, Ott was the National League's Babe Ruth. The first modern premier power hitter of the Senior Circuit made 11 straight All Star Games from 1934-1944 and led the NL in homers six times in his career. The .304 lifetime hitter retired with the most homers in National League history with 511. Today, that mark gives Master Melvin the 25th-most homers in baseball history. 

We're down to the top 20! Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."


Monday, July 23, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 6: #30-26 7/23/18

Hey baseball fans!

We are about to reach the halfway point in my countdown of the top 50 Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history! So, let's get down to business!

#30: Rod Carew
One of my favorite hitters in baseball history, Carew made an All Star Game every year he played except his last. During those 18 years of All Star worthiness (and 19 years of MLB service time), Carew was a seven-time batting champ, batting .328 lifetime, which is one of the best marks of the latter half of the 20th century. His 3,053 hits rank 27th on the all-time list and he is arguably the greatest contact hitter in the history of two separate franchises: the Twins (1967-1978) and Angels (1979-1985).

#29: Dave Winfield
The king of the line drive made 12 straight All Star games from 1977-1988. He was a jack of all trades, collecting 150 or more hits and 25 or more home runs in eight seasons. His 3,110 hits are 22nd on the all-time list and he had a .283 career batting average. Fun fact: Winfield was also drafted into the NFL and NBA, but decided to play baseball professionally. What a career move that was.

#28: Eddie Collins
One of the oldest and longest-playing hitters on this list, Collins was basically Ty Cobb's arch nemesis in the first days of the American League and was almost as good. Collins played from 1906-1930 with the A's and White Sox, collecting the 11th-most hits by a hitter in baseball history with 3,315 career base knocks. On top of this, his .333 lifetime batting average is 22nd on the all-time list. 

#27: Napoleon Lajoie
But not even Collins was as good as this guy. Nap's 3,243 career hits are less than that of Collins, but his .338 batting average isn't. Lajoie led the league in hits four times and even batted a staggering .426 in 1901. Lajoie was such a good player that the team he played for, the present-day Indians, was renamed the Naps. The name change lasted for 12 whole years, from 1903-1914!


#26: Vladimir Guerrero
Now let's jump to the 21st century to one of the most recent Hall of Fame members on this list. Vlad only played 16 years, but his per-year stats are off the charts: 28 homers, 94 RBIs, 162 hits, and a .318 batting average. The nine-time All Star and 2004 AL MVP was elected into the Hall in 2018 with 92.9% of the vote.

How's the list looking so far? Leave your thoughts on hitters 50-26 in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, July 13, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 5: #35-31 7/13/18

Hey baseball fans!

I'm back and better than ever! I hope your summer is going quite swimmingly. Speaking of summer, let's talk some baseball, shall we? Specifically, let's talk about the fourth part in my ten-part countdown of the top 50 Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history.

#35: Ernie Banks
Arguably the most famous member of the Chicago Cubs in the franchise's storied history, "Mr. Cub" was an 11-time All Star on 19 pretty horrible Cubs teams from 1953-1971. One of the best hitters to never get even so much as a taste of postseason baseball, Banks is one of the most powerful shortstops in baseball history, slapping out 512 career long balls. The back-to-back NL MVP in 1958 and 1959 was elected into the Hall in 1977 in his first year of eligibility.

#34: Joe DiMaggio
It's Joltin' Joe! DiMaggio is distinguished by being the only Hall of Famer to make an All Star Game every single year he played (1936-1942, 1946-1951). The Yankee Clipper was a .325 lifetime hitter, a three-time MVP in 1939, 1941, and 1947, and averaged 118 RBIs a season! Oh yeah, and that 56-game consecutive hits streak or whatever.


#33: Reggie Jackson
Jackson wasn't always a fan favorite, but what he lacked in popularity, he made up for in power. Jackson smacked out 563 career home runs, which is good for 14th on the all-time list. He was a 14-time All Star, 1973 AL MVP with the A's, and 1973 and 1977 World Series MVP for the A's and Yankees, respectively. That latter year was when he hit four homers on four consecutive swings, just saying. Fun fact: Jackson is the only player in baseball history to win the World Series MVP for two different teams.

#32: Jackie Robinson
As I've said before on BwM, Robinson isn't in the Hall of Fame solely because he broke the color barrier. He was a darn good hitter as well. He batted .311 lifetime and made consecutive All Star Games from 1949-1954, winning the NL MVP in '49 while leading the league with a .342 batting average. He also led the league in stolen bases two times (1947, 1949).

#31: Harmon Killebrew
He was the premiere slugger of the AL during his career from 1954-1975 with mainly the Twins franchise (they moved from DC to Minnesota during his career, but it's the same franchise), hitting a whopping 573 career homers, which ranks 12th on the all-time list. The eleven-time All Star and 1969 AL MVP led his league in out-of-the-parkers on six occasions, topping 35 homers in a season on nine occasions.

We are nearing the halfway point of the list! Are you excited to see more hitters? Let me know your predictions for the rest of the list in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 4: #40-36 6/27/18

Hey baseball fans!

Do you know what time it is?! It's time to talk about my 40th to 36th best Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history! Let's get on with the show, shall we?

#40: George Brett
Probably the greatest hitter in the history of the Royals, Brett collected 3,154 hits in 21 years in the bigs. He won the 1980 AL MVP, made 13 straight All Star games, and led KC to its first of two world championships in 1985. Fun fact: he's the only guy to get picked off after collecting his 3,000th career hit. Nonetheless, he was amazing.

#39: Paul Molitor
"The Ignitor" made seven All Star games with the Brewers and Blue Jays (and also batted .341 with the Twins in 1996 at the age of 39) and is tied with Pepper Martin for the highest lifetime World Series batting average at .418. The .306 regular season hitter broke the 3,000 hits barrier easily, finishing his career with 3,319 base knocks, good for tenth on the all-time list.


#38: Eddie Mathews
Despite being overshadowed by Hank Aaron for a majority of his career, Mathews was still one of the premier power hitters of his era. In just 17 years from 1952-1968, the Braves big bat smacked out 512 career home runs, good for an average of roughly 30 homers a season! He led the league twice in homers (47 in 1953 and 46 in 1959) and led the league in walks four times.

#37: Willie McCovey
McCovey had the same career as Mathews: lots of homers, but overshadowed by someone who will not appear on this countdown for another several weeks. McCovey is tied for 20th on the all-time home runs list with Ted Williams and Frank Thomas with 521 career dingers. McCovey led the league in homers and RBIs in back-to-back years in 1968 and 1969, winning the NL MVP in the later year. He also holds the record for the least amount of games played in a Rookie of the Year-winning campaign at only 52 games. But in those 52 games, he hit .354 with 13 homers.

#36: Jim Thome
One of the youngest and most underrated hitters on this list, Thome is the all-time leader in walk-off home runs at 13. In fact, the 500th home run of his career was a walk-off while playing for the White Sox. The all-time great with mainly the Indians collected a whopping 612 career home runs, good for eighth on the all-time list.

As always, let me know what you think of the list so far in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Baseball with Matt's Top 50 Part 3: #45-41 6/17/18

Hey baseball fans!

It's time to reveal the 45th to 41st best Hall of Fame hitters in baseball history (in my humble opinion, of course)! Who's ready? Let's do it!

#45: Willie Stargell
This 21-year veteran for the Pirates was a key contributor to the Buccos' 1971 and 1979 World Series championships. The 1979 NL MVP and seven-time All Star hit 25+ homers in a season on ten occasions during his career and topped 100 RBIs in five seasons. In terms of best Pirates ever, the .282 lifetime hitter is right up there with another Pittsburgh legend who will appear on this list soon.

#44: Rickey Henderson
Yes, Henderson is the all-time steals leader, but did you know that he also has 3,055 career hits and the all-time record for runs scored at 2,295? The ten-time All Star and 1990 AL MVP led the league in stolen bases in twelve seasons, including in 1998, when at 39 years old, he stole 66 bases for the A's.

#43: Al Kaline
The all-time Tigers leader in hits made the All Star Game in 13 straight years from 1955-1967. The .297 lifetime hitter even won ten Gold Gloves as an outfielder. He finished his Hall of Fame career with 3,007 hits.

#42: Johnny Bench
17 big league seasons. 14 All Star nods. Eleven seasons of 20 or more home runs. NL MVP in 1970 and 1972. Two-time home run leader and three-time RBI leader. Back-to-back World Series champ in 1975 and 1976. Ten consecutive Gold Gloves as a catcher. Need I say more?

#41: Robin Yount
Yes, he only made three All Star teams for the AL during his 20-year career with the Brewers, but he did win the AL MVP twice in 1982 and 1989, collect 3,142 career hits, and bat .285 during his career.  And to top it all off, what a mustache this guy had!


#40-36 are coming up next, so get pumped! Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."