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."