Top 15 MLB Outfielders of Live Ball Era
Top 15 MLB Outfielders of Live Ball Era
Every fielded position for a Major League Baseball team is important and has its own unique job. Most of the time you would say that one is not greater than another, they are just different. That is true but one position demands the most overall physically from the athletes that call it home. The three outfield positions on any team usually have, or for the team’s sake hopefully has three of the best athletes manning them.
Outfielders have the most ground to cover, have to throw the farthest and sometimes are expected to run into the wall or give up their body in an all out dive to catch a ball. It is a demanding position for sure but some have mastered it. Those who have done well defensively and excelled offensively as well are beyond a shadow of a doubt some of the highest performers on any team.
This list is looking at the best overall outfielders from the live ball era. That began in 1921 by most accounts and had more to do with using a clean ball often than the ball actually being livelier. Regardless, beginning with that time frame and counting forward brings to mind a ton of great outfield names.
These are the top 15 in my opinion. If you happen to disagree or have an agreeing comment either, leave a comment below. Without any further delay, here are my top 15 MLB outfielders of the live ball era.
15 - Al Kaline
Though he did many things well, Al Kaline most impressively had a year of .340 average at the age of 20. It was good enough to make Kaline the youngest ever to win a batting title.
14 - Tim Raines
Raines was great defensively and very exciting offensively for a very long time. Specifically he was active from 1979 through 2002. Over that time-frame he had a stolen base percentage of 84.7%. Not bad huh?
13 - Al Simmons
Al Simmons isn’t the most recognizable name on this list. He spent quite a few years with the Philadelphia Athletics. What you might not know is the 11 year stretch that landed him on this list. Simmons had at least a .300 batting average and at least 100 RBI for 11 consecutive years. That about says it.
12 - Tony Gwynn
Gwynn was basically the Ted Williams of the 1980s through 1990s. His career batting average is .337 and he only struck out 434 times.
11 - Reggie Jackson
You know Jackson as Mr. October for his post-season exploits. What you may not know is that he had 30 more career homeruns than anyone else that played during his time in the game.
10 - Ken Griffey Jr
Honestly, 630 homers should land him higher on the list and it would except for what might have been. The years in Cincinnati that he spent injured robbed him of what possibly could have been the greatest career in the history of the game. Still, he finds himself in pretty good company.
9 - Carl Yastrzemski
This Boston Red Sox slugger was best described by his 1967 Triple Crown season. That year he also led the American League in runs, hits, slugging percentage, OBP, OPS and total bases. Bet that won’t happen again for a while.
8 - Roberto Clemente
Clemente left a lasting legacy from 1955 through 1972. His four batting titles, one MVP and .317 career average only describe part of the man that is still a legendary figure all across Baseball.
7 - Joe DiMaggio
DiMaggio played for the New York Yankees from 1936 through the 1951 season. Over that time frame he hit 361 homers and only struck out 369 times.
6 - Stan Musial
Stan “The Man” Musial is a beloved figure for well known reasons. Here is an interesting stat. His 1951 career RBI were almost bested by the 1949 runs he scored. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
5 - Barry Bonds
I don’t want to get into a PED debate here. Take any section of years you want off of Bonds’ career and he would still be high on this list. He is one of the best players ever, period.
4 - Hank Aaron
Hammerin’ Hank Aaron played from 1954 until 1976 and famously tallied 755 homers. He also knocked home 2297 RBI. He was pretty darn good.
3 - Mickey Mantle
No stat line can do justice to the figure of Mickey Mantle. He might not have been perfect but he was without a doubt the most beloved player possibly in the history of the game. Thinking of what could have been without his devastating knee injury and the other issues he had is almost scary. Regardless of what he could have been, it does not diminish the awesome figure and player that he was.
2 - Ted Williams
Williams famously strived to be known as the greatest hitter that ever lived. From 1939 until 1960 Williams won 6 batting titles, led the league in slugging percentage 9 times and on base percentage 12 times. His final season at the age of 41 saw him hit .316 with a .645 slugging percentage. Mission accomplished.
1 - Willie Mays
Anyone that has seen the famous over the shoulder catch by Mays knows that he was one of the best defensive players of all time. He also had 660 homers, 3283 hits, 1903 RBI and 338 stolen bases. He is the best outfielder of all time, all abilities considered. Also he made the all-star team every season from 1954 through 1973 and was elected to a whopping 24 all-star contests over his career. He’s the best, period.
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