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Ranking Albert Pujols Among MLB’s 15 Greatest Hitters of All Time

Greatest Hitters of All Time

Albert Pujols
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Albert Pujols became the 26th member of the 500 home run club this week. After a decade of excellence with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pujols has earned his standing as one of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball.

With apologies to Frank Robinson, Honus Wagner and Tony Gwynn, here are the 15 greatest hitters of all time.

15. Mickey Mantle

Mickey Mantle All-Time Best Hitters
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15. Mickey Mantle

Mickey Mantle All-Time Best Hitters
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Mantle is the greatest switch hitter in baseball history. He won back to back AL MVP Awards in 1956 and 1957, combining for 86 home runs, a .358/.487/.686 slash line and 22.6 WAR. His 536 home runs is the most ever by a switch hitter, and his longest homers hold a legendary status.

14. Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez All-Time Best Hitters
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14. Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez All-Time Best Hitters
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The actual impact of Rodriguez's PED use will probably never be known, but the numbers he's posted over his career are astonishing. "A-Rod" hit at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs for 13 consecutive seasons, a feat unmatched in baseball history. Even if he doesn't play another game, he'll finish in the top six in career home runs and RBIs.

13. Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols All-Time Best Hitters
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13. Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols All-Time Best Hitters
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Currently only 34 years old, Pujols could finish as one of the five greatest hitters in the history of the game. He is one of only 11 players in baseball history with over 500 home runs and 500 doubles, and his career OPS of 1.008 ranks eighth best in baseball history. Over Pujols' first ten seasons, he averaged over 40 home runs per season and hit .331.

12. Joe DiMaggio

Joe Dimaggio All-Time Best Hitters
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12. Joe DiMaggio

Joe Dimaggio All-Time Best Hitters
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"Joltin' Joe" is best known for his 56-game hitting streak in 1941, but his career numbers would have been much better if he hadn't missed three years of his prime to serve in the military. He finished with a .325 career batting average, won nine World Series championships and struck out only 369 times in 6,821 at bats.

11. Pete Rose

Pete Rose All-Time Greatest Hitters
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11. Pete Rose

Pete Rose All-Time Greatest Hitters
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Rose eclipsed 200 hits in a season 10 separate times. He led the National League in hits seven times, led in doubles five times and led in runs four times. Although his gambling scandal derailed his surefire induction into the Hall of Fame, his 4,256 career hits may never be seriously threatened.

10. Jimmie Foxx

Jimmie Foxx All-Time Best Hitters
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10. Jimmie Foxx

Jimmie Foxx All-Time Best Hitters
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Overshadowed by contemporaries Ruth and Gehrig, Foxx was not too shabby himself. He was the second player to pass the 500 home run plateau, and his .428 career OBP ranks 10th all-time. He won back to back MVP awards in 1932 and 1933, racking up 417 hits, 106 home runs and 332 RBIs over that two-year stretch.

9. Rogers Hornsby

Rogers Hornsby All-Time Best Hitters
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9. Rogers Hornsby

Rogers Hornsby All-Time Best Hitters
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Hornsby's 1922 season is one of the most statistically impressive seasons in baseball history. He picked up 250 hits, scored 141 runs, hit 42 homers and drove in 152. He led the National League in batting average seven times, led in slugging nine times and led in OPS 11 times. His .424 batting average in 1924 hasn't been bested since, and his .358 career average ranks second all time.

8. Ty Cobb

Ty Cobb All-Time Great Hitters

8. Ty Cobb

Ty Cobb All-Time Great Hitters
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"The Georgia Peach" hit .316 or better for 23 consecutive seasons. In 1911, Cobb hit .420 with 248 hits, 24 triples and 127 RBIs. His .366 career batting average is the best in baseball history.

7. Lou Gehrig

Lou Gehrig All-Time Best Hitters
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7. Lou Gehrig

Lou Gehrig All-Time Best Hitters
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"The Iron Horse" is best known for his streak of 2,130 consecutive games played, but Gehrig also put up some of the greatest offensive seasons in baseball history. From 1927 through 1938, he averaged 38 home runs and over 150 RBIs per season. His .340 career batting average ranks 16th all time.

6. Stan Musial

Stan Musial All-Time Best Hitters
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6. Stan Musial

Stan Musial All-Time Best Hitters

Over Musial's first 18 seasons, he never hit worse than .310 in a season. His 725 career doubles ranks third all time, and he led the National League in hits six times. Had he not missed one year in the middle of his career to serve in World War II, he also could have finished with more than 500 home runs.

5. Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds All-Time Best Hitters
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5. Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds All-Time Best Hitters
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For whatever you think of Bonds' personality or PED use, he was the most feared hitter in baseball history. His .609 OBP in 2004 is the highest single-season mark in baseball history, and his career .444 OBP ranks sixth all time. He holds the MLB single season and career records for both home runs and walks.

4. Willie Mays

Willie Mays All-Time Best Hitters
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4. Willie Mays

Willie Mays All-Time Best Hitters
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The quintessential five-tool player, Mays could hit for power and average. From 1954 through 1966, Mays averaged just under 40 home runs per season and hit .315. His 660 home runs ranks fourth all time, and he could have hit over 700 homers if he hadn't missed one season to serve in the military.

3. Hank Aaron

Hank Aaron Best All-Time Hitters
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3. Hank Aaron

Hank Aaron Best All-Time Hitters
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Aaron was the most consistent power hitter in baseball history, hitting 26 or more home runs for 19 consecutive seasons. He is the all-time leader in RBIs and total bases, and he ranks third all time in hits with 3,771.

2. Ted Williams

Ted Williams All-Time Best Hitters
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2. Ted Williams

Ted Williams All-Time Best Hitters
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Even though he lost three years of his prime to serve in the military, "The Splendid Splinter" is one of the greatest hitters of all time. He's typically remembered for being the last player to hit over .400 in a season, but his .482 career OBP is equally impressive. Williams had an impeccable batting eye, finishing with nearly three times as many walks as strikeouts over his career.

1. Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth All-Time Best Hitters
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1. Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth All-Time Best Hitters
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One century after making his MLB debut, Ruth remains the greatest hitter of all time. His .690 career slugging percentage and 1.164 career OPS are both MLB records. His 714 home runs are what Ruth is best remembered for, but his .342 career batting average ranks ninth all time as well.

Walter Bergeson is a writer for Rantsports.com.  Follow him on twitter @WalterBSports or add him to your network on Google