This list contains some of the most prodigious MLB power hitters of the 20th century. It is likely to generate some consternation, and disagreement, however, we invite spirited debate in these matters. Baseball is ‘America’s Pastime’ and as such, a walk down memory lane to remember and pay tribute to some of the very best is a very good thing.
#16. Dave Parker / Pittsburgh Pirates
Dave Parker was an absolute beast of a power hitter. Striking fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers was commonplace for Dave during the late 1970’s and through the 1980’s. His career saw 2712 hits, 339 Home Runs, 1493 rbi’s, combined with a career batting average of .290. Serious dude.
#15. Pedro Guerrero / Los Angeles Dodgers
Pedro Guerrero had a wonderful 15 year playing career in which he showcased the kind of raw power hitting talent that comes around only a few times in a generation. His career numbers include, over 1,600 hits, 215 Home Runs, a .300 batting average, and a .480 slugging percentage. Pedro was one of the more exciting players of his era.
#14. Larry Walker / Colorado Rockies
Larry Walker had a long and very successful career, however his impact is best indicated by his 1997 season. He batted a mind-boggling .366, hit 49 home runs, drove in 130, then he decided to steal 33 bases, with 409 total bases. He became the first Canadian player to win the MLB MVP Award. A 5 time All-Star, Larry’s career numbers were stellar: .313 career average. 383 Home Runs, and over 1,300 runs batted in. Not bad. A true slugger.
#13. Andre Dawson / Chicago Cubs
Andre ‘The Hawk’ Dawson played 21 major league seasons. His power and offensive impact are legendary in the windy city. Andre batted over .300 five times, he drove in 100 or more runs four times, and in 13 different seasons, he hit 20 or more home runs. Feel free to add three seasons with 30 or more stolen bases. He is currently one of eight MLB players who hit 300 home runs, and stole 300 stolen bases. Pretty good, no? 438 career Home runs, and over 1,500 runs batted in says that Andre was awesome.
#12. Jim Rice / Boston Redsox
In 2009 Jim Rice was voted into the MLB Hall of Fame. This was the ultimate tribute to a career that saw him put up gaudy power numbers, while still hitting for average. He was an 8 time All-Star, winning the MLB MVP in 1978. Jim held a career Batting average of .298, with over 2,500 hits, 382 Home Runs, and over 1,400 runs batted in. Numbers speak loud.
#11. Carl Yastremski / Boston Redsox
Carl ‘Yaz’ Yastremski was serious business at the plate, and the heart and soul of the 1960’s and 70’s Boston Redsox teams. A career batting average of .285, with over 3,000 hits, 452 Home Runs, and over 1,800 runs batted in. ‘Yaz’ was the quintessential fan favorite in the New England area.
#10. Eddie Murray / Baltimore Orioles
Eddie ‘Steady Eddie’ Murray played major league baseball for what seemed an eternity. Upon investigation, it was 20 years of racking at the plate. He held a career batting average of .287, with the rarefied air of over 3,000 hits, and 504 Home Runs, along with over 1,900 runs batted in. ‘Steady Eddie’ was nothing if not exactly what his name says he was.
#9. Albert Belle / Cleveland Indians
Rarely has there been a player with white-hot intensity as Albert Belle. He struck fear in the hearts of pitchers, mostly because of his other worldly ability, and slightly because he had ‘a few screws loose’. Either way in 1995 Albert had a monster season becoming the first player to have 50 doubles, and 50 home runs in one season. In total his career numbers of .295, with 381 Home Runs, and over 1,200 runs batted in are Hall of Fame borderline, but his impact during an 8 year stretch was unbelievable.
#8. Mike Schmidt / Philadelphia Phillies
Michael Jack Schmidt was the quintessential power hitter of his day. A model of consistency, he was the cornerstone of a talented Phillies team of the 1980’s. A 12 time All-Star in 18 seasons, Mike was inducted into the hall of Fame in 1995. His career numbers of 2,234 hits, 548 Home Runs, and over 1,500 runs batted in, speak for themselves. The real deal.
#7. Daryl Strawberry / New York Mets
Daryl Strawberry arriving in the Big Apple in the mid 1980’s signaled a dawn of a new day for the New York Mets. The 1986 Championship team was a testament to this. He had transcendent talent, and although his career was slightly derailed due to personal issues, he still made an extraordinary impact. Being an 8 time All-Star, with 335 Home Runs (Most of them Tape Measure), and 1,000 runs batted in is nothing to sneeze at. Daryl was an exceptional talent who was equally as exciting to watch.
#6. Chipper Jones / Atlanta Braves
Larry ‘Chipper’ Jones was a throwback ball player with matinee idol popularity. He was an 8 time All-Star. A World Series Champion. A league MVP. Won 2 Silver Slugger awards. Sweet. You can add a .303 career batting average, with over 2,700 hits, 468 Home Runs, and over 1,600 runs batted in to his bonafides. An easy Hall of Famer when eligible, Chipper was a special player, and a true 20th century slugger.
#5. Mike Piazza / New York Mets
We can now call Mike Piazza a MLB Hall of Fame player. We can also call him the best offensive catcher in league history. Not bad for a player who was drafted by the Dodgers as a favor to Tommy Lasorda. His career numbers are staggering: .308 batting average, 427 Home Runs, and over 1,300 runs batted in. But his 1997 season numbers are legendary: a .362 batting average, with 40 Home Runs, and 124 rbi’s. A catcher did that.
#4. Ken Griffey Jr. / Seattle Mariners
You can call him ‘The Kid’, or ‘Junior’, but now you definitely have to call Ken Griffey Jr. a Hall of Fame player. Perhaps the most naturally gifted ball player ever, Griffey Jr. played the game with a boyish enthusiasm that was infectious, and wonderful. ‘The Kid’ could hit like nobody’s business. Career numbers: A .284 average, 2,781 hits, 630 Home Runs, and over 1,800 runs batted in. Baseball hasn’t seen the likes of ‘Junior’ before or since.
#3. Mickey Mantle / New York Yankees
In the 1950’s you couldn’t pick a better ball player from central casting than Mickey Mantle. An easy Hall of Famer (1974) the Mick was a slugger in every sense of the word. A New York Yankee legend, Mickey’s career numbers demand reverence: A .298 batting average, 2,415 hits, over 1,500 runs batted in, and of course 536 Home Runs. Did we forget to mention his 20 All-Star appearances, and 7 World Series titles? Our bad. His greatness.
#2. Hank Aaron / Atlanta Braves
Technically Henry ‘Hank’ Aaron is #2 in all-time Home Runs. However, to many Hank is the true Home Run king. In either case his career numbers are staggering: A .305 batting average, 3,771 hits, 2,297 runs batted in, and his legendary 755 Home Runs. Hank suffered through racism in his career which makes his achievements all the more remarkable. He is a fabulous ambassador of the game, a man who deserves all the respect in the world.
#1. Barry Bonds / San Francisco Giants
Has there ever been a more polarizing sports figure than Barry Bonds? Perhaps not, but what is unmistakeable was his prodigious talent. PHD suspisions aside, Barry Bonds was a Hall of Fame player regardless of what he may or may not have done later in his career. He already had 4 of his eventual 7 MVP awards on his mantle. His career numbers are astronomical: A .298 batting average, 2,935 hits, 1,996 runs batted in, and of course the highly controversial 762 Home Runs (Most by any human being, ever.) and you can throw in 514 stolen bases. Barry is #1 on our list, for sure.
*The Greatest Ever* Willie ‘Say Hey Kid’ Mays / San Francisco Giants
24 Time All-Star. World Series champion 1954. 2 Time NL MVP (10 Years Apart). NL Rookie of the Year 1951. 12 Time Gold Glove Winner. 2 Time MLB All-Star Game MVP. Roberto Clemente Award 1971. NL Batting Champion 1954. 4 Time NL Home Run Leader. 4 Time NL Stolen Base Leader. Those are numbers and accomplishments that truly speak for themselves. There isn’t much to say about the greatest all around ball player in history.