The month of March is here and it is time for the sports madness that occurs each year during this time of the year. For those of us that are baseball fans, the madness is the month of build up, hope, and anticipation as the baseball season is soon to start.
After a recent visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and some conversations about the people enshrined in the Hall of Fame, we at 85% Sports and Inside Pulse Sports are trying to come up with that answer. Who is the top Hall of Famer of all time? We did not think we could answer that question alone, so we turn to you…the baseball world and baseball community for assistance.
Hall of Fame March Madness is here. We have taken the time to select the Hall of Famers that we believe are the Top 68 Hall of Famers of all time. The only factor was that they must have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The selections were not easy and we may not even right in your eyes in our choices and decisions, but we made our selections and we stand by them. We have separated the Famers into four brackets, named for four Hall of Fame managers representing four of the all-time stories franchises: Sparky Anderson (Cincinnati Reds), Leo Durocher (New York/San Francisco Giants), Branch Rickey (Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers) and Casey Stengel (New York Yankees).
Just like that other tournament, we had an additional four Hall of Famers. The extra Famer in each bracket will go head to head with the last ranked player in that bracket. After this opening round is played, the bracket will continue in true form: 1 vs. 16, 2 vs. 15, 3 vs. 14 and so forth. Every time there is a head to head matchup, one Famer moves on and the matchups get harder and harder.
Round one starts now, make your choice and let us all decide who the Top Hall of Famer of All-Time is.
Let the madness begin.
#1 – Hank Aaron
Milwaukee Braves, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, 1954-1976
Elected in 1982, 1st Ballot, 97.8%
.305 Batting Average, 3298 Games, 12364 AB, 2174 Runs, 3771 Hits, 624 doubles, 755 Home Runs, 2297 runs batted in, 1402 walks
This 25-time all-star was the 1975 National league MVP and a three-time Gold Glove winner. For three decades, his home run number one of the most storied numbers in professional sports. He scored over 100 runs in thirteen seasons in a row and had over 175 hits in a season 10 times. Although never hitting 50 home runs in a season, he hit 40 or more home runs seven times in his career. He is in the Top 40 in wins above replacement, slugging percentage, on-base plus slugging, games played, at bats, plate appearances, runs scored, hits, total bases, doubles, home runs, runs batted in and other categories as well.
“Trying to throw a fastball by Henry Aaron is like trying to sneak a sunrise past a rooster.” – Curt Simmons
#17 – Jim Palmer
Baltimore Orioles, 1965-1984
Elected in 1990 by the BBWAA, 1st Ballot, 92.6%
268 Wins, 152 Loses, 2.86 ERA, 558 Games Pitched, 3947 Innings Pitched, 2212 Strikeouts, 1311 Walks
Jim Palmer was the backbone of the Baltimore Orioles for almost 20 years. He led them to six World Series, winning three. Over his 19-seasons, he had eight 20-win seasons and a career .638 winning percentage. The six-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner and three-time Cy Young Award winner pitched his entire career without allowing a grand slam. He is in the Top 40 in career wins above replacement for pitchers, wins, win-loss %, games started and shutouts
“Most pitchers are too smart to manage” – Jim Palmer
#8 – Tris Speaker
Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, Philadelphia A’s, 1907-1928
Elected in 1937, 2nd Ballot, 82.1%
.345 Batting Average, 2789 Games, 10195 AB, 1881 Runs, 3515 Hits, 792 doubles, 222 triples, 724 runs batted in, 434 stolen bases
Speaker was a player with few equals offensively and defensively. He is the all-time leader in doubles and outfield assists. He was the 1912 American League MVP. He scored over 100 runs in a season seven times, had over 200 hits in a season four times and led the league in doubles eight times. He was a three-time World Series winner, including 1920 where he was a player-manager. He is in the Top 40 in career wins above replacement, batting average, on-base percentage, games played, at-bats, plate appearances, runs scored, hits, total bases, doubles, triples, walks and singles.
“Luck is the great stabilizer in baseball.” – Tris Speaker
#9 Yogi Berra
New York Yankees, New York Mets, 1946-1965
Elected in 1972, 2nd Ballot, 85.6%
.285 Batting Average, 2120 Games, 7555 AB, 1175 Runs, 2150 Hits, 321 doubles, 358 home runs, 1430 runs batted in
Maybe better known for things he has said, Berra was named to the American League All-Star team nineteen times. He topped the 100-RBI mark four years in a row and is a three-time American League MVP in a career that featured 14 pennants and 10 World Series titles. He has played in 75 World Series games, hitting 39 home runs and driving in 39. He hit over 20 home runs in a season 11 times and spent part of World War II fighting for his country.
“You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.” – Yogi Berra
#5 – Sandy Koufax
Brooklyn Dodgers, Los Angeles Dodgers, 1955-1966
Elected in 1972 by the BBWAA, 1st Ballot, 86.9%
165 Wins, 87 Losses, 2.76 ERA, 397 Games Pitched, 2325 Innings Pitched, 2396 Strikeouts
How does a player with statistics not comparable to others get into the Hall of Fame? He was that good. He won 25 games in three seasons, won the ERA title five times and struck out 382 batters in 1965. He pitched no-hitters in four consecutive seasons, including a perfect game in 1965. The eight-time all-star won the Cy Young three times, the Major League Player of the Year twice, The Sporting News Player of the year three times and won the Pitching triple Crown (wins, ERA and strikeouts) three times. He participated in four World Series, winning three and had a career postseason ERA of 0.95. He is in the Top 40 in career win-loss percentage, WHIP and strikeouts. He retired after the 1967 season, with 27 wins, 1.73 ERA, 27 complete games, 323 innings pitched and 317 strikeouts.
“I can see how he won 25 games. What I don’t understand is how he lost five.” – Yogi Berra about Koufax’s 1963 season
#12 – Harry Heilmann
Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds, 1914-1931
Elected in 1952, 7th Ballot, 86.8%
.342 Batting Average, 2146 Games, 7787 AB, 1291 Runs, 2660 Hits, 542 doubles, 1229 runs batted in
Heilmann has the third highest batting average for right handed batters. He was a teammate of Ty Cobb and emulated his mentor with four batting titles, with batting averages of .394, .403, .393 and .398. He missed hitting .400 in the previous three seasons by a total of nine hits. He scored over 100 runs four times in his career and hot over 40 doubles in a season eight times and batted over .350 six times in hos career. He is in the Top 40 in career batting average, on-base percentage, on-base plus slugging percentage and doubles.
“Harry Heilmann was one of the most marvelous men I ever met in baseball and one of the greatest right-handed hitters. He had a choppy stroke, but powerful. He was a tough man to pitch to.” – Ted Lyons
#4 – Josh Gibson
Pittsburgh Crawdads, Homestead Grays, 1930-1946
Elected in 1972, Negro Leagues Committee
Career Stats in the Negro Leagues:
.359 Batting Average, 510 Games, 1855 AB, 467 Runs, 666 Hits, 109 doubles, 115 Home Runs, 432 runs batted in, 255 walks
Gibson is considered the greatest power hitter in Negro Leagues history. He played in two of the largest baseball parks of the time, Forbes Field and Griffith Stadium. He was able to hit for power and average. In recorded at-bats against Major League pitchers, he batted .426. He has been credited with 84 home runs in one seasons and nearly 800 home runs in his career, although many were against semi-pro players and amateurs. In Negro Leagues statistical history, he is ranked third overall in batting average and second in home runs, although having a much better home runs per at-bat average. He was a finalist for The Sporting News All-Century Team and ranks 18th on their list of All-Time Greatest Players.
“Josh Gibson was, at the minimum, two Yogi Berras.” – Bill Veeck
#13 – Nolan Ryan
New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, 1966-1993
Elected in 1999 by the BBWAA, 2nd Ballot, 98.8%
324 Wins, 292 Losses, 3.19 ERA, 807 Games Pitched, 5387 Innings Pitched, 5714 Strikeouts
Pitching for an unprecedented 27 seasons, Nolan Ryan set the all-time record with 5714 strikeouts. With a fastball that never lost velocity, he threw seven no-hitters and 12 one-hitters. The eight-time all-star struck out a record 383 hitters in 1973 and with his career strikeouts nearly 1200 have had strike three called upon them. Never winning a Cy Young Award, he was the American league Pitcher of the Year in 1977. He is in the Top 40 in career wins above replacement for pitchers, wins, strikeouts, games started and shutouts. He is the only pitcher to strike out the side on nine pitched balls in both the National League (April 19, 1968) and the American League (July 9, 1972).
“One of the beautiful things about baseball is that every once in a while you come into a situation where you want to, and where you have to, reach down and prove something.” – Nolan Ryan
#6 – Juan Marichal
San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, 1960-1975
Elected in 1983 by the BBWAA, 3rd Ballot, 83.7%
243 Wins, 142 Losses, 2.89 ERA, 471 Games Pitched, 3506 Innings Pitched, 2303 Strikeouts
The nine-time all-star won 20 games in a season six times. He averaged less than 10 losses in a season throughout his career and threw a no-hitter in 1963. He led the National League in complete games and shutouts two times, with career numbers of 244 and 52 respectively. In 1966 he had an .806 winning percentage and had an ERA under 2.50 six times. He is in the Top 40 in career wins above replacement for pitchers, WHIP and shutouts.
“I have five pitches. Fast ball, change, curve, slider, screwball. I don’t know any hitters. Catcher, he tells me what to do. I can get any pitch I want over the plate.” – Juan Marichal
#11 – George Brett
Kansas City Royals, 1973-1993
Elected in 1999, 1st Ballot, 98.2%
.305 Batting Average, 2707 Games, 10349 AB, 1583 Runs, 3154 Hits, 665 doubles, 317 home runs, 1596 runs batted in, 201 stolen bases
George Brett became the first player in Major League history to hit 3,000 hits, 300 home runs, 600 doubles, 100 triples, 1,500 RBIs and 200 stolen bases. He is a 12-time all-star won the 1980 American League MVP and was also awarded the Major League Player of the year that same season. He won one Gold Glove and three Silver Sluggers. In 1980 he batted within ten points of the magical number of .400, the highest since ted Williams hit .406 in 1941. He is in the Top 40 in career games played , at bats, plate appearances, hits, total bases, doubles, runs batted in and singles.
“If there was one player I ever wanted to be like, it was George Brett.” – Robin Yount
#3 – Mickey Mantle
New York Yankees – 1951-1968
Elected in 1974, 1st Ballot, 88.2%
.298 Batting Average, 2401 Games, 8102 AB, 1677 Runs, 2415 Hits, 344 doubles, 536 Home Runs, 1509 runs batted in, 1733 walks
This 20-time all-star was a three-time MVP and the Major League Player of the Year during the year he won the Triple Crown, 1956. In his years with the Yankees, he was part of 12 pennant winning teams and won seven World Series. In 65 World Series games, he has 18 home runs and 40 runs batted in. He scored over 100 runs in nine straight seasons and had over 30 home runs in a season nine times. If not for injuries, he may have been considered as the best player ever. Has many records for switch hitters. He is in the Top 40 in wins above replacement, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, on-base plus slugging percentage, runs scored, home runs, runs batted in and walks.
“That boy hits baseballs over buildings. He runs as fast as Ty Cobb.” – Casey Stengel
#14 – Al Kaline
Detroit Tigers, 1953-1974
Elected in 1980, 1st Ballot, 88.3%
.297 Batting Average, 2834 Games, 10116 AB, 1622 Runs, 3007 Hits, 498 doubles, 399 home runs, 1583 runs batted in
At the age of 20, Kaline won the batting title with an average of .340. He played for 22 seasons and won ten Gold Glove Awards and was selected to 15 All-Star teams. He finished in the Top 5 of the MVP voting four times and in his only World Series appearance, a victory, he batted .379 with two home runs. He is in the Top 40 in career wins above replacement, games played, at bats, plate appearances, hits, total bases, runs batted in, singles and times on base.
“There have been a lot of great defensive players. The fella who could do everything is Al Kaline. He was just the epitome of what a great outfielder is all about — great speed, catches the ball and throws the ball well.” – Brooks Robinson
#7 – Mike Schmidt
Philadelphia Phillies, 1972-1989
Elected in 1995, 1st Ballot, 96.5%
.267 Batting Average, 2404 Games, 8352 AB, 1506 Runs, 2234 Hits, 408 doubles, 548 Home Runs, 1595 runs batted in
The 12-time all-star won 10 Gold Gloves, three Gold Gloves and was named The Sporting News Player of the Decade for the 1980s. He won the Silver Slugger Award six times. He set a recorded with 48 home runs as a third baseman in 1980 and hit 40 home runs in a season three times and 30 home runs in a season ten times. Considered one of the greatest power hitters in history, Schmidt is in the Top 40 in career wins above replacement, home runs, runs batted in, walks and sacrifice flies.
“If you could equate the amount of time and effort put in mentally and physically into succeeding on the baseball field and measured it by the dirt on your uniform, mine would have been black.” – Mike Schmidt
#10 – Edward “Whitey” Ford
New York Yankees, 1950 – 1964
Elected in 1974 by the BBWAA, 2nd Ballot, 77.8%
236 Wins, 106 Losses, 2.74 ERA, 498 Games Pitched, 3171 Innings Pitched, 1956 Strikeouts
Whitey Ford was the top starter on the Yankees teams of the 1950s and early 1960s. His lifetime record of 236-106 gives him the best winning percentage (.690) of any 20th-century pitcher. He led the American League in wins three times and in led the American League in ERA and shutouts two times each. He is the winner of the 1961 Cy Young Award winner and a three-time winner of The Sporting News Pitcher of the year. The ten-time all-star is still the holder of many World Series records, including 10 wins and 94 strikeouts, once pitching 33 consecutive scoreless innings in a row. He is in the Top 40 in career winning percentage and shutouts.
“I don’t care what the situation was, how high the stakes were — the bases could be loaded and the pennant riding on every pitch, it never bothered Whitey Ford. He pitched his game. Cool. Craft. Nerves of steel.” – Mickey Mantle
#2 – Cy Young
Five organizations, Many team names, 1890-1911
Elected in 1937 by the BBWAA, 2nd Ballot, 76.1%
511 Wins, 316 Losses, 2.63 ERA, 815 Games Pitched, 7356 Innings Pitched, 2803 Strikeouts, 11217 Walks
Cy Young hold many all-time records for pitchers and has the top pitcher of the year award named for him. He won almost 100 games more than any other pitcher in Major league history and his all-time wins record is the unbreakable record. He won 30 games, five times and won 20 games, 15 times. he won the 1901 Pitchers Triple Crown (wins, ERA, strikeouts). He is in the Top 40 in career wins above replacement, wins, games played, innings pitched, games started, complete games and shutouts.
“A man who isn’t willing to work from dreary morn till weary eve shouldn’t think about becoming a pitcher.” – Cy Young
#15 – Al Simmons
Played for seven organizations, 1924-1944
Elected in 1953, 7th Ballot, 75.4%
.334 Batting Average, 2215 Games, 8763 AB, 1507 Runs, 2927 Hits, 539 doubles, 307 home runs, 1827 runs batted in
With an unorthodox batting style, he still hit over 300 runs with a batting average over .330 while stepping towards the dugout with each swing. Until Al Kaline passed him, he had the most hits by any American League player. He won the batting titles in consecutive seasons and hit over .300 while driving in 100 runs in 11 straight seasons. He is a two-time World Series winner and played in the first three All-Star Games. He is in the Top 40 in career batting average, hits, total bases, doubles, runs batted in and extra base hits.
“Baseball doesn’t owe me a thing. It was wonderful to me, and I owe everything I’ve got to the game. That’s one reason why Id like to stay with it. No other business or fame could have given me so many happy years.” – Al Simmons
Voting ends 3/21.