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 – Ted Williams
Boston Red Sox, 1939-1960
Elected in 1966, 1st Ballot, 93.4%
.344 Batting Average, 2292 Games, 7706 AB, 1798 Runs, 2654 Hits, 525 doubles, 521 Home Runs, 1839 runs batted in, 2021 walks
Considered one of the best pure hitters, he accomplished the last batting average over .400 by batting .406 in 1941. He was named to 17 All-Star teams and won the 1942 and 1947 Triple Crown. He is a two time American league MVP (1942 and 1949) and is a five-time Major League Player of the Year. He has six batting titles and led the league in runs six times. He led the American League in on-base percentage twelve times. He is in the Top 40 in career wins above replacement, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, on-base plus slugging percentage, runs scored, total bases, doubles, home runs, runs batted in, walks and other categories as well.
“All I want out of life is that when I walk down the street folks will say, ‘There goes the greatest hitter that ever lived.’” – Ted Williams
#16 – Bill Dickey
New York Yankees, 1928 – 1946
Elected in 1954 by the BBWAA, 10th Ballot, 80.2%
.313 Batting Average, 1789 Games, 6300 AB, 930 Runs, 1969 Hits, 202 Home Runs, 1209 runs batted in
Bill Dickey was the catcher for eight pennant winners and seven World Championship teams. This 11-time All-Star was considered a great handler of pitchers with an extremely accurate throwing arm. He batted over .300 in ten of his first eleven seasons and set an American League record by catching 100 or more games for 13 years in a row. He is still in the Top 40 of career games as a catcher.
“He is the only man I ever saw who could make that tough [catching] job look easy.” – Bucky Harris
#8 – Mel Ott
New York Giants, 1926-1947
Elected in 1951, 3rd Ballot, 87.2%
.304 Batting Average, 2730 Games, 9456 AB, 1859 Runs, 2876 Hits, 488 doubles, 511 Home Runs, 1860 runs batted in
Entering the Major Leagues at the age of 17, Ott quickly became one of the National League’s best hitter. He led the league in home runs six times and drove in 100 runs in a season nine times. He scored over 100 runs in a season nine times and batted over .300 numerous times. He was a 12-time all-star and batted .389 with two home runs in the Giants only World Series victory with Ott. He is in the Top 40 in career wins above replacement, on-base percentage, on-base plus slugging percentage, games played, at-bats, late appearances, runs scored, hits, total bases, home runs, runs baqtted in and walks.
“He is a standout with me. Ott is the best-looking young hitter in my time with the Giants.” – John Mcgraw
#9 Bob Gibson
St. Louis Cardinals, 1959-1975
Elected in 1981 by the BBWAA, 1st Ballot, 84.0%
251 Wins, 174 Losses, 2.91 ERA, 528 Games Pitched, 3885 Innings Pitched, 3117 Strikeouts
This nine-time all-star won 20 games five times and nine Gold Gloves over 17 seasons. He was a two-time National League Cy Young Award Winner, the 1968 National League MVP and The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year twice. He set the bat when it came to intimidation on the mound and he used that on his way to a 1.12 ERA in 1968, the lowest since 1914. Gibson set World Series records with seven consecutive wins and 17 strikeouts in a game. With the Cardinals, he got to three World Series, winning two. He is in the Top 40 in career wins above replacement and shutouts.
“He’s the luckiest pitcher I ever saw. He always pitches when the other team doesn’t score any runs.” – Tim McCarver
#5 – Johnny Bench
Cincinnati Reds, 1967-1983
Elected in 1989, 1st Ballot, 96.4%
.267 Batting Average, 2158 Games, 7658 AB, 1091 Runs, 2048 Hits, 381 doubles, 389 Home Runs, 1376 runs batted in
This two-time MVP was also the 1968 National League Rookie of the year and the Major League Player of the Year in 1970. He was also the MVP of the only World Series that he was part of the winning team, 1976. In his 17 year career, he was a ten-time Gold Glove winner and a 14-time all-star. Two times he led the National League in home runs and three times led the league in runs batted in. He is also considered one of the top defensive catcher of all-time. While not in the Top 40 in offensive categories, he is in the Top 40 in career defensive games as a catcher and putouts as a catcher. He threw out 44% of all base-stealers.
“Every time Bench throws, everybody in baseball drools.” – Harry Dalton
#12 – Charlie Gehringer
Detroit Tigers, 1924-1942
Elected in 1949, 5th Ballot, 85.0%
.320 Batting Average, 2323 Games, 8860 AB, 1774 Runs, 2839 Hits, 574 doubles, 184 Home Runs, 1427 runs batted in, 1186 walks
This six-time all-star was the 1937 American Most Valuable MVP. He batted over .300 13 times and collected 200 hits seven times. He played in three World Series, winning one. He batted .321 in those three World Series. He was also an excellent second baseman, leading the Major Leagues in assists and fielding percentage seven times each. He is in the Top 40 in career wins above replacement for position players, runs scored, doubles and defensively in the Top 40 in assists, defensive games as a second baseman, putouts as a second baseman and assists as a second baseman.
“He hits .350 on Opening Day and stays there all season.” – Lefty Gomez
#4 – Christy Mathewson
New York Giants, Cincinnati Reds, 1900-1916
Elected in 1936 by the BBWAA, 1st Ballot, 90.7%
373 Wins, 188 Losses, 2.62 ERA, 635 Games Pitched, 4783 Innings Pitched, 2502 Strikeouts
Pitching 17 seasons, Mathewson led the National League in ERA five times, leading in wins four times and won at least 20 games thirteen times. He pitched in four World Series, but won only one. In the 1905 World Series, he pitched three shutouts in six days during that World Series. He has the Natioal League modern day record of 37 wins in 1908. Mathewson won the Pitcher’s Triple Crown (wins, ERA, strikeouts) twice. He is in the Top 40 in wins above replacement, ERA, wins, win-loss percentage, WHIP, innings pitches, strikeouts, games started, complete games and shutouts.
“Mathewson pitched against Cincinnati yesterday. Another way of putting it is that Cincinnati lost a game of baseball. The first statement means the same as the second.” – writer Damon Runyon
#13 – Reggie Jackson
Kansas City A’s, Oakland A’s, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, California Angels, 1967-1986
Elected in 1993, 1st Ballot, 93.6%
.262 Batting Average, 2820 Games, 9864 AB, 1551 Runs, 2584 Hits, 463 doubles, 563 Home Runs, 1702 runs batted in, 1375 walks
In 27 World Series games, “Mr. October” has hit 10 home runs, with 24 runs batted in and a .357 batting average. His three home gun game in 1977 was a moment that every player wishes to achieve. This 14-time all-star was the 1973 American League MVP, 1973 Major League Player of the Year and a two-time World Series MVP. He drove in 100 runs six times in his career and is the career leader in strikeouts. He is in the Top 40 in career games played, at-bats,, plate appearances, total bases, home runs, runs batted in, walks and strikeouts.
“I must admit, when Reggie hit his third home run [in the 1977 World Series] and I was sure nobody was looking, I applauded in my glove.” – Steve Garvey
#6 – Satchel Paige
Numerous teams – 1927-1953
Elected in 1971 by the Negro League Committee
28 Wins, 31 Losses, 3.29 ERA, 179 Games Pitched, 476 Innings Pitched, 286 Strikeouts
Paige debuted as a “veteran-rookie” at the age of 42 after pitching in the Negro Leagues for 19 seasons. He became the oldest rookie of all-time as he helped the Cleveland Indians win the pennant in his first season. Before his time in the Major Leagues, he was the dominant pitcher in the Negro Leagues. He won over 10 games in the NL four times and striking out over 100 batters four times as well. He would travel around the United States on barnstorming teams and regularly pitched against and dominated Major League batters. He once started 29 games in a month and claims to have won 104 of 105 games started in 1934. Joe DiMaggio claimed he was the best pitcher that he ever faced.
“He made his living by throwing the ball to a spot over the plate the size of a matchbook.” – Cool Papa Bell
#11 – Hank Greenberg
Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates, 1930-1947
Elected in 1956, 8th Ballot, 85.0%
.313 Batting Average, 1394 Games, 5193 AB, 1051 Runs, 1628 Hits, 379 doubles, 331 Home Runs, 1276 runs batted in, 852 walks
Hank Greenberg is a two-time all-star and won the award in two different positions. The five-time all-star succeeded although losing four seasons to World War II and injuries. He hit 40 home runs in a season four times, drove in more than 100 runs in a season seven times including driving in at least 150 runs three times. In 1938, Greenberg hit 58 home runs coming close to babe Ruth’s 60 home runs. Greenberg played in four World Series, winning two, batting .313 with five home runs in those four series. He is in the Top 40 in career on-base percentage, slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging percentage.
“He was one of the truly great hitters, and when I first saw him at bat, he made my eyes pop out.” – Joe DiMaggio
#3 – Rogers Hornsby
St. Louis Cardinals, New York Giants, Boston Braves, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Browns, 1915-1937
Elected in 1942, 5th Ballot, 78.1%Special Election
.358 Batting Average, 2259 Games, 8173 AB, 1579 Runs, 2930 Hits, 541 doubles, 169 triples, 301 Home Runs, 1318 runs batted in, 1038 walks
The two-time MVP also won the Triple Crown two times. Hornsby batted over .400 three times, batting .424 in 1924. His career batting average is the highest in National League history and was the player-manager of the World Champion 1926 St. Louis Cardinals. He scored over 100 runs five times in a season, had 40 doubles in a season six times and led the National League in runs batted in four times. He was the first National league player to amass 300 home runs. He is in the Top 40 in career wins above replacement, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, on-base plus slugging percentage, hits, total bases, doubles, triples and runs batted in. Defensively, he ranks in the Top 40 in defensive games as second place and assists at second bases.
“He’s the only guy I know who could hit .350 in the dark.” – Frankie Frisch
#14 – Harmon Killebrew
Washington Senators, Minnesota Twins, Kansas City Royals, 1954-1975
Elected in 1984, 4th Ballot, 83.1%
.256 Batting Average, 2435 Games, 8147 AB, 1283 Runs, 2086 Hits, 290 doubles, 573 Home Runs, 1584 runs batted in, 1559 walks
This 13-time all-star was the 1969 American League Most Valuable Player. At the time of his retirement, he was 2nd all-time in home runs by an American Leaguer. He led or tied for the American League in home runs six times and hit 40 home runs in a season eight times and drove in 100 runs in a season nine times. He is in the Top 40 in career home runs, runs batted in and walks.
“He was the meal ticket for our franchise for all those years in Washington and Minnesota.” – Calvin Griffith
#7 – Warren Spahn
Boston Braves, Milwaukee Braves, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, 1942-1965
Elected in 1973, 1st ballot, 83.2% Career Stats:
363 Wins, 245 Losses, 3.08 ERA, 750 Games Pitched, 5246 Innings Pitched, 2583 Strikeouts
Stylish Warren Spahn is the winningest left-hander in Major League history with 363 victories. He was a 20-game winner 13 times during his career, including six years in a row. He led the National League eight times in wins and complete games nine times. He is the National League all-time leader in innings pitched. He has thrown two no-hitters and won the 1957 Cy Young Award and the National League Sporting News Pitcher of the Year four times. He is in the Top 40 in career wins above replacement, wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, games started, complete games and shutouts.
“Hitting is timing. Pitching is upsetting timing.” – Warren Spahn
#10 – Eddie Mathews
Boston Braves, Milwaukee Braves, Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers, 1952-1968
Elected in 1966, 5th Ballot, 79.4%
.271 Batting Average, 2391 Games, 8537 AB, 1509 Runs, 2315 Hits, 354 doubles, 512 Home Runs, 1453 runs batted in, 1444 walks
This 13-time all-star became the seventh player in Major League history to hit 500 home runs in his career. He hit 30 home runs in a season 9 times and drove in 100 runs in a season 5 times and scored 100 runs in a season 8 times. In 1953, he hit 47 home runs in a season as a third baseman, the most ever for a third baseman at that time. Mathews holds the disctinction as the first athlete to ever be on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He is in the Top 40 in career wins above replacement, home runs and walks.
“I’ve known three or four perfect swings in my time. This boy’s got one of them.” – Ty Cobb
#2 – Lou Gehrig
New York Yankees, 1923-1939
Elected in 1939, Special Election
.340 Batting Average, 2164 Games, 8001 AB, 1888 Runs, 2721 Hits, 534 doubles, 164 triples, 493 Home Runs, 1995 runs batted in, 1058 walks
Lou Gehrig was part of the greatest tandems in Major League Baseball, along with Babe Ruth. He scored over 100 runs and batted in 100 runs in 13 straight seasons. In those 13 years, he averages 139 runs and 148 runs batted in. He had the American league record with 184 runs batted in, getting that record in 1931. He has a record 23 career grand slams and won the 1934 Triple Crown. He was part of 6 World Series Champions and batted .361 in his postseason career. He is a seven-time all-star and won the American League MVP twice and played in 2,130 straight games. He is in the Top 40 in career wins above replacement, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, on-base plus slugging percentage, runs scored, total bases, doubles, triples, home runs, runs batted in, walks and other categories as well.
“Lou was the most valuable player the Yankees ever had because he was the prime source of their greatest asset — an implicit confidence in themselves and every man on the club.” – sportswriter Stanley Frank
#15 – Steve Carlton
St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and four others, 1965-1988
Elected in 1994 by the BBWAA, 1st Ballot, 95.6%
329 Wins, 244 Losses, 3.22 ERA, 741 Games Pitched, 5216 Innings Pitched, 4136 Strikeouts
This two-time World Series winner was a ten-time all-star and won four Cy Young Awards (the first pitcher to do that), four-time The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year and won the 1972 National League Pitchers Triple Crown (wins, ERA and strikeouts). He is the second in all-time wins for a lefty and retired second in all-time strikeouts. He is in the Top 40 in career wins above replacement for pitchers, ERA, wins, WHIP, innings pitched, strikeouts, game started and shutouts.
“Hitting him is like trying to drink coffee with a fork.” – Willie Stargell
Voting ends 3/22.