When Joe DiMaggio was alive, he insisted on being introduced as “the greatest living ballplayer,” whether he actually was or not. Since he died, that mantle has not been bestowed upon anyone. It’s too difficult a task to assign the moniker to any one player, so I’ve come up with the top 10 greatest living ballplayers — five hitters, five pitchers, listed in order by oldest to youngest:
Stan Musial, 89
One of the most underrated superstars because he spent his career out of the limelight in St. Louis, Musial was a career .331 hitter with 475 home runs, 1951 RBIs and 3630 hits — fourth on the all-time hits list. He also won three MVPs.
Willie Mays, 79
Many people who saw Mays play in his prime say he was the most exciting player ever, if not the best. 660 homers, 1903 RBIs, 3283 hits — not bad totals.
Hank Aaron, 76
Also an underrated player in a small market, Aaron’s greatness cannot be denied — second in home runs with 755, first in RBIs with 2297, third in hits with 3771.
Pete Rose, 69
The all-time hits leader with 4256, including ten seasons of 200+, Rose was one of the fiercest competitors in the game. He is also second in doubles with 746.
Barry Bonds, 46
Say what you want about the alleged steroid use, Bonds was simply one of the best players ever. Number one in homers with 762, 1996 RBIs and seven MVP awards.
Bob Feller, 91
Feller was 266-162 in his career, but missed three full seasons and most of a fourth while serving in World War II. In the three years before the war, he won 24, 27, and 25 games. In the two full seasons afterwards, he won 26 and 20. It’s safe to assume he would have won upwards of 350 games if not for the war.
Sandy Koufax, 74
Koufax has a six-year run that will never be equalled, winning three Cy Youngs and one MVP award. Had he not retired at age 30 because of arthritis, his numbers likely would have been among the best.
Tom Seaver, 65
Seaver made the cut over possibly better pitchers like Steve Carlton and Bob Gibson because he was a Met, and this is a Mets website, after all. But Seaver was no slouch — 311 wins, sixth in strikeouts with 3640, 2.86 ERA, three Cy Young awards.
Roger Clemens, 48
Like Bonds, leave out the steroid accusations, and Clemens was simply stunning. His 354 wins is ninth all-time, he’s third in strikeouts with 4672, seven Cy Youngs and an MVP.
Greg Maddux, 44
Maddux killed the Mets, but he is eighth in wins with 355, tenth with 3371 strikeouts and four Cy Young awards.