Baseball evolved from older bat-and-ball games already being played in England by the mid-18th century. This game was brought by immigrants to North America, where the modern version developed. By the late 19th century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States. The sport is currently popular in North America and parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, and East Asia, particularly Japan.
DSport has picked up the top 10 greatest baseball players of all time, just for you:
Career: 1914-35, Red Sox, Yankees, Braves
Fun fact: 714 homers, two 20-win seasons
Ruth is regarded as one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture and is considered by many to be the greatest baseball player of all time. Baseball icon Babe Ruth set numerous records as a pitcher and slugging outfielder. Nicknamed “The Bambino” and “The Sultan of Swat”, he began his Major League Baseball (MLB) career as a stellar left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox but achieved his greatest fame as a slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees. Over the course of his career, Ruth went on to break baseball’s most important slugging records, including most years leading a league in home runs, most total bases in a season, and highest slugging percentage for a season. In all, Ruth hit 714 home runs—a mark that stood until 1974. He was among the first five players inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame.
Career: 1951-73, Giants, Mets
Fun fact: Played in 24 All-Star Games
One of the greatest baseball players in history, Willie Mays thrilled fans over a 22-year big league career with his powerful bat and astonishing defensive skills. Celebrated for his superb all-around play, he was twice named MVP and finished among the all-time leaders in home runs and hits. Mays was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1979 and later became a special assistant to the Giants organization.
Career: 1986-2007, Pirates, Giants
Fun fact: Single-season (73) and career (762) home run leader
Barry Lamar Bonds is a former professional baseball left fielder who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. Bonds received seven NL MVP awards and 14 All-Star selections and is considered to be one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Bonds was regarded as an exceptional hitter: he led MLB in on-base plus slugging six times, and placed within the top five hitters in 12 of his 17 qualifying seasons. He holds many MLB hitting records, including most career home runs, most home runs in a single season (73, set in 2001) and most career walks.
Career: Red Sox, 1939-60
Fun fact: .344 hitter; zero 200-hit seasons
He played his entire 19-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career as a left fielder for the Boston Red Sox from 1939 to 1960. Williams was also an outstanding fielder, especially in the difficult left field of Fenway Park in Boston, where he played his entire Major League career at that position.
He won six batting titles, but that doesn’t really explain his mastery at the plate. Thanks to an excellent batting eye, Williams led the American League in on-base percentage seven straight years and 12 times overall. His .482 career on-base percentage is the best of all time. His batting average is the highest of any MLB player with 302 or more home runs.
Career: 1954-76, Braves, Brewers
Fun fact: Most career RBIs (2,297)
Considered one of the best baseball players of all time, Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s hallowed record of 714 home runs in 1974, finishing with a career total of 755. Aaron held the MLB record for career home runs for 33 years, and he still holds several MLB offensive records.
Aaron spent most of his 23 MLB seasons as an outfielder for the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves, during which time he set many records, including a career total of 755 home runs. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
Career: 1905-28, Tigers, Athletics
Fun fact: Highest career average (.366)
Ty Cobb set dozens of records and earned the highest percentage of votes in the first Hall of Fame election. He established records with his 12 batting titles and .366 career average, and also developed a reputation for his fierce play and a terrible temper.
Cobb is widely credited with setting 90 MLB records during his career. He still holds several records as of the end of the 2016 season, including the highest career batting average (.366 or .367, depending on source) and most career batting titles with 11 (or 12, depending on source).
Career: 1951-68, Yankees
Fun fact: World Series-record 18 homers
Mantle played his entire Major League Baseball (MLB) career with the New York Yankees as a center fielder and first baseman, from 1951 through 1968. Mantle was one of the best players and sluggers and is regarded by many as the greatest switch hitter in baseball history. Mantle was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974 and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999. He was arguably the greatest offensive threat of any center fielder in baseball history.
Career: 1941-63, Cardinals
Fun fact: 1,815 hits both home and road
He led the league in batting seven times, hit 475 home runs, scored nearly as many runs (1,949) as he drove in (1,951), won three MVP awards, and made 20 All-Star Games. Widely considered to be one of the greatest and most consistent hitters in baseball history, Musial was a first-ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969 and was also selected to the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in the inaugural class of 2014.
Career: 1897-1917, Pirates
Fun fact: Eight-time batting champion
The Flying Dutchman — who is the greatest shortstop ever — was an eight-time batting champion who hit .328 for his career. In 1936, the Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Wagner as one of the first five members. He received the second-highest vote total, behind Ty Cobb and tied with Babe Ruth.
Career: 1923-39, Yankees
Fun fact: Record 23 grand slams
A standout football and baseball player, Gehrig signed his first contract with the New York Yankees in April 1923. Over the next 15 years, he led the team to six World Series titles and set the mark for most consecutive games played. Gehrig was well-known for his prowess as a hitter and for his durability, a trait that earned him his nickname “The Iron Horse”.
He was an All-Star seven consecutive times, a Triple Crown winner once, an American League (AL) Most Valuable Player twice, and a member of six World Series champion teams.