Top 10 MLB Black Baseball Players of All Time Rankings
Ranking the Best Black Baseball Players in MLB History in honor of Black History Month
As we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and we head into Black History Month, we at Fan Rankings want to see who is the best of the best today and from yesteryear. In speaking of today compared to yesteryear, there are not many African American players in MLB. And so far, the numbers will continue to drop unless something is done.
Today, we combine the greats from today and yesteryear to rank the best Black Major League Baseball players of All-Time. It was a difficult choice because we have stars from multiple different eras. The depth of great players was so amazing that we omitted Hall of Famers such as Satchel Page, Tim Raines, Harold Baines, and Eddie Murray. Now without further ado here is the list but first here are some honorable mentions.
Team(s): Chicago Cubs (1961–1964) & St. Louis Cardinals (1964–1979)
Brock compiled 3,023 hits in his career as well as retired as the all-time leader in stolen bases with 938. His .391 batting average in the World Series is the highest among players that have played at least 20 games in the fall classic where he won titles in 194 and 1967.
Team(s): Cleveland Indians (1947–1955), Chicago White Sox (1956–1957), Cleveland Indians (1958), Detroit Tigers (1959), & Chicago White Sox (1959)
Almost Three months after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball for the National League, Doby broke the color barrier in the American League when he suited up for the Cleveland Indians against the Chicago white sox on July 5th, 1947. He was a World Series champion in 1948, a seven-time All-Star, and led the league in runs batted in 1954.
Top 10 Black Baseball Players All-Time
10. Rickey Henderson
Team(s): Oakland Athletics (1979–1984), New York Yankees (1985–1989), Oakland Athletics (1989–1993), Toronto Blue Jays (1993), Oakland Athletics (1994–1995), San Diego Padres (1996–1997), Anaheim Angels (1997), Oakland Athletics (1998), New York Mets (1999–2000), Seattle Mariners (2000), San Diego Padres (2001), Boston Red Sox (2002), & Los Angeles Dodgers (2003)
Henderson is the best leadoff hitter of all time. He had 100 plus stolen bases in a season on three occasions, he led the league in stolen bases a whopping 12 times, and he is the all-time stolen base leader (1,406) for a career that may never be broken. He also has the most lead-off home runs in history with 81 and his 2,295 runs are also first all-time.
9. Reggie Jackson
Team(s): Kansas City / Oakland Athletics (1967–1975), Baltimore Orioles (1976), New York Yankees (1977–1981), California Angels (1982–1986), & Oakland Athletics (1987)
Jackson, known as Mr. October, had the most iconic performances in World Series history. In Game 6 of the series, he hit three home runs on three straight pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers to clinch the 1977 World series where he won series MVP. He also won an American League MVP award in 1973 for the Oakland Athletics where he also won World Series MVP. Jackson is a five-time champion, 14-time all-star, and hit 563 career home runs.
8. Tony Gwinn
Team(s): San Diego Padres (1982–2001)
Gwinn was the best player to ever put on a San Diego Padres uniform. He won eight batting titles, seven Silver Slugger Awards, and has 3,141 hits. He was also a great defender in his prime while he collected five Gold Gloves at right field. He also won the Roberto Clemente Award in 1999 awarded to the Player that exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement, and contribution to the team.
7. Jackie Robinson
Team(s): Brooklyn Dodgers (1947–1956)
Robinson is best known as the man who broke the color barrier, but he was a great player besides that accomplishment. He won an NL batting title and the NL MVP award in 1949, a six-time All-star, and a World Series championship in 1955. At UCLA he also played basketball, football, and track and field. He is the first athlete in the four major sports to have his number retired league wide.
6. Ernie Banks
Team(s): Chicago Cubs (1953–1971)
Banks known as Mr. Cub is far and away the best player to put on that uniform. Banks was the first shortstop to hit 40 home runs in a season. He is the first National Leaguer to win back-to-back NL MVP awards in 1958 and 1959. He hit 512 home runs in his career.
5. Ken Griffey Jr.
Team(s): Seattle Mariners (1989–1999), Cincinnati Reds (2000–2008), Chicago White Sox (2008), & Seattle Mariners (2009–2010)
Griffey was another five-tool player that was largely responsible for Saving Baseball in the city of Seattle. One would think he should have stayed with the Mariners throughout his career. Had he not had those injuries throughout his time in Cincinnati he could have been the all-time home run king instead of Bonds. He still hit 630 home runs, 10 Gold Gloves, and seven Silver Slugger Awards.
4. Bob Gibson
Team(s): St. Louis Cardinals (1959–1975)
Gibson was one of the most feared pitchers of all time known for his brushback pitches to control the strike zone. In 1968 He had quite possibly the best year ever for a pitcher ever with recording a 1.12 earned run average, 13 shutouts, and went 47 innings without allowing a run. He won the NL Cy Young and MVP awards.
3. Barry Bonds
Team(s): Pittsburgh Pirates (1986–1992) & San Francisco Giants (1993–2007)
The person that should be number one on this list would be Barry Bonds but alleged Performance Enhancing Drug use delegitimize the fact that he has the most home runs in a single season with 73, career home runs (762), and most career bases on balls with 2,558.
The shame about Bonds using Performance Enhancing Drugs is that he did not need to do so to be a Hall of Famer. He won two NL MVP awards with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the early nineties. Bonds before his controversies was a five-tool player, like his Godfather. I hope the veteran committee can somehow get him into the Hall of Fame in the future because his play warrants it.
2. Willie Mays
Team(s): New York / San Francisco Giants (1951–1952, 1954–1972) & New York Mets (1972–1973)
He had one of the most iconic defensive plays in World Series history when he made an amazing over-the-shoulder catch on a fly ball off the bat of Vic Wertz. Mays is known as the Godfather of the five-tool player. He was exceptional for hitting for power, hitting for average, great fielder, throwing out runners, and can run the bases at an all-time great level. Willie Mays led the National League in home runs four times, led the league in stolen bases four times, and won 12 Gold Gloves (Aaron has three).
1. Hank Aaron
Team(s): Milwaukee / Atlanta Braves (1954–1974) & Milwaukee Brewers (1975–1976)
Hank Aaron retired as the Home Run King with 755, the Runs Batted in King with 2,290 (still hold the record), most total bases with 6,856, and the most extra bases with 1, 477. He achieved his greatness during and on the heels of the Civil Rights movement.
Aaron is not only an all-time great player but an all-time great ambassador of the game. He received the Spingarn medal from the NAACP, an American Academy of Achievement's Golden plate Award, and many other Halls of Fame. With all his accomplishments as a home run hitter, his 3,771 hits are still third all-time.
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