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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Top-14 First Baseman in MLB History: Where does Pujols rank?

Top-14 First Baseman in MLB History: Where does Pujols rank?

The best men at first
Publish Date: 03/11/2023
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

I do not include players that are still active on this list. So yes, Miguel Cabrera will appear on this list in the very near future. Many great players have moved to first base at one point or another during their careers. Usually, it is the second half of their career. This list was created to be limited to first basemen. Stan Musial, Pete Rose and other great players who have played a lot of first base but are more well-known for their position on the field were not included in this list.

14) Frank Chance

Frank Chance suffered injuries for much of his professional career. Although he played in 17 MLB seasons, he only played seven to eight full seasons. When he was healthy, he was as good or better than any other player. Although he was an all-around player, his base running is what makes him stand out.

Video: Frank Chance - Baseball Hall of Fame Biographies

Frank Chance – Baseball Hall of Fame Biographies

13) Jim Thome

Five ASG, one SS, and four Top 10 MVP Finishes. He was not a great fielder, but I still think he belongs on this list. Of course he drops off after Albert Pujols retires.

Video: Jim Thome Career Highlights

Jim Thome Career Highlights

12) Dan Brouthers

He was the league’s leader in OB% and SLG% during his career. R, 2B, HR, RBI, and FA were also among his top achievements—all except SB. Ty Cobb was the only player leading the league in these categories.

Brouthers, who led the league in nine of 10 “major” categories, could easily be argued to be even higher on this list. These nine categories saw Brouthers lead the league 28 times, which is a league record for leading totals.

Video: Dan Brouthers - Baseball Hall of Fame Biographies

Dan Brouthers – Baseball Hall of Fame Biographies

11) Harmon Killebrew

Killebrew hit over 40 homers eight times and over 30 homers ten times. Killebrew was a stout power hitter that struck out a lot and was a very inconsistent average hitter, hitting anywhere from .240 to .280 in his prime, usually hovering around .270.

If he had played with Thome, he would’ve probably had better numbers, which is partially why I put Killebrew ahead of Thome. I think it was tougher to put up big numbers when Killebrew played.

Video: June 3, 1967, Killebrew hits a 520-foot homer

June 3, 1967, Killebrew hits a 520-foot homer

10) Johnny Mize

Mize hit over .300 nine times; numbers would have been better without losing three years to military service. Very athletic and a good fielder.

Video: Johnny Mize 1981 Hall of Fame Induction Speech

Johnny Mize 1981 Hall of Fame Induction Speech

9) Jeff Bagwell

He hit over .300 six times, more than 30 homers nine times, drove in 100 runs eight times, and stole double-digit bags 10 times.  Traded from Boston to Houston, he came up as a third baseman, but moved over to first before he hit the major leagues.

Video: Jeff Bagwell Career Highlights

Jeff Bagwell Career Highlights

8) David Ortiz

Although Ortiz’s entire career is filled with incredible stats, his dominance in the advanced years makes him so unique. He is the only player to have managed at least 30 home runs in each of his 37, 38, and 39 seasons.

Video: Red Sox DH David Ortiz elected to Hall of Fame! (Big Papi's Career Highlights)

Red Sox DH David Ortiz elected to Hall of Fame! (Big Papi’s Career Highlights)

7) Willie McCovey

He hit over 20 homers 12 times, more than 30 homers seven times, and more than 40 homers twice. Six ASG, ROY, four MVP Top 10 Finishes, and one MVP.

Video: Willie McCovey MASHING home runs | The 1969 MVP had INSANE power!

Willie McCovey MASHING home runs | The 1969 MVP had INSANE power!

6) Eddie Murray

Murray hit more than 20 homers 16 times, better than .290 10 times, and hit more than 90 runs in 12 times.  He did all of this from both sides of the plate, establishing himself as one of the best switch hitters of all time, grouping himself with Mantle, Rose, and Chipper Jones.  By the way, did I mention that he had over 3,200 hits, and almost 5,400 total bases? Very good fielder, also winning three golden glove awards.

Video: Eddie Murray Highlights

Eddie Murray Highlights

5) Frank Thomas

He hit over 30 homers nine times, 40 homers five times, over .300 nine times, and drove in 100 runs eleven times.  He had an ops of over 1.000 seven years.  The Big Hurt was just raked year, after year, after year. .301 lifetime batting average and 521 Home Runs, and 1,704 RBIs.

Video: Frank Thomas (The Big Hurt) Highlight Reel

Frank Thomas (The Big Hurt) Highlight Reel

4) Mark McGwire

His use of steroids is the only reason he’s not inducted into the Hall of Fame. It is clear that he is the greatest first baseman in MLB history and should be in the Hall of Fame. It is not the question of whether he was the greatest first baseman ever. Only the real question is whether he did it naturally. This is the real question.

Video: Mark McGwire ultimate career highlights (HD)

Mark McGwire ultimate career highlights (HD)

3) Albert Pujols

Pujols will be remembered as one of the best sluggers in the game, with 703 home runs and 11 All-Star games. The 42-year-old Pujols had a spectacular final season in St Louis, where he spent most of his career. He hit.270/.345/.550 with 24 runs and became the fourth player to join the 700 club.

Video: Albert Pujols Career Highlights (One of the GOATs retires from MLB after hitting his 700th homer)

Albert Pujols Career Highlights (One of the GOATs retires from MLB after hitting his 700th homer)

2) Jimmie Foxx

He was an extremely feared power hitter that continued to hit for a ton of power despite hitting in the massive Shibe Park. Nine ASG, six MVP Top 10 Finishes, three MVPs, plus a lifetime batting average of .325 and 534 HRs.

Video: Philadelphia Athletics Slugger Jimmie Foxx

Philadelphia Athletics Slugger Jimmie Foxx

1) Lou Gehrig

Gehrig hit over .300 in 12 of his 14 full years, more than 30 homers in ten years, and put up an ops higher than 1.000 in eleven years. .340, 493 homers, 1995 RBIs, 2721 hits, .447 OBP, .632 SLG, 1.080 ops, 5060 TB, 1888 r, 102 steals. Seven ASG, nine MVP Top 10 Finishes, and two MVPs.

Video: Lou Gehrig Baseball Career Highlights

Lou Gehrig Baseball Career Highlights

Honorable mention

Tony Perez

Todd Helton

Keith hernandez

Cap Anson

Gil Hodges

Don Mattingly

Roger Connor

Steve Garvey

Fred McGriff

Orlando Cepeda

Mark Grace

George Sisler

 

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