Once again in our countdown of the greatest baseball players position by position, right field is loaded with legends. The top 5 are unquestioned to me. Only the order can be in doubt.
Dewey spent all 20 years of his professional baseball career with Boston and Baltimore, known for his excellent throwing arm from right field and keen batting eye. Throughout that span, he led the league in walks three times, earned six Gold Gloves, hit 2,446 career balls, and hit 385 home runs – a testament to his legendary status.
Ichiro’s first ten seasons had 200 hits each year; the case can be made that if he had played his entire career in the MLB, he would have broke Pete Rose’s hit record. He was a great defensive player with fantastic speed.
In his 21-year career, he had a .262 average, a .356 on-base percentage, 563 home runs, 1702 RBI, 1551 runs scored, 2584 base hits, 463 doubles, and 228 stolen bases. He was selected to the All-Star team fourteen times, starting in right field in nine of them, and he won two Silver Slugger awards. However, his best season came in 1973 when he won his only MVP award.
Harry Heilmann may be the most underrated player in the Top Ten. His lifetime. of .342 average ranks second only to Babe Ruth among qualified right fielders, and he debuted with the Tigers in 1914 but didn’t stay until 1916. Playing alongside Ty Cobb helped Heilmann develop into a premier hitter; after returning from World War I, his average never fell below.300 for the rest of his career.
Larry Walker began his career in Montreal when the Expos called him up in August 1989. The following April, he was their starting right fielder. Walker made his first All-Star team and won his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in 1992. In his final year in Montreal, the strike-shortened 1994, he led the league in doubles and had 19 HRs, 86 RBI, and a .322 average when MLB canceled the season due to the player’s strike.
Walker signed with the Rockies as a free agent when play resumed in 1995. His signing was a massive boon to the franchise, which was still in its infancy. Walker was productive from the get-go but blossomed from 1997 to 1999. In 1997 he was the NL MVP after batting .366 with a league-leading 49 HRs and 130 RBI. He was an All-Star for the first time with Colorado that year, winning his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger with the team. Ultimately, Walker won seven Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers.
In his 22-year career, he had a .283 average, a .353 on-base percentage, 465 home runs, 1833 RBI, 1669 runs scored, 3110 base hits, 540 doubles, and 223 stolen bases. He was selected to the All-Star team twelve times, starting in the right field in five of them. He won the Silver Slugger Award six times and finished in the top five of the MVP voting three times. He was also a great defensive player, winning seven Gold Glove awards.
Paul Waner made his Pirates debut in 1927 and quickly earned himself the NL MVP the following season. That same season he hit.380 and led the league in hits, triples, and RBI, ultimately leading them to reach the World Series but being swept by the legendary Yankees – his only postseason appearance.
Waner was an outstanding hitter for another decade, winning two more batting titles and hitting over.300 in all his 12 seasons of professional baseball. “Big Poison” also reached 200 hits eight times, leading the league in runs, doubles, and triples twice. In 1933 he represented Pittsburgh at the inaugural All-Star game; four more times in subsequent years following that.
Gwynn was one of the greatest pure hitters of all time, batting .338 in his career with eight titles. He batted .394 in 1994 and had 3,141 career hits. He also stole 319 career bases.
Kaline was among the greatest all-around players in baseball history; he was equally good with the bat or the glove. In his 22-year career, he had a .297 average, 399 home runs, 1583 RBI, 1622 runs scored, 3007 base hits, 498 doubles, and 137 stolen bases. He was selected to the All-Star team 18 times, starting in right field in five of them, and he won one batting title. He was also one of the best defensive players ever, winning 10 Gold Glove awards in an 11-year stretch. In addition, he finished in the top five in the MVP voting four times.
Jackson was a legend for the right reasons before the Black Sox scandal; in 1920, he hit.382 during his final MLB season before receiving a lifetime ban for his involvement in the 1919 “Blacksox” scandal. While we don’t doubt he deserved his punishment, Jackson’s peak deserves recognition. Considering he was only 32 then, one can speculate if he had been given more opportunities to play more games during his final MLB season.
In his 22-year career, he had a .304 average, a .414 on-base percentage, 511 home runs, 1860 RBI, 1859 runs scored, 2876 base hits, 488 doubles, and 89 stolen bases. He was selected to the All-Star team twelve times, starting in the right field in two of them.
Robinson was an absolutely amazing offensive player. In his 21-year career, he had a .294 average, a .389 on-base percentage, 586 home runs, 1812 RBI, 1829 runs scored, 2943 base hits, 528 doubles, and 204 stolen bases.
He won the 1956 Rookie of the Year Award and was selected to the All-Star team 14 times, starting in the right field in three of them. He won one batting title, led the league in on-base percentage twice, slugging percentage four times, and in OPS four times.
He ranks seventh all-time in total homers, 14th in runs scored, and 17th in RBI. He won two MVP awards and his best season came in 1966 when he won the Triple Crown Award.
In his 18-year career, he had a .317 average, 240 home runs, 1305 RBI, 1416 runs scored, 3000 base hits, 440 doubles, 166 triples, and 83 stolen bases. He was selected to the All-Star team 15 times, starting in the right field in seven.
He was a great defensive player, winning 12 consecutive Gold Glove awards from 1961 until 1972. In addition, he won four batting titles and ranked 27th all-time in total base hits. His best season came in 1966 when he won his only MVP award.
In his 22-year career, he had a .342 average, a .474 on-base percentage, a .690 slugging percentage, 714 home runs, 2217 RBI, 2174 runs scored, 2873 base hits, 506 doubles, and 123 stolen bases. His best season was in 1920. He had a .376 average in that season, 54 home runs, 137 RBIs, 158 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases.
In his 23-year career, he had a .305 average, 755 home runs, 2297 RBI, 2174 runs scored, 3771 base hits, 624 doubles, and 240 stolen bases. He was selected to the All-Star team an incredible 25 times, starting in the right field in fourteen of them. He won two batting titles, led the league in slugging percentage four times, and in-home runs four times.
He was also an excellent defensive outfielder, winning three consecutive Gold Glove awards from 1958 until 1960. He ranks fourth in runs scored, third in base hits, second in homers, first in RBI, and first in total bases.
If you enjoy hearing from the legends of pro sports, then be sure to tune into “The Grueling Truth” sports shows, “Where the legends speak”
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