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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Top 10 Right Fielders in Baseball history: Who was the Greatest?

Top 10 Right Fielders in Baseball history: Who was the Greatest?

Publish Date: 01/07/2024
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

Right field is where you put the worst player in Little League! As you will see from this list, all changes are in the major leagues. These ten all-time great players made the game what it is today. So today, we celebrate the greatest right fielders of all time.

Criteria

The criteria, as always, will take a hard look at stats but also the impact each player had on the game of Baseball. Being clutch is huge, especially in big games. All of these men were great in the clutch and they were all good with the bat and the glove. You will not find Barry Bonds on this list because of steroid use. You can still compare Babe Ruth against Barry Bonds, though.

10) Reggie Jackson

Reggie Jackson was known for being outspoken and charismatic, never afraid to express his opinions freely and confidently. He knew his talent ran deep; in 1973, as part of Oakland Athletics, he stated that had he played in New York instead, he’d probably get a candy bar named after him within five years! That prediction became true.

Reggie could have arrived sooner in New York had the New York Mets not passed over him and taken high school catcher Steve Chilcott with their first pick in 1966’s amateur baseball draft. Jackson ended up being taken second overall by the Oakland Athletics instead; it had always been his dream to play there, though, and when he finally made it in 1977, Jackson declared: “I didn’t come here just for myself; instead, I brought my star with me”.

Jackson won two World Series MVP awards in 1973 and 1977, his star shining brightest on baseball’s grandest stage. Over five World Series, Jackson hit ten homers with 24 RBI while hitting.357 overall; perhaps his most memorable moment came during Game 6 of 1977’s Fall Classic when he hit three homers on three pitches for three home runs, earning the moniker “Mr. October”.

  • 14 Time All-Star
  • 5 Time World Champion
  • AL MVP 1973
  • 2 Timje World Series MVP
  • 2 Time Silver Slugger Award
  • 4 Time AL Home Run Leader
  • AL RBI Leader 1973
Video: Reggie Jackson Career Highlights

Reggie Jackson Career Highlights

9) Paul Waner

Paul and Lloyd Waner became inseparable from Pittsburgh Pirates baseball for fourteen seasons spanning 1926-1940, as Paul “Big Poison” patrolled right field from 1926-1940 while Lloyd, more commonly known as “Little Poison,” held down center during all but one of these seasons.

They were led by Paul and Lloyd Waner, the Pirates of the 1920s and 1930s consistently ranked among the National League’s leading run-scoring units. Together, they amassed 5,611 hits – the most ever by two brothers! Paul amassed 3,152 of these hits to become only the seventh player ever to achieve such status by 1942.

Paul Waner stood out even in an era characterized by prolific offensive production. The left-handed hitting Waner finished his 20-year career with an incredible lifetime average of.333 and won three National League batting championships while amassing 909 extra-base hits.

Waner made his mark during his second season with Pittsburgh when he batted.380 to claim his first batting championship and win the National League Most Valuable Player Award. He led the league with 131 RBI and 237 hits en route to winning a pennant with the Pirates. Waner also collected National League Batting Titles in 1934 (.362) and 1936 (.373).

At his peak, few players could match Waner in his versatility. While in Pittsburgh from 1926-40, he batted.340 and led all players with 2,868 hits; 558 doubles and 187 triples among them.

  • 4 Time All-Star
  • NL MVP 1927
  • 3 Time Batting Champion
  • NL RBI Leader 1927
  • Pirates Retired Number
Video: Paul and Lloyd Waner, Baseball Hall of Famers

Paul and Lloyd Waner, Baseball Hall of Famers

8) Tony Gwynn

Gwynn was honoured as both an All-Star fifteen-time and five-time Gold Glove Award recipient during his 20-season big league career, all spent with the Padres.

Gwynn tied Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Honus Wagner for most batting crowns ever won in National League history when he earned his eighth and final crown in 1997 at age 37. Gwynn batted at an impressive.338 average during his career and garnered seven Silver Slugger Awards for offense; additionally, he batted at an impressiveโ€”371 average across two World Series appearances.

Greg Maddux once described Gwynn as his toughest opponent: “He is by far my toughest hitter; no other batter has hit me harder. Gwynn is rated as one of the Greatest hitters of the 1990s!

  • 15 Time All-Star
  • 5 Time Gold Glove Winner
  • 7 Time Silver Slugger
  • Roberto Clemente Award Winner 1999
  • 8 Time Batting Champion
Video: Tony Gwynn Highlights

Tony Gwynn Highlights

7) Al Kaline

Kaline was one of baseball’s great all-around players, equally proficient with either bat or glove. Over his 22-year career, he amassed an outstanding.297 average, 399 homers, 1583 RBIs, 1622 runs scored, 3007 base hits, 498 doubles, and 137 stolen bases. In 18 All-Star selections (five as starting right fielder), one batting title win, 10 Gold Glove Awards in 11 years’ playback defense and four finishes among the top five MVP votings.

Kaline was a huge reason that the Tigers won the 1968 World Series in seven games over the St.Louis Cardinals. When you think of the Detroit Tigers the first name most think of is Al Kaline.

  • 18 Time All-Star
  • World Champion 1968
  • 10-Time Gold Glove Award
  • Roberto Clemente Award 1973
  • AL Batting Champion 1955
Video: Al Kaline Highlights

Al Kaline Highlights

6) “Shoeless” Joe Jackson

Jackson was an iconic figure before the Black Sox scandal; in 1920, he batted an astounding 382 during his final MLB season before receiving a lifetime ban for his involvement in the 1919 “Blacksox” scandal. While no doubt deserving of his punishment, Jackson deserves recognition of his peak years – particularly when considering that at 32, he was still in his prime when he received a lifetime ban from baseball.

Jackson covered as much ground as any right fielder ever did, and he had an absolute cannon for an arm.

  • Lifetime .356 Batting Average
  • World Champion 1917
Video: The Tragedy of Shoeless Joe Jackson

The Tragedy of Shoeless Joe Jackson

5) Mel Ott

Ott was beloved among Giants fans, and with good reason: as a six-time league-homer leader and eight-time 30-or-more home run hitter, he boasted nine seasons with at least 100 runs batted in. Ott used an unorthodox left-handed swing that lifted his right foot just before swinging – hitting 323 of his then-NL-record 511 homers there alone!

Ott led the Giants to three National League pennants and helped win their 1933 World Series championship, hitting.389 with two homers and four RBI in a five-game win against Washington Senators. Additionally, Ott served as manager from 1942-48 while providing full-time playing duties during four of those seasons.

  • 12 Time All-Star
  • World Series Champion 1933
  • 6 Time Home Run Champion
  • NL RBI Leader 1934
  • Giants Retired Number
Video: 1933 World Series featuring a home run by Mel Ott

1933 World Series featuring a home run by Mel Ott

4) Frank Robinson

Robinson was an incredible offensive player during his 21-year career, boasting an amazing.294 average, an astounding.389 on-base percentage, 586 homers, 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 chosen to start in right field for three out of 14 All-Star teams he appeared on, including one batting title win. Additionally, he led his league in on-base percentage twice, slugging percentage four times and OPS four times – an extraordinary career!

He ranks seventh all-time in total homers, 14th in runs scored and 17th in RBIs. He won two MVP awards; his most memorable season came when he won the Triple Crown Award in 1966.

  • 14 Time All-Star
  • 2 Time World Series Champion
  • 2 Time MVP
  • World Series MVP 1966
  • Triple Crown 1966
  • NL Rookie of the Year 1956
Video: Frank Robinson Career Highlights

Frank Robinson Career Highlights

3) Roberto Clemente

Clemente amassed an outstanding 18-year career, boasting a.317 average, 240 home runs, 1305 RBI, 1416 runs scored, 3000 base hits, 440 doubles, 166 triples and 83 stolen bases en route to earning 15 All-Star selections, starting in right field, for seven of them.

He was an outstanding defensive player, earning 12 consecutive Gold Glove awards from 1961 until 1972. Additionally, he won four batting titles and ranked 27th all-time for total base hits. His best season came in 1966 when he earned one MVP award. Clemente was largely underrated; he was a complete five-tool player who could do it all, and he did it all as well as anybody who ever played the game.

  • 15 Time All-Star
  • 2 Time World Champion
  • NL MVP 1966
  • World Series MVP 1971
  • 12 Time Gold Glove Award
  • 4 Time NL Batting Champion
Video: Roberto Clemente Highlights

Roberto Clemente Highlights

2) Babe Ruth

In his 22-year career, Babe Ruth posted an average of.342, a.474 on-base percentage and slugging percentage of.690; 714 home runs, 2217 RBIs, 2174 runs scored, and 2873 base hits with 506 doubles plus 123 stolen bases were his hallmark achievements. His best season came in 1920 with 54 homers, 137 RBIs, 158 runs scored and 14 steals.

Ruth was the first true power-hitting baseball player. He was also a tremendous pitcher, but that will not affect these rankings. Ruth is a player that is almost more myth than truth, but he was so good that it’s not really a myth. He was that great.

  • 2 Time All-Star
  • 7 Time World Champion
  • AL MVP 1923
  • AL Batting Champion 1924
  • 12 Time AL Home Run Leader
  • 5 Time AL RBI Leader
Video: Babe Ruth Highlights

Babe Ruth Highlights

1) Hank Aaron

In his 23-year career, Hank Aaron amassed an incredible.305 average, 755 homers, 2297 RBI, 2174 runs scored, 3771 base hits, 624 doubles and 240 stolen bases. He was chosen for 25 All-Star teams (14 of them starting right field!), two batting titles won along with four league slugging percentage and home runs leadership titles won as well as two batting titles won and four league home run trophies.

He was an outstanding defensive outfielder, earning three consecutive Gold Glove awards between 1958 and 1960. His statistics include fourth in runs scored, third in base hits, second in homers hit, first RBI, total bases covered and total bases scored.

  • 25 Time All-Star
  • World Champion 1957
  • NL MVP 1957
  • 3 Time Gold Glove Award
  • 2 Time NL Batting Champion
  • 4 Time NL Home Run Leader
  • 4 Time NL RBI Leader
Video: Hank Aaron Highlights

Hank Aaron Highlights

ย 

Honorable Mentions

Dwight Evans

Dewey spent 20 years of his professional baseball career with Boston and Baltimore, becoming renowned for his superb right-field throwing arm and keen eye. Over this span, he led the league in walks three times while collecting six Gold Gloves, hitting 2,446 career balls overall and hitting 385 home runs; these accolades attest to Dewey’s legendary status.

Dave Winfield

His 22-year career saw a batting average of.283, an on-base percentage.353, 465 homers, 1833 RBI, 1669 runs scored, 3110 base hits, 540 doubles, and 223 stolen bases. He was selected to the All-Star team twelve times, five of those times as a starting right fielder; won six Silver Slugger Awards; finished in the top five of MVP voting three times; and was an exceptional defensive player, earning seven Gold Glove awards! Winfield was not just a Yankee he is also on the list as one of the Greatest San Diego Padres of all time!

Ichiro Suzuki

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 broken Pete Rose’s hit record. He was a great defensive player with fantastic speed. Suzuki was a phenomenal talent, to bad he didn’t arrive ten years earlier.

Harry Heilman

His lifetime average of .342 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.

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