#31: Chipper Jones – The Greatest Switch Hitter Who Ever Played the Game!

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#31: Chipper Jones

Drafted first overall in the MLB 1990 Draft, Larry “Chipper” Jones lived up to and in some cases, exceeded the expectations that are typically placed on the first overall pick!

In his 19 year career as the third baseman of with the Atlanta Braves (Except for 002-2003 when he played left field), Jones built a reputation for solid defense and exceptional batting skills.  He was an 8x All-Star, Rookie of the Year for 1990, a NL MVP for 199 and 2000, the MLB Batting Champ in 2008 (Won with a .364 Average),and a Silver Slugger Award Winner for Third Base. His notable stats include: a .303 career batting average (He is also the only switch hitter to maintain a .300 average from BOTH sides of the plate), he hit 468 home runs, drove in over 1,600 runs,

On June 28, 2013, the Braves retired Jones’ number 10 and inducted him into the team’s Hall of Fame. On July 29, 2018, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

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#33 – Rickey Henderson: King of the Stolen Base!

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#33 - Rickey Henderson

From 1979 to 2003 the “Man of Steal” Rickey Henderson, made life a nightmare for opposing pitchers!  Widely regarded as the All-Time Greatest Lead Off Batter, Henderson holds the MLB records for: Stolen Bases (1,406), Runs, Unintentional Walks and Leadoff Home Runs. In addition, Henderson holds the single-season record for stolen bases with 130, and is the ONLY player in American League History to steal 100+ bases in a single season and he accomplished this feat THREE TIMES!

Other Accolades Henderson has earned include: 1990 ALMVP, 12x Stolen Base Champ, he led the league in runs 5x and was a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee in 2009!

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#34 – Bob Feller: A Pitching Machine Who’s Stellar Career Was Interrupted Only By WW2!

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#34: Bob Feller

When “Bullet Bob” Feller took the mound, fans of the Cleveland indians cheered and their opponents groaned!  For 18 seasons, Feller pitched in the Majors over two stints.  The first was from 1936 to 1941, and the second was from 1945 to 1956 with his Naval service in World War 2 (Which he volunteered for the day after the Pearl Harbor Attack) sandwiched in between. While in the majors, Feller played in 570 games, pitched 3,827 innings and posted a record of 266–162, with 279 complete games, 44 shutouts, and a 3.25 ERA. In addition, he was an 8x All Star, won the Pitching Title once, was a winner in the 1948

Baseball Hall of Fame member Ted Williams called Feller “the fastest and best pitcher I ever saw during my career.” Hall of Famer Stan Musial believed he was “probably the greatest pitcher of our era.” He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 on his first ballot appearance; at the time only three players ever had a higher percentage of ballot votes.

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#35 – Mariano Rivera: Possibly the BEST Relief Pitcher In History!

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#35 - Mariano Rivera

Signaled by his foreboding entrance song, Metallica’s “Enter Sandman“, Mariano Rivera would take the mound and proceed to mow down just about every batter he faced for the New York Yankees for 17 seasons.  During that stretch, Rivera totaled 13 All Star Appearances, was a 5 time World Series Champ, rang up 652 Saves, finished 952 games, won the AL Rolaids Relief Man Award 5x, The Delivery Man of the Year Award 3x,

spent most of his career as a relief pitcher and served as the Yankees’ closer for 17 seasons. A thirteen-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, he is MLB’s career leader in saves (652) and games finished (952). Rivera won five American League (AL) Rolaids Relief Man Awards and three Delivery Man of the Year Awards, and he finished in the top three in voting for the AL Cy Young Award four times, was named the 1999 World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the 2003 AL Championship Series MVP, and he holds several postseason records, including lowest earned run average (ERA) (0.70) and most saves (42).

Regarded as one of the most dominant relievers in MLB history, Rivera embodied longevity and consistency uncommon to the closer role, saving at least 25 games in 15 consecutive seasons and posting an ERA under 2.00 in 11 seasons, both of which are records, his career 2.21 ERA and 1.00 WHIP are the lowest in the live-ball era among qualified pitchers.

In 2013, the Yankees retired his uniform number 42; and was the last major league player to wear the number full-time, following its league-wide retirement in honor of Jackie Robinson.

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#36 – David Ortiz: “Big Papi” Was A Menace At the Plate!

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#36 - David Ortiz

“Big Papi” started his career with the Mariners, was traded to the Twins, and spent the remainder of his 20-year career in Boston with the Red Sox.  Here, Ortiz gained his reputation as a Top-Notch Slugger.  His prowess at the plate earned him 10 All-Star Awards, he was a 3x World Series Champ, a Silver Slugger 7x, smacked 541 home runs (17th on the MLB all-time home run list), 1,768 RBIs (22nd all-time) and a .286 batting average. As a Designated Hitter, he is the all-time leader in MLB history for home runs (485), runs batted in (RBIs) (1,569), and hits (2,192).

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#37 – George Brett: A Royal Career In Kansas City!

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#37 - George Brett

Few baseball players can claim a career that lasts 21 years, but even fewer can claim that their entire time in the bigs was with one team.  George Brett is such a player and he was a lifetime Kansas City Royal.

Brett was a monster at the plate belting out 3,154 hits (Tops for 3rd Basemen), and only one of 4 who can claim over 3,000 hits, 300 Home Runs, and a  lifetime batting average over .300!  In addition, he was a 3X Silver Slugger, MLB Player of the Year, and a 13x All Star.

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#38 – Pete Rose: Charlie Hustled Himself Out of the Hall of Fame!

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#38 - Pete Rose

If ever there was a player whose numbers ranked him as one of the best of baseball, it would definitely be Pete Rose!  Over his career, “Charlie Hustle” set MLB records for hits )4,256), he played in 3,562 games (1st All Time), at bats (14,000+) and outs (10,000+).  In addition, he won 3 World Series, was an All Star 17x, won 2 Gold Gloves, was a 3x Batting Title Holder, was Rookie of The Year, and a Silver Slugger Award.
Despite leading MLB in numerous categories, Pete Rose finds himself excluded permanently from admission to the Baseball Hall of Fame due to his gambling on baseball while he was Player / Manager of the Cincinnati Reds.  While there is some talk about eventually making him eligible, nobody is holding their breath expecting the ban to be lifted anytime soon.

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#39 – Bob “Hoot” Gibson: So Good As A Pitcher, MLB Had To Lower The Mound!

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#39 - Bob "Hoot" Gibson

For 17 seasons (1959-1975), St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob “Hoot” Goibson was a dominant force!  Over his career, he tallied up 251 wins, 3,117 strikeouts, and earned a lifetime  2.91 earned run average.

A nine-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion, he won two Cy Young Awards and the 1968 National League Most Valuable Player Award. In 1981, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. The Cardinals retired his uniform number 45 in September 1975 and inducted him into the team Hall of Fame in 2014.

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#40 – Cal Ripken: “The Iron Man”

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#40 - Cal Ripken

To say that all Cal Ripken did was “show up and play baseball” is a disservice that sells his career short!  Showing up is one thing, but showing up every day and EXCELLING is another, and Ripkin falls into that latter category.

First and foremost, Ripken “showed up” more than ANY other baseball player in history playing 2,632 games STRAIGHT!  The only other player that comes close to Cal is Lou Gehrig, and he’s 502 games behind!  For over 21 seasons in the majors playing for the Baltimore Orioles, Ripken recorded 3,184 hits, 431 home runs, and 1,695 runs batted in. He won two Gold Glove Awards for his defense, was a 19-time All-Star, and was twice named the American League MVP.

In 2007, he was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, and currently has the fourth highest voting percentage of all time (98.53%).

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#41 – Charlie Gehringer:”You wind him up Opening Day and forget him.”

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#41 - Charlie Gehringer

Let’s get the weirdness out of the way at the start: Charlie Gheringer batted left handed and threw with his right.  Yeah, that’s unconventional, but one cannot argue the results on offense or defense!

Gehringer was a beast at the plate compiling a .320 lifetime batting average and during his run had seven seasons with more than 200 hits! Over the life of his career, Gehringer had career totals of 2,839 hits and 574 doubles, he led the Tigers to three American League pennants (1934, 1935, and 1940) and one World Series Championship (1935). Gehringer hit .379 in the 1934 World Series, and .375 in the 1935 Series. Gehringer was the American League batting champion in 1937 with a .371 average and was also named the American League’s Most Valuable Player that same year.

Defiensively, Gehringer was no slouch and is regarded as one of the best-fielding second basemen in history, having led all American League second basemen in fielding percentage and assists seven times. With 7,068 assists, Gehringer ranks second highest in major league history for a second baseman, and also collected 5,369 putouts as a second baseman (the 6th highest total for a second baseman) and 1,444 double plays (the 7th highest total for a second baseman). He recorded a career .976 fielding percentage.

Known for his consistency as a hitter and fielder, Gehringer was given the nickname “The Mechanical Man” by Yankee pitcher Lefty Gomez. Teammate Doc Cramer quipped: “You wind him up Opening Day and forget him.”

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