Yesterday, we introduced Major League Baseball's Scariest Hitters of All-Time with the honorable mentions and #6-10 on our list. Today, we'll present our Top 5!
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#5 - Barry Bonds
Barry Lamar Bonds, son of Bobby Bonds and godson of Willie Mays, could easily be higher on this list - but like McGwire, he gets dinged for his ties to steroid use.
In a 22-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants that spanned nearly 3,000 games - Bonds hit 762 home runs. Beginning in 2001, the season the left-handed slugger set the single season home run record with 73, through the 2004 season - Bonds posted OPS’ of 1.379, 1.381, 1.278 and 1.422. During this time he was the most feared athlete I’ve ever seen - including Michael Jordan.
The Riverside, California native may never be elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, but for those of us who witnessed his play in the early 2000s, it’s impossible to erase how “scary good” he was from our memories.
Bonds’ popularity, or lack thereof, can be summarized by a home run he hit at Yankee Stadium in 2002. The moonshot that reached the upper deck was believed to be one of the longest home runs ever hit in the Bronx - the Yankees estimated the ball traveled 385 feet.
Home Runs - 762
Career OPS - 1.051
#4 - Ted Williams
Many baseball historians consider Ted Williams to be the greatest all-around hitter to ever play the game of baseball. He was part Babe Ruth, part Tony Gwynn, as he had an uncanny ability to “barrel” pitches.
The Boston Red Sox' legend was a 19-time All-Star, 6-time AL batting champion, 4-time AL home run champion, won two MVP awards and won the Triple Crown - twice. The San Diego, California native holds the MLB record with a ridiculous .482 on-base percentage.
Williams was elected into Cooperstown as a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee in 1966, earning 93% of the votes. What those other 7% were thinking is anybody’s guess.
Despite missing three seasons in the prime of his career to serve in World War II, as a U.S. Navy Aviator, the "Splendid Splinter" still compiled more than 500 home runs; however, he fell just short of the 3,000 hit and 2,000 RBI plateau.
Home Runs - 521
Career OPS - 1.116
#3 - Willie Mays
The “Say Hey Kid” is one of the few players in the history of professional sports that were equally beloved on the East and West Coast. In his illustrious career in New York and San Francisco, Mays epitomized being a complete player - winning gold glove awards, batting, home run and stolen base titles.
Mays was a 24-time All-Star Game selection, was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1951, a two-time NL MVP and led the New York Giants to a World Series title in 1954 behind the heroics of “The Catch.” On April 30, 1961 Mays tied a major league record with four home runs in a game against the Milwaukee Braves.
Many folks who saw Mays play during his prime believe he was the greatest baseball player to ever live. It’s hard to argue that point when looking at the Westfield, Alabama native’s unbelievable resume, which included a .302 career batting average, 660 career home runs and 3,283 hits.
Home Runs - 660
Career OPS - .941
#2 - Hank Aaron
The people’s choice “Home Run King” comes in at number two on our Scariest Hitters of All-Time list. While Aaron wasn’t the most vocal of ballplayers, “he spoke softly and carried a big stick.” Aaron’s 35 inch, 33.5 ounce lumber accumulated for a record setting 755 career home runs.
In a career that spanned the better part of three decades with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves, “Hammerin’ Hank” was consistently a force to be reckoned with. Interestingly, Aaron never eclipsed 50 home runs in a single season; however, he hit at least 20 home runs a year between 1955-1974.
In spite of the racist hate mail and death threats he received, Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s career home run record on April 8, 1974 in front of 53,775 fans at Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium. The footage of Aaron rounding the bases after his record breaking home run, accompanied by two adoring fans who were trying to protect him from the aforementioned death threats - is one of the most historic images in MLB history.
When Aaron retired following the 1976 season, he was a 25-time All-Star, won four HR titles, four RBI titles, two batting average titles, won an NL MVP (‘57), and a World Series championship (‘57). To this day, “The Hammer” still has the most RBI (2.297) and total bases (6,586) in MLB history. Aaron was a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection in 1982, receiving 98% of the vote - should’ve been 100%.
Home Runs - 755
Career OPS - .928
#1 - Babe Ruth
George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr. is undoubtedly the most famous baseball player and quite possibly the most famous athlete in history. How else does one garner the nicknames “The Great Bambino” and “The Sultan of Swat?” That’s as legendary as it gets - hence the saying that the New York Yankees play in “The House that Ruth built.”
Can you name another athlete who has a candy bar named after them? Or are we really supposed to believe that “Baby Ruth” was named after President Grover Cleveland’s daughter? Sounds like a marketing campaign way ahead of its time to me.
During Ruth’s heyday between 1919-1931 he routinely hit 50+ home runs a season, while the games other premier sluggers during that era struggled to connect on 30 home runs. When the “larger than life” figure from Manhattan, New York retired from baseball in 1935, he held the single season home run record (60) and career home run record (714).
To this day, Ruth still owns the career slugging percentage record (.690) and career OPS record (1.164). He was a 12-time AL Home Run Leader, seven-time World Series Champion, an MVP, a batting champion and an RBI leader. As if Ruth didn’t do enough damage from the batter’s box, “The Babe” also made his mark as a pitcher - recording 94 career wins and a 2.28 career ERA as a starting pitcher.
Home Runs - 714
Career OPS - 1.164
Have any qualms with our selections? Did we leave anybody out that deserves to be in the conversation for scariest hitter ever? Enter a comment or share the article for a chance to Win a Special Prize from MaxBP !