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Top 100 MLB players of all time: Nos. 100-51

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Is Clayton Kershaw ranked too low on the MLB top 100 list? (1:31)

Buster Olney shares why he thinks Clayton Kershaw should be ranked higher than 52 on the MLB top 100 list. (1:31)

Who are the best Major League Baseball stars ever to take the diamond? Dozens of ESPN writers and editors submitted more than 20,000 votes (see full methodology here) to rank the 100 greatest MLB players of all time.

Which active stars made the cut? Who ranks too high? Who's too low?

We present the first half of our top 100 list below. We revealed Nos. 50-26 on Wednesday and the Top 25 will be unveiled Thursday.

Let the debate begin!

The List: 100-51 | 50-26 | 25-1

Key links: Full rankings | Snubs | Debating our selections

Doolittle: The difficult case of Oscar Charleston

Olney: Which current stars are destined to join the list?


100. Barry Larkin

Team(s): Cincinnati Reds (1986-2004)

Stats: .295/.371/.444, 198 HR, 960 RBI, 2,340 H, 70.5 bWAR

Primary position: Shortstop

What he's best known for: A product of Cincinnati's Moeller High School, the 12-time All-Star played his entire career with his hometown Reds, leading them to a World Series title in 1990 and winning MVP honors in 1995. The preeminent NL shortstop of the 1990s, Larkin could beat you with his bat (nine Silver Slugger awards), his defense (three Gold Gloves) and his speed (379 stolen bases, including 51 in his MVP season). -- David Schoenfield


99. Phil Niekro

Team(s): Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves (1965-83, 1987), New York Yankees (1984-85), Cleveland Indians (1986-87), Toronto Blue Jays (1987)

Stats: 318-274, 3.35 ERA, 3,342 SO, 5,404 IP, 95.9 bWAR

Primary position: Starting pitcher

What he's best known for: "Knucksie" will always be remembered for his namesake pitch, a fluttering knuckleball that kept him in the majors until he was 48. One of baseball's great ironies is that when Niekro won his 300th game while pitching for the Yankees in 1985, he didn't throw a single knuckleball until his last two pitches of the contest. -- Bradford Doolittle


98. Jim Thome

Team(s): Cleveland Indians (1991-2002, 2011), Philadelphia Phillies (2003-05, 2012), Chicago White Sox (2006-09), Los Angeles Dodgers (2009), Minnesota Twins (2010-11), Baltimore Orioles (2012)

Stats: .276/.402/.554, 612 HR, 1,699 RBI, 2,328 H, 73.1 bWAR

Primary position: First base/designated hitter

What he's best known for: The dominant Cleveland teams of the 1990s famously failed to win a championship, but that wasn't Thome's fault. He terrorized the Marlins during the 1997 World Series, then the Yankees during the 1998 American League Championship Series, then the Red Sox during the 1999 AL Division Series. But Cleveland lost each time, and so Thome's success went mostly unnoticed. -- Alden Gonzalez


97. Adrian Beltre

Team(s): Los Angeles Dodgers (1998-2004), Seattle Mariners (2005-09), Boston Red Sox (2010), Texas Rangers (2011-18)

Stats: .286/.339/.480, 477 HR, 1,707 RBI, 3,166 H, 93.5 bWAR

Primary position: Third base

What he's best known for: Well, he definitely didn't want anybody touching his head. Beltre's remarkable longevity -- he reached the majors at 19 and played 21 seasons -- and combination of offensive and defensive brilliance allowed him to accumulate the third-most WAR among third basemen (behind Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews) and become one of the game's most popular players later in his career. He ranks in the top 25 in RBIs (25th), hits (17th) and total bases (14th). -- David Schoenfield


96. Charlie Gehringer

Team(s): Detroit Tigers (1924-42)

Stats: .320/.404/.480, 184 HR, 1,427 RBI, 2,839 H, 84.7 bWAR

Primary position: Second base

What he's best known for: Nicknamed "The Mechanical Man," Gehringer's legacy is that of quiet, consistent excellence. His biography is the stuff of a Norman Rockwell painting: Born in rural Michigan, spent a year at the University of Michigan, discovered in a tryout by Tigers player-manager Ty Cobb, played 19 years in Detroit and eventually died in Michigan at the ripe old age of 89. -- Bradford Doolittle


95. Duke Snider

Team(s): Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers (1947-62), New York Mets (1963), San Francisco Giants (1964)

Stats: .295/.380/.540, 407 HR, 1,333 RBI, 2,116 H, 65.9 bWAR

Primary position: Center field

What he's best known for: Snider took a lot of heat in the local press for the Dodgers' epic collapse in 1951, so much so that he requested a trade. Owner Walter O'Malley refused, and it wound up being one of the greatest things to ever happen to the Dodgers. Snider batted .310/.401/.598 over the next six seasons. In five of those years, he reached 40 home runs. In 1955, he led the Dodgers to a World Series title. -- Alden Gonzalez


94. Bryce Harper

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1:42

Does Bryce Harper belong in the top 100? Who is the biggest snub from the list?

Jeff Passan examines Bryce Harper slotting in at No. 94 on the top 100 all-time player list, while Joon Lee analyzes if Robinson Cano should have been included.

Team(s): Washington Nationals (2012-18), Philadelphia Phillies (2019- )

Stats: .279/.392/.524, 267 HR, 752 RBI, 1,273 H, 40.1 bWAR

Primary position: Right field

What he's best known for: Arguably the most famous amateur player ever, Harper became the No. 1 overall pick in 2010 and reached the majors as a teenager. At his best, he's one of the top hitters in the game, winning MVP honors in 2015 with the best offensive season of the 2010s (.330/.460/.649) and then again in 2021. He needs to keep going to maintain top-100 status, but ranks 17th in career home runs through his age-28 season. -- David Schoenfield


93. John Smoltz

Team(s): Atlanta Braves (1988-2008), Boston Red Sox (2009), St. Louis Cardinals (2009)

Stats: 213-155, 154 saves, 3.33 ERA, 3,084 SO, 3,473 IP, 69.0 bWAR

Primary position: Starting pitcher/relief pitcher

What he's best known for: As great as Smoltz was in the regular season -- he not only was a Cy Young winner as a starter but was for a time an elite closer -- it was his ability to dial it up in October that defined his career. Smoltz went 15-4 with four saves and a 2.67 ERA over 41 postseason outings. -- Bradford Doolittle


92. Roy Halladay

Team(s): Toronto Blue Jays (1998-2009), Philadelphia Phillies (2010-13)

Stats: 203-105, 3.38 ERA, 2,117 SO, 2,749 1/3 IP, 65.4 bWAR

Primary position: Starting pitcher

What he's best known for: Halladay completed the second no-hitter in postseason history on Oct. 6, 2010, barely four months after twirling a perfect game. It was the height of Halladay's dominance, but also a fitting encapsulation. Halladay -- a late bloomer who was later burdened by injury -- seemed to reside on a different stratosphere at times. From 2003 to 2011, he accumulated 61 regular-season complete games. Nobody else had more than 31. Halladay, who died in a tragic plane crash in 2017, was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019. -- Alden Gonzalez


91. Ryne Sandberg

Team(s): Philadelphia Phillies (1981), Chicago Cubs (1982-97)

Stats: .285/.344/.452, 282 HR, 1,061 RBI, 2,386 H, 67.9 bWAR

Primary position: Second base

What he's best known for: His superlative MVP season in 1984, when he led the surprising Cubs to their first playoff appearance in 39 years and began a stretch of 10 consecutive All-Star appearances, nine of them starts. A power-speed combo who also won nine Gold Gloves as a second baseman, Sandberg stole as many as 52 bases and led the NL with 40 home runs in 1990. -- David Schoenfield


90. Ivan Rodriguez

Team(s): Texas Rangers (1991-2002, 2009), Florida Marlins (2003), Detroit Tigers (2004-08), New York Yankees (2008), Houston Astros (2009), Washington Nationals (2010-11)

Stats: .296/.334/.464, 311 HR, 1,332 RBI, 2,844 H, 68.7 bWAR

Primary position: Catcher

What he's best known for: Pudge could rake, but it is his defense behind the plate for which he is best remembered. Rodriguez racked up 13 Gold Gloves during his career, including 10 straight at one point. He led the AL in caught stealing percentage nine times. After the 12-year mark of his career, Rodriguez had erased more than half of opposing base stealers. -- Bradford Doolittle


89. Shoeless Joe Jackson

Team(s): Philadelphia Athletics (1908-09), Cleveland Naps (1910-15), Chicago White Sox (1915-20)

Stats: .356/.423/.517, 54 HR, 1,772 H, 202 SB, 62.2 bWAR

Primary position: Outfield

What he's best known for: Shoeless Joe was one of the best players of the early 20th century, batting .357/.424/.519 with 198 stolen bases from 1911 to 1920. But his legacy is forever tainted by his association with the 1919 White Sox team that famously threw the World Series. There has been incessant debate as to whether he actively took part in the scheme, apologists pointing mainly to his .375 batting average in that series. But he reportedly accepted a $5,000 bribe nonetheless and was ultimately banned from organized baseball, along with seven teammates. -- Alden Gonzalez


88. Willie Stargell

Team(s): Pittsburgh Pirates (1962-82)

Stats: .282/.360/.529, 475 HR, 1,540 RBI, 2,232 H, 57.5 bWAR

Primary position: Left field/first base

What he's best known for: "Pops" won MVP honors primarily due to his leadership, sharing the 1979 NL award with Keith Hernandez when he led the "We Are Family" Pirates to the World Series title at age 39. In his prime, he was a powerful slugger with a quick bat, known for his tape-measure home runs. Only six home runs have ever been hit out of Dodger Stadium -- two of them by Stargell. -- David Schoenfield


87. Carlton Fisk

Team(s): Boston Red Sox (1969-80), Chicago White Sox (1981-93)

Stats: .269/.341/.457, 376 HR, 1,330 RBI, 2,356 H, 68.4 bWAR

Primary position: Catcher

What he's best known for: Fisk donned the tools of ignorance in 24 big league seasons over four decades, yet he will always be remembered for one swing on an October night in 1975. Fisk ended one of the greatest World Series games with a 12th-inning homer in Game 6 of that season's Fall Classic, hammering a fly ball over the Green Monster that struck the netting attached to the left-field foul pole. The shot of Fisk hopping down the line, trying to wave the ball fair, remains one of baseball's enduring images. -- Bradford Doolittle


86. Roberto Alomar

Team(s): San Diego Padres (1988-90), Toronto Blue Jays (1991-95), Baltimore Orioles (1996-98), Cleveland Indians (1999-2001), New York Mets (2002-03), Chicago White Sox (2003-2004), Arizona Diamondbacks (2004)

Stats: .300/.371/.443, 210 HR, 2,724 H, 474 SB, 67 bWAR

Primary position: Second base

What he's best known for: Paul Molitor was the MVP of the 1993 World Series and Joe Carter became the hero with his walk-off home run in Game 6, but Alomar, then only 25, was everywhere. He batted .480, stole four bases and made an assortment of slick defensive plays at second base, most notably a full-extension catch on a flare off the bat of Lenny Dykstra. He was an all-around star throughout his career, though he is also notorious for spitting in an umpire's face, and the most recent memory is of him being placed on MLB's ineligible list after an investigation into a 2014 sexual misconduct allegation. -- Alden Gonzalez


85. Jim Palmer

Team(s): Baltimore Orioles (1965-84)

Stats: 268-152, 2.86 ERA, 2,212 SO, 3,948 IP, 68.5 bWAR

Primary position: Starting pitcher

What he's best known for: His Jockey underwear ads, his feuds with manager Earl Weaver, never allowing a grand slam -- oh, and winning 20 games eight seasons in the 1970s. The youngest pitcher to throw a shutout in the World Series when he blanked the Dodgers in 1966 at age 20, Palmer overcame a shoulder injury early in his career and relied on a blazing high fastball to pitch at least 296 innings in six different seasons. -- David Schoenfield


84. Paul Molitor

Team(s): Milwaukee Brewers (1978-92), Toronto Blue Jays (1993-95), Minnesota Twins (1996-98)

Stats: .306/.369/.448, 234 HR, 1,307 RBI, 3,319 H, 75.7 bWAR

Primary position: Infielder/designated hitter

What he's best known for: Perhaps baseball's best argument for the designated hitter, who knows where Molitor would have been without it? After an injury-plagued, yet dazzling, start to his career as an infielder, Molitor became more or less a full-time DH at 34. He rang out 1,449 of his 3,319 career hits after that point, led the AL in that category three times, and captured World Series MVP honors by hitting .458 for the champion Blue Jays in the 1993 Fall Classic. -- Bradford Doolittle


83. Roy Campanella

Team(s): Negro Leagues (1937-45, multiple teams), Brooklyn Dodgers (1948-57)

Stats (Major Leagues): .276/.360/.500, 242 HR, 856 RBI, 1,161 H, 35.6 bWAR

Primary position: Catcher

What he's best known for: A year after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, Campanella debuted. Twenty-one years after that, he became the second Black player -- after Robinson -- to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. In between, Campanella was a three-time MVP and an eight-time All-Star despite a career that began late because of segregation and ended tragically with a paralyzing automobile accident. -- Alden Gonzalez


82. Eddie Collins

Team(s): Philadelphia Athletics (1906-14, 1927-30), Chicago White Sox (1915-1926)

Stats: .333/.424/.429, 47 HR, 1,299 RBI, 3,315 H, 124.4 bWAR

Primary position: Second base

What he's best known for: The best player on Connie Mack's A's teams that won four pennants in five seasons from 1910 to 1914, Collins was one of the biggest stars of the dead ball era. An Ivy Leaguer, the second baseman was quickly nicknamed "Cocky" for his confidence and ability to outsmart opponents with his skill at the plate, bunting ability and thievery on the bases (he's still seventh of all time in stolen bases). He won the 1914 Chalmers Award as MVP and finished in the top three four other times, even though voting existed for only part of his career. -- David Schoenfield


81. Mike Piazza

Team(s): Los Angeles Dodgers (1992-98), Florida Marlins (1998), New York Mets (1998-2005), San Diego Padres (2006), Oakland Athletics (2007)

Stats: .308/.377/.545, 427 HR, 1,335 RBI, 2,127 H, 59.5 bWAR

Primary position: Catcher

What he's best known for: Piazza's career highlight reel always culminates in his indelible, go-ahead homer for the Mets against the Braves in the eighth inning on Sept. 21, 2001 -- the first game played in New York after the 9/11 attacks. He's also known for where he began: Piazza was a 62nd-round draft pick by the Dodgers in 1988, and was picked there only after some cajoling by family friend Tommy Lasorda. -- Bradford Doolittle


80. Robin Yount

Team(s): Milwaukee Brewers (1974-93)

Stats: .285/.342/.430, 251 HR, 3,142 H, 271 SB, 77.3 bWAR

Primary position: Shortstop/center field

What he's best known for: Yount (along with Cal Ripken Jr.) helped revolutionize the shortstop position in the 1980s -- shifting the perception of shortstops as light-hitting defensive wizards into strapping sluggers. In 1982 -- his first MVP season -- he became the first shortstop in more than 20 years to combine a .300-plus batting average with 20 or more home runs and 100 or more RBIs in the same year, paving the way for Alex Rodriguez, Fernando Tatis Jr. and so many others in between. In 1989, Yount won a second MVP -- as a center fielder. -- Alden Gonzalez


79. Hank Greenberg

Team(s): Detroit Tigers (1930, 1933-41, 1945-46), Pittsburgh Pirates (1947)

Stats: .313/.412/.605, 331 HR, 1,274 RBI, 1,628 H, 55.5 bWAR

Primary position: First base

What he's best known for: The first Jewish superstar in the major leagues, Greenberg led the AL four times in home runs and RBIs, challenged Babe Ruth's then-record of 60 home runs when he belted 58 in 1938, won two MVP Awards and holds the AL single-season record with 184 RBIs in 1937. He missed nearly four full seasons due to World War II, cutting into his career totals, and was still an effective hitter when he retired to work in the Cleveland Indians' front office, becoming general manager in 1950. -- David Schoenfield


78. Chipper Jones

Team(s): Atlanta Braves (1993-2012)

Stats: .303/.401/.529, 468 HR, 1,623 RBI, 2,726 H, 85.3 bWAR

Primary position: Third base

What he's best known for: If Mickey Mantle is a no-brainer as the best switch-hitter ever (and he is), then Jones is the leading candidate for the designation among National League hitters. Mantle was the childhood hero of Jones' father, and, as it turned out, Jones, who was part of 12 playoff Atlanta clubs, is as synonymous with the Braves as Mantle was with the Yankees. -- Bradford Doolittle


77. Vladimir Guerrero

Team(s): Montreal Expos (1996-2003), Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels (2004-09), Texas Rangers (2010), Baltimore Orioles (2011)

Stats: .318/.379/.553, 449 HR, 1,496 RBI, 181 SB, 59.5 bWAR

Primary position: Right field

What he's best known for: Guerrero was a legitimate five-tool talent -- someone who could hit for average and power, run well, and change the game defensively. But two distinct characteristics defined him: an absurd throwing arm, capable of throwing out baserunners from warning tracks, and an innate ability to crush pitches way out of the strike zone. Guerrero was a natural, in the truest sense. -- Alden Gonzalez


76. Cap Anson

Team(s): Rockford Forest Citys (1871), Philadelphia Athletics (1872-75), Chicago White Stockings/Colts (1876-97)

Stats: .334/.394/.447, 96 HR, 2,075 RBI, 3,435 H, 94.3 bWAR

Primary position: First base

What he's best known for: The biggest star and dominant personality of 19th century baseball, Anson began his career in the National Association, the first professional league, and joined the Chicago franchise when the National League launched in 1876, also managing the team for 19 seasons. The first player to record 3,000 hits, Anson's lasting legacy, however, is that he refused to play against African American players, helping create the color barrier that existed until 1947. -- David Schoenfield


75. Rod Carew

Team(s): Minnesota Twins (1967-78), California Angels (1979-85)

Stats: .328/.393/.429, 92 HR, 1,015 RBI, 3,053 H, 81.2 bWAR

Primary position: First base/second base

What he's best known for: Carew's bat control was legendary, whether it came to bunting for a base hit or slapping a ball into the opposite field. He won seven AL batting crowns, including one stretch of six out of seven. His run at .400 in 1977 became a national story after he went on a 63-game tear in which he rolled up 110 hits and a .431 average. -- Bradford Doolittle


74. Juan Marichal

Team(s): San Francisco Giants (1960-73), Boston Red Sox (1974), Los Angeles Dodgers (1975)

Stats: 243-142, 2.89 ERA, 2,303 SO, 3,507 IP, 61.8 bWAR

Primary position: Starting pitcher

What he's best known for: His arms swung violently back and forth, propelling a delivery that culminated in a leg kick so high that Marichal's knee would often reach the level of his forehead. From there came an arm motion that was either over the top or three-quarters or sidearm, delivering any one of five different pitches. The quirky mechanics helped Marichal win more games than anybody in the 1960s -- even more than Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax. -- Alden Gonzalez


73. Willie McCovey

Team(s): San Francisco Giants (1959-74, 1977-80), San Diego Padres (1974-76), Oakland Athletics (1976)

Stats: .270/.374/.515, 521 HR, 1,555 RBI, 2,211 H, 64.5 bWAR

Primary position: First base

What he's best known for: Power. Big-time power. McCovey still hit 521 home runs despite being platooned early in his career and playing his best years in the windy environs of Candlestick Park in the pitching-dominated 1960s. When the mound was finally lowered in 1969, he hit .304/.448/.634 with 84 home runs over the next two seasons and won MVP honors in 1969. How much did pitchers fear him? Only Barry Bonds has surpassed his total of 45 intentional walks in a season. -- David Schoenfield


72. Justin Verlander

Team(s): Detroit Tigers (2005-17), Houston Astros (2017- )

Stats: 226-129, 3.33 ERA, 3,013 SO, 2,988 IP, 71.8 bWAR

Primary position: Starting pitcher

What he's best known for: Verlander's legacy remains a work in progress, but for now we can look at him as a mashup of the traditional notion of a tireless ace and an analytically fueled 21st century pitcher. Before his 2020 injury, Verlander was the perfect combination of durability and dominance, with a cerebral approach and the kind of high-spin, high-velocity stuff that contemporary teams covet. -- Bradford Doolittle


71. Al Kaline

Team(s): Detroit Tigers (1953-74)

Stats: .297/.376/.480, 399 HR, 1,582 RBI, 3,007 H, 92.8 bWAR

Primary position: Right field

What he's best known for: Decorated Tigers scout Ed Katalinas famously said this about Kaline: "To me he was the prospect that a scout creates in his mind and then prays that someone will come along to fit the pattern." Scouts drooled over Kaline as a high schooler. After signing with the Tigers, he bypassed the minor leagues entirely, then led the sport with a .340 batting average and 200 hits as a 20-year-old in 1955. It was just the start. -- Alden Gonzalez


70. Harmon Killebrew

Team(s): Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins (1954-74), Kansas City Royals (1975)

Stats: .256/.376/.509, 573 HR, 1,584 RBI, 2,086 H, 60.4 bWAR

Primary position: First base/third base/left field

What he's best known for: His nickname "Killer" suggests a slugger with a mean streak, but Killebrew was listed at just 6 feet, 195 pounds and was known as one of the nicest players in the game. He did kill baseballs, however, leading the AL six times in home runs, and only Babe Ruth has topped his eight 40-homer seasons. -- David Schoenfield


69. Ozzie Smith

Team(s): San Diego Padres (1978-81), St. Louis Cardinals (1982-96)

Stats: .262/.337/.328, 499 XBH, 2,460 H, 580 SB, 76.9 bWAR

Primary position: Shortstop

What he's best known for: The full-extension snags up the middle. The diving stops in the hole. The way he'd catch a flip, step on second base, leap and throw to first in one motion. And, of course, the backflips. Nobody dazzled in the field like "The Wizard." But his signature move might be lifting a fist to the sky after his home run won Game 5 of the 1985 NLCS. Smith didn't hit many homers, but few have ever been bigger -- or more improbable -- than that one. -- Alden Gonzalez


68. Manny Ramirez

Team(s): Cleveland Indians (1993-2000), Boston Red Sox (2001-08), Los Angeles Dodgers (2008-10), Chicago White Sox (2010), Tampa Bay Rays (2011)

Stats: .312/.411/.585, 555 HR, 1,831 RBI, 2,574 H, 69.3 bWAR

Primary position: Left field/right field

What he's best known for: Hitting baseballs. One of the all-time great right-handed hitters, Ramirez hit .300 11 times, slugged 40 home runs five times and drove in 100 runs 12 times. His 165 RBIs in 1999 are the most in modern baseball outside the 1920s or '30s. His quirky "Manny being Manny" personality was amusing -- until it wasn't, especially when he stained his legacy with two PED suspensions late in his career. -- David Schoenfield


67. Brooks Robinson

Team(s): Baltimore Orioles (1955-77)

Stats: .267/.322/.401, 268 HR, 1,357 RBI, 2,848 H, 78.4 bWAR

Primary position: Third base

What he's best known for: Robinson broke in with the Orioles at 18 and retired with the Orioles at 40, never having spent one second with another organization. Yet he is another player who can be summed up with a single highlight reel, one that features his string of miraculous defensive plays in the 1970 World Series. It was no fluke. Robinson might have been better at third base than any other player has ever been at any position. -- Bradford Doolittle


66. Cal Ripken Jr.

Team(s): Baltimore Orioles (1981-2001)

Stats: .276/.340/.447, 431 HR, 1,695 RBI, 3,184 H, 95.9 bWAR

Primary position: Shortstop

What he's best known for: Ripken's hallmark was consistency. And no moment captured that better than when the banners flipped to "2,131" in Camden Yards on Sept. 6, 1995, and Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak, a record that might live on forever. Play stopped long enough for Ripken to encircle the ballpark and salute the fans, a moment that seemed to signal a resurgence in baseball interest coming off the cancellation of the 1994 World Series. Ripken was that beloved. -- Alden Gonzalez


65. Max Scherzer

Team(s): Arizona Diamondbacks (2008-09), Detroit Tigers (2010-14), Washington Nationals (2015-21), Los Angeles Dodgers (2021), New York Mets (2022-)

Stats: 190-97, 3.16 ERA, 3,020 SO, 2,536 IP, 67.1 bWAR

Primary position: Starting pitcher

What he's best known for: One of the most intense competitors the game has seen, the three-time Cy Young winner is still going strong at 37. His list of achievements speaks to his electrifying stuff: two no-hitters, a record-tying 20-strikeout game, a 300-strikeout season, and the only pitcher besides Nolan Ryan with two nine-inning Game Scores of 100 or better. -- David Schoenfield


64. Eddie Mathews

Team(s): Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves (1952-66), Houston Astros (1967), Detroit Tigers (1967-68)

Stats: .271/.376/.509, 521 HR, 1,453 RBI, 2,315 H, 96.1 bWAR

Primary position: Third base

What he's best known for: Owner of a left-handed swing that even Ty Cobb called "perfect" -- it was featured on the cover of the first issue of Sports Illustrated in 1954 -- Mathews is perhaps the most underrated great player of his time. He hit for power and drew a ton of walks and ranks behind only Mike Schmidt in career WAR among third basemen. He played in the shadow of Hank Aaron with the Braves, but from 1953 to 1963 he averaged 7.2 WAR per season and was twice an MVP runner-up. -- David Schoenfield


63. David Ortiz

Team(s): Minnesota Twins (1997-2002), Boston Red Sox (2003-2016)

Stats: .286/.380/.552, 541 HR, 1,768 RBI, 2,472 H, 55.3 bWAR

Primary position: Designated hitter

What he's best known for: How often he came through in the postseason. Like the back-to-back walk-off hits in the 2004 ALCS. Or the game-tying grand slam in the 2013 ALCS. Or the speech that inspired a rally in the ensuing World Series. But it was another speech that made Ortiz a legend in Boston -- on April 20, 2013, in the Red Sox's first home game after the Boston Marathon bombings, when he grabbed the mic and declared, "This is our f-ing city." -- Alden Gonzalez


62. Mel Ott

Team(s): New York Giants (1926-47)

Stats: .304/.414/.533, 511 HR, 1,860 RBI, 2,876 H, 110.9 bWAR

Primary position: Right field

What he's best known for: A beloved player, he beat out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe Louis and others in a 1944 vote of war-bond buyers as the most popular sports hero of all time. With a quirky, high-kick batting stance, Ott went straight from playing on a lumber-mill team in Louisiana to the majors at 17. He combined power (with help from the short right-field wall at the Polo Grounds), on-base skills and good defense in right to become the best NL player of the 1930s (only Gehrig had more WAR in the decade). Oddly, he never won an MVP Award, arguably making him the best position player never to win one. -- David Schoenfield


61. Carl Yastrzemski

Team(s): Boston Red Sox (1961-83)

Stats: .285/.379/.462, 452 HR, 1,844 RBI, 3,419 H, 96.5 bWAR

Primary position: Left field/first base

What he's best known for: Following Ted Williams as left fielder for the Red Sox is a tough task, but Yaz was the perfect player to pull it off. His 1967 Triple Crown season (.326, 44 HR, 121 RBIs at the height of a pitching-dominated era) was even greater in context: With Boston locked in a nail-biting, four-team chase for the AL pennant, Yastrzemski hit .523 with 16 RBIs over the last two weeks to drag the Red Sox to their first pennant in 21 years. -- Bradford Doolittle


60. Whitey Ford

Team(s): New York Yankees (1950-67)

Stats: 236-106, 2.75 ERA, 1,956 SO, 3,170 1/3 IP, 53.5 bWAR

Primary position: Starting pitcher

What he's best known for: Ford spent the modern-day equivalent of an entire season in the World Series, accumulating 10 wins, 146 innings and 94 strikeouts. On dominant Yankees teams of the 1950s and '60s, Ford was the clear-cut ace. He earned the nickname "Chairman of the Board" because of his remarkable calmness and helped lead the franchise to five championships. In back-to-back World Series in 1960 and '61 -- a loss to the Pirates, then a win over the Reds -- Ford pitched a combined 32 scoreless innings. -- Alden Gonzalez


59. Miguel Cabrera

Team(s): Florida Marlins (2003-2007), Detroit Tigers (2008-)

Stats: .310/.387/.532, 502 HR, 1,804 RBI, 2,987 H, 68.7 bWAR

Primary position: First base/third base

What he's best known for: Few players have ever hit the ball as consistently hard as Cabrera, the only Triple Crown winner of the past 50 years. Even as he has battled age and injuries in recent seasons, his career batting average remains above .300 thanks to four batting crowns and 11 .300 seasons. From 2006 to 2016, he hit .326 while averaging 33 home runs and 115 RBIs. Early in 2022, he'll become just the seventh member of the 500 HR/3,000 hit club -- and he'll have the highest career average of the group. -- David Schoenfield


58. Steve Carlton

Team(s): St. Louis Cardinals (1965-71), Philadelphia Phillies (1972-1986), San Francisco Giants (1986), Chicago White Sox (1986), Cleveland Indians (1987), Minnesota Twins (1987-88)

Stats: 329-244, 3.22 ERA, 4,136 SO, 5,217 2/3 IP, 90.2 bWAR

Primary position: Starting pitcher

What he's best known for: One of the game's greatest and most durable strikeout pitchers, Lefty featured one of history's best sliders. His 1972 season is the ultimate big-fish-in-a-small-pond campaign. Carlton won the NL pitching triple crown that year with a 27-10 record, 1.97 ERA and 310 strikeouts. His team, the Phillies, won just 59 games overall, going 32-87 in non-Carlton decisions. -- Bradford Doolittle


57. Pete Alexander

Team(s): Philadelphia Phillies (1911-17 & 1930), Chicago Cubs (1918-26), St. Louis Cardinals (1926-29)

Stats: 373-208, 2.56 ERA, 2,198 SO, 5,190 IP, 116 bWAR

Primary position: Starting pitcher

What he's best known for: Born as Grover Cleveland Alexander (the name on his Hall of Fame plaque), he was nearly as dominant as Walter Johnson during the tail end of the dead ball era. From 1911 to 1920, he led the National League in wins six times, in ERA five times, in innings seven times and in strikeouts six times. His numbers during that 10-year stretch were absurd: 235 wins, 3,116⅓ innings, 275 complete games and a 2.06 ERA. -- Alden Gonzalez


56. Dave Winfield

Team(s): San Diego Padres (1973-1980), New York Yankees (1981-90), California Angels (1990-91), Toronto Blue Jays (1992), Minnesota Twins (1993-94), Cleveland Indians (1995)

Stats: .283/.353/.475, 465 HR, 1,833 RBI, 3,110 H, 64.2 bWAR

Primary position: Right field

What he's best known for: Besides his battles with George Steinbrenner and getting arrested for killing a seagull, the towering 6-6 Winfield was drafted in three different pro sports -- baseball, basketball and football -- and four different leagues -- MLB, the NBA, the ABA and the NFL. His choice worked out: He was one of the biggest names in the game during his 22-season career, making 12 straight All-Star teams from 1977 to 1988. With his size and line-drive stroke he instilled fear in third basemen around the league, lashing more than 3,000 career hits. A two-way star at the University of Minnesota, he also had a powerful throwing arm that helped him win seven Gold Gloves. -- David Schoenfield


55. Reggie Jackson

Team(s): Oakland Athletics (1967-1975, 1987), Baltimore Orioles (1976), New York Yankees (1977-1981), California Angels (1982-86)

Stats: .262/.356/.490, 563 HR, 1,702 RBI, 2,584 H, 73.9 bWAR

Primary position: Right field

What he's best known for: Mr. October was among the iconic athletes of his time, whether it was for his light-tower home runs, his penchant for self-promotion ("the straw that stirs the drink"), the candy bar that bore his name or his presence on the Bronx Zoo New York Yankees. His performance backed up the hype, especially when it mattered most. His pinnacle came in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series when he homered three times to send broadcaster Howard Cosell into a tizzy and lift the Yankees to their first title in 15 years. -- Bradford Doolittle


54. Lefty Grove

Team(s): Philadelphia Athletics (1925-33), Boston Red Sox (1934-41)

Stats: 300-141, 3.06 ERA, 2,266 SO, 3,940 2/3 IP, 113.3 bWAR

Primary position: Starting pitcher

What he's best known for: Grove beat out Lou Gehrig for the AL MVP Award in 1931, at that time only the third different pitcher to win it. He won 16 consecutive games at one point, claimed his fourth of nine ERA titles, paced the AL in strikeouts for the seventh consecutive year and led the A's to their third straight World Series appearance. -- Alden Gonzalez


53. Oscar Charleston

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Why Oscar Charleston should be higher on baseball's top 100

David Schoenfield analyzes the career of Oscar Charleston, who he describes as "Willie Mays before Willie Mays."

Team(s): Negro Leagues (1915-41, Indianapolis ABCs, Harrisburg Giants, Homestead Grays, Pittsburgh Crawfords, others)

Stats: .364/.449/.615, 143 HR, 853 RBI, 1,207 H, 48.3 bWAR

Primary position: Center field/first base

What he's best known for: Buck O'Neil was among those who proclaimed Charleston the best player he ever saw, describing him as a combination of Babe Ruth, Tris Speaker and Ty Cobb. Yet what Charleston might be best remembered for is ... not being remembered, at least not to the extent that he should be. No player may have combined elite power and elite speed at Charleston's level, and on top of all that, his fierce competitiveness was the stuff of legend. -- Bradford Doolittle


52. Clayton Kershaw

Team(s): Los Angeles Dodgers (2008- )

Stats: 185-84, 2.49 ERA, 2,670 SO, 2,454 IP, 71.9 bWAR

Primary position: Starting pitcher

What he's best known for: That herky-jerky windup, that fastball command, that wipeout slider, that big curveball, those heartbreaking defeats in the postseason -- and one of the greatest peaks any pitcher has enjoyed. From 2011 to 2017, Kershaw went 118-41 with a 2.10 ERA, winning three Cy Young Awards and five ERA titles. He's the Dodgers' all-time leader in WAR (including Brooklyn) and his adjusted ERA+ of 155 is the best for any pitcher with 2,000 career innings. Let's hope his Dodgers timeline extends beyond 2021. -- David Schoenfield


51. Ernie Banks

Team(s): Negro Leagues (1951, Kansas City Monarchs), Chicago Cubs (1953-71)

Stats: .274/.330/.500, 512 HR, 1,636 RBI, 2,583, 67.7 bWAR

Primary position: Shortstop/first base

What he's best known for: Banks' hitting redefined how we saw the shortstop position. The first Black player in Cubs history, Mr. Cub enjoyed a love affair with Chicago fans that lasted more than six decades, all the way to his death in 2015. For all Banks did on the field, his legacy might best be summed up as an attitude, exemplified by one legendary mantra: "What a great day for baseball. Let's play two." -- Bradford Doolittle