We will now begin our look at the best left fielders of All Time. There are currently twenty left fielders in the Hall of Fame, so more than half didn’t make the list. There is one current player on my list, and two retired players. The names at the top are some of the greatest players who ever played. So with that, let’s take a look…
10. Goose Goslin – Goslin played 18 seasons, from 1921-1938. He played for the Washington Senators, St. Louis Browns, and Detroit Tigers. Goslin was a .316 hitter, with 248 home runs, 1,609 RBI’s, and 1,483 runs scored. He had 12 seasons of 100 RBI’s, leading the league with 129 in 1924. He also won a batting title in 1928 hitting .379. He scored 100 or more runs seven times, and hit .300 or better 11 times. He played in five World Series, winning two, in 1924 and 1935. In the 1924 World Series he hit .344, with 3 home runs, and 7 RBI’s. Goose Goslin was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1968.
9. Albert Belle - Belle played 12 seasons with the Indians, White Sox, and Orioles. His career was cut short by a hip injury at age 33. Belle was a .295 hitter, with 381 home runs, 1,239 RBI’s, and 974 runs scored. Belle averaged 40 home runs and 130 RBI’s per season over his career. He finished his career with 9 straight 100 RBI seasons, leading the league 3 times. He had seasons of 148 and 152 RBI’s. Belle also led the league in home runs with 50 in 1995, and had 48 in 1996. In all 10 of his full seasons he hit 23 or more home runs, hitting 30 or more 8 times. Belle was not a great guy and had his problems with the media, but he was a better player than Kirby Puckett, who’s career was also cut short by injury. Kirby retired a beloved figure and as it turns out he wasn’t such a nice guy either. Puckett is in the Hall of Fame, and Albert Belle belongs there too.
8. Carl Yastrzemski – Yaz played 23 seasons with the Boston Red Sox. He was an 18 time All Star and seven time Gold Glove Award winner. He hit .285, with 452 home runs, 1,816 runs scored, and 1,845 RBI’s. He led the league in runs scored and OPS(on base plus slugging) three times and won 3 batting titles. He had 100 or more RBI’s five times. Yaz won the MVP in 1967, when he won the Triple Crown. He hit .326, with 44 HR’s, and 121 RBI’s. He is the last player to accomplish this feat. Yaz is 12th all time in RBI’s, 16th in runs scored, and 8th in hits with 3,419. Carl played in 2 World Series, and although he never won, he hit .352, with 3 home runs in his two appearances. Carl Yastrzemski was one of the most consistent players to ever play, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989.
7. Manny Ramirez - Ramirez in the only active player on the list, but his numbers warrant a spot. He has played 18 seasons and counting. Ramirez is a .313 hitter, with 555 home runs, 1,544 runs scored, and 1,830 RBI’s. He is currently 17th in RBI’s and 12th in HR’s. Manny has twelve 100 RBI seasons and eleven seasons in which he hit over .300. In 13 of his seasons he has hit 25 or more home runs, hitting 30 or more 12 times and 40 or more 3 times, leading the league with 43 in 2004. Manny won a batting title in 2002, and led the league with 165 RBI’s in 1999. He has finished in the top 10 in the MVP voting 9 times. Ramirez was also a key member of the Red Sox teams that won World Championships in 2004 and 2007. In the 2004 World Series he was the MVP, hitting .412 and helping Boston sweep the Cardinals and win their first World series since 1918. Manny does have the suspicion of steroid use, but his numbers certainly would make him a first ballot Hall of Famer.
6. Ed Delahanty – Big Ed Delahanty played from 1888 to 1903, for the Philadelphia Phillies, Cleveland Infants, and Washington Senators. He finished his career with 1,466 RBI’s, 1,600 Runs scored, and a .346 average, which is the highest of any left fielder and 5th all time. He knocked in 100 runs seven times, leading the league three times, with a high of 146 in 1893. He led in HR’s in 1893 and 1896, with 19 and 13 respectively. Delahanty hit .400 three times, hitting .404 in 1894 and 1895, and led the league with a .410 average in 1899. He had 455 stolen bases and also led the league in OPS four times. He scored 100 runs 10 times, including seven years in a row from 1893 to 1899. Ed Delahanty played in a different era, but was one of the best who ever played, by any standards. Delahanty died when he was swept over Niagara Falls in 1903, at the age of 35. He was apparently kicked off a train by the train’s conductor for being drunk and disorderly. The conductor said Delahanty was brandishing a straight razor and threatening passengers. After being kicked off the train, Delahanty started his way across the International Bridge (near Niagara Falls) and fell or jumped off the bridge (some accounts say Ed was yelling about death that night). Whether “Big Ed” died from his plunge over the Falls, or drowned on the way to the Falls is uncertain. Ed Delahanty was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1945.
5. Rickey Henderson - Henderson is arguably the greatest leadoff hitter who ever played. Rickey played 25 seasons for the Oakland A’s, NY Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres, Anaheim Angels, NY Mets, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, and Los Angeles Dodgers. He was a .279 hitter, with 297 home runs and 1,115 RBI’s. Henderson is the All Time leader with 2,295 runs scored. He scored 100 or more runs thirteen times, and led the league five times. Henderson is best known for his exploits on the base paths. He stole 1,406 base for his career, which is the most All Time by a wide margin. He has 468 more steals than the next closest player, Lou Brock with 938. He has the single season record of 130, and stole 100 or more 3 times. He led the league in steals 12 times, including seven years in a row form 1980-1986, and nine out of ten seasons from 1980-1989. He also holds the record for leadoff home runs with 81. He won the 1990 AL MVP, and finished in the top 10 five times in his career. He was a 10 time All Star and won two World Series, in 1989 with the Oakland A’s, and 1993 with the Toronto Blue Jays. Rickey Henderson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2009.
4. Al Simmons - Simmons played 20 seasons, from 1924-1944. He was a .334 hitter, with 307 home runs, 1,507 runs scored, and 1,827 RBI’s. Simmons had twelve seasons of 100 or more RBI’s, including the first eleven of his career. He led the league in 1929 with 157, and had 165 the following year. He hit .300 or better 15 times. In 1930 and 1931 he led the league in hitting with averages of .381 and .390 respectively. He scored 100 runs six times and is 19th all time in RBI’s. He had 200 hits six times, including five seasons in a row from 1929-1933. Simmons played in four World Series, winning two with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1929 and 1930. Al was known as a great clutch hitter and hit .329 in his World Series appearances, with 6 homeruns, 17 RBI’s, and 15 runs scored in 19 games. Al Simmons was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1953.
3. Barry Bonds – Bonds played 22 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. He is a 14 time All Star and 8 time Gold Glove Award winner. Bonds finished his career with a .298 average, 762 home runs, 1,227 runs scored, and 1,996 RBI’s. He is the All Time leader in home runs and walks, with 2,558. He is 4th in RBI’s and 3rd in runs scored. Bonds has the single season home run record with 73 in 2001. He had 12 seasons of 100 RBI’s and led the league in 1993 with 123. He also has 12 seasons of 100 runs scored. He won two batting titles, hitting .370 in 2002, and .362 in 2004. Bonds has 15 consecutive seasons of 25 or more home runs, hitting 33 or more in 14 of those. Bonds hit 40 or more eight times in that span. He also has 514 stolen bases and is 4th all time in OPS. Bonds has won a record 7 MVP Awards, in 1990, 1992, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. Barry Bonds is one of the greatest players to ever play the game, but the steroid issue will always follow him. He’s still a Hall of Famer in my book.
2. Stan “The Man” Musial – Musial played 22 seasons, all with the St. Louis Cardinals, from 1941-1963. He was a 24 time All Star, .331 hitter, with 475 home runs, 1,941 runs scored, and 1,951 RBI’s. He is 9th all time in runs scored and 6th in RBI’s. Musial had ten seasons of 100 or more RBI’s. He led the league with 131 in 1948 and 109 in 1956. Stan had 11 straight seasons of 100 runs scored from 1943-1954. He led the league five times during that span. Musial is also 4th all time in hits with 3,630, and had six 200 hit seasons. He won seven batting titles, including three in a row from 1950-1952, and hit .300 sixteen years in a row. He won the MVP three times, in 1943, 1946, and 1948, and was in the top ten in voting fourteen times. He led the league in OPS seven times and is 14th all time in that category. Stan played in four World Series, winning three, in 1942, 1944, and 1946. He missed the 1945 season due to his service in WWII. Stan Musial was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969.
1. Ted Williams – Williams played 21 seasons with the Boston Red Sox, from 1939-1960. He missed the 1943-1945 seasons due to his service in WWII, and he was recalled to active duty during the Korean War in 1952-1953, in which he flew 39 combat missions. Ted was a lifetime .344 hitter, which ranks 7th all time. He has 521 home runs, 1,798 runs scored, and 1,839 RBI’s. He is 18th in home runs, 17th in runs scored, and 13th in RBI’s. Williams hit .300 or better 18 of the 19 seasons he played. He won six batting titles, and is the last player to hit .400 by hitting .406 in 1941. Ted had 9 seasons of 100 or more RBI’s, including 8 in a row from 1939-1949, with an interruption due to his aforementioned military service. He led the league in RBI’s four times and runs scored six times. He won the MVP Award twice, in 1946 and 1949. He finished in the top ten 12 times. What is even more amazing is that Williams won the Triple Crown in 1942 and 1947, and didn’t win the MVP. He is a 17 time all star and is second only to Babe Ruth in OPS, leading the league ten times. Ted Williams lost 5 seasons in his prime and his numbers are still among the greatest ever, just think what they could have been. Ted Williams is one of the greatest ever, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.