Best MLB Players Of All Time, According To Baseball Analysts

Debating the greatest baseball players of all time is a national pastime in itself. From the offensive juggernauts who redefined hitting to the pitching titans who carved their names into the record books, Major League Baseball boasts a rich history filled with legendary talents. But who truly stands above the rest? This article dives into the heart of the debate, exploring the careers and achievements of the most iconic players ever to grace the diamond and attempting to answer the age-old question: who are the best MLB players of all time?

Fans have long debated who should make this list with the utmost fanatic passion. StudyFinds did the research, consulting 10 baseball-oriented and sports websites in an effort to find the best MLB players of all time. Our list is comprised of the five most frequently mentioned MLB players from across these sites. As always, feel free to share your picks for the best MLB players of all time with us in the comments section below! 

Baseball fans cheering in the stands
Baseball fans cheering in the stands (Photo by Tero Vesalainen on Shutterstock)

The List: Best MLB Players of All Time, Per Sports Experts

1. Babe Ruth

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Topping the list of the best MLB players of all time is none other than Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth appeared in the top spot across 70 percent of the lists we referenced, making him the clear choice for the number one spot on our list. ESPN tells us that modern baseball is all Babe Ruth’s doing. Sure, plenty of players leave their mark, and some even become legends, but no one revolutionized the sport the way Ruth did. When he joined the Yankees, he turned baseball into a power hitting game. Simply put, no player ever ruled their era like the Babe.

True, Babe Ruth was perhaps the most dominant baseball player of all time, but his game was about more than hitting home runs. Bleacher Report throws out a fun fact: Before becoming a full-time outfielder, Ruth actually dominated as a pitcher! Imagine – the greatest hitter ever could have been a pitching legend too. He racked up impressive stats in those early seasons, leaving everyone wondering “what if?” Luckily for the Yankees, we never had to find out. Ruth’s dominance was simply unmatched.

Yes, Babe Ruth was also an accomplished pitcher, something that was unheard of until a couple of seasons ago when Shohei Ohtani came on the scene. Still, Babe Ruth was a pure baseball player, capable of playing a range of positions. Sportsnaut piles on the praise, calling Ruth a “Shohei Ohtani a century ahead of schedule.” They point out his incredible pitching stats – a career ERA worthy of the Hall of Fame, along with tons of complete games and shutouts. They even say he threw “pure filth” on the mound during the World Series! There you have it – Babe Ruth, the undisputed greatest baseball player ever.

2. Willie Mays

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Sliding into the second spot on the list of the best MLB players of all time is Willie Mays. The former San Francisco Giant appeared on a whopping 90 percent of the lists we referenced and was never ranked lower than fifth. Willie Mays could do it all and he was truly a five-tool player — hitting, hitting for power, running, fielding, and throwing.

Franchise Sports reminds us that Willie Mays’ greatness goes beyond his major league stats. Imagine starting your pro career in the Negro Leagues, then coming to the majors and absolutely crushing it! Over his long career, Mays launched a staggering 660 home runs, hit a smooth .302, and racked up over 3,200 hits. That’s not all – he also stole 338 bases! On top of that defensive wizardry, remember that incredible catch in the 1954 World Series? Many believe it was the turning point that helped the Giants win it all.

The catch in Game one of the ’54 World Series is one of the most memorable plays in the history of baseball. Mays tracked the ball, turned around and sprinted to dead center field, and then made an amazing over-the-shoulder catch. Playersbio dives deeper into Mays’ defensive dominance. They point out his unbelievable feat of winning a record 12 straight Gold Gloves as an outfielder. That’s right, 12 years in a row patrolling the outfield like a boss! Plus, he was an All-Star for a whopping 24 consecutive seasons!

Perhaps no one has ever played the position of center field better than Willie Mays. Sportsnaut puts a final stamp on Mays’ legacy. They declare him, without a doubt, the best center fielder ever. But they take it a step further, suggesting that if defense is a major factor, he might even be the greatest outfielder in MLB history. Talk about a legend!

3. Hank Aaron

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The third spot on the list of the best MLB players of all time goes to Henry “Hank” Aaron. Hank Aaron is an American icon who happened to play baseball. Aaron’s the all-time leader in runs batted in (RBI) and his homerun record stood for decades before being broken by Barry Bonds.

ESPN reminds us that Hank Aaron’s historic chase for Babe Ruth’s home run record wasn’t just about hitting bombs. Sure, his 715th homer in 1974 was a monumental moment in American history, but Aaron was more than just a power hitter. He was a flat-out hitting machine, evidenced by his impressive career batting average of .305 and over 3,700 base hits. Plus, his record-setting 2,297 RBIs will likely stay on top for a long time to come.

These numbers make it easy for fans to remember Hank Aaron as a pure power hitter, but his game consisted of so much more. Franchise Sports echoes that point, highlighting Aaron’s well-rounded offensive skills. They mention his two batting titles (despite only one MVP award) and his impressive three Gold Gloves. While he holds all-time MLB records for RBIs, total bases, and extra-base hits, his talent went far beyond just launching dingers.

Gold gloves, batting titles, career RBI king, 755 home runs, Hank Aaron had one of the most accomplished careers of any baseball, ever. Bleacher Report throws in some stats to solidify Aaron’s hitting prowess. They point out that his strikeout rate was below 10% – incredibly low for a power hitter. This stat alone shows his incredible ability to make consistent contact and get on base.

4. Barry Bonds

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Coming in at the fourth spot on the list of the best MLB players of all time is Barry Bonds. Clutch Points acknowledges the controversy surrounding Barry Bonds and PEDs, but argues his hitting can’t be ignored. They believe he’s likely the greatest power hitter ever. Just look at how much pitchers feared him – his walks in San Francisco alone could have given him a decent OPS! Regardless of the shadows cast by steroids, Bonds was the most dominant hitter of his time and deserves a top-five spot on this list.

Sportsnaut dives into the “what if” scenario with Bonds. They acknowledge the impact of steroid allegations, particularly his exclusion from the Hall of Fame and a forced retirement after a still-strong season at 42. The argument is clear: without this pressure, Bonds could have potentially chased down the incredible feat of 800 home runs and surpassed other major milestones like 3,000 hits and 2,000 RBIs.

Most fans forget that Barry Bonds was once a slim, trim, outfielder who could essentially do anything he wanted to on a baseball diamond. And for those of us that witnessed all of Bonds’ career, he didn’t need steroids to become one of the greatest baseball players of his time.

Bleacher Report throws in some interesting facts to balance the discussion. Yes, Bonds might have had some “help,” but they point out he was already an elite player even before becoming a massive slugger. Remember, he’s not just a home run king – he’s also the only player to crack both 500 homers and 500 steals! He even has eight Gold Gloves to showcase his defensive prowess in his younger years. While the steroid cloud remains, his overall talent can’t be erased.

5. Ty Cobb

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Rounding out the list of the best MLB players of all time takes us back to the early days of baseball in the 20th century. Ty Cobb was one of the purest hitters the game has ever seen, but he was also one of the dirtiest. Still, Cobb’s hitting ability and tenacity are the two traits that make him one of the best MLB players of all time.

Cobb may not have been liked by his contemporaries but, luckily, baseball isn’t a popularity contest. Regardless, modern fans have come to appreciate Cobb’s desire to win.  Bleacher Report tells the incredible story of Ty Cobb’s batting consistency. Imagine never batting below .316 for your entire 23-year career! That’s exactly what Cobb pulled off, after a shaky debut season. He even topped a mind-blowing .400 average three times and racked up a whopping twelve batting titles. Talk about a hitting machine!

ESPN says Cobb wasn’t just about his masterful hitting – he played a more strategic game, focusing on outsmarting his opponents. Even almost a century after his retirement, his image remains etched in baseball history: the sharpened spikes, the aggressive style, the fiery personality. However, ESPN acknowledges the murkiness of his legacy, where separating fact from fiction can be tricky.


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


  1. Bonds on this list and not Clemente is an insult to MLB. Bonds was always a superb hitter but substandard fielder until he raided up and then hit for power and could actually throw the ball . Clemente was just pure perfection .

  2. I couldn’t have said it any better. Roberto was the man, after Willie of course!

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