Top 50 First Basemen
Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx
Best First Baseman in the History of Baseball
Quiet and reserved, Lou Gehrig rarely had the spotlight all to himself during his 14 full seasons with the New York Yankees. Gehrig remained in the background his first 10 years while the far more colorful and gregarious Babe Ruth consistently grabbed the headlines in the New York newspapers. He then spent his final few seasons taking a backseat to the more charismatic Joe DiMaggio. But, when all was said and done, Lou Gehrig was one of the very greatest players in baseball history, and the man who is generally considered to be the premier first baseman in the history of the game.
First Basemen of Note:
- Most controversial and underrated - Dick Allen
- Best bunter and baserunner- Rod Carew
- Most likely to climb these charts - Albert Pujols
- List of Top 50 First Basemen
- First Baseman Facts
- Most Popular, Reviled, and Overrated
- Negro Leaguers
- Best of the Unranked - Almost Made the Cut
- Best Managers After They Hung Up the Glove
- Best With Glove - Not Top 50 but Worth a Mention
What are the odds that the three best first basemen of all-time played at the same time, in the same league? But that's the case according to our exclusive rankings. A trio of 1930s American League sluggers, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, and Hank Greenberg, are head and shoulders above the rest at first base, even after all these years.
If you're looking for Frank Thomas, he's ranked at DH... Roger Connor hit the first grand slam in history, in 1881... Norm Cash's 118-point drop in batting average from 1961 to 1962 (.361 to .243) is the largest by a batting champ in history. After his career, Cash admitted he corked his bat in '61.
Steve Garvey won a MVP Award, was elected to the All-Star Game by write-in vote, and helped the Dodgers to the World Series four times. But his squeeky-clean image was dirtied late in his career. A classic high average, low-OBP hitter, with no range at first.
"Frank Chance was a born fighter, a determined, able, and magnetic leader of men, who could always inspire his men with extraordinary enthusiasm, get the best work out of them, and always hold their good will. As a field leader it is doubtful if his superior ever lived… he combined all the qualities of an ideal baseball general."
Joe Judge - Judge was a perennial Washington favorite who, in 1924, with Bucky Harris at second base, Ossie Bluege at third base, and MVP Roger Peckinpaugh at shortstop, formed a defensive unit which is thought by many to be the best ever assembled
Bill White - 7 Time Gold glover, 5 time all star, former NL President
Bob Watson - Bob Watson has 4 main distinctions: First African American GM, First African American GM to win a World Series, hit a HR in first World Series at bat and he scored the 1,000,000 run in MLB History.
Wally Joyner - In 1986, Angels' first baseman Wally Joyner became the first rookie to start an All-Star Game. The next year he got even better, as he became the ninth player in baseball history to record 100 RBI in each of his first two seasons.
Andres Galarraga - Galarraga was a five time All-Star, won two National League Gold Glove Awards and two NL Silver Slugger awards, and won the MLB Comeback Player of the Year Award after his successful return to baseball following cancer treatment.
Roy Sievers - At a time when achieving 300 home runs was still a rarity, Sievers became only the 18th ballplayer to reach the plateau. He also holds the dubious distinction of being the first member to hit 300 home runs and not make the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Vic Power - Vic Power surprised the baseball world with his glove and with his courage as well as with his humor and style. Whatever curve ball the baseball gods had thrown him, Vic adjusted, then did it his way.
Pedro Guerrero - Writer Bill James called Guerrero "the best hitter God has made in a long time."
Frank Chance - From 1906 thru 1910, the Cubs won 530 games and posted a .693 winning percentage - the best five-year record in the history of baseball.
Walter Alston - Did You Know: That Walter Alston played in his only major league game on September 27, 1936, as a substitute for future Hall of Famer Johnny Mize, who had earlier been ejected from the game? He won over 2,000 games as a manager.
Charlie Grimm - His final records, a .290 batting average as a player and 1,287-1,067 record as manager have caused some to campaign for him to enter Cooperstown on some type of meritorious service standard.
Mike Hargrove - The human rain delay managed some great teams in Cleveland and was 1 out away from a World Championship.
Cap Anson - Baseball's first great star, Cap Anson led the Chicago Cubs to five National League pennants while serving as the team's player-manager.
Tom Kelly - After his playing career ended, he was a minor league manager and a Twins coach from 1983 to 1986, when he became the team's manager. He remained the club's skipper through the 2001 season, winning the World Series twice during his tenure, in 1987 and 1991
Bill Terry - He posted a record of 823-661 during his managerial career, leading his team to the National League pennant in 1933, 1936, and 1937, and to the world championship in 1933.
Terry Francona - After managing the Phillies, he went out to Boston to break a 86 year drought and won a second championship in 2007. He has averaged 95 wins per season as Red Sox skipper.
Gil Hodges - Hodges’ expert manipulation of his pitching staff and clever utilization of the somewhat limited talent available to him on an everyday basis earned him Manager of the Year honors from The Sporting News.
Keith Hernandez - Former MVP now considered greatest fielding firstbase men in baseball history.
Vic Power - surprised the baseball world with his glove and with his courage as well as with his humor and style. Whatever curve ball the baseball gods had thrown him, Vic adjusted, then did it his way.
Wes Parker - 6 time Gold glover, nominated to All Time Gold glove team
J.T. Snow - Multiple Gold glover win
Mickey Vernon - One of a handful of players whose career spanned parts of four decades, Mickey Vernon spent most of his 20 years in the major leagues playing for non-contending teams, never getting the recognition he deserved.
Hal Chase - Among the most unsavory characters in the history of the game during baseballs often rough-and-tumble Deadball Era. Chase was an oddly charismatic star. Hal Chase was both acclaimed as the finest defensive first baseman of his time, and simultaneously accused of countless instances of throwing games
Earl Sheely - Earl Sheely born in Bushnell, Illinois, was a big, slow first baseman with a knack for driving in runs, twice topping 100. He also hit over .300 four times in nine seasons. Although he was criticized for slow play in the field, he was surehanded and led AL first basemen in fielding in 1926 and NL first basemen in 1929.
George Scott - Boomer won 8 Gold Gloves with the Red Sox and BrewerBy The Baseball Page
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- 1961, 1962, Albert Pujols, Andres Galarraga, Bill Terry, Bill White, Bob Watson, Cap Anson, Charlie Grimm, Dick Allen, Don Mattingly, Earl Sheely, Frank Chance, Frank Thomas, George Scott, Gil Hodges, Hal Chase, Hank Greenberg, J.T. Snow, Jimmie Foxx, Joe Judge, Keith Hernandez, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Vernon, Mike Hargrove, Norm Cash, Pedro Guerrero, Rod Carew, Roger Connor, Roy Sievers, Steve Garvey, Terry Francona, Tom Kelly, Vic Power, Wally Joyner, Walter Alston, Wes Parker