The Top 10 Baseball Hitters of My Generation

Ichiro Suzuki

Here it is: my highly anticipated list of the top 10 hitters of my generation. Once again, I’m defining my generation as 1990-2010 — players must have done the majority of their damage between these years to be eligible for the list.

Before we dive in, let’s make one thing clear — this is my list. That being said, I have chosen to not include any players that have been proven steroid users — they should all drop dead. Sorry Yankees fans, Jason Giambi can’t make this list. Neither can Mark McGwire. This is a country where you are innocent until proven guilty people. Deal with it. But because this is my list, we’re eliminating Barry Bonds as well. I mean, the circumference of his head grew an inch and a half and he was suddenly hitting 80 home runs a year. You get the point.

Here we go, in order.

1) Ichiro Suzuki — In his 9 seasons in the US, he’s won the batting title 6 times. He’s never hit under .300 and never had fewer than 200 hits in a season. He’s amassed 2200 hits in 9 years, averaging 229 hits per year and a .332 average. He flat out has better bat control than anyone, maybe ever.

2) Tony Gwynn — Tony won 8 batting titles, never hit under .300, and had a lifetime .338 average. He’s also in the 3000 hit club, with 3141 hits.

3) Albert Pujols — His 162 game averages are: .332, 42 home runs, and 128 RBI’s. Easily the best combination of average and power of my generation, Albert may ultimately go down as the best hitter ever. I pray to god that he never took steroids.

4) Manny Ramirez — Career 162 game averages of .313, 40 home runs, and 131 RBI’s. He’s had plenty of clutch post season hits, and might be the most difficult power hitter of my generation to get out.

5) Derek Jeter — One of baseball’s all-time clutch post season hitters, he has a career .315 average. 207 hits per 162 games played.

6) Ken Griffey Jr. — The sweetest swing I have ever seen, Griffey would have ended his career with about 875 home runs had he not been horribly plagued by injuries. He still ended up with 630 — not too shabby.

7) Albert Belle — This one may surprise you, but from 1991-2000 he might have been the best hitter in baseball. If you don’t believe me, go look at his numbers. Crazy.

8)David Ortiz — His power numbers from 2003-2010 are as good as anyone’s, but it’s David’s clutchness in the post season that gets him on this list. He almost personally delivered the Red Sox their first World Series title in 86 years in 2004, then did it again in 2007. A fun fact? In 2005 he hit 20 home runs that either tied or won games for the Sox.

9) Frank Thomas — A .301 average and 521 home runs have to be good for something, right?

10) Mark Grace — Another sleeper, there is no way you would have had Mark Grace on your list. But that is why howiGit’s blog is the better than any other. Grace led all players in the 90’s in hits, doubles, and sac flys — all hallmarks (no pun intended) of a great hitter.

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Filed under Baseball, Player Comparisons

71 responses to “The Top 10 Baseball Hitters of My Generation

  1. Kevin Youkillis

    jeff bagwell and the crime dog fred mcgriff came to mind before i read the list, but i didnt look up their specific stats so i’m not sure where they would fit in..
    Great list, keep em coming.

    let the red sox haters start talking about manny and ortiz being on roids begin..

  2. I thought about both of them and did a little research. Both of their numbers surprised me in how consistently good they were. McGriff hit 493 home runs (32 per 162 games), but hit .284. Bagwell hit 433 but hit .306. Ultimately I think Bagwell wins between the two, and would be somewhere between 11-15.

    Happy to hear you liked the list. Manny and Ortiz have not been proven guilty of using steroids. That’s it. Innocent until proven guilty, for the sake of this list.

  3. Excuse me, Bagwell was 488 home runs and .297. Chipper Jones was 433 and .306.

  4. A. Rab Money

    how about A rod and Barry Bonds. One has the homerun record, and the other is about to hit his 600th homerun. They cannot be left off the list with the numbers they have boasted throughout their careers.

  5. teck


    Maybe you should be the one to read…steroid users arent supposed to make the list, but Big Papi is on your list.

  6. j-bone

    and also bonds has not been proven of anything, neither has mcgwire or sosa. all the same circumstantial shit as ortiz but none of that counts in beantown

  7. Kevin Youkillis

    to geoffrey’s credit he did say he was just ignoring bonds regardless because his head grew and it was just obvious, mcguire did admit to using steroids.. and sosa is a cheater with a corked bat.

    Also manny did use fertility drugs and served a 50 day suspension for taking a banned substance, but not for “steroids” (take that as however you’d like)

  8. j-bone

    Im glad to see the the MLB gave Manny 50 days for maternity leave.

  9. j-bone

    clemens better be on your pitchers list is all i have to say

    • I look at Clemens the way I look at Bonds. Nothing has been proven yet, sure, but they are the most obvious examples. And the sad part is if they did use, they were the last two people who needed to.

  10. A. Rab Money

    you are the most biased person ever, as are many boston fans. you said yourself and i quote “innocent until proven guilty.” Any way you slice it Bonds is just as innocent as Manny and Papi based on that. Of course you are blind by the veil of ignorance as all of boston is to anything boston related, and hence contradict yourself 100%. Please dont give me some sob story that Manny and Papi didnt take anything. The whole league is tainted and probably 99% of failed drug tests from the mid 90’s-recently is from steroids. Your list is void since you refuse to enforce your own principal equally amongst all players eligible.

    • No, my list very clearly states the rule, with one exception — Bonds — as stated.

    • As for Bonds, if you want to include him, fine — of course he’d be on the list. But despite what you may think, he wouldn’t be as high as you’d think. Aside from the home run numbers, his 162 game averages are .298, 41 home runs, 108 RBI’s, and 159 hits (by far lower than anyone else on this list). I wouldn’t put him in the top 5 based on that. Based on home run hitting, I’d put him #1.

    • Also, it appears that you New York fans are likely “the most biased people ever” as you are very sensitive to this issue. I’m sorry that your hero in A-Rod is a fraud, but you are being ridiculously biased by so easily assuming Manny and Ortiz took steroids. You are blinded by the veil of being a fraud, thus wishing all other players to be frauds as well. “99% that failed drug tests were for steroids?” Give me a break.

      • j-bone

        our hero is Jeter not A-rod. With that being said A-rod manned up and admitted that he was wrong, he did the stand up right thing, instead of being quiet for a week and then having a half assed press conference. and white boy arab is right, you pick and choose what stats count for what people and what intangible factors count for others we saw the same thing with the athletes.
        We are blinded by the veil of fraud, you are blinded by your veil of boyhood wonder for your favorite baseball players. Everytime a Boston athlete is accused of something there is some lame ass excuse, from Manny not wanting to miss a period to Ortiz taking some unknown island implement to Rodney Harrison just doing HGH to get back from injury and be a good teammate and helping his team. You may call it a veil of fraud i call it being realistic. Alot of baseball players cheated, yankees, astros, rockies, and yes the red sox as much you stick your head in the sand and deny it.

      • No I had boyhood wonder for Mo Vaughn, and he used steroids. So did Bronson Arroyo. The only player I picked and choosed with was Barry Bonds, and I “manned up” and admitted that I’m picking and choosing with him. If I was releasing a list without clarifying this, it would be a completely different thing. So take the list for what it is, and argue the players on it. Stop crying. Sure lots of baseball players cheated, everyone knows that.

      • j-bone

        We are arguing the players on your list with the criteria that you gave. you just refuse to admit what everyone outside of boston takes as common knowledge, manny and ortiz cheated.

      • No the criteria that I gave says innocent until proven guilty of steroid use. Both players failed a drug test. Manny for some fertility type drug, and Ortiz hasn’t been told what it was. And he promised to announce it when he is told — that day will come. Could have been something like andro, could have been something like marajuana, could have been steroids, who knows. Just because everyone in New York thinks the way you do does not mean everyone outside of Boston thinks that. If you want to know the truth, I think that Manny did take steroids. I don’t think that Ortiz did.

      • j-bone

        teck doesn’t live in new york or cheer for the Yankees and he is the one that brought up Ortiz so font put that evil on me ricky bobby. I am glad to hear that you think Manny did, but i also think Ortiz did, not because he is on the red sox, but because if you look at his career power hitting arc it looks alot like someone who had something aiding him and then stopped taking the stuff. The list that he is on was not to test whether or not players are eating funions, it was to see if they are taking illegal performance enhancing drugs, he is on that list therefore his performance was enhanced, there for I don’t know how you can say some players who took them count but others that did do not.

      • I disagree that his power hitting arc looks like someone that stopped — look at what he’s doing this year. And if you still think it looks that way, you should look at the fact that he was protected in the order by Manny Ramirez — that’s worth a ton in my book.

  11. j-bone

    Once he started playing full time his HR numbers are 10, 18, 20, 31, 41, 47, 54, 35, 23, 28 thats a pretty significant arc if you ask me. You take out the potential PED years and he is never over 30 except maybe once or twice, those arnt top hitters of the past 20 year numbers.
    This year might be explained by someone who is learning to hit again when off the juice and he is at 18 with some season left.
    Yes I completely agree that Manny was a huge difference, but I think that works against Ortiz, his numbers jump when he has amazing protection, a band box stadium, and PED assistance.

    • Using the stadium and Manny are good points. Using supposed PED years is not, as their is much speculation that A-Rod was taking steroids since high school. So using that train of thought, A-Rod has never hit any home runs in the bigs.

  12. j-bone

    How come everytime something bad is said about Ortiz you automatically turn to A-Rod, guilty conscience? He has nothing to do with this. You didn’t put him on the list because of his PED use, okay that is your opinion.
    A player who hit 20 home runs once in his career gets cut; and then two years later is hitting double his career high just around the time that he is testing positive for PED use, I would say that is a factor. Nomar was the player batting in front of Manny the year before Oritz got there and he hit 24 home runs, he hit more than that 4 other times in his career with out Ramirez behind him, so yes Manny and Fenway are huge factors, which is a case against Ortiz, but his PED use and career arc are pretty huge as well.

    • A-rod did not make this list because of his steroid use. Not all PED’s have to do with power. Not even close.

      • Just an example of this:

        Ephedra (Ephedrine)
        Medical Use: Diet pill, Stimulant, Ancient Chinese: hay fever, asthma
        Performance-Enhancing Use: stimulates the brain, increases heart rate, expands bronchial tubes (making breathing easier), good for working out. Amphetamine-like.
        Side Effects: May include irritability, nervousness, dizziness, trembling, headache, vomiting and hyperthermia. Chemical dependence may also develop.
        Implicated or Admitted: Steve Bechler

        A big fat man like Ortiz could certainly be interested in a drug that helps him breath easier — as we saw in the home runs derby. I’m not saying at all he took this, it’s just one example of a PED that has nothing to do with power. They exist, beleive it or not.

  13. Kevin Youkillis

    teck was wrong in stating that manny is a “clearly documented steroid user” and he drops balls in softball and costs games, plus his girlfriend is old as shit so his opinion is invalid..
    however, i agree the list is skewed because geoffrey made exceptions for some and not others, but it is his list/his blog and he can do what he wants, especially when he makes it clear (screw the yankees).. geoff your mistake was calling a-rod their hero, its common knowledge that they all want to be with posada over arod even though he isnt nearly the player (which i respect, cause i hate arod and gotta respect jeter).. to be fair thou jbone.. not counting ortiz for ped use isnt really opinion because it isnt a fact that he used.. i could have an opinion that jeter used too but that opinion doesnt mean anything….also jeter could very well be on the list of users but we dont know, and until it comes out with what ortiz used i will be biased (also look to ortiz numbers recently, he is older and still eating babies, plus i think a lot has to be said for his past “clutch hitting” as opposed to just best avg or slg pct.)..also you gotta take age into consideration into your arc theory.. you gave 10 years, and he peaked in the middle.. that just makes sense.. im drunk thou, so take this post with a grain of salt, i tried to be as non discriminatory as possible

    p.s. the fact that you brought up bronson arroyo makes me sad, that man can play one hell of a guitar

  14. teck

    If its illegal…its illegal for a reason and thus that person by definition has cheated. Making Manny certainly a cheater and also most likely Big Papi.

    Now having said that…eff you foran.

    In closing Ryan Howard and Chase Utley should be #’s 1 and 2 on this list. That is all.

  15. j-bone

    so a drug that makes it easier to work out doesnt effect power. More work out=more muscle=more power.

    Jeter might be on the list, I doubt it but we dont know. If your opinion is that he is on the list it is based on nothing, he has never been linked to the list. My opinion that Ortiz is on the list is based on the fact that he is on the list.

    Yes he has a career arc that peaked in the middle, but it peaked in the middle by almost triple of what he was hitting previously. Take away the man crush for Ortiz, player x is a player that can not field, run, or hit for average. He is a power hitter that is not putting up the desired power numbers, the team cuts him and he is facing no more mlb career. A team takes a flier on the player that was just cut for not having enough power and he is all of a sudden putting up home run numbers in a single season that are nearly the same as his career TOTALS. Any other player on any other team and you think there is something going on, but because Big Papi Baby Eater was a very heavy, pun intended, factor in getting you guys something that you were dying for, has a big smile and is a fan favorite it was either pot or asthma medication. Move along nothing to see here, fat man needs to breathe, give me a break.

    • Your argument is pointless to this list. This list is not biased against the Yankees in any way. It is biased against admitted or found steroid users and Barry Bonds. End of story.

      • j-bone

        My arguement has nothing to do with the Yankees, every Yankee I have mentioned is in a direct response to someone ala Foran or you bringing up a Yankee in the case against David Ortiz. I never called you biased towards the Yankees, I am calling you biased towards the Red Sox and the list in general, as Foran stated you pick and choose what counts for some people and what counts for others to make your list and ensure that your favorite players get on there, but it is not called how j-bone gits so thats your choice. I will point out when you are being biased though.

      • As you should. But I think Ortiz hand delivering the Red Sox there first World Series in 86 years, let alone the 2007 championship, warrants being on the list.

      • j-bone

        On Geoffs favorite player list yes, on the greatest hitters of the generation no. This has nothing to do with hand delivering the Red Sox a championship, and there were plenty of other player very highly involved in them winning. Is David Roberts one of the best base stealers of the generation? No but on that logic yes he is. Don’t call it the top ten hitters of the last 20 years and then say because he delivered a championship to the Red Sox he gets on the list. Players should be on the list whether they play for the Red Sox, Yankees, or the Pirates. A hitter is a hitter, no matter where they played. You said so yourself last week in the Brady arguement that baseball championships matter less, but then are using that Ortiz was involved in a championship as the reason he is on the list? Thats the problem with picking and choosing which facts count for what, you paint yourself into a corner.

      • A fair argument, but mine is simply that his numbers 2003-2010 coupled with his relentless clutch hitting in the playoffs puts him on this list. Sure, championships count less. But with him we’re counting both clutchness and championships, coupled with stats.

      • j-bone

        I am gonna disagree, if you are compiling a best hitters list you have to look at career, you cant just pick 6 good seasons. Every player on that list is either career stats or 162 game stats. Ortiz has 6 years and clutchness, why does he get a pass for his awful years in Minnesota, he was almost out of the league. Which will bring us back to PEDs. You wanted Ortiz on this list because you are in fat love with him, so you picked his best years and then used clutch, did the same thing with Brady

      • Tom Brady is far better at football than Ortiz is at baseball. Brady is arguably the best quarterback of all-time.

  16. Kevin Youkillis

    “And manny is certainly a documented steroid user”
    -Tim eckert

    yes manny cheated but he did not use steroids which is the form of cheating we were discussing..way to back track

    Ryan Howard is pretty nasty

  17. Kevin Youkillis

    ortiz has 21 homers this year, 5th in the AL.. im okay with those power numbers

  18. j-bone

    yeah and if he continues the trend and ends up with 57 home runs next year followed by not breaking 30 after they start testing then I would talk about him to.

    • I do think its worth saying its possible to make significant improvements as a player regardless of PED’s or anything else. Look at Phil Hughes. Look at Clay Bucholz.

  19. j-bone

    Yes it certainly is possible, not everyone that jumps is PEDs, however those two players are early 20’s not late 20’s early 30’s

    And I am not getting back into Brady, stating he is the best of all time is just sillyness that I am going to stay out of.

    • Who says there is a time frame on when you can improve? And how many quarterbacks have 3 super bowls, especially with the game winning drives Brady took them on each time? It’s silly for him to not be in the convo.

  20. j-bone

    Terry Bradshaw 4
    Joe Montana 4
    Aikman 3

    • I thought you weren’t discussing it — I guess you can’t follow your own rules. Given your comment, how is Brady not in the discussion? Let alone the fact that he’s got several years left, some cool records, and an 16-0 regular season?

  21. j-bone

    Fine you dragged me back in, Top Ten maybe, best of all time no, his career is not over yet so it is impossible to give him that title right now, he could throw for 250 more touchdowns or 0. Thats why you can’t say he is the best of all time.
    Right now better than him are Montana, Favre, Marino, Starr, Young, Manning, Bradshaw, Elway, Unitas.
    I could make the arguement for Staubach, Tarkenton, Otto Graham, Sammy Baugh, Namath, Fouts, Aikman.
    To just state that a player is the best of all time before his career is over because he has some cool records and a 16-o season yes is silly, if thats the case I would throw Griese on there too.

    • To put that many people ahead of him is absolutely ludacris, especially considering only 2 players have more super bowl wins than he does. Your just jealous cause he’s so hot, so good, and so clutch. Some food for thought:

      NFL records

      * Highest total passing touchdowns in a regular season: 50 (2007)
      * Highest total passing touchdowns in a season: 56 (2007)
      * Highest total passing touchdowns in a single quarter: 5 (2009)
      * Highest completion percentage in a single game: 92.9% (2007)
      * Largest touchdown to interception difference: +42 (2007)
      * NFL record for most consecutive wins in post season: 10 (2001, 2003, 2004)
      * Tied for most completions in a Super Bowl: 32 (XXXVIII)
      * Most career Super Bowl completions: 100 (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLII)
      * Most games with three or more touchdown passes: 12 (2007)
      * Most touchdown passes in a month: 20 (October 2007)
      * Only quarterback to start and win 3 Super Bowls before his 28th birthday.
      * Most career overtime wins without a defeat: 7-0
      * Most consecutive playoff wins by a quarterback: 10 (2001, 2003, 2004)
      * Most consecutive completions to start a career without an interception: 162
      * Only quarterback to have 3+ passing touchdowns in 10 straight games.

      Think about some of those, for more than 2 seconds. What does this have to do with the top 10 hitters? I’m still waiting for a legit argument on who should be on the list that’s not.

      • j-bone

        this has nothing to do with hitters, you are the won that started the whole Brady discussion, I could go and pull the Wikipedia stats for all those players too paste them here and then say argue them.

        Vlad Guerrero 162 stats
        HR- 36 Rbi- 116 Hits- 197 Avg. .321
        Ortiz 162 game stats
        HR- 36 Rbi- 119 Hits 162 Avg. .288

        Call home runs and rbi a wash more rbi and a far better average.

      • There we go! That’s more of what I’m looking for. I didn’t look into Vlad a whole lot — I’m amazed his average is so high. Let’s bump Mark Grace and throw Vlad on the list.

  22. j-bone

    how about we bump ortiz and throw vlad on there

  23. j-bone

    Todd Heltons 6 year stretch from 1999-2004
    Hits- 196, HR- 36, rbi-121.3, average- .343

    David Ortiz best six year 2003-2006
    hits- 156, hr- 38.5, rbi- 121, average- .295

  24. howigit,
    As a Yankee fan, thank you for not putting A-Rod on the list. Second, I agree with Kevin, I think Bagwell was one of the best of our generationbut Chipper has to be mentioned. Question, what specifically put Ichiro over Gwynn for you?

    Oh, Aaron is still the all-time home run leader.

    • I would agree that Aaron is, but one day it will be Pujols. Bagwell and Chipper certainly are in the discussion. Ichiro was put over Gywnn do to the fact that he averages 229 hits per season — significantly more than Gywnn.

  25. P. Omar

    Surprised that your list has not be criticized because Ichiro and Gwynn were “singles” hitters. I’d take 9 Ichiros and 9 Gwynns (the thinner version) any day. If Ichiro makes it to 4,000+ hits for his career, he’s on everyone’s list among the greatest players ever.

    • Oh, for sure. “Hitters” to me is very different from “Power Hitters.” Sure, having power certainly is valuable as a hitter, but ultimately it’s all about getting as many hits as possible — something that Gywnn and Ichiro are among the best at. Ichiro is an under-appreciated talent, no doubt about it.

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