Sports Illustrated Baseball Best Players of All Time

Kevin Smith

Sports Illustrated Baseball is a magazine that celebrates the great sport of baseball. From in-depth profiles of Major League Baseball’s biggest stars, to news and insights from the diamond, this magazine offers fans an inside look at their favorite teams and players.

With articles focusing on both the professional and amateur levels of the game, Sports Illustrated Baseball provides readers with an up-close look at the history, culture, and excitement of America’s pastime. Whether you’re a fan of the Yankees, Red Sox, or another team, you’ll find something to love in this publication.

Table of Contents

1. Ted Williams


Ted Williams Career

  • 19× All-Star (1940–1942, 1946–1951, 1953–1960²)
  • 2× AL MVP (1946, 1949)
  • 2× Triple Crown (1942, 1947)
  • 6× AL batting champion (1941, 1942, 1947, 1948, 1957, 1958)
  • 4× AL home run leader (1941, 1942, 1947, 1949)
  • 4× AL RBI leader (1939, 1942, 1947, 1949)
  • MLB record .482 career on-base percentage
  • Boston Red Sox No. 9 retired
  • Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame
  • San Diego Padres Hall of Fame
  • Major League Baseball All-Century Team
  • Major League Baseball All-Time Team

Ted Williams was one of the greatest hitters in history and is often considered to be the best left fielder ever. He made his MLB debut with the Boston Red Sox in 1939 and remained with them for most of his career, finishing with a record 2,654 hits.

In 1950 he won both the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and World Series titles while playing for Boston. After leaving Boston in 1960, Williams played for several other teams before retiring at age 39 in 1966 due to an illness that forced him to stop hitting balls out of the park.

Ted Williams is now widely known as a baseball coach, working with young players on various camps around America including those run by Major League Baseball itself. 

He passed away from natural causes at age 83 in 2002 after having spent many years living quietly near Inverness Florida where he enjoyed golfing and fishing among other activities.

Also Played For: boston red sox, national baseball hall of fame and museum

2. John Lackey

John Lackey Career

  • All-Star (2007), 3× World Series champion (2002, 2013, 2016), AL ERA leader (2007)

John Lackey is a 44-year-old pitcher who has spent his entire career with the Chicago Cubs. He made his MLB debut in 2002 and continued to pitch for Anaheim until 2007, when he was traded to the Boston Red Sox.

After two seasons in Beantown, Lackey was traded back to the Cubs on July 31, 2009. In 2012 and 2013, John led the Cubs to their first World Series appearances since 1908 and 1909 respectively (although they lost both times).

In 2014 and 2015 he had injury problems which limited him to just 12 starts each season but he bounced back in 2016 by posting a 2-1 record with a 3.72 ERA while striking out 106 batters over 104 innings pitched en route to winning his second Cy Young award as best pitcher in baseball that year (he also won it in 2011 with Boston).

In 2017 however; after starting off strong (.133 batting average against) injuries struck again limiting him to only 5 starts before being placed on the disabled list retroactively from August 16th onwards due not throwing more than 60 pitches over 6 consecutive weeks despite feeling good physically. 

He retired at age of 44 having completed 1463/1464 regular season innings pitched across all levels of play.

Also Played For: los angeles angels, california angels best player

3. Hunter Greene


Hunter Greene

Greene was born in Los Angeles, California in 1999. He attended the prestigious Santa Monica High School and played for their baseball team from 2014 to 2017.

In 2018, Greene enrolled at the University of Kentucky where he played college baseball for the Wildcats' team as a pitcher and outfielder during his freshman year.

After one season with Kentucky, Greene was drafted by the Reds in the first round (No 21) of the 2019 MLB Draft. The Reds assigned Greene to their rookie league affiliate.

Dayton Dragons, where he had a 3-1 record with a 2.25 ERA before being promoted to Louisville Bats of AAA on July 14th .

Hunter Greene made his MLB debut on April 10th against Milwaukee Brewers and pitched 4 innings allowing 1 earned run while striking out 2 batters while walking none which led Cincinnati Reds win 5-1.

Also Played For: cincinnati reds

4. Joe Carter

Right fielder

Joe Carter Career

  • 5× All-Star (1991–1994, 1996), 2× World Series champion (1992, 1993), 2× Silver Slugger Award (1991, 1992), AL RBI leader (1986), Toronto Blue Jays Level of Excellence

Joe Carter was a star outfielder and first baseman in his day, amassing 2,184 hits and 396 home runs during his 13-year MLB career. He made his big league debut with the Chicago Cubs in 1983 and played for the San Francisco Giants until 1998.

Joe Carter had an impressive batting average of .259 with 2,184 hits and 1,445 RBIs over 13 seasons. Carter also excelled as a fielder; he won three Gold Glove Awards during his career. In 1998 at age 37, Joe Carter announced that he would be retiring from baseball after 12 years in the majors.

Joe Carter was a key player on the Blue Jays teams that won back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993. He finished his career with 3 All-Star appearances, two Silver Slugger Awards, and an AL RBI lead. 

Joe Carter is one of just four players to hit three home runs in an MLB postseason game, doing so against the Orioles in Game 6 of the ALCS in 1995.

In 1996 he set a record for most hits by Canadians (in any professional sport) when he collected 128 during the season's final month. 

After retiring as a player, Joe Carter became Toronto's hitting coach before being named manager of their minor league affiliate New Hampshire Fisher Cats midway through the 2013 season.

Also Played For: toronto blue jays, cleveland indians

5. Eddie Mathews

Eddie Mathews Career

  • 12× All-Star (1953, 1955–1961², 1962²), 2× World Series champion (1957, 1968), 2× NL home run leader (1953, 1959), Atlanta Braves No. 41 retired, Braves Hall of Fame, American Family Field Walk of Fame

Eddie Mathews made his MLB debut with the Boston Braves in 1952 and played for them until 1968. 

He was a third baseman throughout his career but also managed for part of it, including stints with the Detroit Tigers (1968-1970) and Philadelphia Phillies (1971).

In all, he hit 2,315 hits in 14 seasons and had a .271 batting average along the way. After retiring from baseball, Eddie Mathews worked as an announcer for various teams before passing away in 2001 at the age of 69 years old. 

Eddie Mathews was a 12-time All-Star and 2x World Series champion as a player with the Boston Braves. He also led the NL in home runs twice, and his number 41 has been retired by the Atlanta Braves. 

After retiring as a player, Mathews served as manager of the Atlanta Braves for two seasons (1972–1974). In total, he managed 986 games over 14 seasons in professional baseball.

Also Played For: atlanta braves, boston braves

Final Words

Sports Illustrated Baseball has compiled a list of the best players in the history of the game. These are some of the greatest players to ever play the sport and their accomplishments are truly remarkable.

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Kevin Smith

I am a dedicated learner who is constantly pursuing my dreams in many areas of life. I am a Finance major at the University of Maryland, a professional baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays and the owner of my personal brand, Elevate Baseball. I hope to inspire younger learners of all sports and interests to tirelessly pursue their dreams, whatever that may be. LinkedIn

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