The Tuesday Discussion – The Greatest Right Fielder Ever
February 22, 2022
This week we asked our writers to identify the greatest right fielder of all-time.
Here are their replies:
Lincoln Mitchell – The two best right-fielders ever are Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron. Both were inner circle all time greats, but if I had to take one of them, I would go with the Babe.
Cary Greene – My answer is Babe Ruth. He played a lot of left field and he also pitched during the first part of his career. Still, the numbers were off the charts. He wins my vote hands down.
Tamar Chalker – This might be the one I’ve had the hardest time with. Obviously, there is Babe Ruth, a Yankee favorite and an all-around great player, but would he still have been the best in an integrated league? Would he be the best going head-to-head with players like Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente? Honestly, I don’t know that he would have been. For me, I think the best right fielder would be Clemente. A great defensive player, offensive player, and person who we lost way too early. His impact on the game on and off the field continues to be seen in so many ways today, even as we come up on 50 years since his tragic death. He may be one of my all-time favorite non-Yankee players ever.
Paul Semendinger – When it comes to picking the greatest baseball player ever, the conversation (for me) begins and ends with Babe Ruth.
Simple and easy.
Chris O’Connor – The greatest right fielder of All-Time has to Babe Ruth, right? His statistics are obviously ludicrous on the surface, but when considering the context of the time, they become even more impressive. Yes, he played in a segregated era where the players were clearly not as talented as they are today, but I believe that we can only judge players by their performance relative to their competition. The Babe was dominant as a hitter and pitcher. He actually led the league in ERA across 324 innings as a 21-year-old in 1916. My favorite Ruth stat, however, is the fact that his 54 home runs in 1920 trailed only the 64 that the Philadelphia Phillies hit. Yes, he hit more home runs than all but one team. He changed the way the game is played, and I think that is the highest compliment to give a player.
Mike Whiteman – The greatest right fielder of all time is Babe Ruth, because he is Babe Ruth.
That is no disrespect to some of the games iconic players who fall in behind The Babe. Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, Roberto Clemente, and Al Kaline were wonderful all-around players, and all we would ask for in a sports hero.
Babe Ruth dominated the game upon his emergence as a Yankee in 1920. He dominated it in a way no other player did in the history of the sport. He crushed any home run records in his path. Some seasons he out homered whole teams. He was the catalyst for the most iconic sports franchise in history. The homer-happy culture of today’s game got its start in 1920, when Ruth veered away from the “scientific game” of the Deadball Era, and swung from the heels.
Much to the chagrin of the traditionalists of the day, the Babe’s brand of ball stood the test of time. The players are still swinging from the heels.
Tim Kabel – I believe that Babe Ruth was the greatest right fielder of all time. I look at it this way: You can say that it’s hard to compare statistics or that he played in an era before integration or that he didn’t have to deal with the slider, or night games.
This is all I need to know: From 1918 until 1932 in every year except one (1925), Babe Ruth out homered at least one entire team in major league baseball. In 1920, he out homered 15 teams.
The chart below shows the comparison between the top home run years of Ruth, Maris, and Barry Bonds as compared to the league average in home runs for teams during that same year.
I think all you need to know is that one man hit more home runs than the league average for an entire team. Babe Ruth is my all-time right fielder.
Player HR League Avg. Pct. Ruth 60 58 1.03 Maris 61 153 0.40 Bonds 73 185 0.39