Continuing with our ongoing series wherein we rank the greatest players of all time by aggregating the first ten “top 10” lists at each position discovered through a Google search, we turn in this edition to first basemen.

The Iron Horse is still the greatest of all time...for now...

As in past posts, we used a 1000-point scale by subtracting each player’s ranking on each top-10 list from 101 and adding the totals.

Without further ado, here is who the internets collectively think are the top 10 first basemen of all time (first place votes in parentheses, *=HOF):

1. *Lou Gehrig – 1000 (10)
2. *Jimmie Foxx – 988
3. Albert Pujols – 768
4. *Hank Greenberg – 674
5. *Eddie Murray – 671
6. *Willie McCovey – 664
7. Jeff Bagwell – 568
8. *Dan Brouthers – 475
9. *Johnny Mize – 461
10. *Harmon Killebrew – 457

How much longer until Albert Pujols becomes the greatest first baseman who ever played the game? The man is only 30 years old and at least according to this approach he is already the third greatest 1B of all time. Heck, he even managed to pilfer a #2 ranking away from Jimmie Foxx on one list. When you consider that Pujols has showed no signs of slowing down yet and could easily play 10 or 12 more seasons, it is scary to think of the kind of career numbers he might have when all is said and done.

It was also nice to see Jeff Bagwell get some much deserved recognition, among recent players, and interesting to see Dan Brouthers get such strong support, despite what I can only assume must be his fairly low name-recognition among average baseball fans.

Overall, I would say this is an extremely solid top-10, which makes sense given that there was strong agreement on who the top ten were, if not the order, with every player in the top ten appearing on at least 5 lists.

But there was a large dropoff in points going from the top ten to the next 10. Also as should perhaps not be surprising, given that there are more first basemen in the Hall of Fame than any other position, there were a huge number of also-rans who made at least one list.

In fact, an astonishing 30 players appeared at least once on the ten top-10 lists, and because there were a lot of big names, I’ve decided to list all 30. Here are the remaining 20 names (ties were broken by totaling rankings beyond the top ten after a decimal point):

11. Mark McGwire – 282
12. Dick Allen – 189.504
13. Roger Connor – 189.500
14. Ernie Banks – 189.2
15. Buck Leonard – 188
16. Rod Carew – 185
17. Jim Thome – 184
18. Cap Anson – 99
19. Don Mattingley – 97
20. Will Clark – 96

21. Todd Helton – 95.6
22. Sadaharu Oh – 95.0
21. George Sisler – 93.7
24. Rafael Palmeiro – 93.5
25. Pete Rose – 93.0
26. Frank Chance – 92.6
27. Bill Terry – 92.4
28. Steve Garvey – 92.3
29. Jason Giambi – 92.1
30. Tony Perez – 91

I was happy to see Sadaharu Oh get some recognition, even though he only appeared on one list. Also, glad Tony Perez did not rank any higher than 30. Apparently the internets are smarter than I give them credit for.

Here are the lists I used to derive these rankings:

Top 50 First Basemen of All-Time” (
MLB’s 10 Best First Basemen of All Time” (Bleacher Report)
MLB’s 10 Greatest First Basemen of All Time” (Bleacher Report)
Top 10 First Basemen of All Time” (Bleacher Report)
Best First Basemen in History” (Rate it all!)
Baseball’s Top 10 First Basemen of All Time” (Associated Content)
20 Greatest First Basemen in MLB History” (
Historical WAR Review: First Basemen” (Beyond the Boxscore)
First Base: The Top 10” (
ALL-TIME TOP 100s: First Base” (Seth Speaks)

8 Responses to “Crowdsourcing the Greats: The Greatest First Basemen of All Time”

  1. Where’s Frank Thomas? He should AT LEAST come in in front of Palmeiro, if not the top 20 somewhere. Crowdsourcing did an OK job on this list, but I can’t help feeling there were a lot of other guys who might have gotten snubbed.

    • Paul Moro says:

      Thomas played 971 games at 1st and 1311 as a DH. The guy is a DH.

      • Fair enough, but:
        Thome played one more season at 1B than Thomas.
        Dick Allen played fewer games at 1B.
        Half of these guys played 1B because they were defensive liabilities anywhere, and Thomas played enough 1B to still be considered there, IMO.

        Even if you throw out his stats post 1998 for being a DH (or his stats while playing DH), he still deserves to be on the list solely for his time at 1B. That’s my opinion.

  2. Like Keith Hernandez. I’d bump Steve Garvey and Frank Chance for those two.

  3. Paul Moro says:

    I’d put Johnny Mize at 3. His career .312/.397/.562 line is up there with anybody not named Gehrig. His counting numbers aren’t eye popping but that’s because he spent 3 years in the military during WWII, losing ages 30-32 in the process. And I’d obviously never seen the guy field, but with a nickname like “The Big Cat”, he must have been a pretty athletic and agile guy at first.

    • Nick Kapur says:

      I agree that Mize is always underrated. He wasn’t better than Pujols though, and might not have been better than Greenberg (who also lost 3 years to the military).

      He was definitely better than Eddie Murray though. I’d put him 4 or 5.

      • Paul Moro says:

        I just accidentally reported you, Nick.

        Anyhow, Pujols will get there. He definitely will be at least #3 in ten years’ time. Hell, he may get there in two years at this rate.

        And you may be right about Greenberg. I didn’t initially consider that he served in the military for a longer period than Mize did. At least, I think he did…

  4. How is Fred McGriff nowhere on this list? His stats are very comparable to McCovey, Murray, & Bagwell.

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