Greatest RH hitter in MLB history

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
18,864
With Pujols wrapping up his legendary career, I wanted to throw out for discussion the question of who is the greatest RH hitter of all time. I don't mean overall player. We're just talking about RH *hitters*. AND...we are leaving out Negro League players (so hard to get context for their remarkable achievements). Here are some options:

Albert Pujols
- Career: 1,911 runs, 701 hr, 2,211 rbi, .296/.374/.543/.917, 144 ops+, 87.2 oWAR
- Best Season: 2003 - 137 r, 51 2b, 43 hr, 124 rbi, .359/.439/.667/1.106, 187 ops+, 8.6 oWAR
- Best by Category: 137 r, 212 h, 51 2b, 4 3b, 47 hr, 137 rbi, .359 avg, .462 obp, .671 slg, 1.114 ops, 192 ops+, 8.6 oWAR

Jimmie Foxx
- Career: 1,751 r, 534 hr, 1,922 rbi, .325/.428/.609/1.038, 163 ops+, 90.8 oWAR
- Best Season: 1932 - 151 r, 33 2b, 58 hr, 169 rbi, .364/.469/.749/1.218, 207 ops+, 10.0 oWAR
- Best by Category: 151 r, 213 h, 37 2b, 58 hr, 175 rbi, .364 avg, .469 obp, .749 slg, 1.218 ops, 207 ops+, 10.0 bWAR

Miguel Cabrera
- Career: 1,530 r, 507 hr, 1,845 rbi, .308/.384/.524/.908, 142 ops+, 78.0 oWAR
- Best Season: 2013 - 103 r, 26 2b, 44 hr, 139 rbi, .348/.442/.636/1.078, 190 ops+, 9.1 oWAR
- Best by Category: 112 r, 205 h, 52 2b, 44 hr, 139 rbi, .348 avg, .448 obp, .636 slg, 1.078 ops, 190 ops+, 9.1 oWAR

Manny Ramirez
- Career: 1,544 r, 555 hr, 1,831 rbi, .312/.411/.585/.996, 154 ops+, 81.8 oWAR
- Best Season: 1999 - 131 r, 174 h, 34 2b, 44 hr, 165 rbi, .333/.442/.663/1.105, 174 ops+, 7.1 oWAR
- Best by Category: 131 r, 185 h, 45 2b, 45 hr, 165 rbi, .349 avg, .457 obp, .697 slg, 1.154 ops, 186 ops+, 7.1 oWAR

Frank Robinson
- Career: 1,829 r, 586 hr, 1,812 rbi, .294/.389/.537/.926, 154 ops+, 106.9 oWAR
- Best Season: 1962 - 134 r, 51 2b, 39 hr, 136 rbi, .342/.421/.624/1.045, 173 ops+, 8.4 oWAR
- Best by Category: 134 r, 208 h, 51 2b, 49 hr, .342 avg, .421 obp, .637 slg, 1.047 ops, 198 ops+, 8.9 oWAR

Hank Aaron
- Career: 2,174 r, 755 hr, 2,297 rbi, .305/.374/.555/.928, 155 ops+, 132.6 oWAR
- Best Season: 1963 - 121 r, 29 2b, 44 hr, 130 rbi, .319/.391/.586/.977, 179 ops+, 9.6 oWAR
- Best by Category: 121 r, 223 h, 46 2b, 45 hr, 132 rbi, .355 avg, .410 obp, .669 slg, 1.079 ops, 194 ops+, 9.6 oWAR

Rogers Hornsby
- Career: 1,579 r, 301 hr, 1,584 rbi, .358/.434/.577/1.010, 175 ops+, 122.1 oWAR
- Best Season: 1924 - 121 r, 43 2b, 25 hr, 94 rbi, .424/.507/.696/1.203, 222 ops+, 11.7 oWAR
- Best by Category: 156 r, 250 h, 46 2b, 20 3b, 42 hr, 152 rbi, .424 avg, .507 obp, .756 slg, 1.245 ops, 222 ops+, 11.7 oWAR

Alex Rodriguez
- Career: 2,021 r, 696 hr, 2,086 rbi, .295/.380/.550/.930, 140 ops+, 115.3 oWAR
- Best Season: 2007 - 143 r, 31 2b, 54 hr, 156 rbi, .314/.422/.645/1.067, 176 ops+, 9.5 oWAR
- Best by Category: 143 r, 215 h, 54 2b, 57 hr, 156 rbi, .358 avg, .422 obp, .645 slg, 1.067 ops, 176 ops+, 9.5 oWAR

Frank Thomas
- Career: 1,494 r, 521 hr, 1,704 rbi, .301/.419/.555/.974, 156 ops+, 80.4 oWAR
- Best Season: 1994 - 106 r, 34 2b, 38 hr, 101 rbi, .353/.487/.729/1.217, 212 ops+, 6.4 oWAR
- Best by Category: 115 r, 191 h, 46 2b, 43 hr, 143 rbi, .353 avg, .487 obp, .729 slg, 1.217 ops, 212 ops+, 7.9 oWAR

Willie Mays
- Career: 2,068 r, 660 hr, 1,909 rbi, .301/.384/.557/.940, 155 ops+, 136.5 oWAR
- Best Season: 1965 - 118 r, 177 h, 52 hr, 112 rbi, .317/.398/.645/1.043, 185 ops+, 9.5 oWAR
- Best by Category: 129 r, 208 h, 43 2b, 20 3b, 52 hr, 141 rbi, .347 avg, .425 obp, .667 slg, 1.078 ops, 185 ops+, 9.5 oWAR


(Thinking about this, we may have done this exercise before. Oh well...)
 
Last edited:

Zedia

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 17, 2005
5,813
Pasadena, CA
My first thought was “wait, wasn’t Hank Aaron a RHB, how is this a question?” And then my second thought was “wait, Willie Mays was a righty too.”

Foxx and Hornsby lose out for being pre-integration.
 

ledsox

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 14, 2005
390
Mays and Aaron, tied. They are incredibly close as hitters. Hank had (barely) more power and Willie had just a bit more on base skill. OPS+ of 155 for each.

Without missing almost 2 war years Mays is probably right around Ruth in HRs. He hit over 40 and was MVP his first year back from serving.
 

Granite Sox

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 6, 2003
4,753
39.932N, -85.848W
My grandpa (b. 1902) was a semi-pro player in Cambridge in the 1920’s and saw everybody come through town until the Braves left for Milwaukee, then saw everyone one else on TV when they were on until he passed away in 1986. I asked him once if Ty Cobb or Babe Ruth was the best player he ever saw in person, and his response, without hesitation was, “Cobb was probably the best all-around player I ever saw, but nobody on Earth was a better hitter than Rogers Hornsby.”

For me, I’d give Mays the nod.
 

terrynever

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Aug 25, 2005
21,256
pawtucket
Mickey Mantle hit .330 right-handed with .424 OBP and .575 slug. An injury in 1958 when Red Schoendienst fell on him at second base hampered Mick’s lefty swing from then on.
 

Deweys New Stance

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 8, 2001
2,103
Here to Eternity
I just learned that Aaron, Mays and DiMaggio all had a career OPS+ of 155. That’s pretty wild. Joe D only played 13 years, but missed his age 28-30 seasons serving in WWII.

I still would go with Aaron for the consistency and longevity. His lowest OPS+ was 95 when he was 41.
 

Was (Not Wasdin)

family crest has godzilla
SoSH Member
Jul 26, 2007
3,159
The Short Bus
For longevity, Aaron or Mays.

For a single season, Hornsby. He’s still the only position player other than Ruth or Yaz to put up a B-Ref 12 WAR season. Mays has a ton of black ink on his B-Ref page, but Hornsby’s is something else. Hornsby was mostly done by age 36, while Mays and Aaron were still going strong.
 

BravesField

lurker
Oct 27, 2021
118
Mays could do it all. Picking number 2 and on would be really tough, but no question on number 1 for me.
 

Kliq

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 31, 2013
19,704
I've always thought Aaron had a GOAT case in the sense that his consistency for 20 years was really amazing. He never had a year over that stretch where he was "average" or just "slightly above average". For 20 years, he was plugged into the heart of the Braves lineup and the Braves could count on him to deliver elite production. If you were doing a fantasy draft to start a franchise, wouldn't that be the most alluring player to have your team? Not the guy who would peak the highest, but the guy who was an A-level hitter for two decades? In a time where everyone is afraid to sign any player to a 10-year contract, Aaron's remarkable durability and consistency stands out. Mays had an incredible career, but he tailed off in his late 30s in a way Aaron did not.

Hornsby played pre-integration, but the blank ink on his Bref page is amazing. Some of his season's are laughably good, only touched by peak Ruth/Bonds/Ted.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/hornsro01.shtml
 

jaytftwofive

lurker
Jan 20, 2013
1,174
Drexel Hill Pa.
With Pujols wrapping up his legendary career, I wanted to throw out for discussion the question of who is the greatest RH hitter of all time. I don't mean overall player. We're just talking about RH *hitters*. AND...we are leaving out Negro League players (so hard to get context for their remarkable achievements). Here are some options:

Albert Pujols
- Career: 1,911 runs, 701 hr, 2,211 rbi, .296/.374/.543/.917, 144 ops+, 87.2 oWAR
- Best Season: 2003 - 137 r, 51 2b, 43 hr, 124 rbi, .359/.439/.667/1.106, 187 ops+, 8.6 oWAR
- Best by Category: 137 r, 212 h, 51 2b, 4 3b, 47 hr, 137 rbi, .359 avg, .462 obp, .671 slg, 1.114 ops, 192 ops+, 8.6 oWAR

Jimmie Foxx
- Career: 1,751 r, 534 hr, 1,922 rbi, .325/.428/.609/1.038, 163 ops+, 90.8 oWAR
- Best Season: 1932 - 151 r, 33 2b, 58 hr, 169 rbi, .364/.469/.749/1.218, 207 ops+, 10.0 oWAR
- Best by Category: 151 r, 213 h, 37 2b, 58 hr, 175 rbi, .364 avg, .469 obp, .749 slg, 1.218 ops, 207 ops+, 10.0 bWAR

Miguel Cabrera
- Career: 1,530 r, 507 hr, 1,845 rbi, .308/.384/.524/.908, 142 ops+, 78.0 oWAR
- Best Season: 2013 - 103 r, 26 2b, 44 hr, 139 rbi, .348/.442/.636/1.078, 190 ops+, 9.1 oWAR
- Best by Category: 112 r, 205 h, 52 2b, 44 hr, 139 rbi, .348 avg, .448 obp, .636 slg, 1.078 ops, 190 ops+, 9.1 oWAR

Manny Ramirez
- Career: 1,544 r, 555 hr, 1,831 rbi, .312/.411/.585/.996, 154 ops+, 81.8 oWAR
- Best Season: 1999 - 131 r, 174 h, 34 2b, 44 hr, 165 rbi, .333/.442/.663/1.105, 174 ops+, 7.1 oWAR
- Best by Category: 131 r, 185 h, 45 2b, 45 hr, 165 rbi, .349 avg, .457 obp, .697 slg, 1.154 ops, 186 ops+, 7.1 oWAR

Frank Robinson
- Career: 1,829 r, 586 hr, 1,812 rbi, .294/.389/.537/.926, 154 ops+, 106.9 oWAR
- Best Season: 1962 - 134 r, 51 2b, 39 hr, 136 rbi, .342/.421/.624/1.045, 173 ops+, 8.4 oWAR
- Best by Category: 134 r, 208 h, 51 2b, 49 hr, .342 avg, .421 obp, .637 slg, 1.047 ops, 198 ops+, 8.9 oWAR

Hank Aaron
- Career: 2,174 r, 755 hr, 2,297 rbi, .305/.374/.555/.928, 155 ops+, 132.6 oWAR
- Best Season: 1963 - 121 r, 29 2b, 44 hr, 130 rbi, .319/.391/.586/.977, 179 ops+, 9.6 oWAR
- Best by Category: 121 r, 223 h, 46 2b, 45 hr, 132 rbi, .355 avg, .410 obp, .669 slg, 1.079 ops, 194 ops+, 9.6 oWAR

Rogers Hornsby
- Career: 1,579 r, 301 hr, 1,584 rbi, .358/.434/.577/1.010, 175 ops+, 122.1 oWAR
- Best Season: 1924 - 121 r, 43 2b, 25 hr, 94 rbi, .424/.507/.696/1.203, 222 ops+, 11.7 oWAR
- Best by Category: 156 r, 250 h, 46 2b, 20 3b, 42 hr, 152 rbi, .424 avg, .507 obp, .756 slg, 1.245 ops, 222 ops+, 11.7 oWAR

Alex Rodriguez
- Career: 2,021 r, 696 hr, 2,086 rbi, .295/.380/.550/.930, 140 ops+, 115.3 oWAR
- Best Season: 2007 - 143 r, 31 2b, 54 hr, 156 rbi, .314/.422/.645/1.067, 176 ops+, 9.5 oWAR
- Best by Category: 143 r, 215 h, 54 2b, 57 hr, 156 rbi, .358 avg, .422 obp, .645 slg, 1.067 ops, 176 ops+, 9.5 oWAR

Frank Thomas
- Career: 1,494 r, 521 hr, 1,704 rbi, .301/.419/.555/.974, 156 ops+, 80.4 oWAR
- Best Season: 1994 - 106 r, 34 2b, 38 hr, 101 rbi, .353/.487/.729/1.217, 212 ops+, 6.4 oWAR
- Best by Category: 115 r, 191 h, 46 2b, 43 hr, 143 rbi, .353 avg, .487 obp, .729 slg, 1.217 ops, 212 ops+, 7.9 oWAR

Willie Mays
- Career: 2,068 r, 660 hr, 1,909 rbi, .301/.384/.557/.940, 155 ops+, 136.5 oWAR
- Best Season: 1965 - 118 r, 177 h, 52 hr, 112 rbi, .317/.398/.645/1.043, 185 ops+, 9.5 oWAR
- Best by Category: 129 r, 208 h, 43 2b, 20 3b, 52 hr, 141 rbi, .347 avg, .425 obp, .667 slg, 1.078 ops, 185 ops+, 9.5 oWAR


(Thinking about this, we may have done this exercise before. Oh well...)
When I first saw that Robinson's best year was 62, I thought wait, how could it not be his triple crown year. But then I looked and compared and other then HR'S which he had 49 in his 1966 triple crown year, that was his best year. And Maury Wills won the MVP because he stole 104 bases. What a joke!! Most writers and baseball experts say there were at least 4 or 5 players in the NL, who deserved the MVP over Wills. IMO, Frank is the most underrated player in MLB history. And was involved in one of the worst one sided trades in baseball history. Milt Pappas? Decent pitcher but what were the Reds Ownership thinking! If Clemente had played a few more years he would have had more HR's and RBI's obviously, but I still think he would have been a little short of these guys. Still a fantastic baseball player.
 
Last edited:

jaytftwofive

lurker
Jan 20, 2013
1,174
Drexel Hill Pa.
Had Wily Mo Pena been able to keep it together, we'd be talking about future HOF Wily Mo Pena right now.
I was at the game in Baltimore when he hit the game winning Grand Slam. Late April I believe. Then he was traded later in the year. Damn! Was anybody there?
 
Last edited:

Ale Xander

doesn't like to back it in
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
55,687
If we’re only counting February-March 2021, I’d have to say Bobby Dalbec
 

jaytftwofive

lurker
Jan 20, 2013
1,174
Drexel Hill Pa.
Take away all of Aaron's 755 HRs and he still has over 3000 hits. To me it's Aaron, then everybody else.
And he and Mays both hit 3000 hits in 1970, but Aaron beat him buy a few months. Of course we know Willie missed 2 years because of his service in the Korean War and obviously he would have passed him before but Hank's rookie year was 1954. Hank played 23 years and Willie played 21 so it's close, but I lean toward Aaron because of that stat you posted. Not to switch sports but that stat is like Gretzky would still have been the all time leading scorer in the NHL even if he didn't score a goal because of all of his assists. Crazy!
 
Last edited:

TheAOE

lurker
Jul 15, 2005
26
For longevity, Aaron or Mays.

For a single season, Hornsby. He’s still the only position player other than Ruth or Yaz to put up a B-Ref 12 WAR season. Mays has a ton of black ink on his B-Ref page, but Hornsby’s is something else. Hornsby was mostly done by age 36, while Mays and Aaron were still going strong.
And imagine putting up a 12.3 WAR, but *NOT* winning the MVP that particular year.

... and with a .424 BA, and a ridiculous 1.203 OPS
 

Minneapolis Millers

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,308
Twin Cities
Aaron and Mays. Hornsby needs to be viewed through the segregation, no night games, no west coast travel lens. Pujols is in the next tier with Foxx, F-Rob, maybe Cabrera, and probably DiMaggio. Screw that cheating A-Rod. Manny gets dinged as well. Big Hurt got too many days off as a DH.
 

iddoc

lurker
Nov 17, 2006
63
Shorter career, in part because of WW II, but how about honorable mention to Hank Greenberg? .313/.412/.605/1.017, OPS+ 159. “Only” 6098 PA though.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
18,864
And imagine putting up a 12.3 WAR, but *NOT* winning the MVP that particular year.

... and with a .424 BA, and a ridiculous 1.203 OPS
Which went to Dazzy Vance, starting pitcher for Brooklyn: 308.1 ip, 28-6, 2.16 era, 1.02 whip, 262 k - he won the Triple Crown of pitching that year and put up 10.3 bWAR.

Of course, nobody had ever heard of WAR as it was a stat not invented til many, many decades later. So just on the raw numbers, winning the TC of pitching was considered to be a pretty amazing feat.

In the AL that year, Walter Johnson, another starting pitcher, won it: 277.2 ip, 23-7, 2.72 era, 1.12 whip, 158 k - also won the TC of pitching. Eddie Collins finished second that year. Some guy named Babe Ruth didn't get a single vote for MVP despite doing this:

143 r, 46 hr, 124 rbi, 142 bb, .378/.513/.739/1.252, 220 ops+, 11.8 bWAR

Why didn't he get a single vote? Because he won the MVP award the year before and the rule at the time was that you could only win it once. In his whole career, Ruth only won one AL MVP award, which is INSANE. He didn't win it the year he hit 47 homers, drove in 153 runs, and slashed .372/.516/.737/1.253 (1926) or the year he hit 60 homers, drove in 165 runs, and slashed .356/.486/.772/1.258 (1927). Or the year he hit....well...you get the picture. Dude should have won basically 7 MVPs in a row from 1926-1932, where he averaged 143 r, 49 hr, 153 rbi, .353/.482/.717/1.199, 212 ops+. Add to that that he won in 1923 and should also have won it in 1924, and the guy should have 9 MVPs minimum.

Ok, maybe he shouldn't have won MVP *all* those years (Foxx' 1932 was absurd), but you get the point. It was a crazy world back then.
 

Yaz4Ever

stumps for Trump
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Ted Williams was the best RHH of all-time. He chose to bat LH to make things more fair for everyone else.

I've said for years that Manny and Pujols were the best RHH's I've seen in my lifetime. Mays retired when I was pretty young. That said, it's likely Mays, who I consider the best overall player of all-time. The man simply excelled at every aspect of the game.
 

Max Power

thai good. you like shirt?
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
6,373
Boston, MA
Even if you do expand to the Negro Leagues, the only one to consider is Josh Gibson. Turkey Stearns was probably the best hitter in league history and he was a lefty. Oscar Charleston and Buck Leonard were also lefties. Mule Suttles and Willie Wells weren't as good as Gibson.

Unfortunately Gibson's career was cut short by a brain tumor that killed him at 35. For the games they found stats for, he put up a .374/.458/.720 line, with basically no drop-off in production even into that last age 34 season.
 

BoSox Rule

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
2,285
I’m fine with saying Trout before his decline phase. His OPS+ is 176 for his career, this year it’s 173. Everyone throws 100 and more and more you don’t see the starter 3 or four times a game.

% of PA vs relievers
Trout 34%
Manny 33.9
Pujols 34.6
Mays 26.8
Aaron 27.1
Hornsby 16.3

You get the picture and I’m sure starter 3/4 time would show the same story
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 11, 2007
4,624
But are generic “relievers” as good as generic “starters” (even on 3rd time seeing them, late in a game?)?
 

nighthob

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
11,602
I’m fine with saying Trout before his decline phase. His OPS+ is 176 for his career, this year it’s 173. Everyone throws 100 and more and more you don’t see the starter 3 or four times a game.

% of PA vs relievers
Trout 34%
Manny 33.9
Pujols 34.6
Mays 26.8
Aaron 27.1
Hornsby 16.3

You get the picture and I’m sure starter 3/4 time would show the same story
In Hornsby's day they also allowed a lot mode "modifications" of the ball. Everyone scuffed balls for extra break and the umpires just didn't put new balls in play (usually unless the old one ended up in the stands). That's before we get into the fact that part of his career was played in the deadball era. Now Mays and Aaron played a good portion of their caeers in the second deadball era, so I put Mays and Aaron at #1 and #2. But Hornsby's third for me.
 

BoSox Rule

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
2,285
I don’t wanna take too much away from Hornsby because he can’t control when he was born or what the rules were. I’m not gonna argue for the 26th guy on the roster but I’m fine saying Trouts better. Scuffed dirty balls were a thing but Pedro would’ve been arrested and Billy clubbed and charged for trying to play and throw a changeup to Hornsby while having dark skin.