Everyone can name at least a few baseball legends. Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio…the annals of baseball history are absolutely crammed with icons that even those who don’t follow the sport know all about. However, today, we don’t want to talk about those players. They’ve already been celebrated enough. Instead, we want to talk about the players who might have slipped under the radar to some extent. Baseball, like any other sport, has plenty of players who don’t get the recognition they deserve, so without further ado, here are 10 hugely underrated baseball players throughout history.
There’s no good reason for Bautista not to be celebrated more often. While his name is often included among the greatest players of the moment, he isn’t currently spoken of as one of the best of all time, and we think that needs to change. He’s probably best-known for his staggering run between 2010 and 2017, during which he managed to score at least 20 home runs per year, as well as his bat flip moment, about which he spoke to the Betway sports betting site earlier this year.
While you’ve almost certainly heard names like Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, you might not have heard Carl Hubbell’s name, which is a shame because he managed to defeat both of those players back in 1934. Hubbell struck out Ruth, Gehrig, and others including Al Simmons and Jimmie Foxx during the All-Star Game of that year, which more than qualifies him for this list. If there’s any justice, Hubbell will be considered one of the all-time greats in future.
Harry Heilmann died at the young age of 56, and when he did, his funeral was attended by 3,500 baseball fans, well-wishers, and other people who loved him. The reverend officiating his funeral named him in the same breath as Babe Ruth, and that should tell you just how great the 6ft 1 Heilmann really was. Despite his gravitas, though, Heilmann also had a reputation as an approachable, down-to-earth guy who was popular with fans and fellow players alike.
Grover Cleveland Alexander
Named for a former US president, Grover Cleveland Alexander’s baseball career almost came to a sharp end when he was struck by a stray ball in 1909. He managed to return to the field the following year, beginning a run that many baseball players would envy. Alexander, who was nicknamed “Old Pete”, is still the third most victorious player in Major League Baseball history, having achieved a stunning 373 wins across his career. He’s third only to Walter Johnson and Cy Young.
Some have suggested that longtime Colorado Rockies batter Larry Walker is only well-regarded because he played in Colorado, where his competition was thin on the ground. We think that’s unfair to Walker, who was an extremely respectable player with a decent .313 batting average and a .565 slugging record. Walker was a consistent, dependable, and reliable player who would always give fans an entertaining game of baseball no matter what.
We’re placing the great Al Kaline on this list not because we think his baseball achievements are underappreciated – he’s regarded as one of the best in the sport, after all – but because he was also an incredible person. Kaline apparently saw it as his mission to improve relations between players in the sport of baseball, making his teams a little bit kinder to one another, and in a sport as competitive as baseball can be, that’s admirable.
One of the reasons Norm Cash is considered underrated is probably because he played alongside Al Kaline, whose name has gone down in history. However, Cash shouldn’t be counted out as an extremely respectable batter. As a left-handed player, he’s arguably only bettered by the likes of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, and he was also an excellent defensive player. If you’re a baseball fan and you don’t know Cash’s name, make sure you brush up!
Shoeless Joe Jackson
Shoeless Joe Jackson got his name due to removing his shoes prior to going to bat; he was suffering from blisters and didn’t want to endure the pain, which is understandable. However, perhaps a far more enduring pain is that Jackson’s name isn’t remembered alongside the all-time greats, and it should be. He is, however, such a well-respected player that he made an appearance in the iconic sports movie Field of Dreams, memorably played by Ray Liotta.
As one of Major League Baseball’s most underrated pitchers, Reuschel shouldn’t be judged by his stats alone. Reuschel only managed to achieve 214 wins across his career, which doesn’t quite stack up to the all-time greats. Despite this, he played for some of the league’s most iconic teams, including the legendary New York Yankees, and for that he deserves a huge amount of respect. Reuschel’s name should be recognised as one of baseball’s most iconic.
Last but not least, we have the legend that is Dave Concepcion, a shortstop who played for the legendary 1975 Cincinnati Reds lineup. Concepcion was arguably the element that held his entire team together; he managed to win the Gold Glove award five times across the course of his career, and he also managed to claim the title of All-Star Player nine times. When we talk about the 1975 Cincinnati Reds, we should give special mention to this Venezuelan legend.