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< Back to question Who is the best baseball player of all time? Show more Show less

Baseball, since the late 19th Century, has been a quintessential American pastime and, today, the MLB serves as the second-most popular major North American sports league. Within such a long and storied history of outstanding individual performances, many baseball fans naturally gravitate toward this question. From the absolutely reality-defying sluggers, pitchers, outfielders, and catchers, who is the best baseball player of all time?

Hank Aaron is the greatest baseball player ever Show more Show less

Hank Aaron (AKA "Hammer") left his mark on the National League for 20 years, and his batting performance is still largely unmatched today. His story of overcoming many obstacles to pass Babe Ruth for the home run record and his historical base-hitting numbers help him achieve the title of GOAT.
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Hank Aaron is the most consistent player over a baseball career as long as his

In all team sports, especially baseball, consistency in individual player performance can be hard to come by, but when a player like Hank Aaron so profoundly impacts his league and his team each season in his 23-year career, he automatically joins the elite conversation.
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The Argument

Hank Aaron is the greatest of all time because he went out and put up unfathomable numbers every season in his 23 years as a player. The real feats in his game do not simply arise from his records in multiple batting categories, but they emerge from the unrivaled consistency with which he commanded baseball. He is third all-time in games played over his career at 3,298 behind Pete Rose and Carl Yastrzemski, neither of whom, unlike Aaron, even crack the top five for runs scored, total bases, home runs, or RBIs. Throughout his tenure, he made 21 all-star appearances (the last of which came at age 41) and reached the top 10 for NL MVP voting for 13 of those seasons. 8 of his playing seasons saw him claim first for total bases in either the National League or the entire MLB, and he led in both RBIs and slugging percentage in 4 seasons. In his third year, he led the National League in hits, batting average, and total bases, and in his eighteenth year, he led the MLB in slugging percentage, OPS, and OPS+. He never hit under 20 home runs in a single season from 1955 to 1974.[1] His game did not age, and his incredibly level numbers over his historically long career, coupled with his record-breaking batting statistics, make him the GOAT.

Counter arguments

Consistency in statistical averages over a long period of time does not automatically determine individual greatness, especially not all-time greatness. Yes, a player can achieve regularly high marks throughout their tenured career, but Aaron only achieved one World Series victory, so does his consistency necessarily mean he went above and beyond the performances of his contemporaries? Additionally, if someone had consistently high numbers over, say, 18 seasons instead of 23, does that take him out of the GOAT conversation? Babe Ruth does not even reach the top 50 all-time games played list, so is he, along with many other amazing players, out of the running?[2]The definition for greatness as well as consistency are vague here, and the jump between the two is inherently illogical.

Framing

Consistency in baseball is essential in determining a player's intrinsic value, skill, and greatness. Hank Aaron, because of his extremely high level of play each season, especially over a top three longest all-time career benchmark and his outstanding record-breaking batting totals and averages, is the greatest ever.

Premises

[P1] Consistency, particularly over a seasoned career, is crucial in determining a player's overall skill and all-time greatness. [P2] Hank Aaron was top three all-time in games played while racking up historic batting numbers almost every season, leading to top three all-time performances across the board. [P3] Therefore, Hank Aaron is the greatest baseball player ever.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Consistency does not always equate greatness or value. [Rejecting P3] The jump from P2 to P3 is unfounded.

References

  1. https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/a/aaronha01.shtml
  2. https://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/G_career.shtml

This page was last edited on Saturday, 9 May 2020 at 02:20 UTC

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