Ranking the 10 greatest left-handed hitters in MLB history

Tim Kelly
June 29, 2020 - 11:20 am

What makes someone a great hitter? Is it simply their ability to hit for any sort of contact, or is being a complete offensive player - even if some of that comes at the expense of contact at times - more valuable?

We struggled with that question when putting together this list. Even the answer that we arrived at is complicated. By no means is this meant as a diss to players like Pete Rose, Tony Gwynn, Ichiro Suzuki or Wade Boggs, but is their ability to single at a historic clip more valuable than someone that hits for a lower average but walks more and drives the ball at a significantly better clip? In our opinion, the answer is no.

Nine of the 10 players on the list are Hall of Famers, and the one that isn't is arguably the most accomplished offensive player in the history of the sport. But the aforementioned quartet didn't make the list. Neither did Rod Carew, Shoeless Joe Jackson, David Ortiz, Rafael Palmeiro, Duke Snider, Yogi Berra, Eddie Collins, Norm Cash or Johnny Mize. In other words, you can't win when trying to narrow down a list to 10 names in a sport that has been embedded in the fabric of America since the 1800s.

With all of that acknowledged, here is RADIO.COM Sports' countdown of the 10 greatest left-handed hitters in MLB history:

Jim Thome spent much of his peak with the Cleveland Indians. Photo credit (Pigeon /Allsport)
Ken Griffey Jr. spent his peak seasons in Seattle. Photo credit (Doug Pensinger /Allsport)
Mel Ott played for the Giants. Photo credit (Goudey Baseball Cards/Wikimedia Commons)
Tris Speaker began his career in Boston. Photo credit (Library of Congress)
Ty Cobb was one of baseball's original superstars. Photo credit Library of Congress
Stan Musial is a St. Louis icon. Photo credit (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Lou Gehrig is one of the greatest Yankees ever. Photo credit (Pacific & Atlantic Photos, Inc/Wikimedia Commons)
Ted Williams spent his entire career with the Red Sox. Photo credit (Getty Images)
Barry Bonds is baseball's home run king. Photo credit (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Babe Ruth is one of the greatest players in MLB history. Photo credit (Fox Photos/Getty Images)

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