What makes an outfielder one of the best in Major League Baseball of all time? Is it the ability to hit for power? What about having a great glove? In reality it is a combination of both offensive and defensive skill sets that truly sets certain outfielders apart from others, and what makes their memorabilia so valuable in the eyes of baseball collectors. What follows are just a few of those special outfielders who changed the way we think about the game.
Ken Griffey Jr.
The sweet swinging Ken Griffey Jr. may likely be among the few outfielders of the modern era to not be linked to steroids and make it into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot, which can only mean his memorabilia will become more collectible over time. Griffey Jr. was not only an amazing hitter but also one of the best defensive center fielders the game has ever seen. He hit 630 home runs for his career along with winning 10 Gold Gloves, a feat that may not be surpassed ever again.
Robinson was known for his bat more than anything else, and boy did he have a great bat. Frank hit almost .300 for his career along with nearly 600 home runs and 3,000 hits, a true mark of a great hitter. He is still the only player to win an MVP award in both leagues, and truly defined an era in baseball alongside Mickey Mantle.
Another person who was known to be pretty good with the bat was Hank Aaron, who some say is still the all-time home run king given Barry Bonds’ links to performance enhancing drugs. Over his 21 year career Aaron hit 755 home runs, but the more impressive feat was the fact that he averaged over .300 with nearly 3,800 hits to his credit as well. It is truly difficult finding someone who could consistently hit for both power and average over such a long period of time, and that is what makes Aaron’s memorabilia so valuable these days.
Willie Mays is arguably the greatest player to have ever put on a baseball glove, period. He had not only an outstanding bat that saw him hit over .300 for his career along with over 3,200 hits and 650 home runs, but as a precursor to Griffey Jr. won a dozen Gold Gloves and was selected to the All Star game for nearly a quarter of a century, which goes to show that he was a consistently great player and deserving of the Hall of Fame.
We can’t forget about one of the most iconic baseball players of all time in Babe Ruth, right? Ruth’s numbers speak for themselves, with a .342 average, 714 home runs, and nearly 2,900 hits over a 22 year career in the Major Leagues. Let us not forget that he wasn’t too shabby of a pitcher either, going 94-46 with a 2.28 ERA, which truly makes him one of the more unique players to collect memorabilia for in this day in age.