Alex Rodriguez is considered by many to be one of the best baseball players of all time. He was the youngest player to reach 500 home runs and is now at 599. Already in elite company, he is edging closer to that elusive 600 club. Who else is in that club?
609 - Sammy Sosa
From 1989 to 2007 Sammy Sosa, was a feared hitter for the Rangers, Cubs, White Sox and Orioles. His numbers are suspect, however, as he was reportedly on a list of players who tested positive for steroid use - a list from 2003 - that many think clouds the achievements of athletes in this era. Two interesting facts: he hit his first homerun in 1989 off of Roger Clemens and he is the homerun king of all foreign born MLB players. In 1998 he and Mark McGwire brought baseball back into popularity with their pursuit of Roger Maris’ single season record of 61 home runs. They both smashed the record.
630 - Ken Griffey Jr.
“Mr. Clean” played 21 seasons in the Majors and is considered one of the most dominant of his era, in part because he is believed to be steroid free. Known as a hitter, it was during the 1990’s that Griffey was equally feared as a home run robber; his leaping ability, range, and nose for the ball made him an incredibly effective outfielder. He was a 10X Golden Glove winner and a fan favorite, getting voted into the All-Stars 13 times. If you have a child and you want to teach him a left handed swing, break out a Ken Griffey Jr. tape.
660 - Willie Mays
Mays’ professional baseball career started in 1947, playing in the Negro Leagues and ending with his final game in 1973 with the NY Mets. He played the majority of his career with the NY and SF Giants and won a World Series in 1954 as part of the first all black starting outfield in MLB history. It was in game one of that series against the Cleveland Indians that Mays recorded perhaps one of the most famous catches of all time - an over the shoulder snag of Vic Wertz’s drive. Known as “The Catch” it dazzled observers and made Mays seem larger than life - it also stopped two runners from advancing and allowed the Giants to win the game in 10 innings. Mays played in 24 All-Star games. With speed, power, a strong arm and fielding. He even had style in his running. He was a true overall player.
714 - Babe Ruth
No star in baseball is bigger than the Sultan of Swat. Babe Ruth defined baseball and helped to secure the Yankees as the dominate team in all of sports. Originally a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox he was sent to the Yankees in a move that many believed was the beginning of an 80 year curse as the Red Sox didn’t win World Series after that until 2004. Babe Ruth was one of the first five players elected to the Hall of Fame, and was part of four World Series titles and seven pennants for the Yankees. He helped to transform the game of baseball itself into a power-focused, high scoring, exciting affair. Babe Ruth is one of the most recognizable sports heroes of all time. He started his career with the Red Sox in 1914 and ended it with the Boston Braves in 1935. His 714 homeruns stood as the ML record from 1935 until it was broken by Hank Aaron in 1974.
755 - Hank Aaron
He broke into the Negro Leagues in 1952 and is the last Negro League player to have played in the Major Leagues. He is considered THE legitimate home run leader. Out of all the home runs he hit, he never had one 50 hr season; that speaks to his consistency. He played in the All-Star game every year from 1955-1975. He still holds the Major League record for RBI’s (2,297). Aaron played for two teams in Milwaukee, the Braves and the Brewers, both of whom have retired his #44.
762 - Barry Bonds
The son of Bobby Bonds, Barry was a college graduate and one of the most maligned players in baseball from 1986 - 2007. He has been at center of the steroid controversy in Major League Baseball, and many think that his record will be forever tainted to it because of this. When he was young, with the Pirates, and thin, Barry Bonds, was a great hitter. He was rangy, athletic, and a complete player. Barry Bonds did not need to use steroids to be a great player. He would have made the Hall of Fame without it. He is the all-time career leader in home runs and walks, and in a telling statistic: the all-time leader in intentional walks.