Top Left Fielders in Major League Baseball (MLB) History

The top 10 players to ever be in the No. 7 fielding position on the scorecard - my picks for the best left fielders of all-time:

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Ted Williams

What puts Williams over the top isn't just that .344 lifetime average, the .482 on-base percentage, the .634 slugging percentage or those 521 homers. It's the fact that he missed all of three seasons and parts of two others serving in the military as a fighter pilot, and all in the prime of his career (World War II and Korea). If you give Williams 25 homers a year - a low total - for those five years, he's approaching 700 homers, and with that career average, he rivals Babe Ruth as a hitter. The last player to hit .400 in a season (.406 in 1941) is also perhaps the greatest student of hitting ever. His career OPS (on base plus slugging) of 1.116 is second only to Ruth.

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Stan Musial

"Stan The Man" is just a step below Williams. The symbol of the St. Louis Cardinals for generations hit better than .310 in each of his first 16 seasons, and lost one year to the war (1945). While Williams has no World Series titles, Musial has three. He batted .331 in his career with 475 homers and 1,951 RBI and is an icon in St. Louis.

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Rickey Henderson

The greatest leadoff hitter of all-time is a solid third on this list. He's the all-time leader in stolen bases (1,406) and runs scored (2,295) and also hit 297 homers. He only hit .279, but his on-base average was a stellar .401, as he was the all-time leader in walks. He won two World Series titles, with Oakland in 1989 and Toronto in 1993.

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Barry Bonds

The all-time home run hitter might get an asterisk next to his name because of performance-enhancing drug allegations, but there's got to be a spot on this list for Bonds, who was selected NL MVP seven times. Early in his career, he was a great fielder (eight Gold Gloves) and one of the game's best athletes. His slugging percentage of .863 in 2001 is the best of all-time. His lifetime batting average was .298, and his slugging percentage was .607, second on this list to Williams. The stats alone might propel Bonds towrad the top of this list, but much of his accolades seem to have been aided by artificial means.

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Joe Jackson

We'll back one controversial pick with another, but history has been a little more kind to "Shoeless Joe." A lifetime .356 hitter - third-best all-time - his career was cut short when he accepted $5,000 to help the White Sox throw the 1919 World Series. He wasn't well-educated, and it's not certain that he even followed through with the promise to the gamblers (he hit .375 in the series). What isn't in dispute was his ability. He hit 54 homers in the dead ball era and was also one of the best fielders of his time, with a strong arm.

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Willie Stargell

The all-time home run leader for the Pirates, "Pops" hit 475 homers in his 21 seasons and had a stellar career slugging percentage of .529. He led Pittsburgh to titles in the prime of his career (hitting 48 homers in 1971) and at the end (hitting 32 in 1979, and winning his only MVP at age 39). He moved to first base late in his career, but still played more games in left field.

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Manny Ramirez

A pick that became controversial in 2009 after a positive drug test, there's no denying his hitting ability, which puts him in the Williams-Musial territory. He has a career batting average of .315 and is on a likely pace to hit more than 600 homers and drive in more than 2,000. He drove in 165 runs in 1999 and won two pennants in Cleveland, and won two championships with Boston in 2004 and 2007. His 28 homers in the playoffs are No. 1 all-time. He's a shaky fielder, to say the least, but his hitting stats are immortal.

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Al Simmons

The first player on this list who is relatively unknown outside ardent baseball observers, Simmons starred in the 1920s and 1930s for the Philadelphia A's, winning two World Series titles. He drove in more than 100 runs in each of his first 11 seasons. His lifetime average of .334 is only behind Williams on this list, and he had plenty of power as well (307 homers). "Bucketfoot Al" - named for his unorthodox batting stance - hit .309 in 1931. For some reason, it took him eight tries to make the Hall of Fame, which he finally did in 1953.

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Carl Yastrzemski

How special is left field for the Red Sox? "Yaz" replaced Ted Williams, and he was replaced by Jim Rice. All three who manned the grass below the Green Monster are in the Hall of Fame. Yaz statistically wasn't as good as Williams, but he was every bit as beloved in Boston. He hit .285 with 452 homers and 1,844 RBI in his 23 seasons, the most magical of which was 1967, when he became the last player to win the Triple Crown, leading the league in hitting, homers and RBI.

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Billy Williams

When long-suffering Cubs players are mentioned, Ernie Banks is always No. 1. But don't forget about Williams, who was stellar for 16 seasons in Chicago, with a .290 career average, 426 homers and a career slugging average of .492. He won a batting title in 1972 (.333), when he also hit 37 homers and drove in 122. But he finished a close second to Johnny Bench in MVP voting that year. He finished his career with two seasons in Oakland.

Next five: Ed Delahanty, Ralph Kiner, Goose Goslin, Jim Rice, Tim Raines.