1. Ted WilliamsWhat 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.
2. 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.
4. Barry BondsThe 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.
5. Joe JacksonWe'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.
8. Al SimmonsThe 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.
10. 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.