You decide MLB’s all-time starting nine: 1st basemen

Gehrig, Foxx
Lou Gehrig (left) and Jimmie Foxx (right). PHOTOS: Wikimedia Commons

Editor’s note: This story first appeared on

Over the next two weeks, Metro Philly and amNewYork Metro will be asking you, the readers, to help piece together Major League Baseball’s all-time starting lineup by voting who you think is the very best player at each position. 

Each day, you will be given a list of 10 players per position where you can choose one (1) option. 

Those looking to vote can submit their choices in several ways:

In our second installment, we take a look at 10 of the top first basemen in MLB history, which includes a blend of legendary Hall of Famers and some surprising stars who aren’t enshrined in Cooperstown. 

You can check out and vote for our starting pitchers here.

To get to our list of first basemen, we first had to institute guidelines for the players in question to meet. They were much more lenient compared to those we set forth for the starting-pitching ballot, but selective enough to give us a starting point. 

First basemen up for consideration had to play between 1871-2019 and play at least 1,000 games in their career with 70% of them coming at the position. 

It left us with 144 first basemen in question whose stats were then picked apart based on Wins Above Replacement (WAR), batting average, on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS), home runs, hits and RBI. 

Averaging their ranks within each statistic, an average number was deciphered. The lower the average number is, the better their standing. 

Players with additional individual accolades, positive defensive metrics, and postseason successes were given an additional boost — allowing us to come to a list of 10 players that are considered the very best at their position.

Without further ado, here is today’s ballot for you to vote on, in alphabetical order:

Cap Anson

Years active: 1872-1892

Teams: Rockford Forest Citys (National Association), Philadelphia Athletics (NA), Chicago White Stockings (modern-day Cubs)

Stats: 94.3 WAR, .334 batting average, .841 OPS, 3,435 hits (7th all-time), 97 home runs, 2,075 RBI (4th all-time)

Metro average: 25.3

Accolades: First man ever to record 3,000 hits, 4x batting title, 8x RBI champion, Hall of Fame


Jeff Bagwell

Years active: 1991-2005

Team: Houston Astros

Stats: 79.9 WAR, .297 BA, .948 OPS, 2,314 hits, 449 HR, 1,529 RBI

Metro average: 13.3

Accolades: 1991 Rookie of the Year, 1994 NL MVP, 4x All-Star, 1x Gold Glove, 3x Silver Slugger, Hall of Fame


Jimmie Foxx

Years active: 1925-1945

Teams: Philadelphia Athletics (AL), Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies

Stats: 93.9 WAR, .325 BA, 1.038 OPS (5th all-time), 2,646 hits, 534 HR (19th all-time), 1,922 RBI (10th all-time)

Metro average: 4

Accolades: 3x AL MVP, 1933 AL Triple Crown winner, 9x All-Star, 2x batting title, 2x World Series, 3 seasons of 160+ RBI, Hall of Fame


Lou Gehrig

Years active: 1923-1939

Team: New York Yankees

Stats: 114.1 WAR (13th all-time), .340 BA (16th all-time), 1.080 OPS (3rd all-time), 2,721 hits, 493 HR, 1,995 RBI (7th all-time)

Metro average: 3.16

Accolades: 2x AL MVP, 1934 AL Triple Crown winner, 7x All-Star, 1x batting title, 6x World Series, 185 RBI in 1931 (2nd all-time), 4 seasons of 166+ RBI, played in 2,130 consecutive games, Hall of Fame


Hank Greenberg

Years active: 1930-1941, 1945-1947

Team: Detroit Tigers

Stats: 55.7 WAR, .313 BA, 1.017 OPS (6th all-time), 1,628 hits, 331 HR, 1,274 RBI

Metro average: 23.66

Accolades: 2x AL MVP, 5x All-Star, 184 RBI in 1937 (3rd all-time), 58 HR in 1938, Lost three seasons (1942-44) due to military service, Hall of Fame


Todd Helton

Years active: 1997-2013

Team: Colorado Rockies

Stats: 61.8 WAR, .316 BA, .953 OPS (18th all-time), 2,519 hits, 369 HR, 1,406 RBI

Metro average: 11.3

Accolades: 5x All-Star, 3x Gold Glove, 4x Silver Slugger, 1x batting title, batted .372 in 2000


Willie McCovey

Years active: 1959-1980

Team: San Francisco Giants

Stats: 64.5 WAR, .270 BA, .889 OPS, 2,211 hits, 521 HR, 1,555 RBI

Metro average: 26.5

Accolades: 1959 NL Rookie of the Year, 1969 NL MVP, 6x All-Star, 1966 All-Star Game MVP, 6-straight seasons of 30+ HR, Hall of Fame


Fred McGriff

Years active: 1986-2004

Teams: Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Chicago Cubs

Stats: 52.6 WAR, .284 BA, .886 OPS, 2,490 hits, 493 HR, 1,550 RBI

Metro average: 20.5

Accolades: 5x All-Star, 3x Silver Slugger, 1x World Series, 1994 All-Star Game MVP


Johnny Mize

Years active: 1936-1942, 1946-1953

Teams: St. Louis Cardinals, New York Giants, New York Yankees

Stats: 71.3 WAR, .312 BA, .959 OPS (16th all-time), 2,011 hits, 359 HR, 1,337 RBI

Metro average: 23.66

Accolades: 10x All-Star, 1x batting title, 5x World Series, Lost three seasons (1943-45) due to military service, Hall of Fame


Eddie Murray

Years active: 1977-1997

Teams: Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, Anaheim Angels

Stats: 68.7 WAR, .287 BA, .836 OPS, 3,255 hits (13th all-time), 504 HR, 1,917 RBI (11th all-time)

Metro average: 19.16

Accolades: 1977 Rookie of the Year, 8x All-Star, 3x Gold Glove, 3x Silver Slugger, 1x World Series, Hall of Fame


Those looking to vote can submit their choices in several ways:

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