10 Remarkable Black Baseball Players of All Time

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Major League Baseball (MLB) is one of the most popular sports in the United States and is one of the best leagues in the world. Over the years, the MLB has produced some amazing black talented players. 

In this article, we give you a detailed list of some of the best black baseball players to have played the game. They include:

  • Curt Flood
  • Larry Doby
  • Dave Winfield
  • Frank Thomas
  • Willie Stargel
  • Oozie Smith
  • Lee Smith
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Tim Raines
  • Satchel Paige

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1. Curt Flood

10 Remarkable Black Baseball Players of All Time
Curt Flood, former player of the St. Louis Cardinals. Image Source: Instagram licensed under CC BY 2.0

Curt Flood is one of the best black baseball players of all time. He was centerfield for three teams: 

  • Washington Senators (1971)
  • St. Louis Cardinals (1958 – 1969)
  • Cincinnati Redlegs (1956 – 1957)

So good was he that he won 7 Golden Glove Awards between 1963 and 1969. During that time, he won two baseball championships with St. Louis Cardinals in 1964 and 1967. Flood also got into the baseball all-star team three times in 1964, 1966 and 1968.

Even though he had a glittering career, his stand against MLB’s reserve clause is what he’s remembered for due to its impact on the game. Flood challenged MLB’s decision not to allow players to switch teams but even though he won the case, it cost him his career.

2.  Larry Doby

He did what no one else had done before which was to move to MLB directly from the Negro League. This is why Larry Doby is one of the best black baseball players in the game. 

When he joined the Cleveland Indians in 1947, he also became the first African-American to play in the league. Larry played for three teams in the MLB:

  • Cleveland Indians
  • Chicago White Sox
  • Detroit Tigers

He played in the centre field position and was a successful one at that. He won the world series championship in 1948 with the Cleveland Indians. Larry made it into the all-star team 7 times and won the home run leader twice. 

Larry was drafted into the Cleveland Guardians Hall of Fame and his number 14 shirt retired. 

3. Dave Winfield

Winfield made his debut in the MLS in 1973 for the San Diego Padres. He had a 22-year career in the game during which he played for six teams:

He is a one-time world series championship winner having won it in 1992 with the Toronto Blue Jays, which was his only season in the team. His performance as a right fielder won him seven Gold Glove Awards, six Silver Slugger Awards and the Roberto Clemente Award.

Dave retired from baseball in 1995 as one of the best black baseball players. For that, San Diego Padres retired his number 13 shirt and drafted him into the team’s Hall of Fame.

4. Frank Thomas

10 Remarkable Black Baseball Players of All Time
Frank Thomas is in an Auburn baseball uniform. Image Source: Twitter licensed under CC BY 2.0

Considered to be one of the greatest hitters of all time, Frank Thomas makes our list of the best black baseball players in the sport. He played as a first baseman for three teams:

  • Chicago White Sox
  • Oakland Athletics
  • Toronto Blue Jays

Even though he enjoyed a good career, he never had the honour of winning the World Series Championship. That said, he registered several batting records including the highest number of home runs in a Chicago White Sox’x shirt (1,327).

Thomas won the Most Valuable Player Award two times in 1993 and 1994, 4 Silver Slugger Awards and 5 All-Star inclusions. He retired from the sport in 2008.

5. Willie Stargell

Playing as a left fielder, Willie Stargell left an indelible mark in the game which is why he makes it into the top 10 best black baseball players of all time list. 

He was a one-man team and played for the Pittsburgh Pirates throughout his career from 1962 to 1982. Willie won the World Series Championship twice in 1971 and 1979, made it into the all-star team 7 times, named the Most Valuable Player in 1979.

His statistics were great. He made 475 home runs, made 2, 232 hits and 1,540 runs batted in. Willie retired in 1982 and his Pittsburgh retired his number 8 shirt.

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6. Oozie Smith

10 Remarkable Black Baseball Players of All Time
Oozie Smith in a baseball match. Image Source: Instagram licensed under CC BY 2.0

Nicknamed ‘The Wizard’, Oozie Smith was a wonder to watch when he took to the field. He made his debut in 1978 for the San Diego Padres which was one of the two teams he played for. The other one was St. Louis Cardinals.

Throughout his career, he made 28 home runs, 2,460 hits, 793 bats and 580 bases. He won the Gold Glove 13 times, made it into the all-star team 15 times, won one Silver Slugger Award and clinched the World Series Championship in 1982 with St. Louis Cardinals. 

7. Lee Smith

Lee Smith started his professional stint as a pitcher in the MLB in 1990 as part of the Chicago Cubs. He went on and played for seven other teams:

  • Boston Red Sox
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • New York Yankees
  • Baltimore Orioles
  • California Angels
  • Cincinnati Reds
  • Montreal Expos

His numbers were not that bad as he pitched 1,022, made 1,251 strikeouts and 478 saves. Although he did not win the World Series Championship, Lee was named into the all-star team 7 times, won the Rolaid Relief Man Award three times and the Saves Leader four times. 

His last game in the MLB came in 1997 in a Montreal Expos shirt.

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8. Jackie Robinson 

Jackie Robinson was the first black player to play in the MLB the modern version when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. This fact alone makes him one of the best black baseball players and will always have his place in the history of the game. 

As a second baseman, he made 141 home runs and batted 761 times. During his eight years at Dodgers which is the only team he played for at this level, he won the World Series Championship once, in 1955.

Jackie was in the all-star team six times, and in his first season in the league, he was named the Rookie Of the Year. 

More recognition came in for him as his number 42 shirt was retired by all MLB teams. He was also named to the MLB All-Century Team.

9. Tim Raines 

Tim Raines won the World Series Championship three times. His first came 17 years after he made his debut in the league (1979) with the Montreal Expos. Raines made 2605 hits, and 170 home runs and batted in 980 times. 

Apart from Montreal Expos, he played for: 

  • Chicago White Sox
  • New York Yankees
  • Oakland Athletics
  • Baltimore Orioles
  • Florida Marlins.

Raines was part of the all-star teams 7 times. He retired in 2002.

10. Satchel Paige

Satchel Paige who’s one of the best black baseball players played in the MLB between 1948 and 1965, representing three teams:

  • Cleveland Indians
  • St. Louis Brown
  • Kansas City Athletics

He played in the pitcher’s position and was known for his showmanship. He was a World Series Championship winner with the Cleveland Indians, made it twice into the all-star team and was inducted into the Cleveland Guardian’s Hall of Fame. 

While MLB continues to produce good black players, these are the 10 best black baseball players of all time. 

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