One of the best ways to determine how well-rounded a batter is can be by looking at their slugging percentage. It’s a measure that looks at the batting productivity of a hitter. Basically, it’s calculated by taking someone’s total bases and dividing by their total at-bats.
Unlike batting average, slugging percentage puts a premium on extra-base hits like doubles, triples and home runs over a single base hit. Walks aren’t included in the tally because they’re not counted as an at-bat. In this article, we rank the top players from the highest slugging percentage on downward.
There are only six players in the history of the MLB who have a career slugging percentage over .600 and of course, Babe Ruth is one of them. In fact, he has the best SLG% in the history of the game.
He boasts a .6897, which is insane. He retired from the league in 1935 with the Boston Braves hitting a .342 batting average for his career, with 2,873 hits, 714 home runs, and 2,213 RBIs. He’s a seven-time World Series Champion and 12-time AL home run leader.
Ted Williams played his entire 19-year MLB career in left field for the Boston Red Sox. His career slugging percentage is .6338 which puts him second all-time only to Babe Ruth.
His career batting average was .344 and he had an impressive career on-base percentage of .482 which is an MLB record. Williams was a 19-time All-Star, a two-time Triple Crown champion, and a six-time AL batting champion, just to name a few of his accolades.
Williams only faced this next slugger one time in his career, but it was a true passing-of-the-torch moment.
Lou Gehrig has the third-best career slugging percentage at .6324. He was nicknamed the “Iron Horse,” playing his entire MLB career with the New York Yankees from 1923-1939.
He was a seven-time All-Star and a six-time World Series Champion that finished his career with a .340 batting average, 2,721 hits and 1,995 RBIs. Along with Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, Gehrig was named to the MLB All-Century Team and the MLB All-Time Team.
Rogers Hornsby played 23 seasons in the major leagues with four different teams. He had a career slugging percentage of .5765 which puts him at number 10 on the list.
He had 2,930 hits and his .358 career batting average has him second all-time to Ty Cobb. In 1924 he was able to maintain a .424 batting average, which has not been matched since. He’s a World Series champion, two-time NL MVP, and seven-time NL batting champion.
Willie Mays spent nearly all of his 22 seasons in the MLB with the New York/ San Francisco Giants before finishing his career with the New York Mets. His career slugging percentage .5575 and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979.
Mays was a 22-time All-Star, four-time NL stolen base leader and a 12-time Gold Glove award winner. He was named to the MLB All-Century Team and MLB All-Time Team.
You’re going to be surprised to see where Hank Aaron lands himself on this list.
Jimmie Foxx played 20 seasons in the MLB for the Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, And Philadelphia Phillies and finished his career with a .6093 career slugging percentage.
While he was with the Athletics and the Red Sox he had 12 consecutive seasons hitting 30 home runs and 13 consecutive seasons with over 100 runs batted in. Foxx became the second player in MLB history to hit 500 career home runs after Babe Ruth.
Barry Bonds finished his incredible career with the fifth-best slugging percentage in MLB history at .6069. He won eight Gold Gloves, 12 Silver Slugger awards, and 14 All-Star selections.
He holds the record for most career home runs with 762, most home runs in a single season with 73, and most career walks. He finished his career with a batting average .298, 2,935 hits, and perhaps the most surprising stat is his 514 stolen bases.
While Barry has the most home runs of any ballplayer, the man coming up launched more dingers as a rookie than anyone in history.
Hank Greenberg was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1956 with 85% of the vote. He had the sixth highest slugging percentage all-time at .6050.
He was a two-time World Series champion, two-time AL MVP, four-time AL RBI leader, and five-time All-Star. He was the first Jewish superstar to be on an American sports team and made national headlines when he refused to play baseball on Yom Kippur.
Mark McGwire is the first person on this list to have a career slugging percentage under .600 as he slides in at .5882. He was one of the most prolific home run hitters of all time as he crushed 583 during his career. During his rookie year, he hit 49 home runs, which set a single-season rookie record.
He was a 12-time All-Star, two-time World Series Champion, five-time MLB home run leader and has been named to the MLB All-Century Team.
Manny Ramirez is a 12-time All-Star who currently holds the record for most postseason home runs in MLB history. His career slugging percentage is .5854 and his career batting average is .312, to go with his 2,574 hits and 555 career home runs. In 1999, while playing for the Cleveland Indians, he set the single-season RBI record with 165 during that season.
Ramirez is a two-time World Series champion, he was the 2004 World Series MVP and nine-time Silver Slugger award winner.
Joe DiMaggio is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak, which is a record that still stands. He had a career slugging percentage of .5788 and was a three-time league MVP, and was an All-Star every single year he played (13 seasons).
He knocked 2,214 hits, 361 home runs, and 1,537 RBIs. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955 with almost 90% of the vote and was named to the MLB All-Century Team.
There’s only one player on this list who is still playing in the league and he’s coming up soon.
Mike Trout is the only player on this list that’s still playing in the MLB. His career slugging percentage sits at .5729 right now, and with the new $426 million contract he just signed, there’s certainly room for improvement.
He came into the league in 2011 and has since been a seven-time All-Star, two-time AL MVP, six-time Silver Slugger and was apart of the 30-30 club in 2012. He already has over 1,190 career hits and sports a career batting average of .307.
Larry Walker is the only Canadian on this list. He had an MLB career that spanned over 17-seasons with three different teams. He was a five-time All-Star, while also capturing seven Gold-Gloves, three Silver Sluggers and was also a three-time NL batting champion.
Walker produced a .313 batting average, .400 on-base percentage, and crushed 383 home runs. He managed to get over 2,000 hits and 1,311 RBIs which led him getting inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
Albert Belle was the first player to break the $10 million contract barrier in the MLB and was the first player, in 1995, to hit for 50 doubles and 50 home runs in the same season. His career slugging percentage was .5638 which puts him thirteenth on this list.
Belle was the king of consistency when he played. He was one of only six players in history to have nine consecutive seasons with 100-plus RBIs.
Johnny Mize played 15 seasons in the MLB, but lost three of them due to military service which makes him appearing on this list even more iconic. Mize’s slugging percentage of .5620 puts him 14th on our list.
Mize was a ten-time All-Star who won five consecutive World Series championships with the New York Yankees. He finished his career with a .312 batting average, 2,011 hits, 359 home runs, and 1,337 RBIs. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.
Stan “The Man” once held the record for total bases in a career, but wait till you see his slugging percentage!
Juan Gonzalez was one of the premier run producers in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He hit over 40 home runs five different times in his career and at least 100 RBIs eight times. His career slugging percentage sat at .5607.
He was a three-time All-Star, six-time Silver Slugger, two-time AL MVP, and a two-time AL home run leader. He averaged 42 home runs and 135 RBI per 162 games with season-adjusted stats which puts him well within the top-ten all-time in those categories.
Nicknamed “Stan The Man,” Stan Musial spent 22 seasons in the MLB playing for the St. Louis Cardinals. He boasted a career slugging percentage of .5591 which lands him 16th on our list.
Musial batted .331 over his career and set National League records for career hits with 3,630, and RBIs with 1,951. His 475 career home runs at the time ranked second only behind Mel Ott’s total of 511. His 6,134 total bases remained a major league record until he was surpassed by Hank Aaron.
Mickey Mantle played his entire MLB career with the New York Yankees. He’s regarded as the best switch hitter to ever play in the league as he finished his career with a slugging percentage of .5568 and a career batting average just under .300. He had 2,415 hits and 536 home runs while adding 1,509 RBIs.
He was a 20-time All-Star, seven-time World Series champion, Triple Crown winner in 1956 and a four-time AL home run leader.
Frank Thomas, or “The Big Hurt,” was a five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and ended his career with a .5549 slugging percentage. By the end of his career, Thomas was tied for eighth overall in home runs with 521, ninth for RBIs with 1,704 and sixth for walks with 1,667.
Even though he batted for power, he was able to maintain a batting average over .300 and had 2,468 hits. Thomas was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.
Hank Aaron played 21 seasons in the MLB and had a career slugging percentage of .5545 which puts him twentieth on the list. He was a 25-time All-Star and a World Series champion. He was a four-time NL home run leader, three-time Gold Glove Award winner, four-time RBI leader and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
He ended his career with 3,771 hits, 755 home runs, 2,297 RBIs and a .305 career batting average.
Known lovingly throughout his career as “A-Rod,” Alex Rodriguez was one of the greatest hitters of his era. And when he retired, he was also won of the richest. Over the course of his illustrious and controversial career, Rodriguez earned over $500 million.
When he finally called it a career, Rodriguez had 696 homeruns and 2.086 runs batted in. Those numbers should be enough to get him into the Hall of Fame one day, but for now, his use of steroids has kept him out of Cooperstown.
Albert Pujols is the slugger that just keeps slugging. One of the most prolific hitters of the modern era, the sure fire first ballot Hall of Famer knocked in his 2,000th career RBI in 2019.
Starting his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pujols has played the back half in Anaheim with the Angels. Along the way he has proven to be the picture of stability and even has a chance to blast past 700 home runs before he retires.
Ken Griffey Jr.
Like father like son. Ken Griffey Jr. is one of the only players in MLB history to play professionally at the same time as his father. On the field, though, the two couldn’t be more different.
Griffey Jr. was known early in his career for his power and speed. If injuries hadn’t hurt the end of his career, there’s a good chance he would be MLB’s home run king instead of Barry Bonds. Still, retiring with 630 career bombs puts him in elite territory.
At the young age of 22, Fred McGriff finally burst into the big leagues on May 17, 1986, playing for the Toronto Blue Jays. He would play from ’86 all the way through 2004 where he ended his career with the Devil Rays. In his last year, he hit two homers. His final home run number was 493.
“The bottom line is I enjoy winning. Losing is no fun. As long as you step out on to that field and you’ve got a fighting chance to win, that’s all you can ask for,” McGriff said in 1998.
This is Dale Murphy. The slugger was born on March 12, 1956, in Portland Oregon. It wouldn’t be until his 20th year of living that he would make his way into the majors for the Atlanta Braves. He managed to crank 398 homers during his career.
“Nolan Ryan said: ‘I can’t imagine Joe DiMaggio was a better all-around player than Dale Murphy.’ Hank Aaron added: ‘Dale is probably the best all-around player in either league, probably the most valuable commodity in baseball right now,'” author Jack Wilkinson outlined in his Game of My Life Atlanta Braves: Memorable Stories of Braves Baseball.
Born on August 22, 1939, in Southampton, New York, Carl Yastrzemski was quite the slugger. He made it to the big leagues the year he became legal and that probably was the best year of his life. His first season he hit 11 out the park and the most he managed to belt out was 44 in one year. He ended with 452 overall.
“You don’t always make an out. Sometimes the pitcher gets you out.” – Carl Yastrzemski in The Gigantic Book of Baseball Quotations.
“Determination made Andre Dawson a great player – determination to come back after more than a dozen knee operations, determination to show baseball how overlooked he was during his first 11 years playing north of the border, determination to become one of the most well-rounded players in the game’s history,” Baseball Researcher Dan D’Addona wrote.
That’s sure one great endorsement and something that makes you want to know more about Dawson. Usually, after maybe two knee surgeries, athletes pack up their bags and call it a career. Dawson managed to hit 438 home runs even with all the bad knee issues.
With 504 home runs to his name and 21 years of playing, Eddie Murray was as good as they come. He entered the professional realm when he was 21, so he practically played the sport he loved his whole adult life.
“Eddie (Murray) was a huge part of the success of the Orioles for a lot of years. He was a great player and a great teammate. He went out and did his job every day.” – Cal Ripken, Jr. in Sports Illustrated.
“Last year (1978) I became a lot more patient. I learned the strike zone a lot better and I realized that sometimes it’s better to take a walk than make an out on a bad pitch.” – Dave Winfield in The Sporting News.
Not everyone develops a mentality like that. That’s what separates players who aren’t featured on this list with those who are. Winfield played for 22 years and hit 465 home runs during that span. He had a total of 3,110 hits overall.
On September 10, 1969, George Foster made his entrance into the big leagues. Born in ’48, Foster started his career with the San Francisco Giants. He tallied 1,925 total hits to go with 348 home runs. That’s not too bad over 18 years.
“If (George) Foster would have been playing with the Dodgers in the ’50’s they wouldn’t have had to tear down Ebbets Field. George would have demolished it with shots off his bat.” – Sparky Anderson in Baseball Digest.
In 16 years, Jim Rice did more at bat than those who played for 20 or more years. That’s saying a lot. He accumulated 2,452 hits total with 382 of them being home runs. He also played his whole career with Red Socks if that’s worth anything.
Ted Williams seems to think that Rice didn’t get that much opportunity. If that’s the case then we wonder how much better he could have been at this sport.
“If Boog Powell held out his arm, he’d be a railroad crossing.” – Broadcaster Joe Garagiola in Total Baseball: The Official Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball.
It looks like Garagiola thinks that Powell is basically one of the hardest hitters to hit. He played for 17 years and had 339 home runs during that span. His final season with the Dodgers didn’t go as planned as he only had 41 at-bats but granted he only played 50 games.
“It was unfortunate that it took the Hall of Fame until 1980, well after his (Chuck Klein) death on March 28, 1958, to recognize his greatness. But no longer does he go unnoticed for his greatness, and the plaque in Cooperstown is testament to that.” – Author Michael Francis Mann in Baseball’s Rare Triple Crown.
Klein had to wait until he was 23 before playing for the pros. Klein played for 17 years and amassed 300 home runs and 2,076 total hits.
Not only was Johnny Bench a great hitter but he was also an awesome outfielder. Bench hit for 389 home runs in 17 years as well as 2,048 hits overall. When you calculate that with what he did on defense, he’s one of the best to do it.
“Trained by his father Ted to throw 254 feet – twice the distance from home plate to second base – from a crouch, (Johnny) Bench boasted that he could, ‘throw out any runner alive.'” – Nick Acocella.
“How hard is hitting? You ever walk into a pitch-black room full of furniture that you’ve never been in before and try to walk through it without bumping into anything? Well, it’s harder than that.” – Ted Kluszewski
That’s a pretty good description of how hitting is for those who only watch and have never attempted it. It’s really one of the toughest things to do in sports but this man was able to 1,766 total hits in his 15-year career.
“At 225 pounds he (Greg Luzinski) is a doorway and a half. They could hold the Winter Olympics on his shoulders, balance Rhode Island on his knees, and plug up leaky dams with his feet.” – Phil Elderkin of The Christian Science Monitor.
That is quite the description for Luzinski. At such a heavyweight, you would think it would be harder for him to crank out 307 total home runs and 1,795 total hits.
“Now I know why they boo Richie all the time. When he hits a home run, there’s no souvenir.” – Willie Stargell (after Allen’s home run cleared the left-center field roof of Philadelphia’s Connie Mack Stadium) in Baseball Digest.
Allen knocked out 351 balls during his 15-year career. He was on the Phillies the majority of the time before going to the Cardinals in 1970 and then ending his career with the Athletics in 1977.
“When he (Roger Maris) hit it (home run #61 in 1961), he came into the dugout and they were all applauding. I mean, this is something that’s only happened once in baseball, right? And the people were all applauding. – Mickey Mantle in The Ultimate Yankee Book.
Wow, 61 home runs in a single season is quite incredible. Maris only played for 12 years too so that makes this accomplishment even more special. He ended his career with 275 total homers.
“It’s a shame that a lot of GREAT ballplayers never even got a chance to play in the World Series. Players like Ernie Banks. I heard him say once that he’ll always have an open feeling in his heart because of not playing in a World Series.” – Pitcher Rich Gossage.
Ernie Banks was indeed a great ballplayer. He hit 512 home runs and had 2,583 hits total. It would have been great to see what he could have done on the biggest stage possible. He for sure would have given some fans a souvenir.
Born on April 26, 1900, in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, Hack Wilson would grow up to become one of the best hitters there is. He became a professional during his 23rd year of living, playing for the New York Giants.
He only played for 12 years, but boy could he hit. During his eighth year, he managed to plow 56 homers! The year before he hit 39. Wilson would end his playing days with a grand total of 244 home runs.