7 Heroes of Baseball in America

By Audrey W. | Arcadia Staff
In the years since its first game, America’s Pastime has created some of the most talented baseball players the world has ever seen. Many spent their careers setting new records that would take later players years to beat. The history of baseball and its players is long, consistent, and plentiful in America. It has been sculpted by the players and coaches that made the sport possible. These are 7 heroes of American baseball.

Babe Ruth in 1921.Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth began his 22-season career with the Boston Red Sox, and quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the best players the league ever witnessed. He was nicknamed “The Bambino” and “The Sultan of Swat,” and established several batting records, including 714 home runs. Today, Ruth is considered one of the best baseball players in the history of the sport. In 1936, Ruth was among the first 5 players to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Joe Torre

Before making his career as a Major League Baseball head coach, Joe Torre quickly rose to become one of the most talented players in the league. As a player, he achieved 2,000 hits and as a coach, 2,000 wins, making him the only figure in the history of baseball to accomplish such records. While coaching the New York Yankees, Torre received 6 American League pennants and 4 World Series titles. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.

Jackie Robinson.Jackie Robinson

Breaking the baseball racial divide when he was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers, Jackie Robinson is regarded as one of the greatest players in American history. He broke open the barrier for African Americans to enter the sport, posing to end segregation in baseball. In 1947, Robinson won the Rookie of the Year Award. He was also a league All-Star for 6 seasons, and in 1949, won the National League Most Valuable Player Award. He was the first African American to achieve each one of these titles. For his outstanding career, Robinson was added to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, and in 1997, his uniform number 42 was retired across all teams in the major league. He is the only player to have earned this honor.

Jim Abbott

Jim Abbott defied the odds when he played 10 seasons in the major league as a pitcher without a right hand. Throughout his career, he played for the New York Yankees, California Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, and Chicago White Sox. His recognition in the sport began when he was a college student at the University of Michigan. In 1987, he received the James E. Sullivan Award for the nation’s best amateur athlete, and won a gold medal at a demonstration event at the 1988 Summer Olympics. That same year, he was drafted in the first round of the MLB draft. After defying the odds in 10 years of professional play, Abbott retired, and today works as a motivational speaker.

Coach Sparky Anderson.Sparky Anderson

George “Sparky” Lee Anderson played several years in the major leagues before finding his place as a coach of the Cincinnati Reds and later the Detroit Tigers. Throughout his coaching career, they won 12 division titles, 3 World Series, and 6 league championships, making him one of the most decorated coaches in history. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000 to honor his extraordinary years as a head coach.

Greg Maddux

Known for outsmarting his opponents rather than overpowering them, Greg Maddux quickly earned himself the nickname “The Professor.” He became the first pitcher in league history to win 4 Cy Young Awards consecutively. Over his career, he won 355 games, and was among the players of the Atlanta Braves when they won the 1995 World Series. By his retirement, Maddux had become one of the most well-respected players in the league for his sportsmanship and tenacity.

Lou Gehrig.Lou Gehrig

Also known as “The Iron Horse,” Lou Gehrig was the first professional baseball player to spend his entire career playing for the New York Yankees. In all, Gehrig played 17 seasons, and was an All-Star for 7 consecutive years. He was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player twice, a member of 6 World Series champion teams, a Triple Crown winner, and was added to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993. Throughout his career, he set several league records: the most career grand slams and the most games played in a row. He is today regarded as a hero in American baseball history.
As with any sport, the players and coaches of baseball have shaped the sport into a classic American event. Their record-breaking and odds-defying accomplishments made waves both within the league and outside it. The stories of these incredible players and the men who led them are embedded in the history of the sport, helping to define it as a true American tradition.