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Players Who Have Earned The Most Respect in MLB History

Baseball history has many players who have impressed us and earned significant respect and brownie points. From pitchers to sluggers, these players will forever be remembered for their dedication to MLB. Earning respect as a baseball player is vast, as up-and-coming MLB players look up to these types of players. They are role models and visionaries for their memorable plays and love of the game.

Past Memorable MLB Players Who Have Earned a Ton of Respect

Derek Jeter

When you think of Jeter, one of the first two words that comes to mind is humility and respect. Derek Jeter is one of today’s most commemorated and well-respected MLB players. He was once seen as the face of the New York Yankees, where he spent his entire career. Jeter was also team captain of the Yankees and won five World Series with them. Derek holds many significant records and achievements, and here are the most prominent ones:

  • Most hits by a Yankee
  • As a Yankee, most games played.
  •  3,465 career hits and a .310 batting average
  •  260 career home runs and 1311 RBIs
  • A 14-time American League All-Star
  • A 5-time short-stop AL Gold Glove winner
  • Was the World Series MVP in 2000
  • Won the Roberto Clemente Award

Jon Lester

Lester played a crucial role in assisting the Boston Red Sox to win the World Series in 2007 and 2013, helping him to lock in his role as one of the strongest pitchers in the game. In 2006, Jon received the unfortunate news of being diagnosed with cancer. But, with hope and a lot of support from his loved ones and doctors, Lester triumphed over his cancer and was able to pitch again. If this doesn’t earn a fan’s respect in baseball, nothing does!

Lester’s exemplary performance on the mound earned him five All-Star selections, demonstrating his talent as a majorly respected pitcher. In May 2008, Lester threw a no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals. Just like Jeter, Lester also won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2008. This highly respected award is given to players who showcase high standards through sportsmanship, taking action through association, and getting involved with the community.

David Ortiz

Ortiz, nicknamed “Big Papi,” is a three-time World Series Champion and former MVP. He is an MLB studio analyst for FOX Sports and participates in the network’s regular season, All-Star Game, and Postseason coverage. He made his broadcasting debut with FOX Sports as a guest studio analyst in 2014. Ortiz was recognized as one of MLB’s most intimidating hitters. During the Red Sox’s 2004 run, Ortiz defeated the New York Yankees in the ALCS.

He challenged any speculation about the “Curse of the Bambino.” This earned him paramount respect for defying the odds with baseball conspiracy. The Red Sox carried forward to win the 2004 Fall Classic, and Ortiz earned himself two more championship rings with Boston in 2007 and 2013. In 2013, Big Papi also won the World Series MVP in his last championship run against the St. Louis Cardinals. Ortiz earned 10 All-Star Game selections and seven Silver Slugger Awards in his baseball career. He crushed 541 career home runs, 2,472 hits, and 1,768 RBIs.

Ichiro Suzuki

Suzuki was the first non-pitcher to transition from Japanese professional baseball to MLB. He made his major league debut with the Mariners on April 2, 2001. He started his career on a high note, earning the AL Rookie of the Year award and a Gold Glove. In the 2001 MLB season, Suzuki recorded a .350 batting average; in the postseason, he hit .421.

John Olerud

Olerud joined the Blue Jays in September 1989, becoming one of the rare players to skip the minor leagues and debut in the majors. In 1990, Olerud’s first entire professional season, he was leading all major-league rookies in home runs with 10, 33 RBIs, 35 walks, a slugging percentage of .465, and an on-base percentage of .375 at the All-Star break.

Blue Jays catcher Pat Borders talked highly about Olerud. Borders spoke about how he worked hard to have a swing like Olerud, but his swing could never compare to his. Olerud had a keen eye at the plate and a great swing. In 1992, he finished third on the Blue Jays, with an average of .284, an on-base percentage of .375, and 70 walks. In the World Series, he started 0-for-7 with three strikeouts but then went four for his next six, scoring two times. Thankfully, Toronto defeated the Atlanta Braves in six games to achieve their first championship in franchise history.

Joe Carter

Now 64 years old, Carter was one of MLB’s most beloved and iconic baseball players. Carter was equipped with magnetic and sincere charm and was highly respected and adored by fans. He won two World Series championships and hit 396 career home runs. Carter also left an impressionable impact on the game and earned brownie points in the hearts of Blue Jays fans. He had a positive attitude, was involved with the community, and was successful in his business ventures, strengthening his role as a respected baseball figure. Carter played 16 seasons in MLB, and aside from playing for the Blue Jays, he also played for the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles, and San Francisco Giants.

Jackie Robinson

Robinson was a highly respected and iconic figure in baseball and black history. He was the first African American inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Robinson won Rookie of the Year in 1947 with a batting average of .297, 175 hits, 12 home runs, and 48 runs batted in. Robinson was well-known for stealing bases with his incredible speed. In 1949, he stole 37 bases. In August of 1948, Robinson “hit for the cycle” with a home run, a triple, a double, and then a single in a game, beating the St. Louis Cardinals. The fact that Robinson’s uniform number 42 is still honored in baseball today is gratifying. He will forever be a player that has earned respect for his dedication to the game.

Robinson Cano

Cano is an eight-time MLB All-Star, five-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and two-time Gold Glove Award winner. He was named after baseball legend Jackie Robinson. Cano earned his career base hit off Hideo Nomo of the Tampa Bay Rays. He also crushed his first career grand slam in the same season. Cano finished his 2004 season recording a .297 batting average, 14 home runs and 62 RBIs. Cano was known for having an appealing batting average amongst American League rookies. He finished the 2009 season hitting .352, with 204 hits, 25 home runs, 85 RBIs, and 48 doubles. He was ranked in the top ten among players in the American league in several categories. For example, doubles, triples, extra-base hits, hits, at-bats, batting average, total bases, and runs scored.

Jose Bautista

The six-time All-Star was a force to be reckoned with on the field. In game five of the 2015 American League Division Series, Bautista hit an iconic three-run home run, and following the homer was a controversial but monumental bat flip that left fans on their feet. The bat flip immediately represented his raw emotion and passion. In 2010, Bautista accomplished an impressive triumph by crushing 54 home. He amazingly beat the franchise record that George Bell held. While Bautista is most well-known for his seasons with the Blue Jays, he also played for the Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Mariano Rivera

Rivera was a legendary and memorable closer for the New York Yankees. He will forever be recognized as one of the strongest relievers in MLB history. Rivera pitched consistently and with style. He saved at least 25 games in 15 consecutive seasons and posted an ERA under 2.00 in 11 seasons. Best of all, he made it look easy while achieving these appealing stats.

When he retired, his career 2.21 ERA and 1.00 WHIP were the lowest and most impressive among closers. Many credited him with creating a fashion for the cut fastball. Along with his signature pitch, Rivera was known for his strong control mechanics, effortless pitching motion, and tranquility on the field. In 2013, the Yankees retired his uniform number 42. Rivera was the final MLB player to wear the number 42 following its retirement in 1997 in honor of Jackie Robinson.

Final Thoughts

Congratulations to these players for making history in MLB and for earning major respect from fans, teammates, managers, and more. These players will forever live on with the memories they made on the field and the success they brought to their teams. Overall, each player carries unique qualities, but each one shares one similar thing: They all have earned respect as elite athletes and have been impressive.

Main Photo Credits: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

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