TheSportster.com

Top 20 Most Intimidating Players in Baseball History

In any sporting endeavor, intimidation is an art form that can create a distinct advantage over an opponent, especially when that intimidation is accompanied by an impressive skill set. In baseball, this is particularly true, and over the years there have been many players who have excelled at instilling fear in the players they have faced. Whether it is a pitcher staring down a hitter as he steps into the batter’s box just before throwing high and inside, or a hulking power hitter surveying the field before punishing a pitched ball over the deepest part of the outfield fence, intimidation plays an important and dramatic role in America’s Pastime.

Since the game’s inception, a combination of the ability to play the game well and the ability to intimidate has allowed some of the game’s greatest players to excel while also allowing some with marginal talent to maximize their production while out on the diamond. For some, intimidation only required the possession of exceptional talent. For others, a bit of showmanship had to be employed to strike fear in the heart of opponents.

Each player on this list was known for intimidating opponents in some significant way throughout their career. These 20 players may not necessarily have been the best players of all time (though many of them are), but rather those players who inspired the most fear in their opponents; those who were not just difficult to face, but who were truly dreaded by their opponents. The 20 players on this list represent the most intimidating baseball players of all time, a diverse group that has representatives from nearly every era of the sport.

20 Ryne Duren

via mlb.com

According to New York Yankees teammate Yogi Berra, Duren “had several pairs of glasses but it didn't seem like he saw good in any of them.” Those Coke-bottle lenses, coupled with a 100 mph fastball and a “tactical” lack of control, made Duren one of the most intimidating relievers of the late 1950s. His manager, Casey Stengel, once said of him, “Hitters don't like to see that fella. Especially family men."

19 Al Hrabosky

via mlb.com

18 Mark McGwire

via alleyesonwho.com

17 Goose Gossage

via espn.go.com

16 Frank Thomas

via ca.complex.com

15 Don Drysdale

via espn.go.com

14 Bob Feller

via sikids.com

13 Reggie Jackson

via realclearsports.com

12 Mariano Rivera

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

11 Rickey Henderson

via en.wikipedia.org

10 Ted Williams

via hbo.com

9 Walter Johnson

via voices.suntimes.com

8 Willie McCovey

via sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com

7 Bob Gibson

via espn.go.com

6 Ty Cobb

via iluvesports.com

5 Barry Bonds

via cbsnews.com

4 Nolan Ryan

via espn.go.com

3 Pete Rose

via elevenwarriors.com

2 Randy Johnson

via blog.seattlepi.com

1 Babe Ruth

via recordclick.com

The Great Bambino was easily the most feared hitter of his time and hit home runs at a rate that had never been seen before in the game of baseball. When he retired, the Yankees slugger held the record for career home runs (714) and home runs in a single season (60). He also led the league in walks 11 different times, and was walked over 100 times 13 times during his 22-year career. His accomplishments are even recognized by the advanced metrics, as he remains the all-time leader in OPS+ at 206 (100 is league-average), OPS (1.164) and slugging percentage (.690), so it is fair to say that Ruth was a terrifying batter to have to face. So despite his reputation as something of a jovial figure, Ruth was by far the most intimidating batter that any pitcher has had to face in the history of baseball.

Give TheSportster a Thumbs up!

Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?

Get Your Free Access Now!

More in MLB

Top 20 Most Intimidating Players in Baseball History