The baseball Hall of Fame has enshrined 296 players, managers, executives and pioneers over its rich 76 year history, and many of those people have come directly from the heartland of the United States—the Midwest.
The Midwest contains the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. From that area, MLB has been well represented through the years, and the Hall of Fame is certainly no exception.
Here are five of the top Hall of Fame baseball players that were born right here in the Midwest.
1. Walter Johnson: Humboldt, Kansas
Nicknamed “Big Train,” Walter Johnson played his entire 21-year career (1907-1927) for the Washington Senators. Johnson won 417 games over his illustrious career, and is the career MLB leader in shutouts with 110 overall, far outdistancing the second-place man on the list, Pete Alexander (90).
Johnson spent the first thirteen years of his life in Humboldt, Kansas before his family moved to Orange County, California in 1900.
2. Grover Cleveland Alexander: Elba, Nebraska
Born in Elba, Nebraska in 1887, Grover Cleveland Alexander went to become one of the greatest right-handed pitchers in MLB history, winning 373 games over a 20-year career (1911-1930).
Alexander was a 30-game winner three times during his career, and won 20 or more games in six other seasons. Johnson suffered from epilepsy and bouts of drinking during his career, eventually retiring and moving back to his native state of Nebraska, where he died in 1950 at the age of 63.
3. Cap Anson: Marshalltown, Iowa
Cap Anson, one of the early stars of baseball in the 19th century, was born in Marshalltown, Iowa in 1852.
Anson played an incredible 27 seasons between 1871 and 1897, and was the first player in MLB history to compile 3,000 hits, ending his career with 3,481 overall. Anson played the final 22 years of his with the Chicago White Stockings, who would later become known as the Cubs.
Anson settled in Chicago after his playing days were over, and died there in 1922 at the age of 69.
4. George Sisler: Manchester, Ohio
George Sisler, born in Manchester, Ohio in 1893, quickly became a star after his debut with the St Louis Browns in 1915. Early on, Sisler became known as a hitting machine, establishing the single-season hits record for a 154-game season in 1922, and hit .402 in 1920 and .420 in 1922, the third-highest batting average for a single season in modern major league history.
Sisler retired in 1930 with a .340 career batting average and 2,812 overall hits, being enshrined into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1939.
5. Mickey Mantle: Spavinaw, Oklahoma
Considered one of the true icons of Major League Baseball, Mickey Mantle was born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma in 1931. Mantle debuted for the New York Yankees in 1951, and by the time his career was over, was considered the greatest switch-hitter of all time.
Mantle bashed 536 home runs during his career, and still holds the World Series record for most home runs (18), runs batted in (40) and total bases (123). Mantle helped lead the Yankees to seven World Series titles during his career, which ended in 1968.
Who else would you include on this list?
Jeff Herbst (born and raised in the Midwest) has had a passion for sports ever since he could first walk.. He works with Phoenix Bats, a company that manufacturers world-class baseball bats such as their custom wooden bats for amateur and professional ball players.