Baseball is a game of many races, cultures, and historical backgrounds. Major League Baseball has a long list of talented superstars from the United States and other areas like Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Cuba. On this list are many great black baseball players. But who is the best black player of all?
Our ‘best black baseball players’ list has New York Yankees All-Star Aaron Judge, Los Angeles Dodgers Mookie Betts, and Minnesota Twins Byron Buxton. Some of the best black baseball players of all-time include mega stars like Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, San Francisco Giants’ Willie McCovey, and Barry Bonds, one of the best black baseball players in the ’90s, but to name a few.
Read all about our picks for best black baseball players in 2023.
Best Black Baseball Players of 2023
1. Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees is one of the best baseball players in all of baseball and the best black baseball player.
The Yankees outfielder, who is coming off one of the best overall seasons in the history of Major League Baseball, including hitting an AL record 62 home runs to go along with 131 runs driven, currently ranks among the AL Leaders in home runs, On Base Percentage, and runs batted in during the 2023 MLB season.
Entering the 2023 MLB Season, Judge had already built up a career resume that included five All-Star team selections, one AL MVP Award, two All-MLB First Team selections, the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year Award, three Silver Slugger Awards while also leading all of Major League Baseball in home runs in two different seasons.
2. Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers
Sliding in just behind Aaron Judge on the list of the best black baseball players list of 2023 is the Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts.
Betts currently ranks among the NL leaders in multiple offensive categories, including home runs, doubles, and runs batted in as the 2023 MLB All-Star game approaches.
The current Dodgers star has been one of many faces of baseball since arriving at the MLB level with the Boston Red Sox back during the 2014 MLB schedule. Betts has built a strong resume since his MLB debut, including winning his only MVP Award during the 2018 MLB Season.
In addition to the AL MVP Award, Betts has been selected to seven All-Star teams, won two World Series Championships, been named to two All-MLB First Teams, won two Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards, joined the 30-30 club, hit for the cycle, and won six Gold Glove Awards.
3. Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins
It is hard to take away how good of a baseball player Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins is and what potential the 29-year-old still has to show.
Despite battling injuries to start his MLB career, the Twins outfielder and designated hitter continue to put up solid numbers each season, including hitting a career-high 28 home runs last season despite appearing in just 92 games for the Twins.
In 2023, Buxton is off to another solid start ranking among the AL leaders in doubles and home runs despite missing time due to injuries.
Since arriving in the Majors in 2015, Buxton took home both a Gold Glove Award and Platinum Glove Award during the 2017 MLB Season while also being named to the AL All-Star team in 2022.
If Buxton can remain healthy down the stretch, the Twins All-Star has the talent to top the 30-homerun mark for the first time in his MLB career.
4. Giancarlo Stanton – New York Yankees
While the 2023 MLB season has not gone the way Giancarlo Stanton would like it to, the New York Yankees power-hitting designated hitter still ranks among the best in baseball.
Stanton, who has only appeared in 38 games this season due to injuries, has made the most of his time at the plate this season despite missing more than half of the Yankee’s 2023 MLB games.
Over his career, Stanton has racked up 385 home runs to go along with five All-Star team selections and one Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award while leading the NL in home runs in two different seasons.
5. Michael Harris II, Atlanta Braves
Rounding out the 5 best black baseball players 2023 is the Atlanta Braves’ young star Michael Harris II. Harris II, from DeKalb County, Georgia, is in his first full season with the Braves after being called up during the 2022 MLB season.
The move to call up Harris did not disappoint as Harris II would hit .297 over 414 at-bats, including hitting 27 doubles and 19 home runs while driving in 64 runs.
In addition, Harris II showcased his ability to play strong defense in center field for most of the season. His strength at the plate and field earned the Braves outfielder the 2022 NL Rookie of the Year Award.
6. Josh Bell – San Diego Padres
The newly acquired San Diego Padres first baseman and designated hitter is playing for his third team before 30.
Bell, an All-Star during the 2019 MLB season, is now a key component in a Padres offense loaded with power, including Juan Soto, who was traded to the Padres with him before the 2022 MLB trade deadline.
Throughout his seven-year career, Bell has hit at least 26 home runs in three of the seven seasons while picking up at least 88 Runs-Batted-In each season.
Current Team: San Diego Padres
Former Team: Pittsburgh Pirates & Washington Nationals
7. Cedric Mullins – Baltimore Orioles
One of the newer and fresh faces on the list is the Baltimore Orioles center fielder and AL All-Star Cedric Mullins.
Mullins, who made his MLB debut during the 2018 MLB season, put together his best season in the Majors during the 2021 MLB season, in which he finished as an All-Star, a Silver Slugger award winner, and a member of the 30/30 club.
During the 2021 MLB season, Mullins batted .291 with 37 doubles, 30 home runs, 59 Runs-Batted-In, and 30 stolen bases.
His success has continued in 2022 while helping to turn around the Orioles’ struggles while competing for one of the AL Wild Card spots for most of the second half of the 2022 MLB schedule.
8. Tim Anderson – Chicago White Sox
The back-to-back AL All-Star shortstop is one of the better defensive shortstops in baseball, giving his team a run-scoring threat who can swipe a base when needed.
For 2023, however, Tim Anderson has yet to make an impact, despite being the White Sox’s best player for a long time now, battling injury in 2022 and off-the-field issues that may be hurting his on-field production.
Anderson has posted at least double-digit home runs in five of the previous six seasons. His best season at the plate came in 2019. Anderson would finish with a .335 batting average, with 32 doubles, 18 home runs, and 56 runs batted in.
9. Andrew McCutchen – Milwaukee Brewers
Andrew McCutchen could arguably rank as the Best Black Baseball Player in all of Major League Baseball in his prime.
With his career on the back end, the current Milwaukee Brewers outfielder continues to play at a high level, topping the 15-home run mark for the 12th time in his career.
In addition to those numbers, McCutchen has racked up over 280 home runs to go along with the 2013 NL MVP award, one Gold Glove, four Silver Slugger awards, and five selections to the MLB All-Star team.
The former Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star also played on the Team USA baseball team that captured the 2017 World Baseball Classic gold medal.
Current Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Previous Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees & Philadelphia Phillies
10. Marcus Stroman – Chicago Cubs
Marcus Stroman continues to be a solid starting pitcher year in and year out while making his new start with the Chicago Cubs during the 2022 MLB season.
Stroman, who made his debut at 23 years old with the Toronto Blue Jays, pitched six seasons with the team before being traded to the New York Mets.
In those six years, Stroman racked up 47 wins while striking out at least 100 batters in four of those six seasons with the club. After the 2021 MLB season, Stroman signed a three-year deal with the Cubs worth $71 million.
Current Team: Chicago Cubs
Previous Teams: Toronto Blue Jays & New York Mets
5 Greatest Black Baseball Players of All Time
1. Hank Aaron, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Braves & Milwaukee Brewers
“Hammerin” Hank Aaron ranks among the tops of the 5 All-Time Great Black Baseball Players list while finishing his career as the MLB Home Run Leader with 755 career home runs.
Over his career, Aaron was presented with a ton of obstacles and diversity to overcome, including passing Babe Ruth to become the All-Time Home Run Leader.
None of them slowed Aaron down as Aaron built a Hall of Fame resume while building a long list of accolades.
Aaron finished his career as a career .305 hitter, posting 3,771 career hits, 755 home runs, and 2,297 runs batted in.
To go with those numbers, Aaron earned 25 All-Star game selections, won one NL MVP Award, won three Gold Glove Awards, led the NL in home runs four times, and led the NL in batting average in two different seasons.
2. Barry Bonds, Pittsburgh Pirates & San Francisco Giants
Love him, hate him, believe he did steroids, don’t believe he did steroids doesn’t take away how great of a baseball player Barry Bonds was.
The former Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants All-Star was as great of a baseball player during the earliest parts of his career as he was during the latter parts of his career.
Bonds racked up 762 career home runs, with 1,996 runs batted in, 514 stolen bases, and 2,935 career hits.
His performance at the plate earned him seven NL MVP Awards, eight Gold Glove Awards, and 14 All-Star Game selections.
In addition, Bonds finished as the All-Time Home Run leader while also holding the record for the most home runs in a single season (73), most career base on balls (2,558), and highest single season On Base Percentage (.609) mark all time.
3. Willie Mays, New York Giants, San Francisco Giants, & New York Mets
Just below his godson is the New York Giants and San Francisco Giants great Willie Mays. Mays, one of the greatest black baseball players of all time, ranks among the best center fielders ever to play the game while being as great defensively as he was offensively.
Mays, who played from 1951 to 1973 in Major League Baseball, finished his career as a career .302 hitter, hitting 660 career home runs and driving 1,903 runs.
His play at the plate and in the field earned him a selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In addition to those statistics, Mays added 24 All-Star selections, won two NL MVP Awards, and 12 Gold Glove Awards, led the NL in home runs in four different seasons, and hit four home runs in a single game.
Other accolades racked up by Mays include winning the 1951 NL Rookie of the Year Award, winning one World Series Championship, and leading the NL in stolen bases in four different seasons.
4. Frank Robinson, Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angels & Cleveland Indians
The long-time MLB All-Star finished his career as one of the best players of all time while also ranking among the best black baseball players to play the game.
Robinson, who put together a brilliant MLB career, was also an ambassador of the game while becoming the first black manager in Major League Baseball history and serving roles in the front office and MLB office.
On the field, however, Robinson put together a Hall of Fame career, hitting 586 home runs while driving in 1,812 runs.
His performance at the plate landed him in special company as one of only 16 players to ever hit for the Triple Crown while leading the AL in home runs (49), runs batted in (122), and batting average (.316) during the 1966 MLB Season.
In addition to the Triple Crown, Robinson racked up 14 All-Star Game selections, won one NL MVP Award, one AL MVP Award, the 1956 NL Rookie of the Year Award, and a Gold Glove Award.
5. Ken Griffey Jr, Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds & Chicago White Sox
Possibly the greatest baseball player of his generation, Ken Griffey Jr not only ranked among the best players of his generation but also as one of the best black players in baseball.
The Kid, or Jr as many liked to call him, racked up 630 career home runs over his long MLB career that landed him in Cooperstown with a record 99.32 percent of the vote. The Seattle Mariners great could do it all hit, run the bases, and play tremendous defense.
His abilities on the field landed him on 13 All-Star teams while helping him to win 10 Gold Glove Awards, seven Silver Slugger Awards, and the 1997 AL MVP Award while leading the AL in home runs in four different seasons, including in each of the 1997, 1998 and 1999 MLB Seasons.
If not for a few fluke injuries over his career, Griffey Jr might have finished as the greatest baseball player of all time.