The first great Jewish player, Hank Greenberg answered the anti-Semitic slurs with colossal clouts. The two-time AL MVP had 170 RBIs in 1935, 183 RBIs in 1937 and hit 58 home runs in 1938. He was at his peak when he became the first baseball star to enter military service during World War II. Greenberg missed three full seasons and a major portion of two others, returning in time to hit the grand slam home run in the final game of 1945 that gave Detroit one more pennant.
2 of 10Walter Iooss Jr.
#9: Denis Potvin
Called “The Next Bobby Orr,” the top pick in the 1973 draft went on to break the Boston icon’s scoring records by a defenseman en route to becoming the first blueliner to reach 1,000 points. A ferocious hitter and deft passer, Potvin was captain and mainstay of the Islanders dynasty. The nine-time All-Star won three Norris Trophies during his 15-year career (all with the Isles) and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.
3 of 10Manny Millan
#8: Jason Kidd
Selected with the No. 2 pick in the 1994 draft after an All-America sophomore season at Cal, Jason Kidd was named co-Rookie of the Year (with Grant Hill) in 1995. Kidd retired with career averages of 12.6 points, 8.7 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals. The 10-time All-Star was selected to the All-NBA first or second team six times and the All-Defensive first or second team nine times. He also twice won the league's sportsmanship award.
4 of 10Tony Triolo
#7: Brooks Robinson
A 15-time All-Star and 16-time Gold Glove winner, Brooks Robinson holds the MLB record for career putouts, assists and double plays at third base. Nicknamed the Human Vacuum Cleaner, Robinson was the 1964 AL MVP and 1970 World Series MVP. His defensive skill was so translucent it overrides the fact that other third basemen swung a better bat. Good field, no hit? Hardly. Robinson hit 20 or more home runs in six seasons and had 80 or more RBIs eight times.
5 of 10Andy Hayt
#6: George Brett
A 13-time All-Star, George Brett won three batting titles and the AL MVP when he batted .390 in 1980. One of four players in history with 3,000 hits, 300 home runs and a .300 average, Mr. Royal seemed to dominate every game with the way he beat out ground balls and made impossible plays with his glove.
6 of 10Damian Strohmeyer
#5: Kevin Garnett
Anything was possible for defenses anchored by Kevin Garnett in his prime. One of the greatest prep-to-pro cases of all time—an MVP, perennial All-Star and All-NBA selection—Garnett transcended the game with his intensity and antics. Whether getting on all fours to bark like a dog or banging his head against the stanchion, KG always made his presence felt.
7 of 10Walter Iooss Jr.
#4: Albert Pujols
The best offensive player of his era, Albert Pujols is a 10-time All-Star who before joining the Angels in 2012 won three NL MVP awards for the Cardinals. Pujols is the only player in history to hit .300 with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in each of his first 10 seasons. He has two Gold Gloves and two World Series wins for good measure.
8 of 10Neil Leifer
#3: Johnny Bench
As complete a catcher as the game has seen, Johnny Bench was the 1968 NL Rookie of the Year, two-time NL MVP, 1976 World Series MVP and a 14-time All-Star. He was the anchor of Cincinnati's 1970s Big Red Machine, twice led the the NL in home runs, and may have been the best defensive catcher ever.
9 of 10David E. Klutho
#2: Nicklas Lidstrom
The headliner of the Hall of Fame's Class of 2015, Nicklas Lidstrom was the greatest defenseman of his generation. The 11-time All-Star claimed seven Norris Trophies and put together a 14-year stretch during which he finished no lower than sixth in the voting as the NHL's top defenseman.
10 of 10AP
#1: Joe DiMaggio
There is great, and then there is Joe DiMaggio. The Yankee Clipper has the numbers and the accolades: three AL MVPs, .325 average, nine World Series rings. But he also captured the American imagination—for his grace in the field, for his 56-game hitting streak in 1941, even for his rocky marriage to Marilyn Monroe. "He had fame that transcended mere celebrity," Ron Fimrite wrote in SI in '99. "For nearly half a century after his playing days had ended, Joe DiMaggio remained a regal presence in the public eye, a species of American aristocrat. I've known people who couldn't tell an infield fly from a household pest who nevertheless held the Yankee Clipper in awe."
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