It’s impossible to tell the story of baseball history without mentioning the best Dominican baseball players to make their mark in the big leagues.
For decades, Dominican MLB players have not only reached the majors but thrived, becoming some of the biggest stars in the game. In fact, many of the greatest Dominican athletes to ever make it off of the island of Hispaniola have become big-league stars.
Best Dominican baseball players
Frankly, there have been so many standout Dominican baseball players that it was difficult to keep this list to 10 players. In another 10 or 15 years, this list could look a little different because of the continued influence of Dominican MLB players.
In any event, based on the current moment, we present our list of the 10 best Dominican baseball players in MLB history.
10. Hanley Ramirez
There were surely some up and down moments to his career, but Hanley Ramirez was a great hitter.
Somehow, he only made three All-Star teams. However, Ramirez was a Rookie of the Year and a batting champion. He also won the Silver Slugger Award twice. There were some down years and controversial moments, although Ramirez did more than enough to be included on our list of the best Dominican MLB players.
9. Manny Ramirez
His connection to steroids has undoubtedly hurt his legacy, not to mention some of his antics on and off the field. But there’s no denying that Manny Ramirez was one of the best pure hitters of his generation.
Even if he was artificially helped, Ramirez still hit .312 during his career with 55 home runs. He made 12 All-Star Teams, including 11 in a row, and won the Silver Slugger Award nine times.
Ramirez was an important part of the Red Sox winning two World Series, taking home World Series MVP honors when they broke the curse in 2004. Despite some problematic elements to his career, Ramirez was a special hitter.
8. Jose Reyes
Early in his career, there was nobody more exciting in baseball than Jose Reyes. Watching him steal bases or leg out a triple was a thing of beauty. He led the National League in stolen bases in three straight seasons from 2005 to 2007 and was a four-time all-star.
Reyes also won the batting title in 2011 before leaving the Mets and seeing his career take a downward turn. However, Reyes was still a special talent and did play a key role in helping the Dominican Republic win the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
7. Alex Rodriguez
Full disclosure, A-Rod drops a few spots on our list of the best Dominican players because of his ties to steroids. Granted, he was a 14-time all-star and three-time MVP, but most of those years came after we know he started to use performance-enhancing drugs.
On the other hand, he did win a batting title in 1996, before he started using. If he had never used, A-Rod would still be a great player, but who knows how many of his 3,115 hits of 696 home runs were tainted by PEDs, so he gets an acknowledgment but drops a few spots.
6. Adrian Beltre
He may not have had the flashiest career, but there’s no question that Adrian Beltre deserves to be considered among the best Dominican baseball players ever. After all, he played 21 seasons in the majors, collecting 3,166 hits and coming up 23 home runs shy of 500.
His longevity alone is something to marvel at. He was incredibly consistent over his two decades in the majors, going to four All-Star Games and winning four Silver Slugger Awards.
He also won five Gold Gloves, although his defensive prowess is sometimes overlooked. Beltre didn’t receive much fanfare when he was originally signed coming out of the Dominican, but he blossomed into a bonafide star.
5. David Ortiz
Not enough people who aren’t Red Sox fans appreciate just how good Big Papi was or how clutch of a hitter he was. He might lose a little credibility because he was just a DH who didn’t contribute defensively. But in that role, he was one of the best to come out of the Dominican Republic.
David Ortiz was a 10-time all-star and a seven-time Silver Slugger winner, not to mention a two-time winner of the Roberto Clemente Award. For Boston fans, he’s the guy who helped them win the World Series three times, earning World Series MVP honors in 2013. Ortiz is also a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and deservedly so, collecting over 2,400 hits and 541 home runs during his career.
4. Juan Marichal
During the 1960s, Juan Marichal was one of the best pitchers in baseball and one of the first Dominican pitchers to truly make an impact in the majors. With his leg kick and unusual arm angles, Marichal was anything but conventional, which is perhaps why he was often overlooked for major awards.
However, he did make 10 All-Star teams during his career while winning 243 games and posting a career ERA of 2.89. Marichal’s career also included a no-hitter and a duel with Warren Spahn in 1963 that was arguably the best pitching performance ever seen by two pitchers in one game. On this third try, Marichal was finally given entrance into the Hall of Fame in 1983.
3. Vladimir Guerrero
In 20 years, Vladimir Guerrero’s son could easily eclipse him on a list of the greatest Dominican athletes ever, but now, the elder Vlad Guerrero ranks high on our list of the best Dominican MLB players. His swing was violent yet powerful and able to cover balls that were nowhere near the strike zone.
He’s arguably the best bad-ball hitter in baseball history because he could hit just about anything thrown to him. Despite being a free swinger, Guerrero hit .318 during his career while mashing 449 home runs. He was a nine-time all-star and won eight Silver Slugger Awards, ultimately going into the Hall of Fame on his second try with nearly 93% of the vote.
2. Albert Pujols
True to his nickname, “The Machine,” Albert Pujols kept hitting and hitting for his entire career, which lasted for more than 20 seasons. He amassed well over 3,000 hits and close to 700 home runs in his career, consistency showcasing both his ability to hit for contact and power.
Pujols burst onto the scene in 2001 with one of the best rookie seasons of all time and would go on to make 10 all-star appearances and win six Silver Slugger Awards. He also won MVP honors three times, not including the 2003 season when he won the National League batting title.
Pujols even won a couple of Gold Gloves during his career, showing that he was more than just a great hitter. He could field his position and was a great leader, teammate, and ambassador for Dominican baseball players.
1. Pedro Martinez
When it comes to the best Dominican baseball players, there is only one choice for the top spot, and it’s Pedro.
Pedro Martinez earned over 91% of Hall of Fame votes in his first year of eligibility because he was truly one of the best pitchers of his generation. Despite being undersized by modern standards, he was a power pitcher with nasty off-speed stuff.
Martinez regularly left hitters befuddled and was one of the few must-see pitchers in an era dominated by offense. He led the majors in ERA five times and took home three Cy Young awards, including the 1999 season when he won the Triple Crown. Perhaps more importantly, a generation of Dominican pitchers grew up wanting to be just like him.
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