Famous baseball players from every state
Famous baseball players from every state
College football may be king in Alabama, but the state also produced one of baseball's greatest sluggers: “Hammerin'” Hank Aaron is a Mobile native, and locals are proud of each and every one of the 755 home runs he hit when he was suiting up for Milwaukee and Atlanta. That just goes to show that wherever you travel in the United States, baseball is a part of the nation's fabric.
Using baseball database Baseball Reference, Stacker located players from every state and ranked each locale's most famous major leaguer. Many included are Hall of Famers; some hail from small towns not known for sports, while others are homegrown heroes who went on to star for the big club. One example is Dave Winfield, from St. Paul, who played during the twilight of his career with the Minnesota Twins.
On this virtual road trip across America, each stop is full of interesting nuggets, like the fact that Brooks Robinson once delivered the local newspaper that would later hail him as a baseball hero. With baseball popular from the shores of California to the frigid temperatures of the Northeast, chances are that your home state birthed one of the game's legends. Some answers may be obvious—Cal Ripken in Maryland—while others seem a bit out of place. Did you know New York baseball royalty Yogi Berra originally hailed from Missouri or that Ralph Kiner, a player so synonymous with teams in the East, was actually from New Mexico?
Some of these players ended up moving back home after their careers, while others stayed nearby their former teams, taking desk jobs or heading to broadcasting. Almost all of these ballplayers, though, kept strong connections to their hometowns intact, even staying involved in the local community from afar. Curious about your state's top baseball export? Click through to see the lineup.
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Alabama: Hank Aaron
Visitors to Mobile, Ala., can enter Hank Aaron's childhood home, which serves as a museum for baseball's former home run king. Aaron, whose 755 career home runs are second all-time (behind Barry Bonds), was born in Mobile, and has lived most of his post-playing life near Atlanta, where he spent nine of his 23 seasons. Aaron, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, is the game's all-time leader in runs batted in, with 2,297 RBI.
Alaska: Curt Schilling
Curt Schilling is one of only 12 players to reach the majors from Alaska. Born in Anchorage, Schilling went to high school in Arizona before embarking on a 20-year career in the bigs where he won 216 games, was named a World Series most valuable player, and was an igniting force in the Boston Red Sox's historic 2004 championship. In retirement, Schilling worked as a broadcaster and attempted to launch a video game company, but has been criticized for his outspoken conservative views.
Arizona: Ian Kinsler
Arizona is known as a baseball hotbed for its strong college teams and spring training sites, but the most All-Star appearances anyone from the Copper State has is four, courtesy of Ian Kinsler. The current second baseman of the San Diego Padres hails from the Tucson area. During his career, Kinsler earned two Gold Glove awards and entering this season, needed two home runs to reach the 250 mark.
Arkansas: Brooks Robinson
Brooks Robinson once worked as a paperboy for the Arkansas Gazette. From those humble beginnings, Robinson emerged as one of the 20th century's best defensive players. The Hall of Famer won 16 Gold Gloves and later became a color commentator for the Baltimore Orioles, his beloved team of 23 years.
California: Randy Johnson
Perhaps the toughest state to choose just one baseball star, the nod for California goes to Randy Johnson, probably the most imposing figure to ever toe the rubber. Nicknamed “The Big Unit,” the native of Walnut Creek won 303 games and struck out 4,875 batters over a 22-year Hall of Fame career. Today, Johnson enjoys spending his spare time immersed in photography.
Colorado: Roy Halladay
Born in Denver, Roy Halladay emerged as one of baseball's toughest competitors. Nicknamed “Doc,” Halladay won Cy Young awards in both leagues and was considered by some to be the best pitcher of the 2000s. Tragically, Halladay died in a plane crash in November 2017; he will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer.
Connecticut: Tommy Corcoran
Connecticut has produced some notable names in baseball (Mo Vaughn, Charles Nagy), but Tommy Corcoran was Connecticut through and through—he was born in New Haven and resided in Plainfield until his death. After a career that saw him amass over 2,200 hits, Corcoran became an umpire.
Delaware: Paul Goldschmidt
Folks from Delaware are often perceived to be unassuming and quiet, so it makes sense that Paul Goldschmidt was born in the nation's first state. Although Goldschmidt is far from loquacious, he makes more than enough noise with his bat. A career .297 hitter entering 2019, Goldschmidt has hit 30 or more home runs four times already, is a six-time All-Star, and three-time Gold Glove winner.
Florida: Chipper Jones
No batter was associated with the Atlanta Braves more than Chipper Jones over the past two decades, but Jones (real name Larry), is a native Floridian. Born in DeLand, Jones played 19 years with the Braves—collecting 2,726 hits, 468 home runs, and a spot in the Hall of Fame. Today, he is an avid tweeter and hunter.
Georgia: Ty Cobb
Who else to represent Georgia than Ty Cobb, also known as “The Georgia Peach.” Cobb's .366 career batting average still remains the best mark of all time, and his penchant for getting on base and overall surly attitude made him one of the game's top villains during the early 20th century. After baseball, he became a donor to several causes, but also held polarizing views that led to many opinions on his character.
Hawaii: Kurt Suzuki
One of the most dependable backstops in the game, Kurt Suzuki is one of only five Hawaiians to ever make an All-Star team. Suzuki, whose roots trace back to Japan, has also become an advocate for Asian American athletes.
Idaho: Harmon Killebrew
There's little debate over who is the most famous baseball player from Idaho (even though there's been about 30 total). Harmon Killebrew, from Payette, made his name playing in Minnesota, where he won a most valuable player award in 1969. Killebrew hit 573 homers during his career and dabbled in broadcasting. He even has a street named for him outside the Mall of America.
Illinois: Kirby Puckett
Minnesota may not produce many homegrown stars, but some of the game's best have suited up for the Twins. Kirby Puckett made the short trip from Chicago and spent 12 years in the Twin Cities, gaining election to the Hall of Fame in 2001. Puckett retired after losing his vision and in his later life was involved in domestic violence incidents. He died in 2006.
Indiana: Kenny Lofton
One of the game's fastest players, Kenny Lofton was an Ohio heartthrob in the 1990s, but he got his start in East Chicago, Ind. From 1992 to 1996, Lofton led the American League in stolen bases each year and finished with 622 in his career. In retirement, Lofton has tried his hand at broadcasting, coaching, and even producing movies.
Iowa: Bob Feller
Van Meter, Iowa, only has about 1,000 residents, but it yielded one of baseball's standout talents. Bob Feller, known as “The Heater From Van Meter” not only had a blazing fastball, but one of the more dominating careers on the mound. After being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Feller became notable for signing autographs and is credited by some for creating a boom in the memorabilia industry.
Kansas: Johnny Damon
Known for his flowing locks, Johnny Damon cultivated his style on an army base in Kansas. Damon was most notable for helping the Boston Red Sox win their 2004 World Series title, but he also was a two-time All-Star who picked up another ring with the New York Yankees. In his life after baseball, he has become a strong supporter for President Donald Trump.
Kentucky: Jim Bunning
Kentucky is normally viewed as basketball country, but a few star athletes from the Bluegrass State have gravitated toward the diamond. Jim Bunning won 224 games as a pitcher; the Hall of Famer then became a prominent politician, representing Kentucky in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Louisiana: Mel Ott
Hailing from just outside New Orleans, Mel Ott is one of three Hall of Famers from Louisiana (joining Bill Dickey and Lee Smith). Ott, who hit 511 home runs, led them all, though, with 12 All-Star appearances. Ott briefly worked as a radio broadcaster, but died after being involved in a violent car crash in 1958 when he was only 49.
Maine: Bill Swift
Cold weather states often are at a disadvantage for producing top-flight baseball players, since the ability to practice is limited to largely half the year. That didn't prevent the likes of Bill Swift from emerging from Portland to embark on a 13-year career in the majors. Afterward, Swift began coaching at various levels of the game.
Maryland: Cal Ripken Jr.
Even Omar Little isn't as synonymous with the city of Baltimore on the level of Cal Ripken Jr. Born and raised just outside the city, Ripken played his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles and broke Lou Gehrig's streak of consecutive games played, earning him the nickname “The Ironman.” Today, Ripken is involved in broadcasting, philanthropy, and youth baseball initiatives.
Massachusetts: Tom Glavine
Born and raised just outside Boston, Tom Glavine hardly had the outgoing personality that Bostonites are known for. But his quiet, focused demeanor helped him dominate on the mound and land in the Hall of Fame. After hanging up his spikes, Glavine worked as a color commentator for the Atlanta Braves.
Michigan: John Smoltz
Tom Glavine's teammate, John Smoltz, was regarded as another simple, quiet pitcher, but was equally as dominant. Another Hall of Famer, Smoltz was effective as a starter and closer; today he's now one of the preeminent voices in baseball broadcast booths.
Minnesota: Dave Winfield
Dave Winfield actually played two seasons for his hometown Minnesota Twins, but made his name with the San Diego Padres and New York Yankees. Still, Minnesotans highly regard the Hall of Famer, who socked 465 home runs and made 12 All-Star teams. Winfield has since worked as an analyst and broadcaster, and has taken on other ambassadorial roles in baseball.
Mississippi: Roy Oswalt
Roy Oswalt grew up in the small town of Weir (population of only a few hundred), but matured into one of the best pitchers of the early 2000s. Oswalt, who won 20 games in both 2004 and 2005, is now an avid hunter.
Missouri: Yogi Berra
Few players are as ingrained in the fabric of New York baseball like Yogi Berra, but he actually hails from Missouri. Berra spent time as a player and manager for both the New York Mets and Yankees, and entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. Berra was involved in several baseball ventures in retirement and has a museum named after him in New Jersey.
Montana: Dave McNally
Only 24 players have reached the majors from Montana, and Dave McNally is the only of those to be named to an All-Star team (three times, in fact). McNally won 184 games, mostly pitching for the Orioles. After retiring, he moved back to Billings and owned car dealerships.
Nebraska: Wade Boggs
Wade Boggs' most memorable moments came in Boston and New York, but he was born in Nebraska. Boggs amassed 3,010 hits over an 18-year career and even made an appearance with several other ballplayers on “The Simpsons” (he made several more cameos after baseball, including one in professional wrestling).
Nevada: Bryce Harper
A native of Las Vegas, Bryce Harper's name has been destined for bright lights ever since he was a teenager. Referred to as "The LeBron James of baseball," Harper has largely lived up to the hype, signing a whopping $330 million contract in February with the Phillies. At age 22, Harper was named most valuable player; fans of Philadelphia hope there are many more accolades to come.
New Hampshire: Chris Carpenter
In the mid-2000s, Chris Carpenter was one of the National League's best pitchers and played a vital role in the St. Louis Cardinals' 2006 World Series win. Carpenter, a three-time All-Star, won 144 games before retiring in 2012. Carpenter dabbled in scouting, but the former star high school hockey player has led a relatively quiet life since leaving the game.
New Jersey: Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter spent his early life a George Washington Bridge ride away from Yankee Stadium in New Jersey. Jeter, after attending college in Michigan, became an icon in the Bronx. Today, he works in the front office of the Miami Marlins.
New Mexico: Ralph Kiner
Both Pittsburgh and New York lay a strong claim to Ralph Kiner, but the legendary batter and broadcaster is a native of New Mexico. Kiner spent eight of his 10 seasons of a Hall of Fame career in Pittsburgh, before becoming a staple of the New York Mets' radio broadcast team. Kiner died in 2014.
New York: Sandy Koufax
Of all the greats who came up in the city's sandlots and stickball games, Sandy Koufax is arguably the best New York native to enter the majors. Koufax won 25 or more games three times and his three Cy Young awards and two World Series MVP honors cement him as an all-time ace. Koufax has held a variety of roles in baseball in retirement, including visiting spring training camps of the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers.
North Carolina: Gaylord Perry
Gaylord Perry grew up and attended college in North Carolina (Campbell University) before setting out on a pro career that spanned two decades and landed him in the Hall of Fame. Perry was known for throwing a spitball, but he did not get into many hijinks after baseball—spending part of his time as a farmer.
North Dakota: Darin Erstad
A two-time All-Star, Darin Erstad left the frigid plains of North Dakota and spent the majority of his career in Anaheim with the Angels. In 2000, Erstad led the majors with a whopping 240 hits, and won a World Series ring in 2002. Currently, he is the manager of the University of Nebraska baseball team.
Ohio: Pete Rose
Born in Cincinnati, Pete Rose became the city's greatest baseball player during 19 seasons with the Reds. Rose still holds the all-time record for most career hits (4,256), but remains out of the Hall of Fame due to accusations of betting on baseball. Today, Rose frequently attends autograph shows and is even in the WWE Hall of Fame for guest-starring as a performer in wrestling-related events.
Oklahoma: Mickey Mantle
Mickey Mantle's hometown of Spavinaw had only about 200 people when he was born; he remains by far their most famous native son. A 20-time All-Star and one of the game's legends, Mantle worked briefly as a commentator, but eventually fell on some hard financial times. His memorabilia still draws hefty sums, though.
Oregon: Mickey Lolich
A lesser known Mickey, this stud pitcher is still revered in Oregon and Detroit for his 1968 World Series most valuable player performance. Later in life, Mickey Lolich operated a donut shop in Michigan.
Pennsylvania: Stan Musial
Stan “The Man” Musial is forever linked with the city of St. Louis, but was born in Donora, Pa. The three-time most valuable player honoree spent all of his 22-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals, helping them win three World Series. He remained an ambassador to the game and was involved in philanthropic efforts back in Donora, before passing away in 2013.
Rhode Island: Paul Konerko
With six nods to his name, Paul Konerko is tied with Gabby Hartnett for the most All-Star appearances by players from Rhode Island. Konerko, who made his name with the Chicago White Sox, retired in 2014 with 439 home runs. Last year, he made a cameo as a broadcaster for White Sox games.
South Carolina: Jim Rice
Jim Rice was born and bred in the South, but he is categorized as an honorary Bostonian thanks to his contributions to the Red Sox franchise. Rice, a Hall of Famer, has his number (#14) retired by the franchise. Outside of the game, he has been a vocal proponent for supporting baseball in inner cities.
South Dakota: Sparky Anderson
Of the 39 baseball players to reach the majors from South Dakota, Sparky Anderson is the only one to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Anderson, from Bridgewater, only played one pro season, but made his mark as a manager—winning three World Series. He died in 2010.
Tennessee: David Price
Emerging from Murfreesboro, Tenn., David Price became one of baseball's richest players when he signed a $217 million contract before the 2016 season. In the high-stakes world of Boston baseball, Price has been criticized at times for not living up to his price tag, but is 40-20 overall in four seasons with the Red Sox. In fact, he won three games during their 2018 postseason run that netted a World Series title.
Texas: Nolan Ryan
The Lone Star State has produced a multitude of baseball stars, but one stands head and shoulders above the rest. Nolan Ryan began his career with the New York Mets, but is Texas through and through. Not only did he pitch for the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers on his way to becoming the game's all-time strikeout leader (5,714), he has worked in the front office of both organizations during the last decade.
Utah: Bruce Hurst
Bruce Hurst won 145 games in his career and was known to be extremely durable. Three times he pitched 10 or more complete games in a season, and was named an All-Star in 1987. Lately, Hurst has helped coach baseball in China.
Vermont: Carlton Fisk
Carlton Fisk grew up in Charleston, N.H.—not too far from his future home at Boston's Fenway Park. A Hall of Famer, Fisk was one of the game's best catchers, splitting time between the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox. He now is an honorary board member for organizations that support cancer patients.
Virginia: Justin Verlander
Hailing from the small town of Manakin, Va., Justin Verlander has practically done it all over a 15-year career. He's won Cy Young awards, World Series rings, MVP awards, and was Rookie of the Year in 2005. Still going strong at age 36, Verlander married Kate Upton in 2017 and is now a father.
Washington: Jon Lester
Born and raised in Tacoma, Jon Lester has been one of the sport's preeminent winners. A three-time World Series champion since 2008, Lester has posted double-digit win totals in all but one season. In his spare time, Lester is a wine connoisseur.
West Virginia: George Brett
George Brett may be the most famous Kansas City Royal, but he was born in West Virginia before growing up in California. Brett played his entire 21-year career in Kansas City before entering the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999. Today, he works in the Royals' front office and even inspired a hit song by Lorde.
Wisconsin: Harvey Kuenn
Harvey Kuenn eventually managed his hometown Milwaukee Brewers, but was a 10-time All-Star with the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians. He died in 1988 and is memorialized in Wisconsin's Athletic Hall of Fame.
Wyoming: Tom Browning
Wyoming has only birthed 16 major leaguers, but Tom Browning is one of three to become All-Stars. With 123 career wins, Browning also has a World Series and All-Star nod to his credits. Most notably, he pitched a perfect game in 1988, and later worked as a broadcaster and pitching coach.