According to baseball-reference.com, there are 159 players born in Wisconsin who have at least one career Major League hit in the Modern Era of baseball (since 1900). Here’s the question: Of those 159 players, who is the greatest Wisconsin-born hitter in MLB history?
Is Al Simmons the greatest Wisconsin-born hitter in MLB history?
Based strictly on numbers/stats, the obvious answer is Al Simmons. Born in Milwaukee, Simmons leads the Wisconsin-born contingent with 2,927 career hits. He played from 1924-44 with seven different teams, mostly in the American League. An outfielder, Simmons was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953. He died in Milwaukee in 1956, just days after his 54th birthday.
Simmons is one of 15 Wisconsin-born MLB players who collected 1,000 or more career hits in baseball since 1900. The most recent additions to this list (since 2000) were Mark Grudzielanek and Joe Randa.
15 Wisconsin-born players with 1,000 career hits
Here is a look at the 15 Wisconsin-born players who had 1,000 or more career hits in the majors. Also included is where they were born and the years they played in the majors.
2,927-Al Simmons, born in Milwaukee, 1924-44
2,150-Ed Konetchy, born in LaCrosse, 1907-21
2,092-Harvey Kuenn, born in West Allis, 1952-66
2,040-Mark Grudzielanek, born in Milwaukee, 1995-2010
1,796-Andy Pafko, born in Boyceville, 1943-59
1,696-Jim Gantner, born in Fond du Lac, 1976-92
1,605-Ginger Beaumont, born in Rochester, 1900-10
1,580-Fred Merkle, born in Watertown, 1907-26
1,570-Ken Keltner, born in Milwaukee, 1937-50
1,543-Joe Randa, born in Milwaukee, 1995-2006
1,344-Fred Luderus, born in Milwaukee, 1909-20
1,203-Geroge McBride, born in Milwaukee, 1901-20
1,140-Lave Cross, born in Milwaukee, 1900-07
1,109-Tony Kubek, born in Milwaukee, 1957-65
1,020-Davy Jones, born in Cambria, 1901-18
Of the 15 players above, three had career batting averages over .300: Simmons, .334; Beaumont, .307; and Kuenn, .303. Simmons is the only one of the group to be selected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Of the four Wisconsin-born players in the Hall, the other three players were pitchers (Burleigh Grimes, Addie Joss, and Kid Nichols).
Seven different Wisconsin-born players had hits in the 2022 baseball season. Leading the way was Daulton Varsho with 125. Born in Marshfield, he was recently traded from Arizona to Toronto.
The Wisconsin-born players who had hits in 2022 MLB season
Here are the seven Wisconsin-born players with hits in the majors last season.
125-Daulton Varsho, born in Marshfield
116-Gavin Lux, born in Kenosha
103-Owen Miller, born in Mequon
91-Jared Walsh, born in Brookfield
33-Jarred Kelenic, born in Waukesha
33-Jonah Bride, born in Milwaukee
23-Terrin Vavra, born in Menominee
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