It is one of the most unique positions in baseball, being the first batter of the game. They have to be able to take pitches, so that their teammates can see what kind of ‘stuff’ the pitcher has. They need speed. They need to be able to get on base and score runs, and a little power never hurt. They are usually the catalyst and set the table for the big hitters. They are often the most important hitters in the line up, even if they aren’t the most celebrated. There have been many great leadoff hitters and they’ve all done it in different ways for their teams. These are the best of the bunch.
14. Wade Boggs
The greatest third baseman in Red Sox history was certainly a baseball great and one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen The reason Boggs isn’t higher on this list is that he was never the prototypical leadoff hitter. To start, he was slower than molasses and he wasn’t even always a leadoff hitter. Despite spending a large portion of his career batting in the first spot in the lineup, he was far more suited as a number two hitter – where he also hit – and even batted in the three slot, despite his lack of power. One thing Boggs excelled at was getting on base, which is imperative for a leadoff hitter. He had seven straight 200 hit seasons, four straight 200 hit/100 base on balls seasons, scored at least 100 runs in seven straight seasons, and led the American League in on-base percentage six times, with five of them being consecutively. Again, not prototypical, but he got on base and scored runs.AP Photo/George Widman