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Who is the Greatest Designated Hitter of All-Time?

The White Sox decided to honor one of the legendary players in their history with a statue outside of U.S. Cellular Field on Sunday. Frank Thomas was one of the greatest players of the 1990's and may eventually find a home in Cooperstown, so it makes sense to immortalize him on the South Side. It also got me thinking. Who is the greatest designated hitter of all time?

Here are my top-5 DH's, in ascending order.

5. Harold Baines .289/384/1628

The hometown pick. Baines was born in Silver Spring, MD and spent parts of seven seasons in Oriole orange. He will be remembered as a member of the White Sox, primarily, and was a feared middle-of-the-order DH for most of his career. I will always remember him for having one of the easiest, most natural left-handed swings I ever saw. He also had a knack for coming up with big hits at key moments, and as one of the first guys to make his living solely as a hitter (from 1993-2001 he played just two games in the outfield), he definitely belongs on this list.

4. Paul Molitor.306/234/1307

This is a tough pick because Molitor did spend a lot of time in the field during his 21-year career. That being said, he did an awful lot of damage as a DH, and that's how he will be remembered for the most part. Molli was one of the more feared hitters of his generation, and though he was never a prolific power hitter (he never hit more than 22 home runs in a season), he was a doubles machine and a consistent run producer. He is also a member of the 3,000-hit club, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2004.

3. David Ortiz .281/369/1238

Ortiz is the definition of a DH. He has played first base intermittently throughout his career, mostly during Interleague play, but most would tell you that, aside from the comedic moments those games have given us, watching Big Papi in the field is painful. At the plate, it is quite a different story. He is one of the most feared power hitters in the game even now, though his numbers have dipped somewhat from the ridiculous stats he put up during his first five years in Boston. He continues to rake, and is having somewhat of a resurgence in 2011, batting .290 with 20 dingers. He also makes this list for his success in the postseason, which any Yankee fan will tell you is substantial. Papi's larger-than-life persona has made him one of baseball's truly great characters, but it's his power numbers that may eventually land him in the Hall of Fame. If he stays healthy, he has a shot at reaching 500 home runs.

2. Frank Thomas .301/521/1704

The Big Hurt is a legend of the game, and will certainly be enshrined in Cooperstown sometime in the near future. He was actually a very good defensive first baseman early in his career, but his bat was dangerous for every one of his 19 seasons. He was a two-time AL MVP (1993 and 1994) and finished in the top-5 four other times. In spite of being one of the greatest power hitters of his generation, Thomas was also remarkably consistent from a batting average standpoint, posting marks of .353 ('94), .349 ('96), and .347 ('97). He and the next man on the list are essentially 1A and 1B.

1. Edgar Martinez .312/309/1261

I put Edgar at the top of this list because, when you ask any baseball fan to name a DH, this is the guy they'll mention. He will always be remembered as the guy who made being a DH fashionable. For most of the '90s, he and Ken Griffey, Jr. formed the most dangerous 1-2 punch in baseball, and many credit him as the man who "Saved baseball in Seattle" in 1995. He was a solid postseason contributor, and while he doesn't have the power numbers that some of the other guys on this list boast, he was just as feared as a hitter and run producer. He hasn't quite gotten enough votes to get a plaque in Cooperstown, but he still has a shot and may eventually make it in. Regardless, he remains the quintessential designated hitter, and his swing is one of the most elegant in baseball history.

Who do you think is the greatest DH ever? Comment below and tweet me @rwags614.

The White Sox decided to honor one of the legendary players in their history with a statue outside of U.S. Cellular Field on Sunday. Frank Thomas was one of the greatest players of the 1990's and may eventually find a home in Cooperstown, so it makes sense to immortalize him on the South Side. It also got me thinking. Who is the greatest designated hitter of all time?

Here are my top-5 DH's, in ascending order.

5. Harold Baines .289/384/1628

The hometown pick. Baines was born in Silver Spring, MD and spent parts of seven seasons in Oriole orange. He will be remembered as a member of the White Sox, primarily, and was a feared middle-of-the-order DH for most of his career. I will always remember him for having one of the easiest, most natural left-handed swings I ever saw. He also had a knack for coming up with big hits at key moments, and as one of the first guys to make his living solely as a hitter (from 1993-2001 he played just two games in the outfield), he definitely belongs on this list.

4. Paul Molitor.306/234/1307

This is a tough pick because Molitor did spend a lot of time in the field during his 21-year career. That being said, he did an awful lot of damage as a DH, and that's how he will be remembered for the most part. Molli was one of the more feared hitters of his generation, and though he was never a prolific power hitter (he never hit more than 22 home runs in a season), he was a doubles machine and a consistent run producer. He is also a member of the 3,000-hit club, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2004.

3. David Ortiz .281/369/1238

Ortiz is the definition of a DH. He has played first base intermittently throughout his career, mostly during Interleague play, but most would tell you that, aside from the comedic moments those games have given us, watching Big Papi in the field is painful. At the plate, it is quite a different story. He is one of the most feared power hitters in the game even now, though his numbers have dipped somewhat from the ridiculous stats he put up during his first five years in Boston. He continues to rake, and is having somewhat of a resurgence in 2011, batting .290 with 20 dingers. He also makes this list for his success in the postseason, which any Yankee fan will tell you is substantial. Papi's larger-than-life persona has made him one of baseball's truly great characters, but it's his power numbers that may eventually land him in the Hall of Fame. If he stays healthy, he has a shot at reaching 500 home runs.

2. Frank Thomas .301/521/1704

The Big Hurt is a legend of the game, and will certainly be enshrined in Cooperstown sometime in the near future. He was actually a very good defensive first baseman early in his career, but his bat was dangerous for every one of his 19 seasons. He was a two-time AL MVP (1993 and 1994) and finished in the top-5 four other times. In spite of being one of the greatest power hitters of his generation, Thomas was also remarkably consistent from a batting average standpoint, posting marks of .353 ('94), .349 ('96), and .347 ('97). He and the next man on the list are essentially 1A and 1B.

1. Edgar Martinez .312/309/1261

I put Edgar at the top of this list because, when you ask any baseball fan to name a DH, this is the guy they'll mention. He will always be remembered as the guy who made being a DH fashionable. For most of the '90s, he and Ken Griffey, Jr. formed the most dangerous 1-2 punch in baseball, and many credit him as the man who "Saved baseball in Seattle" in 1995. He was a solid postseason contributor, and while he doesn't have the power numbers that some of the other guys on this list boast, he was just as feared as a hitter and run producer. He hasn't quite gotten enough votes to get a plaque in Cooperstown, but he still has a shot and may eventually make it in. Regardless, he remains the quintessential designated hitter, and his swing is one of the most elegant in baseball history.

Who do you think is the greatest DH ever? Comment below and tweet me @rwags614.