Baby Boomers Should Remember These Past MLB Stars. Do You?

By: Bambi Turner

Joe DiMaggio spent 13 seasons playing for the Yankees between 1936 and 1951, taking a few years off to join the Air Force during WWII. He was part of nine World Series championship teams and picked up three MVP titles throughout his career. Three years after the famous #5 retired from the sport, he married blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe.

Mickey Mantle had the greatest year of any MLB player in 1956, winning the Triple Crown of Baseball, the World Series and an MVP title to boot. The 20-time All-Star played for the Yankees from 1951 to 1968, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.

The first African-American in the MLB, Jackie Robinson made history when he jointed the Dodgers in 1947. He played in six World Series, winning in 1955, and was named league MVP in 1949, making him the first black man to earn the title. His legacy is so revered in the sport that every MLB team retired his #42 jersey in 1997 to immortalize his career.

Hank Aaron spent 20 years playing right field for the Braves from 1954 through 1974 before finishing his career with the Milwaukee Brewers. In 1957, he was part of the World Series championship Braves team, and was named both the Series and League MVP for that year. A decade later, he became the first Brave to hit 500 homers, and still ranks among the most revered hitters of all time.

Cal Ripken played third base and shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles between 1981 and 2001. He was named Rookie of the Year in '82, and went on to break Lou Gehrig's record for most consecutive games played, showing up for his 2,632nd game in a row in September 1995.

One of the most revered pitchers in MLB history, Warren Spahn was so good at the game they named an award after him — the Warren Spahn Award, given annually to the most successful left-handed pitcher in the league. Spahn played for the Braves from the '40s through '64, earning the Cy Young Award in 1957 for his pitching prowess, then went on to briefly join the Mets and the Giants before retiring in 1965.

In his 16 seasons pitching for the Yankees, Whitey Ford was part of a whopping six World Series championship teams. He won the Cy Young Award in 1961, the same year he was named the World Series MVP, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1974.

Known for being tough and intimidating on the mound, Bob Gibson pitched for St. Louis from 1959 through 1975, just as the oldest Boomers were heading to junior high school. Gibson was part of two World Series championship teams, and was named Series MVP both times. When he left the game, the Cardinals retired his #45 jersey in his honor.

Frank Robinson spent a decade playing for Cincinnati in the '50s and '60s before moving to the Orioles and then the Indians. He was named NL MVP in 1961 and AL MVP in 1966, making him the only player in history to earn the title in both leagues.

Willie Mays was named Rookie of the Year when he debuted with the Giants in 1951. During his 20 seasons with the team, Mays was named NL MVP twice, in 1954 and 1965. He also hit an impressive 660 homers, including four in a single game in 1961.

Nicknamed The Franchise and Tom Terrific, Tom Seaver pitched for the Mets from 1967 to 1977 before finishing out his career with the Cincinnati Reds. Rookie of the Year for 1967, he also picked up three Cy Young Awards in 1969, 1973 and 1975.

Famous for his skill at second base, Bobby Richardson became the only MLB player in history to be named World Series MVP even though his team lost the championship in 1960. Don't feel too bad for Richardson however; he did manage to rack up three World Series wins in 1958, 1961 and 1962.

With Wade Boggs on third, Boston won the 1996 World Series. This 12-time All-Star left the Red Sox in 1992 and spent another five seasons with the Yankees before moving to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in '98. He is one of the rare players to have had his jersey number retired by two teams — #12 for Tampa and #26 for the Sox.

In his short career with the Dodgers between 1955 and 1966, Sandy Koufax was part of four World Series championship teams, was named NL MVP in '63, and earned three Cy Young Awards for his pitching talent. The beloved player was admired by many for staying true to his religious beliefs and refusing to play in the World Series during Yom Kippur in 1965.

His 19-year career with the Red Sox spanned the late '30s through the start of the '60s, but one of Ted Williams' greatest legacies was becoming the last MLB star to ever achieve a batting average in excess of .400, his stat for 1941. Williams also won baseball's Triple Crown in 1942 and again in 1947, and was AL MVP in 1946 and 1949. After hanging up his cleats, he got into fishing and was even inducted into the Fishing Hall of Fame later in life.

With Stan Musial playing outfield and first base, the Cardinals won three World Series in 1942, 1944, and 1946. Despite joining the Navy to fight in WWII, Musial came right back to the MLB and was named NL MVP in 1946 and 1948. Long after his playing days, he released a book of harmonica songs in the '90s.

Outfielder, first baseman and switch hitter Pete Rose won two World Series in the '70s with the Reds before moving on to play with the Phillies and winning one more championship in 1980. After spending some time as the Reds manager, Rose was banned from the MLB in the late '80s when he was caught betting on the game.

Roberto Clemente joined the Pirates in 1955 and won two World Series, including in 1971, when he was named the Series MVP. The Puerto Rican native was traveling on a humanitarian mission to Nicaragua in 1973 when he was tragically lost in a plane crash at the age of 38. His body was never found.

MLB fans were captivated as Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle fought to beat Babe Ruth's record for most home runs in a season. It was Yankee Roger Maris who managed to pull it off, hitting 61 homers in 1961 — a record that stood through the late '90s.

Juan Marichal pitched for the Giants from 1960 to 1973, then spent a few years with the Red Sox and Dodgers before retiring in 1975. He is most famous for the 1963 "Greatest Game Ever Pitched," in which he and Warren Spahn both pitched a perfect no-hitter until slugger Willie Mays was able to finally score one homer off of a pitch from Spahn.

In his first year with the Baltimore Orioles, Eddie Murray was named Rookie of the Year. He spent ten more seasons with the team before leaving to play for the Dodgers, Mets, Indians and Angels in his later years. The Orioles retired his #33 jersey when he retired from the game, and he went on to serve as a coach for the O's and the Dodgers.

Brooks Robinson spent 23 seasons with the Orioles between 1955 and 1977. He was named AL MVP in 1964 and World Series MVP in 1970. Nicknamed Mr. Hoover because of his skills at third base, his #5 jersey was retired by the O's upon his late '70s retirement.

Rod Carew celebrated his first year with the Minnesota Twins by picking up the title of AL Rookie of the Year for 1967. A decade later, he went on to play first and second base for the California Angels, retiring in 1985. One of his greatest achievements was earning the Roberto Clemente Award, which is given to players who demonstrate sportsmanship and community, in 1977.

Bob Feller pitched for the Indians before his high school graduation in 1936. He appeared on the cover of "Time" magazine the next year, and was an eight-time All-Star.

Right fielder Reggie Jackson played for the Oakland A's from 1967 through 1975, winning three consecutive World Series during that time. He later moved to the Yankees and won another two World Series before returning to the A's later in his career.

Nolan Ryan began his career with the Mets in '66, winning the '69 World Series before moving on to picth for the Angels, Astros and Rangers through the early '90s. He was so good at the game that three different teams retired his jersey when he left to commemorate his legacy.

Second baseman Joe Morgan began his career with the Astros before winning two World Series with the Reds in 1975 and 1976. He was also named NL MVP those same years. When he left the MLB, the Reds retired Morgan's #8 jersey and the former player went on to a career in broadcasting.

Early Wynn spent a decade with the Washington Senators, joining the team in 1939 at the tender age of 17. He later pitched for Cleveland and Chicago, earning the 1959 Cy Young Award before retiring in the '60s.

Willie Stargell spent 21 years playing left field and first base for the Pirates between 1962 and 1982, picking up two World Series wins in 1971 and 1979. In addition to being named the World Series and NL MVP in 1979, he also won the Roberto Clemente Award for sportsmanship and community in 1974.

Hailing from Cuba, Minnie Minoso joined the MLB in 1949 and played professionally as late as 1980. He is primarily known for his time with the White Sox, who retired his #9 jersey when he left the sport.

Duke Snider played center field for the Dodgers from 1947 all the way through 1962, then spent a few years with the Mets and Giants. He won two World Series in 1955 and 1959, and narrowly lost out on the 1955 MVP title in a very close and controversial vote.

Ted Kluszewski fielded first base for the Reds from 1947 through 1957, hitting 29 homers in 1954 to earn the title of NL Home Run Leader. He later played for the Pirates, White Sox and Angels before returning to the Reds to serve as a coach in the '70s.

Gaylord Perry played for a whopping eight teams during his time in the NFL, but is perhaps best known for pitching for the Giants between 1962 and 1971. He earned two Cy Young Awards for his pitching in the '70s, and later admitted to using plenty of tricks, including mud, spit and even his own wedding ring, to boost his throws.

Hal Newhouser spent much of his career pitching for the Detroit Tigers after joining the MLB in 1939. He was the 1945 World Series MVP and the AL MVP in both '44 and '45. It was also in 1945 when he earned the Triple Crown for having the most wins and strikeouts and lowest ERA of any pitcher in the MLB.

Ricky Henderson played for nine teams during his MLB career, which spanned the '70s through the '00s. He won two World Series in 1989 and 1993 and was famous for his base stealing skills — he stole 130 in 1982 alone!

Larry Doby found great success in the Negro League with the Newark Eagles before moving to the MLB just a few months after Jackie Robinson's debut to play center field for the Cleveland Indians, White Sox and others. The Indians eventually retired his #14 jersey to honor his legacy, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.

Johnny Bench served as catcher for the Cincinnati Reds from 1967 to 1983, helping the team to a pair of World Series wins, including in 1976, when he was named MVP. Despite playing as catcher, Bench managed to rack up 389 career home runs and was NL MVP in 1970 and '76.

Yogi Berra was a catcher in the MLB for 19 seasons and spent almost all of them with the Yankees. He was the AL MVP three times in the '50s and won 13 World Series — 10 as a player and another three as a manager or coach.

Pitcher Don Drysdale won three World Series with the Dodgers in 1959, 1963 and 1965, and also picked up the Cy Young Award as the MLB's best pitcher in 1962. The Dodgers retired his #53 jersey upon his retirement to cement his legacy.

Pitcher Jim Palmer won three World Series during his 19 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, which spanned 1965 through the early '80s. He won three Cy Young Awards in the '70s, and spent his post-baseball career showing off his well-honed body in ads for Jockey underwear.

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Image: Wiki Commons by Scottkipp

About This Quiz

Super-what? Way before fans were spending their Sundays watching the Patriots or the Broncos, professional baseball held the title of America's Favorite Pastime. Sure, the NFL has the edge today, but for the Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, nothing held a candle to the home run-hitting, base-stealing, fastball-throwing action of the MLB. Fortunately for the baseball fans of this generation, the period from when the earliest Baby Boomers took in their first games at the start of the '50s to the start of the '70s when the older Baby Boomers were coming of age produced countless stars who will live on in the record books for as long as the sport endures.

This is the generation that got to watch the M&M Boys battle it out to break Babe Ruth's records; the fans who witnessed history as Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, paving the way for players of other races; the fans who remember when the Dodgers switched from east coast to west; and the generation that knows just why names like Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn and Nolan Ryan are still remembered years after these players have left the MLB.

Think you can name the greatest players of the Baby Boomer era? Prove your MLB knowledge with this quiz!

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