New York Mets all-time top five switch hitters in franchise history
The Nebraska-native’s stance switching is that seamless it’s perhaps surprising to learn he’s a natural southpaw. The only switch-hitter with 400+ homers and a .300+ average. Here is a lineup constructed out of the best switch-hitters at each position in the Modern Era . These selections focus on each player’s offensive production, so a switch-hitter who starred with the glove may not make the cut.
Perhaps being one of the top 25 switch-hitters will help that. It’s almost a shame that Bobby Bonilla is primarily remembered for a terrible free-agent contract, since he had a great peak in Pittsburgh and was productive enough as a switch-hitter to make this list. He hit .289 as a righty, but his power came from the left-handed side primarily, so he definitely has a discrepancy there. But hitting over .280 from both sides of the plate is no small feat. Plus, if it wasn’t for that shoulder injury hindering him late in his career, there’s no question Mantle would have finished his career hitting over .300. George Davis is a true old-timer who played from 1890 to 1909.
Then, in 1951, a 19-year-old from Oklahoma named Mickey Mantle debuted for the New York Yankees. That season, only three switch-hitters qualified for the batting title — or 4% of all qualified hitters — which tied for the lowest total in 70 years. But Mantle took over the league in startling fashion, destroying pitchers from both sides of the plate unlike any other hitter the game had ever seen.
This select group of players makes up some of the best in the game’s history, people who are known as all-time greats first and great switch-hitters second. The top handful of players may be obvious, but those in the sixth through 25th spots are also players with nice careers. There were rumors that he nearly best switch hitters of all time gave up switch-hitting midway through his career because of a shoulder injury, but Mantle denied those rumors. As a right-handed batter, he hit .330 during his career, which was considerably better than his .281 average from the left side. Keep in mind his career spanned four decades from 1979 to 2002.
We have given a nod already to longevity, so it might be time to consider durability on a continuing basis. Ignore the 240 strikeouts and 10 walks in 744 career plate appearances and focus on the respectable .238 batting average, .636 OPS and 24 home runs — the most for any pitcher in the DH era. Zambrano was especially dangerous from the right side, slugging .457 with nine homers in under 200 at-bats. We can’t leave out MLB’s all-time hits leader, even though he didn’t make it into the lineup. Rose racked up his 4,256 knocks while playing more than 500 games apiece at first base, second base, third base, and both corner outfield spots. Amazingly, Rose would crack the hallowed 3,000-hit mark even if you counted only his left-handed at-bats.
Even more impressive than Roberto Alomar’s ten Gold Gloves and 12 All Star appearances was his ability to rake from both sides of the dish. Alomar finished his career with a .300 batting average and stole nearly 500 bases. Though Alomar played for seven different teams, he was one of the majors’ top switch-hitters and later inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011. Chipper Jones grew up emulating his idol, Mickey Mantle, and would later become one of the greatest switch-hitters of all time.