The Most Hits in MLB History: A Look at the Greatest Sluggers of All Time

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So, you're wondering who has the most hits in MLB history? Let's get in to it!

Baseball is a sport that loves its statistics. In this era of Statcast and all sorts of metrics to track exit velocity and spin rates, the number of statistics in the archives seems to grow each day. Baseball nerds and casual fans alike are enticed by big power numbers and home-runs shot to the moon.  

Related: No Hitters: A Look at the Best-Pitched Games in MLB History

While it's fun to follow along as records for most home runs and hardest-hit balls continue to be shattered, it's easy to forget just how valuable base hits can be to winning the game.

We compiled a rundown of the 15 MLB players with the most hits of all time.  And no, we aren’t talking about “most hits by a player on Tuesdays when the temperature is 64 degrees and the pitcher has on red cleats” (though there probably is a stat for that). This is straight-up most hits by a player over the course of their career.

1. Pete Rose (4256)

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  • Position: Infield
  • Years Active: 1963-1986
  • Teams Played For: Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos

Pete “Charlie Hustle” Rose not only ranks number one for most hits, but leads the MLB all-time record for number of games played, at-bats, and outs.

During his 23-year career, Rose collected three World Series wins, an NL Most Valuable Player award, two Gold Gloves, and was Rookie of the Year in 1963. The switch-hitter ended his career with a .303 batting average, and went on to be the Reds manager from 1984-1989. Despite his off-the-field run-ins with illegal sports betting that barred him from being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Rose was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 2016.

2. Ty Cobb (4191)

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  • Position: Center Field
  • Years Active: 1905-1928
  • Teams Played For:  Detroit Tigers

Though he played in the league a century ago, Ty “Georgia Peach” Cobb broke his fair share of records, some of which still stand today.  His record for most hits has only been beaten by Pete Rose, but Cobb still holds the record for highest career batting average at an impressive .366. He also holds the record for most career batting titles. Cobb is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Major League All-Century Team.

3. Hank Aaron (3771)

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  • Position: Right Field
  • Years Active: 1954-1974
  • Teams Played For: Atlanta Braves (formerly Milwaukee Braves), Milwaukee Brewers

Hank “Hammer” Aaron is highly regarded as one of baseball’s best players of all time. Aaron holds the record for most career RBIs, extra base hits, and total bases. Aaron was a World Series Champion with the Milwaukee Braves (before the Braves moved to Atlanta) in 1957 and was also the NL MVP that same year.

He has his fair share of awards and honors including being in the Baseball Hall of Fame, having his number retired by both the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers, and several Gold Gloves. The Hank Aaron Award is now awarded to the top offensive player in each league in honor of his legacy.

4. Stan Musial (3630)

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  • Position: Outfielder, First Base 
  • Years Active: 1941-1944, 1946-1963
  • Teams Played For: St. Louis Cardinals

Stan Musial is a St. Louis Cardinal legend who helped lead the team to three World Series Championships. He ranks in the top ten all-time for games played, at bats, doubles, runs, RBIs, and total bases. Musial was a consistent hitter for all of his career, which he ended with a .331 career batting average. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.

5. Tristram Speaker (3515)

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  • Position: Center Field
  • Years Active: 1907-1928
  • Teams Played For: Boston Americans, Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, Philadelphia Athletics

Tris Speaker ranks fifth on the list of total career hits, but his career is perhaps even better known for being a phenomenal fielder. Speaker won a total of three World Series with two different teams. He’s in the Baseball Hall of Fame as well as the MLB All-Century Team, and he has the record for most doubles as well as career outfield assists.

6. Derek Jeter (3465)

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  • Position: Shortstop
  • Years Active: 1995-2014
  • Teams Played For: New York Yankees

Derek Jeter’s legacy needs little introduction. He spent his entire 20-year long career on the New York Yankees, during which the team won five World Series. 

He was the World Series MVP in 2000, and served as the Yankees captain from 2003 until he retired in 2014. Jeter’s number is retired by the Yankees, and he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2020, receiving all but one possible vote.

7. Honus Wagner (3430)

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  • Position: Shortstop
  • Years Active: 1897-1917
  • Teams Played For: Louisville Colonels, Pittsburgh Pirates

Honus Wagner is a Hall of Fame inductee and World Series Champion who many would say is one of the greatest players of all time. He broke many records while he was an active player, some of which still rank high on all-time lists. You cannot talk about Honus Wagner without mentioning that his T206 baseball card is one of the rarest and most valuable cards in the world.

8. Carl Yastrzemski (3419)

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  • Position: Left Field, Third Base
  • Years Active: 1961-1983
  • Teams Played For: Boston Red Sox

Carl Yastrzemski played his entire 23-year career with the Boston Red Sox.  He was an All-Star for 18 out of those 23 years, won a Gold Glove seven times, and was the AL MVP and Triple Crown winner in 1967.

Yastrzemski is second to Pete Rose for number of games played and third in line for total at-bats. He was also the first AL player to hit 400 total home runs and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989. His number is retired by the Boston Red Sox. 

9. Albert Pujols (3384)

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  • Position: First Baseman, Designated Hitter
  • Years Active: 2001-2022
  • Teams Played For: St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels (formerly Anaheim Angels), Los Angeles Dodgers

Albert “The Machine” Pujols is the player to have most recently retired on this list, playing up until this past 2022 season.

Pujols played 10 years with the St. Louis Cardinals (11 seasons total including his comeback farewell season with the Cardinals in 2022). He won two World Series rings during his tenure with the Cardinals (2006 and 2011). In Game 3 of the 2011 World Series, Puljols joined Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson as the only players to have hit three home runs in a World Series game.

He received just about every offensive and defensive award that a player can receive in modern baseball including multiple Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards, the NL Hank Aaron Award, the Roberto Clemente Award, NL MVP awards. Many of his 3384 hits were accumulated during his nine seasons spent on the Los Angeles Angels. Pujols will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2028, at which time he will be a shoe-in to be inducted.

10. Paul Molitor (3319)

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  • Position: Second Base
  • Years Active: 1978-1998
  • Teams Played For: Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays. Minnesota Twins

Paul Molitor’s 21-year career in the MLB was a consistent showcase of remarkable hitting and speedy base-running. Molitor's longest stretch was with the Milwaukee Brewers, though his only World Series Championship ring was with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993. He was awarded the World Series MVP after his five hits in Game 1 broke the record for most hits in a World Series game.

As a player, Molitor won various Silver Slugger Awards, and during his stint as manager of the Minnesota Twins from 2015-2018, Molitor was awarded the AL Manager of the Year after the 2017 season.  His number is retired by the Milwaukee Brewers, and he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004.

11. Eddie Collins (3314)

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  • Position: Second Base
  • Years Active: 1906-1930
  • Teams Played For: Philadelphia Athletics, Chicago White Sox

Eddie “Cocky” Collins had many seasons of great success at the plate during his career. He was a six-time World Series Champion, and was also a big threat as a base runner, leading in stolen bases for four seasons.

Though Collins was a part of the infamous “Black Sox” team of 1919, he was acquitted from being involved with the group of conspirators. He retired with a career average of .333, and was a Hall of Fame inductee in 1939.

12. Willie Mays (3283)

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  • Position: Center Field
  • Years Active: 1948-1973
  • Teams Played For: Birmingham Black Barons, San Francisco Giants (Formerly New York Giants), New York Mets

Willie “Buck” Mays had an unbelievable career that many would consider one of the best of all-time. He was an All Star an astonishing 24 times, a 12-time Gold Glove winner, NL MVP, batting champion and home-run leader.

Mays’ number is retired by both the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants, and he was a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee in 1979. He began to excel while playing in the historic Negro American League and is tied as the all-time leader for most Gold Gloves for an outfielder (12).

Mays’ legacy is enormous to the sport, and even led the MLB to name the World Series MVP after him.

13. Eddie Murray (3255)

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  • Position: First Base, Designated Hitter
  • Years Active: 1977-1997
  • Teams Played For: Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Cleveland Indians, Anaheim Angels

Eddie Murray is a Hall of Famer and World Series Champion, who was consistently valuable to his team as a hitter. He ranks in the top 5 for hits, home runs, and games played in Baltimore Orioles history.

He holds the record for most sacrifice flies and most assists by a first baseman. Murray's ability to make contact as a switch-hitter and defend at first-base was a great asset to his team.

14. Nap Lajoie (3252)

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  • Position: Second Base 
  • Years Active: 1986-1916
  • Teams Played For: Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Naps

Nap Lajoie’s popularity was so prevalent that while he was with Cleveland, the team was named after him, dubbed as the Cleveland Naps for several years. During their careers, Nap Lajoie and Ty Cobb were constantly battling for batting titles and the two dominated the AL as hitters for many seasons.

Lajoie was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1937.

15. Cal Ripken (3184)

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  • Position: Shortstop, Third Base
  • Years Active: 1981-2001
  • Teams Played For: Baltimore Orioles

Cal Ripken is a Baltimore Oriole legend who is well decorated in awards for excelling both offensively and defensively. Ripken was recognized as an All-Star 19 times, and he broke the record for most fan ballots for the All Star Game selection.

He won various Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards during his career and led the team to a World Series victory in 1983, a year after he was awarded AL Rookie of the Year. He also holds the record for most consecutive games played (2,632), a record that will likely never be broken.

Ripken was inducted into the Hall-of-Fame in 2007, and his number is retired by the Baltimore Orioles.

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