The Best Mormons in the Majors

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Image of a baseball player batting

76 years ago, Major League Baseball founded its hall of fame. The hall is home to legendary baseball names like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax and Hank Aaron, as well as many others who played or managed the game with extraordinary skill.

To commemorate the Hall of Fame’s birthday, LDS.net has created its own list of baseball players for its hall of fame. These are some of the best Mormon/Lds athletes to ever step up to the plate, sling a pitch, or catch a ball in an MLB game. This list starts with the most recent players and then works its way back in time.

Bryce Harper, Outfielder

.272 BA, 149 RBIs, 356 hits

Bryce Harper was picked first in the 2010 MLB draft by the Washington Nationals. He played in the All-Star game in 2012 and 2013 at age 19 and 20. When he was selected for the 2012 All-Star game, he was the youngest position player to ever be selected. In 2010 he won the Golden Spikes Award. It is given annually to the best amateur baseball player.

For some, Harper is considered a 5-tool player. Which is defined as a position player who excels at hitting for average, hitting for powerbase running skills and speed, throwing ability, and fielding abilities. There is also chatter about him in an article by Michael Brendan Dougherty on The Week’s webpage.

He was born on October 16, 1992 in Las Vegas, Nevada and is still active as of 2014. He may be a new player, but he is expected to do great things.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Centerfielder

280 stolen bases, .293 BA, 384 RBIs, 1021 hits

Topps baseball card of Jacob Ellsbury . Image via amazon.com

Jacoby Ellsbury became a member of the 30-30 club on September 25, 2011, when he was playing against the Yankees. He is the only Red Sox player to do that.

Ellsbury is also a 2 time World Series champion in 2007 and 2013, and the stolen base leader in 2008,2009, and 2013. 2011 was a breakout year when he won several awards. During that year, he palyed in the All-Star game, received the Rawlings Gold Glove award Silver Slugger award American League MVP runner-up, and was the American League Comeback Player of the Year.

He was born on September 11, 1983 in Madras, Oregon. He has played for two teams during his career. The Boston Red Sox and currently the New York Yankees. As of 2014 he is still active in the church. He was drafted in the 1st round of the 2005 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox.

John Buck, Catcher

.234 BA, 491 RBIs, 844 hits

Topps baseball card of John Buck. Image via amazon.com

John Buck was highly regarded for his defensive ability. In 2003 John Sickels listed Buck as the 21st-best prospect in baseball. In 2010, Buck hit 3 home runs in a single game against the Oakland Athletics. He was elected to the 2010 American League All-Star team.

He was born on July 7, 1980 in Kemmer, Wyoming. He played for the Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Florida/Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Anaheim Angels.

He recently announced his retirement on March 26 of this year.

Kyle Farnsworth, Pitcher

43 wins, 66 loses, 57 saves, 4.25 career ERA, 961 strikeouts, 1 complete game, 1 shutout

Topps baseball card of Kyle Farnsworth. Image vie amazon.com

Kyle Farnsworth was a switch hitter and a right handed pitcher. He was born on April 14, 1976 in Wichita, Kansas.

He has played on eight major league teams, the Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Kansas City Royals, Tampa Bay Rays, Pittsburg Pirates, and the Huston Astros.

On June 26 of last year, he became a free agent.

Roy Halladay, Pitcher

203 Wins, 105 Losses, 1 save, 3.38 career ERA, 2117 strikeouts, 67 complete games, 20 shutouts

Topps baseball card of Roy Halladay. Image via sbnation.com

Roy Halladay played in the All-Star game eight times, won the Cy Young award two times, and was the wins champion twice. He was given the nickname “Doc” by a Toronto Blue Jays announcer which referred to the Doc Holliday from the wild west.

Halladay pitched the second no-hitter in MLB playoff history in his first postseason appearance in 2010, and threw the 20th perfect game in MLB history on May 29, 2010 against the Florida Marlins. Halladay’s perfect game made a splash across all of major-league baseball, and his no-hitter came during the postseason of the same year against the Cincinnati Reds.

He was born May 14, 1977 in Denver, Colorado. He played for 16 years in the majors with his time divided between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Shawn Estes, Pitcher

101 wins, 93 losses, 0 Saves, 4.71 career ERA, 1210 strikeouts, 14 complete games, 8 shutouts

Autographed Topps baseball card of Shawn Estes. Image via amazon.com

Shawn Estes was the 11th pick in the 1st round of the 1991 MLB draft by the Mariners right out of high school. He was a left handed pitcher that batted right handed. In 1997 he was selected to the National League All-Star team.

He was born on February 18, 1973 in San Bernardino, California. He played 14 seasons on seven teams, the San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds,  Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks, and the San Diego Padres.

Dave Veres, Pitcher

36 Wins, 35 Losses, 95 saves, 3.44 career ERA, 617 strikeouts, 0 complete games, 0 shutouts

Topps baseball card of Dave Veres. Image via amazon.com

Dave Veres debuted in the majors on May 10, 1994 for the Houston Astros. He played his final game on September 27, 2003 for the Chicago Cubs.

He was born on October 16, 1966 in Montgomery, Alabama. He play MLB for 10 years with his time divided between the St. Louis Cardinals, Colorado Rockies, Montreal Expos, Houston Astros, and Chicago Cubs.

Jeff Kent, First Baseman | Second Baseman | Third Baseman

.290 BA, 1,518 RBI, 2,461 hits

Topps baseball card of Jeff Kent. Image via pintrest.com

Jeff Kent played in the All-Star game five times, was the National League MVP in 2000, and won the silver slugger award four times.

Kent spent four years in the minors before being brought up to the majors. It wasn’t until he was on the San Francisco Giants with Barry Bonds that he really started to get noticed. In 1998 he was received the Willie Mac award.

He was born March 7, 1968 in Bellflower, California. He played 17 MLB seasons, during time he played for the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Houston Astros, and Toronto Blue Jays.

Kelly Downs, Pitcher

57 wins, 53 losses, 1 save, 3.86 career ERA, 589 strikeouts, 11 complete games, 6 shutouts

1989 Donruss Baseball card of Kelly Downs from the San Francisco Giants

Kelly Downs was a right handed pitcher that played for nine years. Seven with the San Francisco Giants and two with the Oakland Athletics.  He made an appearance in the 1989 World Series game when the Giants played the Oakland Athletics.

On October 30, 1989, Sports Illustrated featured him on the magazine cover holding his nephew after a game was disrupted by the Loma Prieta earth Quake.

He was born on October 25, 1960 in Ogden Utah.

Wally Joyner, First Baseman

.289 BA, 1,106 RBI, 2,060 hits

Topps baseball card of Wally Joyner. Image via amazon.com

Wally Joyner played in the 1986 All-Star game and was the home run derby co-winner. He was the first rookie to be voted into the All-Star game by fans. His wide popularity during his rookie season with the Anaheim Angels briefly inspired Anaheim stadium to be called “Wally World.”

Joyner was the runner-up in the voting for the Rookie of the Year award in 1986. Also in that year, in a game against the Yankees, a fan threw a knife at him that barely grazed him. When he was with the Padres, they won the 1998 pennant.

He was born June 16, 1962 in Atlanta, Georgia. He played 16 MLB seasons for the California/Anaheim Angels, Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres, and Atlanta Braves.

Jim Gott, Pitcher

56 wins, 74 loses, 91 saves, 3.87 Career ERA, 837 strikeouts, 10 complete games, 3 shutouts

Topps Baseball card of Jim Gott of the Toronto Blue Jays

In 1988 Jim Gott broke Kent Tekulve’s Pirate single-season save record with 34 saves. In that same year, he also ranked second among pitchers in games finished with 59 games.  He was a right handed pitcher that played MLB for 14 seasons.

Gott was born on August 3, 1959 in Hollywood, California. He played for four teams during his career. The Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburg Pirates, and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Bruce Hurst, Pitcher

145 wins, 113 losses, 0 saves, 3.92 career ERA, 1689 strikeouts, 83 complete games, 23 shutouts

Topps Baseball card of Bruce Hurst of the Boston Red Sox, Image via saulwisnia.blogspot.com

Bruce Hurst was selected 22nd overall in the 1976 Major League Baseball Draft right out of high school by the Boston Red Sox. He is now in the Boston Red Sox hall of fame.

He was a left handed pitcher. In 1981 he briefly retired from baseball but returned when he was called up to Boston. He was originally selected as the World Series MVP until the Mets rallied to win game six of the series, after which Ray Knight was chosen as the new MVP.

He was born on March 24, 1958 in St. George, Utah. He pitched on four major league teams. An interesting fact pointed out by believers of “The Curse of the Bambino” is that the letters in Bruce Hurst’s name can be re-arranged as B Ruth Curse.

Vance Law, Third Baseman | Second Baseman | Shortstop

.256 BA , 442 RBIs, 972 hits

Autographed baseball card of Vance Law, Image via workingmanslap.com

Vance Law holds the record for the longest errorless game by a third baseman for his play during all 25 innings of the longest game in American League history. It was May 8th and 9th in 1984 and his team was playing against the Milwaukee Brewers.

In 1988, he was selected for the All-Star Game along with five of his Cubs teammates. From 2000-2012 he coached the BYU Baseball team.

Law was born on October 1, 1956 in Boise, ID. His family later moved to Provo. He attended BYU where he played baseball and point guard on the basketball team. He played on five major league teams. The Priates, White Soxs, Expos, Cubs, and  Athletics. He also played a season in Japan for the Chunichi Dragons in 1990.

Danny Ainge, Third Baseman | Second Baseman | Centerfielder

.220 BA, 37 RBIs, 146 hits

Topps baseball card of Danny Ainge. Image via vintagecardprices.com

You might recognize Danny Ainge from his far-more-memorable time in professional basketball and as the current president of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics. Not many people remember that he had a 3-year stint in MLB on the Toronto Blue Jays before deciding that hoops suited him better.

While he made no major contribution to MLB, we put him on the list.

Jack Morris Pitcher

254 wins, 186 losses, 0 saves, 3.9 career ERA, 2478 strikeouts, 175 complete games, 28 shutouts

Topps All Star Baseball card of Jack Morris, Image via Ricochet.com

Jack Morris racked up a slew of awards during his major league career. He played in the All-Star game five times, played on four world championship teams, was the world series MVP in 1991, was the American League stikeout leader in 1983, and that is less than half of his awards.

In the 1980’s, he gave up more hits, more earned runs, and more home runs than any other pitcher; however, he also started more games, pitched more innings, and had more wins than any other pitcher in the 80’s.

Morris was born on May 16, 1955 in St. Paul, Minnesota and is currently a color commentator for the Detroit Tigers on Fox Sports Detroit.

Dale Murphy, Outfielder | First Baseman | Catcher

.265 BA, 1,266 RBIs, 2,111 hits

Topps baseball card of Dale Murphy. Image via bapple2286.wordpress.com

Dale Murphy played in the All-Star game seven times, won the National League MVP for two consecutive years, won the Golden Glove award five times, won the Roberto Clemente award, won the silver slugger award four times and his #3 jersey was retired by the Atlanta Braves.

Murphy started out as a catcher but found most of his success an outfielder when he was playing for the Braves. 1982 was the year he received the most awards. In that year, he played in every one of Atlanta’s 162 games.

He was born March 12, 1956 in Portland Oregon. He had an 18 year career during which time he played for the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and Colorado Rockies.

Dennis Eckersley, Pitcher

197 wins, 171 losses, 390 saves, 3.5 career ERA, 2401 strikeouts, 100 complete games, 20 shutouts

Topps Baseball card of Indians player Dennis Eckersley, Image via Blogs.riverfronttimes.com

Dennis Eckersley was the first of two pitchers in MLB history to have both a 20-win season and a 50-save season in a career. He also coined the phrase “walk-off home run.”

Eckersley’s #43 jersey was retired by the Oakland Athletics, he is in the Red Sox hall of fame and in the national baseball hall of fame. He was admitted into the national baseball hall of fame on his first year of eligibility. Other awards he earned include six appearances in the All-Star game, and 1989 World Series Champion among many others.

He was born on October 3, 1954 in Oakland, California. He played for the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics, and St. Louis Cardinals.

Ray Knight, Third Baseman | First Baseman

.271 BA , 595 RBIs, 1311 hits

Donruss Baseball Card of Orioles player Ray Knight, Image via oriolescards.blogspot.com

To many older Mets fans, Ray Knight is remembered as the man who scored the winning run of game six of the 1986 World Series.  He was also chosen as the MVP of that series.

Knight played in the All-Star game in 1980 and 1982. He played on five major league teams. He is also remembered for replacing Pete Rose at third base on the Cincinnati Reds.

He was born on December 28, 1952 in Albany, Georgia. Currently, he is a studio analyst and occasionally a game analyst for MASN’s coverage of the Washington Nationals.

Alan Ashby, Catcher

.245 BA, 513 RBIs, 1010 hits

1978 Topps Baseball card of Alan Ashby of the Blue Jays

Alan Ashby caught 107 shutouts in his career, ranking him 24th of all-time among major league catchers. He was a switch hitter. On September 27 he became the first Astros player to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same game.

During his 1977 season with the Toronto Blue Jays, he caught 59 base stealers making him second in the American League. At the time, he had a caught stealing percentage of 48% that ranked him fourth in the league. While on the Huston Astros, he caught for Nolan Ryan.

He was born on July 8, 1951 in Long Beach, California. He played catcher for the Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays, and Houston Astros.

Harmon Killebrew, First Baseman | Third Baseman | Left Fielder

.256 BA, 1,584 RBI, 2,086 hits, 573 home runs

Topps baseball card of Harmon Killebrew. Image via vintagecardprices.com

Harmon Killebrew struggled when he first got into the majors, but then he couldn’t be stopped. He played in the All-Star game 13 times, was the American League MVP in 1969, was the American League home run champion six times, and the American League RBI champion three times. At one point, Killebrew had a .847 batting average playing on a minor league team.

In 1984 he was inducted into the MLB hall of fame. His #3 jersey was retired by the Minnesota Twins. In high school he lettered 12 times in different sports and was named an All-American quarterback.

He was born June 29, 1936 in Payette, Idaho. He grew up on a farm  He played for 22 MLB seasons on the Washington Senators, Minnesota Twins, and Kansas City Royals. While he played, he was nicknamed The Killer” and “Hammerin’ Harmon.

Vern Law, Pitcher

162 Wins, 147 Losses, 13 saves, 3.77 career ERA, 1092 strikeouts, 119 complete games, 28 shutouts

Fleer baseball card of Vernon Law. Image via ebay.com

Vern Law’s first MLB appearance was in 1950. But he took a break from baseball from 1951-1954 while he served in the military. He was selected to play in both All-Star games in 1960. Between 1959 and 1962 there were two All-Star games were played each year. He played with names like Hank Aaron, Willy Mays, Yogi Berra, and Mickey Mantle.

In 1960 he won the Cy Young award and helped the Pirates defeat the Yankees to win the 1960 World Series. Later that year he suffered an ankle injury that threw off his career. In 1965 he received both the Comeback Player of the Year award and the Lou Gehrig Memorial award.

Law was born on March 12, 1930 in Meridian, Idaho. He currently is the pitching coach at Provo high School.

Who’s in your own personal LDS Baseball Hall of Fame? Comment to let us know which mormon athletes we missed!

Baseball playing swinging a bat

Abe is always aspiring to be awesome. It wasn't until he started to go bald that he finally started to realize that goal. When that happened, he realized his writing, and life, drastically improved. He enjoys writing, growing his facial hair, and many other pursuits. Abe is a Professional and Creative Writing Major and an intern with LDS.net
Seth has been an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since the age of eight. In his youth he tried to kill his poor parents by deliberately involving himself in more extracurricular activities than either of them had time or mortal energy to drive him to. Luckily for him, his parents are superhuman. Seth played soccer, hockey and any other team sport that involved arms, legs and fast-moving rubber spheroids, wrote short stories, poetry and music, and was far too involved in his High School's drama and mock trial programs for his social life's own good. Ice hockey stuck. So did writing. Seth doesn't know everything--but he knows that God and Jesus Christ live, that They love us, and that They always keep Their promises.