The 15 Best Baseball Players Of The 90s Who Defined The Game

Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the United States that has witnessed many legendary players over the years. In different eras, there were different players to rule the game.

The 90s was one of the most exciting eras of the sport, and during this time, we saw some of the greatest baseball players ever to play the game. In this article, we present the 15 best Baseball players of the 90s who defined the game at that time.

Best Baseball Players Of The 90s

The 90s showcased some of the best talents who later became legends of the game. However, there were many issues going on, and at that moment, fans started to boycott Baseball. It was these players who forced the fans to storm into the galleries with their persona and entertaining performances.

 1. Frank Thomas

Frank Thomas  
Full NameFrank Edward Thomas Jr.
Date of BirthMay 27, 1968
Place of BirthColumbus, GA
DebutAugust 2, 1990
TeamsChicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, and Toronto Blue Jays.
PositionsFirst Baseman and Designated Hitter
BatsRight  
ThrowsRight  
Last GameAugust 29, 2008
Hall of Fame2014

There is no better player to begin the list with. Frank Thomas, also known as Big Hurt, dominated the sport in the 90s. He had his MLB debut in 1990 as a right-handed first baseman. He scored 1494 runs that featured 521 home runs and 32 stolen bases.

Thomas became the MVP twice in 1993 and 1994 and made it five times in the all-star squad from 1993-1997. The 80s drug addiction among athletes continued to exist in the 90s, but Thomas was never under suspicion of drug addiction which made him an idol for the youth.

His stats are filled with so many records. His 1,657 walks,  1704 RBI, and 521 home runs are all in the top ten lists of each category. In 1993, he became the first White Sox player to hit 40 home runs and led his team to win the division title.

Thomas had an 18-year-long career and finally retired in 2008. By then, he had already established himself as one of the finest hitters in the game. He was nominated and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.

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2. Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds
Full NameBarry Lamar Bonds
Date of BirthJuly 24, 1964 
Place of BirthRiverside, CA
DebutMay 30, 1986 
TeamsSan Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates 
PositionsLeftfielder
BatsLeft  
ThrowsLeft  
Last GameSeptember 26, 2007 

Bonds had his MLB debut in 1986, and he continued to play for the next twenty-two seasons. He had one of the most decorated careers in Baseball history. The left-handed batter hit a total of 762 home runs and scored 2227 runs. 

In the 90, he made it seven times to the All-Star team and three times as NL MVP. He won 8 gold gloves in the decade. His dominance was clearly visible on the field. In 2001, he hit a record 73 home runs. With 514 stolen bases, he became the only MLB player to have more than 500 home runs and stolen bases. 

Bond was a complete all-rounder of the game. He could be the number-one pick for any team during his prime. With so much in his accolades, Bonds surely is not only one of the best baseball players of the 90s but of all time. 

At  BatHitsRunRBIHome Run Stolen BaseAll-StarGold GloveMVP
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3. Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson
Full Name Randall David Johnson
Date of BirthSeptember 10, 1963
Place of BirthWalnut Creek, California
DebutSeptember 15, 1988
TeamsMontreal Expos, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants,  New York Yankee
PositionsPitcher
BatsRight  
ThrowsLeft
Last GameOctober 4, 2009
Hall of Fame2015.

The Hall of Famer from California is considered one of the finest pitchers of the game. The 6 ft 10 inches height made him the tallest player in the MLB history of his time. His height gave him an advantage in pitching.

Batters were afraid of his combination of fastball and devastating sliders. With 303 career wins, he ranks fifth among the left-handers in the history of MLB. Johnson was selected ten times in the All-Star team in his career, and in the 90s, it was eight times.

Johnson retired at the age of 46, but by then, he had established himself as one of the best baseball players of the 90s.

GamesWinsLosesSavesInnings PitchedStrikeoutsAll-StarGold Glove
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4. Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens
Full NameWilliam Roger Clemens
Date of BirthAugust 4, 1962
Place of BirthDayton, OH 
DebutMay 15, 1984 
TeamsBoston Red Sox, Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, 
PositionsPitcher
BatsRight  
ThrowsRight  
Last GameSeptember 16, 2007
GamesWinsLosesSavesInnings PitchedStrikeoutsAll-StarGold Glove
70935418404916.24672110

Clemens made his MLB debut in 1984 for the Boston Red Sox. In his 24-year-long career, he was one of the most dangerous pitchers with 354 wins.

Clemens has 4672 strikeouts by his name. He was a common face in the All-Star selection in the 90s. He used to intimidate the batters with his hard-throwing pitching style. He won two consecutive world series in 1999 and 2000. He played his last game on September 16, 2007.

5. Albert Belle

Albert Belle
Full NameAlbert Jojuan Belle
Date of BirthAugust 25, 1966
Place of BirthShreveport, Louisiana
DebutJuly 15, 1989
TeamsChicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles
PositionsLeft fielder
BatsRight
ThrowsRight
Last GameOctober 1, 2000

Alber Belle was one of the best sluggers of the 90s. Belle debuted in 1989 for the Cleveland Indians and quickly reached his peak. From 1993 to 1997, he was selected five times in a row for the All-Star team.

He scored 974 runs with 1726 hits and 381 home runs. His successful career also features 88 stolen bases. Belle received the Baseball Digest Player of the Year in 1995. The same year, he became the first player to score 50 home runs and fifty doubles.

The aggressive hitter of the ball was equally aggressive in his personal life, which brought many troubles to him. He had several legal issues that had an impact on his career, and he had to retire only at the age of 34. Still, he is one of the best baseball players of the 90s because of what he achieved within a short period of time.

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6. Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux
Full NameGregory Alan Maddux
Date of BirthApril 14, 1966
Place of BirthSan Angelo, Texas
DebutSeptember 3, 1986
TeamsChicago Cubs, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres
PositionsPitcher
BatsRight
ThrowsRight
Last GameSeptember 27, 2008
Hall of Fame2014

Greg Maddux was born in 1986 in Texas and had his MLB debut before he was 20. He won 18 gold gloves, the most in history. He won golden gloves consecutively from 1990 to 2002.

He is among only ten pitchers in history to have 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts, as well as the only pitcher to have more than 300 wins, 3,000 strikeouts, and less than 1,000 walks. With such records, Maddux stands as one of the best baseball players of the 90s.

GamesWinsLosesSavesInnings PitchedStrikeoutsAll-StarGold Glove
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7. Ken Griffey Jr.

Ken Griffey Jr.
Full NameGeorge Kenneth Griffey Jr.
Date of BirthNovember 21, 1969
Place of BirthDonora, Pennsylvania
DebutApril 3, 1989
TeamsSeattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds
PositionsCenter fielder
BatsLeft
ThrowsLeft
Last GameMay 31, 2010
Hall of Fame2016

Ken Griffey was born in 1969 in Pennsylvania, US. He showed great talent in Baseball from his high school and was soon drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 1989. He quickly became one of the top players on the team and began to dominate the game.

Throughout the 90s, he was at his peak, and his dominance continued in the new decade too. He scored 1662 runs and hit 630 home runs, along with 184 stolen bases. He was a consistent performer and won 10 gold gloves, and was selected to the All-Star team 13 times.

Griffey also became a three times HR Derby champ. With so many accomplishments, he is surely one of the best baseball players of the 90s

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8. Tom Glavine

Tom Glavine
Full NameThomas Michael Glavine
Date of BirthMarch 25, 1966
Place of BirthConcord, Massachusetts
DebutAugust 17, 1987
TeamsAtlanta Braves and New York Mets
PositionsPitcher
BatsLeft
ThrowsLeft
Last GameAugust 14, 2008
Hall of Fame2014

Glavine is one of the finest left-hand pitchers of the 90s. He had a prolonged career of 21 years, but it was the 90s when he was top of his game. During this time, he became four times NL wins leader. He also received the NL Cy Young Award in 1991.

Tom Glavine had 305 wins and 2607 strikeouts by his name, an outstanding feat in the modern era. Because of his outstanding performance, he won the World Series MVP award in 1995.

Glavine had a tough time at the beginning of his career. He had 17 losses in 1988, and till 1990 his stats stood at 33-43. Glavine showed massive improvement in his game in 1991, and everyone was in disbelief. For the next three seasons, he had more than twenty wins each time.

Afterward, there was no turning back. He quickly became a top pitcher and one of the best of the decade. Glavine retired in 2008 and was inducted into the 2014 Hall of Fame.

GamesWinsLosesSavesInnings PitchedStrikeoutsAll-StarGold Glove
68230520304413.12607100

9. Jeff Bagwell

Full NameJeffrey Robert Bagwell
Date of BirthMay 27, 1968
Place of BirthBoston, Massachusetts
DebutApril 8, 1991
TeamsHouston Astros
PositionsFirst baseman
BatsRight
ThrowsRight
Last GameOctober 2, 2005
Hall of Fame2017

Jeff Bagwell’s career might seem shorter in comparison to other legends, but he had an impactful career, just like any of them. Bagwell was on top of his game since the very beginning of his career. He had his Major League debut in 1991 and was elected the Rookie of the year.

Bagwell kept improving his game with age, and his hard-working nature made everyone love him. He became the gold glove winner, the  NL MVP in 1994, and the NL RBI Leader after having the best time of his life as a baseball player.

He scored 1517 runs with 2314 hits and 449 home runs, along with 202 stolen bases. He was a part of the All-Star team four times in the 90s.

After retiring from the game in 2005, he was nominated for the Hall of Fame class in 2011. However, there were several speculations that Bagwell used drugs and steroids to enhance his performance which kept the panel from voting for him.

Jeff was not inducted in the 2011 Hall of Fame class as he received only 41% votes, while 75% votes are needed. The denial of the panel went on for the next five years, until 2017 when he finally got 86% votes and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Hall of Famer or not, Bagwell had one of the most impressive careers in the 90s, and that makes him one of the best baseball players of the 90s.

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10. Pedro Martinez

Pedro Martinez
Full NamePedro Jaime Martínez 
Date of BirthOctober 25, 1971
Place of BirthManoguayabo, Dominican Republic
DebutSeptember 24, 1992
TeamsLos Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Montreal Expos, Philadelphia Phillies 
PositionsPitcher
BatsRight
ThrowsRight
Last GameSeptember 30, 2009
Hall of Fame2015

The eight-time all-star player had a decent career from the beginning of his career after his debut in 1992. But it was in the late 90s when he became one of the most dominant pitchers in the history of Baseball.

Martinez received the Cy Young Award three times in 1997, 1999, and 2000. He was not in the all-star selection in the first four years of his career. From 1996, he became a regular face in the all-star team.

Martinez is considered to be the greatest pitcher who ever played for the Red Sox, and to acknowledge his contribution, the team retired his jersey number in 2015, two days after his Hall of Fame induction.

There are only a few modern pitchers to have a second 300-strikeout season, and Martinez became the ninth pitcher to earn such an accomplishment. Martínez had ten consecutive starts with ten or more strikeouts between 1999 and 2000.

After his retirement, the MLB Network hired him as an analyst. He co-authored his autobiography, Pedro. Pedro Martinez is one of the most celebrated baseball players to date.

GamesWinsLosesSavesInnings PitchedStrikeoutsAll-StarGold Glove
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11. David Cone

David Cone
Full NameDavid Brian Cone
Date of BirthJanuary 2, 1963
Place of BirthKansas City, Missouri
DebutJune 8, 1986
TeamsKansas City Royals, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox,  
PositionsPitcher
BatsLeft
ThrowsRight
Last GameMay 28, 2003

The five times world series champion David Cone was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He was active in the major leagues from 1986 to 2003. Like Tom Glavine, Cone failed to bring the limelight on himself in his initial years.

He reached his peak in the 90s and became four times all-star. David Cone had a wonderful season in 1994 and won the AL Cy Young Award. Before retiring in 2003, his stats had a 194-126 record.

GamesWinsLosesSavesInnings PitchedStrikeoutsAll-StarGold Glove
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12. Mike Piazza

Mike Piazza
Full NameMichael Joseph Piazza
Date of BirthSeptember 4, 1968
Place of BirthNorristown, Pennsylvania
DebutSeptember 1, 1992
TeamsLos Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, San Diego Padres,  Florida Marlins,  Oakland Athletics 
PositionsCatcher
BatsRight
ThrowsRight
Last GameSeptember 30, 2007,
Hall of Fame2016

You may know Mike Piazza as an actor, but he also had a successful baseball career. He was drafted to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1992 as a catcher. He had an impressive season and was announced as the Rookie of the year.

From 1993 to 2002, for a full ten years, Piazza was selected as an all-star. He is also a ten times 10× Silver Slugger Award winner (1993-2002). He retired in 2007 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame class of 2016.

Piazza scored a total of 1048 runs along with 427 home runs and 17 stolen bases. He is currently serving as the manager of the Italian national baseball team.

At  BatHitsRunRBIHome RunStolen BaseAll-StarGold Glove
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13. Kevin Brown

Kevin Brown
Full Name James Kevin Brown
Date of BirthMarch 14, 1965
Place of BirthMilledgeville, Georgia
DebutSeptember 30, 1986
TeamsTexas Rangers, San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles, Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees 
PositionsPitcher
BatsRight
ThrowsRight
Last GameJuly 23, 2005,
Hall of FameN/A

Kevin Brown had his major league debut in 1986. He started his career with the Texas Rangers and stayed on the team till 1994. He became the MLB win leader in 1992 and the World Series champion in 1997. He became four times all-star in the 90s and twice in the 2000s.

He had an impressive 211-144 record with 2397 strikeouts from 486 games. Brown declared his retirement in 2005.

GamesWinsLosesSavesInnings PitchedStrikeoutsAll-StarGold Glove
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14. Paul Molitor

Paul Molitor
Full NamePaul Leo Molitor
Date of BirthAugust 22, 1956
Place of BirthSaint Paul, Minnesota
DebutApril 7, 1978
TeamsMinnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays, and Milwaukee Brewers 
PositionsInfielder
BatsRight
ThrowsRight
Last GameSeptember 27, 1998
Hall of Fame2004

Paul Molitor debuted in 1978 at the age of 22. However, his performance in the 90s was better than in the 80s. In the 90s, he became World Series MVP, World Series champion, and four consecutive times all-star (1991-1994).

Molitor came into the media spotlight in 1987 during his 39-game hitting streak. In his 20-year career, he scored 1782 runs and, 234 home runs, 504 stolen bases. Molitor retired in 1998 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame 2004 class.

After retiring as a player, he became manager for several teams and won the AL Manager of the Year award in 2017.

At  BatHitsRunRBIHome Run Stolen BaseAll-StarGold Glove
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15. Rafael Palmeiro

Rafael Palmeiro
Full NameRafael Palmeiro Corrales
Date of BirthSeptember 24, 1964
Place of BirthHavana, Cuba
DebutSeptember 8, 1986
TeamsChicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, 
PositionsFirst baseman
BatsLeft  
ThrowsLeft  
Last GameAugust 30, 2005
Hall of Famen/a

Rafael Palmeiro played for four different teams in the MLB in his two decades of career. He debuted in 1986 but had to wait for more than a decade to win his first gold glove. He won his first gold globe in 1997, and he also won the award in the following two years too.

He had a total of 3020 hits, 1663 runs, and 569 home runs. He is one of the seven players in MLB history to have 3000+ hits and 500+ home runs record. Palmeiro played his last game on August 30, 2005, for the Baltimore Orioles.

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Conclusion

Some players are known for which time they played, while some players define a timeline. The players mentioned in the above list are the ones who dominated 90s Baseball. They entertained people with their performance, so people still loved and respected them.

Because of their exceptional contribution to the game, these players are honored as the best Baseball players of the 90s.

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Toybur Rahman is a seasoned MLB journalist with over 4 years of experience covering the league for various online media publications. He has a deep understanding of the sport, a keen eye for detail, and a great talent for breaking down compound issues into easy-to-understand language.

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