A Wing of the BBA Hall of Fame
The Position of the First Baseman
First basemen are usually one of the lesser-skilled players on the team. That's not to say there aren't great first basemen. There are. But in many cases, they are just good enough defensively to avoid screwing things up. Their saving grace: first basemen are often among the best sluggers on the team and can smack the crud out of the ball at the plate.
(Calgary Marauders, Madison Wolves)
1976 - 1991
2,683 Hits, 427 Doubles, 319 HR, 1,420 RBI, 1,375 Runs, .318/.381/.499, 74.6 WAR
Owner’s Choice Hitter Award in 1977, 1979, 1980, 1984. Super Slugger in 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980.
All-Star: 1977-1985, 1988
Bombo Vadabonceour played in 2,195 games over his 16 year career. Led the league in hitting in 1980 with a .363 average. Had a 22 game hitting streak in 1977 and 23 game hitting streak in 1978. A defensive whiz at 1B, finishing his career with a .993 fielding percentage.
(Omaha Barnstormers, Des Moines Kernels, Washington Bobwhites)
3,259 Hits, 559 Doubles, 425 HR, 1,641 RBI, 1,635 Runs, .328/.384/.528, 96.8 WAR
Owner’s Choice Hitter Award in 1981, 1983, 1987. Slick Felder Award in 1990. Super Slugger in 1981.
All-Star: 1979-1985, 1987, 1989, 1992
Randy Spratt, the 2nd overall pick in 1977, played in 2,635 games over his 17 year career. Led the league in hitting in 1981 with a .395 average. A defensive whiz at 1B, finishing his career with a .994 fielding percentage. Set a Johnson League record in 1991 with 217 hits.
(Las Vegas Hustlers, Louisville Sluggers, Birmingham Bandits)
2,664 Hits, 361 Doubles, 453 HR, 1,528 RBI, 1,298 Runs, .306/.354/.507, 61.9 WAR
All-Star: 1981, 1983-1985, 1988-1990
Fred Mahaffey, the 2nd overall pick in 1979, played in 2,315 games over his 16 year career. Led the league in Total Bases (347), HRs (43) and RBIs (124)in 1981. Also led the league in HRs (40) in 1990. Finished his career with a .992 fielding percentage. Has a 34 game hitting streak in 1980.
(Long Beach Surfers)
3,179 Hits, 561 Doubles, 536 HR, 1,790 RBI, 1,853 Runs, .287/.376/.495, 74.0 WAR
Slick Fielder Award in 1991, 1993, 1994.
All-Star: 1988, 1991-1993, 1995, 1997, 2005.
Ted Sale played in 3,112 games over his 23 year career. Finished his career at 1B with a .993 fielding percentage. It was hard to see too much because of the shift in where history was tracked.
1,775 Hits, 508 HR, 1,407 RBI, 9 SB, .262/.307/.551, 35.5 WAR
Slick Fielder: 1991
Quoting from Chris Wilson's Pantheon lists, because he said it about as well as could be said: "Belinda ... won 2 Sawyer Silk Awards in the MBWBA. He hit 508 homeruns which is the 9th most in league history. On seven occasions, he hit over 40 homeruns in a season. His 1996 season is one of the greatest offensive seasons in league history. Belinda hit .319/.385/.669 with 64 homeruns and 180 RBI. The 180 RBI is a modern day (1995 to present) record in RBI and the 64 homeruns was the modern day record until Bob Ritchie snatched it in 2010."
Bottom line: Belinda was a ++ Professional hitter.
(Austin Riverbats, Marquette Suns, Long Beach Surfers, Chicago Black Sox, Atlantic City Gamblers)
3,235 Hits, 581 Doubles, 537 HR, 1,875 RBI, 1,909 Runs, .297/.400/.504, 109.1 WAR
Frick League Yogi Zimmer Gold Glove Award: 2000-2004 (1B) and 2013 (C).
Frick League Sawyer Silver Slugger Award: 2001
All-Star: 2001, 2006-2008, 2010-2011
Paul Barfoot played in 2,956 games over his 22 year career. Played in 1,587 games at 1B and 846 games at Catcher. Finished his career with a .994 fielding percentage at both 1B and Catcher. Threw out 38.2% of would-be base stealers over his career. Had a career year in 2011 with 192 Hits (6th), 337 Total Bases (5th), 39 HRs (5th), 138 RBIs (1st), 145 Runs (1st), 130 Walks (2nd), a .321 AVG (7th), a .456 OBP (2nd), and a WAR of 8.3 (3rd). Barfoot’s 109.1 WAR is 6th all-time.
(Montreal Blazers, New Orleans Crawdads, Halifax Hawks)
3,217 Hits, 619 Doubles, 444 HR, 1,845 RBI, 1,568 Runs, .332/.397/.543, 85.3 WAR
Frick League Joe Gillstrom Newcomer of the Year Award: 2001.
Frick League Sawyer Silver Slugger Award: 2002, 2012-2014.
All-Star: 2001-2005, 2007, 2009-2015
Duane Whitley played in 2,467 games over his 17 year career. Led the league in hits in 2005, 2012, and 2013. Finished in the top five for total bases and RBI in 11 seasons. Top 5 for average in 7 seasons. Had a 27 game hitting streak in 2005 and a 35 game hitting streak in 2006. Hit for the cycle on 5/21/2007 against Las Vegas.
(Omaha Barnstormers, Marquette Suns, Hawaii Topics, Las Vegas Hustlers, Yellow Springs Nine, Birmingham Bandits, Madison Wolves, Louisville Sluggers)
2,626 Hits, 651 Doubles, 222 HR, 1,168 RBI, 1,115 Runs, .328/.374/.500, 64.8 WAR
Johnson League Yogi Zimmer Diamond Glove Award: 2008, 2012, 2015, 2019.
All-Star: 2008-2010, 2012
Fraser Dodson played in 2,165 games over his 17 years in the majors. Led the league in hits in 2006 and finished in the top three in four other seasons. Finished in the top three for doubles in 6 seasons. Led the league in average in 2007, 2008, 2010 (with a .378), and 2012.
Alberto ‘Pop’ Guzmán
(Long Beach Surfers, Tucson Cactus, Las Vegas Hustlers, Montreal Blazers)
2,687 Hits, 503 Doubles, 561 HR, 1,731 RBI, 1,630 Runs, .300/.401/.549, 75.3 WAR
Frick League Sawyer Silk Silver Slugger Award: 2007, 2009, 2010.
All-Star: 2007-2013, 2015, 2017-2020.
Alberto ‘Pop’ Guzmán played in 2,468 games over his 17 seasons. Led the league in total bases three times and finished in the top ten a total of 10 times. Finished in the top six for home runs in 10 times, leading the league four of those seasons. Top 10 in RBI in 12 seasons. Finished in the top five for walks in nine seasons. Top six in on base percentage 11 times, leading the league twice.
(New Orleans Crawdads, Calgary Marauders, Las Vegas Hustlers, Huntsville Phantoms, Havana Sugar Kings)
2,071 Hits, 440 Doubles, 435 HR, 1,285 RBI, 1,109 Runs, .300/.362/.557, 60.5 WAR
Frick League Joe Gillstrom Newcomer of the Year: 2013.
Frick League Sawyer Silk Silver Slugger: 2020, 2024.
Frick League Charles Puckett Golden Bat Award: 2020.
Frick League Doubleday Series MVP: 2023.
All-Star: 2013-2016, 2018, 2020-2021, 2024.
Bartolo Meléndez played in 1,825 games over his 15 seasons. Won a BBA Championship in 2021 with the Calgary Marauders. Finished in the top six for home runs in eight seasons, leading the league in 2013. Finished in the top seven in slugging percentage nine times, leading the league in three of those seasons. Went 5 for 5 with 22 total bases against Calgary in 2024. Had two each, 3 home run games and 6 RBI games. Had eight walk-off hits (5 doubles, 2 home runs with one being a grand slam) in his career.
(Yellow Springs Nine, Halifax Hawks, Twin City River Monsters)
2,542 Hits, 557 Doubles, 555 HR, 1,545 RBI, 1,469 Runs, .284/.370/.541, 71.4 WAR
Johnson League Sawyer Silk Silver Slugger: 2016-2020, 2022-2023.
Johnson League Charles Puckett Golden Bat Award: 2020-2026.
Frick League Comeback Player of the Year: 2029.
Bo Jordan played in 2,438 games over his 17 seasons. Was a 13 time Player of the Week and 11 time Batter of the Month. Had seven walk=-off hits in his career, five of them being home runs, and two of those being grand slams. Finished top 10 in home runs 12 times, leading the league four times. Top five in total bases 10 times. Top five in RBI nine times. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame upon his retirement in 2032, and went on to assume ownership of the Yellow Springs franchise.
Frank Thomas III
3732 hits, 503 HR, 1911 RBI, .319/.398/.517 85.6 WAR
Sawyer Silk Award: 2017, 2018
Joe Gillstrom ROY 2017
6-Time Charles Puckett Golden Bat
Frank Thomas broke onto the scene by winning the Rookie of the Year and the Sawyer Silk. Then he got better. He was the heart of the Carolina franchise for nearly two decades, played a season or three in other places, and then came back to see it through in Rockville. Technically, he was a DH, not a 1B, but it just doesn't matter. Frank Thomas III was the epitome of the professional hitter. He was inducted by unanimous vote in 2036.
(ATLANTIC CITY GAMBLERS)
2018 - 2035
583 HR, 1,768 RBI, .265/.374/.497, 56.0 WAR
2022 Landis Champion
2024 FL Sawyer Silk Award
Puckett Golden Bat: 2023, 2024, 2029
All-Star: 2021, 2023, 2025, 2028, 2029
Sanchez was a consummate Left-handed power hitter, who anchored the Atlantic City franchise for a decade and a half before finishing in Twin Cities, Nashville, Long Beach, and Boise. He led the league in home runs in 2024, and RBI in 2028. Made up for a lack of batting average through a meticulous sense of the plate, leading the league in walks twice (and intentional walks once). Often at the top of several other leader boards.
2021 - 2037
3,412 Hits, 496 HR, 1,875 RBI, .326/.380/.529, 91.3 WAR
4-Time Sawyer Silk Award Winner
8-Time Puckett Award Winner
3-Time Zimmer Diamond Glove Winner
Rodriguez and Escobar, Escobar and Rodriguez. These two Hall of Famers combined to be the face of the Seattle offense for almost two decades. While Escobar's power was prodigious (those 496 HRs came in a park that depressed the long ball), he was much more than a "swing hard you might hit something" kind of guy. He led the league in total hits six times, doubles twice. He drove in runs, leading the league in RBI four times. His plate discipline was outstanding (leading the league in walks in 2030).
In addition to his lumber, Escobar toted around a mustache so world famous, it became his nickname.
(Huntsville Phantoms, California Crusaders)
2022 - 2037
2,058 Hits, 562 HR, 1,408 RBI, .261/.368/.512, 65.2 WAR
4- Time Landis Memorial Winner: 2021
8-Time Post Season Series MVP
3-Time Sawyer Silk Winner
6-Time Puckett Award Winner
For much of his career, Fernando Moreno was the quintessential power hitter playing in the quintessential power hitter's ballpark. At his peak (in Huntsville), you wrote him down for 40 HR, and hoped for 60--which he did by hitting 61 in 2031--a season that saw him post an eye-popping .333/.450/.688 line to go with those homers).