Although the 2022 Field of Dreams Game between the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs marks only the second Major League Baseball game to be played in Iowa, the state has had a huge impact on MLB history.
Iowa is home to 225 major league players, including four who watched this year’s events: The Pirates’ Mitch Keller, Tigers’ Derek Hill, Red Sox’s Michael Wacha, and Mariners’ Matt Koch.
However, you will not see any of these names in the space below. This list is dedicated only to the best who have emerged from the cornfields of Iowa to make their mark on the show. These top ten are headed up by some of the greatest to have ever played the game, including six Hall of Famers.
NB: Each player’s birth city is indicated in parentheses.
1) Bob Feller, RHP (Van Meter)
Feller debuted with Cleveland when he was just 17 years old in 1936, and was an eight-time All-Star and hit more than 2,500 hits during his 18-season career. Each baseball player led on the strike seven times, and his 348k in 1946 had the sixth-largest number of AL/NL pitchers in the 20th century. Feller could have accomplished more on diamonds, but he joined the Navy two days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and spent three full years in his twenties fighting in World War II. The first ballot for the Hall of Fame was in 1962.
2) Cap Anson – 1B (Marshall Town)
Anson won three hitting titles and five National League pennants between 1880 and 1889 as a player/manager for the Chicago White Stockings, the franchise that later became the Cubs. As the sport grew in popularity in the late 19th century, Anson’s success turned him into baseball’s first truly national celebrity. He played 22 of his 27 seasons in Chicago and remains the Cubs’ all-time leader in hits, runs, RBIs and WAR. Anson may also be the first player to reach 3000 career scores.
3) Dazzy Vance, RHP (OCC)
Vance only earned his first MLB win in his 31-year season in 1922. He won 18 games that year and would go on to rack up 146 more wins over the next eight seasons with the Brooklyn Robins. Vance, who earned the nickname “Dazzy” for his dazzling fastball debut as a teenager, led the Senior Strike Arena every year from 1922 to 2828. He won three ERA titles, was a 1924 NL MVP, and finished with 197 wins by The time he retired when he was 44 years old is in 1935.
4) Fred Clark OF (Winterset)
Clarke was considered an below average defensive player, but boy, could he hit. Clark went 5-for-5 in his first MLB career game in 1894 and by the time his career ended in 1915, he had averaged 0.312 and nearly 2,700 hits while with the Louisville Colonels and Pittsburgh Pirates. Clarke has also served as player/manager for both franchises, winning over 1,600 games. He led the Buccaneers to four NL pennants and a World Championship victory in 1909.
5) Red Faber, RHP (Cascade)
Faber won 254 games over his 20 seasons with the White Sox, and led the AL in the ERA twice. His longevity was partly due to the spit ball. Faber learned to spit after injuring his arm about three years before his first MLB appearance in 1914, when spitting was still field law. Faber’s ultimate Fastball-curveball-spitter repertoire helped him throw over 4,000 runs in the major competitions and score the third-largest baseball reference war for any Iowa-born player, after Anson and Clark.
6) Dave Bancroft (Sioux City)
Bancroft would probably have won a lot of Golden Gloves if the award had been around in the early 1900s. His 23.5 defensive war ranks 26th in AL/NL history and the most of any MLB Iowan. Despite having a 98 OPS+, Bancroft has amassed over 2,000 hits and 1,000 hits across 16 seasons split between the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Giants, Boston Braves and Brooklyn Robbins. He was a two-time world champion with the Giants and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971.
7) Mike Bodecker, RHP (Cedar Rapids)
Boddicker finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year vote in 1983 going 16-8 with a 2.77 ERA for the Orioles. He did better in the post-season as he threw a full game without letting him run in the ALCS and World Series, which Baltimore won in five games. Boddicker made the only All-Star team in 1984 and ended up fourth in the AL Cy Young vote that year after leading the league with a 2.79 ERA over 261 1/3 rounds.
8) Hal Trosky Sr. 1B (Norway)
Ewan has not scored more home runs at Majors than Trosky, who hit 228 during his 11-season career. He lowered .313/.379/.551 with the Cleveland from 1933-1941 and received MVP votes four times during that time. He made MLB paces in total bases (405), extra base hits (96) and RBIs (162) in ’36. Unfortunately, a severe migraine halted Trosky’s career in 1941 and he played in parts just two seasons after his 29th birthday.
9) Earl White Hill, LHP (Cedar Rapids)
From 1926-1964, the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins franchise won one game of the World Series. It was started by Whitehill, who confounded Mel Ott, Bill Terry, and the Giants on their way to shutting down the game entirely in Game 3 of the 1933 Fall Classic. Whitehill has been a strictly mid-level player during his career (100 ERA+), but has managed to rack up 218 wins over 17 seasons.
10) Kevin Tabani, RHP (Des Moines)
After finishing fifth in the AL Rookie of the Year vote in 1990, Tapani had his best season in MLB in ’91. He has posted 143 ERA+ over 244 runs with the Twins and earned Cy Young votes for the first and only time in his 13 year career. Tapani also handed over in October of that season as he limited the Braves to two out of eight rounds in Game 2’s victory for the Ultimate World Champions.
Bing Miller, (Fenton)
Two-time world champion with Philadelphia Athletics, Miller bats .311 with .820 OPS over 16 seasons in the major leagues.
Dennis Minkee, SS (Bancroft)
Minkee started the majority of his matches at shortstop, but he has made at least 150 matches in first base, second base, and third base as well. He hit 101 times over the course of 13 seasons and made the NL All-Star Team while with the Astros in 1969 and ’70.
Casey Blake, 3B (Des Moines)
Blake Trosky only tracks down an MLB home run by Iowa residents. He scored 28 high-ranking dingers for Cleveland in 2004.
John Lieber, RHP (Council Bluffs)
Lieber has been a reliable backbone for most of his career, capping the 170 Tour seven times from 1997-2005. He threw 251 runs at MLB-high in 2000 and made the All-Star Team the following season while with the Cubs.
Stan Bahnsen, RHP (Council Bluffs)
Bahnsen was the 1968 AL Rookie of the Year after scoring a 2.05 ERA and 1.06 WHIP across 267 1/3 innings with the Yankees. He threw more than 2,500 runs and won 146 games during his career that ended in 1982.
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