Crossing home plate while scoring a run is the ultimate goal. It makes sense that those batters who get on base the most end up scoring the most runs.
But only six players in the history of baseball have joined the elite "2,000 runs scored" club. Topping the list is Ty Cobb. He crossed home plate 2,245 times during his long career. Tied for second place for all-time are Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron (2,174). Next in fourth is the outcast Pete Rose (2,165) followed by Willie Mays (2,062) and Rickey Henderson (2,014). Rickey Henderson? Sure enough, the still active outfielder is a bit of a surprise -- until one realizes just how often he's gotten on base -- primarily because of his now legendary foot speed. (This particular stat is one of several reasons why Henderson's cards are likely to be a good investment for some time to come -- certainly long after he retires.)
Henderson has more runs scored than the four legends rounding out the top 10 -- Stan Musial (1,949), Lou Gehrig (1,888), Tris Speaker (1,881), and Mel Ott (1,859) -- not to mention such immortals as Frank Robinson, Eddie Collins, Carl Yastrzemski, and Ted Williams. Ranked 15th on the all-time list is another recent immortal -- Paul Molitor. Other great run scorers were Charlie Gehringer, Jimmie Foxx, Honus Wagner, Willie Keeler (at 5'4" and 140 pounds, "Wee Willie" looked like the batboy), and ancient immortal Cap Anson (1,712) rounding out the top 20.
Of all these, Keeler was the most like Henderson. He choked up a foot on his thirty-inch bat, the lightest in the league, stood stiff-legged, leaning over the plate, and chopped down on the ball, the famous "Baltimore Chop." The ball bounced into the air, and before it came down, Willie was safe at first. Or if the infielders charged in, he'd bounce it over their heads. Keeler's favorite saying was "I hit 'em where they ain't."
Among active players besides Henderson, notable leaders in the "runs scored" category include #46 Tim Raines (1,528), #48 Cal Ripken, Jr. (1,510), and #58 Wade Boggs (1,473) -- yet only Raines has a chance to eventually reach the coveted 2,000 milestone.
The most incredible runs scoring stat, however, is the all-time single-season mark of 196 set by basestealing phenom Billy Hamilton in 1894. In fact, most noteworthy single-season tallies were achieved prior to 1900 and so are lost on today's collectors. Names like Hamilton, Tom Brown, Tip O'Neill, Joe Kelley, Jesse Burkett, Fred Dunlap, Arlie Latham, Bobby Lowe, and even Hugh Duffy (who once hit .438 for an entire season -- the loftiest batting average ever achieved) belong to a bygone era of primary interest to historians. In fact, among the single-season run scoring leaders, only Babe Ruth's runs scored figures for 1921 (177), 1920 (158), and 1927 (158), Lou Gehrig's for 1936 (167) and 1931 (163), and Chuck Klein's for 1930 (158) stand out in this entire century.