More than anything else, what makes baseball America’s pastime is its rich history and tradition of legendary names, all bound together across decades by a beautiful game.

That same history also lends itself to all manner of debate, from whether there will ever be another 300-game winner to what the standing of alleged steroid users like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Manny Ramirez should be included in the annals of Cooperstown, given how many great players in past eras got by, more or less, on their given talents alone.

When it comes to determining the “best” or the “greatest” in a particular category, the debate tends to get more heated, even if the terms of the discussion are more vague. One such debate, which doesn’t get as much love as that of “best hitter” or “most dominant pitcher”, is that of smartest hitter.

What makes a hitter smart, you ask?

It’s tough to define it too clearly, otherwise the debate would be too closed and skew too far in one direction or another. However, in general terms, a smart hitter is one who hits for a high average, gets on base often and doesn’t strike out all that much.

One could add more dimensions, like a hitter’s ability to recognize a particular pitch or a hitter’s “sense” of time and situation, but such factors are nearly impossible to measure, especially for the ones, like Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb, who few today would ever remember seeing in person.

With all of that said, let the debate begin!

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