After previously looking at each position’s top all-time home run hitter, we’ll now turn our focus to the RBI leader at each spot on the diamond.
Note that RBI totals differ depending on the source. The Elias Sports Bureau, Major League Baseball’s official record keeper, recognizes RBIs starting in 1920, when the stat first became official. But Baseball-Reference retroactively compiled RBI numbers prior to 1920. The RBI figures below are from 1920 and later.
For the purposes of this story, a player must have played at least two-thirds of his games at a position in order to qualify as its leader. Any player who played at least two-thirds of his career in the outfield (regardless of the specific outfield position) qualified in the outfield spot at which he played the most.
Catcher: Yogi Berra, 1,430
Berra, who won three MVP Awards and enough World Series rings to fill all 10 fingers, is the leader among catchers with 1,430 RBIs, edging Ted Simmons (1,389), Johnny Bench (1,376), Mike Piazza (1,335) and Ivan Rodriguez (1,332). Berra ranks fourth at the position in home runs (358) and fifth in hits (2,150).
Active leader: Yadier Molina, 998
First base: Albert Pujols, 2,150
According to Elias, Pujols is one of just three MLB players with at least 2,000 RBIs, along with Hank Aaron and Alex Rodriguez. Pujols has tallied 100 or more RBIs in a season 14 times, tying him with A-Rod for the most ever. Pujols also holds the home run lead at first base with 679, the fifth most in history, while his 3,301 hits also lead at the position in the Modern Era (since 1900).
Active leader: Pujols
Second base: Jeff Kent, 1,518
The all-time home run leader at second base is also the position’s RBI king, as Kent drove in 1,518 runs to go with his 377 long balls. Kent had a personal-best 128 RBIs in 1998, and he chipped in another 125 RBIs in 2000, when he won the National League MVP Award. All told, Kent eclipsed the 100-RBI mark in eight seasons.
Active leader: Robinson Cano, 1,302
Third base: Adrián Beltré, 1,707
Though Beltré only reached 100 RBIs in five of his 21 seasons, his longevity allowed him to collect 1,707 RBIs in his career, more than any other third baseman. Beltré is also the hot corner’s leader in hits (3,166), and he ranks third in home runs (477). His career high in RBIs (121) came in 2004 with the Dodgers, a year in which he hit .334 with 48 homers.
Active leader: Evan Longoria, 1,089
Shortstop: Cal Ripken Jr., 1,695
While playing in a record 2,632 consecutive games from May 30, 1982, through Sept. 19, 1998, Ripken amassed 1,494 RBIs. That total alone would have been enough to lead all shortstops, but Ripken tallied an additional 201 RBIs the rest of his career, giving him a significant advantage over Joe Cronin (1,424). Ripken also holds the positional lead in home runs (431).
Active leader: Elvis Andrus, 673
Left field: Barry Bonds, 1,996
Bonds holds a slight edge over Stan Musial (1,951 RBIs) for the left-field lead in RBIs. MLB’s all-time home run king came within four RBIs of 2,000, recording 1,996 RBIs along with his record 762 homers and 2,558 walks. The slugger had a career-high 137 RBIs in 2001, the same year he set the single-season MLB record with 73 homers.
Active leader: Justin Upton, 1,000
Center field: Willie Mays, 1,903
Arguably the greatest player ever, Mays racked up numerous accolades during his career, including two MVP Awards, 12 Gold Gloves and 24 All-Star selections. The Hall of Fame center fielder is also one of six players to record both 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, and he finished with 1,903 RBIs, edging out Ken Griffey Jr. (1,836) for the lead at the position.
Active leader: Andrew McCutchen, 933
Right field: Hank Aaron, 2,297
Bonds may have surpassed him for the all-time home run lead, but Aaron still has more RBIs than any other MLB player. Aaron drove in 100 or more runs in 11 seasons and had an additional seven years with at least 86 RBIs. His 18 seasons with 80-plus RBIs are the most in big league history.
Active leader: Giancarlo Stanton, 893
Designated hitter: David Ortiz, 1,768
Ortiz leads all designated hitters in homers and hits, and no other DH even comes close to him in RBIs. After topping out at 75 RBIs over his first six years with the Twins, Big Papi signed with the Red Sox and posted 100-plus RBIs in 10 of his final 14 seasons. He went out on a high note, leading the AL with 127 RBIs while hitting .315 with 38 homers in 2016.
Active leader: Shohei Ohtani, 247
Pitcher: Red Ruffing, 273
While Wes Ferrell holds the home run lead (38) and Walter Johnson is the Modern Era hit king (547) among pitchers, it’s Ruffing who has the positional RBI crown. A lifetime .269 hitter, Ruffing slugged 36 homers and drove in 273 runs, while also winning 273 games with a 3.80 ERA on the mound. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1967, his final year on the ballot.
Active leader: Adam Wainwright, 75