Comparing the incomparable

This page present a list of sporting immortals ranked objectively across six different fields of competition.

All rankings are final, all choices are arbitrary and all errors solely the author’s.

Apples & Oranges has rated more than 700 players so far. More detail will be coming, but for now here’s the top 20:

Name Sport Games Total Per 160 Rating
WG Grace Cricket 870 140.50 25.84 37.69
Pelé Soccer 680 114.59 26.96 37.67
Wilt Chamberlain Basketball 1205 177.37 23.55 36.87
Michael Jordan Basketball 1251 179.00 22.89 36.27
Eusébio Soccer 532 88.49 26.61 36.02
Babe Ruth Baseball 2544 302.38 17.95 35.34
Ty Cobb Baseball 3052 318.01 16.67 34.50
George Lohmann Cricket 293 50.05 27.33 34.41
Frank Tarrant Cricket 329 55.41 26.95 34.39
Mike Procter Cricket 695 97.57 24.13 34.00
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Basketball 1797 215.86 19.22 33.91
Willie Mays Baseball 3017 305.97 16.23 33.72
Karl Malone Basketball 1669 203.02 19.46 33.71
Barry Bonds Baseball 3034 306.61 16.17 33.68
Hank Aaron Baseball 3315 321.63 15.52 33.46
Shaquille O’Neal Basketball 1423 177.29 19.93 33.25
George Mikan Basketball 611 90.23 23.63 33.13
Ferenc Puskás Soccer 355 56.66 25.54 33.06
Kobe Bryant Basketball 1566 188.43 19.25 32.98
Tris Speaker Baseball 2809 279.42 15.92 32.63

If you’re curious what all this means, I lay out my methodology here.

In addition to the top 20, the position-by-position rankings for BaseballCricketFootball, BasketballSoccer and Hockey are fleshed out, complete with commentary. More player profiles will be updated daily.

This project has been more than a decade in the making. Some of the data used here was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by Retrosheet. Interested parties may contact Retrosheet at www.retrosheet.org. Other sources include Baseball Reference, Pro Football Reference, Basketball Reference, Hockey ReferenceThe Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation, Cricket Archive, 11v11, Football Club History Database, HockeyDB, BDFutbol, JustSportsStats, Eurohockey and BBall Sports.