Beginning with his MLB debut during a 64-game "audition" in 1928 and up through his legendary Triple Crown season of 1933, Chuck Klein may have been the best player in the game this side of Babe Ruth. He hit .359 during that time frame, and Klein put up 162-game averages of 38 homers and 143 RBI. Amazingly, he didn't win the MVP in 1933 after winning the Triple Crown, failing to defend his title from the previous year. These accolades aside, Klein makes this list because of a pair of 40-homer campaigns that he put up in 1929 (his first full year in the league) and 1930. Playing for some very bad Phillies teams, Klein was a single light in the darkness during that time.
Following the 1933 season, seemingly at the height of his game, Klein was unthinkably traded to the Chicago Cubs. His production never was the same, however, with Klein having peaked at age 28. He returned to the Phillies a few years later, went to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a year, then came back to the Phils again to play out the string of his career as a bit player. Sadly, because his greatness wasn't sustained for long enough, he was an afterthought for the Hall of Fame until 1980, when the veterans committee elected him. Klein had passed away several decades earlier, never getting to enjoy his enshrinement among the greats of the game. Klein hit exactly 300 home runs in his career, the only player in MLB history to retire with that number. It's a fact that any serious baseball fan knows, even if they are in the dark about much else concerning Klein's career.
In addition to being high up the leaderboards in many categories for the Phillies franchise, Klein also boasts a four-homer game to his credit and hit for the cycle twice. Some decades ago, the Phillies simply retired a "P" for him, since he began his career without a number for several seasons and then wore multiple ones over the course of his three stints with the club.