Welcome once again to Bleacher Report's series of the 25 greatest players at each position in modern MLB history. Up next, the first basemen.

The first step in this exercise was to decide what "modern" means for the sake of this discussion, and we settled on everything from the 1969 season forward.

That was the first year of the "divisional era," when each league expanded from 10 to 12 teams and split those clubs into two divisions. That also meant an expanded playoff format, with the ALCS and NLCS played for the first time that year. The postseason had previously consisted of just the World Series.

That gives us 54 years of players to consider for a spot in our rankings, but we didn't simply ignore what happened prior to 1969. A pair of top-10 lists were also created for the dead-ball era (pre-1920) and the pre-divisional era (1920-68).

Players were ranked throughout based on a combination of their overall body of work and their peak performance, with postseason success also taken into account.


Top 10 Dead-Ball Era (Pre-1920)

1. Cap Anson
2. Dan Brouthers
3. Roger Connor
4. Jake Beckley
5. Frank Chance
6. Ed Konetchy
7. Fred Tenney
8. Jake Daubert
9. Harry Davis
10. Stuffy McInnis

One of the true pioneers of baseball, Cap Anson played for 27 seasons in the late 1800s when he won four batting titles as a member of the Chicago White Stockings. He ranks in the top 10 all-time in hits (3,435, seventh) and RBI (2,075, fifth).

He is joined in the Hall of Fame by fellow turn-of-the-century stars Dan Brouthers, Roger Connor, Jake Beckley and Frank Chance.


Top 15 Pre-Divisional Era (1920-68)

1. Lou Gehrig
2. Jimmie Foxx
3. Buck Leonard
4. Johnny Mize
5. Hank Greenberg
6. Willie McCovey
7. Harmon Killebrew
8. Willie Stargell
9. Dick Allen
10. Bill Terry
11. George Sisler
12. Norm Cash
13. Orlando Cepeda
14. Mule Suttles
15. Boog Powell

If we were putting together an all-time list across all of baseball history, Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx would likely be No. 1 and No. 2 in those rankings, while Buck Leonard is one of the truly legendary figures from the Negro Leagues.

Willie McCovey (1959-80), Harmon Killebrew (1954-1975), Willie Stargell (1962-82) and Dick Allen (1963-77) had careers that straddled the 1969 cutoff for inclusion in our main rankings, but each did the bulk of their career damage prior to that point. Rod Carew played a few more career games as a first baseman, but he was a second baseman in his prime and will be included on that list.

The final spot came down to Boog Powell (134 OPS+, 339 HR, 1,187 RBI, 39.1 WAR) and Hall of Famer Gil Hodges (120 OPS+, 370 HR, 1,274 RBI, 43.9 WAR), which speaks to the sheer volume of legendary talent that called first base home during this 50-year stretch.