Blog Entry

Vote for the Greatest SHORTSTOP of All Time

Posted on: April 26, 2009 7:49 pm

Welcome again everyone!  Its time to vote for a shortstop.   Over the past two entries we voted on whether or not Pete Rose should be on the team as a reserve and we voted for the greatest third baseman.   After 2 weeks of voting, its evident that the overwhelming majority want Pete on the team.  There were some absolutely good and influential arguments on both sides in that issue.   Personally, I think we could find a better #2 guy at every position on the diamond than Rose, he is the most versatile great player in the modern era, so I don't have a problem with him on the bench since he can realistically be plugged into 5 different positions. 
In the vote for the greatest third baseman, George Brett edged out Mike Schmidt 14-11, with 5 votes for the Human Vacuum Cleaner and a vote to Wade "The Chicken Man" Boggs.   This was a vote that I was much happier to count than to cast.   Naturally, being a Royals fan, I was rooting for George, but I know full well that Michael Jack Schmidt was just as great.   There was some great debate in the third base matchup.   One thing is positively clear, Schmidt is the greatest NL third baseman and Brett is the greatest AL third baseman, and Brooks was the king with the glove.   Nevertheless, Pete Rose and George Brett are now members of the All Time Great team. 
Now to the task at hand.  I will now submit the 19 greatest shortstops of all time, in my humble opinion.   16 are hall of famers and 3 are current major leaguers.   I did omit 5 HOF shortstops, Lou Boudreau, Travis Jackson, Rabbit Maranville, Joe Tinker and Phil Rizzuto due to trying some sort of brevity and the fact that their overall statistics pale in comparison to the 19 listed.     Speaking of the 19 listed, here they are....

Player                       AVE/OBPSLG       Hits      HR     RBI     Runs      SB      Fldg+/-    Range+/-

Luis Aparicio              262/313/343       2677    83     791     1335      506     +.10        +.53
Luke Appling             310/399/398       2749    45     1116    1319      179     -.04         +.37
Dave Bancroft            279/355/358       2004    32     591     1048      145     +.03         +.61
Ernie Banks               274/333/500       2583    512   1636    1305      50       +.08        +.44
Joe Cronin                301/390/468       2285     170   1424    1233     87        +.05        +.32
George Davis            295/361/405        2660    73     1435    1540     615      +.18        +.35
Hughie Jennings        311/390/406       1527     18     840      994      359       +.24       +.68
Pee Wee Reese         269/366/377       2170     126   885      1338     232      +.04       +.26
Cal Ripken Jr.            276/340/447       3184     431   1685    1647     36        +.11       +.55
Joe Sewell                 312/391/413       2226      49    1055    1141     74        +.07       +,53
Ozzie Smith               262/337/328       2460     28     793     1257     580       +.13       +.93
Arky Vaughn              318/406/453       2103     96     926      1173    118       +.02       +.23
Honus Wagner           327/391/466       3415     101   1732     1736    772       +.14       +.45
Bobby Wallace           268/332/358       2309      34     1121    1057    201       +.13       +.34
John M. Ward            275/314/341        2104     26     867      1408    540*     +.02       +.19
Robin Yount              285/346/430       3142      251    1406    1632    271       even      +.09
Derek Jeter               316/386/459       2557      210    1013    1479    278       +.03      -.06
Alex Rodriguez          306/389/578       2404      553    1606    1605    283       +.05      +.27
Omar Vizquel            273/339/355       2663       77     893      1364    385       +.12      +.26

* =  John Montgomery Ward's career began in 1878, however stolen bases were not recorded until 1885, so every base he stole in his first seven years of his career is unknown, but probably many as he was one of the fastest of his time.  In 1887 he lead the league with 111 stolen bases.      By the way, he was also an accomplished pitcher with well over 200 decisions, he posted a .610 winning percentage.                     

Category: MLB

Since: Dec 17, 2006
Posted on: April 27, 2009 7:32 am

Vote for the Greatest SHORTSTOP of All Time

In response to jmw's comment about how well Cal Ripken Jr. did in Hall of Fame voting, the respect Ripken got from Hall of Fame voters is certainly a mark in his favor and is very impressive.  On the other hand, I think that Honus Wagner getting 95% on his first ballot is mighty impressive, too--particularly when you consider that he was one of only five members selected in the charter class of the Hall in 1936 and the competition was truly astounding. He only finished behind Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb, and got more votes in that election than Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Cy Young, Tris Speaker and a galaxy of future Hall of Fame stars. Now THAT is a competitive Hall of Fame vote!

Since: Dec 17, 2006
Posted on: April 27, 2009 7:24 am

Vote for the Greatest SHORTSTOP of All Time

It gets to be difficult comparing players across this wide of a gap of time. Some of the things people have cited on behalf of Cal Ripken Jr. weren't around in Honus Wagner's day (Gold Gloves) or for that matter in Ernie Banks' day (Home Run Derby performance). Banks was dazzling with the bat while he played shortstop but had some other issues there eventually and got moved to first base. I don't think he played long enough at short to count him #1 there, though if we are looking at peak value he would be near the top. Ozzie Smith's defensive brilliance doesn't give him enough of an advantage over the other contenders to make up for his weak power numbers. I think it comes down to Ripken and Honus Wagner, and I'd have to take Wagner. One of the main reasons why is how much ahead he was of anyone else at his position in or even near his time. Ripken was the best of his day--and certainly the best post-WWII shortstop--but his margin over his contemporaries like Robin Yount and even Alan Trammell, while significant, isn't as big as the edge Wagner has in his day. You can't go wrong with either one, though!

Since: Sep 13, 2008
Posted on: April 27, 2009 7:00 am

Vote for the Greatest SHORTSTOP of All Time

I gotta go with Honus Wagner here, although it is a tough choice considering Ernie Banks and the Iron Man Cal Ripken are in the debate as well.

Since: Feb 11, 2007
Posted on: April 27, 2009 6:33 am

Vote for the Greatest SHORTSTOP of All Time

My vote goes to Cal Ripken, Jr. While he doesn't have the eye-popping offensive numbers that some of these guys have, he was the most well rounded shortstop ever.  He was an 8-time Silver Slugger Award winner.  He was a 19-time All-Star selection-winning 2 All-Star Game MVP awards. He won the Gold Glove Award twice. He was a 2-time American League MVP. He was the 1982 American League Rookie of the Year, and followed that up with a World Series title in 1983. He was THE Iron Man playing in 2,632 straight games from 1982 until 1998. And for what its worth he also won a Home Run Derby in 1991. Finally, he was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2007 on his first ballot, being selected on over 98% of the ballots. While there are some great shortstops on this list, I have to go with Cal.

Since: Mar 28, 2009
Posted on: April 27, 2009 6:32 am

Vote for the Greatest SHORTSTOP of All Time

Unquestionably, Honus Wagner.

Since: Dec 7, 2007
Posted on: April 27, 2009 6:30 am

Vote for the Greatest SHORTSTOP of All Time

Dang, I can't vote for U.L. Washington or Buddy Biancalana?  Seriously, although Ernie Banks and the "Wizard of Oz"  Ozzie Smith are two of all time favorite shortstops, I'll go with Honus Wagner as well.  He did everything well.

Since: May 25, 2008
Posted on: April 27, 2009 12:47 am

Vote for the Greatest SHORTSTOP of All Time

My vote is Honus Wagner.

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: April 27, 2009 12:18 am

Vote for the Greatest SHORTSTOP of All Time

I have to go with Cal Ripken Jr

Since: Apr 4, 2008
Posted on: April 26, 2009 11:50 pm

Vote for the Greatest SHORTSTOP of All Time

I too am going to go with the deadballer, Honus Wagner.   He has the most runs, RBI, and stolen bases of the bunch and his defensive numbers are among the Ozzie Smith's and Vizquel's.   He was the total package shortstop, and had he played in the modern day, he probably would have had power similar to Yount and Ripken.   Number 2 shortstop would make for a better debate, because IMO Wagner is well above the rest.   Had the steroids news never surfaced on Alex Rodriguez, then there would be something to debate.  I suppose if Alex can put together 3 CLEAN all-star seasons now, he can re-enter the discussion.  

Since: Mar 29, 2008
Posted on: April 26, 2009 9:46 pm

Vote for the Greatest SHORTSTOP of All Time

My vote goes for Honus Wagner as well.  As mister stated, his numbers in the dead ball era are unbelievable.  My favorites, Mr. Cub Ernie Banks and Pepe Frias (long story).

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