A shortstop must also hit, and the greatest shortstops of all time could all hit. It’s not the same as a pitcher or a defensive position in another sport, like a goalie.
If I may get a well actually in, it would be 22-4-40-5… overs, maidens, runs, wickets. And the “short” figures would be 5/40.
The order doesn’t matter and local variations apply. The point still stands.
Back in the day I guarantee that “Lawrence Taylor and the Giants” was said much more often then “Phil Sims and the Giants.”
Come to think of it, the question is complicated by the fact that the only positions baseball really has are defensive positions (aside from the designated hitter). Even if the biggest star on a particular team happens to be the first baseman or shortstop, well, those are both defensive positions, too. And even if the reason that player is a star is primarily his batting, he’ll still be referred to as “first baseman” or whatever.
LT was very much the exception to the rule. In the absence of a Hall of Fame superstar like LT, even mediocre quarterbacks are still the main player mentioned, even when others on the team are better at their positions.
Not that he is one of the “greatest pitchers of all time”, but I’ve always been struck by how much among modern pitchers Matt Bumgarner seems to have been regarded as a “good hitter for a pitcher.” With a batting average of .177 .
Though this article at least lays out the plausibility of him maybe being developed into a decent hitter if he hadn’t been a pitcher.
Maybe that was based on 2014, when he was the SI sportsman of the year? He was okay with the bat that specific year.
And back in the early 60s, Sam Huff of the Giants was mentioned almost as often as Y.A. Tittle. Huff had a documentary made about him; Tittle did not.
In baseball, catchers can also be known mostly for their defense. For any other fielding position, hitting is the most important thing. You can be the best defensive center fielder ever, but it you can’t hit, the best you can hope for is to occasionally come in as a defensive replacement late in games.
Eh… there was a period of time where shortstops were well known for being terrible hitters and were valued mostly for their defensive abilities.
True, but that was quite a while ago. The game has changed much in recent decades, not necessarily for the better, imho.
Not super long ago. As a Mets fan, I remember 20 years ago when Rey Ordonez was the starting SS solely due to his defensive abilities (and a few years he actually was a positive WAR because his defense was that good to mitigate his terrible offense).
Interestingly, designated hitters as a group are the highest paid players, while shortstops are the lowest, suggesting that hitting is more highly valued than defense.
I don’t disagree, but that link mentions “the issue of players moving down the defensive spectrum.” Salary may actually be negatively correlated with defense, because of being positively correlated with age and seniority which is negatively correlated with defensive ability.
Yes, the article the article says as much.
Ordonez was an exception; he actually is probably the worst-hitting shortstop in the last thirty years who was a regular player for anywhere near as long as he was.