So ESPN has a story claiming that Derek Jeter is the 2nd best shortstop of all time, behind Honus Wagner. But you’ve got to pay to disagree. So here, on a free site, I say Cal Ripken. Fabulous fielder, won a home run derby, very good lifetime average, more home runs than any shortstop (if I l remember correctly). great lockerroom leader, oh, and by the way played more games in a row than any one. Cal may, in fact, be a greater player than the great Wagner.
Alex Rodriguez seems to me to be a very obvious choice.
Then Arky Vaughan.
Had Arod spent his career at SS then he might have a claim. (I know, Cal spent half a season at third. So what? It’s not several seasons.) And Arky? Look at the stats. He’s great, but he didn’t beat Lou.
I don’t understand what you just said.
Edit - oh, wait. He didn’t beat Gehrig’s record. That’s not really a stat, now, is it?
He did help to change the position, but the second best shortstop ever? Or first? I don’t see it.
So did Garrett Anderson.
.276? He did have a very long career and his average came down at the end, but that’s not so special. It’s 40 points behind Jeter. Jeter is also better at getting on base and his on base plus slugging is also significantly better. Granted Ripken was more of a power hitter (he played about 900 more games than Jeter and has 120 more homers) and Jeter’s fielding was subpar until recently - but I don’t really know how good Ripken was.
You do. Ripken does have the career shortstop home run record with 345. Alex Rodriguez probably would have smashed this record four years ago, though. And Jeter has more career hits than any shortstop.
Jeter isn’t? He also has four more World Series titles than Ripken does and he’s likely to play another five years or more.
This is a legendary achievement but doesn’t make him a great player on its own. In fact I wonder sometimes if he would have played better had he taken a game off now and then.
How do you figure, other than homerism? Wagner’s batting average is 50 points higher, he got on base more, he scored more runs in fewer games in a lower scoring era… and I don’t even know much about the guy.
The numbers say that Ripken was a fantastic defensive shortstop. Better than the other guys being discussed by quite a bit.
If A-Rod had, instead of becoming a third baseman to accommodate the media status of a far inferior player, simply been hit by a bus, he would have finished having won an MVP at shortstop, having hit 345 home runs, and with a career 144 OPS+. He’s obviously the best player to ever play the position.
Thanks, Jimmy Chitwood. I should have said in my other post that I’d hesitate to put Jeter as the second best shortstop in the first place.
It’s hard to classify as the “Second best shortstop of all time” a guy who sucks at playing shortstop. Jeter has certainly been a great hitter but being a poor fielder is a significant strike against him.
Honus Wagner’s so far ahead of everyone else it’s almost like asking who came second in a swordfight. But the position of second best is hard to figure out because everyone looks different. Jeter: Great hitter, bad fielder. Boudreau: Great, short career. A-Rod: Super great, but will end up a third baseman anyway. Luke Appling is much forgotten but was great. Robin Yount? But he was an outfielder half his career. Cal Ripken was great, but in many of his seasons was just a so-so hitter. So I’m not sure.
What are we asking here? When we say best shortstop, are we talking about best defensively, offensively, or all-around?
Because depending on the criteria I’d have a different answer.
Best defensive SS: Ozzie Smith
Best offensive SS: Arod (though he could be disqualified for moving positions)*
Best all-around SS: Honus Wagner
*If disqualified then Wagner takes his spot.
ARod aside, Ripken vs. Jeter is definitely a tough call. Ripken’s peak seasons were better than Jeter’s peak seasons, but Jeter has been much more consistent. Ripken was purely a league average numbers compiler for a while. Ripken’s fielding was far superior, as was Jeter’s speed. I’d give it to Jeter by a hair.
With that said, I don’t put a lot of weight on World Series titles, unless you’re…Jack Morris or something.
Scott Brosius has two more WS titles than Ripken. David Eckstein has one more.
Bolding mine. Jeter is not far inferior. He might not be the 5 tool player that A-Rod is, might lack his range, but he’s a hall of fame player, not the September call up that he gets treated as here on occasion. He’s got more hits than anyone else to play the position, and I believe that his greatest asset is his leadership (which can’t be quantified, and is mostly subjective).
Did anybody say Brosuis and Eckstein were the best players ever at their positions, and cite their leadership ability?
You know that he plays baseball, right? That’s b-a-s-e-b-a-l-l, the game of championship teams with ‘nine players, nine cabs’, the game where teammates interact --other than pitcher and catcher and throwing to the first baseman – maybe once every four to five innings, and even that is just deciding which one of two people is going to catch the ball? And statisticians can’t even find proof that the catcher has any effect on the pitcher, let alone the shortstop?
You’re going with leadership as a key skill of a baseball player? As SNL Weekend Update would say, “Really?”
Maybe we can just all agree that aside from hitting and fielding, Jeter’s just as good a baseball player as A-Rod.
No, but the number of WS titles is completely irrelevant to that question, and the whole “leadership ability” thing is almost as irrelevant.
What about giving more weight to defense? Shortstop is a position where, up until the last 20-25 years, defense was much more sought after than offense. To me, Ozzie Smith isn’t being given enough credit here, and in the article the OP references, (which is a bit odd, considering that he’s often spoken of as the greatest shortstop ever.)
I’m a Jeter fan, and I’ve watched his whole career very closely and I still don’t agree with people or stats that say he’s horrible defensively, although he’s certainly average, at best. He may wind up in the top 10 ever, but I can’t say 2nd.
The greatest overall shortstop ever? Ozzie Smith? Honestly, I have never heard anyone say that.
I’m curious as to why it’s important to weigh defense more heavily than offense; after all, a player who is so proficient with the bat that he contributes more runs than his glove surrenders is still a net positive for the team, irrespective of what the conception of a shortstop was.
With that said, while Ozzie’s defense was unparalleled, his overall impact was attenuated by his putrid bat. Well, not putrid, but you know what I mean. Not only do I not consider him the greatest shortstop ever, I’m not even sure he’s that much better than Bill Dahlen, who never got within sniffing distance of the Hall. Or even Alan Trammell, for that matter.
If memory serves (and it certainly doesn’t always do that) wasn’t there a thread a couple years ago where we of the SDMD went position by position to determine who were the greatest players? I looked for that thread but couldn’t find it. If someone could link to it it might throw some light on the current discussion.