One of the most important positions in the game of baseball is the shortstop position. This article will rank the top five MLB shortstops of all time.
5. Ozzie Smith
Ozzie Smith is the greatest defensive shortstop of all time. His hitting was better than people give him credit for, but his career 43.4 defensive WAR is why he ranks in the top 5 MLB shortstops of all time.
The importance of having a player of his caliber at the most important defensive position can’t be stated enough. Nicknamed the Wizard for a reason Smith made routine plays and the ones that no one thought was possible.
Smith is a 13 time gold glover and World Series champion in 1982. Easily the best defensive player at his position, which is also the most important defensive position on the diamond is why he needs to be in the top five.
4. Honus Wagner
One of the oldest players on any list, Wagner still needs to be acknowledged. He led the league in batting average eight times, home runs three times, and doubles seven times.
One of the greatest hitters of his generation, he revolutionized the shortstop position as being one of the first to have power and contact from the plate.
Defensively he was one of the best of his era as well, how he would play in today’s era is unknown, but you have to respect one of the pioneers of the game. He definitely deserves to be on the list of the top 5 MLB shortstops of all time.
3. Cal Ripken Jr.
Cal Ripken was nicknamed the Iron man for a reason as he played in the most consecutive games of any player to ever play in the MLB with 2,632. Ripken also has the most home runs as a shortstop with 353.
Ripken was the model of consistency and the definition of being an all around player. He did struggle with his batting average at times, but compared to others at the position he was still above average.
When you add his power, defensive ability as he won two gold gloves as, his all around game is almost unmatched at the position. Ripken also has more longevity at the position than anyone else on this list which is why he ranks third.
2. Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez, if he played his entire career at shortstop, would easily be the runaway favorite, but he falls second to the guy that made him move to third.
Rodriguez is second all time in career home runs at the shortstop position with 345, but totalled 696 for his career. He led the league three consecutive years in home runs at the shortstop position.
Early in his career there was no one like him to ever play the shortstop position with his combination of contact, power, speed, and defense. Rodriguez is also the only player on this list with steroids tied to his career.
1. Derek Jeter
Yes, he defense was overrated, but still wasn’t awful. His offense was still one of the best of his era for the shortstop position winning five silver sluggers.
Jeter also ranks number one due to his five World Series titles more than anyone else on this list. He was the clutchest shortstop ever, and always seemed to make the big hit or clutch defensive play.
From the flip against the Oakland A’s, to being the first player to homer in the month of November against the Diamondbacks in the World Series, Jeter has always shown up when it matters most and that ability can’t be understand.
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