There have been generations of great players in Major League Baseball. Since the league’s official inception around 1869 there have been many different eras and changes to the game. It is difficult to place each great player against each other, but here is the CHEAP SEATS take on the greatest players, by position, the game has ever produced. So far in this look at baseball’s immortals we have looked at Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench, Albert Pujols and other greats at the catcher and first base positions. Now we move into the middle infield. (All stats are current of June 1, 2010 & scoring rubric is below)

**Second Base**

Second base is one of the more athletic positions on the field, due to mobility needed to cover the space on the field. Traditionally, defense being the priority over offense. Also, this has led faster players play the position traditionally, as opposed to power hitters. However, some the best overall hitters in the game have played the position. Many great table setters (players who get on base frequently) and base runners are represented here. I wide variety of players are represented here, from one of the greatest bats in the history of the game, to some the best gloves ever and a civil rights legend who’s impact cannot be felt only in statistics alone.

Hornsby is one of the greatest hitters to ever play. His .358 career average is second all-time.

1. Rogers Hornsby: St. Louis Cardinals (1915-1937): 74.5 points

–          .358 Avg. 301 HR, 1584 RBI, .434 OBP, 2930 Hits, 1579 Runs, 135 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 2 MVPs, 0 ROY, 7 Batting Titles, 2 Triple Crowns, 2 HR Titles, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 14 awarded)

Easily among the greatest hitters in the history of the game. Hornsby is the only player to hit 40 home runs and hit .400 in the same season. His 1924 average of .424 is has not been equaled since, one of five season where he surpassed .400. Also a fast player, he led the National in triples three times and had 30 inside-the-park home runs.

2. Eddie Collins: Philadelphia A’s (1906-1930): 64 points

–          .333 Avg. 47 HR, 1300 RBI, .424 OBP, 3315 Hits, 1821 Runs, 744 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 4 World Series, 1 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crowns, 0 HR Titles, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 15 awarded)

Over his 24 year career, he holds the record for most games at second base, with 2650. He was the first player to steal 80 bases in the post-1901 modern era of baseball. He stole six bases in one game, a Major League record, twice. An outstanding defender, he holds records for most assists (7,630) and chances (14,591) at second base.

3. Ron Carew: Minnesota Twins/California Angels (1967-1985): 62 points

–          .328 Avg. 92 HR, 1015 RBI, .393 OBP, 3053 Hits, 1424 Runs, 353 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 1 MVP, 1 ROY, 7 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crowns, 0 HR Titles, 18 All-Star Games

One of the great pure hitters in the game’s history, he won the 1972 American League batting title without hitting one home run, the only player to ever do this. Led the Majors in batting average from 1973 to 1975, one of two players to ever do so for such a stretch. He stole home 17 times in his career.

4. Nap Lajoie: Cleveland Indians (1896-1916): 59 points

–          .338 Avg. 83 HR, 1599 RBI, .424 OBP, 3242 Hits, 1504 Runs, 380 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 4 Batting Titles, 1 Triple Crown, 1 HR Title, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 13 awarded)

One of baseball’s first true stars at the turn of the century, he was virtually unchallenged as a hitter until Ty Cobb debuted. Finished with a .426 batting average in 1901. Elected to the 2nd class of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

5. Roberto Alomar: Toronto Blue Jays/Cleveland Indians (1988-2004): 50 points

–          .300 Avg. 210 HR, 1134 RBI, .371 OBP, 2724 Hits, 1508 Runs, 474 SB

–          10 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 12 All-Star Games

One of the greatest defenders in history, he has the most Gold Glove Awards ever awarded at the position. He made 12 consecutive All-Star games from 1990 to 2001.

In many regards, Alomar is the premier defensive second baseman to ever play.

6. Joe Morgan: Cincinnati Reds (1963-1984): 47 points

–          .271 Avg. 268 HR, 1133 RBI, .392 OBP, 2517 Hits, 1650 Runs, 689 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 2 MVPs, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 10 All-Star Games

Best known for his tenure as a member of the “Big Red Machine” of the mid 70’s. He was the first second baseman to win back-to-back MVP awards. He is one of the most balanced players in the history of the game, with 268 home runs, 449 doubles and 96 triples. He also stole his 689 bases at an outstanding 80% clip for his career.

7. Charlie Gehringer: Detroit Lions (1924-1942): 46.5 points

–          .320 Avg. 184 HR, 1427 RBI, .404 OBP, 2839 Hits, 1774 Runs, 181 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 1 MVP, 0 ROY, 1 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Titles, 6 All-Star Games

Reached 200 hits seven times and won the 1937 batting title with a .371 average. Was one of the best defenders ever at the position and led American League second basemen in fielding percentage seven times.

8. Craig Biggio: Houston Astros (1988-2007): 44 points

–          .281 Avg. 291 HR, 1175 RBI, .363 OBP, 3063 Hits, 1844 Runs, 414 SB

–          4 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Titles, 7 All-Star Games

The only player to accumulate 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases and 250 home runs in Major League history. A lifetime Astro, the 9th player to get 3,000 hits with one team. His 668 doubles are the most for a right handed batter ever and fifth best total ever.

9. Ryne Sandberg: Chicago Cubs (1981-1997): 42.5 points

–          .285 Avg. 282 HR, 1061 RBI, .344 OBP, 2386 Hits, 1318 Runs, 344 SB

–          9 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 1 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 1 HR Title, 10 All-Star Games

His .989 fielding percentage is the best of all-time at second base and he won 9 consecutive Gold Gloves. One of three players to have both a 40 home run and 50 stolen base season in their career.

10. Jackie Robinson: Brooklyn Dodgers (1947-1956): 35.5 points

–          .311 Avg. 137 HR, 734 RBI, .409 OBP, 1518 Hits, 947 Runs, 197 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 1 MVP, 1 ROY, 1 Batting Title, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 6 All-Star Games

Broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947, as the first black player in modern Major League Baseball. He was one of the greatest base runners in the history of the game, stealing home 19 times. Played in World Series in his 10 year career and was the first Rookie of the Year Award winner and first black MVP in 1949.

While noted for his cultural contributions, Robinson dominated in the 40's and 50's with his aggressive style of play.

Close runners-up: Red Schoendienst, Frankie Frisch, Bill Mazeroski, Lou Whittaker

Batters Study Rubric

Batting Average– .350 & above (10 pts), .349 to .330 (9 pts), .329 to .320 (8pts), .319 to .310 (7 pts), .309 to .300 (6 pts), .299 to 290 (5 pts), .289 to .280 (4pts), .279 to 270 (3 pts), .269 & below (2 pts)

Home Runs– 600 & above (10 pts), 599 to 550 (9 pts), 549 to 500 (8 pts), 499 to 450 (7 pts), 449 to 400 (6 pts), 399 to 350 (5 pts), 349 to 300 (4 pts), 299 to 250 (3 pts), 249 & below (2 pts)

Runs Batted In– 1900 & above (10 pts), 1899 to 1800 (9 pts), 1799 to 1700 (8 pts), 1699 to 1600 (7 pts), 1599 to 1500 (6 pts), 1499 to 1350 (5 pts), 1349 to 1200 (4 pts), 1199 to 1050 (3 pts), 1040 & below (2 pts)

On Base Percentage– .470 & above (10 pts), .469 to .450 (9 pts), .449 to .430 (8 pts), .429 to .410 (7 pts), .409 to .390 (6 pts), .389 to .370 (5 pts), .369 to .340 (4 pts), .339 to .320 (3 pts), .319 & below (2 pts)

Hits– 4000 & above (10 pts), 3999 to 3600 (9 pts), 3599 to 3300 (8 pts), 3299 to 3000 (7 pts), 2999 to 2700 (6 pts), 2699 to 2400 (5 pts), 2399 to 2100 (4 pts), 2099 to 2070 (3 pts), 2069 & below (2 pts)

Runs– 2100 & above (10 pts), 2099 to 2000 (9 pts), 1999 to 1900 (8 pts), 1899 to 1800 (7 pts), 1799 to 1700 (6 pts), 1699 to 1600 (5 pts), 1599 to 1500 (4 pts), 1499 to 1400 (3 pts), 1399 & below (2 pts)

Stolen Bases– 1,000 & above (10 pts), 999 to 850 (9 pts), 849 to 700 (8 pts), 699 to 550 (7 pts), 549 to 450 (6 pts), 449 to 300 (5 pts), 299 to 150 (4 pts), 149 to 50 (3 pts), 49 & below (2 pts)

Accolades

Gold Glove Awards: .5 point

World Series Championships: .5 points

Most Valuable Player Awards: 2 points

Rookie of the Year Awards: 1 point

Batting Titles: 1 point

Triple Crowns: 3 points

Home Run Champion: 1 point

*All-Star Appearances: 1 point

*Presumptive All-Star points are given to a player whose careers either proceeded or largely was played before the All-Star Game began in 1933. Formulated as 60% x the total number of years played.

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Comments
  1. […] and became the first player to be inducted into the Hall as a Toronto Blue Jay (but I’ve covered Alomar’s greatness before […]

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