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Best of the Best: Unveiling the Top 10 Greatest Shortstops in History

Welcome to our blog, where we delve into the fascinating world of sports and highlight some of the greatest athletes of all time. In this post, we turn our attention to the position of shortstop in baseball, widely considered one of the most challenging and important positions on the field.

Over the years, there have been many legendary shortstops who have amazed fans with their incredible athleticism, agility, and strategic thinking. From turning double plays to making game-saving catches, the shortstop is a key player in every baseball game.

In this post, we will unveil our top 10 list of the greatest shortstops of all time. From the early days of baseball to the modern era, these players have left an indelible mark on the game and inspired generations of fans with their amazing skills.

We’ll take a closer look at their impressive statistics, highlight some of their most memorable moments on the field, and examine the impact they’ve had on the sport of baseball as a whole. Whether you’re a die-hard baseball fan or simply appreciate greatness in all its forms, this post is sure to provide you with a fascinating glimpse into the rich history of this beloved sport.

10. Arky Vaughan

Top 10 best shortstops of all time
Arky Vaughn takes batting practice at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh before a game on 31 August 1935. Photo: Mark Rucker
Source: Getty Images
  • Years active: 1932-43, ’47, ’48
  • Games at the position: 1,485 of 1,817
  • Playoff appearances: 1947
  • Fielding percentage: .951
  • Key offensive stats: .318 average, 1,173 runs, and 128 triples

Even though Arky’s defense was not as incredible as some other players on this list, the offensive punch he delivered still leaves him ranked among the best shortstops ever. As a perennial All-Star during his prime, Vaughan hit at least .300 in all but two seasons of his 14-year career.

9. Robin Yount

Braves best shortstops of all time
Robin Yount of the Milwaukee Brewers poses for a portrait circa on 1January 1983. Photo: Rich Pilling
Source: Getty Images
  • Years active: 1974-1993
  • Games at the position: 1,479 of 2,856
  • Playoff appearances: 1981-82
  • Fielding percentage: .964
  • Key offensive stats: .286 average, 885 runs, 323 doubles, and 142 stolen bases*
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At the ninth position sits another legend baseball has seen, Robin Yount. The player spent the first 11 of his 20 seasons in the position before closing his career in the outfield. While in the position, Robin notably enjoyed his best season in 1982, when he was made American League’s MVP.

Additionally, his team, Brewers, reached the World Series competitions thanks to him.

8. Alan Trammell

Best Angels shortstop of all time
Alan Trammell of the Detroit Tigers bats during an MLB game at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois on 1 January 1977. Photo: Ron Vesely
Source: Getty Images
  • Years active: 1977-96
  • Games at the position: 2,139 of 2,293
  • Playoff appearances: 1984 and ’87
  • Fielding percentage: .977
  • Key offensive stats: .285 average, 412 doubles, and 1,231 runs,

Baseball’s all-time legend, Alan Trammell, spent 20 years playing in the position in question for the Tigers while teaming up with his teammate, Lou Whitaker, for 19 years. As a result, the two formed the longest-tenured double-play combination in baseball history.

Trammell’s most notable year was in 1987 when he hit .343 with 28 home runs and 105 RBI.

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7. Barry Larkin

Top 10 best shortstops of all time
Barry Larkin of the Cincinnati Reds running to third base against the Milwaukee Brewers in Miller Park on 8 April 2001 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo: Ronald C Modra
Source: Getty Images
  • Years active: 1986-2004
  • Games at the position: 2,085 of 2,180
  • Playoff appearances: 1990 and ’95
  • Fielding percentage: .975
  • Key offensive stats: .295 average, 1,329 runs, 441 doubles, and 379 stolen bases

At the seventh position sits Cincinnati’s Barry Larkin, who was one of the best players in the 1990s, and the monstrous home overshadowed his well-rounded game-run hitters of the era. Larkin’s slick fielding skills were impressive, especially after taking up the position.

During his MVP season in 1995, Barry hit .319 with 15 home runs, 29 doubles, 98 runs, and 51 steals. Moreover, he led the Reds into the postseason and helped Cincinnati win the 1990 World Series.

6. Luke Appling

Braves best shortstops of all time
Luke Appling of the Chicago White Sox takes batting practice before a game at Comiskey Park on 1 January 1940. Photo: Mark Rucker
Source: Getty Images
  • Years active: 1930-42, 1944-50
  • Games at the position: 2,218 of 2,422
  • Fielding percentage: .948
  • Key offensive stats: .310 average, 440 doubles, and 1,319 runs
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Famously dubbed Old Aches and Pains, Luke was an American shortstop in MLB who played his entire career for the Chicago White Sox from 1930 to 1950. Later after his career spell with the Chicago Whites, he was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964.

Even though he passed away on 3 January 1991, his legacy and input are still cherished and remembered.

5. George Wright

Ranking of the best shortstops of all time
George Wright of Boston Red Stockings poses for a portrait in the Warren Studios in Boston on 1 January 1874. Photo: Mark Rucker
Source: Getty Images
  • Years active: 1871-82
  • Games at the position: 530 of 591
  • Fielding percentage: .870
  • Key offensive stats: .301 average, 60 triples, and 665 runs

At the fifth position sits a legend, George Wright, who incredibly graced the baseball pitch in the 18th century. He debuted professionally when he played for the Cincinnati Red Stockings. It was only a matter of time before he was named the best player on the team.

He then later helped the Boston Red Stockings to championships in four of the first five seasons of the National Association (1872-75).

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4. Ozzie Smith

Best Astros shortstop of all time
MLB baseball player Ozzie Smith attends the 15th Annual Harold and Carole Pump Foundation Gala at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on 7 August 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Paul Redmond
Source: Getty Images
  • Years active: 1978-96
  • Games at the position: 2,511 of 2,573
  • Playoff appearances: 1982, ‘85, 87, and ‘96
  • Fielding percentage: .978
  • Key offensive stats: .262 average, 1,257 runs, 402 doubles, and 580 stolen bases

Famously known as Wizard of Oz, he was nicknamed following his tremendous defensive abilities while on the baseball pitch. Ozzie, the back-flipping All-Star, was a vital member of the Cardinals’ infield for 15 years and won an unprecedented 13 straight Gold Gloves from 1980 to 1992.

Even though he is no longer active on the baseball pitch, Ozzie is still one of the best shortstops of all time.

3. Derek Jeter

MLB's best shortstops of all time
Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees runs to first base during a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Yankee Stadium on 26 May 2007 in the Bronx, New York. Photo: John Capella
Source: Getty Images
  • Years active: 1995-2014
  • Games at the position: 2,674 of 2,747
  • Playoff appearances: 1996–2007 and 2009–12
  • Fielding percentage: .976
  • Key Offensive Stats: .310 average, 1,923 runs, 3,465 hits, and 544 doubles

Considered one of the faces of modern baseball, Derek Jeter’s spectacular career is exemplified by solid defensive and offensive skills that always made him stand out. Derek Jeter is renowned for helping the Yankees proceed to five World Series championships in seven chances.

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2. Cal Ripken Jr

Ranking of the best shortstops of all time
Donald Fehr, MLB Executive Director (c) with Cal Ripken Jr (L) of the Baltimore Orioles at an exhibition on 1 February 1993 in Miami, Florida. Photo: Ronald C Modra
Source: Getty Images
  • Years active: 1981-2001
  • Games at position: 2,302 of 3,001
  • Playoff appearances: 1983, ‘96, and ‘97
  • Fielding percentage: .979
  • Key offensive stats: .276 average, 1,695 RBI, 431 home runs, and 1,647 runs

At the second position sits Cal Ripken Jr, an American-based former baseball shortstop, and third baseman who played for 21 seasons in Major League Baseball, MLB, for the Baltimore Orioles from 1981 to 2001.

Cal Ripken is renowned for compiling a total of 3,184 hits, 431 home runs, and 1,695 runs during his entire career.

1. Honus Wagner

Top 10 best shortstops of all time
Honus Wagner strikes a batting pose in Forbes Field in Pittsburgh before a game on 1 January 1909. Photo: Mark Rucker
Source: Getty Images
  • Years active: 1897-1917
  • Games at the position: 1,887 of 2,794
  • Playoff appearances: 1903 and ‘09
  • Fielding percentage: .940
  • Key offensive stats: .328 average, 3,420 hits, 1,732 RBI, 1,739 runs, 643 doubles, 252 triples, and 723 stolen bases

Perhaps one of the most talented and skilled players in the sport’s earliest years, meet Honus Wagner. For starters, if this were a list of players with impressive career stats, Wagner would still top.

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An eight-time batting champion, Honus severally drove the association in duplicates, takes, RBI, and triples. He was famously dubbed the Flying Dutchman following his incredible speed abilities. Even though the player passed away, most baseball historians consider him the greatest shortstop and one of the greatest players ever.

Who is the best Angels’ shortstop of all time?

Jose Antonio Iglesias Aleman is currently the best Angels shortstop. He is a Cuban-based professional baseball athlete who debuted in 2011 with the Boston Red Sox.

Best shortstops of all time
Jose Iglesias of the Colorado Rockies throws to first during the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on 30 August 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Todd Kirkland
Source: Getty Images

Who is the best Astros shortstop of all time?

Jeremy Joan Pena, a Dominican-American national, is currently ranked as the best shortstop in Houston Astros, which selected him in the third round of the 2018 MLB draft. Pena made his MLB debut in 2022.

Who is the Braves’ best shortstop of all time?

Dansby Swanson is ranked as the greatest shortstop in the Atlanta Braves team. He is renowned for leading the team to its fifth straight NL East title.

Although some of the best shortstops of all time are late, it does not, in one way or another, deter the fact that they were incredible and skilled players during their career-active days. Moreover, most of them bear accolades no player has managed to break.

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