Top 5 Shortsops of All Time
Updated: Nov 18, 2020
1. Cal Ripken Jr.
He played shortstop and third baseman for 21 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Baltimore Orioles (1981–2001). One of his position's most offensively productive players, Ripken compiled 3,184 hits, 431 home runs, and 1,695 runs batted in during his career, and he won two Gold Glove Awards for his defense. He was a 19-time All-Star and was twice named American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP). Ripken holds the record for consecutive games played, 2,632, surpassing Lou Gehrig's streak of 2,130 that had stood for 56 years and that many deemed unbreakable. In 2007, he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility with 98.53% of votes, the sixth-highest election percentage ever.
2. Ozzie Smith
He played shortstop in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals from 1978 to 1996. Nicknamed "The Wizard" for his defensive brilliance, Smith set major league records for career assists (8,375) and double plays (1,590) by a shortstop as well as the National League (NL) record with 2,511 career games at the position; Smith won the NL Gold Glove Award for play at shortstop for 13 consecutive seasons (1980–1992). A 15-time All-Star, he accumulated 2,460 hits and 580 stolen bases during his career, and he won the NL Silver Slugger Award as the best-hitting shortstop in 1987. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2002.
3. Robin Yount
He spent his entire 20-year career in Major League Baseball as a shortstop and center fielder for the Milwaukee Brewers (1974–93). After being drafted in 1973, Yount advanced to the major leagues just one year later at the age of 18. He won two American League Most Valuable Player awards. In 1982, he led the Brewers to a World Series appearance. Yount was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 in his first year of eligibility.
4. Derek Jeter
A five-time World Series champion, Jeter is regarded as one of the primary contributors to the Yankees' success of the late 1990s and early 2000s for his hitting, base-running, fielding, and leadership. He is the Yankees' all-time career leader in hits (3,465), doubles (544), games played (2,747), stolen bases (358), times on base (4,716), plate appearances (12,602) and at bats (11,195). His accolades include 14 All-Star selections, five Gold Glove Awards, five Silver Slugger Awards, two Hank Aaron Awards, and a Roberto Clemente Award. Jeter was the 28th player to reach 3,000 hits and finished his career ranked sixth in MLB history in career hits and first among shortstops.
5. Barry Larkin
Larkin is considered one of the top players of his era, winning nine Silver Slugger awards, three Gold Glove awards, and the 1995 National League Most Valuable Player Award. He was selected to the Major League All-Star Game twelve times, and was one of the pivotal players on the 1990 Reds' World Series championship team. Larkin was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in January 2012 and was inducted on July 22, 2012.