The best second baseman in every team's history

April 8th, 2020

No one loves a good debate quite like baseball fans, and with that in mind, we asked each of our beat reporters to rank the top five players by position in the history of their franchise, based on each player's career with that franchise. With catchers and first basemen in the books, next up is second base.

These rankings are for fun and debate purposes only, and fans were able to participate in Twitter polls to vote for their favorites. Here is the No. 1 second baseman for every club, as chosen by's beat reporters.

American League East

Blue Jays: Roberto Alomar, 1991-95
Key fact: Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011
Over Alomar’s five seasons in Toronto, he led his team to two World Series championships while earning an All-Star nod and Gold Glove Award every single year. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, Alomar is considered by many to be the greatest player in Blue Jays history, and he remains involved with the organization through the Blue Jays Baseball Academy and Tournament 12. Blue Jays top 5 >

Orioles: Bobby Grich, 1970-76
Key fact: Franchise-best 36.0 bWAR among second basemen
There might not have been a better middle-infield tandem in the mid-1970s than Grich and Mark Belanger, each of whom won four consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1973-76. The entire O’s infield was excellent defensively, and Grich was the anchor on the right side, helping Baltimore to consecutive division championships in ’73 and ’74. Orioles top 5 >

Rays: Ben Zobrist, 2006-14
Key fact: Two-time All-Star
Zobrist played all over the field during his time with the Rays, but the position he played the most was second base, so we’ll label him as a second baseman. And he was the best the Rays have ever had. Rays top 5 >

Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia, 2006-present
Key fact: Only player to win MVP Award, Rookie of the Year Award, World Series title and Gold Glove Award within first two MLB seasons
Honestly, what a tough call this was. Ultimately, however, Pedroia’s body of work was just enough to put him a hair above Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr as the best to ever play second base for the Red Sox. How close was it? Pedroia’s Baseball Reference War is 51.6 compared to 51.1 for Doerr. Red Sox top 5 >

Yankees: Tony Lazzeri, 1926-37
Key fact: Holds AL record for most RBIs in a single game (11 -- May 24, 1936)
Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame posthumously in 1991, Lazzeri was a feared clutch hitter with power who served as a key component alongside Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in the fabled “Murderer’s Row” lineups for the Yankees. Lazzeri played for six AL-pennant winners during his dozen years in pinstripes, batting .293 with 169 home runs and 1,157 RBIs. Yankees top 5 >

AL Central

Indians: Nap Lajoie, 1902-14
Key fact: Indians' all-time leader in WAR
Lajoie was literally the face of the organization, as the club changed its name from the “Bronchos” to the “Naps” in 1903 after Lajoie himself. He remained with the club from 1902-14, and not only was he one of the biggest stars of his time, but his name still lives on in the Indians’ record book. He owns a 79.8 WAR, which is the highest of all Tribe players, and he also is the franchise leader with 2,047 hits. Indians top 5 >

Royals: Frank White, 1973-90
Key fact: Five All-Star Games, eight Gold Glove Awards
OK, so there’s absolutely no debate about this choice. Frank White was not only the best second baseman in Royals history, he is one of the greatest defensive second baseman in baseball history. White, the best success story of the once famed Royals Baseball Academy in the 1970s, had a storied career with the Royals, earning eight Gold Gloves and a Most Valuable Player Award in the 1980 American League Championship Series. White’s No. 20 is one of three retired numbers in Royals history. Royals top 5 >

Tigers: Charlie Gehringer, 1924-42
Key fact: 78.6 career fWAR ranks fifth all-time among MLB second basemen
Born and raised in Michigan, Gehringer played his entire 19-year career in Detroit, where his consistent greatness earned him the nickname “The Mechanical Man.” The Hall of Famer batted .306 or better in 13 of his 16 full Major League seasons, led the league in games played four times, played at least 150 games in nine seasons, and posted a .900+ OPS eight times. Tigers top 5 >

Twins: Rod Carew, 1967-78
Key fact: .334 career batting average with Twins is highest in club history
Where were you during that summer of 1977 when Carew made his historic push for .400? He ultimately fell short and “settled” for .388, but there’s no doubt the 18-time All-Star, seven-time batting champion, '77 AL MVP Award winner and first-ballot Hall of Famer was one of the best pure hitters in baseball history. Twins top 5 >

White Sox: Nellie Fox, 1950-63
Key fact: Won 1959 AL MVP Award
A strong and accurate case could be made for Fox or Eddie Collins as the top White Sox second baseman, and while Collins’ overall numbers are a little better, it’s Fox who gets the nod for having made a greater impact on the franchise overall. Fox, who was the 1959 AL MVP, had his No. 2 jersey retired in '76 and has a sculpture with shortstop Luis Aparicio on the Guaranteed Rate Field concourse. White Sox top 5 >

AL West

Angels: Bobby Grich, 1977-86
Key fact: 35.1 bWAR is fifth highest in club history
One of the most underrated players of his era, Grich was the first inductee into the Angels Hall of Fame in 1988, and many believe he has a strong case to be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, as well. Grich played the final 10 years of his career with the Angels after spending seven seasons with the Orioles, as the Long Beach, Calif., native signed as a free agent with the Halos before the ’77 season. Grich also tops the Orioles' list for all-time best second basemen. Angels top 5 >

Astros: Craig Biggio, 1988-2007
Key fact: Franchise’s all-time leader in games, hits, runs, total bases, doubles, extra-base hits
Drafted as a catcher, Biggio made the move to second base in 1992 and went on to win four Gold Glove Awards and four Silver Sluggers at the position. He was one of the most dominant second basemen of the '90s, helping the Astros win four division titles in five years (1997-99 and 2001), while also leading them to the postseason in ’04 and the World Series in ’05. Astros top 5 >

Athletics: Eddie Collins, 1906-14, '27-30
Key fact: His 55.9 fWAR is third highest in franchise history among position players (first among second basemen)
A member of the famed “$100,000 Infield" assembled by owner Connie Mack in the early 1900s, Collins was an elite hitter who went six straight seasons (1909-14) without batting lower than .324. It was in that same timeframe that the A’s became a dynasty, winning back-to-back World Series titles from 1910-11 and a third in ‘13. Athletics top 5 >

Mariners: Bret Boone, 1992-93, 2001-05
Key fact: His 141 RBIs in 2001 are the fourth most in a single season in Mariners history
A solid argument could be made for Robinson Canó, as well, but Boone gets a slight nod thanks to his huge production in the 116-win season in 2001, when he hit .331/.372/.578 with 37 homers and an AL-leading 141 RBIs. Mariners top 5 >

Rangers: Ian Kinsler, 2006-13
Key fact: Ranks in franchise top 10 in hits (1,145), runs (748), doubles (249), triples (23), home runs (156) and RBIs (539)
The choice for the Rangers' best all-time second baseman is closer than most people might realize. Kinsler was a star on the Rangers' two pennant-winning teams of 2010-11, but Julio Franco was also an outstanding second baseman, earning three All-Star selections and winning an AL batting title. Kinsler spent eight years with the Rangers while Franco was in Texas for five. That and the trips to the World Series tip the decision in favor of Kinsler. Rangers top 5 >

National League East

Braves: Marcus Giles, 2001-06
Key fact: Giles’ .809 OPS ranks first among all Braves second basemen (min. 300 games).
It’s not easy to strongly argue who has been the Braves' best second baseman of all-time. Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst was great after being acquired midway through the 1957 world championship season, but he began being worn down by tuberculosis the next year. Glenn Hubbard played the position more frequently than anybody else and Mark Lemke will always be linked to the greatness of the 1990s. Ozzie Albies might soon be considered the franchise’s best. But, for now, the distinction belongs to Giles, who is the only second baseman in franchise history to produce a 110 OPS+ in at least three seasons. Braves top 5 >

Marlins: Luis Castillo, 1996-2005
Key fact: Three-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove Award winner with Marlins
One of the best players in Marlins history, Castillo led the league in stolen bases in 2000 (62) and '03 (48). He was a three-time All-Star, won three consecutive Gold Glove Awards and was part of the franchise's two World Series championship teams. Castillo holds the Marlins' record hitting streak of 35 games, which went from May 8-June 21, 2002. Marlins top 5 >

Mets: Edgardo Alfonzo, 1995-2001
Key fact: His .318 average with runners in scoring position is highest in Mets history
Alfonzo might be the trickiest Met to rank because he appeared in 524 career games for the team at second base and 515 at third, spending three full seasons as the starter at each position. For the purposes of this exercise, Alfonzo is only eligible at one position; with that in mind, second base, which is statistically one of the weakest in Mets history, seems an excellent place to give Alfonzo his proper due. Mets top 5 >

Nationals: José Vidro, 1997-2004 (Expos/Nationals)
Key fact: Vidro leads all second basemen in franchise history with a 16.5 bWAR
The switch-hitting Vidro played for the Expos and Nationals for 10 of his 12 Major League seasons, slashing .301/.363/.459 with an .821 OPS, 1,280 hits, 550 RBIs and 115 home runs during that time. Vidro ranks among the top 10 in franchise history in doubles (third), hits (sixth), runs (seventh), RBIs (seventh), homers (ninth) and walks (ninth). Nationals top 5 >

Phillies: Chase Utley, 2003-15
Key fact: 62.0 bWAR from 2004-14 ranked third in baseball
Utley’s place as the greatest second baseman in Phillies history is indisputable. The only question these days is will he make the National Baseball Hall of Fame? He should certainly be in the conversation, as Utley’s 64.4 career bWAR and 62.9 fWAR rank 14th and 12th, respectively, among second basemen all-time. Phillies top 5 >

NL Central

Brewers: Jim Gantner, 1976-92
Key fact: No. 17 is not formally retired, but the Brewers have not issued it to anyone since
Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and Gantner played together for 15 years, the longest tenure for a trio of teammates in Major League history until the Yankees’ Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera broke the mark in 2010. Gantner was famously feisty, often tangling with opponents on the field and sometimes in the bar. He batted .274 in his career, and while he didn’t hit for much power -- Gantner’s homer off Oakland’s Dave Stewart on Sept. 3, 1991, was his first in 1,762 at-bats spanning 544 games -- Gantner became a steady hand at second base, thanks in part to a strong throwing arm he’d honed as a boy playing catcher. Brewers top 5 >

Cardinals: Rogers Hornsby, 1915-26, '33
Key fact: .359 average ranks first all-time in Cardinals history
Hornsby was a feisty player on and off the field who fine-tuned his life for one thing: Hitting. He won the Triple Crown in 1922 and ’25, won six of his seven batting titles with the Cardinals and won the first of his two MVP Awards in St. Louis. In 13 years with the Cardinals, Hornsby hit .359/.427/.568 with 193 home runs and 1,072 RBIs. Cardinals top 5 >

Cubs: Ryne Sandberg, 1982-97
Key fact: In the 22 seasons since Sandberg's retirement, 13 players have started at second base for the Cubs on Opening Day (none more than two years in a row)
At the time of his retirement, Sandberg owned the MLB record for homers by a second baseman, while also having set the mark for consecutive games without an error (123). His signature moment arrived during his 1984 NL MVP-winning season, when he hit two homers off Bruce Sutter in a five-hit, seven-RBI outburst to help the Cubs beat St. Louis. On NBC that day, broadcaster Bob Costas proclaimed: "Roy Hobbs, The Natural, would be pleased.” Cubs top 5 >

Pirates: Bill Mazeroski, 1956-72
Key fact: The Hall of Famer hit the first and only walk-off home run in World Series Game 7 history
The greatest defensive second baseman of his time, and perhaps of all-time, Mazeroski is ironically best remembered for an unmatched accomplishment at the plate. The 10-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove Award winner remains the only player in Major League history to hit a walk-off home run in Game 7 of the World Series, which he did to lead the Bucs past the Yankees in 1960. Pirates top 5 >

Reds: Joe Morgan, 1972-79
Key fact: His 98.9 career WAR is second all-time at second base (behind only Rogers Hornsby)
When Morgan was acquired from the Astros after the 1971 season in an eight-player trade, it gave the Big Red Machine the extra gear it needed to create a true dynasty. Morgan is the Reds’ all-time leader with 406 steals, and he led the league in on-base percentage four times with the Reds. The pinnacle years for both came during the '75 and ’76 World Series championship seasons for the Reds, as Morgan earned consecutive NL MVP Awards. Reds top 5 >

NL West

D-backs: Ketel Marte, 2017-present
Key fact: Selected as the 2019 NL All-Star starter at second base
In a close race with Jay Bell, Marte gets the nod here. Last season was a breakout one for the 26-year-old Marte, as he finished sixth in the Majors in fWAR among position players with a 7.1 mark, trailing only Mike Trout, Alex Bregman, Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger and Marcus Semien. For his efforts, Marte finished fourth in the NL MVP race. D-backs top 5 >

Dodgers: Jackie Robinson, 1947-56
Key fact: Only player whose uniform number is retired across MLB
A true hero, legend, trailblazer and leader -- and that’s before we even get into Robinson’s stats. Yes, he broke in as a first baseman and rarely played second base over the final four seasons of his 10-year career, but Robinson was a second baseman in four of his six All-Star seasons, including his NL MVP-winning year of 1949. He led the league in WAR three times as a second baseman. Dodgers top 5 >

Giants: Jeff Kent, 1997-2002
Key fact: Hit 351 of his 377 career home runs as a second baseman, a Major League record for the position
Kent played for six teams over his 17-year career, but he enjoyed his most prolific stretch during his tenure with the Giants. Acquired in a blockbuster trade that sent the popular Matt Williams to the Indians in 1996, Kent teamed up with Barry Bonds to give the Giants their most fearsome power duo since the Willie Mays-Willie McCovey era. Kent slashed .297/.368/.535 and averaged 29 home runs and 115 RBIs over his six years in San Francisco. Giants top 5 >

Padres: Mark Loretta, 2003-05
Key fact: Loretta, who hit .314 in three seasons with San Diego, and Tony Gwynn are the only qualifying Padres with a batting average above .300
Overall, Loretta vs. Roberto Alomar isn’t much of a debate. Alomar is a Hall of Famer, and while Loretta was solid, he wasn't quite on Alomar’s level. Still, compare their three-year tenures specifically in San Diego, and it’s Loretta who comes out on top. His 2003 and ‘04 seasons are the most prolific for any second baseman in franchise history. Alomar, meanwhile, was very good in San Diego, but he would reach another level after being traded to Toronto ahead of the 1991 season. Padres top 5 >

Rockies: DJ LeMahieu, 2012-18
Key facts: He was a two-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner and won a batting title with Colorado
From 2013-18, LeMahieu tallied 44 defensive runs saved (DRS), according to Fangraphs -- by far the most in the NL. He also won the NL batting title in '16, hitting .348 with a .911 OPS. LeMahieu’s 877 games and 849 starts for the Rockies at second base were more than twice as many as the next player on the list (Eric Young, 413 and 389). Rockies top 5 >