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The best shortstop in each team's history

April 21, 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. We've already tackled catchers, first basemen,

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. We've already tackled catchers, first basemen, second basemen and third basemen. Next up are shortstops.

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

American League East

Blue Jays: Tony Fernandez
Key fact: 37.5 career bWAR with Blue Jays, first among shortstops
Fernandez, who died this past February at the age of 57, is in a class of his own, given his 37.5 career Wins Above Replacement with the Blue Jays, per Baseball-Reference, is nearly five times higher than the next closest shortstop in club history. A gifted defender who ranks first in franchise history in games played (1,450) and hits (1,583), Fernandez will live on as one of Toronto's all-time greats. Blue Jays top 5 >

Orioles: Cal Ripken Jr.
Key facts: 19 All-Star selections in 21 seasons; holds all-time record for consecutive games played (2,632)
This one is easy. For 21 seasons, Baltimore was the home of baseball’s Iron Man, where Ripken left a legacy that still makes his name synonymous with the franchise. Ripken is not just the Orioles’ best shortstop ever, he’s the best shortstop of the last 100 years, period, among individuals who played at least half their career games at the position. Orioles top 5 >

Rays: Julio Lugo
Key fact: Leads all Rays shortstops with 550 career hits
In four seasons with the Rays, Lugo hit .287, which ranks sixth in franchise history. Lugo is also ninth in hits (550), sixth in on-base percentage (.350), ninth in runs (283) and 10th in doubles (107) and triples (15). Lugo produced 13.5 bWAR for the Rays, the highest of any shortstop. Rays top 5 >

Red Sox: Nomar Garciaparra
Key fact: 41.1 bWAR from 1997-2003
Injuries took their toll eventually, but Garciaparra's early career brilliance made him an iconic figure with Boston. Garciaparra opened with a stellar Rookie of the Year Award-winning season in 1997 (122 runs, 209 hits, 30 homers, 22 steals), finished second in the ‘98 MVP voting and won back-to-back batting titles by hitting .357 in ‘99 and .372 in ‘00). Red Sox top 5 >

Yankees: Derek Jeter
Key facts: Won five World Series titles, ranks sixth all time with 3,465 regular-season hits
Jeter’s illustrious career featured five World Series championships, seven American League pennants, 14 All-Star selections, five Gold Glove Awards and 3,465 hits, sixth all-time. In addition to his highlight-reel moments -- his leadoff homer in Game 4 of the 2000 World Series, the 2001 Flip Play against the Athletics, a bloody 2004 dive into the seats against the Red Sox, a homer for his 3,000th hit in 2011 -- Jeter was the 1996 AL Rookie of the Year, and both the All-Star Game MVP and the World Series MVP in 2000. Yankees top 5 >

AL Central

Indians: Lou Boudreau
Key fact: Was a player/manager for the Indians during the 1948 World Series season
MLB.com has been going through each position over the last few weeks. No race has been closer than this one. Boudreau and the No. 2 player on this list both have convincing cases to reign supreme, but the former player/manager of the Tribe is going to get the nod with an MVP Award and a World Series ring backing his case. Of all Indians players, Boudreau places fourth in bWAR (61.6) behind Nap Lajoie (79.8), Tris Speaker (74.3) and Bob Feller (65.2), and ranks far above the second-closest shortstop, Joe Sewell (45.4). Indians top 5 >

Royals: Freddie Patek
Key fact: Stole 336 bases during nine years with the Royals
Patek’s physical stature -- 5 foot 4 -- in no way diminished his impact on the Royals of that time. The shortstop was crucial to the Royals’ rise from an expansion team to a perennial playoff contender in the late 1970s. In fact, manager Whitey Herzog called him the best “artificial turf shortstop” he ever managed. Royals top 5 >

Tigers: Alan Trammell
Key facts: Six-time All-Star, four Gold Gloves
Though it took two decades for Trammell's induction into the Hall of Fame, Detroit fans have been preaching the greatness of his 20-year career all along. Trammell's 63.7 career WAR by the Fangraphs formula ranks in the top 14 all-time for Major League shortstops, and his 70.7 WAR by Baseball-Reference ranks 64th all-time for Major League position players. Tigers top 5 >

Twins: Roy Smalley
Key fact: Played 1,148 games with the Twins, more than any other shortstop
The club's all-time leader among shortstops in home runs, Smalley offered a well-rounded balance of hitting, power and defense at the position that would prove to be rare. He first arrived in Minnesota with a splash in the trade that sent future Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven to the Rangers, and he made the next six Opening Day starts at the position. Twins top 5 >

White Sox: Luke Appling
Key facts: All-time franchise leader in games played (2,422) and hits (2,749)
A case could be made for Appling as one of the greatest players in White Sox history over his 20 years with the team. A two-time batting champ and seven-time All-Star, Appling was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964, and his No. 4 was retired by the White Sox in '75, marking the first number to be retired by the franchise. White Sox top 5 >

AL West

Angels: Jim Fregosi
Key fact: Made six All-Star teams with the Angels
Before Mike Trout came along, Fregosi was the best position player in franchise history. He was inducted into the Angels Hall of Fame in 1989 and also had his No. 11 retired by the organization in '98. Angels top 5 >

Astros: Carlos Correa
Key fact: Ranks first in franchise history in postseason RBIs (33)
While injuries have slowed his career arc, Correa has already established himself as the greatest shortstop to wear an Astros uniform. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, Correa won the ’15 American League Rookie of the Year, started the ’17 All-Star Game and is the Astros career leader (102) and single-season leader (24) in home runs by a shortstop. He's also a proven postseason performer, recording 11 homers, 11 doubles and 33 RBIs in 50 career playoff games. Astros top 5 >

Athletics: Bert Campaneris
Key fact: Produced 49.1 bWAR with A's, highest among shortstops
A five-time All-Star, Campaneris stood out on star-studded A’s clubs that won three-straight World Series titles from 1972-74. He was the AL’s hit leader in 1968 and led the league in stolen bases six times over 13 seasons with the A’s. Athletics top 5 >

Mariners: Alex Rodriguez
Key fact: His 10.4 bWAR in 2000 is highest in franchise history for any position
Though many Mariners fans are still bitter that Rodriguez chose to sign with the Rangers for 10 years and $252 million in free agency, there’s no question he’s the top shortstop in Mariners history. In his seven years in Seattle, Rodriguez posted a .309/.374/.561 line with 189 homers and 595 RBIs. All those are No. 1 in franchise history for shortstops, along with his games played (790), at-bats (3,126), hits (966), doubles (194), runs (627) and stolen bases (133). Mariners top 5 >

Rangers: Michael Young
Key fact: Had six 200-hit seasons with Rangers
Young played multiple positions with the Rangers but was a shortstop for the majority of his seven All-Star seasons and won his only Gold Glove Award at that spot. A lifetime .300 hitter, Young is the Rangers' all-time leader in games played (1,823), hits (2,230), doubles (415), triples (55) and runs scored (1,085). Rangers top 5 >

National League East

Braves: Johnny Logan
Key fact: Leads Braves shortstops in career hits (1,329)
Some might feel this distinction belongs to Hall of Famer Rabbit Maranville, who helped the Braves win their first World Series. Others might vividly remember the defensive greatness Andrelton Simmons displayed at the start of this decade and believe he should top this list, despite playing just a little more than three years in Atlanta. But when determining which shortstop had the best extended tenure in franchise history, you’ve got to go with Logan, who helped the Milwaukee Braves win the 1957 World Series and capture another National League pennant the following year. Braves top 5 >

Marlins: Hanley Ramirez
Key fact: Only player in Marlins history to be voted by fans to start All-Star Game three times
Acquired from the Red Sox in the trade that sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston, Ramirez was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2006 and the NL batting champion (.342 average) in '09, when he finished as the runner-up to Albert Pujols in the NL MVP voting. From 2006-10, Ramirez averaged 187 hits, 25 homers, 78 RBIs, 112 runs and 39 steals per season while hitting .313 in that span. Marlins top 5 >

Mets: José Reyes
Key fact: Produced 27.9 bWAR with Mets, 10th most in franchise history
Reyes busted the top off what historically has been the weakest position in franchise history, making four National League All-Star teams, winning the NL batting title in 2011 and setting franchise records for triples and stolen bases by wide margins. Before Reyes came along, Bud Harrelson was the only shortstop in Mets history to post at least 5.2 career bWAR with the team. Mets top 5 >

Nationals: Trea Turner
Key fact: Ranks second in bWAR (14.1) among Nationals/Expos shortstops
Only 26 years old, Turner has made a major impact on the Nationals in his five seasons at the big league level. With his offensive production, Turner ranks first in batting average (.291), slugging (.467), OPS (.815) and stolen bases (159), second in bWAR (14.1) and triples (25), third in runs (332) and fourth in homers (63), while being 10th in games played (482) among Nationals/Expos shortstops. Nationals top 5 >

Phillies: Jimmy Rollins
Key fact: Franchise leader in hits (2,306)
Rollins finished his Phillies career with more hits (2,306) than any other player in franchise history. He also won four Gold Glove Awards and made three NL All-Star teams. But the biggest reason why Rollins is a Phillies legend is that he took the opportunity in January 2007 to say that they were the team to beat in the NL East, then delivered by leading Philadelphia to a division title and winning the NL MVP Award. Phillies top 5 >

NL Central

Brewers: Robin Yount
Key fact: Tallied 1,650 of his 3,142 career hits as a shortstop
It took Yount a few years to gain a foothold in the Majors after debuting at age 18 in 1974, but once he did he blossomed into a two-time AL MVP Award winner who topped 3,000 hits over 20 seasons in a Brewers uniform and made it to the Hall of Fame in '99. A shoulder injury forced Yount to center field in 1985, but as a shortstop over his first 11 seasons, he cemented himself as the best player in Brewers history. Brewers top 5 >

Cardinals: Ozzie Smith
Key fact: Won 11 Gold Glove Awards and made 14 All-Star teams with Cardinals
Known as “The Wizard of Oz,” sometimes just simply as “The Wizard,” and always for his backflips, Smith combined athletic ability with acrobatic skill and entered the Hall of Fame in 2002 as one of the greatest defensive shortstops of all time. His highlight reel is full of spectacular defensive plays, but don’t forget his signature highlight with the bat: the “Go Crazy, Folks” walk-off home run in Game 5 of the 1985 NLCS. Cardinals top 5 >

Cubs: Ernie Banks
Key fact: Was the first player in NL history to win consecutive MVP Awards (1958-59)
If you were to consider a Mount Rushmore of Cubs legends, the list should begin with Banks. The shortstop was affectionately known as Mr. Cub by fans, and the nickname made its way onto Banks’ Hall of Fame plaque. Banks became the Cubs' first black player when he debuted in 1953, and no one in franchise history has played more games, compiled more at-bats or connected for as many extra-base hits. And yet, Banks might be remembered more for his affable personality than for his on-field achievements. His joyful refrain of “Let’s play two!” remains a part of the baseball lexicon to this day. Cubs top 5 >

Pirates: Honus Wagner
Key fact: Produced 120.1 bWAR with Pirates, the most in franchise history
Arguably the greatest shortstop of all time, Wagner is far and away the best shortstop in Pirates history and, with all due respect to the iconic Roberto Clemente, the best overall player in the 133-year history of Pittsburgh’s National League club. In 1936, “The Flying Dutchman” was part of the Hall of Fame’s first class along with Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson. Pirates top 5 >

Reds: Barry Larkin
Key fact: Produced 70.5 bWAR, the third most in franchise history
A Cincinnati native, Larkin played his entire career -- 19 seasons -- for his hometown team and was a 12-time All-Star, the 1995 NL MVP, and the winner of three Gold Gloves and nine Silver Slugger Awards. In 1996, he slugged a career-high 33 home runs with 36 steals, becoming the first shortstop and second Red ever to have a 30/30 season. Overall, Larkin slashed .295/.371/.444 for his career with 2,340 hits, 1,329 runs scored and 379 stolen bases. Reds top 5 >

NL West

D-backs: Stephen Drew
Key fact: Ranks first among D-backs shortstops in hits (776)
Drew likely would have been the No. 1 pick in the 2004 MLB Draft, but because he was represented by Scott Boras and was demanding a large signing bonus, he slipped to 15, where the D-backs scooped him up. Drew made his big league debut during the 2006 season and became the team’s primary shortstop after that. Drew hit at least 12 home runs in every season from 2007-10, including a career-high 21 in '08. D-backs top 5 >

Dodgers: Pee Wee Reese
Key fact: Finished in the top 10 in the NL MVP voting eight times
Reese was not only a Hall of Fame shortstop, but a Hall of Fame human. He was a 10-time All-Star despite missing three seasons serving in the Navy. The Kentuckian also put his arm around Jackie Robinson, literally and figuratively, as a reassuring sign that he wasn’t alone in his fight against racism. Dodgers top 5 >

Giants: Travis Jackson
Key fact: Hit over .300 in six different seasons
Jackson spent his entire 15-year career with the New York Giants, batting .291 with 1,326 games played at shortstop, the most of any player in franchise history. The Giants won four National League pennants and the 1933 World Series title over that span, with Jackson serving as the defensive lynchpin for the infield. In 1934, Jackson was selected as the NL’s starting shortstop in the second annual All-Star Game. Giants top 5 >

Padres: Khalil Greene
Key fact: Ranks first among Padres shortstops in homers (84)
Give it a few more seasons, and Fernando Tatis Jr. might make his way to the top of this list. But for now, Greene gets the nod. Until Tatis’ brilliant 2019 campaign, Greene’s peak hadn’t been touched by any other shortstop in franchise history. He finished second for the 2004 NL Rookie of the Year Award. Then he sparked San Diego to a pair of division titles in 2005 and ‘06 before recording his best season in ‘07 (27 HR, 44 2B, 97 RBIs). Padres top 5 >

Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki
Key fact: Produced 31.5 bWAR with Rockies, the third most in franchise history
Tulowitzki’s 10 seasons of outsize offensive production, highlight defensive work and leadership -- especially on postseason squads of 2007 and '09 -- give him the nod. It’ll take some doing for Trevor Story to close the gap. Tulowitzki performed well for 10 seasons when healthy, although injuries wiped out most of 2012 and 2014. His 31.5 bWAR with the Rockies has been surpassed by only Todd Helton’s 61.7 (17 seasons) and Larry Walker’s 48.3 (10 seasons). Rockies top 5 >