Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Giants' Top 5 shortstops: Guardado's take

@mi_guardado
April 21, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO -- 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 their career while playing for that club. These rankings

SAN FRANCISCO -- 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 their career while playing for that club. These rankings are for fun and debate purposes only. If you don’t agree with the order, participate in the Twitter poll to vote for your favorite at this position.

Giants' All-Time Team: C | 1B | 2B | 3B

Here is Maria Guardado’s ranking of the top five shortstops in Giants history. Next week: left fielders.

1. Travis Jackson, 1922-36
Key fact: Jackson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.

Travis 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. In 1934, Jackson was selected as the National League’s starting shortstop in the second All-Star Game. He batted over .300 in six seasons and crushed a career-high 21 home runs in ’29.

2. George Davis, 1893-1901, ’03
Key fact: Davis was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.

Acquired from the Cleveland Spiders in exchange for Hall of Famer Buck Ewing in 1893, George Davis thrived during his 10 seasons with the Giants, batting .332 with a 132 OPS+. The switch-hitter topped the .300 mark in nine consecutive seasons, an impressive run of production that was aided by the league’s decision to move the pitcher’s mound back to 60 feet, 6 inches. In his first season in New York, Davis hit .355 with 11 home runs, 119 RBIs, and a career-high 27 triples. He served as a player/manager for the Giants in 1895, 1900 and 1901 before winning the 1906 World Series as a member of the “Hitless Wonders” White Sox.

3. Brandon Crawford, 2011-present
Key fact: Crawford became the first shortstop to hit a grand slam in the postseason in the 2014 National League Wild Card Game against the Pirates.

A fourth-round Draft pick of the Giants in 2008 out of UCLA, Brandon Crawford broke into the big leagues in stunning fashion, launching a grand slam in his Major League debut against the Brewers on May 27, 2011. It proved to be a sign of good things to come. Crawford developed into a foundational piece of the World Series-winning teams of ’12 and ‘14, a dream come true for the Bay Area native who grew up rooting for the Giants.

In 2015, Crawford became the first Giants player to win a Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger Award in the same season since Barry Bonds in 1997. His resume features two All-Star selections, including the starting nod at shortstop for the NL in 2018. The three-time Gold Glove winner leads all San Francisco-era players with 1,221 games at shortstop, leaving him only 106 shy of surpassing Jackson’s franchise mark.

4. Art Fletcher, 1909-20
Key fact: Fletcher made 1,240 appearances at shortstop for the Giants, the second-most in franchise history.

Art Fletcher spent the first 12 years of his career with the New York Giants, batting .275 while emerging as a defensive anchor for the club. With Fletcher as their starting shortstop, the Giants won three consecutive NL pennants from 1911-13. They captured another one in ’17, when Fletcher was appointed team captain by manager John McGraw. Known for his feistiness, Fletcher batted a career-high .319 with a 129 OPS+ in ’11. His tenure with the Giants came to an end when he was dealt to the Phillies in exchange for Hall of Famer Dave Bancroft in ’20.

5. Rich Aurilia, 1995-2003, 2007-09
Key fact: Aurilia is one of three San Francisco-era players to accrue 200 hits in a single season, joining Willie Mays and Bobby Bonds.

A 24th-round Draft pick of the Rangers in 1992, Rich Aurilia was traded to the Giants as a Minor Leaguer in 1994. He made his Major League debut the following year and soon established himself as the greatest offensive shortstop in San Francisco history. Aurilia led NL shortstops in home runs and RBIs in three consecutive seasons from 1999 to 2001, becoming the first player to accomplish the feat since the Reds’ Dave Concepción. He delivered an All-Star campaign in ’01, when he hit .324 with a career-high 37 home runs and 97 RBIs. Aurilia leads all San Francisco shortstops with 1,226 hits and holds the Giants’ single-season home run record at his position with 37.

Honorable mentions
Dick Bartell spent eight seasons with the New York Giants and delivered his finest season in 1937, when he hit .306 with 14 home runs and 38 doubles and earned his second career All-Star nod.

Alvin Dark was a three-time All-Star and drew NL MVP votes in three of his seven seasons in New York. He finished as high as fifth in 1954, when he batted .293 with 20 home runs and helped the Giants win the World Series. Dark later managed the Giants in San Francisco from 1961-64, guiding the club to the NL pennant in ’62.

Chris Speier, a native of Alameda, Calif., was named an All-Star in three consecutive seasons from 1972-1974.

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.