Who is the greatest shortstop of all-time?
The shortstop position seems to evolve every few years. At times, the shortstop is expected to be a defensive genius such as Ozzie Smith; at others an offensive powerhouse like Ernie Banks; sometimes he is expected to be a jack-of-all-trades such as Cal Ripken, who, according to my calculations, is the greatest shortstop ever with a score of 314.62.
Ripken beats out legends Honus Wagner (272.75), Banks (261.93), Robin Yount (242.25), and modern-day sensation Derek Jeter (231.11) who still has time to improve his #5 position on the list. The Wizard of Oz (226.72), Barry Larkin (220.78), George Davis (219.01), and Joe Cronin (213.3) come in at #6-9. The only eligible non-Hall of Famer in the top 10 is Alan Trammell (210.61), affirming my long-standing belief that he should have a plaque among the greats.
Other Hall of Fame shortstops that fall outside the top ten include Luke Appling (#11, 210.46), Luis Aparicio (#12, 208.77), and Pee Wee Reese (#14, 205.02). Bill Dahlen, a late-nineteenth/early-twentieth century star, comes in at #13 with a score of 207.99. When we remove awards and All-Star seasons, Dahlen jumps all the way up to #6 on the list, ahead of Jeter, Smith, Larkin and more.
Since Dahlen played so long ago, he is all but forgotten when discussing overlooked greats. In 2012, the Veterans Committee voted to induct Deacon White into the Hall of Fame this year. Dahlen received 10 of 16 votes, 2 votes short of election. This is an improvement over past elections; perhaps his time will come soon.