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.
Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates
Wagner may be best known today for his famous baseball card, but he was one of the game’s elite players. On the very first Hall of Fame ballot, he tied Babe Ruth for the second-most votes (trailing only Ty Cobb), and is still considered the greatest shortstop to ever play the game. His playing career was in the days before uniform numbers, but #33 is retired in his honor as that is what he wore as a Pirates coach.
Eddie Murray, Baltimore Orioles
Mike Scott, Houston Astros
Right about now, I should be boarding a plane in Baltimore to come back home. If all went according to plan, I saw the Orioles play the Red Sox last night at Camden…of course, things don’t always go according to plan, so I’ll let you know if plans changed.
Earlier this year, my family and I drove through Pittsburgh on the way to visit family, and stopped to see the Reds play the Pirates at PNC Park. We only saw a few batters because of the rain, but I had fun visiting the park for the first time. The Pirates have some great statues outside the park, including the legendary Honus Wagner right out front…
“Pops” (Willie Stargell) is located on the third base side of PNC…
Roberto Clemente (and the bridge named after him) are out near left field…
There is also a bridge named after artist Andy Warhol, parallel to the Clemente bridge, but I didn’t get a photo of it. It’s basically the same bridge, and I didn’t see any signs calling them Clemente or Warhol. I wanted to go to the Warhol Museum, but it was closed the day we were in town.
Outside the right field side of the park is a statue of Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski…
There is also a street named after Maz, and since we were just walking around for a few hours before the game, I snapped a shot of the street sign…
It really shouldn’t have taken more than two months to write this post.
I just finished reading a book written by Michael O’Keeffe and Teri Thompson titled The Card: Collectors, Con Men, and the True Story of History’s Most Desired Baseball Card. I believe it was Steve who blogs at White Sox Cards that first alerted me to the book when he wrote a post on it about a month or so ago. A very interesting read, and sad, and sort of depressing. Read the rest of this entry