25 All-Time Best Shortstops in Baseball History

25 All-Time Best Shortstops in Baseball History

Shortstops are typically known for their quick reflexes, arm accuracy, contact, and speed, but the best shortstops of all-time took those skills to the next level – and added some skills in the process. They not only embody what the position stands for, but what the sport stands for.

A shortstop positions himself between second and third base. He is generally considered the captain of the infield, which means he leads the way with communication – especially with balls hit in the air. This communication can be the difference between a win and a loss in baseball.

If you plan on playing this position, expect to play a crucial role in double plays. When a ball is hit to the left, shortstops are usually the one fielding it and throwing it to second base for the first out. When hit to the right, the shortstop usually has to cover second base for the first out. 

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Ranking the Best Shortstops in Baseball History

25 All-Time Best Shortstops in Baseball History
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The MLB has been around since 1876, making it the oldest major professional sports league in the world. Over the past 140+ years, the league and its many wonderful fans have witnessed a number of superstar shortstops display their talent on baseball’s largest stage in the world. 

Some shortstops made a name for themselves with their bat, some did it with their glove, and some with their personality, but the best shortstops of all-time did a little bit of everything. They wowed us with their skills, surprised us with their talent, and entertained us with quality baseball. 

Those that are keen to the history of the MLB likely have several names floating around in their head when they hear someone talking about the best shortstops of all-time, but can you think of 25? If not, don’t worry because we’re going to detail 25 of the best shortstops of all-time below!

25. John Henry Lloyd

John Henry Lloyd never played in the MLB, but is considered one of the greatest shortstops in Negro league history. He enjoyed a 27-year baseball career and drew praise from Babe Ruth, who labeled him one of the greatest players he had ever seen. In 1977, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. His career spanned from 1906 to 1932 (four different decades). 

24. Willie Wells

Willie Wells was a demon on defense, known for his acrobatic plays and ability to cover a lot of ground. His defensive prowess earned him the nickname ‘El Diablo’ or ‘the devil’ because his opponents would say ‘don’t hit it to shortstop because ‘El Diablo” plays there.’ His career spanned from 1924 to 1948 and he hit 140 career home runs in 1,038 Negro leage games. 

23. Vern Stephens

Vern Stephens made his MLB debut in 1941 and retired in 1955. He was an eight-time All-Star that recorded a .286 batting average, 1,859 hits, 247 home runs, 1,174 runs batted in, 1,001 runs scored, and 25 stolen bases. He helped lead the St. Louis Browns to their only AL pennant in 1944 and hit a career-high 159 runs batted in with the Boston Red Sox in 1949. 

22. Miguel Tejada

Miguel Tejada enjoyed a 16-year career in the MLB between 1997 and 2013, primarily with the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles. He finished his career with a .285 batting average, 2,407 hits, 307 home runs, 1,302 runs batted in, 1,230 runs scored, and 85 stolen bases. He’s a six-time All-Star, one-time MVP, Home Run Derby champion, and two-time Silver Slugger. 

21. Omar Vizquel

Omar Vizquel enjoyed an illustrious 24-year career in the MLB between 1989 and 2012, primarily with the Cleveland Indians, but also notable stints with the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants. In addition to his 11 Gold Glove awards, Vizquel finished his career with a .272 batting average, 80 home runs, 951 RBIs, 1,445 runs, and 404 stolen bases. 

20. Bill Dahlen

Bill Dahlen enjoyed a 21-year career in the MLB between 1891 and 1911, primarily with the Chicago Colts, Brooklyn Superbas, and New York Giants – who he won the 1905 World Series with. Dahlen finished his career with a .272 batting average, 2,461 hits, 1,234 runs batted in, 1,590 runs scored, 84 home runs, and 548 stolen bases in 2,444 games played. 

19. Joe Sewell

Joe Sewell enjoyed a 14-year career in the MLB between 1920 and 1933 with the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees. He was a two-time World Series champion and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977. He finished his career with a .312 batting average, 2,226 hits, 49 home runs, 1,054 runs batted in, 1,141 runs scored, and 74 stolen bases. 

18. George Wright

George Wright was one of baseball’s first superstars. He made his MLB debut in 1971 with the Boston Red Stockings and retired in 1882 as a member of the Providence Grays. He batted .301 with 866 hits, 326 runs batted, and 665 runs scored in that time period, helping lead the Red Stockings to six championships as well. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1937.

17. Luis Aparicio

Luis Aparicio enjoyed an 18-year career in the MLB with the Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and Boston Red Sox. He was a 13-time All-Star, nine-time Gold Glove winner, Rookie of the Year, World Series champion, and Hall of Famer. He led the AL in stolen bases five times and led the entire MLB in stolen bases four times in his career. He had 506 career stolen bases.

16. Bobby Wallace

Bobby Wallace enjoyed a long, 25-year career in the MLB between 1894 and 1918 with the St. Louis Browns, St. Louis Cardinals, and Cleveland Spiders. He finished his career with a .268 batting average, 2,309 hits, 34 home runs, 1,121 runs batted in, 1,057 runs scored, and 201 stolen bases. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953 and passed away in 1960.

15. Lou Boudreau

Lou Boudreau enjoyed an illustrious 15-year career in the MLB between 1938 and 1952 with the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox. He was an eight-time All-Star, World Series champion, MVP winner, ML Player of the Year winner, and even won a batting title. He finished with a .295 batting average, 1,779 hits, 789 RBIs, 861 runs, 68 home runs, and 51 stolen bases.

14. Pee Wee Reese

Pee Wee Reese enjoyed a 16-year career between 1940 and 1958 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was out of the league between 1943 and 1945 due to military service. He was a 10-time All-Star and helped lead the Dodgers to a 1955 World Series win. He finished his career with a .269 batting average, 2,170 hits, 126 home runs, 885 RBIs, 1,338 runs, and 232 stolen bases.

13. George Davis

George Davis enjoyed a 20-year career in the MLB between 1890 and 1909 with the New York Giants, Cleveland Spiders, and Chicago White Sox. He helped lead the White Sox to a World Series title in 1906 and finished his career with a .295 batting average, 2,665 hits, 73 home runs, 1,440 runs batted in, 1,545 runs scored, and 619 stolen bases. He was a true superstar. 

12. Alan Trammell

Alan Trammell enjoyed a 20-year career in the MLB between 1977 and 1996 with the Detroit Tigers. He was a six-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner, three-time Silver Slugger, 1984 World Series Champion, and 1984 World Series MVP. He finished his career with a .285 batting average, 2,365 hits, 185 home runs, 1,003 RBIs, 1,231 runs, and 236 stolen bases. 

11. Joe Cronin

Joe Cronin enjoyed a 20-year career in the MLB between 1926 and 1945, primarily with the Boston Red Sox and Washington Senators. He was a seven-time All-Star and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1956. He finished his career with a .301 batting average, 2,285 hits, 170 home runs, 1,424 runs batted in, 1,233 runs scored, and 87 stolen bases. 

10. Barry Larkin

Barry Larkin enjoyed a 19-year career in the MLB between 1986 and 2004 with the Cincinnati Reds. He was a 12-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner, nine-time Silver Slugger, one-time MVP, 1990 World Series champion, and Hall of Famer. He finished with a .295 batting average, 2,340 hits, 198 home runs, 960 RBIs, 1,329 runs scored, and 379 stolen bases. 

9. Arky Vaughan

Arky Vaughan enjoyed a 14-year career in the MLB between 1932 and 1948 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Brooklyn Dodgers. He was a nine-time All-Star, won a batting title, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. He finished his career with a .318 batting average, 2,103 hits, 96 home runs, 926 runs batted in, 1,173 runs scored, and 118 stolen bases. 

8. Robin Yount

Robin Yount enjoyed a 20-year career in the MLB between 1974 and 1993 with the Milwaukee Brewers. He was a three-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger, one-time Gold Glove winner, two-time MVP, and one-time ML Player of the Year. He finished his career with a .285 batting average, 3,142 hits, 251 home runs, 1,406 RBIs, 1,632 runs scored, and 271 stolen bases.

7. Luke Appling

Luke Appling enjoyed a 20-year career in the MLB between 1930 and 1950 with the Chicago White Sox, though he missed the 1944 season due to military service. He was a seven-time All-Star and won two batting titles. He finished his career with a .310 batting average, 2,749 hits, 45 home runs, 1,116 runs batted in, 1,319 runs scored, and 179 stolen bases.

6. Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez would be higher on this list, but he only spent half of his incredible career at shortstop. He spent 22 years in the MLB, was a 14-time All-Star, 10-time Silver Slugger, two-time Gold Glove winner, three-time MVP, three-time Major League Player of the Year, and one-time World Series champion. He finished his career with 696 home runs. 

5. Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter enjoyed a 20-year career in the MLB between 1995 and 2014 with the New York Yankees. He was a Rookie of the Year, 14-time All-Star, five-time Gold Glove winner, five-time Silver Slugger, five-time World Series champion, and one-time World Series MVP. He retired with a .310 batting average, 3,465 hits, 1,311 RBIs, 1,923 runs, and 358 stolen bases. 

4. Ernie Banks

Ernie Banks is another player that only spent about half of his career as a shortstop, but he’s still worth mentioning on this list. He spent 19 years in the MLB with the Chicago Cubs and retired with a .274 batting average, 2,583 hits, 1,636 RBIs, 1,305 runs, 512 home runs, and 50 stolen bases. He was a two-time MVP, 14-time All-Star, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

3. Ozzie Smith

Ozzie Smith enjoyed a 19-year career in the MLB between 1978 and 1996 with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres. He was a 15-time All-Star, 13-time Gold Glove winner, one-time Silver Slugger, 1982 World Series champion, and Hall of Famer. He retired with a .262 batting average, 2,460 hits, 793 RBIs, 1,257 runs, 28 home runs, and 580 stolen bases. 

2. Cal Ripken Jr.

Cal Ripken Jr. enjoyed a 21-year career in the MLB between 1981 and 2001 with the Baltimore Orioles. He was a 19-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year, Home Run Derby champion, two-time MVP, two-time Gold Glove winner, eight-time Silver Slugger, and World Series champion. He retired with 3,184 hits, 1,695 runs batted in, 1,647 runs scored, and 431 home runs. 

1. Honus Wagner

Honus Wagner enjoyed a 21-year career in the MLB between 1897 and 1917 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Louisville Colonels. He won eight batting titles and led the Pirates to a 1909 World Series win. Wagner was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 and retired with a .328 batting average, 3,420 hits, 101 home runs, 1,732 RBIs, 1,739 runs, and 723 stolen bases. 

Who Are the Best Shortstops in the MLB Today?

The shortstop is one of the most valued positions – both at the plate and in the infield. They’re normally found at the top of the batting order with a high batting average and a lot of hits, but are also frequently featured on Sportscenter’s illustrious Top Ten with their incredible fielding abilities. 

In today’s game, some of the best shortstops include Trea Turner, Fernando Tatis Jr., Bo Bichette, Marcus Semien, Xander Bogaerts, Trevor Story, Francisco Lindor, Tim Anderson, Corey Seager, Wander Franco, Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, and Jorge Polanco

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We should also include some of the best shortstop prospects in today’s game, which includes Bobby Witt Jr., CJ Abrams, Anthony Volpe, Oneil Cruz, Marco Luciano, Marcelo Mayer, Noelvi Marte, Jordan Lawlar, Kahlil Watson, Oswald Peraza, and Orelvis Martinez.

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