• Rickt: I am the biggest Cal Jr fan around but one of my good friends played minor l...

Recently, as I was writing my post on why Barry Larkin deserves to be a first-ballot hall-of-famer, I got to wondering who the top 10 shortstops of all time are. In order to get an answer, I decided to crowdsource my question to the internet!

What I did was I went to Google and looked up the first ten top-10 rankings of shortstops that I could find, and tallied up their rankings to get a final top-10.

Honus_Wagner_1911

Honus is still the king.

As for the question of whether the first ten random top-10 lists I found are reliable or not, I crowdsourced that too, in a manner of speaking – because these lists were the ten highest ranking according to Google’s PageRank formula, by some definition they are the best lists, because they are the lists more people want to link to.

Taking each player’s ranking from each of the ten top-10 lists, I subtracted that number from 101 to get a point total, which I added to their score. In other words, a first place ranking on a list was worth 100 points, for a theoretical maximum of 1000 points over the 10 polls, and a 10th place ranking on a list was worth 91 points. This ensured that appearing low on two lists was still worth more than appearing high on just one list. If lists listed more than 10 players, I did not give points for any ranking after 10, in order to ensure that all lists were weighted equally.

So without further ado, here are the top ten shortstops of all time, according to the average of ten random internet top-10 lists, along with total final score and total “first place votes” in parentheses:

1. Honus Wagner – 992 (5)
2. Cal Ripken Jr. – 974 (1)
3. Alex Rodriguez – 885 (2)
4. Derek Jeter – 858
5. Ozzie Smith – 765 (2)
6. Robin Yount – 669
7. Ernie Banks – 661
8. Barry Larkin – 657
9. Luke Appling – 562
10. Arky Vaughan – 561

Amazingly, given the rather ridiculous method I used, this is not a bad list at all. In fact, it is pretty close to a list I might have made myself using some sort of advanced statstics-based measures. A-Rod got left off of one ballot on account of his time at third base, so his ranking of #3 seems fair, especially given that by the end of his career he will almost certainly have more innings played at third base than at shortstop (not to mention his admitted steroid usage).  Even if we leave A-Rod out, assuming he is going to wind up remembered more as a 3B, it’s pretty hard to argue with a top 5 of Wagner, Ripken, Jeter, Ozzie, and Yount.

Ernie Banks was similarly left off some ballots since he played more games at first base, so it’s right for him to not be in the top five, but given that he still played 1125 games at shortstop, was one of the first power-hitting shortstops, and is best remembered as a shortstop, #7 doesn’t seem like a bad spot to have him at.

All in all, I find myself quite encouraged by this little experiment in crowdsourcing, as this is really a pretty decent result. If people are interested, it might be worth doing this for other positions, and seeing what comes up.

By the way, altogether across the ten top-10 lists, 20 different players appeared at least once.  Although I was mostly interested in the top ten, where outliers were not likely to appear, in case you are interested the next best ten shortstop according to the average of these lists were:

11. Luis Aparicio – 369
12. Lou Boudreau – 373
13. Joe Cronin – 279
14. Omar Vizquel – 187
15. Alan Trammell – 184
16. Phil Rizzuto – 183
17. Dave Concepcion – 94
18. Pee Wee Reese – 93
19. Nomar Garciaparra – 93
20. George Davis – 91

Here are the ten lists I used (again, these were the first ten lists to come up on Google):

Top 50 Shortstops of All Time” (The Baseball Page.com)
Top 10 Greatest MLB Shortstops Of All Time” (Bleacher Report)
Top 10 Shortstops In Baseball History” (About.com)
Best Shortstop of All Time?” (FanIQ)
Top Ten Shortstops of All Time” (World in Focus)
MLB’s 10 Greatest Shortstops of All Time” (Bleacher Report)
FSN Sports Top 10 Shortstops” (Baseball Fever)
Greatest Major League Baseball Shortstop All-Time” (Rankopedia)
All-Time Top 100s: Shortstops” (SethSpeaks)
Best Shortstops in History” (RateItAll)

14 Responses to “Crowdsourcing the Greats: The Top 10 Shortstops of All Time”

  1. Nick:

    I like this… Agree that it’s hard to compare just one position, since you have A-Rod, Banks and Yount seeing significant time at other positions. But fun nonetheless. Thanks for doing the research…

  2. I think one other player should be in this list MIGGY T

    he has 12 full season and 26 in Sept call up games in 97 and first 125+ games season was 1999

    289 LT avg
    1116 run
    2116 Hits
    421 doubles
    285Hrs
    1185 RBI
    MVP
    3rd most hrs as a shortstop by passing Banks 277 mark in 09
    1 of 3 shortstops ever to have 5 in a row seasons 100+RBIs
    His 150 was most RBIs by Shortstop in 55 years
    2000 hit ahd 2100 hit came in 2009 making him 4th rbi 4th hits last decade
    7x of 12 seasons 177or better hi 2×199 3×200+
    6x100RBI
    6x AS
    5×300+AVG
    2x S.Slugger
    AL MVP 02
    1xRBI title MLB
    10×30+doubles Hi 40 42 46 50 2x Doubles Titles MLB and NL
    4×20+HRS 4×30+Hrs
    end of 12 years at short 1/3 all hits were extra bases 720+of 2116

    971 GF % yet in 12 full 1200+doubleplays 5500 Ast 2700P.O

  3. hes also 5th longest games played streak 1152 all time.

  4. Nick Kapur says:

    Ken, I agree with you that Miguel Tejada has had himself a pretty nice career, and I was somewhat surprised to see that he did not appear in the top 20, given that he is a recent player of some acclaim, but I personally don’t think he belongs anywhere near the top 10, at least not yet.

    Just to take one widely respected metric, career WAR, Tejada’s career WAR through the end of the 2009 season was 40.4. Just to give you the uppermost point of comparison, Honus Wagner’s career WAR was 137.6. Out of all the top ten chosen by the internet in this post, the lowest career WAR is Ozzie Smith’s 64.7, which is still more than 50% higher than Tejada’s.

    In fact, of the 20 shortstops listed in this post, the worst player by career WAR is Nomar, and even his career WAR is higher than Miguel’s, at 42.6.

    The fact is that Miguel Tejada, when properly located within the context of the era in which he played, was a pretty good player, but nowhere near an all-time great. If he retired today, I don’t even think he belongs in the Hall of Fame (and I’m not even counting the fact that he used steroids against him yet).

    Maybe if he plays another 10 years with at least 4 or 5 of those being good years, but I must say it’s going to be difficult seeing as he is alread 36 years old (and maybe even older, as far as we really know).

  5. NICJ JURCEVIC says:

    JETER!jeter!jeter!jeter!jeter

  6. NICJKJURCEVIC says:

    A-ROD a-ROD-A-ROD A-ROD A-ROD A-ROD ROOOOOOOOO
    OOOO
    OOOOOOOOOC
    CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC
    KKKKKKKKKKKKKKK
    KSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
    SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

  7. I’m not sure how to factor in the steroids use by A-Rod. Not counting it would move A-Rod clearly ahead of Ripken and very close, if not above, to Wagner. With the steoids admission and the drop in power and ave. since his admission, I think A-Rod in 3rd place is a reasonable choice.

  8. Nick Kapur good reply and so how about him in hall?

    the above is all hes stats and what he did as a shortstop no 2010 stats in there

    I cant see leaving out a Shortstop that hit in a rather short time and very short time for shortstops
    280+ Hrs
    1180+RBIs
    2100+hits
    1100 runs
    Plus all the above list titles AS SS MVP so

  9. I know you said not ready for HOF but I dont think 10 yr more like 1-3 left to fatten stats for over all when all dont he will be top 100 in doubles & RBIs for sure
    Hrs 325 he has outside chance at 292 now,needs 33
    Hits 2466 outside chance at 2210.needs 256

  10. Jeter will become the first unanimous first ballot HOF.

    • Paul Moro says:

      Never gonna happen. Some BBWAA guys refuse to vote ANYONE in on the first ballot, which is pretty much why no one ever has.

  11. Why is Vern Stephens continually left off any list of shortstops and not in the HOF? He was certainly as good as if not better than his contemporary Phil Rizzuto, yet Rizzuto is in the HOF. Rizzuto would never had gotten the notoriety he gets had he not played for the Yankees. That is only reason he gets so much attention. Stephens, at least going by statistics and historical accounts, I’ve never seen either play, was just as good a fielder and certainly a better hitter. You can look it up.

    • I’m still not convinced. The “Rizzuto doesn’t belong and Stephens was as good as Rizzuto” argument seems a little weak.

    • Nick Kapur says:

      Also, Vern Stephens played his best baseball at exactly the time when many of the best players were off fighting in World War II. He was teammates with one-armed Pete Gray.

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