Today is the 4th of 9 in a series of posts centering on the greatest baseball players ever. Today is focusing on second basemen.
1. Rogers Hornsby – 1915-1937 (STL, NYG, BOS, CHC, STL) Hornsby is the only player to win the National League Triple Crown twice. His career average of .358 is the highest mark ever of any right handed hitter in history. His 1924 average of .424 has not been matched since. Rogers also added nearly 3,000 hits and had 301 home runs. Hornsby has been a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame since 1942.
2. Eddie Collins – 1906-1930 (PHI, CHW, PHI) Collins still holds multiple records for second basemen, 78 years after he played his final game. He played the most games at second base (2,650), has the most assists (7,630) and total chances (14,591). Eddie also still owns the record for most stolen bases in a game with 6. He ended his career with 744. Also a member of the 3,000 hit club, Collins has been in the Hall of Fame since 1939.
3. Nap Lajoie – 1896-1916 (PHI, CLE, PHI) Lajoie won the AL Triple Crown in 1901 and had a lifetime average of .338. He is a member of the 3,000 hit club, finishing his career with 3,242. He fell one RBI short of having 1,600 in his 21-season career, although in 3 of his first 6 years with Philadelphia, he had knocked in at least 125. Lajoie was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937.
4. Jackie Robinson – 1947-1956 (BRK) Robinson was the first player to break baseball’s color barrier. You may think that is the reason he is so high on the list, but Jackie also had good stats for only playing 10 seasons. Had it not been for the color barrier, Jackie would have had an opportunity to double his 137 homers and 1,518 hits. His number, 42, is retired by all teams as a sign of respect. He made 6 straight trips to the all-star game. Robinson was voted into the Hall in 1962.
5. Jeff Kent – 1992-present (TOR, NYM, CLE, SF, HOU, LAD) Kent is a 5 time all-star and is known for his offense at a position which is known for defense. He has hit 375 home runs, most by a second baseman. Jeff also has a .289 lifetime average and has won 4 Silver Sluggers. 8 times in a 9 year span, Kent hit over 100 RBI’s in a season and currently has 1,504 RBI’s. He ranks 22nd all time in doubles.
6. Rod Carew – 1967-1985 (MIN, CAL) Carew showed his dominance by participating in 18 consecutive all star games which spanned over 3 decades! Known more for his defense than his offense (only 92 home runs), he was still able to accumulate 3,053 hits. He is one of 2 players (Ty Cobb) to lead both leagues in hitting in 3 consecutive seasons. Carew was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.
7. Joe Morgan – 1963-1984 (HOU, CIN, HOU, SF, PHI, OAK) Morgan hit 268 home runs in his career and added 1,133 RBI’s. His speed on the basepaths led him to 689 stolen bases in 851 attempts; a success rate of over 80%. Joe was a 10 time all-star and won 2 World Series with the famous Big Red Machine in the ’70’s. Morgan was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.
8. Nellie Fox – 1947-1965 (PHI, CHW, HOU) Fox was not an overpowering hitter, as he only hit 35 home runs, but he lead the league in singles for 7 straight seasons. He only struck out 216 times in 9,232 at bats, the third best percentage in history. Nellie was a 12 time all-star and won 3 Gold Gloves. Fox was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1997.
9. Ryne Sandberg – 1981-1997 (PHI, CHC) Sandberg was a 10 time all-star, won 9 Gold Gloves and 7 Silver Sluggers. He reached base on a hit 2,386 times, 282 times by hitting a home run. Ryno also has over 1,000 ribbies and stole 54 bases in 1985. His career .989 fielding percentage is a record at second base. Sandberg is a member of the 2005 Hall of Fame class.
10. Charlie Gehringer – 1924-1942 (DET) Gehringer was a 6 time all-star and the American League MVP in 1937. He hit 184 home runs and his lifetime average was .320. Charlie was dubbed ‘The Mechanical Man’ because of his consistancy in the field and at the plate. 2,839 hits and 1,427 ribbies complete his resume. Gehringer has been in the Baseball Hall of Fame since 1949.
The Chuck Norris joke is…
Chuck Norris’ tears cure cancer. It’s too bad Chuck Norris never cries.
Third basemen coming up!