The shortstop position is baseball’s Garden of Eden.
Every great right-handed athlete begins in that paradise between second and third, summoned by the position’s incredible demands and celebrity cache.
Then, level by level, they are banished—too slow, weak or uncoordinated to handle its rigors in an increasingly robust talent pool.
Once exiled, they never return.
The lucky ones watch from outside the gate, relegated to the humble pastures of third base and left field. The less fortunate wander, pariah-like, to the bench or press box or law school.
To stay in the Garden is in itself a tremendous accomplishment. To rule the Garden, like the elite major league shortstops on this list, is the highest form of praise.
Or to put it another way:
Great center fielders are quick. Great right fielders can throw. Great catchers instinctively toss their bodies in front of hurdling white objects.
Great shortstops do all of the above. They are the original defenders, never moved from where they began.
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