Here we are at installment four of my “Cooperstown’s Best” series. We are going to talk second basemen today—stereotypical fireplugs like Nellie Fox.
The tendency for some, even those who grace Bleacher Report, is to just give a guy a pass if he is a middle infielder and can play decent defense and steal a sack or two.
Not in my way of thinking. If I have to make a choice between a defensive guy and an offensive one, it is a no-brainer. I take the man who doesn’t have to bunt his way on every time.
Having said all that, look at who our candidates are: Carew, Collins, Doerr, Evers, Fox, Frisch, Gehringer, Herman, Hornsby, Lajoie, Lazzeri, Mazeroski, McPhee, Morgan, Robinson, Sandberg, and Schoendienst. Pretty impressive list, wouldn’t you say?
This is like sifting through a pan of gold, seeing which nugget will be the biggest.
I think it is important that I go over a few ground rules before allowing you to continue. My friend, Sully, had to call a bunch of you down for not reading the introductions to these slide shows.
If you don’t read them, you don’t know what I am basing my information on, whom I am considering, and so forth.
There are no players from the Negro Leagues, even though they are now members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, on any of these lists in this series.
No, I am not a racist. No, I am not a bigot. I am a statistics freak, and I use them to death.
Give me some statistics, and I will furnish you with an exhaustive report. On the other hand, if you have no numbers for me, I am forced to shut the door on you. Sorry.
Only current members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame—you know, the one in Cooperstown, N.Y.—are to be included on this list.
I will be mentioning awards such as MVP, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, All-Star, and their World Series experience, but it will not count on their totals for this listing.
The reason is simply that the Mayflower Boys would be at a complete disadvantage, as most of the awards weren’t presented in that era.
The Gold Gloves were not presented until the 1957 season; the Silver Sluggers didn’t start until 1980. The MVP award wasn’t handed out until 1911.
I am weighting this evaluation on the following categories:
BA — HR — HR/YR – RBI – RBI/YR — OBP — SLG — OPS+ — Total Bases — TB/YR — Hits – Hits/YR – Runs – Runs/YR — Runs Created/YR — Fld Pct — SB
When a “yearly average” is cited, it is based on a 162-game season, making it equal for the dead-ballers, the pre-1961 guys, and today. Those figures are readily available at Baseball-Reference.
At the request of my friend Jonathan, I am including the team names and the career ABs of each individual in the Top 10.
Prepare yourselves for the upcoming rush. Go!