Starlin Castro and the Top 5 Chicago Cubs Shortstops of All Time
The Chicago Cubs have been around in name since 1903. Since then hundreds of players have played shortstop on the North Side. Some are memorable for the right reasons (Joe Tinker), and some it hurts Cub fans to think about (Alex Gonzalez).
In honor of current Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro's recent All-Star selection, we rank the Cubs top five shortstops of all time.
5. Starlin Castro
Castro’s All-Star selection this season comes in his first full season in the majors.
Castro played in rookie-ball with the Cubs at the ripe age of 17. A .310 career hitter in the minor leagues, he was hitting .376 at Double-A last season before being called up.
The Dominican Republic native finished 2010 at 0.300 and was fifth in the rookie-of-the-year voting.
Castro is hitting .307 with 110 hits and 10 SB through 84 games this season.
If all goes well, Castro will man shortstop for the Cubs for a long time. He has all the physical skills to someday develop into a 20 HR, 30 SB guy. Castro has shown the ability to drive the ball to the gaps, but his body is still maturing and he will find more power over time. Increased pate discipline will make him an even better hitter.
On defense Castro is already making the fantastic play. His defense has improved from year one to year two, but his mentality and focus at shortstop still need improvement. The kid is just 21 years old, though, and will most likely move up this list as his career progresses.
4. Shawon Dunston
The Cubs selected Dunston No. 1 overall in the 1982 amateur draft. (The Giants selected Barry Bonds 38 picks later.)
Dunston never lived up to his number-one draft status, but was still a solid shortstop for the Cubs from 1985-1995.
Dunston was a .269 career hitter and stole 202 bases. Twice the shortstop hit 17 home runs for the Cubs, and he also stole 30 bases twice.
The Brooklyn native was selected to the All-Star team in 1988 and 1990.
Duston wasn’t an outstanding defensive player, but he certainly got the job done. He and Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg teamed up to become a good double-play combination.
After being traded by the Cubs, Dunston went on to play for five different teams in six years, playing first base, third base, and in the outfield, along with his original position.
3. Don Kessinger
Kessinger was never an outstanding hitter (.252 career AVG), but his defensive prowess was good enough to net him six All-Star selections and two gold gloves.
The former Ole Miss Rebel was a part of the famed 1969 Cubs infield, which included Glenn Beckertt, Ron Santo, and Hall of Famer Ernie Banks.
2. Joe Tinker
Tinker played all but one of his seasons for the Cubs, and was a part of the teams' last two championships, in 1907 and 1908. Even for his day, Tinker was an undersized player, standing only 5’9”.
Tinker was twice voted in the top ten for MVP and hit .262 for his career, which was during the dead ball era.
A terrific small-ball player, Tinker helped the Cubs score when runs were hard to come by. He was also an above-average defender.
Even casual baseball fans have no doubt heard the call of “Tinker to Evers to Chance,” in reference to the Cubs double-play combination of Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance.
Tinker is the last Cubs shortstop to win a World Series.
1. Ernie Banks
Banks is not only the greatest Cubs shortstop of all time—he is the greatest Cub. Period.
“Let’s play two,” was his catch phrase—he loved playing baseball and loved playing for the Cubs.
Banks’s numbers speak for themselves: He hit .274 with 512 HR, 1,636 RBI, 2,583 H and 90 3B over 15 seasons with the Cubs.
The shortstop was second to Wally Moon in the 1954 rookie-of-the-year voting and was selected to 11 All-Star teams. Banks won back-to-back MVPs in 1958 and 1959.
Although Banks moved to first base later in his career, he won his only gold glove as a shortstop, in 1960.
Banks was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, and truly is the greatest shortstop to ever wear a Cubs uniform.