Ozzie Smith or Alan Trammell?

Cliff Eastham@RedsToTheBoneSenior Writer IIApril 27, 2009

I hadn’t really given any thought to the comparison of these two until a few days ago. 

I had just published my "shortstops" edition in my series, The Top 10 Eligible—Not In The Hall of Fame, when I began to read comments about the article.

One commentator said that Oz’ Hall of Fame entry was a racially motivated move.  Another commentator staunchly rebutted that claim, and then the arguments concerning statistics ensued.

Of course the baseball world is familiar with Ozzie Smith, yet not quite so knowledgeable about Alan Trammell.

In my own humble opinion, I take Trammell as the better “complete” player.

The public seems to see Smith’s defensive prowess through rose colored glasses.  Maybe it was the back flips?

I recently completed an article I was assigned by Bleacher Report, naming the best 10 Double Play Combos in history. 

To my surprise Trammell and teammate Lou Whitaker won the competition.  Ozzie Smith, with his partner Tommy Herr came in third, behind the winners and Luis Aparicio/Nellie Fox.

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Smith has Trammell beat on FLD% with .978 to .977.  Pretty slim margin, don’t you think? Okay, that one is pretty much a wash.  Check out these other defensive statistics:

                                          DP/YR      Gold Gloves      Silver Sluggers       All Star Teams

Smith                                    84                   13                         1                             15

Trammell                              66                     4                         3                               6

Advantage Ozzie Smith.

Now let us look at the offensive numbers:

               AVG   OBP     OPS+    HR/YR   H/YR   R/YR   RC/YR  TB/YR  GDP/YR  SB/YR

Smith       .262  .337      87           2      155     79        73       194       11        37

Trammell   .285  .352    110         13       167     87        89       243       11        17

Advantage Alan Trammell.

So what is your poison?  Do you like offense or defense? Speed or power?  Finesse or consistency?

Trammell won an All-star game Most Valuable Player Award in 1984.

In MVP Career Shares, Trammell ranks 186 with 1.22 while Smith ranks 349 with only 0.65.

It is obvious at least to me, that Ozzie was voted in because of his glove.  I am sure some would throw out various and sundry numbers about how many runs Smith saved per year, how graceful he was, how fluid and effortless he performed.

Others would counter with how much more power Trammell had or how much better he was at getting on base and scoring runs.

The fact of the matter is that both of these magnificent shortstops belong in the Hall of Fame and that Trammell will be voted in soon.

This debate will rage for ages, even after Trammell is inducted.

It is a good debate, sparking lively conversations, a little name calling, and maybe even a couple of invites out to the alley.

This question is as timeless as Williams vs. DiMaggio, Mays vs. Mantle, Ruth vs. Aaron.

It will never be settled, there will never be a clear-cut winner, as long as there are sports fans who like a little debate with their imbibing.

Please visit my website for this and many other sports articles.