Ranking the Red Sox shortstops
By Rick McNair
The Boston Red Sox have had many great shortstops and here is my list for the top seven.
Shortstop is often viewed as a position when gloves prosper and bats have a tendency to wilt – an acceptable trade-off for a position that is considered a key defensive location on the baseball diamond chessboard. Occasionally a baseball team will have a unique defensive specimen, such as former Tiger Ray Oyler, play a 100 or so games hitting considerably lower than the famed Mendoza Line.
The good field and no hit pronouncement were often attached to shortstop, but it was actually a misnomer, since baseball has produced a wealth of talented players at the position. If it is the power that attracts you than think of Ernie Banks and winning back-to-back MVP Awards while decimating National League pitching.
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You want the player capable of doing the little or big things, then go Phil Rizzuto or Pee Wee Reese, who are both in the Hall of Fame. Rizzuto once led the American League in sacrifice bunts four straight seasons – the little things. My favorite from the 1950s was Luis Aparicio, who finished off his career in Boston.
One could create an amazing list from Robin Yount to Barry Larkin with an Ozzie Smith, Arky Vaughn, and Cal Ripken tossed in. I will avoid Alex Rodriguez and go “Old School” with possibly the greatest of all – Honus Wagner. As stated – the list could be extensive.
The Red Sox have a player who will work his way into any list of great shortstops and that is Xander Bogaerts who at 23-years-old is blossoming into a five-tool player. Extra-base hits are flowing, speed is evident and defensive capabilities are present for a player who will be an All-Star for many seasons.
Bogaert’s is just one on a list of great shortstops who have played for Boston in the past and XB will undoubtedly eventually reach number one status as he tacks on the years and the numbers, but for now, he will be off my list.
Now for my top seven.