clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The All-Time MLB Team, Second base: nominations and ballot

New, comments

Almost 90 years of baseball history in these five candidates

Brooklyn Dodger Jackie Robinson

Here we are, down to five, though if the discussion in the nomination thread is any guide, this seems likely to be a two- or three-man race. Here you go:

Eddie Collins

Nominated by ChuckJohnson56: “First in games played, innings and assists, second in putouts. His career overlapped with the end of Lajoie’s career and the beginning of Hornsby’s.” He reached the majors in 1906 with the Philadelphia Athletics, and had six stellar years with them. From 1909-14, he had an OPS+ of 163, while also averaging sixty stolen-bases a year. He was part of three World Series winning teams there, batting .377, and was the AL MVP in 1914. He then went on to play for the White Sox through 1926, the last three years as player-manager, before sunsetting his career back in Phillie. Collins still shares the major league record of six SB in a game, which he did twice in September 1912.

Rogers Hornsby

Nominated by Justin27: “When I saw this article go up, he immediately popped into my mind before I even saw the player list.” Hornsby’s career batting average (.358) is third in MLB history, and his average for the 1924 season was an insane .424, unmatched since. He won two Triple Crowns and hit .400 or better three times, including 1922, when Rogers became the only player to hit 40 home runs and bat .400 in the same year. No player may have dominated a decade as thoroughly as Hornsby did the twenties. From 1920-1929, he had an OPS of 1.088 (OPS+ of 188), and averaged 9.4 bWAR per year. His WAR peaked in 1924 with a 12.3 win season, which remains the highest in National League history.

Nap Lajoie

Nominated by Oldenschoole (albeit for a wrongly-attributed quote!). How popular was Lajoie in Cleveland? In 1903, the club changed its name from the Bronchos to the Naps in honor of the player. In 1910, he had a legendary battle with Ty Cobb for the batting title, ending with Lajoie going 8-for-8 in a last day double-header. For the decade of 1901-10, Lajoie had an OPS+ of 170. and was worth 74.6 bWAR. making him one of the greatest players of the dead-ball era. He led the American League in batting average on five occasions, and in 1914 became only the third player to record 3,000 hits in his career, alongside Cap Anson and Honus Wagner.

Joe Morgan

Despite being only 5’7” tall, Morgan won the NL MVP award in consecutive years, 1975 and 1976, part of the “Big Red Machine” that won the World Series in both seasons. Initially playing for Houston, he was traded to Cincinnati in November 1971, in a deal many at the time thought favored Houston. Morgan quickly proved them wrong. Over the next five seasons, he averaged 9.6 bWAR with a 163 OPS+ (.930 OPS), 62 stolen bases, and more than twice as many walks as strikeouts. His 1975 campaign was worth 11 bWAR; Barry Bonds is the only National League position player with such a productive season since then. Bill James named Morgan the best second baseman in baseball history

Jackie Robinson

Nominated by Jack Sommers: “The league level of competition was higher for Morgan than it was for Robinson. But the extrapolated numbers for Robinson put him above Morgan. So kind of a coin flip. Due to the factors that Jim detailed however, I go with Jackie. So much more to overcome, while being equally as great as anyone to ever play the position.” While known as a second-basement, Robinson played entirely at first his debut season. That was in 1947, becoming the first black player in the modern era. Despite the incredible pressure of that situation, he batted .297 and won Rookie of the Year. Two seasons later, he was NL MVP, hitting .342 with a .960 OPS (152 OPS), 37 stolen-bases, and just 27 K’s in 704 PA. That was worth 9.3 bWAR, but he was even more valuable in 1951, reaching 9.7 bWAR.

Poll

Who was the greatest second-baseman of all time?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Eddie Collins
    (3 votes)
  • 39%
    Rogers Hornsby
    (21 votes)
  • 0%
    Nap Lajoie
    (0 votes)
  • 24%
    Joe Morgan
    (13 votes)
  • 30%
    Jackie Robinson
    (16 votes)
53 votes total Vote Now