Shortstop from 1963 to the late 1980s

April 25, 2018
  

116.  The Jim Fregosi Era

              From 1964 to 1970 the best shortstop in baseball was Jim Fregosi.   Fregosi is a historically underrated player; people generally do not realize how good he was, and he was not a huge star even at the time, although he did play in the All Star game almost every year and was mentioned in the MVP voting every single year between 1963 and 1970.  I would say that there were six reasons that he was never fully appreciated, of which the third was probably the most important:

              1)  The Angels were not a particularly good team and were never in the World Series, unlike the Dodgers,

              2)  The Angels had no historic fan base, and had just so-so attendance,

              3)  When Fregosi was young, when he was 20-22, he was perceived by people in the know as a future superstar.   But he never took that step forward, so he was always thought of as a player who was supposed to be better than he was.  I would compare him to Kaline in this respect.

              4)  Fregosi did not have a colorful public persona.  He did not play his banjo on the tonight show or date movie stars, at least that anybody knew about.

              5)  The evaluation of players was not as sophisticated then as it is now.   A good on base percentage and more power than the other shortstops meant nothing to the average fan if you weren’t a .300 hitter and didn’t hit 25 homers a year. 

              6)  The shortstops of the 1961-1975 era were not as strong as the shortstops of the late 1940s/1950s (Reese, Rizzuto, Boudreau, Stephens, Banks, Groat) or the shortstops of the 1976-1990 era, when there were five Hall of Fame shortstops.  Wills ranked first at the position in 1961 with a rating figure of just 22.5, the lowest figure for a #1 shortstop since 1915.   Fregosi had higher figures than that, but he peaked at 26.7, whereas Vern Stephens had ranked third in 1949 with a rating figure of 27.3. 

              I would vote for Fregosi for the Hall of Fame before I would vote for Wills, and Fregosi has 20% more WAR than Wills in a slightly shorter career, but there are still people who advocate Wills for the Hall of Fame, and I don’t think there is any Jim Fregosi support group. 

First

Last

YEAR

HR

RBI

Avg

OBA

SPct

OPS

Value

Jim

Fregosi

1964

18

72

.277

.369

.463

.833

25.56

Ron

Hansen

1964

20

68

.261

.347

.419

.766

24.47

Maury

Wills

1964

2

34

.275

.318

.324

.641

23.82

Eddie

Bressoud

1964

15

55

.293

.372

.456

.828

21.32

Dick

Groat

1964

1

70

.292

.335

.371

.706

21.05

Dick

McAuliffe

1964

24

66

.241

.334

.427

.762

20.43

 

   

 

 

 

     

 

Jim

Fregosi

1965

15

64

.277

.337

.407

.744

25.36

Maury

Wills

1965

0

33

.286

.330

.329

.660

24.64

Zoilo

Versalles

1965

19

77

.273

.319

.462

.781

24.45

Dick

McAuliffe

1965

15

54

.260

.342

.433

.775

22.52

Leo

Cardenas

1965

11

57

.287

.355

.431

.786

19.43

Luis

Aparicio

1965

8

40

.225

.286

.339

.625

18.89

 

   

 

 

 

     

 

Jim

Fregosi

1966

13

67

.252

.325

.391

.716

26.12

Bert

Campaneris

1966

5

42

.267

.302

.379

.681

21.26

Maury

Wills

1966

1

39

.273

.314

.308

.622

19.86

Luis

Aparicio

1966

6

41

.276

.311

.366

.676

19.45

Gene

Alley

1966

7

43

.299

.334

.418

.752

18.79

Leo

Cardenas

1966

20

81

.255

.309

.419

.728

18.20

 

   

 

 

 

     

 

Jim

Fregosi

1967

9

56

.290

.349

.395

.744

26.68

Rico

Petrocelli

1967

17

66

.259

.330

.420

.750

22.27

Bert

Campaneris

1967

3

32

.248

.297

.331

.628

20.33

Gene

Alley

1967

6

55

.287

.337

.391

.728

18.55

Luis

Aparicio

1967

4

31

.233

.270

.313

.583

14.84

Ron

Hansen

1967

8

51

.233

.317

.321

.638

14.71

 

   

 

 

 

     

 

First

Last

YEAR

HR

RBI

Avg

OBA

SPct

OPS

Value

Jim

Fregosi

1968

9

49

.244

.315

.365

.680

25.22

Bert

Campaneris

1968

4

38

.276

.330

.361

.692

24.74

Rico

Petrocelli

1968

12

46

.234

.292

.374

.667

22.69

Luis

Aparicio

1968

4

36

.264

.302

.334

.636

18.16

Dal

Maxvill

1968

1

24

.253

.329

.298

.627

15.78

Gene

Alley

1968

4

39

.245

.307

.321

.628

15.55

 

   

 

 

 

     

 

Rico

Petrocelli

1969

40

97

.297

.403

.589

.992

30.30

Jim

Fregosi

1969

12

47

.260

.361

.381

.742

25.83

Bert

Campaneris

1969

2

25

.260

.302

.305

.608

21.15

Maury

Wills

1969

4

47

.274

.337

.335

.673

18.43

Don

Kessinger

1969

4

53

.273

.332

.366

.698

18.39

Luis

Aparicio

1969

5

51

.280

.352

.362

.714

18.22

Leo

Cardenas

1969

10

70

.280

.353

.388

.741

16.83

Mark

Belanger

1969

2

50

.287

.351

.345

.696

14.85

 

   

 

 

 

     

 

Jim

Fregosi

1970

22

82

.278

.353

.459

.812

26.43

Rico

Petrocelli

1970

29

103

.261

.334

.473

.807

25.91

Bert

Campaneris

1970

22

64

.279

.321

.448

.769

23.73

Don

Kessinger

1970

1

39

.266

.337

.349

.685

17.92

Luis

Aparicio

1970

5

43

.313

.372

.404

.776

17.31

Leo

Cardenas

1970

11

65

.247

.300

.374

.674

16.77

Maury

Wills

1970

0

34

.270

.333

.318

.651

15.70

Bud

Harrelson

1970

1

42

.243

.351

.309

.659

13.98

 

117.   Campaneris (and Aparicio)

              I don’t believe there are any other two players of quality in baseball history who are as statistically identical in a typical year as Luis Aparicio and Bert Campaneris. If you put all of their seasons together and mix them up, there literally is no way to tell which is an Aparicio season and which is a Campaneris season, except that Campy has a few more strikeouts and Campy had the one season when he hit 22 homers.   Aparicio hit .262 in his career with a .311 on base percentage, .342 slugging; Campaneris hit .259/.311/.343.   They had the same doubles-triples-homers ratio and about the same walk rate.   They would each steal 50-60 bases in their prime seasons, 30-40 in their lesser years.   They played head-to-head in the same league for more than ten years, and their typical seasons, except for a small tell in strikeouts, are completely indistinguishable.   Only players ever who are.   Frank Robinson has five-six seasons that could be Willie Mays years and a similar number that could be Henry Aaron years, but I’m talking about the whole career.

              Aparicio was a much bigger star than Campaneris.  If you had asked a random baseball fan anytime between 1958 and 1968 who was the best shortstop in baseball, it is not unlikely that he would have said "Aparicio".   Aparicio played in 13 All Star games, won 9 Gold Gloves, and was mentioned in the MVP voting in ten different seasons, finishing as high as second (1959).    He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984, in his sixth year on the ballot.   Campaneris played in half as many All Star games (6), won no Gold Gloves, was mentioned in the MVP voting only eight times (although that is still a good total), but never finished higher than 10th in the MVP voting.  Although he was the starting shortstop for three World Championship teams, he appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot only once, and was dropped after drawing only 3% of the vote. 

              My point is that Aparicio was always perceived as a much bigger star than Campaneris, despite substantially identical performance.   In terms of WAR, Campaneris had a career WAR of 53.1, Aparicio of 55.8, and Campaneris actually is a few notches ahead in terms of WAR relative to playing time. 

              In our system, however, Aparicio never reaches the #1 spot on the shortstop list, while Campaneris ranks first four times.  My task here is to explain this anomaly, or these two anomalies—that Aparicio was clearly perceived as being better although there is little evidence that he was, and that Campaneris rests for several years at the top of the list although Aparicio, who was thought to be better, never got there.  Several factors:

              1)  Aparicio was a native Venezuelan, and his father, Luis Aparicio Sr., was a mammoth figure in Venezuelan baseball history, believed to be the greatest shortstop the country had produced, but also much more than that. 

              2)  Aparicio rode his father’s fame to his own at a very young age, playing shortstop on high-level teams at the age of 15.  He negotiated a bonus contract with the Cleveland Indians as a teenager, became annoyed with the Indians when they tried to weasel out on their agreement, and signed with the White Sox instead.  

              The White Sox had a Venezuelan shortstop, Chico Carrasquel, who was regarded as probably the best defensive shortstop in the American League, but Aparicio just took his job away from him (although Carrasquel was in no sense failing), because he was clearly better.   He was regarded, as a young player, as a defensive wonder.  He won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1956.   He led the league in stolen bases in 1956—and in 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962 , 1963 and 1964.   He won the first Gold Glove given to any American League shortstop in 1958, and then won it again in 1959, 1960.  ..well, almost every year for ten years after that.   

              This reputation was cemented in the public’s mind when Fox and Aparicio, the double play combination, led the Chicago White Sox to the 1959 American League pennant, with Fox and Aparicio finishing 1-2 in the MVP voting. 

              Campaneris’ early career wasn’t anything like that.   He came of age in Cuba, fled to the United States in comparative anonymity, and came to the majors with Kansas City, at that time the worst team in the American League.  While he sailed through the minor leagues quickly and easily and was immediately successful at the major league level, as Aparicio had been, he reached the majors before anyone knew what his defensive position was.   He had played a little shortstop in the minors, but mostly he had been an outfielder, and also he had been a pitcher and a first baseman. 

              Aparicio was a polished, high-level shortstop as a teenager.   Campaneris was essentially converted from an outfielder to a shortstop at the major league level.   He wasn’t a terrible shortstop, as a young player, but he wasn’t Aparicio.

              My best, most sophisticated effort to evaluate Aparicio and Campaneris as defensive players confirms this discrepancy.   Defensive skills often peak earlier (younger) than other skills, you know.   A defensive shortstop may have his best seasons when he is 22-24.   My best defensive analysis shows Aparicio as a historically brilliant defensive player in his early seasons, and shows him far, far ahead of Campaneris, as a defensive player, through the age of 26, which is 1960 for Aparicio and 1968 for Campaneris. 

              But the same method also shows that the difference disappears after that.   After Campaneris had a few hundred games at shortstop under his belt, there is no difference between Campaneris and Aparicio as defensive players.  Campaneris got better; Aparicio came down to normal human levels.   That is what my analysis shows; that is what I believe. 

              3)  When you ask people "who is the best shortstop in the American League", the first thing they think about is defense.   It’s that word "shortstop".   It focuses the discussion on the defensive position, and this brings defense to the forefront of the discussion.  In my opinion, that is why people thought that Aparicio was the best shortstop in the American League in his first ten years.  It’s like in the 1980s, if you asked people who the best shortstop was, a lot of people would have said "Ozzie".   Ozzie wasn’t really a better all-around player than Cal Ripken or Alan Trammell or Robin Yount, but he was a better shortstop

              I should apologize for something that I wrote earlier in this series.  Someone suggested. . .I don’t remember where this was or who it was. . .that some player may have been better than I rated him as being because he was a defensive genius, and defensive skill is difficult to document.  I took offense at this.  I should not have done so.  

              We have worked very, very hard for a long time to learn how to evaluate defensive players accurately.   We are not at the point of the discussion where we were 30 years ago, and where, frankly, most of you still are, where we’re kind of just guessing about defense.   You shouldn’t assume that because you don’t understand something, I don’t understand it, either.  I was offended by the suggestion, but I should not have been.   People should be allowed to say what they have to say without my taking offense—and it is always possible that they’re right.   Maybe we DO have Aparicio underrated because we have not given him adequate credit for his defense.   I don’t believe so, and I don’t think that you would think so either if you had been following the discussion more carefully, but. . . .we only know what we know. 

              4)  But while we may in fact underrate Aparicio’s defense, there is no doubt that his contemporaries overrated his offense.   In his time, he was thought to be a tremendous leadoff man.   His stolen bases were treated as proof of his greatness as a leadoff man, and no one paid any attention—any attention AT ALL—to his low on base percentages.  

              What we know now is that not only was he not a great leadoff man, he was not really a good leadoff man.   He never scored 100 runs in a season, and usually scored about 85.  Chico Carrasquel scored 100 runs once.   Dick Howser scored 100 runs twice.    Tommy Harper scored 126 runs, and Wade Boggs 128, and Pete Rose scored 130, and Maury Wills scored 130, and Willie Wilson scored 133.   Eddie Yost scored 115 runs in 1959, and Albie Pearson scored 115 in 1962.   A good leadoff man scores 100, regardless of who is coming up behind him.   We know now, we understand now, that Aparicio’s stolen bases weren’t really adding very much to the number of runs that he would score. 

              5)  Aparicio and Campaneris were the same offensively, but you have to remember that Campaneris and the A’s won their World Championships in a very low-run context, which increased the value of Campy’s runs.  The 1972 A’s scored only 287 runs in their home park, allowing only 210 (317 and 247 on the road).   In 1973 they scored only 313 at home—as opposed to 443 on the road—and allowed only 253 at home, as opposed to 362 on the road. 

              Yes, Aparicio also played in a low-run context in Chicago, but Campaneris’ career offensive context is lower.  In his career, Aparicio had a .674 OPS at home, .633 on the road, whereas Campy was .643 at home, .663 on the road.  Campy’s value as an offensive player relative to context is higher than Aparicio’s, and this offsets the advantage that Aparicio has in his defense as a young player.

              6)  But the real reason that Campaneris ranks at the top of the list and Aparicio does not is simply the poor quality of the shortstops of the early 1970s.   You remember that I said that Maury Wills ranked first in 1961 with a ranking score of just 22.5—the lowest ranking score for a #1 shortstop since 1915.   But Campaneris ranks first with ranking scores of 19.8 and 19.6.    These are the worst scores ever for a #1 shortstop, lower than any #1 ranked shortstop before or since. 

              Aparicio’s scores peaked at 20.3 in 1964—and he doesn’t make the list for 1964.   I remember reading sportswriters of the 1960s being aware of this disintegration of the quality of the shortstop position.   I remember a sportswriter reviewing the shortstops of a year, perhaps 1968, and concluding that probably Campaneris was the best of them, but that none of them was really very good.  I think this may have been in Street and Smith’s spring annual for 1969 or 1970; some source such as that.

              Aparicio peaked at 20.3; Campy had seasons at 22.1, 21.5 and 21.0.   His scores are a little ahead of Aparicio’s, but he was not only weakest #1 shortstop in one season, but the weakest ever in several seasons.   Other than Aparicio there is no Hall of Fame shortstop in this era, and really, there just isn’t one. 

              7)  When I was a young writer, I was not hesitant to argue with the experts, and this is how I was different from the other sportswriters of my youth, who were almost universally beholden to coaches and managers and scouts as to how players should be evaluated.   You were not supposed to evaluate players in a way that contradicted the managers and the players themselves; you were not allowed to.   You would be attacked and ridiculed by the other writers if you did—but I did, and this was one of the foundation stones of my career.

              But at the time, I was totally intimated by the mythical perception of Luis Aparicio—not the other overrated stars of the time, but Aparicio.  It’s been a long time; it’s been 40 years and more, and I can say now that Aparicio was not all that he was cracked up to be—but I didn’t say it at the time, and I wouldn’t say it at the time.

              That perception got Aparicio into the Hall of Fame.   I am not arguing that Campaneris should go in, too; I am more inclined to believe that neither one of them should be there.   But I do believe that, all things considered, Campaneris was Aparicio’s equal. 

 

First

Last

YEAR

HR

RBI

Avg

OBA

SPct

OPS

Value

Bert

Campaneris

1971

5

47

.251

.287

.323

.611

19.76

Leo

Cardenas

1971

18

75

.264

.321

.421

.741

17.23

Jim

Fregosi

1971

5

33

.233

.317

.326

.643

16.97

Freddie

Patek

1971

6

36

.267

.323

.371

.693

16.89

Don

Kessinger

1971

2

38

.258

.318

.316

.634

16.85

Maury

Wills

1971

3

44

.281

.323

.329

.652

16.61

Chris

Speier

1971

8

46

.235

.307

.323

.630

14.87

Mark

Belanger

1971

0

35

.266

.365

.320

.685

13.93

 

   

 

 

 

     

 

Bobby

Grich

1972

12

50

.278

.358

.415

.773

22.83

Bert

Campaneris

1972

8

32

.240

.278

.325

.603

21.49

Chris

Speier

1972

15

71

.269

.361

.400

.761

19.69

Don

Kessinger

1972

1

39

.274

.351

.334

.685

16.86

Freddie

Patek

1972

0

32

.212

.280

.276

.556

15.11

Bill

Russell

1972

4

34

.272

.326

.366

.693

14.98

Danny

Thompson

1972

4

48

.276

.318

.356

.674

14.27

Jim

Fregosi

1972

5

32

.232

.311

.344

.655

13.33

 

   

 

 

 

     

 

Bert

Campaneris

1973

4

46

.250

.308

.318

.626

20.98

Chris

Speier

1973

11

71

.249

.332

.356

.688

18.33

Dave

Concepcion

1973

8

46

.287

.327

.433

.760

16.03

Freddie

Patek

1973

5

45

.234

.311

.321

.632

15.60

Don

Kessinger

1973

0

43

.262

.327

.310

.637

15.08

Bill

Russell

1973

4

56

.265

.301

.337

.638

15.04

Marty

Perez

1973

8

57

.250

.316

.347

.663

13.79

Roger

Metzger

1973

1

35

.250

.299

.322

.622

13.20

 

   

 

 

 

     

 

Bert

Campaneris

1974

2

41

.290

.347

.366

.713

22.12

Dave

Concepcion

1974

14

82

.281

.335

.397

.732

20.55

Chris

Speier

1974

9

53

.250

.336

.361

.697

17.83

Larry

Bowa

1974

1

36

.275

.298

.338

.636

16.00

Bill

Russell

1974

5

65

.269

.336

.351

.686

15.93

Don

Kessinger

1974

1

42

.259

.332

.321

.652

15.60

Freddie

Patek

1974

3

38

.225

.324

.298

.622

14.72

Marty

Perez

1974

2

34

.260

.314

.340

.654

13.81

 

   

 

 

 

     

 

Bert

Campaneris

1975

4

46

.265

.337

.330

.667

19.63

Dave

Concepcion

1975

5

49

.274

.326

.353

.679

19.58

Chris

Speier

1975

10

69

.271

.362

.415

.777

17.87

Larry

Bowa

1975

2

38

.305

.334

.377

.711

17.20

Rick

Burleson

1975

6

62

.252

.305

.329

.634

16.00

Freddie

Patek

1975

5

45

.228

.291

.308

.599

15.12

Don

Kessinger

1975

0

46

.243

.317

.319

.636

14.52

Bucky

Dent

1975

3

58

.264

.301

.341

.642

14.09

 

118.  Immaculate and Skinny

              Dave Concepcion was the best shortstop in baseball in the late 1970s.  When he was a rookie Concepcion was 6-foot-2 and weighed 155 pounds, which is still his listed weight in a lot of sources, although his mature weight was more like 185.   Anyway, Concepcion was removed from the lineup one day at the last minute.   Pete Rose asked what had happened to him, and was told that he had pulled a muscle.   Rose snorted.  "There is no way that man could pull a muscle," he said.

              Most-similar player ever to Dave Concepcion is Rabbit Maranville.   Most similar player to Concepcion from the 1900-1909 era is Bobby Wallace, 1910-1919 is Maranville, 1920s is Roger Peckinpaugh, 1930s is Dick Bartell, 1940s is Marty Marion, 1950s is Pee Wee Reese, 1960s is Aparicio, 1980s is Manny Trillo (second baseman), 1990s is Mike Bordick, 2000s is Chris Gomez (who was not as good as Concepcion or these other players, but was similar, as opposed to equal), most similar player now is J. J. Hardy.  Hardy is not highly similar to Concepcion; he is just as close as you can come in today’s game. 

First

Last

YEAR

HR

RBI

Avg

OBA

SPct

OPS

Value

Dave

Concepcion

1976

9

69

.281

.335

.401

.736

20.86

Rick

Burleson

1976

7

42

.291

.365

.383

.748

18.23

Bert

Campaneris

1976

1

52

.256

.331

.291

.622

18.13

Larry

Bowa

1976

0

49

.248

.283

.301

.584

16.85

Freddie

Patek

1976

1

43

.241

.318

.306

.624

16.05

Bill

Russell

1976

5

65

.274

.301

.343

.644

15.76

Chris

Speier

1976

3

40

.226

.311

.297

.608

14.84

Robin

Yount

1976

2

54

.252

.292

.301

.593

14.81

 

   

 

 

 

     

 

Dave

Concepcion

1977

8

64

.271

.322

.369

.691

19.67

Garry

Templeton

1977

8

79

.322

.336

.449

.786

19.42

Bobby

Grich

1977

7

23

.243

.369

.392

.762

19.13

Rick

Burleson

1977

3

52

.293

.338

.382

.720

17.97

Larry

Bowa

1977

4

41

.280

.313

.340

.652

17.32

Freddie

Patek

1977

5

60

.262

.320

.368

.688

16.66

Robin

Yount

1977

4

49

.288

.333

.377

.710

16.49

Roy Jr.

Smalley

1977

6

56

.231

.316

.315

.631

16.48

 

   

 

 

 

     

 

Dave

Concepcion

1978

6

67

.301

.357

.405

.763

21.37

Roy Jr.

Smalley

1978

19

77

.273

.362

.433

.796

20.77

Garry

Templeton

1978

2

47

.280

.303

.377

.680

20.33

Robin

Yount

1978

9

71

.293

.323

.428

.752

19.19

Ivan

DeJesus

1978

3

35

.278

.356

.354

.710

18.36

Ozzie

Smith

1978

1

46

.258

.311

.312

.623

17.52

Larry

Bowa

1978

3

43

.294

.319

.370

.689

17.30

Rick

Burleson

1978

5

49

.248

.295

.339

.633

17.17

 

   

 

 

 

     

 

Garry

Templeton

1979

9

62

.314

.331

.458

.790

21.97

Roy Jr.

Smalley

1979

24

95

.271

.353

.441

.794

21.48

Dave

Concepcion

1979

16

84

.281

.348

.415

.764

21.34

Robin

Yount

1979

8

51

.267

.308

.371

.679

18.67

Rick

Burleson

1979

5

60

.278

.315

.368

.683

17.82

Ivan

DeJesus

1979

5

52

.283

.345

.379

.724

17.41

Alan

Trammell

1979

6

50

.276

.335

.357

.691

15.24

Bill

Russell

1979

7

56

.271

.297

.359

.656

14.89

             

119.  The March of the Superstars Begins

              From 1944 to 1966, a period of 23 years, there were 8 shortstops elected as Most Valuable Player.   From 1967 to 1981, 15 years, there were none.

              From 1944 to 1966 there were 390 major league teams, and in that time there were 30 shortstops who had a ranking number of 25.0 or higher.   From 1967 to 1979 there were 310 major league teams, and there were only six shortstops who had a ranking number of 25.0 or higher.  From 1971 to 1979 there were none at all.  

              From 1944 to 1966 there were four Hall of Fame shortstops (Reese, Rizzuto, Boudreau and Banks), plus the first 63% of Luis Aparicio’s career and the last 26% of Luke Appling’s. From 1967 to 1979 there are basically no Hall of Fame shortstops, although we get the last 37% of Aparicio’s career and the beginnings of three Hall of Fame careers in the late 1970s.  The first of the three to reach Hall of Fame level was Robin Yount in 1980:

First

Last

YEAR

HR

RBI

Avg

OBA

SPct

OPS

Value

Robin

Yount

1980

23

87

.293

.321

.519

.840

25.21

Roy Jr.

Smalley

1980

12

63

.278

.359

.405

.765

20.28

Dave

Concepcion

1980

5

77

.260

.300

.360

.660

19.60

Garry

Templeton

1980

4

43

.319

.342

.417

.759

19.47

Alan

Trammell

1980

9

65

.300

.376

.404

.779

18.96

Rick

Burleson

1980

8

51

.278

.341

.366

.708

16.75

U.L.

Washington

1980

6

53

.273

.336

.375

.711

15.71

Ivan

DeJesus

1980

3

33

.259

.327

.325

.653

15.34

 

   

 

 

 

     

 

Robin

Yount

1981

10

49

.273

.312

.419

.731

28.52

Alan

Trammell

1981

2

31

.258

.342

.327

.669

18.71

Dave

Concepcion

1981

5

67

.306

.358

.409

.767

18.19

Roy Jr.

Smalley

1981

7

22

.263

.375

.443

.818

15.63

Garry

Templeton

1981

1

33

.288

.315

.393

.709

15.05

U.L.

Washington

1981

2

29

.227

.310

.307

.616

13.57

Ozzie

Smith

1981

0

21

.222

.294

.256

.549

13.52

Rick

Burleson

1981

5

33

.293

.357

.372

.729

12.93

 

   

 

 

 

     

 

Robin

Yount

1982

29

114

.331

.379

.578

.957

34.70

Cal

Ripken

1982

28

93

.264

.317

.475

.792

23.51

Alan

Trammell

1982

9

57

.258

.325

.395

.720

20.05

Dickie

Thon

1982

3

36

.276

.327

.397

.724

19.92

Ozzie

Smith

1982

2

43

.248

.339

.314

.653

18.27

Roy Jr.

Smalley

1982

20

67

.255

.345

.413

.758

18.21

U.L.

Washington

1982

10

60

.286

.338

.412

.750

16.27

Dave

Concepcion

1982

5

53

.287

.337

.371

.707

15.64

 

   

 

 

 

     

 

Robin

Yount

1983

17

80

.308

.383

.503

.886

32.25

Cal

Ripken

1983

27

102

.318

.371

.517

.888

30.77

Dickie

Thon

1983

20

79

.286

.341

.457

.798

26.40

Alan

Trammell

1983

14

66

.319

.385

.471

.856

24.67

Ozzie

Smith

1983

3

50

.243

.321

.335

.657

19.09

Roy Jr.

Smalley

1983

18

62

.275

.357

.452

.810

17.90

Rafael

Ramirez

1983

7

58

.297

.337

.368

.705

16.00

Dale

Berra

1983

10

52

.251

.327

.358

.684

15.37

 

              When we get to the point of summing up the century, which will be in section 125 of the series, this unevenness of talent over time will play tricks with the numbers, causing the players from weak eras to be overrated. Robin Yount snapped the 16-year stretch of no shortstop MVPs in 1982, and then Ripken won the MVP Award in 1983.  By 1983 there are four Hall of Famers on the leaderboard—Yount, Ripken, Trammell and Ozzie—and then there’s Dickie Thon; we don’t know how good he would have been if he hadn’t gotten hurt.   In 1983 Ripken was the American League’s MVP, but still ranks second at shortstop.   Which is reasonable, actually; Yount had won the MVP in ’82, and was about as good as Ripken in ’83. 

 

120.  The Ripken-Trammell-Ozzie Era

              In 1985 Robin Yount moved to the outfield, but there were still three Hall of Fame shortstops in their prime:

First

Last

YEAR

HR

RBI

Avg

OBA

SPct

OPS

Value

Cal

Ripken

1984

27

86

.304

.374

.510

.884

32.78

Robin

Yount

1984

16

80

.298

.362

.441

.803

27.92

Alan

Trammell

1984

14

69

.314

.382

.468

.851

26.60

Ozzie

Smith

1984

1

44

.257

.347

.337

.684

21.81

Julio

Franco

1984

3

79

.286

.331

.348

.679

15.51

Tony

Phillips

1984

4

37

.266

.325

.359

.685

14.26

Rafael

Ramirez

1984

2

48

.266

.295

.327

.621

13.64

Garry

Templeton

1984

2

35

.258

.312

.320

.633

13.58

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cal

Ripken

1985

26

110

.282

.347

.469

.816

27.96

Ozzie

Smith

1985

6

54

.276

.355

.361

.716

24.57

Alan

Trammell

1985

13

57

.258

.312

.380

.692

23.36

Tony

Fernandez

1985

2

51

.289

.340

.390

.730

17.58

Julio

Franco

1985

6

90

.288

.343

.381

.723

16.38

Alfredo

Griffin

1985

2

64

.270

.290

.332

.622

15.32

Garry

Templeton

1985

6

55

.282

.332

.377

.709

14.94

Scott

Fletcher

1985

2

31

.256

.332

.309

.641

13.43

 

   

 

 

 

     

 

Alan

Trammell

1986

21

75

.277

.347

.469

.816

27.08

Cal

Ripken

1986

25

81

.282

.355

.461

.816

26.69

Ozzie

Smith

1986

0

54

.280

.376

.333

.709

25.37

Tony

Fernandez

1986

10

65

.310

.338

.428

.766

20.84

Julio

Franco

1986

10

74

.306

.338

.422

.760

18.03

Scott

Fletcher

1986

3

50

.300

.360

.400

.760

16.88

Alfredo

Griffin

1986

4

51

.285

.323

.364

.687

15.41

Dick Jr.

Schofield

1986

13

57

.249

.321

.397

.719

15.28

                   

First

Last

YEAR

HR

RBI

Avg

OBA

SPct

OPS

Value

Alan

Trammell

1987

28

105

.343

.402

.551

.953

29.78

Ozzie

Smith

1987

0

75

.303

.392

.383

.775

28.28

Cal

Ripken

1987

27

98

.252

.333

.436

.769

23.10

Tony

Fernandez

1987

5

67

.322

.379

.426

.805

21.50

Julio

Franco

1987

8

52

.319

.389

.428

.818

18.88

Dale

Sveum

1987

25

95

.252

.303

.454

.757

17.27

Scott

Fletcher

1987

5

63

.287

.358

.374

.732

16.92

Greg

Gagne

1987

10

40

.265

.310

.430

.740

15.89

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alan

Trammell

1988

15

69

.311

.373

.464

.836

26.59

Cal

Ripken

1988

23

81

.264

.372

.431

.803

24.21

Barry

Larkin

1988

12

56

.296

.347

.429

.776

23.68

Ozzie

Smith

1988

3

51

.270

.350

.336

.686

23.31

Tony

Fernandez

1988

5