In part three of the MSG Series “The Lineup”, we will be ranking the top 5 second basemen in the history of New York baseball. Last week, we predicted the three of five first basemen correctly, including #1, Lou Gehrig. The lively debate on our article focused on whether Tino Martinez would get in over Keith Hernandez, and it turned out our debaters were right. Let’s see if we can get a perfect 5 for 5 this week.

  1. Jackie Robinson – Brooklyn / Los Angeles Dodgers (1947-1956) Jackie Robinson may be known widely as the first black player in Major League Baseball, but his accomplishments go much further than that. A pioneer of the game, Robinson provided the inspiration to a generation of black athletes. He is currently the only player in baseball to have his number (42) retired amongst all of the teams. Robinson was a 6-time All-Star, the 1947 NL Rookie of the Year, the 1949 NL MVP, a 1955 World Series Champion, and was enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1962.
    Career Stats: .311 BA, 137 HRs, 734 RBIs
  2. Frankie Frisch – New York Giants (1919-1927) Frankie Frisch may be more well-known for being traded for Rogers Hornsby, but himself was a dynamic second baseman. As a New York Giant, his batting average as a starter never dipped below .314. He was also a 3-time All-Star, a 4-time World Series Champion, the 1931 NL MVP, and was voted into Cooperstown in 1947.
    Career Stats: .316 BA, 105 HRs, 1244 RBIs, 419 SBs
    Why he’s not higher: Am I really going to put Frankie Frisch above Jackie Robinson? I didn’t think so either.
  3. Joe Gordon – New York Yankees (1938-1946) Joe Gordon took over at second base for the Yankees right where #5 on our list Tony Lazzeri left off. Gordon was one of the first true power hitting second basemen. Also, he was a 9-time All-Star, a 5-time World Series Champion, the 1942 AL MVP, and a member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2009.
    Career Stats: .268 BA, 253 HRs, 975 RBIs
    Why he’s not higher: Although the power numbers are very impressive, the .268 batting average is very mediocre.
  4. Jeff Kent – New York Mets (1992-1996) Jeff Kent would be the only real threat on Jackie Robinson on this list if he played more of his 18-year career in Queens. Widely regarded as the best power-hitting second baseman of all time, Kent was a 5-time All-Star, a 4-time Silver Slugger, and the 2000 NL MVP.
    Career Stats: .290 BA, 377 HRs, 1518 RBIs
    Why he’s not higher: I feel like I’m going to catch some flak for putting him this low. However, if anyone wants to argue with me not putting someone who averaged a batting average of .276 with 13 HRs and 53 RBIs per season in New York, please let me hear your argument. Kent is on this list for his accomplishments in San Francisco and Houston.
  5. Tony Lazzeri – New York Yankees (1926-1937), Brooklyn Dodgers (1939), New York Giants (1939) Rounding out our list is our first player who played for at least three different New York teams. Lazzeri was the 6th batter of the famed “Murderers’ Row”. Although he wasn’t necessarily known for his power, he still holds the AL record for most RBIs in one game with 11. Lazzeri was also an All-Star in 1933, a 5-time World Series Champion, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.
    Career Stats: .292 BA, 178 HRs, 1191 RBIs
    Why he’s not higher: Sure, he was a good second baseman. But he was just one of many superstars who led the Yankees to their string of titles in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  

What do you think folks? Will Frankie Frisch upset Jackie Robinson? Does Willie Randolph or Bobby Richardson deserve a spot on our list? Be sure to tune into MSG Tuesday night at 10:30 to see for yourself. Also, don’t forget to fill out a lineup card here to get in the running to win great prizes!

Photo Credit: MLB.com