The shortstop position is another position filled with a rich history in New York baseball. In the fifth part of our series with “The Lineup”, the new hit series on MSG, we will look at which shortstops are the best in the history of New York baseball. So far, we’ve picked the best player at catcher (Yogi Berra), first base (Lou Gehrig), second base (Jackie Robinson), and third base (Alex Rodriguez). Let’s try to make it five for five, as well as get the whole top five correct!

Photo Credit: Adam Poedubicky

  1. Derek Jeter – New York Yankees (1995-present) What can be said about the Yankee captain that hasn’t been said about him already? The catalyst for the past five Yankees’ World Series rings, he recently became the all-time hits leader as a New York Yankee. He is a ten-time All-Star, five-time World Series Champion, four-time Gold Glover, four-time Silver Slugger, the 1996 AL Rookie of the Year, and the 2000 World Series MVP.
    Career Stats: .317 BA, 224 HRs, 1068 RBIs, 305 SBs, 1574 R
  2. Phil Rizzuto – New York Yankees (1941-1942, 1946-1956) Up until potentially this year, Phil Rizzuto was the best shortstop in the history of New York baseball until Derek Jeter’s  record-breaking season. Rizzuto lost three years of his playing career for enlisting in World War II, but he still had great statistics in his 13 years as a New York Yankee. Rizzuto was a five-time All-Star, a seven-time World Series Champion, the 1950 American League MVP, and was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.
    Career Stats: .273 BA, 38 HRs, 563 RBIs
    Why he’s not higher: Again, he lost three years worth of stats. Also, his overall numbers are nothing too impressive.
  3. Pee Wee Reese – Brooklyn / Los Angeles Dodgers (1940-1942, 1946-1958) Pee Wee Reese may be one of the reasons why our best second baseman, Jackie Robinson, was as good as he was. He was said to have refused to sign a petition saying he would boycott the Dodgers if Robinson joined them.  Reese was not only Jackie Robinson’s teammate, however, as he was an offensive powerhouse. He was a ten-time All-Star, a two-time World Series Champion, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.
    Career Stats: .269 BA, 126 HRs, 885 RBIs, 232 SBs, 1338 R
    Why he’s not higher: He missed three seasons due to enlisting in the Navy during World War II. Also, he was a great hitter (2170 career hits), but never had a very high average, as he only broke .300 once in his career.
  4. Monte Ward – New York Gothams/Giants (1883-1889, 1893-1894) By far the oldest player on the list, Monte Ward is one of the most anonymous successful players in the history of New York. Ward was a force in the batters’ box as well as the pitchers’ mound when he wasn’t playing shortstop. He is certainly the only player on this list to ever have pitched a perfect game. He won three National League championships and is the only player in baseball history to ever pitch for 100 wins and hit 2,000 hits. The Veteran’s Committee voted him into Cooperstown in 1964.
    Career Stats: .275 BA, 26 HRs, 869 RBIs, 540 SBs
    Why he’s not higher: No one reading this site has ever seen him play. Who knows how good he would be playing today’s game.
  5. Travis Jackson – New York Giants (1922-1936) Like Ward, Travis Jackson was another New York Giant great. He played his entire career there, and was known for being exceptional on offense and defense. He was an All-Star in 1934 and a two-time World Series Champion. He also was inducted into Cooperstown in 1982.
    Career Stats: .291 BA, 135 HRs, 929 RBIs,
    Why he’s not higher: Again, probably no one watching on Tuesday has ever seen him play. Also, his stats were good, but not great.

Again, we have a list with no Mets on it. Mets fans, do you have an argument for Jose Reyes, Bud Harrelson, or Kevin Elster? Who is your number one? Also, don’t forget to log onto The Lineup’s home page to enter in your picks!