The Best Defensive Second Basemen Of All Time
The following post represents Part Three in a presentation of the best second basemen in the history of baseball. This list covers the greatest defensive performers at second base:
#9 (11 tied):
Jerry Coleman played mostly as a second baseman for 9 years for the New York Yankees in the 1950s. He was a true team leader on defense, with the Yankees having perennially strong defensive numbers with Coleman on the field. He served as a U. S. Marine pilot from 1942 to 1946, where he flew 57 combat missions in the Solomon Islands and the Philippines.
Nellie Fox, a Hall of Fame second baseman, was an excellent performer offensively and defensively, for mostly the Chicago White Sox for 19 seasons in the 1950s and the 1960s. He was an All-Star selection for 15 games, and won 3 Gold Gloves. Fox also won the AL MVP Award in 1959, and led the AL in putouts by a second baseman for 10 years. He also led all second basemen in fielding percentage for 5 seasons.
Frankie Frisch, “The Fordham Flash”, was a Hall of Fame second baseman, known equally for his offense and defense. He was a slick-fielding defender, and played with the New York Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals for 19 years in the 1920s and the 1930s. Frisch won the NL MVP in 1931, and played in the first 3 All-Star games. He won 3 fielding percentage crowns for second basemen.
Bobby Grich was one of the best defensive second basemen to ever play the game. He played for the Baltimore Orioles and the California Angels in the 1970s and the 1980s, for 17 seasons. He was selected for 6 All-Star games, and won 4 successive Gold Gloves. He won 2 fielding percentage crowns, and perennially led in several other defensive categories for second basemen.
Bucky Harris was a second baseman who played a “take charge” style of defense. He played 12 years, mostly with the Washington Senators, and as a player/manager and manager, guided teams for 29 years. Harris is a member of the Hall of Fame. He won 2 World Series, one as a player/manager (1924 Washington Senators), and one as a manager (1947 New York Yankees). Harris led all AL second basemen in putouts for 4 years.
Joe Morgan, a second baseman, may have been the best team leader in the history of baseball. He was like having a coach on the field. He was a leader on offense and on defense. Morgan won 2 NL MVP Awards, and was selected for 10 All-Star squads. He played for 22 seasons, mostly for the Houston Astros and the Cincinnati Reds, from 1965 to 1984. He won 5 Gold Glove Awards, and was always at the top of the defensive stat charts. Morgan is a member of Cooperstown.
Jose Oquendo was as smart as they come at second base. He could call defensive plays with any coach, and made every defense better with his presence. Jose played for 12 seasons, mostly with the St. Louis Cardinals, and was a force on offense and defense. Oquendo led all NL second basemen in fielding percentage for 2 years and was always at the top echelon of the defensive stats.
Hardy Richardson, “Old True Blue”, was one of the best all-around players of the 19th century. He was great on offense, and also anchored the defense, mostly at second base. He played for 14 years in the 1880s and the 1890s for mostly Buffalo in the National League. He had amazing range, and was always at the top of the defensive stats list.
Eddie Stanky, “The Brat”, was a superb middle infielder, especially at second base.He played in the National League for a number of teams for 11 seasons in the 1940s and the 1950s. He was a great team leader on defense and was always at the top of the defensive charts. He was chosen for 3 All-Star games, and led the NL in putouts at second base for 3 years.
Manny Trillo played for several teams, mostly the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies, in the 1970s and the 1980s. He was a strong infielder for 17 years, particularly at second base, and was a perennial defensive leader in several categories. He was selected for 4 All-Star games, and won 3 Gold Gloves. He led the NL in assists for second basemen for 4 straight years.
Frank White, an excellent second baseman, played 18 seasons for the Kansas City Royals in the 1970s and the 1980s. He was around the top of the defensive stats for second sackers his entire career. White, at various times, led the AL in virtually all defensive categories. He was selected for 5 All-Star games, and won Gold Gloves in 8 seasons.
#5 (4 tied):
Nap Lajoie was one of the best all-around players ever. He was a star second baseman for 21 years, from 1896 to 1916, playing mostly with the Philadelphia Phillies and the Cleveland Indians. He was one of the earliest Hall of Famers, and was an excellent, graceful fielder. He won 7 fielding percentage crowns, and led in every defensive category during his playing career.
Fred Pfeffer, a superb second baseman, played for 16 seasons in the 1880s and the 1890s, for mostly the National League franchises in Chicago and Louisville. Pfeffer led in putouts by second basemen for 8 straight years, and at various times led in all other defensive categories. He was one of the truly great defenders in the history of baseball.
Willie Randolph played second base for mostly the New York Yankees in the 1970s and the 1980s, for 18 years. He was selected for 6 All-Star teams, and anchored the Yankee defense with stellar play. He pretty well controlled the Yankee defensive sets for for years. Randolph was an outstanding team leader.
Harold Reynolds, a current baseball news anchor and senior analyst with the MLB network, was a scintillating defender at second base for 12 seasons with mostly the Seattle Mariners in the 1980s and the1990s, He won 3 Gold Gloves, and was selected to 2 All-Star teams. Reynolds won 5 consecutive assist titles for AL second basemen, and won every other defensive award for second basemen in his career.
#3 (2 tied):
Glenn Hubbard, a superlative defensive second baseman, played for 12 seasons, mostly with the Atlanta Braves during the 1980s. At second base, Hubbard played suffocating defense, always one of the NL leaders in second base defensive stats. He had a flawless glove and unmatched anticipation.
Bill Mazeroski, affectionately called “Maz”, may have had the smoothest glove and best transfer (from glove to throwing hand) ever at second base. He played for 17 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, from1956 to 1972. His hall of fame election was due to his unmatchable defense. He played on 10 All-Star teams, and won 8 Gold Gloves. He also won 9 assist crowns for second basemen, as well as crowns for every other defensive category.
#1 (2 tied):
Bid McPhee, a Hall of Fame second baseman, perfected the way the position is played. He did not use a glove, yet was a flawless fielder. He played 18 seasons for Cincinnati in both the American Association and the National League, during the 1880s and the 1890s. McPhee was adept on offense, but his defense was spectacular. He won 9 fielding percentage crowns, as well as numerous awards in every defensive category.
Red Schoendienst was an amazing second baseman whose defense got him elected to the Hall of Fame.He played for mostly the St. Louis Cardinals for 19 seasons from 1945 to 1963. Red was selected to 10 All-Star games, and won 7 fielding percentage crowns, as well as titles in every other defensive category for second sackers. He was a productive offensive player, but his defense helped the Cardinals win lots of games. A true team leader.