|07-23-2002, 08:46 PM||#1|
NetShrine All-Century Team
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Winter Springs, FL
Shortstops, Aparicio, Smith, Trammell ...
Robin Yount, Cal Ripken and the generations that followed him have changed the perceptions of what a shortstop should be. With the exception of Honus Wagner and Ernie Banks, none of the pre-Ripken generation of shortstops can compete with the Garciaparra, Rodriguez and Jeters of the world. Omar Visquel, a truly terrific defensive player is hardly ever mentioned in the same breathe as the big three. Twenty-five years ago he might have been regarded as the best in the game.
Smed and I have been disagreeing on the merits of Ozzie Smith as a first ballot HOF selection. I consider him a marginal HOF candidate; Smed considers him truly worthy and the greatest defensive player at any position.
From my perspective, it's very hard to separate the case for Ozzie Smith from the case for Aparicio. They are each other's closest comps and their offensive stats are eerily similar. Defensively, Ozzie had the advantage of playing on artificial turf and on grass fields that were better maintained than some of the diamonds that Little Looie played on. Consequently, Smith's fielding percentage is a bit better. Both won many GGs (the award started after Aparicio's career had begun). If you placed them both on the same fields, I doubt you could tell them apart.
Ozzie had a bit better batting eye as far as OBP but Aparicio had more power. Both hit .262 for their career. Aparicio beats Smith in the Black Ink, Gray Ink, HOF standards and HOF monitor tests. Since Aparicio played in the AL during the 1960s, his offensive stats, taken in context, are better than those of Smith.
Smed is too young to have seen Aparicio at his peak. I did see him, many times, and he was really something. I guess the reason I was never as impressed with Ozzie Smith as many others were is that I already had seen the best in Aparicio. Defensively, Smith did age a little better than Aparicio. Still, they are two peas in a pod.
Having said that, I wouldn't trade Alan Trammell even up for either of them. You'd have to toss in something (a #3 starter or a good middle reliever) to tempt me to part with Trammell for Oz or Luis.
I never saw Marty Marion, Pee Wee Reese or Phil Rizzuto play at all, and defensive wizard Roy McMillan I only saw at the end of his career. Eddie Brinkman was a fine defensive player but a very poor offensive player. Gene Alley was a very fine defensive player whose career was cut short by injuries. Davy Concepcion was very good. Mark Belanger was a poor offensive player but a very good defensive player - maybe the equal of Aparicio, Visquel and Smith (his range factors are watered down because of his light hitting - he played many partial games in his career). Larry Bowa was perhaps the most reliable shortstop of all time, virtually never messing up a routine play.
Leaving out the boppers seven (Wagner, Banks, Yount, Ripken, Jeter, Rodriguez, and Garciaparra), how would you assess the shortstops you've seen ?
"I would submit that if the world survives for a million years, perhaps its finest hour may be that in the last half of the 20th century, when the power to blow up the world rested in the hands of a few men in two very unsophisticated and suspicious countries, we didn't do it, and one American, Richard Nixon, moved the cold war away from permanent confrontation toward victory. How could any wrong that he did compare with that?" - John Sears
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