Seen on:
as known from New York Timesas known from USA Todayas known from yahoo!

Top 10 Defensive Shortstops of All Time: Who is the GOAT at Shortstop?

Publish Date: 05/04/2024
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

Greatest defensive shortstops of all time; what’s the first person that pops into your head? Ozzie Smith popped into my head right away when I thought about doing this top ten. After further examination, is Ozzie Smith the greatest? If you want to know the top ten greatest all-around shortstops of all time, we got that covered also.


Fielding percentage has to play the biggest by part of the criteria for defense. Seeing the player live and in person or at least on TV. That hurts the players of the early twentieth century. A player from that time period made it but it is really hard to judge defensive prowess without at least seeing that defender.


10) Tony Fernandez

Tony Fernandez was one of the most reliable shortstops ever. Fernandez set an incredible record in 1989. He set the Major League Baseball field percentage record with an incredible.992 field percentage during that season.

Fernandez won four Gold Glove awards throughout his career. He was the glue behind some excellent Toronto Blue Jays teams and is highly underrated as a shortstop.

Video: Tony Fernandez, thy name is defence

Tony Fernandez, thy name is defence

9) Cal Ripken Jr.

Cal Ripken Jr. is known for numerous achievements.

One thing you might not hear much about in connection with his name is his defense, but he was actually quite adept at that as well.

Ripken received two Gold Glove Awards for his defensive efforts during 1991 and 1992, possibly also warranting one in 1990 when he made only three errors. Overall, he amassed 8,212 assists and made 1,682 double plays over his career.

Note that Ripken did spend time playing third base, yet both his Gold Glove awards came for shortstop play. His career field percentage at shortstop was an astounding.968 compared to just.949 at third base.

Video: Cal Ripken Jr. makes diving stop at short

Cal Ripken Jr. makes diving stop at short

8) Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter made one of the smartest defensive plays I’ve ever witnessed, known as “Jeter’s Flip”. If this feat has passed you by, make sure to watch this video; no true baseball fan would miss it!

Jeter was an all-around great player, and because of the offense, many forget his defensive prowess, but his defensive stats are almost an exact replica of Dave Concepcion.

Video: Derek Jeter's ridiculous jump-throw nabs Fryman in the 1998 ALCS

Derek Jeter’s ridiculous jump-throw nabs Fryman in the 1998 ALCS

7) Joe Tinker

Joe Tinker will long be remembered as one of baseball’s premier early defensive players. Tinker played in the National League between 1902 and 1916 and led the league four times in field percentage, not only among shortstops but all position players as well. Tinkers to Evers to Chance!

Players from the turn of the century often get overlooked but Tinkers was a magician with a glove and will be remembered forever in Baseball lore!

Video: #203-Joe Tinker (Why Was He Inducted?)

#203-Joe Tinker (Why Was He Inducted?)

6) Lou Boudreaux

Lou Boudreau was an illustrious Hall-of-Famer shortstop whose offense overshadowed his defensive skills. Plus, the Indians were good when Lou played, and he was one of the biggest reasons they were good.

At his time of playing from 1938-1952, Gold Glove awards didn’t exist yet, but they likely would have gone his way had they existed – he led AL shortstops in fielding percentage eight times while being known for making outstanding plays.

Video: Remembering Lou Boudreau

Remembering Lou Boudreau

5) Dave Concepcion

Dave Concepcion was a shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds from 1970 to 1988. Concepcion wasn’t known for his hitting abilities, but he made up for this with exceptional defensive prowess. The Reds of the 1970s had one of the greatest infield in baseball history with bench, Perez, Morgan, Concepcion and Rose.

He achieved five Gold Glove awards and posted an outstanding fielding percentage of.972. He was named the MVP of the 1982 MLB All-Star game. As he got further into his career, he was a solid hitter, and Dave Concepcion should be enshrined in Cooperstown.

Video: Dave Concepcion fields ball off Tom Seaver's glove

Dave Concepcion fields ball off Tom Seaver’s glove

4) Luis Aparicio

Luis Aparicio played for three teams from 1956 to 1973. At that time, he was widely regarded as one of the best shortstops in baseball. He won nine Gold Gloves and 13 All-Star selections and earned induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. At his retirement, he achieved an astronomical fielding percentage of.962.

Aparicio was a good hitter and great fielder and will go down as one of the greatest shortstops in baseball history! Best known for helping take the 1959 Chicago White Sox to the World Series.

Video: Luis Aparicio - The Best I Ever Saw

Luis Aparicio – The Best I Ever Saw

3) Mark Belanger

Mark Belanger was known as one of the least productive offensive players during his MLB tenure (1965-1982), yet his defense kept him around.

Belanger was awarded eight Gold Gloves during his time with the Baltimore Orioles. In addition, he led both assists and field percentage in three different seasons for both leagues he was competing in; at retirement time, he held almost all fielding records.

Cal Ripken Jr. broke many of these records because he lasted so long in baseball, but Belanger was the better fielder between the two.

Video: The Best Defensive Player You’ve Never Heard Of #shorts

The Best Defensive Player You’ve Never Heard Of #shorts

2) Ozzie Smith

Smith holds the record for consecutive Gold Glove wins with 13. Additionally, he holds records for career assists and number of games played at shortstop in the National League (NL). Ozzie Smith is one of the greatest St.Louis Cardinals of all time!

He would certainly rank first were it not for having a fielding percentage that’s.007 lower and having fewer records to his credit than the man at number one. A great case can be made for Ozzie at number; he, indeed, was magical in the field with his glove. He was a gan favorite in St.Louis with his backflips and flashy plays at shortstop.


“The Wizard of Oz”: How Ozzie Smith Became a Baseball Legend

1) Omar Vizqel

He has amassed 11 Gold Glove awards, notably nine consecutively from 1993-2001 and most recently in 2006.

Here are some incredible records held by Vizquel:

– Holds the highest career field percentage among shortstops in MLB history at.985.

-All-time leader for shortstop games played

– He holds the all-time leader for double plays turned at shortstop.

– AL record for most consecutive games played without an error at shortstop

Video: Omar Vizquel Career Highlights

Omar Vizquel Career Highlights

Honorable Mentions

Alan Trammell

Trammell made up one-half of the greatest double-play combination with second baseman Lou Whitaker. Trammell was not spectacular, but he was consistent, and he got the job done defensively at a high rate. Trammell was a critical contributor to the 1984 Detroit Tigers team that won it all in dominating fashion.

Barry Larkin

Cincinnati’s Barry Larkin was one of the greatest players of the 1990s despite often being overshadowed by the home run hitters of his era. Larkin earned recognition from some of the National League’s best fielders during this era while boasting impressive offensive statistics (nine seasons with at least a.300 average!). Larkin was a great fielder and helped led the Reds to the World Series championship in 1990.

Pee Wee Reese

Pee Wee Reese was an integral member of the Brooklyn Dodgers powerhouse teams from the 1940s and ’50s, appearing in seven World Series and winning one championship title in 1955. A 10-time All-Star who missed three years due to military service enlistment despite this setback was honored with induction into the Hall of Fame in 1984.

Rabbit Maranville

Rabbit Maranville had an exceptional career that bridged both dead ball and live ball eras, earning him Hall-of-Famer status and remaining one of the finest defensive shortstops ever seen in baseball history. While his batting average of.258 may leave much to be desired, his defense kept him on the roster, leading to 5,139 career putouts by shortstop (Bill Dahlen holds second with 4,856).

Read Also
Top 10 Best NBA Defensive Teams Of All Time
The NBA has gone through many phases in its history, from the ...
Top-10 Shortstops in MLB History: Where does ARod rank?
Today we look at the greatest shortstops in Baseball history; offensive and ...
Bet365 Promo
Esteban de Jesus, Roberto Duran y AIDS (1972-89)
Many of us dream of celebrity sports fame, but only cruel individuals ...
Stories You Should Know: Honus Wagner
The Flying Dutchman: The definitive question in my family of weeding out ...
Tommy Morrison and AIDS: The Truth about what happened, and how he Died.
Tommy Morrison burst onto the professional boxing scene in 1988. Following a ...
Indiana Basketball Weekly
Welcome to Indiana Basketball Weekly, your dedicated podcast for all things Indiana ...
Grading every NFL team’s picks from the 2021 NFL Draft
Quickly, click away if you’re going to get upset by reading draft ...
Ranking the top 200 players in the NFL ahead of the 2021 season
This list isn’t based solely on performances from the 2020 NFL season. ...
Top 100 NFL free agents entering the 2021 offseason
Below is a list of the top 100 free agents available this ...
The 1888 Colored Heavyweight Champion: George Godfrey
By January 1888, George Godfrey had been the Colored heavyweight Champion nearly ...
Latest News
Gentleman Jim conquers the great John L
The conqueror of the "Great John L" was ...
Top 10 College Football Song Traditions
Every team has a song played at some ...
Formula 1, Round 13: The 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix
We’ve hit the halfway mark in the 2024 ...
Top-16 Second Baseman of All-Time
Second base is considered easier than playing SS ...
Our Latest YouTube Videos
Video: ESPN is Trying to steal WNBA Rookie of the Year from Caitlin Clark
ESPN is Trying to steal WNBA Rookie of the Year from Caitlin Clark
Video: Get Free $60 At The Best Sportsbook in Michigan: SI CASINO #sportsgambling #casino #freebonus
Get Free $60 At The Best Sportsbook in Michigan: SI CASINO #sportsgambling #casino #freebonus
Video: How to Bet on The Copa America Final With BETMGM | $1,500 in Bonus Bets #sportsbook #copaamerica
How to Bet on The Copa America Final With BETMGM | $1,500 in Bonus Bets #sportsbook #copaamerica
Top Betting Sites
Top Betting Bonuses
Bet365 Review
BetMGM Review
FanDuel Review
Caesars Review
4.5/5 Review
Bet365 Bonus
First Bet Safety Net up to $1000 OR Bet $5 and Get $150
T&Cs apply
At bet365 we don't do ordinary, that's why if you sign up now you'll get the choice of two great New Customer Offers, the First Bet Safety Net up to $1000 or Bet $5 and Get $150 in Bonus Bets. Deposit required. Bonus Bets wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler 21+
BetMGM Bonus
Up To $1500 in Bonus Bets Paid Back if your First Bet Does Not Win
T&Cs apply
FanDuel Bonus
Bet $5 Get $200 in Bonus Bets if your bet wins
T&Cs apply
Caesars Bonus
100% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
4.5/5 Bonus
Second chance bet: Get up to $500 in Bonus Bets
T&Cs apply
Our Team
Mike GoodpasterJosh SchwartzSimon BriffaMark LewisSamuel Teets
Mike Goodpaster
Mike Goodpaster
Chief Editor
Josh Schwartz
Josh Schwartz
Simon Briffa
Simon Briffa
Sports Editor
Mark Lewis
Mark Lewis
Samuel Teets
Samuel Teets
US Sports Veteran
Author Icon
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....

21+ and present in VA. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.

This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.

Virginia Town HallCloudflareSSL
Your Promo Code:
The bonus offer of was already opened in an additional window. If not, you can open it also by clicking the following link:
Play now