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Chase Utley is not the best second baseman ever

Nov 4, 2009, 8:20 AM EDT

Off days stink because they force writers to fill space with silly stuff like this article making an argument for Chase Utley as “the best second baseman in baseball. Ever.”  The evidence cited: his OPS is higher than Jackie Robinson’s!  He’s on pace to have more hits than Joe Morgan! He’s got more home runs than Eddie Collins!  He plays better defense than Rogers Hornsby!

All of which is beside the point.  I mean, it’s not hard to take four great second baseman, cite those stats which are among the least impressive of their case for immortality, and then note that Utley bests them in that department.  Try this out for size: I’m the greatest man in world history because I can run faster than
Steven Hawking, sing better than Albert Einstein, shoot better than
Ghandi, and shave closer than Lincoln.  Anyone see any problems there?

The fact is that Joe Morgan wasn’t just a guy who got base hits. He walked a lot and had superior power, defense and base running ability.  As the author of the linked article admits, Collins played in the deadball era, so his home run totals are pretty irrelevant.  Robinson certainly had a good OPS, but his all-around ability — he played many positions — base running and, oh yeah, BALLS OF STEEL are a bigger part of his story. Citing Hornsby’s defense? C’mon, he’s known as a subpar defender. He’s at the top of most people’s lists because he hit .400.  And oh yeah: all of those guys did what they did for way longer than Utley has done what he has done.

Utley is an outstanding player. He’s certainly the best second baseman in the game today. If he keeps up the current pace for a few more years, he’s going to be Cooperstown bound. But after what, in reality, is only five strong seasons, he’s got a long way to go before he can reasonably be compared to Hornsby, Robinson, Morgan, and Collins.

And Grich and Sandberg and Alomar and Whitaker and Kent and Gehringer and . . .

  1. smsetnor - Nov 5, 2009 at 12:57 AM

    Joe Morgan is the best second baseman ever because he invented the flip to second. Also, he invented second base. He said so on TV.

  2. Ian - Nov 5, 2009 at 1:52 AM

    Doesn’t it look like something a little…uncomfortable…is going on in that picture?

  3. Alex K - Nov 5, 2009 at 9:01 AM

    He also taught Rickey how to hit for power. He told me that too.

  4. Humberto Menninger - Jan 25, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    I think I first came across your website via a link on Twitter.. Love the stuff I have seen so far and will absolutely revisit to read more later. By the way, are you on Twitter?

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