Skip to content

Who's the second best shortstop of all time? Jeter or Ripken?

Jan 14, 2010, 12:00 PM EDT

If you don’t know who the best shortstop of all time is please say 50 “Honus Wagner’s” and 10 “our fathers.”  As for second place, ESPN’s David Schoenfield thinks it’s between the Cap’n and Cal, and sides with Jeter. At least eventually:

Look, Jeter still has some work to do to catch Ripken. He needs to
maintain his offensive production into his late 30s, no sure thing. But
as of now, I’ll take Jeter with the bat, Jeter on the bases, Jeter with
the consistency and Jeter on the top step of the dugout. Ripken rates a
big edge with the leather. But if Jeter stays healthy, it’s a worthy
debate: Jeter or Ripken?

Not a lot of Arky Vaughn love, but that’s based on length of career, not quality, so I suppose I understand.  Part of me still wishes that A-Rod had stuck at short — where he was a superior defender — and rendered this question moot.

Ultimately it’s hard to argue with Schoenfield’s conclusion that, if Jeter remains productive for the next few years, he’ll pass Ripken.  But if he were hit by a bus tomorrow I think you gotta go with Cal.

  1. James - Jan 18, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    Hanley will be #1 by the end of his career…and he is handicapped by currently playing his games in a football stadium

  2. talex - Jan 19, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    Who the better shortstop is (between Ripken and Jeter) depends on what you hold dear for a shortstop offensively. With Ripken you were going to get 25 HR and 90 RBI’s and a .280 batting average, .340 on base percentage, with 85 runs scored and no stolen bases and around 160 hits. With Jeter you are going to get a .320 batting average, .400 on base percentage, with 15 HR and 75 RBI’s and 30 stolen bases and 120 runs scored and 200 hits. What do you prefer? In the eighties and early nineties everyone would have taken Ripken. Now they would take Jeter. Ripken had more power, but falls below Jeter in every other offensive category: hits, runs, stolen bases, on base percentage, and average. When you go and take a look at Jeter’s offensive numbers for his career they are actually consistant and much better than you would imagine (.317 lifetime BA verses Ripken’s .278 BA–that’s a wide margin). Ripken’s numbers are very, very good, but there are a lot of peaks and valleys. And they are two totally different players. It depends what you really want hitting-wise. And quite frankly, I can’t see too many people taking the light hitting Ozzie Smith or the .280 hitting Barry Larkin over Ripken or Jeter.

  3. bamboozled - Jan 19, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    “Wagner wouldn’t make the majors today”? who said that? are you kidding? his numbers are astounding, considering the equipment etc. in the dead ball era. Hans has to be considered the greatest of all time. Ripken was a great player, but his luster is diminished (if only to me)because I felt that his need to pass Gehrig hurt his team and helped to erode his skills. Jeter has been consistently named as one of the lowest ranking shortstops defensively. And think about it, when A-Rod, Visquel, Ripken and Nomar were in their primes, Jeter was the fourth or fifth best of all of those players. Each had their flaws; Jeter’s saving grace has been the 4 earlier championships, and a couple of marquee moments: the playoff game against the A’s, and diving into the stands against the Red Sox in 2004. I respect him, and expect him to be a first ballot HOF, but have always felt that his main criteria will be 3000 hits, not his glove. And leadership? Don’t forget that he wouldn’t move over to third for the best shortstop in the game at the time, A-Rod. For me, the best shortstop I ever saw was Luis Aparicio; I never saw Ozzie Smith that much, but I have to believe that both of those players (and Ripken) rank higher than Jeter all time.

  4. talex - Jan 20, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    Some people need a history lesson. Wagner and Babe Ruth and everyone else pre-1970′s played in ballparts where centerfield was 480, right field was 500 feet, and so was leftfield. If Babe Ruth or Jimmie Foxx played today they’d probably hit 100 homeruns per year in the tiny ballparks of the modern era. Don’t discount what the old ballplayers did. They were much better “baseball” players than today’s “atheletes.”

  5. love calculator - Jan 22, 2010 at 2:02 PM

    Hello, I am browsing the net for romantic ideas and came across your site. excellent work.

  6. John Wygrecki - Jan 25, 2010 at 7:33 PM

    Tigers fan and think Trammel is underrated. Wagner unable to play? Have you seen pictures oh him, he looked like he could break a tree in half with those arms, Ty Cobb said he looked like a Gorilla with those giant hands and long arms and he put up stats in the dead ball era, my vote for GOAT player period. But Ripken and DJ both have been a little overrated, if I could have one for a season it would be Ripken, DJ has been fortunate to play for the yankees, Alan Trammel would have been a first ballot hall of famer in that lineup for 20 years and much better with the glove. Filelding I think Rey Ordonez was as good as Ozzie and Omar, he made unbelievable plays. thx

  7. jcm - Jan 25, 2010 at 9:35 PM

    The Number One is Luis Aparicio. Yes, over Honus Wagner

  8. John Wygrecki - Jan 25, 2010 at 10:27 PM

    Tigers fan and think Trammel is underrated. Wagner unable to play? Have you seen pictures oh him, he looked like he could break a tree in half with those arms, Ty Cobb said he looked like a Gorilla with those giant hands and long arms and he put up stats in the dead ball era, my vote for GOAT player period. But Ripken and DJ both have been a little overrated, if I could have one for a season it would be Ripken, DJ has been fortunate to play for the yankees, Alan Trammel would have been a first ballot hall of famer in that lineup for 20 years and much better with the glove. Filelding I think Rey Ordonez was as good as Ozzie and Omar, he made unbelievable plays. thx

  9. Maynard Panyik - Jan 26, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    Only want to say your article is impressive. The clarity in your post is simply spectacular and i can take for granted you are an expert on this field. Well with your permission allow me to grab your rss feed to keep up to date with incoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the admirable work.

  10. Dodgers fan since '47 - Jan 27, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    Derek Bleeder gets more cheap hits in 1 week than Rizzuto got in his whole career.

  11. The Word - Jan 27, 2010 at 8:05 PM

    Guys:
    Interesting thread. I too think Jeter is massively overrated and lucky to have played for the yankees. A yankee fan friend of mine told me that Jeter flat out refused to move from SS for Arod (a clearly superior hitter and fielder) and also refused to take direction from yankee scouts re positioning until the saber crowd outed him as a poor defender. Only then did he adjust. His arrogance/joe cool exterior is well known amongst insiders in NYC.
    He strikes out way too much for a player with limited power, and IMO has never deserved an MVP. And I consider him a bit of a phony – team players (like David Wright) offer to move if it will improve the team. Jeter didnt do that. He did the opposite.
    But for a SS, he is an excellent offensive player, and had one of his best seasons this year. Given his lifetime stats, and contributions to the yankees 5 championships, he clearly belongs in the Hall of Fame..I cant even see how its debatable.
    Not sure why he received SI’s MOTY, seems odd to me, particularly since AROD carried the yankees in the playoffs.

  12. SK - Jan 30, 2010 at 9:31 PM

    I like how people are throwing Larkin’s name out there when he wasn’t even named to the Hall of Fame this year. If he were really the best SS of all time, one would think he’d have gotten more than 51% of the vote. Hmm.

  13. Love Calculator - Jan 31, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    I and my wife have 52% on love machine

  14. healthy eating - Jan 31, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your site to check out the latest stuff you post.

  15. Sharri Tewmey - Feb 3, 2010 at 5:39 AM

    Hello there, super article, I thouroughly enjoyed reading this. the article gave me the push to attempt my own blog, please check out my article by clicking my name at the top of this comment, thank you

  16. Spice - Feb 4, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    Were you a fly on the wall or are you just an idiot?

  17. oldschool - Feb 4, 2010 at 9:55 PM

    Have you forgotten Ernie Banks??

  18. DOCTOR DOLLITTLE - Feb 5, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    CASEY STANGLE SAID ” IT THE RINGS, STUPID, IT’S THE RINGS. JETER HAS 5 AND COUNTING, OZZIE 1, WAGNER 1,RIPKIN 1,ERNIE BANKS NONE, A-ROD 1, MIGEL TEJADA, NONE,…OR YEAH, PHIL RISSUTO, 10 COUNT’EM 10.

  19. watch one tree hill - Feb 6, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    Very informative article, I have saved it and showed to to some of my friends already.

  20. fatman - Feb 7, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    What the f..k is a WARP? Anyway to compare oldtimers with anyone who played from the 60′s on is insane.

  21. coach - Feb 10, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    nice job spelling Phil’s name…WAGNER IS STILL THE BEST

  22. JerryF - Feb 10, 2010 at 9:52 PM

    I haven’t seen every shortstop play, but I saw Ozzie play a lot of games, live and in person. I don’t think there was a single game in which he didn’t make at least one play that would make you say, ‘nobody can do that.’ It there had ever been a better shortstop, he would have played in a different league–higher up.

  23. jonk - Feb 11, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    Charles McGee
    Jeter is overrated, frankly. He will be fortunate to make the Hall of Fame, and if he does, it will be as big a travesty as Jim Rice’s admission.
    55 – Thu Jan 14,2010 7:58 PM ET Reply
    ___________________________________________________________________
    really? on pace for over 4000 hits and already has 5 rings? yeah. what a travesty if he gets in.
    If you look at jeter and ripkens career stats, at the end of the day, offensive wise, ripken was a better HR hitter. Jeter will have more runs, hits, singles, doubles, triples, steals, rbis, higher OBP, higher career batting average, more rings, better playoff stats etc etc etc etc…not to mention, ripken will end up playing about 4 more seasons worth than jeter, maybe more and jeter will still have better numbers.

  24. jonk - Feb 11, 2010 at 11:28 AM

    and “the word” nice comment “my friend who lives in nyc” way to stick david wright in there too. Do i sense another angry mets fan. Where and in what papers, articles, reports..did jeter refuse. Myself and probably 1000 other people from NYC who have read this article are only hearing this for the first time. But thats cool, since your friend lives here, it must be true. like i said, pretty overrated, 5 rings, on pace to have over 4000 hits, hits for avg, is clutch and is a great base runner. he stinks

  25. watch spartacus blood and sand season 1 episode 2 - Feb 14, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    What is up?. Many thanks for the info. I have been digging around looking some information up for school, but there is so much out there. Google lead me here – beneficial for you i guess! Keep up the good work. I will be coming back here in a few days to see if there’s any updated posts.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Colby-on-Colby crime in Toronto
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. H. Street (3565)
  2. C. Lee (2819)
  3. H. Ramirez (2511)
  4. M. Trout (2408)
  5. Y. Puig (2243)
  1. T. Tulowitzki (2205)
  2. D. Price (2116)
  3. B. Belt (2075)
  4. J. Segura (2056)
  5. J. Papelbon (2021)