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Where does Miguel Tejada rank in the history of shortstops?

Aug 31, 2011, 2:48 PM EST

miguel tejada a's

Miguel Tejada may still latch on with another team after being designated for assignment by the Giants today, but the former MVP looks finished as a quality regular and is definitely finished as a decent shortstop option.

Rather than focus on the terrible hitter and range-less fielder that Tejada has become in the twilight of his career, I thought it would be worthwhile to remember his days as an elite shortstop and examine his place in baseball history.

I tend to think Tejada didn’t deserve his MVP in 2002, as he trailed fellow shortstop Alex Rodriguez in nearly every major category, including a 150-point deficit in OPS, but he was certainly one of the top all-around players in baseball that season and was very much deserving of his fifth-place finish in the 2004 balloting.

At his peak Tejada was in the lineup every day, playing all 162 games in six straight seasons, and typically batted .275-.300 with 25-35 homers, tons of RBIs, and decent defense at shortstop. Add it all up and he’s accumulated 42.8 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) for his career, which ranks 10th among all shortstops during the past 50 years:

Alex Rodriguez      105.2
Cal Ripken Jr.       89.9
Robin Yount          76.9
Derek Jeter          70.9
Barry Larkin         68.9
Alan Trammell        66.9
Ozzie Smith          64.6
Jim Fregosi          46.1
Bert Campaneris      45.3
MIGUEL TEJADA        42.8
Nomar Garciaparra    42.6
Omar Vizquel         42.6

I’m not sure Tejada will get much Hall of Fame support, but he has a reasonable case if you’re like me and generally believe shortstops and other up-the-middle defenders are underrepresented in Cooperstown recently. Like many great athletes the end of Tejada’s career hasn’t been pretty, but he was a helluva player for a long time and few shortstops can top his 2000-2007 peak.

  1. dannomac21 - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    lying about his age and roids

  2. APBA Guy - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    I think the steroids thing will disqualify him in the minds of enough HoF voters so that his record will not be considered at this time. On its merits, Miggy had a great run in precisely the period you identify. And for us Oakland fans, the memory of him at short and at the plate will bring a smile to our faces, especially when we think back to the A’s incredible 20 wins in a row and Miggy’s part in that, which I believe gave him the edge for the MVP that year.

    • jeffrp - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:14 PM

      “I tend to think Tejada didn’t deserve his MVP in 2002″

      I tend to think the earth is round:

      Player Avg OBP SLG OPS UZR HR R RBI fWAR
      Tejada .308 .354 .508 .861 -14.9 34 108 131 4.7
      Rodriguez .300 .392 .623 1.015 12.8 57 125 142 10.0

  3. gogigantos - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    the drums in the outfield those years were most loud
    for the
    da da dadada
    TEJADA
    man that was a good time
    just wish they had taken the Yanks just once, had their number more than once,,
    pinche yankees,,,,
    go A’s

  4. Lukehart80 - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    That list shows pretty clearly who the best shortstops have been over that time (with A-Rod and Yount being counted at other positions, I guess). It seems easy to me to say the top five should be in and the others: not so much.

    Too bad the Hall hasn’t had enough to wisdom to even get the top five in.

    • mkd - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:01 PM

      Yeah there is just such an obvious drop-off after Trammell.

      It’s amazing how much everyone goes to bat for Jack Morris and meanwhile Whitaker and Trammell get completely screwed over. How do you think Morris won all those games?

  5. royalsfaninfargo - Aug 31, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    Another roid head that doesnt deserve to be mentioned for the HoF. Funny that moneyball had its biggest success with 2 roiders!

  6. 1paulkemp1 - Aug 31, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    0

  7. rcali - Aug 31, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    You mean among shortstops who were on the juice?

  8. raysfan1 - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    Tejada’s WAR is (marginally) higher than Vizquel’s. Hmmm, gonna have to rethink some of the value I’ve placed on WAR. I’d take Vizquel & his career over Tejada’s any day of the week and twice on Sunday–even without considering the steroid issue.

  9. schrutebeetfarms - Sep 1, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    This may just be me, but when I was watching Tejada, I never thought, there’s a hall of fame player.
    Certainly very good for a stretch but I just never felt that watching him.

  10. mgflolox - Sep 2, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    I like the fact that Campy outranks Miggy. I think they were both damn good players, but short of HOF caliber. No shame in that.

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