5 Best Shortstops to Ever Play in the MLB

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ernie banks

When New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter played in just 17 games last season as a result of injuries, his future seemed uncertain. The 38-year-old Jeter was playing in his 19th season, and it was the most time he had missed his entire career. But after rehab and working out in the offseason, Jeter decided to return this year. It wasn’t that simple, though. It would be his swan song — he announced on February 11 that 2014 would be his last as a Major League Baseball player.

Throughout his career, Jeter has been a fixture in New York. You don’t think of the Yankees without thinking of Jeter. He has also been the best — at least one of the best, if you’re picky — shortstops in the game for a long time. During Jeters’ reign, there have been better offensive and defensive shortstops than him, but no one has equaled his impressive balance of offense and defense. That’s what this list is: the five best all-around shortstops to ever play the game from the bottom to the top, taking into account more than any single facet of the game.

5. Ernie Banks

To start, Banks was the first African-American player on the Chicago Cubs, and that’s not even a testament to his ability. Playing the more defensive-minded shortstop position, he wasn’t expected to produce tons of runs — he did exactly that. He’s one of just 25 players ever in the MLB to hit 500 career home runs, and he did that all while wearing a Cubs jersey for his entire 18-year tenure from 1953-71. Though he played first base towards the end, Banks would go down as one of the best (and first) power-hitting shortstops ever. During the peak of his career, he won back-to-back MVP awards, which all but set his legacy in stone.

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