MLB: The 5 Greatest Shortstops to Ever Play the Game

Honoring Ernie Banks. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

While he’s no longer rocking pinstripes on a regular basis, it’s hard to think about the New York Yankees and not turn your attention to the great Derek Jeter. Even after his retirement from Major League Baseball in 2014, the captain of all captains continues to remain a permanent fixture in the city with which he spent his entire career. And really, that shouldn’t be a surprise. That’s usually what happens when you’re an all-time great shortstop.

Throughout his incredible career, Jeter showed himself to be one of the greatest shortstops to ever step on a diamond. While there have been better offensive shortstops, and better defensive shortstops, no one equaled his impressive balance of offense and defense. Which is why we feel the need to compile this particular list. Therefore, with that in mind, here’s a look 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

Playing the more defensive-minded shortstop position, Banks wasn’t expected to produce tons of runs. Yet, 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 Chicago Cubs jersey for his entire 18-year tenure from 1953–71. Although he played first base toward the end of his career, 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. It is also worth noting that Banks was the first African-American player on the Cubs’ roster.