Thursday, January 8, 2015

Friday Five: Top 5 Cardinals Shortstops

5.  Rogers Hornsby

Hornsby appeared on the second base list too and most Cardinals fans associate Rajah with that position, but he actually started his Cardinals career as a shortstop appearing in games there in 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, and 1919.  He was the team's primary shortstop during the 1917 and 1918 seasons.  Overall he played almost 400 career games, almost all of them early in his career at short.  Hornsby's first few seasons in the bigs were not his best years, but they certainly make him apart of this list.  In 1917 he hit .327/.385/.484 with a National League leading OPS+ of 169.  Hornsby also lead the NL with 19 triples that season.  The following season, in 1918, Hornsby had one of his worst offensive seasons of his career when he only hit .281/.349/.416 with 5 homers, 11 triples, 19 doubles, and an OPS+ of only 137.  That OPS+ number would have been the team high on the 2014 Cardinals.  Hornsby spent only 37 games at short in 1919 and would never play the position with any regularity beyond that year.  While his stay at shortstop was brief, Hornsby certainly made his mark while playing the position.

4. Marty Marion

Marion played shortstop for 13 years in the Majors, all of them were as a Cardinal.  During those 13 years the man dubbed "The Octopus" would help the Cardinals win the 1942, 1944, and 1946 World Series pennants mainly through his contributions as a defensive whiz in the middle infield.  His final offensive numbers were .263/.323/.345 with only 36 career home runs.  His defensive numbers are much more impressive.  Between 1941 and 1949 he finished either 1st or 2nd in the National League in dWAR.  His worst career dWAR occurred in 1950 when he only finished 6th.  Overall he his 16th all-time in the stats ranking.  Although he is behind several shortstops in career dWAR Marion had a much shorter career than almost all of them.  For example, Omar Vizquel has a career dWAR of 28.5, compared to 25.0 for Marion, but played 11 more seasons.  Marion lead the National League shortstops several times in both putouts and assists and ranks just inside the top 50 for putouts all-time and just outside the top 50 for assists.

3.  Garry Templeton

Templeton was the Cardinals everyday shortstop from the middle of the 1976 season through the end of the 1981 season when he was traded by Cardinals General Manager Whitey Herzog to the San Diego Padres for Ozzie Smith.  At the time of the trade, most baseball folks and Cardinals fans thought that Herzog was just dumping Templeton off the team.  Yes, the Mother's Day thing....While Garry was a Cardinal he was a very good shortstop making 2 National League All-Star teams, leading the league in triples three times, and in hits in 1979.  Templeton, a switch hitter, posted a .305/.325/.418 line during his six seasons for the Cardinals.  His 1979 season was probably his best year when he went .314/.331/.458 with 9 home runs, 19 triples, 32 doubles, 26 steals, and again lead the National League in hits with 211.  Templeton became the first switch hitter in baseball history to collect 200 hits with at least 100 hits from each side of the plate.  Willie Wilson match the feat in 1980 for the Royals.  People might have called him Garry Tempertantrum in St Louis, but he could hit.

2.  Edgar Renteria 

Edgar had a few big moments during his career that helped teams win World Series trophies.  Unfortunately none of those moments happened while playing for the Cardinals.  Still Edgar's best year's were probably spent in St. Louis.  The Cardinals traded for the 22 year old shortstop following the 1998 season.  Renter would spend six years playing shortstop for the Cardinals before leaving to play for the Red Sox in 2005.  During his six years in St. Louis Edgar posted a .290/.347/420 mark with 71 home runs, 207 doubles, and 148 stolen bases.  As a 90s Cardinals guy it's really easy to over look Edgar's contributions to the team, but with second base serving as a revolving door for the last decade, Renteria solidified the middle infield for some good Cardinals playoff teams.  His best year as a Cardinal was 2003 when he hit .330/.394/.480 with 13 home runs, 47 doubles, 34 steals, and won both a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger.  It's hard to get the final out of the 2004 World Series out of my head sometimes, but Edgar was a really good player and the Cardinals got almost all of his prime years.

1.  Ozzie Smith 

One of the real no brainers on these lists that I have been making the past couple of weeks.  the Cardinals traded for Ozzie Smith after the 1981 season and he immediately helped the team win the 1982 World Series against the Brewers.  During his 15 year career in St. Louis The Wizard of Oz helped the team to two other National League pennants and was also part of the 1996 team which made it to the National League Championship Series against the Braves.  In many ways Ozzie's career reminds me a lot of Yadier Molina.  Both players started their careers as defense first impact players.  Both players became offensively skilled players later in their careers.  Ozzie had a .231/.295/.278 line for the Padres during his four years in San Diego.  His first few seasons in St. Louis were slightly better, but starting in the mid 80s Ozzie started to crank up his production.  He ended his career with almost 2500 hits, 400 doubles, and 580 stolen bases.  The Wizard also won 13 Gold Gloves and is the career leader in all sorts of defensive statistics.  dWAR, assists, and Total Run Zone just to name a few.  He left as the career leader in double plays turned too, but Omar Vizquel and his five extra seasons passed Ozzie by at some point.  JAWS rates Ozzie Smith as the 8th best shortstop of all-time just behind Ernie Banks, but ahead of Alan Trammell, Derek Jeter, and Barry Larkin.  We can't have a post about Ozzie's awesomeness without a video of a diving catch, or this...


  1. If this were a list of St. Louis shortstops, you could have included Bobby Wallace. Was probably the best AL SS of the oughts but was only briefly a Cardinal.

  2. If only Templeton would have kept on hitting in San Diego like he did in St. Louis, maybe that trade wouldn't have turned out to be so crazy lopsided. But nope, sunny Southern California made him forget how to sniff .300.

    1. Agreed. Templeton just completely lost it playing for the Padres. He was basically a .250 hitter the entire way on the Padres.