TMS All-90's Team: Shortstop

After the mild huge success of the All-80's Team, we're back to look at the players from a decade later. Oh the '90's. What a strange new world it was. Baseball cards were becoming glossy and overpriced. A strike cancels the 1994 World Series (Sorry Montreal!). And of course who can forget the homers, homers, homers?! One issue I noticed with the All-80's Team is that there was very little argument in the polls. So to make it more interesting and spark a little more debate, I've decided to combine both leagues instead of doing separate NL and AL features. This will also keep it from dragging on well into August. As always be sure and vote for your choice in the poll in the left sidebar.

3B turned out to be one hell of a close race as Wade Boggs, Chipper Jones and Matt Williams all duked it out, but in the end, Chipper proved to be victorious. Way to go Larry!

Now it's time to tackle the final infield position, shortstop. The 90's marked the end of an era and the beginning of another at this position. While guys like Ozzie Smith, Barry Larkin, and Cal Ripken were winding down their careers, young phenoms named Jeter, A-Rod and Nomar were eagerly awaiting to fill their shoes. This poll should prove interesting to say the least.







SHORTSTOP

Jay Bell
Pittsburgh Pirates (1990-96), Kansas City Royals (1997), Arizona Diamondbacks (1998-99)

All-Star: 1993, 1999
Gold Gloves: 1993
Silver Sluggers: 1993
Postseason: 1990 NLCS, 1991 NLCS, 1992 NLCS, 1999 NLDS

Notes: Jeopardy question: His award in 1993 broke Ozzie Smith's string of 13 straight Gold Gloves. Answer: Who is Jay Bell? Bell certainly doesn't have the flashiest glove or the biggest bat compared to the rest on this list, but nonetheless he was an integral part of Pirates and D-Backs in the 90's.






Nomar Garciaparra
Boston Red Sox (1996-99)

Awards: 1997 AL Rookie of the Year
All-Star: 1997, 1999
Silver Sluggers: 1997
Postseason: 1998 NLDS, 99 ALCS
League Leader: 1997 Hits, Triples, 1999 AVG

Notes: When he was first starting out in the late 90's, Nomar appeared to be destined for Cooperstown. Now his career is teetering on the line between HOFer and former All-Star also-ran. One can't argue his abilities early on. His .357 AVG in 1999 was good enough for a batting title and other than Ichiro, no one else has topped .350 in the AL since.






Derek Jeter
New York Yankees (1995-99)

Nickname: Mr. November
Awards: 1996 AL Rookie of the Year
All-Star: 1998, 1999
Postseason: 1996 WS, 1997 ALDS, 1998 WS, 1999 WS
League Leader: 1998 Runs, 1999 Hits

Notes: Then there's this guy. Winner of the AL ROY the year before Nomar, Jeter was another member of the new shortstop regime. Known for his glove and his bat, Jeter has gone from young phenom to the face of the Yankee franchise.








Barry Larkin
Cincinnati Reds (1990-99)

Awards: 1995 NL MVP
All-Star: 1990, 1991, 1993-97, 1999
Gold Gloves: 1994-96
Silver Sluggers: 1990-92, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999
Postseason: 1990 WS, 1995 NLCS

Notes: Looking at the decade as a whole, it's tough to argue against Barry Larkin. 3 Gold Gloves, 7 Silver Sluggers, 1 MVP, and 1 World Series ring. Barry saw his best years throughout the 90's. If Ozzie is in the Hall, there's no way you can deny Barry's ticket to Cooperstown.





Cal Ripken
Baltimore Orioles (1990-99)

Nickname: Iron Man
Hall of Fame: Inducted in 2007
Awards: 1991 AL MVP, 1991 ASG MVP
All-Star:
1990-99
Gold Gloves: 1990-92
Silver Sluggers: 1991, 1993, 1994
Postseason: 1996 ALCS, 1997 ALCS

Notes: Ripken breaking Gehrig's consecutive games streak was one of the first big events after the strike that helped put baseball back in the spotlight, and is easily one of the greatest moments of the decade.






Alex Rodriguez
Seattle Mariners (1994-99)

Nickname: A-Rod
All-Star: 1996-98
Silver Sluggers: 1996, 1998, 1999
Postseason: 1995 ALCS, 1997 ALDS
League Leader: 1996 Runs, Doubles, 1998 Hits

Notes: Way back when, there was a time when A-Rod made just a few hundred thousand dollars a year in Seattle. At age 20, Alex broke out in a big way, hitting .358 with 36 home runs and 123 RBI and finished 2nd in the MVP voting that year.








Ozzie Smith
St. Louis Cardinals (1990-96)

Nickname: Wizard of Oz
Hall of Fame: Inducted in 2002
All-Star: 1990-92, 1994-96
Gold Gloves: 1990-92
Postseason: 1996 NLCS

Notes: Ozzie's career was winding down by the time the 90's rolled around. Despite that he was always fun to watch. Ozzie was one of my favorite players growing up, and the fact that he hates Tony LaRussa makes me like him even more.







Omar Vizquel
Seattle Mariners (1990-93), Cleveland Indians (1994-99)

Nickname: Little O
All-Star: 1998, 1999
Gold Gloves: 1993-99
Postseason: 1995 WS, 1996 ALDS, 1997 WS, 1998 ALCS, 1999 ALDS

Notes: Here's a guy who's career sorely gets overlooked quite a bit. He was quite possibly the best defensive shortstop of his era, but often is stuck in the shadows of the flashy big hitting shortstops like Nomar, Jeter, A-Rod and Tejada. Just like Larkin, I'd strongly argue Omar's HOF case.





Be sure and vote for your choice of shortstop for the TMS All-90's Team. Check out the poll in the left sidebar.

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