top of page
file.jpg
  • Lincoln Mitchell

The Greatest Infield Ever-Part Two

by Lincoln Mitchell

***

NOTE - This article comes from Lincoln Mitchell's Substack page, Kibitzing with Lincoln . Please click HERE to follow Lincoln on Substack. (This was originally published in January 2024.)

***

The Greatest Infield Ever, Part II 

In Part One of this series, I discussed some of the great infields of the pre-World War II era. Part II will focus on the post-war years. These groups are more broadly comparable as they all played in the live ball and integrated era. Only one, the 1947-1948 Indians, was all white. 


Cleveland 1947-1948 This great Cleveland infield was centered around an extraordinary double play combination. Second baseman Joe Gordon hit 61 home runs over these two seasons and had a combined OPS+ of 135. This was very unusual for second basemen of that era. Lou Boudreau was even better hitting for a combined OPS+ of 148 over these two seasons while winning the MVP award in 1948 and finishing third in the voting in 1947. For good measure, the slugging shortstop managed the team both seasons, including in 1948, when Cleveland won the World Series, a feat the franchise has not repeated since. Ken Keltner is most remembered for his glove at the hot corner and Aaron Robinson was a pretty ordinary player. 


Dodgers 1948-1953 The Dodgers infield of the Boys of Summer is one of the greatest ever and also featured a wonderful double play combination, but although he was a better player during his peak than Gordon, Reese was never the hitter Boudreau was in his prime. However, Gil Hodges at first and Jackie Robinson at second were elite hitters. Billy Cox was the weak link in this unit and was primarily there for his glove. This group won four pennants and almost won a fifth in 1951, but by the time the Dodgers finally won the World Series in 1955, Jackie Robinson was playing third base and Billy Cox had been sent to Baltimore. 


Reds 1975-1976 There was nothing this infield couldn’t do. First baseman Tony Perez was an adequate defender and one of the top sluggers in the league. Over at third, Pete Rose was the weakest defensive link, but although already in his mid-thirties was still in the prime of one of the greatest careers in National League history. Rose batted leadoff and had over 200 hits and an OBP of better than .400 in both 1975 and 1976. Dave Concepcion was a great fielder who could hit a little bit. However, what made this group one of the greatest ever was the second baseman. In 1975-1976 Joe Morgan, probably the greatest second baseman in baseball history, was at the peak of his Hall of Fame career. Morgan led the Reds to the championship in both these seasons, picking the league’s MVP award in 1975-1976. During these two seasons, Morgan slashed a combined .324/.456/.541 with a total of 127 stolen bases and 44 home runs and, for good measure, won a Gold Glove Award both years and drove in the winning run game seven of the 1975 World Series. 


Dodgers 1977-1978 The Garvey-Lopes-Russell-Cey quartet were together longer than any infield in baseball history. Their best years, coincidentally, were the two years immediately following the 1975-1976 Reds. During the 1970s, most fans and sportswriters would have told you that Steve Garvey was the best player of this group, but Lopes and Cey were the real stars of this infield. Lopes got on base, had some pop and stole bases with a strikingly high success rate, 92 in 108 attempts over these two years. Cey was a fine third-baseman who had real power. hitting 53 home runs over these two seasons. However, while this group was very good, there were no truly great players among who could catapult this group into contention for best infield ever, or even of best infield in their division during the 1970s. 


Yankees 2009-2010 This was the greatest infield in Yankees history. All four of these players were very good, Jeter was a Hall of Famer having his last great year in 2009. Cano and Rodriguez were still in their primes and had Hall of Fame Careers. Mark Teixeira was a very good player as well. This group had tremendous power, combining for 214 home runs over these two years.  Cano and Rodriguez were also associated with PED use during their careers, so this group is not remembered as fondly as some of the others. 

14 комментариев


Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
13 февр.

What about the late 70's Yankee infield of Chambliss/Randolph/Dent/Nettles? I think they were an excellent group, don't you think?

Лайк
Lincoln Mitchell
Lincoln Mitchell
14 февр.
Ответ пользователю

Yes. I did a seperate article on Yankees infields. That infield was among the top three in team history.

Лайк

Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
13 февр.

Funny you should mention Steve Garvey in the article. I live in California and we have an election coming up on March 5, and look at this postcard I just received in the mail today!



Лайк

etbkarate
13 февр.

Good stuff, Lincoln, My 2 cents: That 69 Oriole infield of Powell, Johnson, Belanger and Robinson was pretty damn good themselves!

Лайк
Lincoln Mitchell
Lincoln Mitchell
14 февр.
Ответ пользователю

The 69-70 O's are in the mix, but come up a little short.

Лайк

Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
13 февр.

Nitpick: Eddie Robinson, not Aaron Robinson, was the Cleveland first baseman. Aaron was a lefty-hitting catcher who lost his job and his No. 8 to some guy named Larry Berra and got dealt after the '47 Series to the White Sox. Aaron never played for Cleveland.

Лайк
Lincoln Mitchell
Lincoln Mitchell
14 февр.
Ответ пользователю

Ken Holtzman is the answer to the great trivia question who has the most wins of any left-handed Jewish pitcher.

Лайк
dr sem.png

Start Spreading the News is the place for some of the very best analysis and insight focusing primarily on the New York Yankees.

(Please note that we are not affiliated with the Yankees and that the news, perspectives, and ideas are entirely our own.)

blog+image+2.jpeg

Have a question for the Weekly Mailbag?

Click below or e-mail:

SSTNReaderMail@gmail.com

SSTN is proudly affiliated with Wilson Sporting Goods! Check out our press release here, and support us by using the affiliate links below:

587611.jpg
583250.jpg
Scattering the Ashes.jpeg

"Scattering The Ashes has all the feels. Paul Russell Semendinger's debut novel taps into every emotion. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll reexamine those relationships that give your life meaning." — Don Burke, writer at The New York Post

The Least Among Them.png

"This charming and meticulously researched book will remind you of baseball’s power to change and enrich lives far beyond the diamond."

—Jonathan Eig, New York Times best-selling author of Luckiest Man, Opening Day, and Ali: A Life

From Compton to the Bronx.jpg

"A young man from Compton rises to the highest levels of baseball greatness.

Considered one of the classiest baseball players ever, this is Roy White's story, but it's also the story of a unique period in baseball history when the Yankees fell from grace and regained glory and the country dealt with societal changes in many ways."

foco-yankees.png

We are excited to announce our new sponsorship with FOCO for all officially licensed goods!

FOCO Featured:
carlos rodon bobblehead foco.jpg
bottom of page