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M’s shortstops past

How does Yuniesky Betancourt stack up against previous Mariners’ shortstops? Well, he has the longest name, but not the best nickname nor the best game of them all. I’ve written brief rundowns of the ghosts of Mariners shortstops past, using three categories: stats while playing for the M’s, place in Mariners’ fandom, and notable stuff I could find about them on Wikipedia and Google. My main sources were Baseball Reference, Sean Lahman’s tidy spreadsheet, Kirby Arnold’s excellent Tales from the Seattle Mariners Dugout, and the Internet at large.

Here, at last, are my final rankings of Mariners shortstops (as you’d guess, Yuni does pretty well).

1. Alex Rodriguez
Rodriguez’s place at the top of the M’s shortstop scrap heap (and a nice big heap it is) won’t be threatened anytime soon, though eventual Overloard Carlos Triunfel might challenge A-Rod someday. Still, no one likes A-RoidRod.

2. Omar Vizquel
Little O played the second-most games at short for the Mariners (653 games, 133 behind Rodriguez) and played the best defense. Fans like him the most, and his bare-handed grab and throw to seal Chris Bosio’s no-hitter is the biggest shortstop highlight in Mariners history.

3. Yuniesky Betancourt
Who else would you choose, really? In just two-plus seasons, Betancourt has been a solid contributer on both offense and defense. If he plays a full season this year, he’ll also be third in games played at shortstop in M’s history. Plus, he’s a dang good actor.

4. Carlos Guillen
An unsung, solid-though-not-solidly-built player that the Mariners stupidly gave up on.


This chart shows the RC/27 (a complex yet accurate measure of offense) for Yuni, Guillen, and Vizquel. Guillen and Vizquel have had long careers, so their lines are much longer than Yuni’s. However, Guillen left the Mariners after he turned 27 (right when he crosses the blue line representing average), while Vizquel left after he turned 26. This chart shows two things: first, the Mariners give up on shortstops far too soon. Second, at his age, Betancourt is a better hitter than either Guillen or Vizquel.

5. Spike Owen
There’s a big drop off after the top 4. Spike played a lot of games, and was the only team captain in Mariner history. He also has the best given name of all the shortstops.

6. Craig Reynolds
He was the Mariners’ only All-Star in 1978, though that says mores about the ’78 Mariners than it does Craig Reynolds. Leon Roberts should’ve been the team’s All-Star, though Reynolds did lead the ’78 M’s in singles and triples.

7. Rey Quinones
Q has the third most homers of any M’s shortstop (24). Shortstops are supposed to hit for power, right?

8. Luis Sojo
He had that one great double in the 1995 one-game playoff against the Angels.

9. Rich Aurilia
Mariners’ fans still consider the 2004 free agent signing of Aurilia a disaster. That speaks very poorly of the guys below him.

10. Felix Fermin
“El Gato” has one of the top five nicknames, though.

11. Willie Bloomquist
Willie Bloomquist can’t make any all-time Mariners top 10 lists.

12. Todd Cruz
At least Cruz won a World Series with the Orioles in 1983.

13. Jim Anderson
The only reason Anderson’s not in the bottom is because the M’s brought him in to replace this list’s cellar dweller.

14. Mario Mendoza
As George Brett taught us all, Mario Mendoza is the definition of terrible.

CHART BREAK (again)!

This one’s for Willie Bloomquist fans. Look how much better he is that Mario Mendoza and Jim Anderson. Just ignore that blue line…

Mariners shortstop nickname rankings:
1. Little O
2. El Gato
3. Rikimbili
4. Spike (because it’s not actually a nickname)
5. A-Rod
6. “You Crazy Mexican!



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