Top 6 Best MLB Second Basemen of All Time

Best MLB Second Basemen of All Time

Known as one half of the keystone combination, second base has historically been a defense-first post. Though players here tend to get overlooked in favor of their teammates at shortstop, second basemen see some of the most action in the field and are required to play with smarts. Below are the six best to ever play the position in Major League Baseball history.

Who Are the Best MLB Second Basemen of All Time?

  1. Rogers Hornsby
  2. Jackie Robinson
  3. Joe Morgan
  4. Rod Carew
  5. Nap Lajoie
  6. Roberto Alomar

1. Rogers Hornsby

  • Two-time MVP (1925, 1929)
  • Seven-time batting champion
  • Two-time Triple Crown winner (1922, 1925)
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee (Class of 1942)

Rogers Hornsby was one of the greatest hitters baseball has ever seen. He finished with a career batting average of .358 and led the league in hitting seven times. Hornsby also led the league in on-base percentage and slugging percentage nine different times. In 1926 he won his only World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals. Through his 23 seasons, Hornsby collected 2,930 hits and 301 home runs. He spent his last five years as a player-manager for the St. Louis Browns and continued to coach after retiring. Hornsby went on to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1942.

2. Jackie Robinson

  • Broke the color barrier in MLB (1945)
  • MVP (1949)
  • Seven-time All-Star
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee (Class of 1962)

Although he only played 11 seasons, Jackie Robinson was one of the most impactful players in the history of the sport. He became the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball when he debuted in 1945. Robinson was one of the most electric players of the time, combining skills on the field and at the plate en route to seven All-Star appearances. He possessed great speed and was an excellent defender at second base. He was also an amazing contact hitter, never striking out more than 40 times in a season. Robinson won the MVP Award in 1949 and finished in the top seven in voting three other times. Jackie Robinson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

3. Joe Morgan

  • Two-time MVP (1975, 1976)
  • 10-time All-Star
  • Five-time Gold Glove winner
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee (Class of 1990)

Joe Morgan was one of the best defensive second basemen of all time, and his skills at the plate weren’t far behind. He captured back-to-back MVP awards in 1975 and 1976 while playing perhaps the most complete second base ever seen. Morgan was a part of the Big Red Machine in Cincinnati that dominated the 1970s, making four World Series appearances and winning two. He made eight consecutive All-Star games and won five straight Gold Gloves during that time. Even at the age of 38, Morgan took home his only Silver Slugger award. He finished his 22-year career with over 2,500 hits and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990.

4. Rod Carew

  • 18-time All-Star
  • Seven-time batting champion
  • MVP (1977)
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee (Class of 1991)

Rod Carew was one of the great pure hitters in the history of Major League Baseball. Like Hornsby, he led the league in batting average seven times, and he finished his career with over 3,000 hits. Carew was one of the most consistent players in the sport, hitting over .300 in 15 consecutive seasons. He was also selected to 18 straight All-Star Games to begin his career. Though he hit less than 100 home runs in his career, Carew is still seen as one of the best hitters ever to play second base. Rod was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.

5. Nap Lajoie

  • Triple Crown winner (1901)
  • Five-time batting champion
  • 3,243 career hits
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee (Class of 1937)

Though Nap Lajoie doesn’t have the same list of awards as the other second basemen on this list, he’s the only one who can say he’s had a team named after him. He was so popular in Cleveland that the team renamed itself the Cleveland Naps in 1903. Lajoie played before the time of the All-Star Game or the MVP award, so he had to let his numbers do the talking. He won the Triple Crown in 1901 and led Major League Baseball in batting average five times. He also holds the record for the highest batting average ever in a single season, with a .426 mark in 1901.

6. Roberto Alomar

  • 12-time All-Star
  • 10-time Gold Glove winner
  • Four-time Silver Slugger
  • National Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee (Class of 2011)

Roberto Alomar is without question the greatest defensive second baseman ever. His ten Gold Gloves are the most by a second baseman, and his reputation around the league was that of a defensive wizard. Alomar was also an exceptional hitter, winning the Silver Slugger four times and batting .300 for his career. Though he never won a regular-season MVP award, he was named the 1992 ALCS MVP and also won the All-Star Game MVP in 1998. He won back-to-back World Series rings with the Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993 and is one of the most famous baseball players to ever hail from Puerto Rico. Alomar was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011.

Honorable Mentions

Ryne Sandberg

  • 10-time All-Star
  • Nine-time Gold Glove Award winner
  • Seven-time Silver Slugger Award winner
  • 1984 NL MVP

Ryne “Ryno” Sandberg was one of the best and most consistent second basemen of the 1980s and 90s. Sandberg played 16 seasons in the MLB, one for the Phillies and the rest for the Cubs. During his career, he played in ten All-Star Games and won nine Golden Gloves. His seven Silver Slugger awards is a record for the most of all time by a second baseman. Obviously, Sandberg was an excellent hitter, retiring with a .285 batting average, 2,386 career hits, and 282 runs. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. After retiring, he managed the Phillies for two seasons, from 2013 to 2015. 

Eddie Collins

  • Six-time World Series champion
  • 1914 AL MVP
  • Four-time Al stolen base leader

Eddie “Cocky” Collins played second baseman for an impressive 24 seasons during baseball’s golden age. From 1906 to 1930, he manned second base for the Philadelphia Athletics and the Chicago White Sox. During that time, he achieved six World Series titles, three for each team. One of the best overall players of all time, Colling was also a powerful slugger and a dangerous baserunner. He had a .333 batting average and led the AL in stolen bases in four different seasons. After retiring from playing, he went on to manage the Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox. Collins was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.

Robinson Canó

  • Eight-time All-Star
  • Two Gold Gloves
  • Five-time Silver Slugger
  • One-time World Series Championship (2009)

Robinson Canó is a second baseman who excels in multiple aspects of play. Not only is he an excellent fielder, but his hitting is superb, as he is tied with Rogers Hornsby for seasons with both a .300-range batting average and 25 home runs. Currently, Canó is first among all active MLB players in assists, with 5,881, and he is also first among active players in defensive games as a second baseman, putouts as a second baseman, assists as a second baseman, and double plays turned as a second baseman. Canó has played for the Yankees, the Mariners, the Mets, the Padres, and the Braves, and is currently a free agent. He won a single World Series with the Yankees in 2009.


Who is the greatest MLB second baseman of all time?

The greatest second baseman of all time is Rogers Hornsby. Hornsby had a career batting average of .358, second all-time behind only Ty Cobb. He is one of two players ever to hit over .400 in three different seasons, and many consider him the greatest right-handed hitter in the history of baseball. He won the Triple Crown twice and also took home the MVP award twice.

Who hit the most home runs as a second baseman?

Jeff Kent hit the most home runs as a second baseman with 377. Although he does not appear on this list, Kent was one of the best power-hitting second basemen to play the game. He brought tremendous power to a position that had traditionally lacked sluggers. He won the National League MVP Award in 2000 and was named a Silver Slugger four times. Kent also made five All-Star teams during his 17-year career. 

Who has the most MLB All-Star Selections as a second baseman?

Rod Carew has the most All-Star selections of any second baseman. Carew was selected as an All-Star in each of his first 18 seasons, only failing to make it in his last year. He was an outstanding hitter who finished with over 3,000 hits and led the league in batting average seven times. Carew also paced Major League Baseball in on-base percentage four times during his career despite never walking more than 80 times in a season.