Top 100 Second Basemen: 90-81

90. Cass Michaels, White Sox 1943-50, Senators 1950-52, Browns 1952, Athletics 1952-53, White Sox 1954
Career WARP3 36.7, Career EqA .253, 1 season 10+ WARP3, 2-time All-Star

Casimir Eugiene Kwietniewski, a.k.a. Cass Michaels, had one of the top 100 seasons ever by a second baseman in 1949. He fielded a little better than his career average (+10 in a -42 season with one bad year), which bolstered his total, but his hitting was really exemplary. Mashing 6 home runs at Comiskey, which would be about 20 today, was one thing; but it was the .308 average and .417 OBP that really made this season one of the best one-hit-wonder seasons in history. Generally Michaels was a slightly below-average fielder who was good at drawing walks and stole a few bases in an era where no one did. Though he played 11 seasons starting at age 17, Michaels' continued career was robbed of him by a bean ball from Marion Fricano of the Athletics at age 28. While he never had a season even close to '49, that massive year and a career .253 EqA was enough to put him on this list.

89. Jose Vidro, Expos/Nationals 1997-2006, Mariners 2007-2008

Career WARP3 42.6, Career EqA .276, 1 season 7+ WARP3, 1 season 6+ WARP3, Three-time All-Star, Silver Slugger

Vidro, at one point the "-two" in the Expos' one-two punch including Vladimir Guerrero, has never been even an average fielder in any season (-86 career fielding runs above average). If he were, he'd be much higher on the list, but as it is he's hit his way into the top 90. A well-rounded hitter, Vidro hits for average (.298 career) and power (.445 career slugging), though his power has shown up more in doubles than in homers. He hit .300 for 5 straight years from 1999-2003, in salad days whose value was mitigated by his relatively inept fielding. He's an oddball player, though; he hit well for the Mariners as a DH, but how valuable is a DH who hits .314 while slugging .394? Vidro is a great example of what happens when a player is a good hitter at a tough fielding position, but not so good he can really play an easier position and still be an All-Star. He may yet stage some late-career heroics and move up the list; he's logged 1000+ games at second, so he won't have to move positions historically.

88. Jorge Orta, White Sox 1972-79, Indians 1980-81, Dodgers 1982, Blue Jays 1983, Royals 1984-1987
Career WARP3 42.8, Career EqA .272, 1 season 7+ WARP3, 1 season 6+ WARP3, 2-time All-Star

Jorge Orta is almost the exact same player as Jose Vidro once you adjust for era. A complete disaster most of the time in the field, Orta was a good enough hitter to become the leading Mexican major league home run hitter of all time for 10 years until Vinny Castilla broke his record, then broke it all over on his way to 360. Orta would have slugged .500 somewhat regularly in the mid-1970s if such a thing had been possible then; as it was, he hit for average and power, didn't walk enough, but stole some bases to make up for it. Double-digit runs above average at second base were common for Orta, who late in his career was a pinch-hitter on the Royals' World Series champs. It is fun to mention that his double-play partner on the Sox was Bucky Bleeping Dent, nearly his polar opposite in terms of hitting-defense balance.

87. Ted Sizemore, Dodgers 1969-70, Cardinals 1971-75, Dodgers 1976, Phillies 1977-78, Cubs 1979, Red Sox 1979-80
Career WARP3 40.4, Career EqA .239, 1 season 7+ WARP3, 1 season 6+ WARP3, Rookie of the Year

Al Oliver probably should have been the Rookie of the Year in 1969, as Sizemore hadn't really come into his own as a fielder yet. Generally above average, he had two very slick fielding years in 1973 and 1974 as the double-play partner of Mike Tyson (not that one). In those years, Sizemore's good eye was on display, as he walked twice as much as he struck out. Not striking out might have been his best ability as a hitter, unfortunately; career highs of 23 doubles, 4 homers, and 54 RBI attest to his relative impotence at the plate. Sizemore played with a large number of second-tier shortstops, many of whom became managers. He played with Maury Wills, Bill Russell, Larry Bowa, and Dal Maxvill.

86. Julian Javier, Cardinals 1960-1971, Reds 1972
Career WARP3 49.4, Career EqA .240, 1 season 7+ WARP3, 3 seasons 5+ WARP3, 2-time All-Star

Julian Javier was Ted Sizemore's immediate predecessor at second for the Cards, and received more recognition than Sizemore despite not being a significantly better player. Javier had abysmal patience, drawing less than one walk every five games played, although he could whack a little bit (2 seasons of 10+ home runs). Javier's value is primarily as a fielder; he was Gold Glove-quality in 2 seasons and above average in the rest. Javier played in four World Series, winning two; he hit 18 for 54 with four doubles, for a lifetime .333/368/.463 postseason line. There is something amusing in the fact that after he was old and riding the bench, he still got to the Series with the Reds as Joe Morgan's little-used backup. The strength of his Cards teams was never really the middle infield; Lou Brock, Curt Flood, Ken Boyer, Tim McCarver and Orlando Cepeda made sure of that. His son Stan was an underrated leadoff/fast outfielder type who played for basically everyone throughout the 80s and 90s.

85. Fernando Vina, Mariners 1993, Mets 1994, Brewers 1995-1999, Cardinals 2000-2003, Tigers 2004
Career WARP3 39.6, Career EqA .255, 2 seasons 7+ WARP3, 1-time All-Star

The second but not last Baseball Tonight announcer on the list, Vina was above average as a fielder and just a touch below average as a hitter. During his best year, 1998, he hit .311/.386/.427 for the Brewers while fielding just around average, in the only year he had an above-league-average OPS. Still, a second baseman with an above-league-average OPS is a pretty good thing, especially when his power was all doubles: his 39 that year were one less than his career home run total. Vina was a patient hitter and a halfway-decent baserunner, and with shortstop Jose Valentin was one of the bright lights on the unspectacular league-switching Brewers teams of the 1990s. A hit-by-pitch fiend a la Craig Biggio, Vina gets a lot of credit for leadership and intangibles from teammates and the press. His career postseason line of .333/.364/.460 in 2000-2002 shows he was helping the Cardinals even though they couldn't make a World Series until right after he left.

84. Don Blasingame, Cardinals 1955-59, Giants 1960-61, Reds 1961-63, Senators 1963-66, Athletics 1966
Career WARP3 41.2, Career EqA .241, 1 season 8+ WARP3, 1-time All-Star

In 4 players, we have 20 straight and 24 total years of Cardinals keystone-sackers. A player of the tumultuous Westward Expansion era, Blasingame played for everybody. His 1957 season was outstanding, as he turned in a Gold Glove-level fielding performance and hit .271/.343/.368, stealing 21 bases and scoring 108 runs. Blasingame had no power, but provided some solid fieldwork and strung together enough good seasons with the Stan Musial teams to be worthy of mention here. His nickname was Blazer, which has led me to wonder whether I have been pronouncing his name incorrectly (short A?).

83. Felix Millan, Braves 1966-1972, Mets 1973-1977
Career WARP3 43.2, Career EqA .247, 1 season 7+ WARP3, 2 seasons 6+ WARP3, 3-time All-Star

The first Brave to really start his career in Atlanta, Millan was a rookie on the 1966 team that had just moved from Milwaukee. Millan appears to have been a slightly overrated fielder; he was never truly outstanding and was only slightly above average until the end of his career when, like everyone, he plummeted. Felix the Kitten was a hit-for-average guy who was basically not patient, leading the league in at-bats per strikeout 4 times while walking quite rarely. A fun anecdote: Millan had a great game and got 4 singles on July 21, 1975. Each time he appeared on base, Joe Torre grounded into a double play, setting the single-game record for GIDP. Millan hit .306 in 325 games for the Taiyo Whales of the Japanese Central League after the end of his MLB career.

82. Johnny Temple, Reds 1952-59, Indians 1960-61, Orioles 1962, Colt .45's 1962-63, Reds 1964
Career WARP3 44.6, Career EqA .263, 1 season 7+ WARP3, 2 seasons 6+ WARP3, 4-time All-Star

Temple was a solid leadoff man, a no-power guy who hit singles and walked without striking out much. A percentage-player type, he was a great light hitter; think Biggio without any power. The Biggio comparison, unfortunately, continues to be apt because Temple killed his career value with below-average defense (108 runs below average for his career). Still, he compiled OBPs above .380 four times in his career and set the table for...well...really only for Frank Robinson. Temple scored more than 100 runs only once, and that was not his fault; he was a good base-stealer in a running-free era.

81. Ronnie Belliard, Brewers 1998-2002, Rockies 2003, Indians 2004-06, Cardinals 2006, Nationals 2007-08
Career WARP3 43.1, Career EqA .262, 1 season 8+ WARP3, 2 seasons 6+ WARP3, 1-time All-Star

A journeyman who has never played for a real contender in a full season, Belliard has combined just-above-average hitting with just-above-average fielding enough to surpass many of the other second basemen who are weak in one of the two areas. Belliard is an impatient guy who doesn't walk enough, but he packs a lot of pop for a middle infielder, especially when it comes to doubles. In 2005 he combined 17 home runs with a gold-glove caliber year in the field (his best) to put up a great season. As a late-season pickup by the Cardinals, Belliard won the 2006 World Series, hitting very well against the Padres in the NLDS but going 0-for-12 in the Series itself. Then it was off to the Nationals, where Belliard still slugs at a solid clip. If he's got some years at second left in him, Belliard can move up this list.

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