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Shortstop, abbreviated SS, is the baseball fielding position between second and third base. Shortstop is often regarded as the most dynamic defensive position in baseball, because there are more right-handed hitters in baseball than left-handed hitters, and most hitters have a tendency to pull the ball slightly, so more balls go to the shortstop than any other position. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the shortstop is assigned the number 6.

In practice the shortstop ordinarily positions himself to the third-base side of second base, but ordinarily much closer to second base than toward third base. Against an extreme pull hitter the shortstop may tend to a position about halfway between second base and third base for a right-hand hitter, and even on the first-base side of second base for a left-hand hitter. Because the shortstop typically fields some of the ground balls that have traveled farthest in the infield and has a longer throw to first base from the point at which he fields the ball than any infielder other than a third baseman and less time in which to make a throw, a shortstop must have one of the strongest throwing arms on the field. Because balls hit to or near the shortstop position are usually hit harder than to almost any other base, a shortstop must be extremely agile. On some bunt plays, the shortstop often must make a run to third base so that the third baseman can field the bunt and throw to third base in a fielder's choice play in which the shortstop makes the play at third base. Such makes the position unusually difficult to fill. Shortstops have included some of the weakest hitters in baseball, including Mario Mendoza, for whom George Brett coined the eponymous Mendoza Line to describe the lowest batting average among players who have significant time in the major leagues.

In practice, a marginal fielder as a shortstop who hits well can be moved to almost any other position, especially second base or third base, whether early in their careers (examples: George Brett and Mike Schmidt were both tried early in their careers as shortstops).[1][2]

Shortstops are required to cover second base in double play situations when the ball is hit to the second baseman, first baseman, pitcher, or catcher. They cover second when a runner is attempting a stolen base, but only when a left-handed hitter is batting. This is because the chances of a ball being hit to the left side of the infield are almost cut in half. They also must cover third at various times, including the rotation play; that is, when there are runners on first and second and a sacrifice bunt is attempted. Shortstops generally are given precedence on catching pop-ups in the infield as well, so they end up calling off other players many times, although on deep pop-ups they fall back when called off by an outfielder. They often become the cutoff man on balls to any part of the outfield that are being directed towards third base and all balls to left and right field that are destined to second base. Depending on the system the shortstop may cut balls from left field heading home however, this is usually the role of a third basemen.

Traditionally, players are selected as shortstops for their fielding prowess, but in recent years more shortstops with excellent hitting have entered the leagues as well. It is an exclusively right-handed position, as a righty can easily throw to first or second without having to physically turn after playing a ground ball, the most common type of hit directed at the shortstop.

Significant shortstopsEdit

Baseball Hall of Fame membersEdit

File:Ozzie Smith 1983.jpg
File:Jetershortstop.JPG

Multiple Gold Glove Award winnersEdit

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All time single season assist leaders among shortstopsEdit

  1. Ozzie Smith: 621 (St. Louis Cardinals, 1980)
  2. Glenn Wright: 601 (Pittsburgh Pirates, 1924)
  3. Dave Bancroft: 598 (Philadelphia Phillies/New York Giants, 1920)
  4. Tommy Thevenow: 597 (St. Louis Cardinals, 1926)
  5. Iván DeJesús: 595 (Chicago Cubs, 1977)
  6. Cal Ripken, Jr.: 583 (Baltimore Orioles, 1984)
  7. Whitey Wietelmann: 581 (Boston Braves, 1943)
  8. Dave Bancroft: 579 (New York Giants, 1922)
  9. Rabbit Maranville: 574 (Boston Braves, 1914)
  10. Don Kessinger: 573 (Chicago Cubs, 1968)

All time single season putout leaders among shortstopsEdit

  1. Donie Bush: 425 (Detroit Tigers, 1914)
  2. Hughie Jennings: 425 (Baltimore Orioles [National League], 1895)
  3. Joe Cassidy: 408 (Washington Senators, 1905)
  4. Rabbit Maranville: 407 (Boston Braves, 1914)
  5. Dave Bancroft: 405 (New York Giants, 1922)
  6. Eddie Miller: 405 (Boston Braves, 1940)
  7. Monte Cross: 404 (Philadelphia Phillies, 1898)
  8. Dave Bancroft: 396 (New York Giants, 1921)
  9. Mickey Doolan: 395 (Philadelphia Phillies, 1906)
  10. Buck Weaver: 392 (Chicago White Sox, 1913)

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