Ozzie Smith

The Wizard of Oz

“Ozzie Smith just made another play that I’ve never seen anyone else make before and I’ve seen him make it more than anyone else ever has.”- Jerry Coleman

Ozzie Smith was one of, if not the, greatest fielding shortstops in history.  His acrobatics on the field led to defensive highlights that defy the imagination.  He won 13 consecutive Gold Gloves playing for the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals.  The range he exhibited at short and a strong, accurate arm left many wondering how many people were playing between second and third base.  Although he was a light-hitting player (.262 career average with 28 total home runs), his manager Whitey Herzog believes he saved his team 75 runs a year with his defense.  He helped the Cardinals to three World Series appearances.  In 2002, he was a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee – maybe the first player inducted for defensive skills.

Joseph Floyd Vaughan


“I’d say he [Vaughan] was as good a man at short as I ever saw.  He could do it all and he was a good hitter.  He could hit for power and he could field for average.  And could he ever fly around those bases.”
- Rip Sewell

Spending his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Brooklyn Dodgers, Arky Vaughan averaged .318 with 19 homers and 99 runs batted in a year and was a nine-time All Star.  At the age of only 23, Vaughan hit .385 for the Pirates and was anointed the next Honus Wagner.  The comparison was unfair, and many thought that this Hall of Famer never lived up to his potential even though he finished his career with the second best average for a shortstop in the Hall of Fame.  While a good fielder, Vaughan sometimes had trouble with muffing ground balls but his arm was always strong and accurate.

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