In baseball, the second baseman is the player who defends the area of the infield between first base and second base.


Of the four infielders, the second baseman is second only to the shortstop in the defensive area he must cover and the number of batted balls hit in his direction. Accordingly, second basemen are expected to be strong defenders, with good range and "soft hands". However, because the second baseman has the shortest distance to throw the ball to the first baseman for an out, teams can often get away with playing a player with a weak throwing arm at second base, so long as his other defensive skills are strong.

Second baseman are also expected to be nimble and tough as nails, as the second baseman is by far the infielder most commonly called upon to make the dangerous "turn" as part of a double play. This play involves the second baseman "hanging in" at second base, waiting for a feed from the shortstop, first baseman, or third baseman while at the same time the runner coming from first is barreling down on him and doing his best to knock the second baseman into next week. When the second baseman finally receives the ball, he must leap over or otherwise avoid the onrushing runner while still making a strong and accurate throw to the first baseman to double up the batter. It is definitely one of the more difficult plays to execute in baseball, and the second baseman is often up-ended or knocked over in the process. But he must simply get up, dust himself off without saying a word, and be prepared to make the play again the next inning, if need be.

For scoring purposes, the second baseman is denoted by the number "4" and thus a groundout to the second baseman would be scored


whereas a double play from the shortstop to the second baseman to the first baseman would be scored



Because second basemen are valued for their defense, less offense is demanded from them than from other players. Typically, a second baseman bats either at the top or the bottom of the order, where he is expected to hit for a decent average and perhaps steal some bases, but is typically not expected to hit for much power. In recent decades, some second basemen have begun hitting more home runs, most notably Ryne Sandberg and Jeff Kent, but for the most part second basemen are not thought of as home run hitters, surprisingly even less so than shortstops.

The Great Ones

Many of the best all-around players in baseball history were second sackers, among them (Hall of Famers in bold):

Roberto Alomar - Craig Biggio - Bret Boone - Rod Carew - Luis Castillo - Eddie Collins - Bobby Doerr - Larry Doyle - Johnny Evers - Nellie Fox - Frankie Frisch - Charlie Gehringer - Joe Gordon - Frank Grant - Bobby Grich - Billy Herman - Rogers Hornsby - Jeff Kent - Nap Lajoie - Tony Lazzeri - Bill Mazeroski - Bid McPhee - Joe Morgan - Buddy Myer - Jackie Robinson - Ryne Sandberg - Red Schoendienst - Chase Utley - José Vidro - Lou Whitaker



Games played as a second baseman: 2,527, Joe Morgan
Home runs hit as a second baseman: 319 and counting, Jeff Kent

Single Season (since 1900)

Games: 163, Bill Mazeroski, 1967 Pittsburgh Pirates
Hits: 250, Rogers Hornsby, 1922 St. Louis Cardinals
Doubles: 60, Charlie Gehringer, 1936 Detroit Tigers
Triples: 25, Larry Doyle, 1911 New York Giants
Home Runs: 42, Rogers Hornsby, 1922 St. Louis Cardinals, and Davey Johnson, 1973 Atlanta Braves
Runs: 156, Rogers Hornsby, 1929 Chicago Cubs
Runs Batted In: 152, Rogers Hornsby, 1922 St. Louis Cardinals
Walks: 148, Eddie Stanky, 1945 Los Angeles Dodgers
Stolen Bases: 81, Eddie Collins, 1910 Philadelphia Athletics
Batting Average: .424, Rogers Hornsby, 1924 St. Louis Cardinals
On-base Percentage: .507, Rogers Hornsby, 1924 St. Louis Cardinals

Most Gold Gloves, American League: 10, Roberto Alomar
Most Gold Gloves, National League: 9, Ryne Sandberg


Baseball Positions

Pitcher - Catcher - First Baseman - Second Baseman - Third Baseman - Shortstop - Leftfielder - Centerfielder - Rightfielder - Designated Hitter