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Top 20 Defensive Baseball Players of All Time

In baseball’s rich history there have been many players that have excelled in the defensive aspects of the game. Although not always earning the recognition of home run hitters or ace pitchers, excelling in the defensive elements of baseball is crucial to teams winning baseball games. Consistency, discipline, and work ethic are essential traits for a player to earn the coveted Gold Glove Award, awarded to elite fielders at the end of each season. The players on this list have been recognized as multiple time Gold Glove winners, distinguishing themselves as members to baseball’s elite defensive players.

Some of the players on this list came long before Web Gems were a daily part of our national pastime. The differences seen in baseball across different eras are significant, and television and radio were not always available to document the miraculous plays of major leaguers on a daily basis. Often the accounts of their plays were passed on in daily summaries of the games, while others were lost to the ages. Thanks to advanced statistics and extensive game logs, these spectacular performances have not gone forgotten.

Some of the players on this list have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and are considered among the game’s greatest players. Others are not included in those categories, but excelled in the defensive aspects of the game to such an extent that their inclusion was necessary. Fielding errors were a rarity in the careers of these players. Their consistency over baseball’s grueling calendar has allowed them to be included among the greatest defensive players of all time.

20 Troy Tulowitzki – SS

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19 Barry Bonds – OF

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18 Keith Hernandez – 1B

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17 Carl Yastrzemski – OF

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16 Bill Mazeroski – 2B

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15 Al Kaline – OF

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14 Mike Schmidt – 3B

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13 Richie Ashburn – OF

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12 Roberto Alomar – 2B

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11 Honus Wagner – SS

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10 Roberto Clemente – OF

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9 Tris Speaker – OF

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8 Jim Kaat – P

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7 Omar Vizquel – SS

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6 Johnny Bench – C

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5 Greg Maddux – P

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4 Ivan Rodriguez – C

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3 Ozzie Smith – SS

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2 Brooks Robinson – 3B

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1 Willie Mays – OF

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The Say Hey Kid is a living baseball treasure. He is considered to be one of the greatest “five tool” players of all time. Willie Mays was involved in perhaps the most iconic play in baseball history which has been dubbed “The Catch,” when he ran down a Vic Wertz blast in the 1954 World Series. Mays is the all-time career leaders in putouts by an outfielder and games played by a center fielder. Willie is a 24-time All-Star, 12-time Gold Glove award winner, and two-time MVP Award winner. He was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979 as a first ballot member.

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Top 20 Defensive Baseball Players of All Time