Mr. Cub is probably the greatest African-American shortstop to grace the MLB diamond. Banks not only set the standard for black shortstops, but he was the first true power-hitting shortstop in MLB. Banks was A-Rod before A-Rod, an icon who changed the game by providing uncanny power at a position previously reserved for slap hitters.
Banks played 19 years for a losing Cubs franchise and was Wrigley Field’s only bright spot for two decades as he clubbed 512 career homers. In his prime from 1957-1960, averaged a .293 batting average, 44 HR, 123 RBI and won back-to-back NL MVP awards in ’58 and ’59.
“El Capitan” is one of the greatest winners MLB has ever seen. He was the Captain and clutch catalyst for a Yankees Dynasty that won five World Series rings between 1996 and 2009 and lived in the postseason.
Jeter, a 14-time All-Star, is the Yankees all-time hits leader with a whopping 3,465. He has a .310 career batting average and has won five Gold Gloves. His stats are Hall of Fame worthy, but don’t begin to tell the story of his marketing and cultural impact as the flawless face of baseball for 20 years. He led the Yankees to the top of the sports landscape by performing at his best in the biggest moments. “Ice in the veins” should be Jeter’s middle name.
He is arguably the greatest postseason hitter of all time, with a career .308 BA, 20 HR, 61 RBI, 18 SB line in 158 postseason games, earning the name “Mr. November.”
3. Barry Larkin
He was a Black Knight in beast mode as the premier National League shortstop of the 1990s. Larkin was a consistent offensive boss and formidable glove for an inconsistent Cincinnati Reds lineup. He was elected to the All-Star team every year from 1988-2000, winning eight Silver Slugger awards during that span.
Larkin, who played every one of his 19 seasons with the Reds, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2012, with a .295 career average, 2,340 hits, 1,329 runs scored and 379 stolen bases. Larkin scored at least 80 runs in a season seven times, hit 30-plus doubles in six seasons, and stole 30-or-more bases five times. He won his three Gold Glove awards at shortstop en route to a career fielding percentage of .975 and won nine Silver Slugger awards.
Larkin won a World Series in 1990 and then did something that Jeter couldn’t accomplish when he took home NL MVP honors in 1995.
The Wizard is simply the greatest defensive infielder in MLB history and his 43.4 career defensive WAR is the best by any player at the position. Even with the defensive metrics on smash, his .978 fielding percentage and 13 Gold Gloves support his claim to the title of glove king.
Smith is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime talent that you would never understand based on numbers. He was truly a magician with the glove. He was also a huge personality in the game and understood the essence of entertainment as he began each game with his patented backflip.
Smith had artistry, flair, and athletic superiority that put him in another stratosphere. His fielding was so good that people often dogged him for his hitting, which is not shabby at all. Smith had a .262 career average and 2,460 hits. He’s also among the greatest base stealers of all-time with 580 career swipes.
“J-Roll” is one of the most offensively prolific shortstops the game has ever seen. He has 2,455 hits, which includes 511 doubles (53rd all-time), 115 triples, and 231 home runs. He ranks 103rd in career total bases and 83rd in extra-base hits. He’s also stolen 470 bases, good for 46th in MLB history. His 1,421 runs are good for 86th and 936 RBI from pretty much always being in a table-setting position is pretty solid as well.
He makes the all-time Top 20 in almost every offensive statistic for a shortstop and was the centerpiece of a Phillies team that won two NL pennants and a World Series in 2008. He has four Gold Gloves and four seasons of at least 10 Defensive Runs Saved.
J-Roll was a true soul patroller. His 2007 NL MVP award was the stamp that at some point he was the best at his position. Standing a diminutive 5-foot-7, 175-pounds, Rollins defied the odds and continues to be a living example of skills over scales when it comes to the sport of baseball.
Honorable Mention: Maury Wills
Wills didn’t get his Hall of Fame props from the writers, but he was an MLB pioneer and one of the fastest players in history.
Wills was finally nominated by the Golden Era committee in 2014, which could induct managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players for possible election in 2015, but he fell three votes short.
The barn-burner made a living off of his superior wheels as he stole 586 bases in his career, good for 20th all time.
The lack of respect for his career is indicative of the lost appreciation in the modern game for the stolen base, which was a staple of black excellence in baseball ever since No. 42 broke the color barrier in ’47. In 1960, Wills won the first of six straight National League stolen base crowns.
The 2021 season saw some MLBbros become parts of baseball history. From breaking single-season home run records the most home runs at a position to being a franchise’s first 30/30 club member and even the first walk-off in the Great state of Iowa, this was one to remember.
Here are our Top 10 MLBbros of 2021.
1. Marcus Semien
No second baseman in the history of Major League Baseball has hit more home runs in a season than Marcus Semien has for the 2021 Blue Jays, and with just a few games left, has a chance to pile on a few more.
Semien bet on himself this season and it has paid off big time. He signed a one-year deal with the Blue Jays in the off-season and even made the switch from shortstop to prove his versatility.
Semien’s 44 home runs have him fourth in the race for the Home Run crown, while some of his other numbers absolutely crushed other Major League second baseman.
He is slashing .267/.338/.881 with 101 RBI and 39 doubles and also has the highest Wins Above Replacement rating in the Majors at 7.2.
Semien was exactly what they needed in the city of Toronto to get over the hump and become true contenders.
He’ll get the chance to test the free agent waters and says he wants to be considered a short stop while doing so. I don’t think we can rule out the possibility he continues to play second base, but he should get the chance to be paid top dollar regardless of which side of the diamond he is on.
2. Cedric Mullins
Cedric Mullins may have had the greatest season in Baltimore Orioles franchise history, and the numbers do not lie.
Mullins became the fourth active player to join the illustrious 30 home run and 30 stolen base club. No other Oriole has ever done that.
Christian Yelich, Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Jose Ramirez, Ronald Acuña Jr.
The 5’8 175 center fielder has the eighth highest batting average in the Majors, the fourth most doubles and is ranked seventh in OPS among outfielders.
Mullins’ 2021 All-Star selection shocked many people, but throughout this entire season he proved his name belongs amongst baseball’s elite players.
Even though Baltimore baseball is going through tough times, they have a diamond in the rough batting leadoff and playing center field for years to come.
3. Aaron Judge
Aaron Judge has had his best season since he won the 2017 Rookie of the Year award. The Empire State has been on his back this entire season, and Judge has continued to step up and answer the bell each time in pressure situations.
From his late home run in the Field of Dreams Game to his go-ahead double against the rival Red Sox this past weekend on Sunday Night Baseball, Judge showed this year he is one of the most clutch players the game has to offer.
We told you back in April his health was key to a Yankees playoff berth.
He’s given us more than a few missles and treasured moments.
This view of Aaron Judge's Field of Dreams homer >>>>>>
Judge leads the Yankees in almost every offensive category this season: games played, hits, doubles, home runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS or WAR.
He now has 38 home runs, 96 RBI and an OPS of .916 this season.
4. Tim Anderson
Tim Anderson has become one of the faces of baseball over the last few seasons and continues to make his case for best shortstop in the game every time he steps on the field.
TA7 is one of the most feared leadoff hitters in all of baseball. He has the ability to make it 1-0 before most fans can make it to their seats from the concession stands.
Anderson sits slightly out of the Top 10 for average in the Majors at .301. He also adds 17 home runs, 18 steals, 59 RBI and 92 runs scored to his season totals.
5. Giancarlo Stanton
Giancarlo Stanton has been the Robin to Aaron Judge’s Batman this year, especially during the second half of the season when the Yankees made their run to get themselves back into contention.
Stanton has the second highest exit velocity average on batted balls this year at 95.3, just slightly behind Judge who is at 95.9. He also has 35 home runs, 96 RBI and an .881 OPS.
Stanton etched his name in the history books of one of baseball’s best rivalries, the Yankees and Red Sox. In their final time in Boston this season Stanton became one of four Yankees to have three home runs and 10 RBI in any 3-game span vs the Red Sox.
6. Marcus Stroman
Marcus Stroman sat out the entire 2020 season, and for him to return in 2021 and lead the Majors in starts, he deserves some respect on his name.
Stroman finished with a career high 33 starts and posted the second lowest ERA of his career.
Jazz Chisholm ends up on Marcus Stroman’s back, and the two laugh about it after. This is some wholesome stuff between two great players. pic.twitter.com/WirpC8d4m2
Despite having the “best pitcher” in baseball (Jacob deGrom) the and a 2021 All-Star in their rotation (Taijuan Walker) Stroman was the most consistent Mets pitcher throughout the season.
He’ll have the chance to test the market as a free agent and will have multiple suitors as he may be the most marquee name behind Max Scherzer.
7. Mookie Betts
Despite fighting through multiple injuries and maybe a little 2020 World Series hangover, Mookie Betts had a fine 2021, even if some of his numbers are a peg lower than what we’ve become accustomed too.
Betts was named an All-Star this season and currently has 22 home runs, 56 RBI, 89 runs scored and a .371 on base percentage. His OPS is quickly approaching .900 as well.
He’s been a swiss army knife for the Dodgers, moving around in the lineup as well as playing second base for a few games and turning out a few web gems.The formed MVP will surely save his biggest moments for the playoffs.
8. J.P. Crawford
J.P. Crawford put himself in rare company last season when he became one of the few recent black Gold Glove winning infielders and it looks like he’ll repeat again this season.
He leads the Majors in putouts and assists and seems to give the west coast jaw dropping highlights every single night.
At the plate Crawford made some improvements from last season. His average against left handed pitchers increased from .242 to .276. Crawford ranks 14th in the league in total hits and leads all Major League shortstops with 37 doubles.
On the year he is slashing .273/.336/.715 with 52 RBI and nine home runs.
9. Michael Brantley
If Michael Brantley could have avoided the injury bug this season, he would have had a legit chance at the 2021 batting championship.
Dusty Baker on Michael Brantley back in the lineup (DH): “It feels great..a big part of our lineup. We missed him big time.” pic.twitter.com/RYi6NlxPP8
He started the season off hot, earning his fifth career All-Star appearance as he led the Majors in batting average for most of the first half of the season.
He’s only appeared in 118 out of 159 games this season and has 29 doubles, a .311 average and a .798 OPS. Another great season for “The Professional.”
10. Triston McKenzie
Triston McKenzie had to learn on the fly this season, and grew up in front of our eyes with some dominant starts, particularly on August 15th when he pitched eight innings out one hit baseball and a career high 11 strikeouts.
At one point of the season McKenzie put together seven consecutive quality starts from August 5th to September 14th.
McKenzie is also going to lead the team in strikeouts, becoming one of the youngest to do so in franchise history just behind C.C. Sabathia who did it at age 21.
Josh Bell– Despite the struggles of his Nationals, Bell had himself a great year. He is at 27 home runs, 88 RBI and a .814 OPS.
Jazz Chisholm Jr.– Injuries at the beginning of the season stopped Jazz from being a 2021 All-Star, but we still got the chance to see him Euro step across the plate 17 times.
He has an outside chance at winning the National League’s Rookie of the Year award, but the only Bahamian born player currently in the Majors has already impressed folks around the league
LaMonte Wade Jr.– Wade Jr. is the epitome of what the San Francisco Giants have been able to do this season. He continually stepped up especially in late game situations earning himself the nickname “Late Night Lamonte”
Jack Flaherty – Jack Flaherty was on his way to becoming a black ace and winning 20 games before an injury stalled his season for a few months.
The Cardinals seemed to come back alive when he returned as they rattled off 17 consecutive wins at one point. It seems Flaherty might come out of the bullpen for St. Louis during their playoff run if they can get past the wild card games.
It’s been a great season and we’ve brought you the best of the Black and Brown players in MLB. We’ll be back next season with our #HIGHFIVE lists.
Week 17 of the Major League Baseball season was one to remember for many MLBbros.
Around the league four were honored with their respective teams’ Heart & Hustle Awards– one showed us once again there is not a thing on the planet he cannot do and another proved he is ready to be a part of a World Series run. However, George Springer is at the top of the mountaintop on our High Five list after winning the American League Player of the Week award.
1. George Springer
Blue Jays fans waited 670 days between home games after COVID-19 shut down Canada last year. This past weekend the team finally returned home to Toronto, and Springer finally got to play in his first true home series and did not disappoint.
Saturday he homered twice in the Jay’s game against the Kansas City Royals including his 40th career leader jack. In total Springer hit three lead-off home runs this week, giving him 42 for his career and placing him in eighth place on the All-Time list.
Over his last seven games Springer is batting .517 with a 1.103 slugging percentage, four home runs, 11 RBI, 10 runs scored and four walks.
2. Mookie Betts
Mookie Betts showed us he had some skills in his bag while playing second base for the Dodgers most of this week. Betts played second as a minor leaguer but has spent a majority of his career in the outfield, particularly in right field where he has won five Gold Gloves.
Betts is coming off an injury and as the Dodgers wait for newly acquired Trea Turner to return from the COVID list, they have tested his versatility over the last few games and he has not disappointed.
Betts also appears to finally be looking comfortable at the plate. He has done a good job at getting on base this season, but some of his hitting numbers have been down. This week he was 15-for-28 for a .536 average, a 1.214 slugging percentage, seven extra base hits and five home runs including a two-homer game in Wednesday’s victory over the Astros.
American League All-Star starting centerfielder CM Storm Cedric Mullins had himself a memorable week both on and off the field. He was awarded the Baltimore Orioles winner of the 2021 Heart & Hustle Award.
Mullins said on Twitter “It is an honor to be selected for the 2021 Heart and Hustle Award! It’s my goal every day to go out and play hard and to the best of my ability. I am truly grateful that my play and hardwork has been recognized by my peers.”
On the field Mullins has been slowly creeping towards the top of the list for Major League Baseball’s batting title. He now sits in fourth, trailing Michael Brantley by .009 points for first place.
Since originally being snubbed from making the American League All-Star roster, T.A. has been locked in on his mission to have his White Sox as the last team standing this season.
Our JR Gamble gave us his Two Cents on where he believes Anderson’s place is amongst the games top shortstops, so I’ll let him get into that while I tell you about a few highlights from his week.
Pasta night was on the docket Tuesday night for Anderson and his family after he hit a two-run homer against the Royals. He was also named the White Sox winner of the 2021 Heart & Hustle Award.
Anderson now sits in seventh place for the American League batting title and he had something to say about White Sox fans who have made their home ballpark electric during the past few weeks.
“On the weekends, it’s the place to go before you go out. We try to make it a pregame for you. You can come to the game, have some drinks, have some fun. We have a DJ up there playing good music. Use it as a pregame before the night starts.”
5. Giancarlo Stanton
With the additions of left handed batters Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton finally has some much needed help around him in the lineup, and now the Yankees look poised as they make their track towards a wild card spot.
Stanton batted .250 this week with a home run, seven RBI, five walks, a .400 on base percentage and a bases clearing three run double on Wednesday to help the Yankees break open their game against the Orioles.
Stanton and his Yankees have a series scheduled this weekend against the Mariners that will have huge playoff implications later on in the season.
Tim Anderson had a lot to say this week after being left off of the American League All-Star roster.
But instead of words, the White Sox shortstop used his bat to campaign for why he should be in Denver.
And Anderson’s bat spoke volumes. He batted over .430 this week, including going 4-for-4 in Wednesday’s game against Minnesota.
For that, he claims the top spot for Week 14 on our #HighFive list.
T.A. is one of the anointed faces of the game of baseball, and the sport will be missing out on something special by not having the R.B.I. Baseball cover boy at this year’s All-Star game.
He has the second-highest batting average for all American League shortstops at .307 and has added 29 RBI, 14 steals and a .768 OPS on a first-place White Sox team that has been riddled with injuries since spring training.
Over his last seven games, he has a .433 batting average with seven runs and a .485 OBP. Anderson also has recorded multiple hits in three of his last four games and is riding a nine-game hitting streak.
He’s reached base safely in his last eight plate appearances, including three walks, four singles, and a double.
Even legendary Hall of Famer Frank Robinson had a lot to say about Anderson missing out on the 2021 All-Star game. His batting average is currently the ninth highest in all of baseball and hopefully, he will use his snubbing as fuel to the fire during his quest for a second batting championship.
Frank Thomas fighting for Tim Anderson's life out here
We have pleaded his case this entire season, and last Sunday we finally got what we wanted; Mullins is a Major League All-Star.
The 5-foot-8, multi-faceted phenom started celebrating his achievement mid-game during a matchup against the Los Angeles Angels Sunday by hitting a game-tying, pinch-hit single then following that with a go-ahead home run.
This week, Mullins hit three home runs while batting .321 with six RBI, five runs and a stolen base. He is leading all American League outfielders in hits, total bases, OPS, and his 3.9 WAR is the highest for all outfielders and sixth-highest in the Majors.
Mets’ outfielder Dominic Smith is making his first appearance on our #HighFive list this season. His year has been up and down, but lately, he has become one of the most consistent players in New York’s lineup.
Smith had the first two-homer game of his career last Thursday against the Braves. Then followed that with a home run off Yankees ace Gerrit Cole a few games later.
Dominic Smith stays hot with a classic Yankee Stadium homer off Gerrit Cole to the short porch in right.
That's Smith's third homer in his last 13 innings.
This weekend, his Mets welcome MLBBro Ke’Bryan Hayes and the Pittsburgh Pirates to CitiField for a four-game series.
4. Aaron Judge
This season for the Yankees has been disappointing, but the Tower of Power Aaron Judge has responded to the bright lights and been one of the best players in baseball this entire season.
Last Thursday night, he was named an All-Star starter for the American League outfield and also became just the fifth Yankee ever to hit 20 home runs before the All-Star break in three straight seasons.
Judge is one of baseball’s top sluggers so it is a little disappointing he is not participating in one of the most anticipated Home Run Derby’s in recent memory, but he needs his rest as a big second half by him is a must if the Yankees, who currently sit just two games above .500, want to get back into contention for the American League East pennant.
This season has been a resurgence for Andrew McCutchen and after what he’s done to Chicago Cubs’ staff during this series, he may want to get a permanent residency in their batter’s box and on our #HighFive list.
The MLBbros decided to turn Week 12 of the season into a seven-day Home Run Derby. They hit a pair of grand slams while mixing in a few game-winning homers in between.
Michael Brantley, however, takes the top spot on our High Five list after batting .500 during the Houston Astros’ current 10-game winning streak and taking the top spot in the race for baseball’s batting title.
If the season ended today, Michael Brantley would take home Major League Baseball’s batting championship, and right now it’s not even close. His .356 average is .16 higher than the closest player.
On June 8, he returned to play after missing time with an injury and he’s lived up to his nickname, “The Professional” at the plate since.
In his last seven games, he is batting .400 with a.500 OBP, 12 hits, nine RBI, six runs and three walks.
Brantley has been the main catalyst in the resurgence of Dusty Baker’s Astros this season. During their four-game sweep of Tim Anderson and the White Sox last weekend, Brantley was 5-for-16 with six RBI, a double, triple and a three-run home run.
Michael Brantley is absolutely destroying baseballs this season. This 3 run bomb raises his average to .347 on the year pic.twitter.com/va9Xo5dePO
Brantley is also the American League leader in doubles and heads to the Motor City this weekend for a four-game set against the Tigers.
2. Tony Kemp
Tony Kemp played a lot bigger than his 5-foot-6 frame this week, earning the second spot on our High Five list.
In 35 games since May 8, when Kemp was hitting .190, he is 34-for-95 with a .358 batting average. He has seven doubles, two triples and four home runs in that span.
Two of those homers came last weekend in the Bronx. In the sixth inning of Friday night’s game, he hit what would end up being a game-winning three-run home run. He would then follow up with a first-inning shot the next day.
Long has eight RBI in his last seven games with a .609 Slugging Percentage. Injuries have played a major role in the Mariners’ season, including to Shed but he’s getting playing time now and making the most of it. Seattle will have a fun matchup this weekend as they play on the South Side of Chicago.
4. Cedric Mullins
I may never watch baseball again if Cedric Mullins is not an All-Star this season. He’s been doing everything he can to climb up the top of the fan vote, but with a few outfielders currently sidelined with injury, he could easily find himself starting the game in center.
In a weekend series against May’s American League Player of the Month Marcus Semien and the Blue Jays, Mullins added to his legend in the Charm City. He hit four home runs and had six RBI in a two-day span.
This month, Cedric is 26-for-73 with a .356 batting average, five doubles, seven home runs and 12 RBI. He now sits ninth in the Majors in batting average. His O’s will get their shot at revenge against Semien and the Blue Jays after they lost last weekend’s series.
5. J.P. Crawford
The Gold Glover takes the five spot on this week’s #HighFive list, but it has everything to do with his performance at the plate.
Last week, he was named our Home Boi Highlight after riding an eight-game hitting streaking with a .351 average with seven RBI, six runs and two home runs including a grand slam Saturday night in the Mariners Seattle Steelhead Negro League throwback jerseys.
Crawford’s hitting streak reached 10 games after going 2-for-4 with a double Wednesday night. During that span, he has four multi-hit games and eight runs batted in. All signs are beginning to point to him being named the Mariners’ representative for this year’s All-Star game in Denver.
Last year’s Gold Glove award winner at shortstop deserves his shine and his chance to showcase his talents on one of the biggest stages in baseball.
This weekend’s Mariners vs. White Sox matchup will feature two of the most exciting shortstops in the game, J.P. and former batting champion Tim Anderson who just celebrated his 28th birthday on June 23.