Baseball has had its share of stars who didn't let a lack of size prevent them from making it to the big leagues. Some have even been part of a World Series winner and/or a Hall of Famer. Here is a short list, so to speak, in alphabetical order of those listed at 5-8 or shorter:
5-6. Shortstop. Eckstein has personified heart since his debut in the major leagues in 2001 with the Angels. A two-time World Series winner, Eckstein was an All-Star with the Cardinals in 2005 and 2006. Although he is a career .280 hitter, Eckstein’s best moment in baseball came when he led the Cardinals to the 2006 World Series, winning the series MVP along the way. Eckstein hit .364 with four RBIs and three runs in the series.
5-5. Shortstop, second baseman. Noted for his incredibly long career, Maranville spent 15 of his 23 major league seasons with the Boston Braves. He retired at 43 after his 23rd season, a record for a National League player that wouldn’t be topped until Pete Rose broke it in 1986. In his career, Maranville finished in the top ten of MVP voting five times, and he finished his career with 2,605 hits. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1954, shortly after his death.
5-7. Second baseman. A first-ballot Hall of Famer, Morgan was part of the second baseman in the Big Red Machine of the 1970’s Cincinnati Reds. Morgan won MVPs and World Series titles in 1975 and 1976 and was a ten-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glover. His 1976 season ranks as one of the best ever for a second baseman, as Morgan hit 27 homers with a .320 batting average and a league- leading .444 on base percentage. In 1990, Morgan was elected to the Hall of Fame with 82 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot.
5-5. Shortstop. Patek was a three-time All-Star, making the American League team in 1972, 1976 and 1978. Nine of Patek’s 14 major league seasons were spent with the Royals, and during that span, he stole 32 or more bases eight times. He led the league in steals with 53 in 1977, the same year he drove in a career-high 60 runs. Patek finished sixth in the AL MVP voting in 1971, when he led the league with 11 triples.
5-8. Outfielder. A small but supremely skilled outfielder, Puckett blasted his way to 10 straight All-Star games, six Silver Sluggers and two World Series championships. Also noted for his spectacular defense, Puckett won six Gold Gloves and saved Game 6 of the 1991 World Series for the Twins with a spectacular, wall-scaling catch before ending it with a walk-off home run. Puckett hit 207 homers in his 12-year career and batted .318. In 2001, his first year eligible, Puckett was elected to the Hall of Fame with 82 percent of the vote.
5-6. Shortstop. A five-time All-Star, Rizzuto had a major impact on seven World Series winning Yankee teams of the 1940's and 1950's. The Scooter peaked statistically at the end of the 1940’s. Rizzuto finished second in the AL MVP voting in 1949 behind Ted Williams and won the award in 1950, when he hit .324 and struck out just 39 times on his way to winning his second consecutive World Series ring. Rizzuto was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1994 by the Veterans Committee.
5-8. Shortstop. A three-time Gold Glove winner with the Phillies, Rollins led Philadelphia to its first title in 28 years in 2008. But it was his 2007 season that has earned Rollins the most praise. That year, after calling his Phillies the "team to beat," Rollins delivered an MVP campaign, hitting .296 with 30 homers and leading Philly to an NL East title. Rollins is a career .273 hitter with 344 stolen bases.
5-6. Shortstop, third baseman. Sewell finished in the top ten of the MVP voting five times. A fantastic contact hitter, Sewell finished his 14-year career with just 114 strikeouts and a .312 batting average. He was a World Series winner in 1920 with the Indians and in 1932 with the Yankees. Sewell was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1977 by the Veterans Committee.
5-6. Centerfielder. Wilson drove in more than 100 runs six times, including a record 191 in 1930 when he also had 56 homers and .356 average for the Cubs. That was the fourth and final time that Wilson led the National League in home runs. The 56 homers remained the NL single-season record until Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa broke it in 1998. A career .307 hitter, Wilson played in two World Series and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979.
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