By Rich Campbell
With the long career of San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford seemingly coming to an end at the end of the season, this felt like a good time to look back at the shortstops who have graced Bay Area big league fields since the arrival of the Giants from New York in 1958 and the A’s arrival in Oakland in 1968.
The list below is based on the number of games played with the franchises. The WAR (Baseball Reference version) presented is the value accumulated by each player in their time in the A’s/Giants, not their career overall. Let’s get started:
Bert “Campy” Campaneris, A’s, 13 seasons, 1795 games, 49 WAR, average 3.8 WAR per season
One of the foundational pieces of the A’s World Series title teams in Oakland from 1972 to 1974, Campaneris is enshrined in the A’s Hall of Fame and played with the Angels, Royals and Yankees in a career that spanned 19 seasons. He collected 646 steals in his career (566 with the A’s) and made 6 All-Star teams while with Oakland. Campy appeared on MVP ballots eight times, with his highest finish coming in 1966 (tenth). His Athletics stats presented here include his first four seasons in Kansas City (1964-67) before the team arrived in Oakland. His career WAR of 53.1 ranks 22nd among shortstops in baseball history.
Brandon Crawford, Giants, 13 seasons, 1653 games, 29.5 WAR, average 2.3 WAR per season
Crawford was a part of two World Series-winning teams in 2012 and 2014. A great defender with 4 Gold Gloves in his trophy case, he made three All-Star squads and earned a Silver Slugger in 2015. His highest career MVP finish was fourth in 2021 when the Giants won 107 games. He also garnered down-ballot MVP votes in 2016. He has played his entire career in San Francisco. He has the 79th-best career WAR among shortstops.
Rich Aurilia, Giants, 12 years, 1292 games, 14.7 WAR, average 1.2 WAR per season
Aurilia, who debuted in San Francisco in 1995, was a solid player for many years, with his single best year coming in 2001 when he slashed .324/.369/.572 with 37 homers and 97 RBIs in a lineup that included Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds. He made his only All-Star team that year and won the Silver Slugger while finishing 12th in MVP balloting. In the late stages of his career, he also logged over a hundred games each at first, second and third base. He played for the Mariners, Padres and Reds, before concluding his career with three more seasons in San Francisco (2007-2009). His career WAR of 18.2 is 144th among shortstops.
Chris Speier, Giants, 10 years, 1114 games, 20.2 WAR, average 2.0 WAR per season
Speier broke in with the Giants at age 21 in 1971 and was the team’s everyday shortstop for the next six years while making three All-Star teams. After being traded, he was the Expos shortstop for the next six years before transitioning to a bench role with the Cardinals, Twins and Cubs. He returned to San Francisco for his final three campaigns in a utility/bench role. His career WAR of 30.6 ranks 74th in baseball history among shortstops
Miguel Tejada, A’s, 7 seasons, 936 games, 22.1 WAR, average 3.2 WAR per season
Tejada, a vital part of the Moneyball teams in Oakland, enjoyed a tremendous career. After accumulating the numbers above in Oakland, he went on to play for the Orioles, Astros, Padres, Giants and Royals. In his one year with the Giants (2011), he slashed .239/.270/.326 in 91 games. His career accolades include an MVP season in Oakland (2002), six All-Star games (one with the A’s), a pair of Silver Slugger awards, and an All-Star Game MVP. His career WAR of 47.1 ranks him 28th among shortstops.
Marcus Semien, A’s, 6 seasons, 773 games, 20.4 WAR, average 3.4 WAR per season
A contemporary of Crawford, Semien enjoyed great success in Oakland starring on a pair of 97-win teams (and a pandemic season team in 2020 that won games at the same pace) that could never break through in the postseason. After leaving Oakland as a free agent he has continued to flourish in Toronto and Texas. He twice finished third in MVP races, 2019 in Oakland and 2021 in Toronto. Though he has moved to second base after leaving Oakland, he has still played most of his career at shortstop. He is enjoying an excellent season in Texas this year, where he has 25 homers and 95 RBIs with a week to go in the season. This output has boosted his career WAR to 41.3, 42nd all-time at shortstop.
Marco Scutaro, 7 seasons (A’s 4, Giants 3), 669 games, 7.3 WAR, 1.0 WAR per season
Wrapping up this list is a player not at the level of those listed above Marco Scutaro, who played more games at short (683) than he did at second (566) in his career. While not a star-level player, he contributed to playoff teams on both sides of the bay – first in Oakland on the 2006 team that advanced to the ALCS (including hitting .333 in the ALDS) and later with the Giants, he had the all-time fairy-tale season after joining the Giants at the trade deadline in 2012 by hitting .362 with 44 RBI’s in the team’s final 61 games for a team that won it all. He also played for the Mets, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rockies in a career that resulted in 22.1 WAR, 117th all-time among shortstops. He totaled 476 games with the A’s and 193 San Francisco.
Rich Campbell is a Marketing Professor at Sonoma State University by day and A’s fan by night. He has previously been a sports business contributor at Forbes.com and his academic writing has appeared in Sport Marketing Quarterly. You can find him on Twitter @RichCampbellPhD.