Interesting result from Baseball Prospectus today: Dan Fox's has ranked all fielders from 1957-2007 using his new fielding stat, SFR. The top three second basemen are all Athletics:
Name Span Balls SFR Rate Dick Green 1963-1974 4281 102.0 1.18 Mark Ellis 2002-2007 2680 67.7 1.18 Mike Gallego 1986-1997 2117 50.5 1.16 Mark Lemke 1988-1998 3602 90.2 1.15 Jose Oquendo 1986-1995 2473 45.2 1.11
That's highly unusual. Green, Ellis and Gallego are/were all fantastic fielders, but it makes you wonder if there's some kind of hidden park factor going on here. Which would make sense if we were talking about first or third basemen with all the foul territory for popups (Eric Chavez is third amongst third basemen behind Brooks Robinson and Jim Davenport), but I doubt second basemen catch enough foul popups to make any difference here.
Maybe the first basemen play a step closer to the lines in Oakland in order to cover the foul territory? That would turn more balls that can normally be taken by either but are typically cut off by the first baseman into the responsibility of the second baseman alone. I dunno, that's just a guess, though.
I wonder what would happen to those rankings if you split them home/road?