In regards to the position of 2B, Nellie Fox set the standard from what an aspiring infielder should model. Never a power hitter, he did everything else exceptionally. While there are other second basemen that get more credit, there is not one that could match what Fox did defensively. While he missed the 1946 due to his service in the military, he was on the MLB team sparingly when with the Philadelphia Athletics. But, in his first full big league season in 1949, he was part of an infield that set a MLB record for most double plays in a season of 217. Playing in just 88 games, he was involved in turning 68 of the team's double plays. The early criticism of Fox was his inability to hit. Even when defense was a premium for middle infielders, many doubted whether Fox could hit enough to be an everyday player. He hit .255 in 1949, but was traded by Connie Mack to the Chicago White Sox for catcher Joe Tipton after the season. Though Tipton spent several seasons in the big leagues, the deal turned out to be a steal for the White Sox, while a mistake for Mack. While Mack was known for selling and trading players because he did not want to pay them, he was known as a very good talent evaluator. He was wrong about Fox.
For a 2B that was not a power hitter, Fox made up for it by being a solid .300 hitter six times in a ten year span. He was consistently among the league leaders (if he didn't lead the AL himself) in games played, plate appearances, at bats, runs scored and on many occasions, on base percentage. Another thing that did not stand out for Fox was the fact that he never was a big base stealer. For a guy that generally batted towards the top of the order, Fox had just 78 stolen bases in his 19 year career and was actually caught stealing (80 times) more often than he stole a base. That made it that much more important for him to make contact and see pitches, two of his best offensive attributes.
His propensity for not striking out was a throwback to the days of the dead ball era. Not counting 1947 and 1948, where he only batted a total of 16 times, he struck out a total of 216 times in his 17 full to near full MLB seasons; never more than 19 times in one season! And he had 6 seasons of 700 or more plate appearances. He was a 12 time All Star in his 14 seasons with the White Sox. He was the AL MVP in the 1959 season where the team won the AL Pennant.
Fox played defense like nobody has before or after his playing career. It was fitting that he was the first recipient of the MLB Gold Glove Award for a 2B in 1957. At that time, one award was given out for both American and National League. Similar to Ozzie Smith's dominance as a defensive SS, Fox was that equal in his dominance at 2B, even though he was never as flashy. In 2295 defensive games at 2B, he had a .994 fielding percentage. Among all 2B to ever play the game, Fox turned the 2nd most double plays (1619), had the 3rd most putouts (6090), the 4th most total zone runs (101), all while committing the 61st most errors (209).
For years the closest comparison was Cardinals 2B Red Schoendienst, who was inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1989. While that was 26 years after Schoendienst retired, Fox was the superior defender and was more consistent throughout his career. Fox never saw more than 21.6% of the Hall of Fame vote while he was still alive. In his last year of Hall eligibility through the BBWAA in 1985, he fell just two votes shy of gaining entry. While the Veterans Committee finally selected him in 1997, the baseball "experts" should have valued his contributions to the game better. I know the saber guys would have had him in within his first five seasons of eligibility. Ozzie Smith was not much of a question, neither should Nellie Fox have been. I'll leave you with this one, Fox had the 5th highest of ABs between strikeouts in the entire history of the game. The other 4 all played much earlier with Joe Start and Joe Sewell playing in the dead ball era. Willie Keeler retired in 1933 and Lloyd Waner was done by 1945.