This is the 5th post in a series of 9 which focus on the greatest baseball players ever. Today’s installment focuses on third basemen.
1. Mike Schmidt – 1972-1989 (PHI) Schmidt has acquired numerous accolades throughout his career. He is a 12 time all-star, has 10 consecutive Gold Gloves, 6 consecutive Silver Sluggers, 3 National League MVP trophies and a World Series ring (as well as a World Series MVP trophy). Mike also has 548 home runs (leading the league 8 times) and over 1,500 RBI’s (leading 4 times). Schmidt was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995.
2. Eddie Mathews – 1952-1968 (BOS/MIL/ATL, HOU, DET) Mathews hit 512 home runs in his 17 year career. In his first 9 years, Eddie averaged over 30 home runs and 100 RBI’s; he finished his career with 1,453. He also played in the all-star game 9 times. Between 1954 and 1956, Mathews combined with Hank Aaron to hit 863 home runs, most all time by teammates. Mathews was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978.
3. George Brett – 1973-1993 (KC) Brett experienced many ups and downs in his major league career, but still managed to hit 317 home runs and almost 1,600 ribbies. He was voted to 13 straight all-star games. George is perhaps most well known for the infamous pine tar incident, but also set a modern era record for third basemen by batting .390 in 1980 and also winning the MVP award. Brett has been in the Hall of Fame since 1999.
4. Chipper Jones – 1993-present (ATL) Jones may be the best switch hitter in the history of the game. He is the only switch hitter to ever have a .300 average and 400 home runs. He also has over 2,200 hits. Chipper is a 6 time all-star and has won the Silver Slugger award twice. He has recorded 8 straight 100 RBI seasons, and currently has 1,357. He is the all-time Braves leader with a .406 OBP and is Atlanta’s all-time home run leader.
5. Brooks Robinson – 1955-1977 (BAL) Robinson’s nickname is ‘The Human Vacuum Cleaner’ which is a reference to his outstanding fielding ability. He hit only 268 home runs in his life, but is acclaimed by many as the greatest defensive third baseman ever. He won 16 Gold Gloves in a row, one behind Greg Maddux for the most all time. Brooks was also a member of 15 consecutive AL all-star teams and was a World Series MVP. Robinson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1983.
6. Wade Boggs – 1982-1999 (BOS, NYY, TB) Boggs had an outstanding lifetime average of .328. He only hit below that mark once during his first 8 seasons, despite not being a power hiter. Wade only reached double-digits in home runs twice (24 in 1987 and 11 in 1994). He collected over 3,000 hits in his career as well. He is a 12 time all-star and has been awarded 8 Silver Sluggers. Boggs is a class of 2005 Hall of Famer.
7. Graig Nettles – 1967-1988 (MIN, CLE, NYY, SD, ATL, MTL) Nettles blasted almost 400 home runs in his career with 6 different teams. He also added 1,314 ribbies to his resume, yet finished with over 100 in a season just once. Nettles in not in the Hall of Fame, although he was a 6 time all-star, won 2 Gold Gloves and has 2 World Series rings. Graig’s .964 fielding percentage is exceptional for a third baseman.
8. Ron Santo – 1960-1974 (CHC, CHW) Santo was the first third baseman to hit over 300 home runs (finishing with 342) and win 5 Gold Gloves. He played in the all-star game 9 times. Ron also batted in 1,331 runs. He rarely missed a game until nearing the conclusion of his career. He routinely hit 25 home runs and 95 RBI’s a season. Santo is not in the Hall of Fame and many feel is long overdue.
9. Robin Ventura – 1989-2004 (CHW, NYM, NYY, LAD) Ventura hit 294 home runs in his career including 2 grand slams in one game. He was the eighth player to accomplish the feat. He also won 6 Gold Gloves, proving his dominance in the field as well. He added 1,182 ribbies and 1,885 hits. Ventura was a consistant player, but is likely to be overlooked by the Hall of Fame commitee, as they have a tendency to do that to third basemen.
10. Jimmy Collins – 1895-1908 (LOU, BOS, PHI) Collins hit just 65 home runs and 983 RBI’s, but revolutionized the game. This Buffalo native was the first third baseman to field bunts. Prior to Collins, it was the shortstop’s responsibility to cover any bunts down the third base line. (Don’t ask me why, I don’t know). Jimmy was one hit shy of 2,000 and won a World Series with the 1903 Red Sox. Collins was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.
And since I’m in a good mood after writing this, I will give you TWO Chuck Norris jokes today:
Chuck Norris CAN slam revolving doors…and…
Chuck Norris CAN eat just one Lay’s potato chip.
Your favorite shortstops are next!