Top Ten MLB Players By Position - Round 2: Third Basemen
Greetings! Welcome to the Second Weekly Edition of my "Greatest Players in MLB according to their respective positions." Let's dive right into this week's edition - Third Baseman.
10) Jimmy Collins. Played for: Louisville Colonels (1895), Boston Beaneaters (1895-1900), Boston Red Sox (1901-1907), Philadelphia A's (1907-1908).
Numbers: .294 Batting Average, 1998 Hits, 65 Home Runs.
Analysis: Collins was a fantastic player with his glove and he was a terror with the bat. A feared clutch hitter for the Boston ball clubs, he batted .346 in 1897 and the following season, led the National League in home runs with 15. Collins led his club to the World Championship in 1903.
His defensive abilities at the hot corner neutralized the opposition's bunting tactics.
9) Freddy Lindstorm. Played for: New York Giants (1924-1932), Pittsburgh Pirates (1933-1934), Chicago Cubs (1935), Brooklyn Dodgers (1935).
Numbers: .311 Batting Average, 1747 Hits, 103 Home Runs, 779 RBI.
Analysis: Lindstorm became the youngest player to appear in a World Series game while with the Giants. Although he had a powerful arm and good range, hitting was always his game. Lindstrom had seven .300 seasons and twice garnered 231 hits. Lindy’s lifetime batting mark was an impressive .311.
8) George Kell. Played for: Philadelphia A's (1943-1946), Detroit Tigers (1946-1952), Boston Red Sox (1952-1954), Chicago White Sox (1954-1956), Baltimore Orioles (1956-1957).
Numbers: .306 Batting Average, 2054 Hits, 78 Home Runs, 870 RBI.
Analysis: George Kell worked at all facets of the game. He relied on constant practice to become a solid hitter and a sure-handed fielder. Blessed with a strong and accurate throwing arm, Kell led the league in double plays six times, assists four times and in putouts twice.
In 1949, Kell dramatically captured the AL batting title when he edged out Ted Williams, .34291 to .34276.
7) Frank Baker. Played for: Philadelphia A's (1908-1914), New York Yankees (1916-1919, 1921-1922).
Numbers: .307 Batting Average, 1838 Hits, 96 Home Runs.
Analysis: Frank Baker developed a reputation as a slugger when he hit 11 home runs in 1911, plus two more during the World Series for the Philadelphia Athletics. Earning the nickname "Home Run" Baker would lead the American League in homers during four seasons, but with never more than 12 in any one year.
Baker was a .307 lifetime hitter, twice led the American League in RBI and batted .363 in six World Series.
6) Eddie Matthews. Played for: Boston Braves (1952), Milwaukee Braves (1953-1965), Atlanta Braves (1966), Houston Astros (1967), Detroit Tigers (1967-1968).
Numbers: .271 Batting Average, 2315 Hits, 512 Home Runs, 1453 RBI.
Analysis: A feared left-handed slugger, Eddie Mathews became the seventh player in major league history to hit 500 home runs, 512 to be exact. A member of two World Championship teams, Mathews was the first athlete featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Ty Cobb said it best “I've known three or four perfect swings in my time. This boy's got one of them.”
5) Brooks Robinson. Played for: Baltimore Orioles (1955-1977).
Numbers: .267 Batting Average, 2848 Hits, 268 Home Runs, 1357 RBI.
Analysis: Known as the 'Human Vacuum Cleaner,' Robinson played 23 seasons for the Orioles, setting major league career records for games, putouts, assists, chances, double plays and fielding percentage.
Robinson earned the league's MVP Award in 1964 and the World Series MVP in 1970, when he hit .429 and made a collection of defensive gems. Simply put, THE greatest defensive 3b in the history of Major League Baseball.
4) Wade Boggs. Played for: Boston Red Sox (1982-1992), New York Yankees (1993-1997), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998-1999).
Numbers: .328 Batting Average, 3010 Hits, 118 Home Runs, 1014 RBI.
Analysis: Utilizing great bat control and a good eye, Boggs won five batting titles, strung together seven consecutive seasons of 200 or more hits. A knack for getting on base, Boggs often batted leadoff, and scored at least 100 runs every season from 1983 to 1989.
Despite failing to get a chance to play in the big leagues regularly until he was nearly 25 years old, Boggs is a member of the 3,000-hit club. Boggs retired with a lofty .328 batting average.
3) George Brett Played for: Kansas City Royals (1973-1993).
Numbers: .305 Batting Average, 3154 Hits, 317 Home Runs, 1596 RBI.
Analysis: Brett became the first player in history to accumulate 3,000 hits, 300 home runs, 600 doubles, 100 triples, 1,500 RBI and 200 stolen bases. The 12-time All-Star played his entire 21-year career for the Kansas City Royals, earning an American League Most Valuable Player Award, a Gold Glove, and three batting titles. His .390 average in 1980 was the highest since Ted Williams .406 in 1941.
2) Alex Rodriguez. Played for: Seattle Mariners (1993-2000), Texas Rangers (2001-2003), New York Yankees (2004-Present).
Numbers. .306 Batting Average, 2404 Hits, 553 Home Runs, 1606 RBI's.
Analysis: A-Rod is simply on path to be the greatest player in the history of the game. He is a 12-Time All Star, three-Time MVP, two-Time Gold Glover, and is on pace to break every single meaningful offensive stat in MLB History.
Yet for all his accolades he has yet to win a World Series. He is the Ted Williams of modern day baseball right now.
1) Mike Schmidt Played for: Philadelphia Phillies (1972-1989).
Numbers: .267 Batting Average, 2234 Hits, 548 Home Runs, 1595 RBI.
Analysis: An unprecedented combination of power and defense molded Mike Schmidt into one of the game's greatest third basemen. He established a major league record by hitting four consecutive round-trippers in a single game in 1976.
A three-time National League MVP, he was a 12-time All-Star, won 10 Gold Gloves, and was named the “Sporting News” Player of the Decade for the 1980s. The Greatest Third Baseman in MLB History (until A-rod wins multiple titles).
There you have it, the greatest third basemen of all time. Hopefully within the next decade the names of David Wright, Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Zimmerman and Evan Longoria will be on the brink of being added to this list.
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