MLB Power Rankings: The Greatest Third Baseman in Every Team's History
Third base may arguably be the hardest position to play in all of professional sports. Hitters at the peak of their power strokes ripping line drives only 90 feet away and smoking ground balls can make it tough for even the best of athletes.
The following list of players counts down the best third basemen for each franchise in the MLB.
The Players are in no specific order as their accomplishments and trends are closely influenced by the era in which they played in.
Hitting lead-off, the Seattle Mariners...
Seattle Mariners: Adrian Beltré
Although Adrian Beltré has had a very good career since he entered the league in 1998 his years spent with the Seattle Mariners are some that have raised some eyebrows around the Major Leagues.
Beltré played for the Mariners from 2005-2009 and despite having seasons that were considered disappointing, he did some things that will forever be remembered in Mariners history.
In 2006, Beltré hit the first ever inside-the-park home run at Safeco Field against the Boston Red Sox (which he would later play for in 2010).
Beltré also became only the fourth Mariner in history to hit for the cycle in 2008.
While with Seattle, Beltré won Best Defensive Third Baseman of The Year on two different occasions (2006 and 2008), while setting a career high in doubles during the 2006 season with 41.
Adrian Beltré's Career Stats
Games Played: 1835
At Bats: 6874
Slugging Percentage: .462
San Diego Padres: Phil Nevin
Phil Nevin played for the San Diego Padres from 1999-2005 and was one of the most highly recognizable players to ever wear a Padres uniform
Nevin was drafted first overall in the 1992 MLB Entry Draft by the Houston Astros and appeared in games for the Astros, Detroit Tigers, and Anaheim Angels before coming to San Diego.
Nevin's Career with the Padres is most remembered for one single season. Despite having the worst fielding percentage in the league and the most errors committed, Nevin was selected for the All-Star team in 2001.
Even though that is not exactly the way a player wishes to be remembered, Nevin still posted the best career numbers than any other third baseman to play for the Padres.
Phil Nevin's Career Line:
Games Played: 1217
At Bats: 4188
Slugging Percentage: .472
Chicago White Sox: Robin Ventura
Robin Ventura made his career debut for the Chicago White Sox on September 12,1989.
A first round draft pick and Golden Spikes Award winner in 1988, Ventura quickly made his presence felt at the big league level.
Ventura finished his career with 18 total grand slams including two in one game on September 4, 1995.
Ventura was also a six-time Gold Glove award winner and was named to the all-star team in 1992 and 2002.
Robin Ventura's Career Line:
Games Played: 2,079
At Bats: 7,064
Slugging Percentage: .444
Arizona Diamondbacks, Mark Reynolds
Even though Mark Reynolds is was a raw talent for the Diamondbacks, it is easy to see the type of player that he is progressing into.
The young Reynolds displayed good power numbers but sometimes struggled to make contact as he posted a dismal .198 batting average in 2010.
Fortunately for Reynolds, former Diamondbacks third baseman Matt Williams is already on this list with the San Francisco Giants.
Another factor in Reynolds' favor is that the Diamondbacks do not have a very long history, and not much depth at third base.
Mark Reynolds' Career Line
Games Played: 563
At Bats: 1,982
Slugging Percentage: .483
Detroit Tigers: George Kell
For any young player that wants to play the "Hot Corner" at the major league level, George Kell is the perfect man to model themselves after.
Throughout Kell's career he was named a 10-time All-Star, batted over .300 nine times and topped the league's third basemen in assists four times.
Kell also led the league in fielding percentage on seven different occasions while winning a batting title in 1949.
Kell's tenure as a Tiger lasted from 1946-1952. He also had stints with the Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, and the Baltimore Orioles.
George Kell was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1983. Sadly, Kell passed away in 2009 at his home in Arkansas.
George Kell's Career Line:
Games Played: 1,795
At Bats: 6,702
Slugging Percentage: .414
Colorado Rockies: Vinny Castilla
Vinny Castilla was one of the original Colorado Rockies to play for the expansion franchise in 1993-1999, and once again in 2004.
Castilla was arguably one of the most productive infielders in Rockies history as he took advantage of the thin Coors Field air.
Castilla hit over forty homeruns in a season on three different occasions and also compiled five seasons where he knocked in 100 runs or more.
By the time he retired, Castilla had played for 15 seasons in the major leagues. Seven of those seasons were spent with Colorado.
Vinny Castilla's Career Line:
Games Played: 1,854
At Bats: 6,822
Slugging Percentage: .476
Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria
Since being named Rookie of The Year in 2008, Evan Longoria has been a force to be reckoned with in the middle of the Tampa Bay Lineup.
Longoria has shown solid power numbers throughout his first three seasons with 82 home runs and 302 RBI.
Tampa Bay is one of those teams that has not been around long, which makes the pool of potential candidates significantly smaller.
If Longoria can produce consistently over the next several years, he will not only be a great Ray, but a future Hall-of-Famer.
Evan Longoria's Career Line:
Games Played: 430
At Bats: 1606
Slugging Percentage: .521
Texas Rangers: Hank Blalock
Hank Blalock put up some of the most productive numbers out of any infield in Texas Rangers history when his health permitted him to do so.
Blalock burst onto the MLB scene during the 2003 and 2004 seasons where he combined for 61 home runs and 190 runs batted in in two seasons.
Interestingly enough, one of the more influential moments of Blalock's Rangers career was not accomplished by him but by his supporting cast.
"Hank's Homies" became a fixture in the Ballpark In Arlington during the course of Hank's career as they flew banners and wore jerseys supporting Blalock.
Hank Blalock's Career Line:
Games Played: 936
At Bats: 3,567
Slugging Percentage: .463
Los Angeles Angels of Anahiem: Troy Glaus
Troy Glaus made a quick impact with the Anaheim Angels after he became the Angels single season home run record holder in just his second full season (47).
Over the course of his five year tenure with the Angels, Glaus made the All-Star team 2 times. He also had two seasons of 40 or more home runs.
Glaus was the starting third basemen Angels' 2002 World Series victory.
Troy Glaus Career Line:
Games Played: 1,537
At Bats: 5,410
Slugging Percentage: .489
Toronto Blue Jays: Ed Sprague
Ed Sprague was only a member of the Toronto Blue Jays for one full season before the team won back-to-back World Series championships.
During the Jays second world championship run, Sprague solidified himself in baseball history by hitting the game winning home run in the second game against the Atlanta Braves.
Sprague also went to an all-star game during the 1999 season as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates
Ed Sprague's Career Line:
Games Played: 1,203
At Bats: 4,095
Slugging Percentage: .419
Washington Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman
If one does not go back into the deep history of the Washington Nationals franchise it is easy to see that the team has been lacking stability at seemingly all positions since it's inception into the Major Leagues.
Ryan Zimmerman has been the exception to that statement as he as been a firm lock at the third base position since he entered the league in 2005.
Zimmerman has been a player that the organization can build the team around and plan to do so as they have added top draft picks in the last several seasons.
Ryan Zimmerman's Career Line:
Games Played: 744
At Bats: 2,888
Slugging Percentage: .484
Milwaukee Brewers: Paul Molitor
Paul "The Ignitor" Molitor had an illustrious 21-year career as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, and the Minnesota Twins.
Although he played a variety of positions, Molitor was by far the most successful player to ever play third base for the Brewers.
Over the course of his career, Molitor was named to seven different All-Star teams and won four Silver Slugger awards.
Molitor also won a World Series championship in 1993 while winning the MVP Award for the series.
In 1999, the Brewers retired Molitor's number 4 and he was also elected into the baseball Hall of Fame as a Milwaukee Brewer in 2004.
Paul Molitor's Career Line:
Games Played: 2,683
At Bats: 10,835
Slugging Percentage: .448
Los Angeles Dodgers: Ron Cey
Ron "The Penguin" Cey was a six time all-star selection during the 1970's as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Highly regarded as one of the best third basemen of the 1970's and early 80's, Cey obtained a reputation of being a very capable power hitter and walked just about as much as he struck out.
Cey eventually won his first World Series in 1981 with the Dodgers. He was named the MVP in addition to receiving the Babe Ruth Award.
Ron Cey's Career Line:
Games Played: 2,073
At Bats: 7,162
Slugging Percentage: .445
St. Louis Cardinals: Ken Boyer
Ken Boyer was a member of the St.Louis Cardinals from 1955-1965. Boyer was a player that seemed to be ahead of his time as he was above average in every aspect of the professional game.
An 11 time All-Star selection, Boyer was just the second third baseman in history to achieve the 250 home run mark.
In 11 seasons with the Cardinals, he topped 20 HR and 100 RBI on eight separate occasions.
Boyer won the Gold Glove five times and was awarded the NL MVP in 1964, the same year the Cardinals won the World Series.
Boyer's jersey number was retired by the Cardinals in 1984.
Ken Boyer's Career Line:
Games Played: 2,034
At Bats: 7,455
Slugging Percentage: .462
Houston Astros: Ken Caminiti
Ken Caminiti brought a big bat to the Houston Astros that the team had been missing dearly up until the point of his arrival.
Caminiti put up solid numbers but also struggled with addiction throughout most of his career with various forms of life's demons.
It is hard to say how good Caminiti could have been if he was able to get his off-the-field issues under control. Even while struggling with life issues, Caminiti was selected an all-star on three occasions and also won three Gold Gloves in the 1990's.
He was also named the NL MVP in 1996.
Ken Caminiti's Career Line:
Games Played: 1,760
At Bats: 6,288
Slugging Percentage: .447
Cincinnati Reds: Pete Rose
It is near impossible to put into words how much Pete Rose influenced not only the Cincinnati Reds organization, but the entire game of baseball.
The switch-hitting "Charlie Hustle" obtained an array of awards throughout his career that could boggle the minds of most other Major League Hall of Famers.
Seventeen All-Star selections, three World Series championships, and two Gold Gloves are only some of his great accomplishments.
Rose would be considered one of the best in the game had it not been for an off-the-field issue with sports gambling that has kept him out of the Hall of Fame until this very day.
In 1989, Rose was declared permanently ineligible in relation to all baseball affairs by the MLB.
Pete Rose's Career Line:
Games Played: 3,562
At Bats: 14,053
Slugging Percentage: .409
New York Mets: David Wright
Ever since David Wright made his major league debut in 2004 the New York Mets knew that they had acquired a tremendous baseball player.
After continuously starting ever since his debut, Wright has been named an All-Star in five seasons he has played in the Major Leagues and also won the TYIB Rookie of The Year in 2004.
The thing that makes David Wright such a quality player is not always his work on the diamond but in his charitable work in the community of New York.
Wright Donates thousands of dollars every season to New York City charities and also has his own foundation to help children with Multiple Sclerosis.
David Wright's Career Line:
Games Played: 1,004
At Bats: 3,772
Slugging Percentage: .516
Florida Marlins: Mike Lowell
Mike Lowell overcame incredible odds in order to be the best third baseman in the history of the Florida Marlins.
After being traded to the Marlins in the summer of 1998 from the New York Yankees, a routine doctor's visit diagnosed Lowell with testicular cancer.
Lowell returned to baseball nearly four months later and ended the season with a .253 batting average and 12 home runs.
Lowell got better and better as the years passed on in Florida and was named to 3 All-Star games during his time with the Marlins.
Lowell was also the starting third baseman for the Marlins World Series victory in 2003.
Mike Lowell's Career Line:
Games Played: 1,601
At Bats: 5,813
Slugging Percentage: .464
Cleveland Indians: Al Rosen
Al "Hebrew Hammer" Rosen played his entire 10-year career with the Cleveland Indians which began in 1947.
Known around the league to be one of the most pure hitters in the game, Rosen won an MVP award in 1953 and was also sent to the All-Star Game four times.
Rosen entered baseball after serving in the United States Navy during the early part of the 1940's.
Injuries unfortunately shortened his career as he was forced to retire from the game at 32 years old.
Al Rosen's Career Line:
Games Played: 1,044
At Bats: 3,725
Slugging Percentage: .495
San Francisco Giants: Matt Williams
"Matt The Bat" was originally drafted by the New York Mets after high school but instead headed off to college to play intercollegiate baseball. In 1986, the San Francisco Giants selected him and he made his Giants debut on April 11, 1987.
Williams' Power hitting ability showed well during his career in the Major Leagues as he was a recipient of the Silver Slugger Award on four occasions and also hit 30 or more home runs in six separate seasons.
Williams was selected to five All-Star games and won four Gold Gloves.
He was also an original member of the Arizona Diamondbacks expansion franchise.
Matt Williams' Career Line:
Games Played: 1,866
At Bats: 7,000
Slugging Percentage: .489
Minnesota Twins: Gary Gaetti
Gary Gaetti is best described as a Minnesota Twins legend.
Gaetti showed superb power throughout his entire 10-year career within the Minnesota organization as he also made baseball history, hitting two consecutive home runs during his first two post-season at bats.
He was also a part of the first professional infield to ever complete two triple plays in the same game.
Gaetti went on to win one World Series with the Twins in 1987 before playing for five other teams in his Major League career.
Gary Gaetti's Career Line:
Games Played: 2,507
At Bats: 8,951
Slugging Percentage: .434
Chicago Cubs: Ron Santo
Ron Santo is one of the most iconic legends in the long history of Chicago sports as he played his entire career as a member of the Chicago Cubs and White Sox.
In 1964-1967, Santo was one of the best power hitters in the entire game and was also a defensive juggernaut as he received five Gold Gloves in five consecutive years (1964-1968).
Santo left the game of baseball after only one season with the White Sox in 1974 but would later return as a color announcer for the Cubs and even the Chicago Bears of the NFL.
The Cubs have since retired Santo's number 10 from their teams' available jerseys.
Ron Santo's Career Line
Games Played: 2,243
At Bats: 8,143
Kansas City Royals: George Brett
The thing that sets George Brett apart from other great third basemen of history is the fact that his career lasted for more than 20 years and all of them were with the Kansas City Royals.
Brett is the only player in baseball history to win MVP awards in three different decades even though he is remembered for more colorful baseball related issues.
Brett was the victim of the infamous "Pine Tar Incident" against the New York Yankees in the summer of 1983. Brett launched a two-run home run to put the Royals ahead of the Yanks 5-4 in the ninth inning only to have the umpires call him out due to an excessive amount of pine tar along the handle of his bat.
Brett would win one world championship in 1985 and also the AL MVP in 1980
George Brett's Career Line:
Games Played: 2,707
At Bats: 10,349
Slugging Percentage: .487
Pittsburgh Pirates: Bobby Bonilla
Bobby Bonilla rose through the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system and made his major league debut in 1986.
Although Bonilla had a terrible career defensively at the third base position, committing 67 errors in two seasons, he found a good home in the outfield alongside Barry Bonds and his numbers at the plate flourished.
Bonilla made the All-Star team six times and also won three Silver Sluggers.
Bobby Bonilla's Career Line:
Games Played: 2,113
At Bats: 7,213
Slugging Percentage: .472
Oakland Athletics: Sal Bando
Sal Bando served as the former captain of the Oakland Athletics during the early half of the 1970's and led the "A's"to a three World Series titles in 1973-1975.
During his career, Bando was only the second third baseman in history to hit 200 home runs.
Bando was actually a member of the Athletics even before they moved to Oakland as they were originally from Kansas City.
Sal Bando's Career Line:
Games Played: 2,019
At Bats: 7,060
Slugging Percentage: .408
Atlanta Braves: Chipper Jones
Chipper Jones not only had one of the greatest names in all of baseball, he was also one of the best third basemen to ever play the game.
Jones was the first overall pick by Atlanta in 1990 and did not disappoint as he went on to play for 17 seasons with the Braves and won an MVP award in 1999.
Jones also was a six time all-star and the recipient of the Silver Slugger award in 2000.
Jones also holds the Braves franchise record for career on base percentage and is also holds the Major League record for most consecutive games with an extra-base hit with 14.
Jones' Career Line:
Games Played: 2261
At Bats: 8142
Baltimore Orioles: Brooks Robinson
Brooks Robinson was a member of the Baltimore Orioles for 21 years over the time span of 1955-1977.
Robinson was one of the game's best defensive players in history as he won the Gold Glove 16 straight times from 1960-1975.
Defense was just the beginning of Robinson's on-the-field ability as he would hit 20 home runs in a season six times and led the league in RBI in two seasons.
Robinson won two World Series championships with the Orioles in 1966 and 1970.
Robinson's number 5 was retired by the Orioles and he was also inducted into the Baseball Hall-of-Fame in 1983.
Brooks Robinson's Career Line:
Games Played: 2,896
At Bats: 10,654
Slugging Percentage: .401
New York Yankees: Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez has been one of the most popular baseball stars of the last ten years and for good reason.
Rodriguez has compiled an amazing 613 home runs over the course of his career with the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees.
Rodriguez was chasing his ever elusive first World Series victory until 2009 when the Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies.
Rodriguez also signed a record 10-year, $275 million contract in December of 2007.
Alex Rodriguez's Career Line:
Games Played: 2,303
At Bats: 8,826
Slugging Percentage: .571
Boston Red Sox: Wade Boggs
Wade Boggs managed to play in the AL East throughout his entire career as a member of the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Although he was summoned to the expansion Rays at the end of his career, there may not have ever been a more consistent hitting Red Sox player other than the great Ted Williams.
Boggs hit over .300 in 10 of his 11 seasons with the Sox while slapping nearly 500 doubles.
Although his power numbers never quite blossomed like many of his managers had hoped, Boggs always provided a great contact swing at the plate.
Boggs finally won a World Series in 1996 as a member of the New York Yankees.
Wade Boggs' Career Line:
Games Played: 2,439
At Bats: 9,180
Philadelphia Phillies: Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt is listed last on this slide show because he may be the single best third baseman to ever play professional baseball.
Schmidt one of the best power hitters of his time as he was consistently at the top of nearly every offensive category and was also a perennial Gold Glove candidate.
Schmidt won the MVP award three separate times in 1980,1981 and 1986.
He also played his entire career as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies from 1972-1989.
Mike Schmidt's Career Line:
Games Played: 2,404
At Bats: 8,352
Slugging Percentage: .527