There have been generations of great players in Major League Baseball. Since the league’s official inception around 1869 there have been many different eras and changes to the game. It is difficult to place each great player against each other, but here is the CHEAP SEATS take on the greatest players, by position, the game has ever produced. Moving out of the middle infield, volume 5 focuses on an elite position, were there is more separation amongst the greats than any other. (All stats are current of June 1, 2010)

**Third Base**

The hot corner, where many of the most dangerous bats in the history of the game play. It is very similar to both shortstop and first base, where it has elements of the defense needed at shortstop and the hitting abilities from first base. It is the most instinctive position in all of baseball, due to amount of right handed hitters that hit drive straight at the third baseman. It takes a good athlete with a strong arm to be an effective third baseman. This athleticism translates into many great hitters that are very diverse in their impacts on the game. This ranges from multiple time batting champions, to some of the great power hitters in the history of the game, to a record setting defender. Here are how they stack up.

Despite having only spent half his career thus far at 3B after moving from SS, A-Rod would be in the top 3 at Shortstop as well.

1. Alex Rodriguez: New York Yankees/Seattle Mariners (1994-Present): 68.5 points

–          .300 Avg. 591 HR, 1749 RBI, .389 OBP, 2591 Hits, 1716 Runs, 299 SB

–          2 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 3 MVPs, 0 ROY, 1 Batting Title, 0 Triple Crown, 5 HR Titles, 12 All-Star Games

The most accomplished offensive player currently in the game. The youngest player to ever reach 500 home runs. Has hit over 40 home runs eight times, featuring three seasons past 50 homers. First player in Major League history to have 35 home runs, 100 RBI & 100 runs for 10 consecutive years. Started as a equally dominant shortstop and holds many offensive records at shortstop.

2. Mike Schmidt: Philadelphia Phillies (1972-1989): 66.5 points

–          .267 Avg. 548 HR, 1595 RBI, .380 OBP, 2234 Hits, 1506 Runs, 174 SB

–          10 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 3 MVPs, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Title, 0 Triple Crown, 8 HR Titles, 12 All-Star Games

Considered the greatest overall third baseman ever by many for his overall skills and holds 15 career records for the Phillies. Led the National League in home runs eight times and RBI four times. Set record for assists for a third baseman with 404 in 1974. Was one of the most powerful hitters of all-time, with many homers that were estimated as over 500 feet.

The best overall full-time third baseman ever, he led the National League in home runs more any other player.

3. George Brett: Kansas City Royals (1973-1993): 53 points

–          .305 Avg. 317 HR, 1595 RBI, .369 OBP, 3154 Hits, 1583 Runs, 201 SB

–          1 Gold Glove, 1 World Series, 1 MVP, 0 ROY, 2 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 13 All-Star Games

Has the most hits every by a third baseman, 15th most of all-time. One of four players to ever have 3,000 hits, 300 home runs and a .300 average during his career. His 665 doubles are the sixth most ever. His .390 batting average in 1980 is the highest full season total since 1941.

4. Wade Boggs: Boston Red Sox (1982-1999): 50.5 points

–          .328 Avg. 118 HR, 1014 RBI, .415 OBP, 3010 Hits, 1513 Runs, 24 SB

–          2 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 5 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 12 All-Star Games

One of the great pure hitters in history. Had 200 hits for seven consecutive seasons. From 1982 to 1989, had a sub-.349 batting average only once, finishing at .325 in 1984. He has the most batting titles ever by a third baseman. The only player in history who’s 3,000th hit was a home run.

5. Brooks Robinson: Baltimore Orioles (1955-1977): 50 points

–          .267 Avg. 268 HR, 1357 RBI, .322 OBP, 2848 Hits, 1232 Runs, 28 SB

–          16 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 1 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 15 All-Star Games

The greatest defensive third baseman ever, perhaps greatest infield defender ever as well. Known as “The Human Vacuum Cleaner”. Has the second most Gold Gloves of all-time. Led the American League in fielding percentage 11 times and he held four all-time fielding records at third base when he retired. His 23 seasons with one franchise are a Major League record.

An unparalleled defender at 3B, Robinson was known as "Hoover" for his seeming abilities to bring the ball to him.

6. Eddie Mathews: Milwaukee Braves (1952-1968): 44 points

–          .271 Avg. 512 HR, 1453 RBI, .376 OBP, 2315 Hits, 1509 Runs, 68 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 2 HR Title, 9 All-Star Games

A pioneering hitter at the position, he had the seventh most home runs ever at his retirement. Mathews twice led the National League in home runs, surpassing 40 each time. Also a four time league leader in RBI. Said to have one of the greatest swings in the history of the game, acknowledged even by the great Ty Cobb.

7. Paul Moliter: Milwaukee Brewers (1978-1998): 43 points

–          .306 Avg. 234 HR, 1307 RBI, .369 OBP, 3319 Hits, 1782 Runs, 504 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 7 All-Star Games

Currently has the ninth most hits ever. One of four players to have totals of 3,o00 hits, 500 stolen bases and a .300 batting average for his career. Only player to hit two home runs, two doubles and two triples during one World Series in 1993.

8. Chipper Jones: Atlanta Braves (1993-Present): 42.5 points

–          .306 Avg. 429 HR, 1466 RBI, .406 OBP, 2442 Hits, 1479 Runs, 145 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series, 1 MVP, 0 ROY, 1 Batting Title, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Title, 6 All-Star Games

A mainstay of the dominant National League Braves teams of the 1990’s. Only switch hitter to have a .300 career average and 400 home runs. Has the third most home runs of any switch hitter ever and his 45 homers in 1999 are the most ever by a switch hitter. Holds the record for most consecutive games with an extra base hit.

A dual threat at the plate, Jones is one of the most dangerous overall switch-hitters ever.

9. Home Run Baker: Philadelphia A’s (1908-1922): 35.5 points

–          .307 Avg. 96 HR, 987 RBI, .363 OBP, 1838 Hits, 887 Runs, 235 SB

–          0 Gold Gloves, 3 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 4 HR Titles, 0 All-Star Games (Presumptive 8 awarded)

Pioneering power hitter, who hit more home runs before they were commonplace. Led the American League in home runs four times between 1911 and 1914. Help lead the Philadelphia A’s to three consecutive World Series titles.

10. Ron Santo: Chicago Cubs (1960-1974): 32.5 points

–          .277 Avg. 342 HR, 1331 RBI, .362 OBP, 2254 Hits, 1138 Runs, 35 SB

–          5 Gold Gloves, 0 World Series, 0 MVP, 0 ROY, 0 Batting Titles, 0 Triple Crown, 0 HR Titles, 9 All-Star Games

The second third baseman to hit 300 home runs after Mathews. Also an outstanding defender, he set both National League marks in most fielding measures for third basemen. He has come to be appreciated much more in recent years and his absence in the Baseball Hall of Fame is seen as an oversight by many critics.

Left on deck: Ken Boyer, Scott Rolen, Pie Traynor

See past posts for scoring rubric

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