Top 50 Third basemen
Hot Corner Notes
Fewer third basemen are enshrined in Cooperstown than any other position. Our top six are all in the Hall of Fame, including MVP winners Mike Schmidt and George Brett, who faced each other in the 1980 World Series.
- Thirdbase Facts
- Most Slighted
- Negro Leaguers
- Best of unranked
- Best Managers who were thirdbasemen
- MVP's who cheated
- Best with the Leather
Most raw power, Bob Horner
Most underrated, Ken Boyer
Most likely to climb chart, David Wright
In 1987, Darrell Evans became the first 40-year old to hit 40 homers... Chipper Jones and Buddy Lewis were both elected to the All-Star Game as third basemen and outfielders... The Mets acquired David Wright in the 2001 amateur draft as compensation for their loss of Mike Hampton via free agency.
Unfortunately for Ron Santo, he played his prime years in an era when hitting .270 was like hitting .300, so his offensive numbers seem low. He never appeared in the post-season, which also hurt his rep, but he ranks ahead of six HOF third basemen on our list.
Third baseman Judy Johnson was a great ballplayer, both at the plate and with the glove. Noted for his intelligence, outstanding hitting, exceptional defense, and ability to perform well under pressure, Compared with Pie Traynor, Johnson was a better hitter, and just as solid with the leather. Johnson was elected on the first Negro League players elected into the Hall of Fame in 1975.
Best of the Unranked
Bill Bradley - He set a record by hitting homeruns in 4 straight games during the deadball era, had all the fielding records before Homerun Frank Baker and held the sacrifice hit record until Ray Chapman broke it in 1917.
Billy Nash - Great thirdbaseman before turn of the century
Whitey Kurowski - A stocky, thick-legged infielder with surprising speed, Kurowski overcame childhood osteomyelitis (which made his right arm shorter than his left) to become one of the finest third basemen of the 1940s.
Howard Johnson - 30/30 player, was originally a pitcher.
Larry Parrish - Even though the muscular Larry Parrish went on to become an impressive slugger during his years in Montreal and Texas, his defensive play was considered his greatest asset when he was brought up by the Expos late in the 1974 season.
MVP's who cheated
Ken Caminiti - Ken Caminiti's toughness and take-charge attitude may forever be overshadowed by the last few years of his life, when he blew the whistle on baseball's steroid problem and died because of his addiction to drugs. In 1996, his second season with the Padres, the switch-hitting third baseman won the NL Most Valuable Player Award as he helped lead the team to their second World Sereis appearance. Despite battling alcoholism, steroids, injuries, and drug addictions, Caminiti logged 15 years in the big leagues, hitting 239 homers with nearly 1,000 RBI. He had one of his era's strongest infield arms.
Heinie Zimmerman - One of the better infielders of deadball era, was suspended from baseball for trying to fix a game with Hal Chase. He also had the famous "Zimmerman Dash" in 1917 World Series.
Bobby Cox - 4th all time in wins, won a record 14 straight division titles
John McGraw - In his 29 full seasons as Giants manager he finished first or second 21 times, winning 10 pennants and three World Series. "The main idea," he always said, "is to win."
Jimmy Dykes - Dykes was the first major league manager of the Baltimore Orioles, but lost 99 games and was fired. In August, 1960, he was part of the only trade of managers in baseball history. The Tigers dealt him to the Indians for manager Joe Gordon.
Bill McKechnie - McKechnie retired with a respectable .524 winning mark and more than 1,800 victories. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1962.
Art Howe - Managed the A's to 102 and 103 wins, overall has a losing record.
Jimmy Collins - Managed the 1903 Boston Red sox in the first World Series to victory over the New York Giants.
Larry Parrish -
Buddy Bell - Ranks in top 50 at third, but not as a manager.
Eddie Mathews - Managed the Braves for 1 full season and parts of 2 others.
Best with the Glove
Brooks Robinson - Many Red's say his glove won the World Series against them in 1970
Graig Nettles - He won only 2 Gold Gloves, but Dusty Baker said his performance at third in 78 won the World Series for the Yankees.
Willie Kamm - Kamm was compared to Pie Traynor, defensively. Those who saw them both play, were split as to who was better.
Aurelio Rodriguez - He was first player to win Gold Glove at thirdbase since 1959, unseating Brooks Robinsons run at gold. One of strongest arms players can recall.
Clete Boyer - Boyer also never received the credit he deserved for being a superb defensive player since the third baseman's career coincided with that of the great Brooks Robinson.
Mike Schmidt - He chipped in 10 Gold Gloves and 548 homeruns. "If you could equate the amount of time and effort put in mentally and physically into succeeding on the baseball field and measured it by the dirt on your uniform, mine would have been black." - Mike Schmidt on Mike Schmidt
George Kell - An outstanding fielder as well, Kell led all American League third basemen in fielding percentage five times, while also topping all players at his position in assists and total chances four times each.
Ken Reitz In both of his first two seasons, he led NL third basemen in fielding percentage (.974 in 1973 and '74), but captured his Gold Glove in 1975. His nine errors at third in 1977 were the fewest ever in the NL, and he bettered that mark by committing just eight miscues in 1980.
Scott Rolen - 7 Time Gold Glove winner
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- 1980 World Series, Art Howe, Aurelio Rodriguez, Bill Bradley, Bill McKechnie, Billy Nash, Bob Horner, Bobby Cox, Brooks Robinson, Buddy Bell, Buddy Lewis, Chipper Jones, Clete Boyer, Darrell Evans, David Wright, Eddie Mathews, Frank Baker, George Brett, George Kell, Graig Nettles, Heinie Zimmerman, Howard Johnson, Jimmie Dykes, Jimmy Collins, John McGraw, Judy Johnson, Ken Boyer, Ken Caminiti, Ken Reitz, Larry Parrish, Mike Schmidt, Pie Traynor, Ray Chapman, Ron Santo, Scott Rolen, Whitey Kurowski, Willie Kamm