This is the one I was most interested in, since third base is the most underrepresented position in Cooperstown. No one should be surprised that Mike Schmidt (307.72) is the greatest third baseman of all-time by a large margin, or that Brooks Robinson (277.18) is the second-best, thanks in large part to his stellar defense. George Brett (262.01), the recently retired Chipper Jones (258.35), Eddie Mathews (244.76), and Wade Boggs (230.68) come in at #3-6. The seventh name on the list is Scott Rolen, and I have to admit I was very surprised to see him so high on the list.
Rolen began his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1997 (note: Rookie of the Year is not one of the awards that count toward a player’s ranking in this project). He has driven in 100 runs five times, hit thirty homers thrice, but his biggest asset has been his glove.
After Rolen comes another Hall of Famer, Paul Molitor (222.43), and then two more non-Hall of Famers, Adrian Beltre (221.18) and Graig Nettles (219.86) round out the top ten, just ahead of 2012 inductee Ron Santo (219.3) and 1960s star Ken Boyer (214.23). While there have been steroid suspicions about Beltre, since he has not been specifically named by former teammates or the subject of leaked test results, I have decided to include him in this project.
The reason I was most interested in third base was Buddy Bell (210.83). Bell has such an interesting case, a solid career that went downhill fast after his injury in 1988 and losing the Reds third base job to Chris Sabo. Overshadowed by the vastly superior Schmidt and Brett during his playing days, Bell finished his career with 2514 hits, 201 home runs and 1106 RBI. Once all the numbers are plugged into the spreadsheet, Bell comes in at a very respectable #13. Hall of Fame material? I wouldn’t object, but can’t throw my support behind him either.