First impression…looks more like one of the high-end products rather than base. Maybe the design will grow on me, but I’m not crazy about it at this moment. Having them in hand (February 4) may change my mind. Plus I haven’t seen any images of any Reds players yet.
Third base is one of the most under-represented positions in the Hall of Fame. Yes, there were some huge superstars to play the position (Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Wade Boggs, and Brooks Robinson). Even counting those four recent players, there are only 11 third basemen in the Hall of Fame, the late Ron Santo the most recently inducted.
In the coming years, though we may see that number increase. Chipper Jones seems to be a first-ballot lock, while Scott Rolen should receive some good support and see induction at some point during his fifteen-year window. He is criminally underrated by the average fan; I do hope the BBWAA recognize Rolen’s true value. Add to that four active third basemen with a good start, and the number of third basemen could swell by 65% in the next 25 years. Who are the four I have in mind?
Miguel Cabrera is probably a shoo-in if he retired today. Already sitting at 365 home runs with a .321 batting average, what else can you ask for? Cabrera is not a full-time third baseman, having played quite a bit of left field and first base in his career, but he has logged more games at third than anywhere else so I will count him here. Bill James’ Favorite Toy projects 615 dingers by the time Cabrera hangs it up, giving him 97% chance to hit the 500 home run mark.
Adrian Beltre is a name that is not often heard in Hall of Fame conversations, but his statistics cannot be ignored. 376 home runs, 1307 RBI, .282 batting average. If you prefer the saberstats, check out his 70.5 WAR. That’s a pretty high number and hard to ignore; not many eligible non-PED users with a number that high have been denied admission. Bill Dahlen (75.3) and Lou Whitaker (74.8) are the most egregious oversights, while Jeff Bagwell (79.5) and Larry Walker (72.6) are still on the ballot.
David Wright‘s chances have probably gone down over the past few years as he has battled injuries, but there can be no denying that he is one of the most consistent third basemen when healthy. With ten years under his belt, the seven-time All-Star has 222 home runs and 876 RBI and has four top ten finishes in the MVP race. Bill James’ Favorite Toy expects him to play six more years with around 18 home runs per year, ending with 332 for his career. That’s more than Rolen, but Wright doesn’t have Scotty’s defensive reputation.
Evan Longoria is on pace to reach around 400 home runs and is an extremely popular player. Popularity does not always translate into Cooperstown enshrinement, but if Longoria can keep up his current pace he has a pretty good shot.
What other third basemen are on a Hall of Fame track? What rookies are you excited about?
Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers and Buster Posey of the Giants are both in the conversation for their respective league’s Most Valuable Player awards, and they are playing against each other in the World Series. Surely it’s not a rare occurrence for the MVP winners to both appear in the World Series, is it?
The above “fun cards” originally appeared on the TWJ cards tumblr; new cards are being posted every day.
It was a surprise to me that this was not a unanimous selection, but I will admit that I held out my vote until the last day of the season to see whether or not history would be made. Had Cabrera not captured the Triple Crown, I would have cast my vote differently. Perhaps others were thinking the same, but in the end one name topped the majority of the ballots…
American League Most Valuable Player
For the first time in 45 years, one player finished as the leader in his league in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. Miguel Cabrera joins an illustrious crowd of legends such as Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson, Lou Gehrig and more as a Triple Crown baseball player. Congratulations, Miggy!