The best Third Baseman in the History of Baseball
- Updated: November 7, 2016
Most young baseball fans have been taught that no one played third base like Brooks Robinson. That Brooks was the undisputed best third baseman of all time.
When discussing this I have to be careful since I like Brooks. Just a couple of years after he retired he came through our area and played a couple of slow pitch softball games with some of us. He is a down to earth guy. If you met Brooks you would find it hard not to like him. The way he acts you would never guess he is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Plus, those spectacular diving stops he made in the World Series against the Mets and Reds are still highlight reel material. At the same time I’m here to tell you that picking Brooks as the all time greatest third baseman isn’t that easy.
Crowning anyone player the best of anything in baseball history is no easy task. Ricky Henderson has stolen more bases than any player in history, but does that make him the greatest base stealer ever? Barry Bonds has the most home runs in history, does that make him the best power hitter in history? To further confuse the discussion of who is the best in the history of baseball a student of the game has to look at the different stages or eras the game has gone through. From the dead ball era to the current steroid era. Getting confused yet?
To crown Brooks Robinson the best third baseman in the history of baseball you have to ignore the other side of the ball. Offense or hitting. I would sit and argue with you that Brooks was the best defensive third baseman that I have watched during my years as a baseball fan. But, offensively Brooks is miles behind Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Wade Boggs, Eddie Mathews, and Alex Rodriquez. Mike Schmidt was a gold glove third baseman himself, to go along with 548 career homers. George Brett was a throwback style of player who wasn’t afraid to get dirty on defense, just like Brooks. But, Brett was one of the most talented hitters of the mid 70’s and 80’s. Wade Boggs was a more than adequate third baseman who had a career average of .328. Making him one of the best average hitters in the history of the game. Eddie Mathews gets completely overlooked in so many ways. A power hitting third baseman with 512 career round trippers, back in an era when 500 home runs was a real milestone in baseball. And, of course A Rod who recently converted from shortstop to third base. He is in a completely different discussion due to his abuse of steroids.
Best Defensive Third Baseman or Best Third Baseman?
If you want to crown Brooks Robinson the best defensive third baseman in the history of baseball you have my vote. If you want the best third baseman on both sides of the ball, Mike Schmidt gets my vote. He hit 548 home runs when the parks were pitcher friendly, the balls and the players weren’t juiced, and the strike zone wasn’t the size of a cigar box. Hitters like Schmidt and Mathews might hit 800 home runs in today’s hitter friendly game.
Sorry, but Brooks you just didn’t hit like one of the all time greats.