Top Third Basemen in Major League Baseball History

Third base requires the quickest reflexes and strongest arm, and these 10 players combined that ability - and great hitting skills - to become the hottest at the hot corner. It's not the deepest position, as just seven of these players who primarily played third base are in the Hall of Fame as of 2011. A look at the top 10 third basemen in Major League Baseball history.

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 10: MLB Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt is interviewed during the announcement of the fan-selected American League and National League Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams team members during MLB All-Star FanFest at Kansas City Convention Center on July 10, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.
MLB Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt. Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Pepsi MAX

Team: Philadelphia Phillies (1972-89)

No player combined power with grace at third base like Schmidt. He hit 548 homers, drove in 1,595 and won 10 Gold Gloves in his 18-year career. He was rarely injured, allowing him to the lead the National League in home runs eight times and winning three MVP awards. He also helped lead the Phillies to the 1980 World Series title.

of 10

George Brett

George Brett
George Brett of the Kansas City Royals bats during the 1990 season. Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Team: Kansas City Royals (1973-93)

The careers of Brett and Schmidt paralleled in many ways, over virtually the same seasons in different leagues. They were on opposite sides in the 1980 World Series, and incredibly, they both finished with the same number of RBI (1,595). Brett didn't have as much power and wasn't quite as good in the field, but he was a complete hitter, becoming the first player in history to accumulate more than 3,000 hits, 300 home runs, 600 doubles, 100 triples, 1,500 RBI and 200 stolen bases. Brett was MVP in 1980 when he batted .390 with 24 homers and 118 RBI. Brett, who hit 10 postseason home runs, won a World Series in 1985.

    Eddie Mathews
    Eddie Mathews of the Boston Braves in 1952. Getty Images

    Teams: Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves (1952-66), Houston Astros (1967), Detroit Tigers (1967-68)

    The only other player with 500 homers as a third baseman, Mathews provided consistent power for the Braves of the 1950s and 1960s. He led the league in homers twice and was a 10-time NL All-Star. He also won two World Series, including one in his final season, with the Tigers. Interesting trivia: Mathews is the only player to play in all three of the cities the Braves played in.

    Brooks Robinson
    Third baseman Brooks Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles fields during a game, circa 1970. Getty Images

    Team: Baltimore Orioles (1955-77)

    There's little debate that Robinson was the finest fielding third baseman of all-time, as his 16 consecutive Gold Gloves would attest. He was a darn good hitter as well, driving in 1,367 in his career with 268 homers. His finest season came in 1964 when he hit .317 with 28 homers and 118 RBI. He played more games at third base than anybody (2,870) and has the best fielding percentage (.971). His acrobatic plays in the 1970 World Series are a staple of historic highlight packages, and he batted better than .500 that postseason, too, going 16 for 33 with two homers.

    of 10

    Wade Boggs

    Wade Boggs
    Wade Boggs of the Boston Red Sox follows through during a game in the 1986 World Series against the Mets in New York. T.G. Higgins/Getty Images

    Teams: Boston Red Sox (1982-92), New York Yankees (1993-97), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998-99)

    The superstitious Boggs (he ate chicken on game days, took exactly 150 grounders before games and always took batting practice at 5:17 p.m.) won five batting titles with his smooth line-drive stroke and batted .328 in his career, good for 35th all-time as of 2011. In his 18-year career, Boggs reached base in 80 percent of his games and was the only batter in the 20th century to have seven consecutive 200-hit seasons.

      of 10

      Chipper Jones

      Chipper Jones
      Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves throws during a 2010 game. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

      Team: Atlanta Braves (1995-)

      His Hall of Fame credentials are under debate as his career winds down, but there's no doubt that Jones is the best third baseman of his generation. A former No. 1 overall draft pick, he broke in during the Braves' World Series championship season in 1995 and was NL MVP in 1999, when he hit .319 with 45 home runs and 119 RBI and stole 25 bases. He hit 20 or more home runs for 14 consecutive seasons, and only Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray have more home runs as switch hitters.

        of 10
        Pie Traynor in Catching Stance
        (Original Caption) Paso Robles, California: Capt. Pie Traynor. Photo shows Captain Pie Traynor, third baseman of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who is ready to start his twelfth season with them. The Pirates are now training at Paso Robles. Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

        Team: Pittsburgh Pirates (1920-35, 1937)

        A career .320 hitter and a slick fielder, he was with the Pirates for more than 50 years as a player, manager, broadcaster or scout. He had 164 triples and drove in 1,273 runs in his 17-year career and finished in the top-10 in MVP voting six times.

        of 10

        Frank "Home Run" Baker

        Philadelphia Athletics Infielder Frank 'Homerun' Baker
        Philadelphia Athletics Infielder Frank 'Homerun' Baker. Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

        Teams: Philadelphia A's (1908-14), New York Yankees (1916-19, 1921-22)

        Baker earned his nickname not for the number of home runs he hit, but for when he hit them. In 1911, he hit clutch home runs in the World Series against the Giants and led the league in homers for four consecutive seasons. He finished with 96 in his career, which was a lot before Babe Ruth came along and became his teammate in 1920. Baker was a .307 career hitter, stole 235 bases in his 13-year career and had a very good career OPS - especially for his era - of .805.

        of 10
        Ron Santo
        Ron Santo speaks to the fans during a retirement ceremony for Santo's uniform No. 10 before a 2003 game at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

        Team: Chicago Cubs (1960-74)

        Perhaps the best third baseman not in the Hall of Fame (who is eligible), Santo hit 342 career homers and won five Gold Gloves with the Cubs. Santo drove in 1,331 runs and became a beloved Cubs broadcaster after his playing career ended.

        of 10
        Scott Rolen
        Scott Rolen of the Cincinnati Reds bats in an August 2010 game. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

        Teams: Philadelphia Phillies (1996-2002), St. Louis Cardinals (2002-07), Toronto Blue Jays (2008-09), Cincinnati Reds (2009-)

        Surprised? Rolen has quietly put up good career numbers heading into 2011 and has always been considered one of the best defensively. Despite battling injuries throughout his career, the 1996 NL Rookie of the Year hit his 300th homer in 2010 and has a .284 career average to go with eight Gold Gloves.