Glove and Bat

The Third Base Position in Baseball: Examining the Careers of MLB Legends

The Importance of Third Base in Baseball

Baseball is a sport that has been a part of American culture for over a century. While every position on the field is important, the role of the third baseman is critical to the defensive strategy of the game.

The third baseman is often considered the last line of defense, responsible for preventing runners from scoring and making crucial plays that can turn the tide of the game. In this article, we will explore the skills required to be a great third baseman, delve into the history of the position, and examine the careers of some of the best MLB third basemen of all time.

The Importance of Third Base Position

When it comes to defensive strategy, the third baseman is an essential player, the glue that holds the infield together. The third baseman is responsible for handling ground balls hit down the third base line, snatching line drives out of the air, and throwing out runners attempting to steal third base.

The third baseman’s job is to prevent any ball from getting by them and making it to the outfield, where it could turn into a potential scoring opportunity for the opposing team.

Required Skills for Third Basemen

To be a successful third baseman in MLB, you must possess critical skills that enable you to make plays in the field and hit the ball well at the plate. The position requires a combination of hand-eye coordination, quick reflexes, and throwing power.

A strong arm is necessary to make accurate throws to other bases or to home plate, while quick reactions and the ability to move laterally are essential to be able to cover a wide range of the field.

List of Best MLB Third Basemen of All Time

Over the years, many great third basemen have taken to the field in the MLB. Here are five of the best MLB third basemen of all time:


Mike Schmidt: Schmidt’s career with the Philadelphia Phillies spanned from 1972 to 1989. He helped lead the team to two National League Championships and one World Series title.

He was known for his all-around skills, both as a hitter and fielder, and won numerous awards for his performance, including three National League MVP awards and a World Series MVP award. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995.


George Brett: Brett played third base for the Kansas City Royals from 1973 to 1993 and is considered one of the greatest hitters of all time.

He was known for his consistent performance at the plate and was a 13-time All-Star. He was also a Gold Glove Award winner for his defensive skills.


Wade Boggs: Boggs played for the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Tampa Bay Devil Rays from 1982 to 1999.

He was a dominant hitter and won five batting titles during his career, including four in a row from 1985 to 1988. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.


Adrian Beltre: Beltre played for five different teams during his career, starting with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998 and ending with the Texas Rangers in 2018.

He was known for his powerful hitting and excellent fielding skills, winning five Gold Glove Awards during his career. He was also a four-time All-Star and ended his career with over 3,000 hits.


Eddie Mathews: Mathews played for the Milwaukee Braves, Atlanta Braves, and Houston Astros from 1952 to 1968.

He was an outstanding hitter, tallying over 500 home runs during his career, and helped lead the Braves to a World Series title in 1957. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978.

Mike Schmidt’s Career with the Philadelphia Phillies

Mike Schmidt was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1971 and played his entire career with the team. Over his 18 years with the Phillies, Schmidt helped the team win two National League Championships, one World Series, and six division titles.

He was the National League MVP three times, a 10-time Gold Glove winner, and a 12-time All-Star. He was a power hitter, hitting a total of 548 home runs during his career, and a masterful fielder, seemingly making impossible plays look easy.

Schmidt’s Achievements and Awards

Schmidt was widely regarded as one of the best third basemen in the history of baseball. He won many awards and accolades throughout his career, including being named an All-Star 12 times.

He was awarded the National League MVP award three times and won the World Series MVP award in 1980. He was also a 10-time Gold Glove Award winner and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995, his first year of eligibility.

Schmidt’s Hitting and Fielding Performance

Schmidt was a dominant hitter at the plate, often regarded as one of the best power hitters of all time. Along with his 548 career home runs, he also had career totals of 2,234 hits, 1,595 RBIs, and a batting average of .267.

He was also a masterful fielder, often making plays that left fans in awe. His defensive accomplishments include winning 10 Gold Glove Awards and making countless highlight-reel plays over the course of his career.


In conclusion, the third base position is crucial to the success of any baseball team. The combination of fielding ability and hitting prowess required for the position makes it one of the most challenging and rewarding positions in baseball.

Through examining the careers of some of the best MLB third basemen of all time, we can see that it takes a special combination of skills and dedication to achieve greatness in this position. From Mike Schmidt’s all-around dominance to

George Brett’s outstanding hitting, to the powerful hitting of

Eddie Mathews, these players are a testament to the importance of the position and the talent required to excel at it.

George Brett

Brett’s Career with the Kansas City Royals

George Brett played for the Kansas City Royals for his entire career, starting in 1973 and retiring in 1993. During his tenure with the Royals, the team experienced significant success, earning seven American League West titles and winning the World Series championship in 1985.

Brett was a key player for the team during this period, known for his consistent hitting and superb fielding skills at third base. Brett’s Achievements and Awards

George Brett was a 13-time All-Star over his career, earning this distinction for the first time in 1976 and rather consistently until his retirement in 1993. Brett earned the American League MVP award in 1980, the same year he batted an impressive .390 on the season.

He was also a three-time American League batting champion and a nine-time Silver Slugger award winner. Brett’s Hitting Performance and Records

One of the defining features of Brett’s career was his exceptional hitting performance.

Brett finished his career with a .305 batting average, racking up 3,154 hits, 1,596 RBIs, and 665 doubles. Incredibly, Brett hit over .300 in 14 seasons, with four seasons over .350.

In addition, he recorded the highest batting average in the American League in three separate seasons for the years 1976, 1980, and 1990. While Brett was known for his hitting performance, he was also incredibly accomplished as a baserunner, ranking 16th on the all-time career triples list with 137 triples.

Wade Boggs

Boggs’ Career with the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Tampa Bay Rays

Wade Boggs began his professional career playing for the Boston Red Sox in 1982 and remained with the team through the 1992 season. He then went on to play for the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays before retiring in 1999.

Throughout his career, Boggs was known for his hitting prowess, winning five American League batting titles and earning the title of Silver Slugger four times. Boggs’ Hitting Performance and Unique Style

What set Boggs apart from other third basemen of his time was his inside-out swing, which allowed him to drive the ball to the opposite field with consistency.

Boggs’ strategy did not rely on power hitting but rather a focus on maintaining consistent contact with the ball, which allowed him to rack up an impressive 3,010 hits over his career. He also batted over .300 in 15 different seasons, including seven seasons over .350.

Boggs’ Fielding Performance and Awards

While Boggs’ reputation was primarily based on his exceptional hitting abilities, he was also an accomplished fielder at third base. He won two Gold Glove awards during his career and was consistently among the leaders in fielding percentage among third basemen in the league.

Boggs’ defensive strategy was to position himself closer to the batter, enabling him to make quick plays on ground balls and shut down bunts from opposing teams. Conclusion:

The third base position in baseball is one that requires a unique combination of skill sets, including both exceptional fielding and hitting abilities.

Throughout the history of baseball, there have been many players who have made their mark on the position, including

George Brett and

Wade Boggs. Brett, with his consistent hitting and superb fielding, was instrumental in leading the Kansas City Royals to multiple championships.

Boggs, known for his unconventional hitting style and incredible consistency at the plate, earned a place among the greats of the game. Overall, these players remind us that the third base position requires dedication, skill, and a willingness to adapt to the demands of the game.

Adrian Beltre

Beltre’s Career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, and Texas Rangers

Adrian Beltre began his professional baseball career with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998. He then played for the Seattle Mariners and the Boston Red Sox before landing with the Texas Rangers in 2011, where he played until his retirement in 2018.

Beltre was one of the most accomplished hitters of his time, becoming a member of the exclusive 3,000-hits club in 2017. Beltre’s Hitting and Fielding Performance and Awards

Beltre’s hitting accomplishments during his career were numerous and impressive.

He finished his 21-season career with 3,166 hits, 477 home runs, and 1,707 RBIs. In addition to being a four-time All-Star, Beltre was recognized for his defensive abilities, winning five Gold Gloves throughout his career. Beltre was also a four-time Silver Slugger award winner.

These accomplishments earned Beltre a well-deserved reputation as one of the best third basemen to ever play the game. Beltre’s Achievements with the Texas Rangers

Beltre’s time with the Texas Rangers was particularly noteworthy.

In 2011, he signed with the team as a free agent and quickly established himself as a leader both on and off the field. With Beltre’s contributions, the Rangers won two American League Pennants, in both 2011 and 2012, and he helped lead them to their first-ever World Series appearance in 2011.

Eddie Mathews

Mathews’ Career with the Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta Braves

Eddie Mathews began his professional career in 1952 with the Boston Braves, a team that would later become the Milwaukee Braves before ultimately relocating to Atlanta. Mathews played with the Braves for 15 seasons between 1952 and 1966, with brief stints with the Houston Astros and the Detroit Tigers in his later years.

Mathews’ Hitting Performance and Records

Mathews was one of the most accomplished hitters of his time, ranking among the top home run hitters in baseball history. He hit 512 home runs over the course of his career, securing his spot in the National League home run leader for four different seasons.

One of the most memorable moments of Mathews’ career came when he graced the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1958. Mathews’ World Series and Post-Retirement Career

Mathews was a key player on the Braves team that won the World Series championship in 1957.

After retiring from his playing career, Mathews dedicated himself to coaching, managing the Atlanta Braves in 1972 and 1974 and working as a coach for the Oakland Athletics for several years. In recognition of his accomplishments on the field, Mathews was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978.


Over the years, third basemen have become some of the most respected and admired players in baseball history. From

Adrian Beltre’s incredible hitting ability to

Eddie Mathews’ reputation as one of the most accomplished home run hitters of his era, these players remind us of the importance of the position and the skill required to excel.

As we look to the future of baseball, we can only wonder who the next great third baseman will be and what contributions they will make to one of America’s most beloved sports.

Chipper Jones

Jones’ Career with the Atlanta Braves

Chipper Jones is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished third basemen in baseball history. He was drafted as the number one pick by the Atlanta Braves in 1990

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