Sports Briefs: The Best Third Baseman Ever

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Chris: My dad was a third baseman for various local softball teams, so of all the experts who know what it takes to field the position, he is clearly one of them. Attributes such as a “keen eye,” “quick reflexes,” “strong arm” and “wearing the correct uniform” are all essential to being successful at the hot corner. I value his opinion when it comes to declaring the best third baseman ever, and, as a Rangers fan, I’m almost certain his choice was Brooks Robinson . . . either him or Steve Buechele.

Joe: Brooks Robinson, the human vacuum cleaner, is one of the greatest third baseman of all time. Drafted in 1955, he played his entire 23-year career with the Baltimore Orioles, earning 16 consecutive Gold Gloves and 15 consecutive All-Star appearances. Born in Little Rock, Ark., he was scouted for the Razorbacks, but decided to play in South America and Cuba before being drafted as an amateur free agent. Brooks Robinson, the best at third base.

Ralphie: Brooks Robinson is not the best third baseman ever because he had 1000 errors in his career.

Brad: Brooks Robinson's career makes him one of the best third baseman ever, rivaling Mike Schmidt's career but not surpassing it. His career record, his multiple awards and his lack of injuries make Mike Schmidt is the best third baseman ever.

Chris: Having grown up in the ‘80s, I associated Mike Schmidt with, in no particular order: a batting helmet with no earflap; excessive hair over his ears; Phillies teams that finished a combined 139.5 games out of first place from 1984 through Schmidt’s final season in 1989; a mustache so thick it required shampoo and conditioner; and a faint resemblance to Chuck Norris. Though Schmidt won a World Series in 1980, it would have behooved him to have done so after I started following baseball.

Ralphie: Mike Schmidt is not the best third baseman ever because he was better at being a power hitter. At bat was where he was a star.

Joe: Mike Schmidt was a great player and third baseman. His bat was feared, and his fielding was very good. Mike was not the best third baseman because his fielding did not equal Brooks R.

Ralphie: Chipper Jones is the best third baseman ever because he made the best barehanded plays of all time! Plus, he won 14 championships. He also has a World Series ring and was a star at the plate.

Brad: Chipper Jones is one of the best third baseman, but his career doesn't compare to the others.

Chris: Had Chipper Jones limited his career to regular season games against the New York Mets (in which, if memory serves me correctly, he never recorded an out) and playoff games against the Mets (in which, if memory serves me correctly, he was allowed to select which pitcher threw him in-game “batting practice”), he may have been considered the greatest athlete ever.

Joe: I love Chipper Jones and respect his career. Great hitter, third baseman and clutch player, but his glove was not as good as Brooks R.

Chris: Jones benefited from hearing an excessive repetition of “Larry” from Mets fans, just like George Brett benefited from an excessive use of pine tar.

Ralphie: George Brett is not the best third baseman ever because others have been better third basemen. He's definitely the Royals' best of all time, though.

Brad: George Brett was a better batter but did not have as good field play as Schmidt, making him a great player but not the best third baseman.

Joe: George Brett was a great player, hitter and leader. He was very good at fielding, but not on the level as the human vacuum cleaner - Brooks Robinson.


Try on a new pair of Sports Briefs with the Gab Four every Friday. Find out more about Joe, Chris, Brad and Ralphie, and read their solo columns on their individual pages.
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