Hall of Fame Hopefuls-Third Basemen

Third basemen tend to be players with limited range, but quick reflexes and strong arms.  Ever since Eddie Mathews hit the scene, third basemen have needed to possess some power in order to get noticed, with the exception of great OBP skills (Wade Boggs) or tremendous defense (Brooks Robinson).  Third base is criminally underrepresented in the Hall of Fame with merely a dozen inductees.  The median score for third basemen is 27782, which is between Robinson and Ron Santo.  Let’s see how well some outsiders rank for potential Hall of Famers.

Should Be Definites:

1. Chipper Jones

Score: 37642

Most similar to: George Brett

Next Eligible: 2018 (BBWAA)

Suggested Team: Braves

Synopsis: This should be an easy one for the BBWAA.  Jones, one of the best switch hitters ever, posted more than 400 homers, 1600 RBI, a wRC+ of 141 and was basically the face of the Braves franchise for his entire career.  He should waltz into the Hall of Fame.

2. Adrian Beltre

Score: 36430

Most similar to: Wade Boggs

Next Eligible: Still Active

Suggested Team: Rangers

Synopsis: One of the best defenders ever at the hot corner, Beltre should finish his career with over 3000 hits (a milestone he’ll reach this year with 58 hits) and close to 500 homers (he could reach this if he plays in 2018 as he is 55 short).  There shouldn’t be anything keeping him out of the Hall of Fame, barring some unforeseen steroid test or something.

3. Edgar Martinez

Score: 28365

Most similar to: Robinson

Next Eligible: 2017 (BBWAA)

Suggested Team: Mariners

Synopsis: Edgar’s lack of induction should be a mark of embarrassment by the BBWAA.  How a player with a line of .312/.418/.515 is still on the ballot after eight years is mind boggling.  Martinez may be a DH, but he carried a 147 wRC+ while being a strong force in the Mariners lineup which saw a lot of turnover during his career (as within a 3 year span they lost A-Rod, Griffey and Johnson).  He may not have had the home run power that Chipper Jones showed, but he still had more than 300 homers and drove in over 1200.  He only has a couple of shots left at the BBWAA, so it’s possible that he doesn’t make it, which would be a crime.

4. Scott Rolen

Score: 26404

Most similar to: Santo

Next Eligible: 2018 (BBWAA)

Suggested Team: Cardinals

Synopsis: Rolen was one of the best fielding third basemen ever, and was a consistent offensive force.  Rolen hit 307 homers, had a wRC+ of 122 and drove in nearly 1300 runs.  Rolen was a perrenial Gold Glove winner in the NL for most of his career, and was a consistent contender for the Silver Slugger Award.  A bum shoulder prevented him from being even higher, but the career he did put up should be enough to warrant induction.

Close, But Not Quite

5. Ken Boyer

Score: 20145

Most similar to: Frank Baker

Next Eligible: 2020 (Veterans Committee)

Synopsis: Boyer had an excellent start to his career, culminating in an MVP season in 1964.  But, after that season Boyer started to fizzle out very quickly, and five seasons later he was out of the league.  Another season or two of production at his prior career levels would have resulted in a definite Hall of Famer, but he was just a little shy of induction.

Never Gonna Happen

6. Graig Nettles

Score: 16921

Most Similar to: Pie Traynor

Next Eligible: 2018 (Veterans Committee)

Synopsis: Nettles was a tremendous power hitter but only had a .750 OPS and only a 111 wRC+ in his career.  He was a good hitter, but didn’t contribute much outside the 390 home runs he hit.  He was also very good with the glove, but it just wasn’t enough to put him on the radar for induction.

Stay tuned for the next update.

On deck 1/2/17: Let’s look at shortstops next.

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