Third baseman

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The position of the third baseman Baseball 3B.svg
The position of the third baseman

A third baseman, abbreviated 3B, is the player in baseball or softball whose responsibility is to defend the area nearest to third base — the third of four bases a baserunner must touch in succession to score a run. In the scoring system used to record defensive plays, the third baseman is assigned the number 5.

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Third base is known as the "hot corner", because the third baseman is often the infielder who stands closest to the batter—roughly 90–120 feet away, but even closer if a bunt is expected. Most right-handed hitters tend to hit the ball hard in this direction. A third baseman must possess good hand-eye coordination and quick reactions to catch batted balls whose speed can exceed 120 miles per hour (190 km/h). [1]

The third base position requires a strong and accurate arm, as the third baseman often makes long throws to first base or quick ones to second base to start a double play. As with middle infielders, right-handed throwing players are standard at the position because they do not need to turn their body before throwing across the infield to first base. Mike Squires, who played fourteen games at third base in 1982 and 1983, is a very rare example of a third baseman who threw lefty. [2] [3] Some third basemen have been converted from middle infielders or outfielders because the position does not require them to run as fast.

The third baseman must also field fly balls in fair and foul territories.

Expectations of how well a third baseman should be able to hit have risen over time; in the early years of the sport, these expectations were similar to those for shortstops, the third baseman being merely the less skilled defensive player. Players who could hit with more ability often were not suited for third base, either because they were left-handed or because they were not mobile enough for the position. However, the beginning of the live-ball era in the 1920s created a greater demand for more offense, and third basemen have since been expected to hit either for a high average (.290 or better) or with moderate to substantial power. Since the 1950s the position has become more of a power position with sluggers such as Eddie Mathews, Mike Schmidt and Ron Santo becoming stars.

There are fewer third basemen in the Baseball Hall of Fame than there are Hall of Famers of any other position. Few third basemen have gone on to have successful managing careers; exceptions include John McGraw, Bobby Cox, Jimmy Dykes, and Negro leaguer Dave Malarcher.

Prominent third basemen

Baseball Hall of Fame members

Brooks Robinson played more games at third base than any other player in MLB history. Brooks Robinson 1977.jpg
Brooks Robinson played more games at third base than any other player in MLB history.

Multiple Gold Glove Award winners

All-time single-season assists leaders among third basemen

  1. Graig Nettles: 412 (Cleveland Indians, 1971)
  2. Graig Nettles: 410 (New York Yankees, 1973)
  3. Brooks Robinson: 410 (Baltimore Orioles, 1974)
  4. Brooks Robinson: 405 (Baltimore Orioles, 1967)
  5. Harlond Clift: 405 (St. Louis Browns, 1937)
  6. Mike Schmidt: 404 (Philadelphia Phillies, 1974)
  7. Doug DeCinces: 399 (California Angels, 1982)
  8. Brandon Inge: 398 (Detroit Tigers, 2006)
  9. Clete Boyer: 396 (New York Yankees, 1962)
  10. Mike Schmidt: 396 (Philadelphia Phillies, 1977)
  11. Buddy Bell: 396 (Texas Rangers, 1982)

All-time single-season putouts leaders among third basemen

  1. Denny Lyons: 255 (Philadelphia Athletics, 1887)
  2. Jimmy Williams: 251 (Pittsburgh Pirates, 1899)
  3. Jimmy Collins: 251 (Boston Beaneaters [National League], 1900)
  4. Jimmy Collins: 243 (Boston Beaneaters [National League], 1898)
  5. Willie Kamm: 243 (Chicago White Sox, 1928)
  6. Willie Kamm: 236 (Chicago White Sox, 1927)
  7. Frank Baker: 233 (Philadelphia Athletics, 1913)
  8. Bill Coughlin: 232 (Washington Senators, 1901)
  9. Ernie Courtney: 229 (Philadelphia Phillies, 1905)
  10. Jimmy Austin: 228 (St. Louis Browns, 1911)

Related Research Articles

Shortstop Defense position in baseball and softball

Shortstop, abbreviated SS, is the baseball or softball fielding position between second and third base, which is considered to be among the most demanding defensive positions. Historically the position was assigned to defensive specialists who were typically poor at batting and were often placed at the bottom of the batting order. Today, shortstops are often able to hit well and many are placed at the top of the lineup. In the numbering system used by scorers to record defensive plays, the shortstop is assigned the number 6.

Mike Schmidt American baseball player

Michael Jack Schmidt is an American former professional baseball third baseman who played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Philadelphia Phillies. Schmidt was a 12-time All-Star and a three-time winner of the National League (NL) Most Valuable Player award (MVP), and he was known for his combination of power hitting and strong defense. As a hitter, he compiled 548 home runs and 1,595 runs batted in (RBIs), and led the NL in home runs eight times and in RBIs four times. As a fielder, Schmidt won the National League Gold Glove Award for third basemen ten times. Schmidt was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995 and is widely considered to be the greatest third baseman in baseball history.

Ron Santo American baseball player

Ronald Edward Santo was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) third baseman who played for the Chicago Cubs from 1960 through 1973 and the Chicago White Sox in 1974. In 1990, Santo became a member of the Cubs broadcasting team providing commentary for Cubs games on WGN radio and remained at that position until his death in 2010. In 1999, he was selected to the Cubs All-Century Team. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.

Jimmy Collins American baseball player (1870–1943)

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First baseman Infield defensive position in baseball and softball

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Robin Ventura American baseball player and manager

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Assist (baseball) Baseball statistic

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Graig Nettles, nicknamed "Puff", is an American former Major League Baseball third baseman. During a 22-year baseball career, he played for the Minnesota Twins (1967–1969), Cleveland Indians (1970–1972), New York Yankees (1973–1983), San Diego Padres (1984–1986), Atlanta Braves (1987), and Montreal Expos (1988).

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Harry Harlan Mowrey was an American professional baseball third baseman who played in the Major Leagues from 1905 to 1917. He would play for the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn Robins, and Pittsburgh Pirates.

References

  1. Raue, Brian A. "Home run distances at Pro Player Stadium". Archived from the original on 1 July 2017.
  2. https://www.baseball-reference.com/s/squirmi01.shtml Mike Squires page
  3. https://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/10835 Lefty 3B since 1919