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'.


The third baseman requires good reflexes in reacting to batted balls, as he is often the closest infielder (roughly 90–120 feet) to the batter. The third base position requires a strong and accurate arm, as the third baseman often makes long throws to first base. The third baseman sometimes must throw quickly to second base in time to start a double play. The third baseman must also field fly balls in fair and foul territories.

Third base is known as the "hot corner", because the third baseman is relatively close to the batter and 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 in order to catch hard line drives sometimes in excess of 120 miles per hour (190 km/h). [1] Third basemen often must begin in a position even closer to the batter if a bunt is expected, creating a hazard if the ball is instead hit sharply. 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.

Expectations of how well a third baseman should be able to hit have varied a great deal 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. Furthermore, with the notable exception of John McGraw and Bobby Cox, few third basemen have gone on to have successful managing careers, with Jimmy Dykes and Negro leaguer Dave Malarcher being perhaps the next most prominent managers who began their careers at third base.

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, 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 one of the greatest third basemen in baseball history.

Double play

In baseball and softball, a double play is the act of making two outs during the same continuous play. Double plays can occur any time there is at least one baserunner and fewer than two outs.

In baseball, a triple play is the rare act of making three outs during the same continuous play.

Jimmy Collins American baseball player

James Joseph Collins was an American professional baseball player. He played 14 seasons in Major League Baseball. Collins was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.

Second baseman

In baseball and softball, second baseman, abbreviated 2B, is a fielding position in the infield, between second and first base. The second baseman often possesses quick hands and feet, needs the ability to get rid of the ball quickly, and must be able to make the pivot on a double play. In addition, second basemen are usually right-handed; only four left-handed throwing players have ever played second base in Major League Baseball since 1950. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the second baseman is assigned the number 4.

First baseman

A first baseman, abbreviated 1B, is the player on a baseball or softball team who fields the area nearest first base, the first of four bases a baserunner must touch in succession to score a run. The first baseman is responsible for the majority of plays made at that base. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the first baseman is assigned the number 3.

An infielder is a baseball player stationed at one of four defensive "infield" positions on the baseball field.

Brandon Inge American baseball player

Charles Brandon Inge is an American former professional baseball third baseman and catcher and currently a volunteer assistant coach for the Michigan Wolverines baseball team. He played 12 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, one with the Oakland Athletics and one with the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball (MLB). He bats and throws right-handed.

Assist (baseball) Baseball statistic

In baseball, an assist is a defensive statistic, baseball being one of the few sports in which the defensive team controls the ball. An assist is credited to every defensive player who fields or touches the ball prior to the recording of a putout, even if the contact was unintentional. For example, if a ball strikes a player's leg and bounces off him to another fielder, who tags the baserunner, the first player is credited with an assist. A fielder can receive a maximum of one assist per out recorded. An assist is also credited if a putout would have occurred, had another fielder not committed an error. For example, a shortstop might field a ground ball cleanly, but the first baseman might drop his throw. In this case, an error would be charged to the first baseman, and the shortstop would be credited with an assist.

Graig Nettles American professional baseball player, third baseman, coach

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).

Aurelio Rodríguez Mexican baseball player

Aurelio Rodríguez Ituarte, Jr., sometimes known by the nickname "Chi Chi", was a Mexican professional baseball player, who spent the bulk of his Major League career with the Detroit Tigers. Known for his powerful throwing arm, he was one of the great defensive third basemen of his generation. His career range factor of 3.215 per nine innings at third base ranks second in major league history, and his 4,150 assists at the position ranked fifth in major league history at the time of his retirement.

George Crowe American baseball player

George Daniel Crowe was an American professional baseball player who appeared in 702 games in the major leagues as a first baseman and pinch hitter between 1952 and 1961. Before joining minor league baseball in 1949, Crowe played with the Negro National League's (Rochester) New York Black Yankees in 1947 and 1948, and he also played professional basketball.

Willie Kamm American baseball player

William Edward Kamm was an American professional baseball player. He played as a third baseman in Major League Baseball from 1923 to 1935. Kamm played most of his career for the Chicago White Sox before finishing his playing days with the Cleveland Indians. He was the dominant defensive third baseman in the American League for most of his career.

Eddie Mayo American baseball player

Edward Joseph Mayo, nicknamed "Hotshot" and "Steady Eddie", was an American professional baseball player. He played as an infielder in the Major League Baseball from 1936 to 1948, most notably as a member of the Detroit Tigers team that finished either in first or second place in the American League pennant races between 1944 and 1947 and won the 1945 World Series. Mayo was selected to his only All-Star team in 1945 and, was the runner-up in voting for the 1945 American League Most Valuable Player Award. He also played for the New York Giants, Boston Braves and the Philadelphia Athletics.

Mike Mowrey American baseball player

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.


  1. Raue, =Brian A. "Home run distances at Pro Player Stadium". Archived from the original on 1 July 2017.
  2. Mike Squires page
  3. Lefty 3B since 1919