Here are the best 3B in history, team by team

April 14th, 2020

No one loves a good debate quite like baseball fans, and with that in mind, we asked each of our beat reporters to rank the top five players by position in the history of their franchise, based on each player's career with that franchise. We've already tackled catchers, first basemen and second basemen. Next up are third basemen.

These rankings are for fun and debate purposes only, and fans were able to participate in Twitter polls to vote for their favorites. Here are the No. 1 third basemen for every club, as chosen by's beat reporters.

American League East

Blue Jays: Josh Donaldson, 2015-18
Key fact: Just the second player in franchise history to be named AL MVP (George Bell, 1987)
Donaldson’s three-year peak from 2015-17 represents some of the best baseball ever played in a Blue Jays uniform. He knew he was the best player on the field and, with his bat or his glove, found a way to ensure that the other team knew that, too. Blue Jays top 5 >

Orioles: Brooks Robinson, 1955-77
Key fact: First-ballot Hall of Fame inductee, MLB position-player record 16 Gold Glove Awards
The discussion begins and ends here in Birdland, and Robinson has a pretty strong case for the best third baseman in history, period, too. Robinson’s glovework remains the standard at one of the toughest defensive spots on the diamond. Orioles top 5 >

Rays: Evan Longoria, 2008-17
Key fact: Tops franchise lists in at-bats, doubles, homers, runs, RBIs, walks, total bases and games played
Longoria is the best player in Rays history, and there’s not much to debate on that subject. He’s all over the top of the franchise’s all-time lists, and he also knocked the Game 162 walk-off homer to send Tampa Bay to the postseason in 2011. Rays top 5 >

Red Sox: Wade Boggs, 1982-92
Key fact: All five of his batting titles were with Red Sox
The most appropriate question here is who was the Red Sox’s best third baseman not named Wade Boggs. A hitting machine, Boggs ranks third behind Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski in position-player bWAR compiled in a Boston uniform, and he would probably be even more valued in today’s game for his remarkable ability to get on base. Red Sox top 5 >

Yankees: Alex Rodriguez, 2004-16
Key fact: Leads all Yankees 3B in runs, hits, doubles, homers, RBIs, walks, SLG and OPS
It took an Aaron Boone pickup basketball injury to put Rodriguez in pinstripes, and the presence of captain Derek Jeter for Rodriguez to shift over to the hot corner. After that, A-Rod belted 351 homers, won two AL MVP awards and helped the Yankees win World Series title No. 27 during a dozen turbulent seasons in the Bronx. Yankees top 5 >

AL Central

Indians: Al Rosen, 1947-56
Key fact: Last Indians player to win an AL MVP Award
Rosen’s 1953 AL MVP Award gives him the edge in a Tribe field full of worthy third-base candidates. A four-time All-Star, Rosen clubbed 20 homers in six different seasons and leads all Cleveland third basemen with 192 round-trippers. Indians top 5 >

Royals: George Brett, 1973-93
Key fact: First-ballot Hall of Famer
Not much mental energy was needed to pick No. 1 here. Brett is not only far and away the best third baseman to play in Kansas City, he also ranks among the very best to ever man the position. Royals top 5 >

Tigers: George Kell, 1946-52
Key fact: Won AL batting title in 1949; inducted into National Baseball Hall of Fame in '83
Seven years were all Kell needed to take the Tigers’ top slot at third base, batting .325 with a 119 OPS+ across his Detroit tenure. And he was beloved by further generations, of course, as the voice of Tigers baseball on both radio and television. Tigers top 5 >

Twins: Gary Gaetti, 1981-90
Key fact: Four AL Gold Glove Awards are most by a Twins infielder
For 10 years, Gaetti gave the Twins a power bat in the middle of the lineup and a rock-solid glove at the hot corner. Most importantly, he helped deliver the first World Series championship in club history. Twins top 5 >

White Sox: Robin Ventura, 1989-98
Key fact: Five-time Gold Glove Award winner
One of the more popular players in White Sox history, Ventura was also extraordinarily productive over a decade on the South Side of Chicago. The team’s top pick in the 1988 MLB Draft enjoyed six seasons with at least 90 RBIs and another five seasons with at least 20 homers, all while pairing that bat with an excellent glove. White Sox top 5 >

AL West

Angels: Troy Glaus, 1998-2004
Key fact: 2002 World Series MVP
Glaus’ 182 homers are the sixth most in Angels history, and he set a club record for homers in a season with an AL-most 47 in 2000. Better yet, Glaus came up big when it mattered most during the Halos’ march to their only World Series title in ‘02. Angels top 5 >

Astros: Alex Bregman, 2016-present
Key fact: 22.4 bWAR is most by a third baseman in club history
Ken Caminiti played well over a longer period of time, but didn’t reach the heights in an Astros uniform that Bregman -- who already has two top 5 AL MVP Award finishes -- has in just 3 1/2 seasons. Bregman has also come up big in the clutch, with 10 career postseason homers before his 26th birthday. Astros top 5 >

Athletics: Sal Bando, 1966-76
Key fact: 33.0 bWAR from 1969-73 led the Major Leagues
In a franchise so rich with history and talent at third base, Bando is the only one who was named club captain. Bando's aggression and hard-nosed style of play gave the A’s an identity after moving west from Kansas City, and he was the glue for Oakland’s early-1970s dynasty. Athletics top 5 >

Mariners: Kyle Seager, 2011-present
Key fact: 30.7 fWAR is higher than the next three ranked Mariners third basemen combined
Edgar Martinez’s majority of games played at designated hitter makes Seager the clear choice for the Mariners at the hot corner. He’s been Seattle’s starter at third base for 8 1/2 seasons, and he is the runaway leader on the franchise’s all-time lists in several of the biggest offensive categories for the position. Mariners top 5 >

Rangers: Adrián Beltré, 2011-18
Key fact: Three All-Star nods, three Gold Glove Awards, two Silver Slugger Awards and four-time Rangers Player of the Year
Re-signing Cliff Lee was the Rangers’ No. 1 goal going into the 2010-11 offseason. Instead, they signed Beltré, and Rangers baseball underwent a transformation. Beltré became both a franchise icon and a strong Hall of Fame candidate over eight excellent seasons in Arlington. Rangers top 5 >

NL East

Braves: Chipper Jones, 1993-2012
Key fact: One of 18 players elected to Hall of Fame with over 95% of the vote (97.2%)
Chipper is the defining hitter of the greatest era of Braves history, so the 1999 NL MVP and ’95 World Series champion takes the top spot over Eddie Mathews. Braves top 5 >

Marlins: Mike Lowell, 1999-2005
Key fact: Hit 32 home runs and won Silver Slugger Award for 2003 championship team
A leader of the Marlins’ second World Series-winning club, Lowell was a three-time All-Star in Florida and edges Miguel Cabrera for the top spot. Marlins top 5 >

Mets: David Wright, 2004-18
Key fact: Franchise leader in hits (1,777), runs (949), RBIs (970) and position player WAR (49.2)
One of the best third basemen of his generation in his prime, the Mets’ longtime captain led the team through good times and bad. Wright’s World Series home run at Citi Field in 2015 is one of the most memorable moments in recent Mets history. Mets top 5 >

Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman, 2005-present
Key fact: Franchise leader in hits (1,784), RBIs (1,015) and home runs (270)
Zimmerman is the Nationals. He was the team’s first Draft pick after relocating to Washington, D.C. He was there for their first season in 2005, and he was there when they finally won their first World Series title in 2019. Nationals top 5 >

Phillies: Mike Schmidt, 1972-89
Key fact: All-time leader in home runs by a third baseman (548)
Arguably the greatest third baseman in MLB history -- not just Phillies history -- Schmidt has every accolade. The Hall of Famer, three-time MVP, 12-time All-Star and 1980 World Series MVP spent his whole career in Philadelphia and is an easy pick. Phillies top 5 >

NL Central

Brewers: Paul Molitor, 1978-92
Key fact: 10th-most hits all-time (3,319); one of 32 members of 3,000-hit club
The first decade and a half of Molitor’s Hall of Fame career came in Milwaukee, where he led the Brewers to the 1982 NL pennant and set a World Series single-game record with five hits in Game 1. Brewers top 5 >

Cardinals: Ken Boyer, 1955-65
Key fact: Won 1964 NL MVP Award after leading MLB with 119 RBIs
The cornerstone of the 1960s Cardinals teams, Boyer helped lead St. Louis to a World Series championship the same year he was named MVP. He takes the top spot over Scott Rolen. Cardinals top 5 >

Cubs: Ron Santo, 1960-73
Key fact: His No. 10 was retired by the Cubs in 2003
It took Santo a long time to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but the nine-time All-Star, five-time Gold Glover and best third baseman in Cubs history finally made it. Cubs top 5 >

Pirates: Pie Traynor, 1920-37
Key fact: Second-highest career batting average among third basemen (.320)
Second to only Wade Boggs on the all-time third baseman batting leaderboard, Traynor led the Pirates to the 1925 World Series crown. His No. 20 was retired in 1972. Pirates top 5 >

Reds: Pete Rose, 1963-78, '84-86
Key fact: MLB’s all-time leader in hits (4,256)
The MLB hit king was only a third baseman for four of his 19 seasons with the Reds, but it was at the height of the Big Red Machine from 1975-78, which included two World Series titles. Reds top 5 >

NL West

D-backs: Matt Williams, 1998-2003
Key fact: His 142 RBIs in 1999 are tied for D-backs single-season record
Williams’ six seasons in Arizona included a monster ‘99 campaign (.303 average, 35 homers, 142 RBIs, third-place MVP finish) and a World Series championship in 2001. D-backs top 5 >

Dodgers: Ron Cey, 1971-82
Key fact: Part of the only three-way World Series MVP split in history in 1981
Cey was a six-time All-Star in LA and a member of the Dodgers’ iconic 1970s infield with Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes and Bill Russell. He beats out Justin Turner and Adrián Beltré. Dodgers top 5 >

Giants: Matt Williams, 1987-96
Key fact: His 247 home runs with the Giants rank fourth in team history behind Barry Bonds, Willie McCovey and Willie Mays
Williams spent the first decade of his career in San Francisco, where he was a four-time All-Star, led the NL with 122 RBIs in 1990 and led the Majors with 43 home runs in 112 games in the strike-shortened ’94 season. Giants top 5 >

Padres: Ken Caminiti, 1995-98
Key fact: Only Padre to win NL MVP Award in franchise history (1996)
Caminiti spent only four seasons in San Diego from 1995-98, but they were some of the best by a Padre -- especially his MVP ‘96, when he hit .326 with 40 homers and 130 RBIs, won the Gold Glove Award at third and led the Padres to their first NL West title in 12 years. Padres top 5 >

Rockies: Nolan Arenado, 2013-present
Key fact: Only infielder to win seven consecutive Gold Gloves to start his career
Arenado is one of the elite two-way stars in the game today. He’s a three-time NL home run king, maybe the best defender in the sport and could be a Hall of Famer when all’s said and done. Rockies top 5 >