In baseball, the third baseman is the player who defends the area around third base.

Defense

Third base is affectionately known as the "hot corner," and deservedly so. Most batters are right-handed and right handed batters tend to hit balls to the left side of the infield, toward third base. Moreover, because he has a longer throw to first base, and sometimes has to cover his own base, the third baseman is usually several steps closer to the batter than the shortstop or second baseman. All of this means that the third baseman must field more balls of greater velocity with less reaction time than any other fielder on the diamond. Not surprisingly, a good defensive third sacker needs lighting reflexes, good hands, a strong arm, and occasionally, a stout sternum. The best of them can turn doubles into outs diving to the right toward the foul line while eliminating the "5.5" hole going to the left, freeing up the shortstop to cover the middle and shrinking the whole infield. The third baseman is also in charge of executing one of the most difficult but beautiful defensive plays in baseball--the charging, barehanded-pickup, across-the-body throw on a bunt up the third-base line.

For scoring purposes, the third baseman is denoted by the number "5" and thus one of the most common plays in baseball, a groundout to the third baseman, would be scored

5-3

Offense

That said, however, most teams are content to put a merely adequate defender at third base, especially if they can get a stronger batter into the game. Traditionally, the third baseman should be the fourth or fifth best hitter in the lineup, after the first baseman and the corner outfielders, in line with the classic approach of "power at the corners, speed and defense up the middle." Many third baseman can belt it with the best of 'em.

The Great Ones

Some of the greatest players in baseball history have patrolled the hot corner. Among them are (Hall of Famers in bold):


Home Run Baker - George Brett - Wade Boggs - Ken Boyer - Eric Chavez - Harlond Clift - Jimmy Collins - Ray Dandridge - Darrell Evans - Stan Hack - Judy Johnson - Chipper Jones - George Kell - Freddie Lindstrom - Eddie Matthews - John McGraw - Graig Nettles - Brooks Robinson - Alex Rodriguez - Scott Rolen - Red Rolfe - Al Rosen - Ron Santo - Mike Schmidt - Pie Traynor - Matt Williams - Ned Williamson - David Wright

Records

Career

Games: 2870, Brooks Robinson
Hits: 3154, George Brett
Doubles: 665, George Brett
Triples: 164, Pie Traynor
Home Runs: 509, Mike Schmidt
Runs: 1583, George Brett
Runs Batted In: 1595, George Brett & Mike Schmidt
Stolen Bases: 739, Arlie Latham
Batting Average: .334, John McGraw
On-base Percentage: .466, John McGraw

Single Season (since 1900)

Games: 164, Ron Santo, 1965 Chicago Cubs
Hits: 240, Wade Boggs, 1985 Boston Red Sox
Doubles: 56, George Kell, 1950 Detroit Tigers
Triples: 22, Tommy Leach, 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates, and Bill Bradley, 1903 Cleveland Indians
Home Runs: 48, Mike Schmidt, 1980 Philadelphia Phillies, and Adrian Beltre, 2004 Los Angeles Dodgers
Runs: 145, Harlond Clift, 1936 St. Louis Browns
Runs Batted In: 145, Al Rosen, 1953 Cleveland Indians
Bases on Balls: 151, Eddie Yost, 1956 Washington Senators
Stolen Bases: 74, Fritz Maisel, 1914 New York Yankees
Batting Average: .390, George Brett, 1980 Kansas City Royals
On-base Percentage: .505, John McGraw, 1900 St. Louis Cardinals

Most Gold Gloves, American League: 16, Brooks Robinson
Most Gold Gloves, National League: 11, Mike Schmidt

 



Baseball Positions

Pitcher - Catcher - First Baseman - Second Baseman - Third Baseman - Shortstop - Leftfielder - Centerfielder - Rightfielder - Designated Hitter

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