Greatest 3rd Basemen of All Time
1. Mike Schmidt
He might be the easiest one to slot into this list. 3 MVP awards, 13 dominant seasons, 10 gold gloves, highest WAR for the position by 9.4 points.
2. Eddie Mathews
12 dominant seasons including an 11 year tear to start his career. No where near as accomplished as Schmidt.
3. Wade Boggs
A career .328 hitter, hit .300 in 15 out of 18 years, 5 batting titles and 8 silver sluggers.
4. Jud Wilson
With more data, this Negro League legend would be higher up on the list. A .350 career hitter puts him 5th all time. He has a WAR per 162 of 5.9 which is pretty high. Schmidt is at 7.2 on this metric with complete data.
For this list I pulled stats from Baseball Reference. Seamheads found data on Wilson for an additional 244 games and they have his batting average at .357 https://www.seamheads.com/NegroLgs/player.php?playerID=wilso01jud
5. George Brett
He hit .300 in 11 out of 20 full seasons (only played 13 games in 1973). One MVP, 3 batting titles and 1 gold glove. As great as he was, he clearly is not on the Mount Rushmore of 3rd basemen.
6. Brooks Robinson
Tough to put him this low because he won 16 gold gloves, an MVP and 2 world series but only had one great season at the plate and another very good offensive season.
7. Adrian Beltre
He has some sneaky high career numbers with 3166 hits, 477 home runs and a career WAR of 93.5 which higher than Brett and Robinson. He had 9 dominant season but fair or not I get the sense he benefitted from the era he played in when a lot of hitters were putting up big numbers. He was remarkably consistent and missed very few games due to injury.
8. Another Negro Leaguer
Ray Dandridge gets mentioned in these sorts of conversations about 3rd basemen but the data seems very incomplete for now.