The Hot Corner is one of those positions that requires a great glove and a hefty, middle of the order, bat in today's game.  Remembering our two basic rules, we did not select anyone pre 1920 and we went with players that played a predominance of games at third.  Cal Ripken and Alex Rodriguez missed due to time at SS.  There are a few players that also didn't make the list but are worth a mention when it comes to the topic of best 3B of all time.  Pie Traynor (great name) was a career .320 hitter with 6 top 10 MVP seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He is also a member of the Hall of Fame.  Paul Molitor would have made the list, but he spent much of his career as a DH and playing other positions.  Although he entered the Hall as a 3B, he wasn't quite right for this list.  Hall of Famer George Kell got some consideration as did Yankee/Padre great Graig Nettles.  Here's the list we came up with for third.

1.  Mike Schmidt
2.  George Brett
3.  Eddie Mathews
4.  Brooks Robinson
5.  Chipper Jones
5.  Wade Boggs
7.  Ron Santo
8.  Adrian Beltre
9.  Ken Boyer
10. Scott Rolen

It's pretty much Schmidt and then everyone else.  With 548 HR and 3 MVPs along with 10 gold gloves and 12 All Star appearances, he's far and away the best 3B to play the game.  Offense and defense were both prevalent in his great career.  Brett was another who could flat out hit.  He's one of the very few players to flirt with .400 in the past 74 years since Ted Williams did it.  Eddie Mathews played on some great Brave teams and is another member of the 500 homer club.  Boggs and Chipper tied in our rankings, and much as I hate Chipper as a Mets fan, I will concede he was a phenomenal player deserving of induction to Cooperstown.  We were all happy to see the underrated Santo make the Hall within the past few years as he was one of the best during his run.  Let us know who you think should have made the cut, we love your feedback!
Similar to their second base counterparts, for quite some time, shortstops were known as defensive stoppers with little offensive prowess.  They were usually outstanding with the glove and provided a speed burst on the base paths, but typically were not called upon to be heavy bats in the middle of the lineup.  For some teams, that still holds true and a solid defensive shortstop is still extremely important.  However the position has morphed to a degree of hybrid players that have fielding skills and run-producing bats.  Players like Troy Tulowitzki, Jimmy Rollins, and Alex Rodriguez all play outstanding defensive and have brought in a lot of runs.  These players didn't quite crack our list, but their indicative of how the game has changed.  A-Rod failed to make our list not because of PED use, but simply because he played only 49% of his career games at SS.  Other players to miss our list for similar reasons include Ernie Banks and Robin Yount.  We have softened on our eligibility guidelines, but all three played 50% or less at the position.  The Shortstops to top our list are...

1.  Derek Jeter
2.  Honus Wagner
3.  Cal Ripken
4.  Arky Vaughan
5.  Luke Appling
6.  Joe Cronin
7.  Ozzie Smith
8.  Lou Boudreau
9.  Barry Larkin
10. Luis Aparicio

This was a hard list especially at the top with 3 dynamic game changing players to pick from.  You could put any combination of the 3 up there and have a solid argument.  Jeter has the most hits and runs of anyone on the list, and he possessed intangibles of winning, clutch, and excellence in both the regular season and post season.  He always came up big at the plate and in the field and served as the lynch pin for the Yankees 5 titles during his run.  We made an exception to the pre-1920 rule to put Wagner on the list.  With the most RBI and highest batting average of any SS, it was hard to leave him off.  Yes it was a different time than today, but 8 batting titles is impressive in any era.  Ripken was the Iron Man as most know with a record of games played that will certainly never be beaten.  He was one of the pioneers to change the position to one of great defense and prowess at the plate.  The rest of the list is comprised of MVP winners, remarkable defensive players, speedsters, and guys with high lifetime batting averages.  We'd love to hear your arguments for guys not on the list or how you'd rearrange this one.   

Next on our list of counting down the top players by position are the second basemen.  This is our 3rd position to date, and it was the first to cause some real debate among the three of us as to which players made the cut.  A note to anyone that has been following our lists: We are softening just a little on our rule that a player had to have 75% or more of their games at the position to qualify.  Although longevity at the position will carry substantial weight, we will also be looking at each player's prime.  We also did make two exceptions to the pre-1920 rule as you'll see below, as this was one of those few extraordinary cases.  Here's the list...

1.  Rogers Hornsby
2.  Joe Morgan
3.  Charlie Gehringer
4.  Roberto Alomar
5.  Nellie Fox
6.  Ryne Sandberg
7.  Eddie Collins
8.  Craig Biggio
9.  Frankie Frisch
10. Bobby Doerr

Hon Mention - Jeff Kent and Chase Utley 

Second base is one of the weakest in terms of fielding an all-time team.  There have been great players to man the position, but not nearly the wealth we had to choose from at first base.  Even so, we were still able to get 10 HOF players on the list.  The two pre-1920 players are #1 Hornsby and #7 Collins.  Hornsby ranks among the greatest hitters of all time and could do it all, putting up numbers that the players of today would covet.  In his career, he led the league in hits and doubles 4 times, triples and homers 2 times, and won 7 batting titles.  Collins was the second exception, and frankly, it's hard to turn away someone with 3300 hits.  Joe Morgan was considered by many the engine that propelled The Big Red Machine in Cincinnati.  He took back to back MVP and led them to several pennants and 2 World Series wins.  Sandberg and Fox both had MVP seasons and were great hitters in their day.  Biggio played a few positions in his career amassing over 3000 hits and 668 doubles.  He did play nearly 70% of his games at second which was good enough for us. 

The debate came into play more toward the end of our list and somewhat in the particular order of the middle of the list.  There was a debate on the floor as to the legitimacy of Kent making the list over Doerr and Utley.  We'd love to hear comments from our readers as to who they would have put in at the #10 spot among Doerr, Kent, Utley, or even another player.  Let us know what you think!
This is the second installment of our All Time Teams by position lists.  This list proved quite a bit more tricky than our chapter on catchers as there have been several great players throughout history to man first.  We also stuck to our two main rules for putting these lists together.  First, we don't use  players before 1920 unless a special exception for greatness.  The only player that seemed possible pre-1920 was Cap Anson.  Due to the great number of first basemen in history, he wasn't a big enough exception.  The other rule states that a player must have played 75% or more of his games at the position.  So you won't see players like Frank Thomas, Stan Musial, Ernie Banks, or Jim Thome as they played other positions or DH that pushed them below the 75% threshold.  We will be doing a team of guys that didn't qualify because of the 75% rule.  Here's the list.





1.   Lou Gehrig
2.   Albert Pujols
3.   Jimmie Foxx
4.   Hank Greenberg
5.   Johnny Mize
6.   Jeff Bagwell
7.   Eddie Murray
8.   Willie McCovey
9.   Steve Garvey
10. Orlando Cepeda


The three of us independently pick our lists and then compare, contrast, and debate until we get it down to 10.  All three of us had the same top 8 names just in different order.  Gehrig was consensus number one with 2 MVPs, and additional six times in the top 5 MVP, a Triple Crown, a .340 lifetime average with 493 homers and 1995 RBI.  The second spot was a flip flop for us between Pujols and Foxx.  Both have 3 MVPs to their credit and also mesmerizing numbers.  Pujols already has a line including 520 homers, 1603 RBI and a lifetime average of .317, and he just turned 35.  With a few healthy years, he could get into some really rarified air.  Foxx was widely considered the best right handed hitter of his day and amassed 534 homers, 1922 RBI, and an average of .325.  Like Gehrig, he also won a Triple Crown.  Greenberg and Mize don't quite have the impressive numbers of the first three, but there's a big reason for that.  Both war heroes, Greenberg and Mize missed between 3 to 4 seasons due to World War II.  Both were around 30 when they left for war, and their seasons from age 30-33 would have been highly productive ones.  Greenberg still won 2 MVP awards and Mize was top 5 in MVP voting 4 times.  Bagwell edged out Murray and McCovey in our minds due to higher batting average and on base while playing in far fewer games.  He was a staple of the Killer B's and among the most feared hitters of his day.  Eddie Murray is one of 4 players to have 3,000 hits and 500 homers (Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Rafael Palmeiro).  Murray was 8 times in the top 10 MVP voting as well.  McCovey blasted 521 homers and drove in 1555 in his stellar career.  The last two players were debated with Garvey and Cepeda taking the spots.  Both won MVPs, racked up 2300+ hits and ended with averages over .290.  Others considered for the last two spots were Todd Helton, Keith Hernandez, Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, and Don Mattingly.  Palmeiro and McGwire were quickly dismissed due to the obvious PED overtones that plagued their careers.  Hernandez and Mattingly both won MVPs at first and they took home 11 and 9 Gold Gloves respectively.  No one could argue they'd be at the top if defense alone was the standard.  Helton was another great choice, but playing in Coors took some wind out of his sails numbers-wise.  He was a hits machine, sporting the most doubles of anyone on our list, and had he stayed healthy, he might have made 3000 hits.  Let us know how your list would differ and who you would have added.       
This is the first installment of a new FBJ List series.  We will be taking a look at the Top 10 at each position.  Important to note that we imposed our pre-1920 general rule... no pre-1920 player will make our list unless that player is truly exception, deserving of an exception to the general rule (we call it the Christy Mathewson rule).. 

How we compiled our list:  we each made our own lists (which we love doing, in fact, if our wives would let us, we'd do them all day long).  Then by order of rankings of all three lists, we assigned points (10 points for first, 9 for second, etc.) and then generate a final ranking of our composite final list by total points.  An unusual thing happened when we made our lists; we had the same 10 catchers listed, just in different order.  That doesn't happen too often with us.  We were in agreement also on the top 1 & 2 (let's face it, if you know baseball history, there's Johnny Bench and then there's the rest).  Here's our list and feel free to tell us we're wrong.

1. Johnny Bench

2. Yogi Berra

3. Ivan Rodriguez

4. Mike Piazza

5. Roy Campanella

6. Bill Dickey

7. Mickey Cochrane

8. Gary Carter

9. Carlton Fisk

10. Gabby Hartnett


I (Hersh) had Campanella higher on my list.  3 MVP'S in a decade where he played in the same league as Mays, Aaron, Robinson, Banks, Musial and Snider... he beat those guys out 3 times!!  That should tell you something. 

OCP had Carter slightly higher based upon the fact his JAWS, WAR and WAR7 scores were all top two... he was a tremendous defensive catcher (arguably the best) who posted above average OPS numbers over the course of nineteen seasons.  OCP considered Ernie Lombardi, Ted Simmons and Bill Freehan instead of Hartnett but Hartnett's accolades (HOF, four WS appearances, MVP, four top-10 MVP) swayed his thinking, in the end.

Mc's list was probably the closest to the final result.  He had Piazza in the third spot and Cochrane a couple slots higher but his list was solid and he served as the voice of reason for the Lombardi/Freehan discussions. 

So that's our list, tell us what you think.
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