The third base position in baseball is called the ‘hot corner’ because when a right handed batter pulls the ball he’s got a lot of power behind it, and the ball gets to the third baseman very fast. A player who is great defensively will stand out at third base, and the Yankees have had several at the position. Here are the top five:
5) Scott Brosius: Appearing in 540 games during four years with the team, his .956 fielding percentage was better than the league average of .950 during his playing career. He was a decent hitter, with a .267 average and driving in about 70 runs a year. Brosius held down third base during the Yankees three consecutive World Series championships from 1998-2000.
4) Clete Boyer: An excellent fielder who led the American League’s third basemen in range factor each season from 1961-66, Boyer appeared in 1,068 games during eight years with the Yankees. He was a steady player on championship teams in the early 1960’s.
3) Red Rolfe: Playing his entire ten years, 1,175 games, in the majors with the Yankees, Rolfe was a fixture at third during the team’s championship seasons in the 1930’s. He batted a respectable .289 with an on-base percentage of .360 during his career. Rolfe’s fielding average of .956 was higher than the league average of .943.
2) Alex Rodriguez: Rodriguez has put up big numbers even during what were considered down years for him. Winner of three MVP awards during ten seasons and 1,293 games with the Yankees, he has a .291 batting average, 309 home runs, and 979 RBI’s. His .965 fielding average above the .956 league average for the same time period.
1) Graig Nettles: Playing in 1,535 games during his eleven years with the Yankees, Nettles won two Gold Gloves for his defensive excellence, and his fielding average of .961 is higher than the league average of .953. Practically single handedly saving the 1978 World Series for the Yanks with his outstanding play at third base, Nettles also hit for power, belting 37 home runs in 1977 and driving in more than 90 runs for four consecutive seasons. Somewhat of a comedian, known for his funny one-liners, Nettles is the best third baseman in Yankees’ history.