Hall Of Fame Debate: Rank ‘Em – Mike Schmidt, Brooks Robinson, Chipper Jones, and George Brett!!!

Hall Of Fame Debate: Rank ‘Em – Mike Schmidt, Brooks Robinson, Chipper Jones, and George Brett!!!

By now, you probably know how this works.  The discussion of best third baseman in the history of the sport is one of the more debated position-related debates between baseball fans.

The reason, I believe, that this discussion has so many varied opinions is that each of these players left huge impacts on the sport – and at one time or another, each of them held the title of ‘Best Third Baseman In Baseball’ for a lengthy time.

So, I will offer up some numbers.  And then offer up my rankings as well.

HOF Debate 3B

First, let’s look at the numbers:

  Robinson Schmidt Brett Jones
Total Games 2896 2404 2707 2499
Games at 3B 2870 2212 1692 1992
Batting Average 0.267 0.267 0.305 0.303
On-Base % 0.322 0.380 0.369 0.401
Hits 2848 2234 3154 2726
200-Hit Seasons 0 0 2 0
Batting Titles 0 0 3 1
Home Runs 268 548 317 468
30-HR Seasons 0 13 1 5
HR Titles 0 8 0 0
RBI 1357 1595 1596 1623
100-RBI Seasons 2 9 4 9
30/100 Seasons 0 9 1 5
Stolen Bases 28 174 201 150
All-Star 15 12 13 8
Silver Slugger 6 3 2
Gold Glove 16 10 1 0
3B Fielding % 0.971 0.955 0.951 0.954
ROY 0 0 0 0
MVP 1 3 1 1
Postseason 6 6 7 12
WS Titles 2 1 1 1

There is no doubt about it – Each of these players was fantastic, and each of them stands out in a way that the others do not.

So, how do you judge?  When you’re talking apples-to-apples it is easier, but it is still not an easy process.

Because the discussion is about players that were primarily known as third baseman, I think you have to include defensive accomplishments into the conversation.  But, how much should that count?

Time for my decision….

Gavel

For me, I really tried to take a look at the full career of each player.  Like I mentioned earlier in the post, each of these four elite players stands out in one or more aspects of the game – and these parts of the game are all deemed as important – from Brooks’ defense to Schmidt’s home run prowess to Brett’s batting skills to Chipper’s on-base percentage.

I will say that it is nice to see that each one of these great ballplayers had the chance to hoist a World Series trophy at one time (2 for Brooks) during their careers.

Who do you pick??

How do you pick??

Well, I tried.  And I had to re-do my rankings a few times.  But I think that I have settled in on this as my final list.

So, here is my list, in order:

1 – Mike Schmidt
2 – Brooks Robinson
3 – Chipper Jones
4 – George Brett

This was very tough – but ultimately for me, the defense that Robinson and Schmidt were noted for separated them from the pack.  After that, it was the consistent home runs and run production of Schmidt’s that propelled him to the top spot.  Choosing between Chipper Jones and George Brett for the 3rd and 4th spots was a lot tougher.  While Chipper had a more well-rounded offensive attack, it was Brett that amassed an amazing number of hits and batting championships.  Ultimately, I chose Jones simply due to the number of games he played at third base versus Brett.  If Brett had played 80% of his games at the ‘Hot Corner’ it would have made my decision a lot tougher to make.

And now, I am exhausted.  And if you ask me this same question in a week, I may have different answers to this question.

But I want your rankings on this too.  So, study the numbers and let me know how you’d rank these four legendary third baseman.

Have a great night!!!

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15 responses to “Hall Of Fame Debate: Rank ‘Em – Mike Schmidt, Brooks Robinson, Chipper Jones, and George Brett!!!

  1. This is how I rank the 3rd basemen

    1. Brooks Robinson
    2. Chipper Jones
    3. Mike Schmidt
    4. George Brett

    I have Jones 2nd because he was the main offensive player during the Braves heyday. Probably not a popular pick Jones over Schmidt but Chipper was really great.

    • Matt- looks like it is just me and you tonight…

      I can’t argue with Brooks at number 1, but I can argue that Schmidt was just as important, if not more, to the Phil’s as Chipper was the the Braves.

  2. This discussion has a couple of glaring omissions.

    1 – Mike Schmidt
    2 – Eddie Mathews
    3 – Chipper Jones
    4 – Ron Santo
    5 – Brooks Robinson

    • J-Dub, Very interesting. I personally always saw Matthews and Santo (one of my favs) as B-Level when compared to the four that I chose for this week’s topic. I’ll have to check Matthews’ numbers again.

  3. I actually don’t think there’s that much of a debate at the top – I believe Schmidt is head and shoulders above the rest. I think there is a great debate for 2 through 5. I have a tough time separating Wade Boggs, Eddie Mathews and Brett for 2nd – they have such different careers. I think Boggs was best at his peak, but Mathews and Brett seemed to have a little more longevity. But they did it differently. Then I’d go Brooks, then Chipper.

    • chuckneo- Another interesting one with Boggs. As a kid, I thought he was the best 3B in the game, but his offense was pretty much singles and doubles. I did not include him becuase of the missing ROY and MVP achivements. And I felt like his lone GG was more of a token award especially when compared to Schmidt and Brooks.

      I like your mentioning of him, for sure!!

  4. Man. This might be the most difficult question you’ve proposed. I gave it 30 seconds and my brain started hurting, so I’m going to pass on this one and just enjoy everyone else’s responses.

  5. When looking at these 4 players, I believe that on any given day, each of them could be considered #1. However, today, I have the following ranking:
    1. Jones
    2. Schmidt
    3. Robinson
    4. Brett
    First, I understand the number of awards that Schmidt accumulated defensively, Robinson is the best defensive 3B ever; however, I don’t put much stock in these types of awards. They are based more on popularity than skill. When looking at fielding %, Schmidt and Jones are essentially tied. Offensively, Schmidt did have more home runs, but Jones was the premier switch hitter of his day. Likewise, while Schmidt has more HR, Jones’s batting average is much better. In addition, Jones has a much higher OBP, hits, and RBI’s, which seems to be overlooked. As far as the rest of the list, I agree that Brett didn’t play enough games at 3rd to be considered in the top three. Robinson was not strong enough offensively to elevate himself above Schmidt.

    • Fisk Fanatic- excellent write-up by you!! Your opinion is strong and get right to the point. It’s very hard to argue with anything you stated, I just think that overall Schmidt offered more to his team than Chipper. And while Chipper may have accumulated a lot more hits and compiled a much higher BA, I would say that as a #4 hitter, Schmidt provided more value to the Phils.

  6. I will concede the fact that Schmidt offers a bit more pop as the #4 hitter. I also have to say that I am biased; Jones has been one of my favorite players, and I never got to see Schmidt play. Thanks for the great post; keep em coming.

  7. If you look at the two value metrics that I know of from a career standpoint, here’s the aforementioned players – except Santo, who I agree is a great 3rd baseman, but probably belongs at the very top of that next level of the discussion.

    Win Shares:
    Schmidt 467
    Mathews 450
    Brett 432
    Boggs 394
    Chipper 385
    Robinson 356

    WAR:
    Schmidt 106.6
    Mathews 96.1
    Boggs 91.0
    Brett 88.4
    Chipper 85.2
    Robinson 78.4

    A couple things to note – between the two, Win Shares tends to reward longevity a bit more, whereas WAR tends to reward great seasons a bit more. That’s why Boggs and Brett flip – Boggs at his best was the best player in the AL (he deserved an MVP or two, but people didn’t value getting on base 45% of the time like they do now).

    But Mathews is second in both metrics, and by a good amount. Looking into it further – I think we forget about Mathews a bit because there were 3 top-tier all-timers (Aaron, Mays, Mantle) in this era. From 1953-1963 he was truly amazing – maybe a better 10-year peak than even Schmidt had. I’d revise to say Mathews is clearly 2nd. I’d probably put Boggs 3rd and Brett 4th, with Chipper really close to both of them and then Brooks is 6th.

    Brooks and Mathews started 3 years apart, and If you put Robinson’s (.267/.322/.401) offensive numbers side by side with Mathews (.271/.376/.509) – I start to realize they’re really not even in the same class. Obviously defense is what gets Brooks up there into this discussion, but not past any of the other guys in my opinion.

  8. How about rating these guys in big games,playoffs and the world series as a fielder AND a hitter. This is the reason if I had a 3rd basement to go into a world series with, it would be Brooks Robinson. I think his bating average was higher then all of them including Schmidt from all his LCSs and fall classics and his defense also was elevated as in his incredible world series MVP performance in 1970. This is what puts this already hall of fame player noticeably over the top of the challengers.

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