Projecting which elite third basemen will eventually end up in Cooperstown is a tough task to say the least. Besides catcher, there are less third baseman in the Hall of Fame than any other position. Only four third basemen that have started their careers after 1965 have made the Hall of Fame (Schmidt, Brett, Boggs, and Molitor). However, from 1982-1986, all four of these players (as well as Tony Perez) were playing at the same time . I believe that there are four active players that deserve heavy consideration for the Hall of Fame. History has shown that there have been few very good third basemen. The best third basemen that aren't in the Hall of Fame are Ron Santo, Darrell Evans, Stan Hack, Ken Boyer and Craig Nettles. I believe that the three active players in question are considerably better than any of those third basemen and better than half of the third basemen that are actually in the Hall of Fame.
It's important to remember a few things about third basemen. 1). It should be remembered that third basemen don't put up the same kind of power numbers as outfielders and first basemen. 2). There isn't an abundance of good third basemen in the majors right now, nor has there been over the last thirty years. 3) Aside from catching, it's the hardest defensive position on the field. An excellent fielding third basemen gets a significant amount of credit especially when it's combined with above average offensive ability. Those three factors are the primary reasons why I think the elite two-way third basemen in the game today will make the HOF.
Alex Rodriguez I only have one thing to say about Arod. There’s a very good possibility that Arod could end up being the all-time leader in many categories He has a very good shot at being the all-time leader in home runs, rbi’s, and runs. Clearly, he has to play quite a few more seasons but he’s on track.
Just need more time:(3)
Chipper Jones Chipper Jones will make the Hall of Fame. He’s been the most consistent third basemen over the last ten years. He won the National League MVP award in 1999. His string of eight straight 100 rbi seasons ended last year only because he missed 25 games due to injury. Still, he finished with 96. His career batting average is .302. His OPS is .935 which is far and away the best of active third basemen. Arod plays third base now but the majority of his career has been at ss. His OBP is .400. At 33, he’s four seasons a way from having a resume that reads 400 home runs, 1,500 runs, 1,500 rbi and 2,400 hits.
Scott Rolen If Rolen’s going to get in, it’ll be because of his defense. He has six Gold Glove awards and has been the best defense third basemen since he came into the league. Don’t get me wrong about Rolen’s offense. He’s an excellent hitter. His OPS is .890 which is considerably better than Chavez and Glaus. His streak of four straight 100 rbi seasons will end this year only because of an injury. As of now, Rolen is on the cusp. However, he’s only 32 years old. He benefits from breaking into the majors at 21. I think he’ll play long enough to get his career numbers to a respectable place. With his defense being so superior to his contemporaries, I think 1,200 runs, 1,200 rbi and 350 home runs will get him in.
Eric Chavez Chavez is 27 years old and has won four golden glove awards. He’s one of the premier defensive players in MLB today. In addition, Chavez is the clean-up hitter for the A’s. His offensive numbers are quite impressive. He already has three 100 rbi seasons and would’ve had a fourth last season but he missed close to 40 games with an injury. His offensive numbers are par for the course for Hall of Fame third basemen. He’s one of the best offense/defense combinations in baseball. If it came down to choosing between Chavez and Rolen, I would probably give Chavez the better chance. However, I think both will make it.
Troy Glaus Three years ago, Glaus was building a powerful resume. He led the American League in home runs in 2000 with 47. He had three straight 100 rbi seasons before the age of 26. That was all before Glaus started picking up injuries by the dozen. His career batting average is .252. His overall numbers won’t be good enough after missing most of two seasons in his prime. His OPS is slightly higher than Chavez’ but Chavez has him beat on defense and offensive consistency.