Is former Cubs’ third baseman Aramis Ramirez a borderline Hall of Famer?


Former Cubs’ third baseman Aramis Ramirez has had a sneaky good career, especially in his time on the north side of Chicago. Cubbies legend Ron Santo is widely regarded as the best third baseman in the Chicago Cubs’ rich history. Santo’s last season with the Cubs was in 1973, and after his departure the club used 97 different third baseman and penciled in a different starter at the hot corner on 18 separate opening days; that was until the organization traded for Aramis Ramirez.

Ramirez was traded to Chicago mid-season in 2003 from the Pittsburgh Pirates. That same year he helped take the Cubs to the postseason, where the team lost to the eventual World Series Champion Florida Marlins in NLCS. In the process, Ramirez became the first player in Cubs’ history to hit a playoff grand slam. Though the Cubs lost the series in devastating fashion in-game seven, Ramírez shined, and showed what was to come, finishing the series with three home runs, seven RBI, and one triple.

2004 was the third baseman’s first full campaign with his new squad, playing in 145 regular season games, and he did not disappoint. Ramirez hit for an absurd slash line of .318/.373/.578, crossing home plate 99 times, with 36 home runs, 103 RBI, and an OPS+ of 139. That same season he also had two different games with three home runs. The only knock on Ramirez to that point was his defense, he made 33 errors in 2003, but 2004 was a different story, his range factor of 2.26 was the lowest among all Major League third basemen that year.

Over the next seven seasons the Dominican-born slugger averaged 132 games played, 74 runs, 144 hits, 27 homers, and 95 RBI, with improving defense. In the span of his nine years with the Cubs organization, Ramirez piled up some impressive accolades, and numbers, he was selected to two All-star games, garnered MVP votes three different times, won a Hank Aaron, and Silver Slugger award.

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In 2007 the Cubs won the National League Division title; Ramirez led the team with 101 RBI, he finished second on the club in home runs (26) and batting average (.310). Ramirez continued to make strides defensively, as he lowered his error total and improved his range factor for the third consecutive year.

In his ninth and final season as a Cub, Ramirez batted .306 with 35 doubles, 26 long balls and a team-high 93 RBI, also leading the team in slugging and on-base percentage. He ended his Cubs career slashing .294/.359/.531 – for what its worth Ron Santo slashed .279/.366/.472 in his career on the north side, though Santo played five more years with the Cubs then Ramirez.

Aside from the injuries, the veteran third baseman has had a successful career, and after signing a three-year deal worth $36 million with the Milwaukee Brewers, he continues to produce at an above average pace. Ramirez has 17 major league seasons under his belt, six with the Pirates, nine with the Cubs, and three with the Brewers respectively. He has no gold gloves, no MVP’s and no World Series rings or appearances, but his overall production can not be ignored. Ramirez is 31 homers away from the 400 club, 158 RBIs away from 1,500, 314 hits from 2,500, and at 36-years-old still has a lot left in the tank. Another 36-year-old third baseman who will also be in the debate for enshrinement one day, is Texas Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, and though Beltre has more accolades, Ramirez’s numbers are not far off.

The once prolific third baseman is a borderline Hall of Famer, and could struggle to get to Cooperstown, but he most certainly will not struggle to get into the Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame.

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