The Chicago Cubs All-Time rookie team

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Chicago Cubs fans catch the ball – Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Third Base: Bill Madlock (1974)

This may not be a popular choice for everyone considering who was probably expected.  Bill Madlock was traded to the Chicago Cubs along with Vic Harris from the Texas Rangers for Cubs All-Star pitcher Ferguson Jenkins in 1973.

“Mad Dog” as he was often called for his temper on the field – was an excellent hitter.  The Cubs brought him in as the replacement for long-time third baseman Ron Santo.

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Replacing someone as popular as Santo was with the Cubs and their fans is never an easy task – but Madlock did earn his spot as a worthy successor.

In his rookie season, he would show how good he was as a hitter and what could be expected in the future.

Finishing his rookie campaign with .313 batting average and adding nine home runs, and 54 runs batted in.

The numbers he would put up at the plate were good enough to earn him third place in the NL Rookie of the Year voting – finishing behind second place Greg Gross of Houston and the winner Bake McBride of St. Louis.

So you may be asking, why not Santo? Comparing the numbers, Madlock had the better overall season.  Offensively Madlock had better numbers all around – though he had more games and at-bats than Santo.

While Santo was a much better third baseman over his career – Madlock had similar numbers to Santo defensively in their respective rookie seasons.

Comparing their numbers via baseball-references – it was only fair to give the nod to Madlock.  No one will replace Ron Santo‘s value or popularity with the Cubs – but from what I gathered from research, Madlock had the better rookie season.

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