#3: Who’s on third?
Trivia Questions: How many Cubs started more than 50 games at third base between Ron Santo’s retirement in 1973 to 2003?
Answer: 44. Again, that is those who started more than 50 games at third. You can add at least 30 more with less than 50 starts. So, in terms of third basemen, the Chicago Cubs were worse than the Cleveland Browns trying to find a quarterback.
That changed on July 23, 2003. That is when the Cubs traded with the division-rival Pittsburgh Pirates to acquire Aramis Ramirez. Over the following eight years, Ramirez started in at least 118 games in seven seasons. His performance over the years provided the stability that the team had not seen at third since Bill Madlock in 1976.
Now, the hot corner for the Cubs is one of the most important positions. Only eight players have played 50 or more games at third since Ramirez arrived. And, only two have more than 100 starts: Luis Valbuena and Kris Bryant. It is safe to say the Aramis Ramirez made the third base position in Chicago important again.