Chicago Cubs: Who are the 5 best third basemen in team history?

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs: Was there ever any doubt? Of course it’s Ron Santo

1. Ron Santo 1960-73, .279/.366/.472, 128 wRC+, 71.9 WAR

Santo is the second-best Cub ever (or perhaps first, if you’re really into talent compression) and among the top 10 third basemen in MLB history. Santo went on a remarkable tear from 1964-67, when he put together the best four single seasons at third for the Cubs (collectively amounting to 150 homers, over 800 hits, and an .896 OPS). He also owns six of the top 10. I’m not a big believer in an afterlife, but I’d like to think that somehow, somewhere, Ronnie was able to enjoy is Hall of Fame induction. We miss you, man.

Chicago Cubs: Looking at some honorable mention candidates

Heinie Zimmerman (1907-16, 26.3 WAR) was “Zim” before this guy was. Zimmerman became a starter in 1911, playing mostly at second. He became the full time third baseman in 1912 and utterly raked, leading the NL in hits, doubles, homers, average, slug, OPS, OPS+, total bases (318), and a bunch of other stats. He would continue to produce for the Cubs, though not at this incredible level, until August 1916. Dogged by a match-fixing reputation that would later become reality, the Cubs dealt him to the Giants.

Harry Steinfeldt (1906-10, 20.4 WAR) was the Cubs infielder who didn’t make into the poem.  Acquired in 1906 from the Cincinnati Reds, Steinfeldt would have outstanding campaign, leading the league in hits and RBIs, and posting a 151 OPS+. Already 30 years old, there was little reason to believe Steinfeldt would repeat, and he didn’t; his OPS+ for the remainder of his Cubs tenure was just 94.

Next. Take a look at our all-time top 25 Cubs players rankings. dark

The brilliant, combustible Bill Madlock (1974-76, 11.1 WAR) should have been Santo’s long-term replacement at third, but it was not to be. Unwilling to give a raise to a man he did not consider a “team player,” owner Philip Wrigley dispatched Madlock to the Giants for over-the-hill Bobby Murcer and never-climbed-the-hill Steve Ontiveros, who failed to match the promise of his initial year at third with the Cubs.