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

Richard Johnson
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Aramis Ramirez / Chicago Cubs
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The “five best” series continues today with a look at the five best third basemen in Chicago Cubs history. This been a strong position historically for the Cubs, with 10 players achieving double digit WAR production.

This series is based on last year’s all-time top 25. Unless otherwise noted, statistics are for each player’s tenure as a Cub, and references to WAR are to the Fangraphs version unless otherwise noted.

5. Aramis Ramirez 2003-11, .294/.356/.531, 126 wRC+, 25.7 WAR

Unwilling to deal with the nascent concept of free agency, the Cubs traded Bill Madlock after he demanded a raise at the end of the 1976 season. From 1977 until the acquisition of Ramirez in 2003, just six Cubs third basemen managed to produce more than 2.0 WAR, the Baseball Reference minimum standard for a starting player. (One of those was Ryne Sandberg, who spent most of his time at third as a rookie in 1982 because the Cubs had Bump Wills at second.)

Acquired in the brilliant Kenny Lofton trade, Ramirez provided the first stable, high level production at third since Santo. Ramirez is essentially tied with Heinie Zimmerman in WAR; either guy could appear in this slot. Ramirez probably gets the nod since he didn’t pal around with Hal Chase.

4. Kris Bryant 2015-21, .279/.378/.508, 135 wRC+, 30.8 WAR

Worth the wait? Decidedly. Bryant is at or near the top in several offensive categories for Cubs third basemen, including homers (third), isolated power (second), wOBA (tied for second), and wRC+ (second)  Epstein’s infamous manipulation of Bryant’s service time, which Bryant unsuccessfully challenged in arbitration, turned out to have had few long-term consequences. The Cubs collapsed around Bryant this year, rendering moot the near certainty that he would not re-sign.