Schmidt was just about perfect

Originally Published: July 29, 2005
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
After reading the reactions to Thursday's column about the 10 greatest second basemen ever, all I know is that I got everything wrong. So why would I turn around today and rank the greatest third basemen? I guess I just love getting e-mail.

10. Sal Bando
Qualitatively, there's very little separating Bando from Ken Boyer, Graig Nettles, Pie Traynor, Ron Cey and a few others. If you like Boyer because of the MVP, or Nettles because of all those runs he saved in October, or Pie Traynor because somebody should represent the 1920s, I'm not going to argue with you. But I'm going with Bando because he played a key role for a great team, because his teammates admired the cut of his jib, and because at his best he was slightly better than the other guys.

9. Stan Hack
Stan Hack has been terribly underappreciated because the thing he did best -- reach base -- was terribly underappreciated in his time and for many years thereafter. But now robots live amongst us, and we're smart enough to understand that Hack's .394 career on-base percentage was outstanding. We're smart enough to check Hack's career and discover that his OBP was among the 10 best in the National League in eight different seasons. And we're smart enough to recognize that Hack -- who played his first game in 1932 and his last in 1947 -- was the best third baseman in the game between Frank Baker and Brooks Robinson.


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