Top 10 3rd Basemen of the 70’s

I am a child of the 1970s. My teen years were in the 80s but 1970s baseball is closer to my heart. These are my top 10 pics for third base. I’m going to cover all the positions and then have an all 70’s team.

I pitched a little and caught a little but I mostly played 3rd base in little league, 13-14, 15-16 and High School so that is where I will start. My favorite modern player at the time was Ron Cey…he was the reason I wanted to play 3rd base.

I will list WAR on these…but I don’t go just by that. I think WAR is a great tool but not everything about a player.

I first list their career WAR and at the end list their 1970’s only WAR.

Which ones do you agree with or disagree with? Thank you baseball reference!

  1. Mike Schmidt106.8 WAR – His 1980s stats were just as good as his 70s stats and that is saying something. …he is probably the best of all time…not just the seventies. 50.3 1970’s WAR 1970s
  2. George Brett – 88.7 WAR – George’s swing was a thing of beauty. He was the Pinetar man but much more than that. 31.5 WAR 1970s
  3. Graig Nettles68 WAR – This guy could beat you defensively just as much as offensively. Nettles had just as much to do with beating the Dodgers in the 77 and 78 World Series than Reggie Jackson did. I think he should be in the Hall of Fame as painful as that is to say. 54.5 WAR in the 70s…the leading WAR third baseman in the 70s.
  4. Sal Bando – 61.5 WAR – Sal was the captain of those great Oakland A’s teams of the 70s and had good power.  49 WAR 1970s
  5. Ron Cey –  53.8 WAR – The Penguin had a great batting eye and was the best power hitter the Dodgers had not named Reggie Smith. He was clutch in the postseason. He was the MVP (one of 3) of the 1981 World Series.  35.6 WAR 1970’s 
  6. Buddy Bell – 66.3 WAR – I remember Buddy Bell from the eighties more than the seventies. He languished with the Indians and Rangers in the 70s. He never played in the postseason.  31.4 1970’s WAR
  7. Bill Madlock – 38.2 WAR – This man could flat out hit. He played with a lot of teams in his career. I remember him most with the Pirates and he was part of their 1979 We Are Family championship. He was injured quite a bit in his career. He had a career batting average of .305.  20.8 1970’s WAR
  8. Don Money – 36.5 WAR – Don played with Philadelphia and Milwaukee. I remember him with Milwaukee and he had some pop.    28.8 1970’s WAR
  9. Richie Hebner – 33 WAR – I remember Richie with the Pirates and Phillies but mostly with the Phillies but he spent the bulk of his career with the Pirates and won a championship in1971 with them. 25.3 1970’s WAR
  10. Pete Rose – 79.7 WAR – Pete only played third from 1975 – 1978 for the Reds…that is why he isn’t higher.  19.9 WAR 1970s as a 3rd baseman

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

16 thoughts on “Top 10 3rd Basemen of the 70’s”

  1. Buddy Bell one of the most underrated players of his era. Played with a lot of lousy teams. How often in his days with the Indians were they on national television- probably only a handful of times. An under the radar star.

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    1. I remember him but I don’t remember seeing him play much but his stats knocked me out. It’s a shame that players on those teams could not get much coverage.

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      1. He always seemed to me to be a guy who came and did his job- nothing controversial about him. Played 18 years and no playoffs and it wasn’t his fault.

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      2. Him and Money surprised me. Those two didn’t get much coverage. I remember them more from baseball cards. Bell was consistent.
        If Madlock could have stayed healthy his numbers would have been higher. I remember him as a great natural hitter with power at times.

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      3. Acquiring Madlock in the summer of 79 along with Foli certainly played a big part in the Pirates last World Series title- but he could be frustrating- especially after the core players left and he was left as a ‘leader’ in the early 80’s…. he seemed to care about winning battling titles- it was predictable if he would be leading the league in mid september in hitting he’d miss time to make sure he won that title. I’d take Bell over him- much better all around. Madlock was a hitter not much in the field.

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      4. In Cleveland he got ignorned…I hardly ever remember seeing them on the Saturday or Monday game. In Texas I remember him a little more.

        This is fun looking back because of my perceptions. Like Rose…I remember him as a third baseman more than anything else…well except when he played first.
        I’m doing 1st basemen next…I thought Bob Watson would have larger power numbers…then it dawned on me that he played in the Astrodome…not power hitter friendly.

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  2. Interesting list. I thought Rose would be far higher, but I see the rationale – he played LF a fair bit too. Schmidt was I guess as good as it gets with the glove (I only saw a handful of games he played so I don’t really recall) and the ultimate power hitter for that time, and Brett was just a hitting machine. Two all-time greats. Richie Hebner- name I haven’t heard for a long time. I was a fan of his back then, thought he was somewhat under-rated.
    Alas, I have no real talent for playing baseball. No catching or throwing ability to speak of! Last time I played was in my college years, in a company softball beer league… I could hit for contact but that was about it. About a .350 hitter , with about a >350 slugging petcentage thanks to those infield singles!

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    1. I thought Rose played more 3rd base than he did…I didn’t know he just played those 3 years.
      I’ve always liked Baseballreference but I never knew you could dig for any stat you wanted…it’s something else.
      The two that surprised me was Graig Nettles and Buddy Bell…their WAR was pretty high.

      When I was a kid I really thought I was going to replace Ron Cey with the Dodgers…hey I aimed high!

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      1. They made me happy but they made me cry also lol. It seems like everyone who grows up with baseball…no matter how old you get..you identify with a generation of players…they are your players so to speak.

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      2. I think so. Funny thing is, baseball wasn’t widespread on TV back then – saturday afternoon game of week, the playoffs of course, a few Expos games on weeknights I think (in the pre-Jays days; even when Toronto had a team only a few games were televised initially) so I remember the 70s largely through baseball cards and reading the newspaper for boxscores and leaderboards and such. but I sure remember the names.

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      3. I agree… You had the Dodgers, Yankees, Pirates, Phillies, and the Royals on quite a bit because they won…the Indians, Brewers, and other teams…you didn’t get much. There was a game on Saturday and a Monday Night baseball game.

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    1. I know…I’ve seen someone blog about Albert Pujols 2017 season… 23 HR and 101 RBI and an admittedly bad OBP but it was a -1.9?

      The way they figure defense is just a memory. It’s a tool I would say but not what some people make it out to be.

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