Graig Nettles, one of the greatest 3rd Basemen in baseball history and should be in the Hall of Fame, still holds the American League record for homeruns by a 3rd baseman — despite playing in the deadball seventies.
Alex Rodriquez is close — of course playing in a lively ball, steroid-aided era. No one to my knowledge is tracking just how close ARod is to Nettles’ all-time AL record. Nettles hit 319 homeruns as a third baseman in the American League.
To find out how many homeruns ARod has hit as a thirdbaseman, we need to — count them — via ESPN’s year-by-year Splits:
|Year||AB as 3rd Baseman||HR as 3rd Baseman|
So as of May 2, 2015, ARod is 32 homeruns behind Graig Nettles all-time record for homeruns by a third baseman. ARod has two more years on his Yankee contract beyond this year, and he has looked good at 3rd base the few times he’s played it in spring training and the season.
Chase Headley is the Yankee starting 3rd baseman — so as long as he doesn’t get injured and holds up from a hitting standpoint, ARod may not catch Nettles. But it’s not a given — as ARod’s last three regular seasons attest — from 2011-2013 he hit 33 homeruns in 335/310/101 at bats. If Headley does get injured or not do the job offensively, and ARod is moved back to 3rd, Nettles record is in jeopardy.
So to summarize:
- Graig Nettles = 319 homeruns — AL Record for Homers by 3rd baseman
- ARod = 287 homeruns — backup 3rd baseman for Yanks with 3 years left on contract
It’s amazing Nettles’ record has held up this long — and again he did it in the dead-ball seventies, and was one of the greatest defensive 3rd basemen ever — reason why Nettles belongs in the Hall.
See also: All-Time Homerun Totals for Current American League 3rd Basemen
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