Chasing Graig Nettles: All-time Homer Totals for Current AL 3rd Basemen

by PaperbackLou

Yesterday’s post got us thinking — besides ARod, is there any other current American League 3rd basemen close to threatening Graig Nettles‘ record for all-time homeruns by a 3rd baseman in the American League.

It is currently onerous to figure out how many homers a player has hit while playing a particular position in a game — you have to do a year-by-year addition of ESPN’s splits — so we took a ballpark view — lets take a look simply at how many homeruns each current AL 3rd baseman has, all time.

Again, All-Time Record Homeruns American League: Graig Nettles = 319

Team Player All-time Homers as 3rd Baseman (as of today’s date)
NY Yankees Chase Headley 96
NY Yankees Alex Rodriguez 287 (see yesterday’s article)
Tampa Bay Evan Longoria 185
Baltimore Manny Machado 37
Boston Pablo Sandoval 108 (only 2 in AL so far)
Toronto Josh Donaldson 69
Kansas City Mike Moustakas 55
Detroit Nick Castellanos 13
Minnesota Trevor Plouffe 66
Chicago White Sox Conor Gillaspie 21
Cleveland Lonnie Chisenhall 37
Houston Luis Valbuena 51
LA Angels David Freese 58
Seattle Kyle Seager 21
Oakland Brett Lawrie 45
Texas Adrian Beltre 477 — 295 in American League

We originally wrote this article in 2015, and have been watching the last guy we looked up — Adrian Beltre — for the last 4 years. Beltre announced his retirement at the end of the 2018 season. His final stats are below (and of course Beltre played in an era with a more lively ball, steroids, and a VERY hitter-friendly ballpark in Texas).

Adrian Beltre
Year Team HR’s as 3rd Baseman (in AL)
1998-2004 LA Dodgers 0 (in National League)
2005 Seattle 19
2006 Seattle 25
2007 Seattle 26
2008 Seattle 23
2009 Seattle 8
2010 Boston 28
2011 Texas 26
2012 Texas 31
2013 Texas 26
2014 Texas 16
2015 Texas 18
2016 Texas 28
2017 Texas 14
2018 Texas 7
Final Total American League 295

All of this — especially the homerun totals of current American League 3rd basemen — shows you two things:

  1. How 3rd Base is really a DEFENSIVE position — a position where DEFENSE is prioritorized over hitting. Yet when it comes to Hall of Fame voting, 3rd basemen are judged by their offense as if they were outfielders. The least players in the Hall of Fame by position is 3rd basemen.
  2. How impressive Graig Nettles record is — built in the dead-ball seventies, and still holding up today, 30 years later. Really impressive. And his phenomenal defense.

In Summary

Final Point: Graig Nettles — belongs in the Hall of Fame. Not to mention the Yankees should retire his number (#9, already retired for Roger Maris but Yanks have double retired other numbers, like #8 for Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey) and give him a plaque in Monument Park — he’s been named greatest Yankee 3rd basemen by the Yankees themselves in a survey they did a few years ago, had a Hall of Fame-caliber career with them, won a homerun title as a Yankee, won 2 Gold Gloves (should have won 10), and won the 1978 World Series for them with his Defense!

Graig Nettles hitting homerun at Shea Stadium, 1974


  1. I watched the Yankees on tv all the time and Nettles was a highlight film all to himself! Though he only won 2 Gold Gloves we know it should’ve been at least 5. Set records defensively in the early 70’s but no GG. With all due respect to Brooks Graig Nettles should have won it then, but he played for Cleveland which was a losing team. He’s my starting 3rd Baseman of All-Time.

  2. Nettles was my idol! The Garvey linedrive catch in the 81’
    Series was amazing and was on the Daily News cover the
    next day with ‘Nettles!’ I think he broke his thumb on that play, but
    played another game, but couldn’t grip a bat. And he was the
    toughest guy pound for pound on the team. Just aske Lee,
    Brett and Reggie.

  3. what Paper~back Lou wrote was 110% True ! Graig Nettles is better than brooks Robinson + Nettles belongs On The Wall of The Yankees Monument Park + in The MLB Hall Of Fame ! Mister G Nettles set 2 All-Time MLB Records in 1971 (412 A + 54 dp) and As Stated by Lou : Nettles Still is The AL All-Time home Run King at 3rd base + for 1976 + 1977 Nettles hit The Most AL home Runs over that 2 Season Span + Nettles deserves Gold Gloves from 1970 ~ 1976 in Addition to The 2 from 1977 + 1978 ! Nettles was The 1981 ALCS MvP too ! Amen

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