Phillies legend Mike Schmidt tops MLB Network’s Prime 9 third basemen

The Hall of Fame infielder for the Phillies is still holding strong in the rankings as the best third baseman, even 34 years after his retirement.
Mike Schmidt of the Philadelphia Phillies ranks as the best third baseman
Mike Schmidt of the Philadelphia Phillies ranks as the best third baseman / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

To the surprise of exactly zero Philadelphia Phillies fans, a team legend has been named the No. 1 third baseman since 1947 by MLB Network

The network's "Prime 9" rankings count down each position's nine best players, and on Dec. 12, it was time for the third baseman rankings to be released. Not shockingly, Mike Schmidt was crowned as the No. 1 player at the position since 1947.

The Phillies selected Schmidt out of Ohio University in the second round of the 1971 draft. After spending parts of two seasons in Double-A and Triple-A, the infielder made his debut in the big leagues on Sept. 17, 1972. 

Schmidt spent 18 years with Philadelphia, and he's one of only five players to have stayed with the Phillies for his full MLB career. Over those seasons, he slashed .267/.380/.527 with a .908 OPS. In 10,062 plate appearances across 2,404 games, he had 2,234 hits, 548 home runs, 1,595 RBI, 1,507 walks and an OPS+ of 148 — along with a career WAR of 106.8, according to Baseball Reference.

The third baseman put on a display on offense and defense throughout his career. He ended eight seasons as the home run leader in the National League, six campaigns as the OPS+ leader, five years as the slugging and OPS leaders, and four as the NL RBI leader. He finished his career as a 12-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner, six-time Silver Slugger and three-time NL MVP.

When helping the team win its first title in the 1980 World Series, he hit .381/.462/.714 with an OPS of 1.176 in six games of the series to go along with two home runs, seven RBI and four walks.

Schmidt, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995 in his first year on the ballot, retired in 1989 at the age of 39 after he struggled the season after dealing with injuries to his rotator cuff.

Among third basemen in the history of the game, in addition to leading the way with WAR, he has the top seven-best WAR seasons (58.8), JAWS score (82.8), and wins above average (73.7), according to Baseball Reference. In addition, his nine top-10 finishes in the MVP race represented the most among the position. And his 548 home runs currently rank 16th among all MLB players in the history of the sport.

The Hall of Famer holds the No. 1 spot in numerous categories in Phillies history too, including WAR, games played, plate appearances, runs scored (1,506), total bases (4,404), home runs, RBI, walks, extra-base hits (1,015), sac flies (108), and intentional walks (201).

Widely considered one of the best to ever step on the field, there's no doubt Schmidt deserves praise and consideration as the No. 1 third baseman in the history of the game.

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