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Ive always wondered why there are so few third basemen in the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. In fact there are fewer that played the "Hot Corner" in the Hall than any other position. In total there are 16 men enshrined, but four of them were restricted to playing in the Negro Leagues because of the social injustice of racism and the Colour Barrier. Of the remaining 12, Paul Molitor actually only played the position for a little over 700 games, due in large part to injuries. He earned his spot in the Hall and deservedly so for his versatility, his hitting and his ability as a DH, not to mention, his incredible baseball "IQ" and base running ability. That only leaves 11 men who primarily played third and made it to Cooperstown, since the first class was announced in 1936. Though playing a corner infield position might initially make you think of power first and defence second, it really seems to be the other way around. Only two of the 11 hit over 500 home runs, Phillies great Mike Schmidt and Braves legend Eddie Mathews. George Brett was next over 200 behind them. Brett and Wade Boggs were both incredible gap to gap hitters. Its a little surprising to see that four of these Hall of Famers actually hit fewer than 100 homers, including Frank "Home Run" Baker, who won four home run titles despite only hitting 96 in his career in the early 1900s. Baker actually used a 52 ounce bat that could be as many as 20 ounces heavier than the lumber used today. Defence is really the gold standard at third base. Orioles Brooks Robinson, who really defined greatness in the 60s and 70s at third, won 16 Gold Gloves. 16 in a row, I might add. Schmidt won 10 Gold Gloves and six Sliver Slugger awards as top hitter at his position in addition to being a three time Most Valuable Player and 12-time All-Star. There simply isnt anyone in that class today. When I first saw Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie and Orioles third baseman Manny Machado play, I thought both had a shot at greatness. Theyre both certainly young enough to reach those lofty heights, but Lawrie has been bogged down by injuries and Machado has now had season ending surgeries on both knees over the last two seasons. The top three third baseman right now, in no particular order, are Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Mets David Wright and Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers. Longoria has established himself as one of the top two or so defensively while still striving to achieve his full potential offensively. Wright, slowed by injuries this season, is a seven time all-star and two-time Gold Glover. What he really needs is a winning Mets team to raise his profile. Beltre at 35 is in the twilight of a very good career, he is a four- time Gold Glove winner and has taken three Silver Slugger awards. He has a fairly decent shot at being the 17th third baseman to get into Cooperstown Ed Sprague is probably the best third baseman the Blue Jays ever developed on their own. Others such as Kelly Gruber, Tony Batista, Scott Rolen, Troy Glaus or Lawrie were picked up in deals or draft claims (Gruber) from other organizations. Even the great platoon of the early days Garth Iorg and Rance Mulliniks originated elsewhere. In their entire history, the Blue Jays have only had one of their third basemen win a Gold Glove; Gruber in 1990. As great a franchise as the Yankees are, Boggs and Frank Baker are the only third baseman to make it to Cooperstown. Boggs spent the lions share of his career in Boston and Baker began his career in Philadelphia. Over the weekend, Arizona made it known, theyre going to at least experiment with moving former Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill from the "Keystone" to third next season. Its partially because they havent developed anyone else for the position, partially because of his power potential and because they cant find another team to take his contract off their hands. Its just another example though of how difficult it is to find and develop a quality third baseman let alone a Hall of Famer. Last week I talked about how much easier the Tigers schedule looked down the stretch since they had 11 games remaining with Minnesota, While on the weekend, they wrapped out 60 hits in their four game set with the Twins at Target Field. The last time Detroit did that in a four game series was July 6th to the 8th in 1956 at old Comiskey Park in Chicago against the White Sox. Yet for all of that offence, the Tigers could only get a split and remain a game back of Seattle for that final Wild Card position. How important is a teams road record? Well only one team currently holding a losing record away from home is in possession of a Play-off position, That would be St. Louis at (31-33) and sitting in the first Wild Card spot in the National League, The Blue Jays are (32-36) with just 13 road games to go. Jacoby Ellsbury Jersey . Bradwell was scheduled to become a free agent Tuesday. Born and raised in Toronto, Bradwell is entering his sixth CFL season, with all six played for his hometown Argonauts. Jordan Montgomery Jersey . TSNs coverage of the Third Round gets underway Sunday with Game 1: Los Angeles at Chicago at 3pm et/Noon pt. TSNs broadcast schedule for the Third Round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs is as follows: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings• Game 1: Los Angeles at Chicago – Sunday, May 18 at 3pm et/Noon pt• Game 2: Los Angeles at Chicago – Wednesday, May 21 at 8pm et/5pm pt• Game 4: Chicago at Los Angeles – Monday, May 26 at 9pm et/6pm pt Featured in the broadcast booth for TSN are play-by-play announcer Chris Cuthbert and game analyst Ray Ferraro, with Farhan Lalji contributing reports from rinkside. http://www.customyankeesjersey.com/cust ... 1324i.html . When a game is in the balance, however, they still have the personnel and the experience to end up with the two points. Billy Martin Jersey . The No. 5 Aztecs held Burton, the Mountain Wests leading scorer, to 11 points, 10 below his average, in beating the Wolf Pack 73-58 on Saturday night. Joe Pepitone Jersey . Neither player was available Saturday for the Knicks 107-98 loss in Atlanta. "Were going in a different direction and weve got to figure out another spot or two for our ballclub," coach Mike Woodson said before the game.MUNICH, Germany -- Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone rejected accusations of bribery as he went on trial Thursday in a case that could threaten his grip on the sport, telling a Munich court that he was blackmailed by a German banker who received a disputed $44 million payment. Ecclestone said at the beginning of a four-hour personal statement read out in German by his lawyers that he was "grateful" to be able to give his side of the story -- though he told judges that he would answer questions from the Munich state court through his lawyers, rather than personally. The 83-year-old Ecclestone is charged with bribery and incitement to breach of trust, and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. The charges involve a $44 million payment to banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, who is serving an 8 1/2-year sentence for taking the money. Ecclestone appeared in court in a dark three-piece suit and followed the proceedings closely with help from an interpreter whispering into his ear. Prosecutors allege the payment was meant to facilitate the sale of Munich-based bank Bayern LBs stake in Formula One to a buyer of Ecclestones liking. Gribkowsky was in charge of selling that 47 per cent stake in F1 in 2005. Ecclestone testified during Gribkowskys trial in 2011 and Gribkowsky is expected to be the main witness during Ecclestones trial, which is scheduled to last until Sept. 16. Gribkowsky was found guilty of corruption, tax evasion and breach of trust in a trial led by the same judge who is hearing Ecclestones case, Peter Noll. The defence made clear that it will attack Gribkowskys credibility, and Ecclestone said in his statement that the banker didnt tell the truth. In Thursdays statement, Ecclestone reiterated testimony he gave at Gribkowskys trial that he gave the banker the money because he was "blackmailed" and worried Gribkowsky would falsely accuse of him of being in charge of a trust fund set up for the Formula One bosss former wife and their children -- possibly incurring a huge British tax bill.dddddddddddd Ecclestone said that "from todays point of view, it was not a rational decision" to pay Gribkowsky. "I saw my lifes work in danger" if Gribkowsky went to the British tax authorities, he said, adding that he wouldnt have been able to pay the resulting bill. Ecclestone said he had turned over his entire stake in Formula One to his then-wife, Slavica, and their two daughters in 1997 following a series of operations and a health scare that left him worried his wife would face a 40 per cent inheritance tax. He said he ran the day-to-day business of Formula One but hasnt owned any stake in the lucrative series since 1997. Ecclestones lawyers also insisted anew that their client is innocent, saying in a written statement that "the alleged bribe has not occurred." They argued that the indictment is based on statements by Gribkowsky that are "incorrect, misleading and incoherent" and said they would produce new documents at the trial to dispute Gribkowskys assertions. Ecclestone said he thought Gribkowsky wanted out of banking and had been interested in founding his own Formula One team. Ecclestone has stepped down temporarily as a director of F1s holding company pending the outcome of the trial, though he continues to manage the sports commercial operations on behalf of investment fund CVC Capital Partners, which has a controlling stake in the web of companies which run the commercial side of the sport. Ecclestone, who built his powerbase in F1 starting in the 1970s, likely would be unable to remain in charge if convicted -- even if he avoids a prison sentence. The trial will continue May 2. ' ' '
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