Graig Nettles surpassed most Hall of Fame third basemen

10 11 2009

Compare Graig Nettles to the other third basemen in the Hall of Fame and you quickly see that he belongs with them.

Nettles led all third basemen but one in games played at third, assists and double plays. The one guy ahead of him? Brooks Robinson. Nettles couldn’t start winning Gold Gloves until Robinson retired (even though he passed him up defensively a few years earlier), so he only won two Gold Gloves. But if you’re on a short list at third base with Brooks Robinson, you certainly deserve consideration.

How about offensively? Does Nettles stack up to Hall of Famers there? Ten players made the Hall of Fame primarily as third basemen: Frank Baker, Wade Boggs, George Brett, Jimmy Collins, George Kell, Freddie Lindstrom, Eddie Mathews, Robinson, Mike Schmidt and Pie Traynor.

Only Schmidt and Mathews hit more homers than Nettles and they were the only other third basemen in the Hall of Fame who led their leagues in homers (Nettles did it in 1976). Only Schmidt, Mathews, Robinson and Brett drove in more runs.

Think about that: Defensively and in two of the three Triple Crown offensive categories, Nettles was better than more than half of the third basemen in the Hall of Fame.

I think you weaken your argument for the Hall of Fame when you start comparing a player to the marginal Hall of Famers. But when you start comparisons and you keep lumping a player with guys like Robinson, Brett, Schmidt and Mathews, and ahead of most of the other guys at his position in the Hall of Fame, he’s a Hall of Famer.

In one of the Triple Crown categories, batting average, Nettles was worse than all the Hall of Fame third basemen, hitting only .248. But he walked a lot and his on-base percentage, .329, was actually higher than Robinson’s. And he had more career hits and walks (not just combined, more in both categories) than four third basemen in the Hall of Fame: Baker, Collins, Kell and Lindstrom.

Nettles was a six-time All-Star, a two-time World Series champion (1977-78) and a League Championship Series Most Valuable Player. He turned in one of the most amazing defensive performances in World Series history.

In my posts about why Don Mattingly and Ron Guidry, I noted that longevity and being Yankees were the only reasons they weren’t slam-dunk Hall of Famers. But Nettles played long enough to be a leader at his position in nearly every offensive and defensive category.

So there’s only one reason he isn’t in the Hall of Fame: He was a Yankee.



20 responses

6 01 2010
Thurman Munson belongs in the Hall of Fame « Hated Yankees

[…] Munson belongs in the Hall of Fame, too, along with Don Mattingly, Ron Guidry, Roger Maris, Graig Nettles, Tommy John and Allie Reynolds (I’ll write about John and Reynolds someday). Possibly related […]


6 01 2011
Ron Guidry elevated the great teams he played on « Hated Yankees

[…] played with Hall of Famers Jackson, Winfield and Henderson. (Of course, I’ve noted that Nettles, Munson and Mattingly also belong in the Hall of Fame.) But Guidry actually elevated his team’s […]


5 02 2011
Andy Pettitte: a borderline Hall of Fame candidate (so he won’t get in) « Hated Yankees

[…] of Fame. He is a Yankee, and Hall of Fame voters consistently vote against borderline Yankees (see Graig Nettles and Tommy John). And he used performance-enhancing drugs. We don’t have much history of how the […]


18 02 2011
20 02 2011
Yankees, though easily baseball’s best team, are 3rd in Hall of Famers « Hated Yankees

[…] Someone named Chris, blogging as Carrot League Baseball Today, dropped a link to a blog post in the comments on my post about why Graig Nettles belongs in the Hall of Fame. […]


19 10 2011
Jorge Posada has been better than most Hall of Fame catchers « Hated Yankees

[…] have stronger cases than Posada: Roger Maris, Don Mattingly, Ron Guidry, and Tommy John. Graig Nettles has a similar case (Allie Reynolds, too, though I haven’t written about him […]


17 11 2011
7 keys to SEO: How to help people find your blog « The Buttry Diary

[…] written other blog posts on Yankees who aren’t any more famous than Mattingly (Ron Guidry, Graig Nettles and Thurman Munson) that attracted significantly more readers because I put their names in the […]


29 03 2012
Yankees nettles | Ponderandpray

[…] Graig Nettles surpassed most Hall of Fame third … – Hated YankeesNov 10, 2009 … He is a Yankee, and Hall of Fame voters consistently vote against borderline Yankees (see Graig Nettles and Tommy John). And he used … […]


29 10 2012
Don Mattingly outperformed most Hall of Famers of his era « Hated Yankees

[…] and post-season heroics have not helped Munson, Ron Guidry, Roger Maris, Tommy John or Graig Nettles into the Hall of Fame. Because of the anti-Yankee bias, championships matter less to Hall of Fame […]


13 01 2013
A champion like Bernie Williams would be a sure Hall of Famer in football or basketball « Hated Yankees

[…] the Yankees of the 1970s, Ron Guidry, Thurman Munson and Graig Nettles would be sure Hall of Famers under football standards. Maybe Willie […]


12 01 2014
I prefer counting pitchers’ actual wins to hypothetical stats like WAR | Hated Yankees

[…] ball. So the four of them combined for four meaningful plays, none of them positive. Third baseman Graig Nettles was 0-for-4 with a putout and three assists, so he was involved in eight meaningful plays, four of […]


31 10 2014
Dean Baquet and Clay Shirky posts help my blog to traffic records in October | The Buttry Diary

[…] Part of this month’s big Hated Yankees’ traffic, though, was a 2010 post debunking the myth that strategy is more difficult in the National League. Somehow that has become the No. 1 Google result for “strategy National League.” Maybe the World Series prompts some searches relating to strategy and the designated-hitter rule. Anyway, a post that never topped 100 views in a month got over 600 views in October. Maybe someone linked to the post (though I didn’t get a pingback). At any rate, that post became the most-read Hated Yankees post, passing a 2009 post about Graig Nettles. […]


21 09 2015
Yankees among the best almost everywhere but starting pitcher | Hated Yankees

[…] want, but A-Rod, even on just half his career, merits at least top-five consideration. And Yankee Graig Nettles might be top 10, […]


17 10 2015
Yankee starting pitchers with the greatest teammates: Bullet Joe Bush and Mike Torrez | Hated Yankees

[…] past, anti-Yankee bias in Hall of Fame voting hurt this Yankee team. Ron Guidry, Thurman Munson and Graig Nettles all belong in the Hall of […]


10 01 2016
Yankees have more borderline Hall of Fame contenders than any other team | Hated Yankees

[…] the 1960s and ’70s, Maris, Elston Howard, Ron Guidry, Munson, Tommy John, Sparky Lyle and Graig Nettles were either comparable or clearly better Hall of Fame candidates than Santo. Nettles, in fact, was […]


7 04 2016
The 5 best third basemen in Yankee history | Hated Yankees

[…] taking the same approach with position players. I love Graig Nettles and I don’t like Alex Rodriguez. But I’m ranking them by performance as Yankees. Each […]


19 07 2016
Do we have a Yankees team with no future Hall of Famers? | Hated Yankees

[…] rookie year, but Hall of Fame voters have denied Munson his due. Graig Nettles, who also belongs in the Hall of Fame, joined the Yankees in 1973, but the Yankees went until 1975, when Catfish Hunter joined the team, […]


25 07 2016
Baseball Hall of Fame changes its absurd (and racist) ‘Era Committees’ | Hated Yankees

[…] Guidry, Don Mattingly, Thurman Munson, Tommy John and Graig Nettles are bound to be on some Modern Baseball ballots. I think John is the most likely to make it to […]


1 08 2016
William Krebs

My favorite all time ball player…. Totally deserves the hall, hell Piazza made it and he was horrible defensively….


18 08 2016

Nettles belongs in the hall and deserves a plaque in monument wall.


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