MLB Today: Chipper Jones Now the Man at Third
George Brett is no longer the most productive third baseman ever.
Chipper Jones hit a two-run single Friday to reach 1,598 career RBI, just two shy of a milestone, but more importantly enough to give him more than any other third baseman in the history of the game.
That’s right, Jones now has more ribbies than George Brett, Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews among players who primarily played third base, further cementing his status as a first-ballot Hall of Famer after he calls it quits at the end of this season.
Schmidt still leads the way with 1,419 RBI while actually playing third base with Jones second on the list with 1,316. Recall that Chipper moved to the outfield for a few seasons, playing 363 games at that position (and producing 227 runs during that stretch).
Of course, Jones may just be keeping the top of the chart warm for Alex Rodriguez, who already has way more RBI than any of the players discussed above (he’s within 66 of 2,000 now), but has still played more games at shortstop than third.
Not for long, though.
With just 131 more games at third (assuming he doesn’t man shortstop at all in the interim), A-Rod’s primary career position will change to the hot corner, thereby moving him to the top of the RBI list.
While we’re looking at the all-time leaderboard, here are a few other tidbits to chew on:
- A-Rod is just six runs shy of tying Tris Speaker for a spot inside the all-time top 10.
- Derek Jeter needs 32 more hits to tie Nap Lajoie for 12th place.
- Todd Helton, who will begin a rehab assignment this weekend as he works his way back from a hip injury, is just five doubles away from tying recently retired Ivan Rodriguez for 20th place.
- Carl Crawford is the active career triples leader; his next three-bagger will snap a five-way tie for 112th place (with Rod Carew, Nellie Fox, Hardy Richardson and Bill Terry) and move him into a five-way tie for 108th place (with Jack Fournier, Dummy Hoy, Joe Medwick and Tim Raines).
- Chipper wasn’t the only one to reach a milestone on Friday as Jim Thome hit his 610th homer to pass Sammy Sosa and take over sole possession of seventh place. Next up, Ken Griffey, Jr. in sixth, who is 20 dingers ahead.
- A-Rod is just four ribbies away from tying Ty Cobb for sixth place.
- Juan Pierre is three steals away from tying Tom Brown for 19th place.
- Technically, Jamie Moyer is the active leader in wins with 269, but assuming he’s done, that leaves currently injured Andy Petttite at the top of the list (tied for 50th place with Juan Marichal at 243 wins). Of course, Pettitte won’t be making a dent on this list until at least September thanks to a busted fibula.
- Mariano Rivera still sits atop the career save list with 608, and while some reports suggest he may return from his knee injury before the end of the season, we have our doubts he’ll be adding to that total before 2013. Francisco Cordero is the closest active competitor, with 329, but of course, he’s been relegated to a setup role in Toronto, managing just two saves to pull within one of tying the dude Mo used to set up, Joe Wetteland, for 11th place all-time. Now with Houston, Cordero could get another crack at saves if the Astros trade Brett Myers as expected.
- Assuming Javier Vazquez has retired (have we had official word on this?), the active leader in strikeouts is Moyer, who could be done as well. That leaves Pettitte in 45th place (six back of Rube Waddell) as the definite active leader. But if we’re looking at pitchers that aren’t currently hurt, Dandy Andy’s rotation mate CC Sabathia is moving up the charts. He’s now just 21 punchouts shy of tying Dennis Martinez for 57th all-time.
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