Third base has been returned to a yawning chasm
The Cubs love their traditions
We’ve detailed in gory detail about how center field is the spot the Cubs have been most inept at filling for a long time, give or take a half century. But you may have grown up during a time when the big lament was the lack of a quality third baseman.
That never really held that much water considering they had a Hall of Famer there for 14 seasons ending in 1973 (Ron Santo), then replaced him with a two-time batting champion (Bill Madlock).
But they traded Bill to the Giants because owner PK Wrigley didn’t approve of Bill’s dating habits…
…and that started a long run of the likes of Steve Ontiveros, Lenny Randle, Ken Reitz, Keith Moreland, Vance Law, Luis Salazar, Steve Buchele, Todd Zeile, Leo Gomez, Kevin Orie, Gary Gaetti, Willie Greene and Ron Coomer.
There was an intermezzo from 1982 to 1986 where Ryne Sandberg and then Ron Cey brought competence to the position. I’ve always wondered if the Cubs would have better off leaving Sandberg at third where he also would have been a perennial Gold Glove caliber player, since second base seemed like the easier position to find a competent player at in the ‘80s than third. But, I mean, Sandberg is in the Hall of Fame at second, so I guess that worked out.
Cey was washed up by 1985, but waddled through another season.
In 2003, the Cubs solved third for a long time with E-Ramis Ramirez which sparked a golden age at the position from him to the great Luis Valbuena to some guy named Kris Bryant (whatever happened to him?) Eighteen straight seasons of top notch third base play in the field and at the plate.
And then, when Bryant was traded in the panic sell of 2021, the Cubs stuck to their plan and filled that spot with nobody.
And here we are two seasons later with nobody there and no actual plan to fill that spot.
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