This one is kind of a no brainer also. The Cubs have had some pretty good third basemen in their long history though. As usual, these are in no particular order until the final winner.
Stan Hack. The four-time All-Star played all 16 of his big-league seasons with the Cubs and was a member of four World Series teams. He led the NL in stolen bases twice and reached double digits in steals in eight consecutive seasons. A lifetime .301 hitter in the regular-season, Hack twice led the NL in hits. He also batted .367 with a .408 OBP in his 18 World Series games.
Aramis Ramirez. One of my personal all time favorites. I always thought he was underrated. In his eight-plus seasons as a Cub, Ramirez hit 239 home runs, drove in 806 runs and batted .294. He hit 30 or more home runs in three consecutive seasons (2004-06), drove in 100 or more runs four times and batted .300 or better five times. Ramirez hit three home runs in the 2003 NLCS against the Marlins. Ramirez always seemed to be clutch also.
Heinie Zimmerman. A career .304 hitter in his 10 seasons with the Cubs, Zimmerman hit .300 or better three years in a row from 1911-1913. He would have won the Triple Crown in 1912, leading the National League in batting average (.372), home runs (14) and runs batted in (104), but his RBI total was later revised down to 99 upon further examination of the box scores. He also led the league in hits (207), doubles (41) and slugging percentage (.571) that season.
Ron Cey. The Penguin played for the Cubs from 1983-1986. A big part of the division winning 1984 Cubs, Cey hit 25 omer runs and drove in 97. He hit 84 homers and knocked it 286 in his 4 years in Cubs pinstripes.
And the winner is….
Ron Santo. You notice none of the aforementioned contenders were especially known for defense. Santo breaks that mold. In his 14 seasons with the Cubs, Santo was named to nine NL All-Star teams and won five consecutive Gold Glove awards (1964-68). But don’t think that means Santo was all glove and no bat. He had four seasons with 100 or more RBI and hit 30 or more home runs in four consecutive seasons (1964-67). The 2012 Hall-of-Fame inductee hit 337 home runs and drove in 1,290 runs as a Cub. Much like his longtime teammate Ernie Banks, Santo left us before seeing his beloved Cubs finally win the elusive World Series. He also had passed before being elected to the Hall-of-Fame, which was a miscarriage of justice. Shame on all the writers and the veterans too, who kept Santo out of the Hall until he passed.
So now we have a pitching staff and a full infield. Up next is the outfield. I’m going to start in center next week, since, once again, we kind of already know who’s playing left. Right field will me last because I am still torn on it. There are 2 major contenders in my mind, and I am having an internal struggle with it. But that’s a few weeks off.