Mike Schmidt was the best all-round third baseman of all time.
He combined power with defense - a three-time NL MVP, he is 7th on the all-time home run list with 548 home runs. He led the National in home runs 8 times, and in RBI 3 times. He hit 40 or more taters on three occasions, and hit over 30 on 13 occasions. His 48 home runs in 1980 are the most ever in a single season by a third baseman. Schmidt also won 10 Gold Gloves, and fielded his position as well as anyone not named Brooks Robinson.
Schmidt struggled with strikeouts, especially early in his career, and retired with the third-highest strikeout total of all time. His best years came after 1979 when the arrival of Pete Rose gave the Phillies a new team leader and took the pressure off of Schmidt. In 1980, he was the runaway choice for NL MVP, and took the World Series MVP as well in the Phillies six-game victory; he repeated as MVP in the strike-shortened 1981 season, and won his third in 1986.
Five years after retiring, Schmidt was voted into the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association, who awarded him 444 out of 460 possible votes (96.5 percent) and made him only the 31st player to be elected in their first year of eligibility.
"Any time you think you have the game conquered, the game will turn around and punch you right in the nose."
Picture from National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc.
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