Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Wood vs. Wood #205

Last time 1987 eked out a 6-5 victory. Who will win this battle of National League third basemen?

The red sleeves on Gene Freese's jersey really pop on his card. Freese played for six teams in his 12-year major league career, mostly for the Pirates, Reds and White Sox. His best season was 1961, when he helped the surprising Reds win the pennant, hitting .277 with 26 HR and 87 RBI. However, he was just 1-for-16 in the World Series. Overall in 1,115 games he hit .254 with 115 HR and 432 RBI. He died eleven years ago today at the age of 79.

We get a very close-up look at Graig Nettles on his card. Nettles has the highest WAR total of any third baseman not in the Hall of Fame, and the highest WAR total of any player with a batting average below .250. The six-time All Star was one of the big stars of the Yankee teams that won four pennants and two World Series between 1976 and 1981. He led the AL with 32 HR in 1976, and in 1977 had his best season, hitting .255 with 37 HR and 107 RBI. The Yankees traded him to the Padres before the 1984 season and helped San Diego win their first-ever pennant that year. In 2,700 major league games he hit .248 with 390 HR and 1,314 RBI. Nettles was also a terrific defender, with the most impressive highlight reel of postseason defensive gems since Brooks Robinson. Nettles was a scout and coach for a while but is now retired.