Number One – Tommy Leach
Tommy Leach lined up on the left side of the Pittsburgh Pirates infield with Honus Wagner for most of his career. Although he saw quite a bit of time in the outfield, he was mainly used as a third baseman during his years in Pittsburgh, but more so during the early phase of his career.
With the Pirates, Leach hit .271/.332/.373. That might not seem too impressive now, but overall, that was about 10% above average with a 110 wRC+ and 109 OPS+ in 6,660 plate appearances. Leach was not a big power hitter, coming in around average for the time period, but he did steal his fair share of bags. He swiped 271 bases with the Pirates, and had nine base running runs above average from 1900 to 1911.
But most of Leach’s value came as a defender at third base. Throughout 1900 and 1911, Leach had +29 total zone runs. He also had an 8.3 dWAR, making him an elite caliber defender at third base. In total, Leach has the highest fWAR of all third basemen for the Pittsburgh Pirates at 40.8.
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