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Brewer WAR Lords: Third Base

Earlier in the series:

First Base/DH
Second Base

Today, we move across the infield to third base, although the top spot will look familiar if you read second base.

1. Paul Molitor

Career WAR: 27.9 (1st)
Top three seasons: 17.9 (1st)
Top five seasons: 26 (1st)

This is Molitor's third appearance on these lists: he finished third at first base and first at second base. Molitor spent seven seasons primarily at third base, from 1982 to 1989 (with one year as a DH in 1987). The best season of Molitor's career was in 1982, when he hit .302/.366/.450, stole 41 bases, led the AL in at bats and runs scored, and was worth 6.7 wins above replacement.

2. Jeff Cirillo

Career WAR: 25.6 (2nd)
Top three seasons: 15.7 (2nd)
Top five seasons: 22.2 (2nd)

Arguably the greatest Brewer of the 1990's, Cirillo spent eight seasons as a Brewer from 1994-1999 and 2005-2006. In his last four seasons before being traded to Colorado, Cirillo posted 20 wins above replacement, including the 1998 season when he hit .301/.402/.445 and was worth 6.1 wins. Cirillo had exactly 1000 hits in his Brewer career, and is the Brewer career leader in batting average (.307) and OBP (.384).

3. Don Money

Career WAR: 15.4 (3rd)
Top three seasons: 11.8 (3rd)
Top five seasons: 15.2 (3rd)

If Money had played his entire Brewer career in one position, he might appear at the top of one of these lists. Money spent five seasons at third base, three as a DH, one at second base and one at first, compiling 26 WAR in ten seasons. As a third baseman, Money was a two-time All Star, and in 1974 he hit .283/.346/.415, worth 5.4 wins.

4. Kevin Seitzer (tie)

Career WAR: 8.3 (4th)
Top three seasons: 7.5 (6th)
Top five seasons: 8.3 (4th)

Seitzer's run as a Brewer was notable for some interesting roster moves. Seitzer's best Brewer season was 1992, when the Royals released him during spring training and the Brewers gave him a shot, and were rewarded with a .270/.337/.367 line worth 3.7 wins. After the season, Seitzer signed a free agent deal with the A's but only lasted 73 games before being released again and re-signed by the Brewers. Seitzer was worth 7.4 wins (2.8 of them at first base) over parts of the following four seasons before being traded to the Indians for Jeromy Burnitz.

4. Sal Bando (tie)

Career WAR: 8.1 (5th)
Top three seasons: 9.2 (4th)
Top five seasons: 8.1 (5th)

Bando spent the last five seasons of his career in a Brewer uniform between 1977 and 1981, and was actually a valuable contributor for two of them, posting 9.1 WAR between 1977 and 1978. Bando was much better as an Athletic than a Brewer, but made up for that deficiency by spending 8 and a half seasons as the Brewers' GM, where his career lowlights included helping run Paul Molitor out of town, drafting Antone Williamson, and building the 1999 team that sent Rafael Roque to the mound on Opening Day.

Rounding out the top ten:

Pos. Player Career WAR Rank Top 3 Rank Top 5 Rank
6. Tommy Harper 7.7 6 7.7 5 7.7 6
7. B.J. Surhoff 3.5 7 3.5 7 3.5 7
8. Gary Sheffield 2.4 8 2.4 8 2.4 8
9. Tyler Houston 2.1 9 2.1 9 2.1 9
10. Russell Branyan 1.7 10 1.7 10 1.7 10

Thursday: Shortstop