Best Dodgers third baseman: Cookie Lavagetto and Adrian Beltre
4. Cookie Lavagetto
Successor to Jersey Joe, Harry “Cookie” Lavagetto came over from the Pirates following the 1936 season. After primarily playing second base in Pittsburgh, Lavagetto transitioned over to third for the 1938 season and quickly became one of the premier third basemen in baseball.
He made his first All-Star appearance in 1938, hitting .273, driving in 73 runs, and stealing 15 bases. The Dodger fan-favorite was named to the All-Star team the following three seasons, hitting as high as .300 and driving in as many as 87 runs.
The following four seasons took a different turn for Lavagetto, as he put baseball on the back burner to serve his country in World War II. He returned to the Dodgers for two more seasons after his tour of duty, but wasn’t the same player as in his pre-war years, and hung up his spikes after 1947.
However, his most memorable moment came in his last ever at bat: a walk-off hit to break up a no hitter in Game 4 of the 1947 World Series.
3. Adrian Beltre
Fast forward to the 21st century, and Adrian Beltre comes in at number three on our list. Beltre had the highest single season peak of anyone on this list, and has the best overall career resume. However, Beltre’s Dodger tenure was full of growing pains.
The fact he came up at only 19 coupled with his unorthodox hitting and fielding techniques resulted in inconsistency. In fact, all of Beltre’s All-Star appearances came in 2010 or later, despite debuting in 1998.
Battling inconsistency, Beltre still hit as high as .290 and hit as many as 23 homers from 1998 to 2003. He wasn’t a star, but it was clear he had “it” in him. 2004 is the year he put it all together. Setting career highs in nearly every offensive category, Beltre finished second in MVP voting and his 48 home runs are still the second most by a Dodger ever.
Despite blossoming into a superstar, the Dodgers let him go after the ‘04 season in a cost-cutting move. It may have seemed like the right move after a couple of rough seasons in Seattle, but Beltre re-established himself as an elite third baseman, and appears to be destined for enshrinement in Cooperstown.