Red Sox History: A fan's all-time Red Sox defensive team

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Third Base - Frank Malzone

Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Beltré, and Mike Lowell are all this century's outstanding defensive third basemen. I will omit Rafael Devers. There is a drift back to the 1950s and early 1960s for a member of the Red Sox Hall of Fame.

Frank Malzone was a Red Sox lifer and a long-time fixture as a coach, but he was also the best I ever saw at third for Boston. The GG inaugural class had Malzone, as did the next two seasons until Brooks Robinson arrived and took over the award for years.

Malzone's 1957 defensive statistics are representative of his career, and the error figures can be a fright at first glance, but I remember most how his play rescued Ted Williams. Say, what?

Malzone was great at going to his right, and at Fenway Park, a ball hit down that line meant double. With Ted in left, it was automatic. Malzone regularly did preventive maintenance, but was equally gifted at going to his left. From my dimming memory banks, a healthy portion of Malzone's errors were on throws, since he refused to give up on any ball.

Malzone was excellent on the slow roller or bunt and had that bare hand to grab the ball and throw in one motion. What stood out was a series of lousy defensive infields for Boston in that period, which made Malzone look even better.