The position of third base has been lukewarm throughout White Sox history

Joe Crede hit 125 home runs for the Chicago White Sox from 2000-08.
Joe Crede hit 125 home runs for the Chicago White Sox from 2000-08. / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Jake Burger likely won't be the answer.

Yoan Moncada has certainly not been the answer.

Will the Chicago White Sox ever solve its third base dilemma? It's a question that has rarely been answered in a positive way throughout the franchise's history.

This year with Moncada and Burger has been no different.

But don't blame it all on the 28-year-old Moncada or the 27-year-old Burger. The hot corner, after all, has been lukewarm, at best, in terms of consistent, long-term production throughout White Sox history.

The greatest third baseman in White Sox history is, without much debate, Robin Ventura.

Ventura played 1,254 games from 1989-98 for the White Sox, hitting 171 home runs, and driving in 741 while hitting .274. He also won a Gold Glove in five of the six seasons he played 150 or more games for the White Sox.

Ventura, without question, was one of the best third basemen in the American League when he played for the White Sox. But nobody ever confused Ventura with Hall of Fame third basemen such as George Brett, Chipper Jones, Eddie Matthews, or Mike Schmidt.

Ventura hit 30 or more home runs in a season just once (34 in 1996) for the White Sox, never hit .300, and made just one All-Star team (1992). He was on the Hall of Fame ballot just one year (2010) and received just 1.3 percent of the votes.

Ventura, though, is the gold standard for White Sox third basemen. But he's the best of the mediocre-at-best lot. There are only four others (Joe Crede, Bill Melton, Pete Ward, and Willie Kamm) who would even be considered for the White Sox's Mount Rushmore of third basemen.

Third base has been an inconstant position in White Sox history.

Crede hit 140 home runs and drove in 470 runs in nine (2000-08) White Sox seasons. But he, too, hit as many as 30 home runs (30 in 2006) just once and was named to just one (2008) All-Star team.

Melton hit 154 home runs and drove in 535 runs from 1968-75 for the White Sox. He hit 33 homers twice, leading the league in 1971, and also made just one All-Star team (1971).

Kamm, the White Sox starter from 1923-30, only hit 25 home runs for the White Sox but he drove in 588, hit .279, and was arguably the most durable third baseman in team history. He played 1,153 out of a possible 1,226 games from 1923-30.

Ward played seven seasons for the White Sox from 1963-69, hitting 97 home runs and driving in 407 runs. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1963 (losing to teammate Gary Peters) but never made an All-Star team.

But that is about it as far as standout White Sox third basemen are concerned. The rest of White Sox history at third base, at best, is littered with one or two-year wonders, such as Todd Frazier (2016-17) and Eric Soderholm (1977-78).

The majority of White Sox third basemen over the last four decades were simply one of the few players on the roster who could play the position without embarrassing themselves.

There was Yolmer Sanchez in 2018, Gordon Beckham in 2009 and 2015, Conor Gillaspie in 2013-14, Omar Vizquel in 2010, Brent Morel in 2011, Josh Fields in 2007, Herbert Perry in 2000 and 2001, Greg Norton in 1999, Chris Snopek in 1997 and Steve Lyons in 1988.

Tim Hulett filled in from 1985-88, Vance Law did it in 1983 and 1984 and Kevin Youkilis was around in 2012.

The Sox also had a habit of moving second basemen and shortstops over to third, such as Jose Valentin in 2002, Jim Morrison in 1981, Don Buford in 1966 and 1967, and, yes, Moncada, who was the starter at second in 2018 before moving to third.

The Sox won the 1959 American League pennant with utility-type players (Bubba Phillips, Billy Goodman, and Sammy Esposito).

Gene Freese was then brought over from the Philadelphia Phillies in one of the worst trades in White Sox history (for Johnny Callison) and he lasted just one year (1960) in Chicago.

Outfielder Al Smith got a beer dumped on his head in the 1959 World Series so the Sox made him their primary third baseman in 1961 and 1962, where the only beers that could hit him had to be thrown from behind the Sox dugout.

So, yes, the standards are pretty low at third base for the White Sox. So maybe the White Sox should be thrilled with Moncada and Burger.

Moncada, though, has been the poster child for frustration among White Sox fans in recent years.

The talented switch-hitter, who came to the White Sox along with fellow prospects Victor Diaz, Luis Basabe, and Michael Kopech in a trade for Chris Sale in December 2016, has struggled with injuries throughout his career and is currently back on the injured list.

Moncada showed flashes of competence in 2019, his first year as the starter at third base, with 25 homers, 79 RBI, an average of .319, and an OPS of .915. But since then his best year was in 2021 when he hit 14 homers, drove in 61 runs, and hit .263 with an OPS of .787.

This year Moncada has played just 38 games with three homers, 13 RBI, and an average of .232. He's struck out 39 times and walked just seven times.

His defense remains solid (just eight errors since the start of the 2022 season) but his bat has made Sox fans long for the days of Herbert Perry, Conor Gillaspie, and Josh Fields.

Is Moncada the answer at third base? Or will he continue to be the biggest reason why the White Sox rebuild seems to be headed to failure? Moncada, right now, might not get his starting job at third back if and when he returns from the injured list.

Moncada clearly has a world of talent. Sox fans saw it in 2019. But since that breakout season, his willingness to play hurt as well as his ability to stay healthy or even play with intensity and fire has come into question.

Burger has, at times, captured the imagination of White Sox fans. He plays with an obvious joy and love for the game and his teammates. He's overcome two Achilles injuries and hits the ball as hard as any White Sox player on the roster with 16 home runs in just 54 games.

But is Burger enough reason to move on from Moncada?

Burger is now hitting just .239 with 66 strikeouts and a mere nine walks. His on-base percentage is a disturbing .288. And nobody will ever accuse Burger of having range at third base with the glove.

Yes, Burger has 16 homers, but more than half of those (10) came by May 17. He has struck out 37 times in just 97 at-bats on a .206 average since May 18 with just six home runs.

Burger has started the last 12 games and has gone 8-for-48 (.167) with 23 strikeouts and just two walks. His average has dipped from .265 to just .239. But he's also hit five homers and driven in 11 runs in those 12 games so nobody is rushing Moncada back from the injured list.

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