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Graig Nettles – 1973 Topps #498

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ImageGraig Nettles (born August 20, 1944), is an American former Major League Baseball third baseman. During a 22-year baseball career, he played for the Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos.  Nettles was one of the best defensive third basemen of all time, and despite his relatively low career batting average, he was an excellent offensive contributor, setting an American League record for career home runs by a third baseman. As a part of four pennant-winning Yankee teams, Nettles enjoyed his best season in 1977 when he won the Gold Glove Award and had career-highs in home runs (37) and runs batted in (107) in leading the Yankees to the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.    As of 2010, Nettles holds the single-season Major League record for assists by a third baseman, Imageand is tied with Brooks Robinson for second-most all-time. His 412 assists in 1971 broke the record of 405 shared by Harlond Clift in 1937 and Robinson in 1967. In 1973, his first year as a New York Yankee, he recorded 410 assists, breaking Clete Boyer’s franchise record of 396 in 1962; Robinson would tie this mark in 1974. To date, Nettles and Robinson have four of the six 400-assist seasons by a third baseman in Major League history. Nettles is mentioned in the video for Bruce Springsteen’s 1985 hit Glory Days. At the end of the video, Springsteen’s character, a pitcher, tells a teen that he lost an imaginary game playing against the San Diego Padres because “Nettles got me, bottom of the ninth.”

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