Written by Jim Amato (Contact & Archive) on August 06, 2008
Graig Nettles will mostly be remembered for his long tenure with the Yankees, but he broke in with the Minnesota Twins. The solid third baseman had three productive seasons with the Indians before landing in the Big Apple, too. He¬†entered the major leagues in 1967, but¬†was unable to break into the powerful Twins lineup.
When he joined¬†the Tribe in 1970, Nettles became a starter and hit 26 home runs. In 1971, Nettles raised his home run total¬†to 28 and drove in 86 runs. He had another productive season for the Indians in 1972, but moved to¬†New York the next season. He would spend 11 seasons wearing pinstripes. Eight times he would hit¬†more than 20 home runs. Twice he belted over¬†30. In 1976, Nettles had his career year, hitting¬†37 home runs and driving in 107 runs.
After the 1983 campaign, Nettles joined the National League with the San Diego Padres. He finished his career after unproductive seasons with the Braves and Expos in 1987 and 1988, respectively. In his 22 years in the major leagues, Nettles collected 2,225 hits. Consistent power¬†output gave him 330 home runs for his career. In 17 straight seasons, he hit double-digit home runs.¬†
He was also a quality fielder. In 2,412¬†games played at third base, Nettles posted a .961¬†fielding average. He¬†also wrote a book about the Yankees named "Balls." It is an interesting read, if you can find it.