The On Deck Circle

Baseball History, Commentary and Analysis

Archive for the tag “Run batted in”

More Baseball Stats You Couldn’t Live Without

Inspired by a conversation with a friend of mine, I researched some baseball statistics that I’m quite sure others before me have long since discovered first.  Still, if they interested me, they just might interest you as well, oh faithful reader.

Reggie Sanders

Reggie Sanders (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here, then, are some baseball facts that may come up one day in a future edition of Trivial Pursuit.  So pay attention.

1)  Most career home runs by a batter who never drove in a hundred runs in a season:  Reggie Sanders – 305.  Sanders is the only player in the 300-home run club to never have a 100 RBI year.  His career high was 99 RBI in 1995.

2)  Most career stolen bases by a player who never scored a hundred runs in a season:  Bert Campaneris – 649.  His career high in runs scored was 97 in 1970.  Won six stolen base crowns.  Also led his league in caught stealing three times.

3)  Most wins by a pitcher who never won 20-games in a season:  Dennis Martinez – 245.  Martinez posted a career high 16 wins in four different seasons.  He led the N.L. in wins with 14 in the strike year of 1981.

4)  Most career hits by a player (20th century) who never reached 200 hits in a season:  Carl Yastrzemski – 3,419.  Other members of the (28 strong) 3,000 hits club who never accumulated 200 hits in a season include Eddie Murray, Dave Winfield and Rickey Henderson.

5)  Most career doubles without scoring 100 runs in a season:  Al Oliver – 529.  Career high 96 runs in 1974 and ’80.

6)  Most career strikeouts by a pitcher without a 200-strikeout season:  Tom Glavine – 2,607.  Career high, 192 in 1991.  You may be surprised to learn that Glavine had more career strikeouts than Warren Spahn, Bob Feller, Jerry Koosman, Christy Mathewson and Don Drysdale.

7)  Most career home runs without ever leading the league in home runs:  Rafael Palmeiro – 569.

8)  Highest career batting average for a player who never won a batting title:  Shoeless Joe Jackson – .356.

Which of these items was most surprising to you?  I would have thought that Yaz would have had at least one 200-hit season to his credit.  I’m sure lots of people would have assumed that Joe Jackson must have won at least one batting title.

Baseball’s Nice Round Numbers, and the Near Misses As Well

Often while I’m looking up the statistics for a particular player, I notice the number of times a player either reaches a particular milestone, or just barely misses it.  As someone who loves stats, I enjoy it when a player posts a nice, round number, such as 300 wins, 3,000 hits, or 500 doubles.  For one thing, I’m sure Hall of Fame voters also take note of these statistics.  So, for example, they should take a second look at John Olerud’s very productive career when they notice (assuming they take the time to actually analyze a player’s stats at all) that Olerud slammed exactly 500 doubles in his career.

I’m also intrigued, however, when a player comes ever-so-close to reaching one of these milestones, but falls just short.  Would Kenny Lofton, for example, have received more serious scrutiny during the most recent HOF voting if he’d batted .300 for his career, rather than .299?

What follows is an overview of the players who posted those nice round numbers as well as those who fell just short.  Several players appear on one or more of these lists.  Some are Hall of Famers while others are all but forgotten.  A few players on these lists are still currently active.  There are, perhaps, a few surprises.

Let’s begin with Doubles:

John Olerud is one of two players to hit for t...

John Olerud is one of two players to hit for the cycle in both the National and American Leagues. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Goose Goslin and John Olerud each netted exactly 500 doubles.  Goslin is in the HOF.  Will Olerud, with a career WAR of 58.0, a batting title, a 200-hit season, four 100 RBI seasons, three Gold Gloves and more walks than strikeouts merit serious consideration?

Rusty Staub ended his fine career with 499 doubles.  One of the most underrated players of all-time, would Staub have garnered a few more HOF votes if he’d grabbed an additional two-bagger?  Bill Buckner, Al Kaline and Sam Rice each ended up with 498 doubles.

Further down the list, we find Babe Herman, Gee Walker and Paul Hines settling in at 399 doubles.  (Did you know Babe Herman’s middle name was Caves?  What’s up with that?)

Gee Walker also managed to strike out exactly 600 times in his career, a nice round number.  Hines won a couple of batting titles in the 19th century.

Remember back in the late ’80’s when Mets phenom Gregg Jefferies’ rookie card was skyrocketing in value?  Well, though Jefferies’ career fell short of expectations, he did manage to reach exactly 300 career doubles, as did the Yankees’ Roy White and a couple of other guys.   White once led the league with 99 walks, his career high, just missing that nice, round 100.

Five players fell just short of 300 doubles.  Wally Berger, one of the five, batted exactly .300 for his career, in addition to his 299 doubles.  Nine other guys reached exactly 200 doubles, and six more just missed at 199.  Joey Votto currently has 201, probably fewer than half the number he’ll finally tally.

Now let’s turn to Runs Scored:

English: 1934 Goudey baseball card of Gerald &...

English: 1934 Goudey baseball card of Gerald “Gee” Walker of the Detroit Tigers #26. PD-not-renewed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cap Anson ended up with 1,999 runs.  If I was that close, I’m pretty sure I’d bribe someone to let me play long enough to reach 2,000.  Either way, he’s in the Hall of Fame.   Ed Delahanty reached 1,600 runs scored on the nose.  The underrated Tony Philips got to 1,300, one ahead of the unfortunate Harold Baines, stuck at 1,299.

Edgar Renteria had a tidy career, scoring exactly 1,200 runs.

No player in baseball history ever finished his career with exactly 1,000 runs scored.

Adam Dunn currently has 999 runs scored, and will probably jack another solo homer soon enough to reach a thousand.

Jorge Posada tallied 900 runs scored, while Don Kessinger and Vernon Wells each managed 899.

As for Triples, there’s a bit less of interest to notice here, though two players, Dan McGann and Hi Myers each reached exactly 100 for their respective careers.  Three other players notched 99.

Many baseball fans have long been fascinated by Runs Batted In.  To wit,

A-Rod, apparently allowed to resume baseball activities, has 1,950 RBI.  Will he play for someone long enough to reach 2,000?  Does it matter at this point?

Jim Thome, whom I’m led to believe is basically retired, has 1,699 RBI in a probable HOF career.  Napoleon Lajoie got to 1,599, and Eddie Collins drove in 1,300.  Jim Edmonds, one of my favorite center-fielders, accumulated 1,199.

English: 1933 Goudey Baseball Card of Babe Her...

English: 1933 Goudey Baseball Card of Babe Herman of the Chicago Cubs #5 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Darryl Strawberry drove in exactly 1,000 runs.  For him, there should have been so many more.

Wally Pipp, Gee Walker and Babe Herman all drove in 997 runs.  Walker and Herman, you’ll remember also appeared together on the doubles list with 399 a piece.

Bases on Balls:

Stan Musial walked 1,599 times in his career.  As a side note, you may or may not know that of his 3,630 hits, exactly 1815 were accumulated at home, and another 1815 occurred in road games.

Eddie Collins drew 1,499 walks.

Tod Helton has drawn 1,299 walks thus far.  Helton also has hit exactly .320 for his career, but how much will HOF voters discount his career due to the so-called Coors Field effect?

No player ever drew exactly 1,000 walks in his career.  Boog Powell walked 1,001 times, and Jim Edmonds drew 998.

How about Base Hits?

Roberto Clemente was, of course, halted by tragedy at 3,000 career hits.  No other player accumulated exactly 3,000 hits.  In fact no player stopped at 2,000 hits, either.  Shawn Green topped out at 2,003, while HOF’er Jimmy Collins swatted 1,999 hits.  Apparently, not reaching 2,000 hits (let alone the supposedly magical number of 3,000) didn’t hurt Collins chances of making it into The Hall.

Second baseman Joe Gordon played in exactly 1,000 games for the Yankees (before moving along to Cleveland.)  In those 1,000 games, he accumulated exactly 1,000 hits.

Wally Berger of the Braves

Wally Berger of the Braves (Photo credit: Boston Public Library)

As far as Batting Average is concerned, a .300 batting average has always been a significant level of accomplishment for baseball purists.  Some players have managed to hit exactly .300 for their careers, including Wally Berger (who also had 299 doubles, and a career high 199 hits in 1931), John (I ain’t an athlete lady, I’m a baseball player) Kruk, Roberto Alomar, Oyster Burns, Billy Goodman and the still active Josh Hamilton.

Meanwhile, in addition to Kenny Lofton, other players who ended their careers at .299 include Carl Furillo, Rico Carty and Bake McBride.  The Royals Billy Butler is currently also a .299 career hitter.

Enos Slaughter batted .2999 for his career, which rounds up to .300.

They say chicks dig the long-ball.  I have’t seen any objective studies on this, but has a home run ever been hit where at least a few fans didn’t stand up and cheer (except perhaps when Barry Bonds played on the road late in his career?)

Mark McGwire will probably be the first and last player ever to hit exactly 70 homers in a season.

Babe Ruth, of course, hit exactly 60 in a season.  He also once hit 59.

Six players have hit exactly 50 homers in a season.  Jimmie Foxx of the ’38 Red Sox was the only player to hit exactly 50 up until 1995.  Since 1995, five players have reached that total, including the improbable Brady Anderson.

19 players have hit 49 homers in a season.  Gehrig and Killebrew did it twice each.

English: Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pl...

English: Major League Baseball Hall of Fame player Al Kaline in his official 1957 Detroit Tigers photo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Exactly 50 players have hit exactly 40 homers in a season.  Adam Dunn has reached that number four times.

For a career, Willie Mays reached 660 for his career.  I’ve always liked that number because that’s how many baseball cards Topps used to feature annually in its sets for us kids to strive to collect.  (Norm Miller anyone?)

Andres Galarraga and Al Kaline slugged 399 each.  Remember that Kaline also had 498 doubles. Seems like he could have stuck around another week or so to pop a few more extra base hits.

Chuck Klein slugged 300 homers.  Tim Salmon reached 299.  Torii Hunter, by the way, is at 298 homers.

Four players hit exactly 200 career homers.  Three have hit 150, including Kevin Youkilis.  Seven players have hit 149, including Lou Brock, and the still active Ian Kinsler, Alex Rios and Jayson Werth.

Six players, including John Kruk (appearing again) and Bruce Bochte hit 100 home runs.  Bochte also had exactly 250 doubles, drove in exactly 100 runs in 1979 and batted .300 on the nose in 1980.

Seven players have hit 99 homers, including the Pirates current catcher Russell Martin, and HOF’er Monte Irvin.

Swinging for the fences often leads to strikeouts.

Tony Philips struck out 1,499 times.  Shawon Dunston and Jeffrey Leonard each reached exactly 1,000 career strikeouts.  David Justice retired having been struck out 999 times.

Adam Dunn struck out 199 times in 2010.

[Eddie Collins, Philadelphia, AL (baseball)]  ...

[Eddie Collins, Philadelphia, AL (baseball)] (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

If you’re not a power hitter, perhaps you prefer the Stolen Base.

Cesar Cedeno stole 550 bases in his career, a nice, tidy sum.

Bill Lange (whose nickname, for unknown reasons, was “Little Eva”) had 400 steals, 350 walks, a .330 batting average and a .400 on-base percentage.  Bill, thanks for keeping those numbers nice and clean.  Just please don’t try to explain to us how you became “Little Eva,” thank you.

Bobby Abreu looks like he’s going to finish with 399 career steals.

Shortstop Frank Taveras stole 300 bases in his career, including 70 in 1977.

Several players stole exactly 200 bases, including Ken Griffey, Sr., Jose Canseco (I know, I know), and Don Buford.

In 2009, Phillies second baseman Chase Utley was a perfect 23 for 23 in stolen base attempts.  In 2011, he was successful in all 14 of his steal attempts.

In 1988, Mets outfielder Kevin McReynolds successfully stole 21 bases in 21 attempts.  He also drove in 99 runs that year, missing by one what would have been his only one-hundred RBI campaign.

For the Sabermetric fans among us, how about career WAR?

Bob Gibson just missed 90 career WAR (89.9), while Curt Schilling just missed 80 career WAR (79.9.)

Rick Reuschel and Scott Rolen each retired with at 70.0 career WAR.  They each have a better case for the HOF than you might think.

Hall of Fame outfielder Zack Wheat accumulated a 60.0 career WAR.  Tony Lazzeri and Eddie Rommel each came in at 50.0.  Freddy Lynn (one of my boyhood heroes) walked away from the game at 49.9.

And there’s Kevin McReynolds again, one of several players to retire at exactly 30.0 career WAR

Tired of looking at position players?  How about the pitchers.

Let’s briefly look at Wins and Losses:

Early Wynn and Lefty Grove each won exactly 300 games.  There have been four pitchers (including the Braves Tim Hudson) who are listed at 200 victories.  Russ Ford won 199 games.  Dizzy Dean won 150 games.  Don Newcombe won 149.

There have been a dozen 100-game winners and eleven 99-game winners.

Joey Jay of Middletown, CT won 99 games, struck out 999 batters, and posted an ERA+ of 99 for his career.

Bert Blyleven lost 250 games.  Eight pitchers had exactly 150 losses.  Two pitchers lost 149.  Ralph Terry lost 99 games.  Terry also accumulated exactly 1,000 strikeouts and 20 shutouts.

Tom Browning of the Reds made 300 career starts, struck out exactly 1,000 batters, lost 90 games, and, as a hitter,  struck out exactly 200 times.

Bob Caruthers who, despite the fact that he was born in Tennessee was nicknamed “Parisian Bob,” fanned 900 batters, posted 99 losses, and hit 99 batters.  He also led his league with exactly 40 wins twice, in 1885 and 1889.  As a hitter, he legged out 50 triples (yes, 50 triples for a pitcher!) and slugged an even .400.

Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, one of the last decent nicknames, struck out 799 batters in his career.

Looking a bit more specifically at strikeouts for pitchers, Andy Benes struck out exactly 2,000 batters in his career.  Billy Pierce fanned 1,999.  Amos Rusie struck out 1,950.  Charlie Buffinton (born Buffington, but his family couldn’t afford the extra G, so he dropped it) K’d 1,700.  Rollie Fingers struck out 1,299.  The aforementioned Ralph Terry and Tom Browning posted 1,000 strikeouts each.  Bill “Spaceman” Lee got to 998.  Joe Blanton currently has 994 as of this writing.

Finally, working more or less backwards, four pitchers struck out 250 batters in a season.  Justin Verlander is one of them.  Curt Schilling struck out exactly 300 pitching for the Phillies in 1998.

And the immortal Toad Ramsey struck out an amazing 499 batters in 588 innings for Louisville in the American Association in 1886.  That total, by the way, did not even lead the league.

That’s all for today, folks.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this romp through the world of Baseball Stat-Geekdom today.  I’m sure you’ll catch some mistakes, for which I alone take responsibility.  Go easy on me, boys and girls.  I’m 49-years old, rounding up to exactly 50 later this month.

Eight Break-Out Players to Watch in 2013

If you play fantasy baseball, or even if you just like to read about which ball-players are likely to come through big in the upcoming baseball season, this is the time of year when most baseball fans begin to research the players and teams that interest them.

My goal, then, for this post is to alert you to eight players who aren’t necessarily household names, but who I believe will enjoy significantly productive seasons.  There are, of course, many other players that I could have chosen to write about, but these are the ones who’ve caught my attention thus far.

1)  Jordan Zimmerman:  Nationals – The forgotten man in a rotation that includes, Strasburg, Gonzalez and Haren, Zimmerman produced the fifth best ERA+ (134) in 195 innings last season.  He averaged over 3 1/2 K’s per walk, and is entering his age 27 season.  Likely to receive plenty of run support, while probably reaching the 200 inning pitched level for the first time in his career, Zimmerman could be primed for a very impressive season.  He won 12 games last year, but could win half a dozen more this time around.

English: Ike Davis

English: Ike Davis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2)  Ike Davis:  Mets – Among all first basemen, Davis is one of the likeliest to be overlooked going into the 2013 season.  His low .227 batting average and equally poor .308 on-base percentage tarnish his otherwise impressive power numbers (32 homers and 90 RBI.)  But given his track record, Davis is likely to increase his batting average by around 25 points, and has stated that his goal is to draw a hundred walks.

Even if he draws around 80 walks, coupled with a .260 batting average, his natural power should allow him to at least match, and perhaps exceed, last season’s power numbers.  In an era where 35 homers once again represents a significant total, Davis, now just entering his age-26 season, will be a player that should not be ignored.

3)  Michael Morse:  Mariners –  After a big 2011 season, Morse played just 102 games last year for the Nationals, swatting 18 homers with 62 RBI.  He has since moved on to the Mariners, where under normal conditions, it is often wise to allow someone in his situation to fall completely off your radar screen.  But Morse, still in his power-prime years (he turns 31 later this month), slugged 31 homers, drove in 95 runs, and batted .303 just a couple of years ago.

Also, the Mariners have brought in the outfield fences this year, especially in the power-alley in left-center field (favorable to right-handed batters sluggers like Morse.)  Hitting in the middle of what could turn out to be the most productive Mariners’ offense in several years, Morse should provide a nice boost to any fantasy squad this season, even if he doesn’t quite reach a .300 batting average again.

4)  Brett Anderson:  A’s – Just a couple of years ago, Brett Anderson was considered the future of the A’s rotation.  Then he blew his arm out.  But the big 6’4″, 235 pound lefty out of Midland, TX looked good upon his late-season return to the A’s rotation last year.  In six starts, covering 35 innings, he struck out 25 batters while walking just seven, good for a 1.029 WHIP.  His ERA+ was a very impressive 156.

Then, in his one post-season start, he shutout the Tigers through six innings, fanning six, while surrendering just two hits and no walks for his first post-season win.  Anderson, still just 25-years old, is not only capable, but likely to recover the form that made him a huge prospect a few years ago.  Pitching for an A’s team that won their division last year, Anderson is likely to conclude the year as one of the top young starting pitchers in the A.L.

Peter Bourjos

Peter Bourjos (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

5)  Peter Bourjos:  Angels – A couple of years ago, the speedy Bourjos, in his first full season as an Angels’ outfielder, led the A.L. in triples, displayed reasonable power (12 homers) and posted an OPS+ of 116 while playing excellent defense.  Last year, the Angels played the remains of Bobby Abreu, along with Torii Hunter and eventually Mike Trout leaving Bourjos as the odd-man out.  As a result, Bourjos ended up scuffling through 192 uninspiring plate appearances.

He appears to have a starting gig again this season, and on a super-loaded Angel’s offense, he should be expected to score lots of runs, steal bases, and hit the occasional homer, regardless of where he hits in the lineup.  His glove alone should keep him in the field.  Entering his age-26 season, there is a lot of potential here now that his opportunity to play seems to be secure.

6)  Eric Hosmer:  Royals – There’s just no other way to say it, but first baseman Eric Hosmer sucked last season.  Suffering through a terrible sophomore slump, Hosmer batted just .232, 61 points lower than in his rookie season.  His power numbers suffered as well; he hit five fewer homers (14 total) in 12 more at bats.  But Hosmer, now just 23-years old, batted over .400 in his final one-hundred Triple-A at bats, and, though it’s a small sample size, he’s looked great this spring with eight hits — four for extra bases — and seven RBI in his first 20 at bats.  Hosmer should be one of the young Royals hitters that will impress people this season.  Also useful on the basepaths, Hosmer swiped 16 bags in 17 attempts last year.

Jay Bruce before his MLB Debut in May of 2008

Jay Bruce before his MLB Debut in May of 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

7)  Jay Bruce:  Reds – After five seasons in the Majors, outfielder Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds seems to have settled in as a 30 homer, 90 RBI guy who will hit around .260 with 150 strikeouts.  A good player, but not a great one.

That could change this season.  Bruce, who will turn 26-years old in April, has increased his homer production for five straight seasons: 21, 22, 25, 32, 34.  Similarly, his doubles have also generally increased as well: 17, 15, 23, 27, 35.  Though his OPS+ held steady at 118 for the second consecutive year, he did set career highs in runs scored (89), RBI (99) and slugging percentage (.514.)

Now just fully entering his power prime, and with no significant injury history to speak of, the addition of high on-base player Shin-Soo Choo at the top of the Reds lineup will provide Bruce with the opportunity to become one of the top run-producers in the Majors this year.  A 40 homer, 120 RBI season with a hundred runs scored is not out of the question.

8)  Paul Goldschmidt:  Diamondbacks – The 25-year old Goldshmidt started slowly last season, but hit 18 homers over the last four months of the season, including five homers in a seven-game span.  The right-handed batting first-baseman actually led the Majors in line-drive rate last year.  If just a few of his 43 doubles turn into home runs this year, Goldschmidt could be on his way to 30+ homers, along with about a .280 batting average.

A fly-ball hitter (Goldschmidt led the league in Sac. Flies last year) who plays his home games in one of the best hitter’s parks in the league, is off to a fine start in spring training posting a .429 average to date.  Also, he’s not merely a slugger, but an athlete who stole 18 bases in 21 attempts last year.  Goldschmidt is one of this generation’s most promising young baseball talents.  He could become a right-handed swinging Jim Thome.

Others to follow closely:  Jason Kipnis of the Indians; Matt Harvey of the Mets, Adam Eaton of the Diamondbacks, Brandon Morrow of Toronto (yes, him again), Matt Adams of the Cardinals, Salvador Perez of the Royals (there will be many All-Star Game appearances in his future), and Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs.

Six months from now, I hope you are celebrating a championship season, and that at least one of the players on this list was a key contributor to your team’s success.

Baseball’s Surprising Stats: Mickey Mantle

Which of the three Triple-Crown categories is least impressive?

Home Runs will always be impressive, both for sheer crowd-pleasing spectacle and as an always relevant and useful statistic.  The Dead Ball era has been dead for nearly a hundred years now, and it ain’t coming back.

Batting Average has lost some of its luster over the years as on-base percentage has increasingly gained traction as a measure of a hitter’s ability to avoid outs.  But when a player like Tony Gwynn or Wade Boggs wins numerous batting titles, we understand that we are watching special players.

I submit, therefore, that Runs Batted In is the least impressive of the three Triple-Crown categories.  I’m certainly not the first person to make this statement, and I’m sure I won’t be the last.  But I would like to use the career of a specific Hall of Fame player to illustrate my point.  That player, of course, as you can see from the title of this post, is Mickey Mantle.

English: New York Yankees centerfielder and Ha...

English: New York Yankees centerfielder and Hall of Famer . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, as you very likely already know, Mickey Mantle was a fabulous run producer.  Among the statistics in which he led the A.L. during his 18-year career are the following: Offensive WAR: 10 times; Home Runs:  4 times; Runs Scored: 5 times; Runs Created: 7 times; Walks: 5 times; Adjusted OPS+: 8 times; and Total Bases: 3 times.

The Mick also drove in 1,509 runs in his career, good for 51st place all-time as of this writing, but he ranked a more impressive 20th all-time upon his retirement.

We should be able to expect, then, that he drove in over a hundred runs several times over the course of his career.  After all, he hit in the middle of Yankee lineups thick with offensive punch, teams that were wildly successful primarily due to their ability to generate more runs than most other teams in their league.

Yet a check of Mantle’s career stats reveals that, surprisingly, he topped 100 RBI in a season just four times in his career.  By way of contrast, his center field rivals in New York City at the time, Willie Mays and Duke Snider, enjoyed ten and six 100 RBI seasons, respectively.

This raises the following question:  How many times did Mickey Mantle lead his league in Runs Batted In?

If you are aware that Mantle won the 1956 Triple Crown, then you are by definition aware that he led the league in RBI at least once.  Well, you may be surprised to learn that 1956 was the only year in his career that he actually did lead the A.L. in RBI.

Español: foto de Mantle NY Yankees

Español: foto de Mantle NY Yankees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a very logical reason why Mantle enjoyed so few 100 RBI seasons.

To drive in lots of runs, one needs, of course, lots of runners on base to drive in.  As it turns out, the Yankees from around 1957 through at least 1964, had a series of low to mediocre on-base percentage players hitting ahead of Mantle in the lead-off and #2 slots in their lineups.

Here are the primary culprits:

1)  Bobby Richardson, career on-base percentage: .299. (played steadily from ’57-’66)

2)  Tony Kubek, career on-base percentage:  .303 (played from ’57-’65.)

3)  Gil McDougald, career on-base percentage:  .356 (played from ’51-’60.)

4)  Hector Lopez, career on-base percentage:  .330 (played w/ Yanks from ’59-’66.)

5)  Clete Boyer, career on-base percentage:  .299 (played w / Yanks from ’59-’66.)

6)  Phil Linz, career on-base percentage:  .295 (played w / Yanks from ’62-’65.)

Folks, as you can see, with the exception of Gil McDougald, that’s one lowly bunch of on-base percentages.  But taking a closer look at Gil McDougald, after 1957 his on-base percentages during his final three seasons were .329 / .309 / .337.  Those numbers mesh well with the rest of his teammates listed above.

This serves to illustrate my original point that RBI totals are often misleading because a player can’t drive in teammates who are unable to consistently get on base.

The RBI stat survives today, however, as one of baseball’s “masculine” stats.  The so-called run producers are, by definition, supposed to have gaudy RBI totals by season’s end to justify their enormous paychecks. Runs Batted In will probably remain popular as stats go, but it should be kept in proper perspective.

After all, if Mickey Mantle couldn’t find a way to annually lead the league in this stat, how much credence should we put into it in the first place?

Now here’s a final aside that might really surprise you.

Although Mays, Mantle and Snider combined for twenty, 100+ RBI seasons in their careers, these three Hall of Famers produced JUST TWO RBI titles between them, Snider in ’55 and Mantle in ’56.  Willie Mays never led the league in RBI.

Post Navigation