Let's Be Frank About The Big Hurt
After the Ken Griffey Jr. article last weekend, I received an email suggesting that the Hall of Fame case for Frank Thomas will be much more interesting and difficult than that for Griffey. This response, combined with Thomas and Jeff Bagwell reaching the 400 home run milestone this month and Eddie Murray's induction in the Hall of Fame today, motivated me to run a series of similar stats with an even more comprehensive analysis including not only The Big Hurt's standing among first basemen but also among all players.
A comparison of Frank vs. his peers at first base follows:
ON BASE PERCENTAGE OBP 1 Lou Gehrig .447 2 Frank Thomas .432 3 Jimmie Foxx .428 4 Jim Thome .414 5 Jeff Bagwell .414 6 Hank Greenberg .412 7 John Olerud .404 8 Lu Blue .402 9 Johnny Mize .397 10 Mike Hargrove .396
Frank Thomas. Number two all time. Behind only Lou Gehrig. Enough said.
Lu Blue, you ask? No, that is not a typo. Blue really does rank eighth in OBP. He played most of his career with the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Browns and was a 1920s version of Mike Hargrove--a singles hitting first baseman with a good batting eye. Blue hit .300 in four of his first five years and had over 100 walks four times, including seasons with 126 and 127. According to Bill James in The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, Blue is the #1 "percentage" 1B in history and the seventh best overall (at least among those players for whom complete data is available). The four indicators are fielding percentage compared to period and position norms; stolen base percentage; strikeout to walk ratio; and walk frequency in absolute terms.
OBP DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Frank Thomas .092 .432 .340 2 Lou Gehrig .086 .447 .361 3 Jeff Bagwell .075 .414 .339 4 Jim Thome .073 .414 .342 5 Jimmie Foxx .070 .428 .358 6 Mike Hargrove .069 .396 .327 7 John Olerud .065 .404 .339 8 Mark McGwire .058 .394 .336 9 Hank Greenberg .056 .412 .356 10 Johnny Mize .055 .397 .342
Number one. Ahead of Gehrig and everyone else.
SLUGGING AVERAGE SLG 1 Lou Gehrig .632 2 Jimmie Foxx .609 3 Hank Greenberg .605 4 Mark McGwire .588 5 Frank Thomas .568 6 Jim Thome .567 7 Johnny Mize .562 8 Jeff Bagwell .551 9 Dick Allen .534 10 Mo Vaughn .526
Number five behind four of the greatest first basemen of all time. Let's see, #2 in OBP and #5 SLG. Is our appreciation starting to grow yet?
SLG DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Lou Gehrig .213 .632 .419 2 Hank Greenberg .193 .605 .412 3 Jimmie Foxx .192 .609 .417 4 Mark McGwire .174 .588 .414 5 Johnny Mize .171 .562 .391 6 Dick Allen .152 .534 .382 7 Frank Thomas .145 .568 .423 8 Jim Thome .136 .567 .431 9 Jeff Bagwell .130 .551 .421 10 Willie McCovey .125 .515 .390
ON BASE PLUS SLUGGING OPS 1 Lou Gehrig 1.080 2 Jimmie Foxx 1.038 3 Hank Greenberg 1.017 4 Frank Thomas 1.000 5 Mark McGwire .982 6 Jim Thome .982 7 Jeff Bagwell .965 8 Johnny Mize .959 9 Dick Allen .912 10 Mo Vaughn .910
OPS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Lou Gehrig .299 1.080 .780 2 Jimmie Foxx .263 1.038 .775 3 Hank Greenberg .249 1.017 .768 4 Frank Thomas .238 1.000 .762 5 Mark McGwire .232 .982 .751 6 Johnny Mize .225 .959 .734 7 Jim Thome .209 .982 .773 8 Dick Allen .205 .912 .707 9 Jeff Bagwell .205 .965 .760 10 Willie McCovey .171 .889 .718
Number four and in pretty good company. Dick Allen is the only eligible player on the list not in the HOF.
TOTAL AVERAGE TA 1 Lou Gehrig 1.228 2 Jimmie Foxx 1.143 3 Hank Greenberg 1.105 4 Frank Thomas 1.100 5 Jim Thome 1.079 6 Mark McGwire 1.068 7 Jeff Bagwell 1.045 8 Johnny Mize 1.005 9 Dick Allen .930 10 Dolph Camilli .928
Interestingly, Bagwell, who has been referred to as Thomas' twin (same birthdate, virtually the same career stats, MVPs the same year, etc.) has been basically two or three places behind Thomas in every category. See Aaron Gleeman's and Ben Jacobs' outstanding articles on the Bagwell-Thomas similarities.
TOTAL AVERAGE DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Lou Gehrig .486 1.228 .742 2 Jimmie Foxx .411 1.143 .733 3 Frank Thomas .387 1.100 .713 4 Hank Greenberg .382 1.105 .723 5 Mark McGwire .370 1.068 .698 6 Jim Thome .351 1.079 .728 7 Jeff Bagwell .332 1.045 .713 8 Johnny Mize .330 1.005 .675 9 Dick Allen .298 .930 .632 10 Dolph Camilli .267 .928 .661
Has anyone noticed Jim Thome's name on all eight rate lists thus far? An objective evaluation would suggest that Thome has the potential of being regarded as one of the top ten first sackers of all time.
TOTAL BASES TB 1 Eddie Murray 5397 2 Lou Gehrig 5059 3 Jimmie Foxx 4956 4 Rafael Palmeiro 4698 5 Tony Perez 4532 6 Fred McGriff 4309 7 Willie McCovey 4219 8 Harmon Killebrew 4143 9 Orlando Cepeda 3959 10 Steve Garvey 3941 22 Frank Thomas 3445
At a conservative rate of 250-300 TB per year, Big Frank should be in ninth place by the end of 2004 with the potential of reaching the top five before he is through.
TOTAL BASES DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Lou Gehrig 1959 5059 3100 2 Jimmie Foxx 1770 4956 3186 3 Johnny Mize 1295 3621 2326 4 Rafael Palmeiro 1132 4698 3566 5 Hank Greenberg 1114 3142 2028 6 Willie McCovey 1112 4219 3107 7 Mark McGwire 1102 3639 2537 8 Dick Allen 1068 3379 2311 9 Frank Thomas 1030 3445 2415 10 Harmon Killebrew 1017 4143 3126
RUNS CREATED RC 1 Lou Gehrig 2367 2 Jimmie Foxx 2225 3 Eddie Murray 1919 4 Rafael Palmeiro 1771 5 Fred McGriff 1633 6 Willie McCovey 1615 7 Harmon Killebrew 1583 8 Frank Thomas 1540 9 Jeff Bagwell 1536 10 Johnny Mize 1515
Once again, Thomas may reach the top five in RC by the end of this year.
RUNS CREATED DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Lou Gehrig 1181 2367 1186 2 Jimmie Foxx 1015 2225 1210 3 Frank Thomas 709 1540 831 4 Johnny Mize 683 1515 832 5 Mark McGwire 638 1504 866 6 Jeff Bagwell 622 1536 914 7 Willie McCovey 587 1615 1028 8 Hank Greenberg 580 1346 766 9 Rafael Palmeiro 553 1771 1218 10 Harmon Killebrew 550 1583 1033
Number three all time among first basemen. What's not to like?
RUNS CREATED/GAME RC/G 1 Lou Gehrig 11.21 2 Jimmie Foxx 10.25 3 Hank Greenberg 9.65 4 Frank Thomas 9.32 5 Johnny Mize 8.98 6 Jim Thome 8.92 7 Jeff Bagwell 8.47 8 Mark McGwire 8.47 9 Bill Terry 7.65 10 Dolph Camilli 7.54
Number four and solidly ahead of his closest challengers.
RUNS CREATED/GAME DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Lou Gehrig 5.59 11.21 5.62 2 Jimmie Foxx 4.66 10.25 5.58 3 Frank Thomas 4.29 9.32 5.03 4 Hank Greenberg 4.15 9.65 5.50 5 Johnny Mize 4.05 8.98 4.93 6 Jim Thome 3.72 8.92 5.20 7 Mark McGwire 3.57 8.47 4.90 8 Jeff Bagwell 3.42 8.47 5.05 9 Dick Allen 2.93 7.20 4.27 10 Dolph Camilli 2.68 7.54 4.86
Whether measured in absolute or relative terms, Thomas is near the top in most categories. Gehrig and Foxx seem to be the only two 1B generally ahead of The Big Hurt in the important rate and counting stats.
HOMERUNS HR 1 Mark McGwire 583 2 Harmon Killebrew 573 3 Jimmie Foxx 534 4 Willie McCovey 521 5 Eddie Murray 504 6 Lou Gehrig 493 7 Rafael Palmeiro 490 8 Fred McGriff 478 9 Andres Galarraga 386 10 Jeff Bagwell 380 14 Frank Thomas 376
Bagwell and Thomas have already both moved ahead of Andres Galarraga this year. Both have the potential of hitting 500 HR, passing the Iron Horse in the process.
HOMERUNS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Mark McGwire 405 583 178 2 Jimmie Foxx 403 534 131 3 Lou Gehrig 377 493 116 4 Harmon Killebrew 362 573 211 5 Willie McCovey 334 521 187 6 Johnny Mize 252 359 107 7 Fred McGriff 248 478 230 8 Rafael Palmeiro 242 490 248 9 Hank Greenberg 240 331 91 10 Eddie Murray 217 504 287 14 Frank Thomas 203 376 173
RUNS R 1 Lou Gehrig 1888 2 Jimmie Foxx 1751 3 Eddie Murray 1627 4 Rafael Palmeiro 1456 5 Fred McGriff 1310 6 Jeff Bagwell 1293 7 George Sisler 1284 8 Harmon Killebrew 1283 9 Tony Perez 1272 10 Joe Kuhel 1236 16 Frank Thomas 1168
Thomas may never catch Bagwell or Rafael Palmeiro, but he should end up no worse than sixth in career runs scored.
RUNS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Lou Gehrig 754 1888 1134 2 Jimmie Foxx 594 1751 1157 3 Jeff Bagwell 423 1293 870 4 Dick Allen 366 1099 733 5 Frank Thomas 352 1168 816 6 Johnny Mize 327 1118 791 7 Hank Greenberg 326 1051 725 8 Mark McGwire 321 1167 846 9 Harmon Killebrew 276 1283 1007 10 Will Clark 274 1186 912
Thomas will pass Allen this year, putting him fourth.
RBI RBI 1 Lou Gehrig 1995 2 Jimmie Foxx 1921 3 Eddie Murray 1917 4 Tony Perez 1652 5 Harmon Killebrew 1584 6 Rafael Palmeiro 1575 7 Willie McCovey 1555 8 Fred McGriff 1503 9 Jim Bottomley 1422 10 Mark McGwire 1414 17 Frank Thomas 1285
Despite ranking 17th before the start of the 2003 season, Thomas should easily move into the top ten in RBI sometime during 2004 and approach McCovey's seventh place standing by the end of 2005.
RBI DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Lou Gehrig 950 1995 1045 2 Jimmie Foxx 849 1921 1072 3 Harmon Killebrew 642 1584 942 4 Willie McCovey 633 1555 922 5 Mark McGwire 615 1414 799 6 Johnny Mize 604 1337 733 7 Hank Greenberg 603 1276 673 8 Tony Perez 558 1652 1094 9 Eddie Murray 555 1917 1362 10 Frank Thomas 512 1285 773
* All statistics are through 2002. The career rate stats are based on a minimum of 5000 PA. Player positions are determined by career totals rather than by individual seasons.
Frank Thomas' Career Stats (through 2003):
YEAR G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG OPS CAREER 1795 6403 1221 1995 417 11 400 1341 1354 1036 32 .312 .430 .568 .998
Thomas' Seasonal Averages (per 162 games played):
YEAR G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG OPS 11.08 162 578 110 180 38 1 36 121 122 93 3 .312 .430 .568 .998
Black Ink: Batting - 21 (Average HOFer ~ 27)
Sources: sabermetric baseball encyclopedia, baseball-reference.com, and espn.com
I excluded Ernie Banks, Rod Carew, Stan Musial, and Pete Rose from these rankings. Banks actually played more games at first base than shortstop, but the irony is that he was a below-average hitter as a 1B and one of the greatest hitting SS ever. Carew played approximately half of his games at first base and half at second base. Relative to his position, Carew was more valuable as a 2B. Musial played more games at first base than left field or right field, but he played nearly twice as many games in the OF (when viewed as a single position) than 1B. Like Musial, Rose played more played games at first base than any other single position but substantially more games in the outfield on a combined basis. Plus, Rose enjoyed some of his best years as an OF (including arguably his two greatest in 1968 and 1969) and spent his declining years as a 1B.
Including or excluding these four players has very little, if any, bearing on Frank Thomas' ranking. Thomas has a higher career OBP, SLG, and OPS than all of them as well as a higher TA. In other words, his rate stats exceed those of these other players across the board. Thomas falls short in some of the counting stats, including times on base, total bases, and runs created, primarily due to a lower number of games played. However, Thomas stands a good chance of passing Carew in RC this year and TB next year, and he is already ahead of Banks in RC and may pass him in TB before he finishes his career. Relative to his league, Thomas surpasses all four in counting stats except Musial. As a result, it would be difficult to argue on behalf of Banks, Carew, or Rose ranking above Thomas even if you included them in the rankings.
Thomas has been mostly a DH since 1998, perhaps weakening his argument as a 1B. But he enjoyed seven of his eight greatest seasons as a 1B, all in consecutive years from 1991-1997. During that period, Thomas finished in the top four in OBP in the A.L. every year, leading the league four times; top six in SLG every year (including leading the league in 1994); top three in OPS and OPS+ every year (leading the league 4x and 3x, respectively); top four in TOB every year (leading 3x); top eight in TB every year; top seven in RBI every year; and top five in BB every year (including finishing on top four times). For those interested in run producing raw stats, Thomas also had 100 or more runs and RBI every year during this span. Furthermore, Big Frank won back-to-back MVPs in 1993 and 1994, an achievement that not even Barry Bonds has exceeded (at least not as yet).
If anyone thinks Thomas' period of dominance was too brief, consider this:
* Thomas ranks 6th among all players in career OBP
OBP OBP 1 Ted Williams .482 2 Babe Ruth .474 3 Lou Gehrig .447 4 Rogers Hornsby .434 5 Ty Cobb .433 6 Frank Thomas .432 7 Jimmie Foxx .428 8 Barry Bonds .428 9 Tris Speaker .428 10 Eddie Collins .424
Is that a who's who of baseball or what?
SLG SLG 1 Babe Ruth .690 2 Ted Williams .634 3 Lou Gehrig .632 4 Jimmie Foxx .609 5 Hank Greenberg .605 6 Manny Ramirez .599 7 Barry Bonds .595 8 Mark McGwire .588 9 Joe DiMaggio .579 10 Rogers Hornsby .577 11 Mike Piazza .576 12 Larry Walker .574 13 Frank Thomas .568
The above list serves as an introduction to Manny Ramirez' place in baseball history more than anything else. Larry Walker's 12th place ranking in OPS doesn't earn him a spot in the top 50 in OPS+ due to playing the majority of his home games at Coors Field, the most hitter friendly ballpark in major league history. With 5,000 plate appearances, Alex Rodriguez will most likely slide into the 10th position at the conclusion of this year and replace Rogers Hornsby as the only non-OF/1B in the top ten.
OPS OPS 1 Babe Ruth 1.164 2 Ted Williams 1.116 3 Lou Gehrig 1.080 4 Jimmie Foxx 1.038 5 Barry Bonds 1.023 6 Hank Greenberg 1.017 7 Rogers Hornsby 1.010 8 Manny Ramirez 1.010 9 Frank Thomas 1.000 10 Mark McGwire .982
Enjoy the moment, folks. Active players Bonds, Ramirez, and Thomas are three of the most prodigious sluggers in history. Period.
OPS+ OPS+ 1 Babe Ruth 207 2 Ted Williams 190 3 Lou Gehrig 179 4 Barry Bonds 177 5 Rogers Hornsby 175 6 Mickey Mantle 172 7 Joe Jackson 170 8 Ty Cobb 167 9 Jimmie Foxx 163 Frank Thomas 163 Mark McGwire 163
This list says it all. OPS+ adjusts for era, league, and ballpark. Thomas has been 63% more productive than the average hitter, tying for ninth all time with fellow first basemen Jimmie Foxx and Mark McGwire. Only Gehrig ranks higher among 1B.
Any Further Questions?
If anyone is skeptical of the foregoing because they think Thomas' career is in major decline, check this:
* Thomas ranks in the top ten in the A.L. this year in OBP, SLG, OPS, TA, RC, HR, and BB.
The main reason why the casual fan believes Thomas is no longer one of the best hitters in baseball is because his batting average has fallen from a range of .308-.353 from 1991-1997 to .265-.328 from 1998-2003, including .277 this year. Of importance though is the fact that Thomas' power and ability to get on base via walks is about on par with his career level. To wit, The Big Hurt ranks second in the league this year in isolated power and secondary average. Accordingly, the only real change in his game is the greater number of singles that Thomas had earlier in his career versus the past few years.
Conclusion: It is highly probable that Thomas' rate stats will decline over time. As a result, his career ranking in those categories could slip a few notches between now and his retirement. However, Thomas will offset any slippage in his rate standings with improved counting stats over the course of his career. In any event, I think it could easily be argued that Thomas is one of the top 20 hitters in baseball history. Despite Thomas' shortcomings as a fielder and as a baserunner, if being one of the five best first basemen and 20 greatest hitters ever isn't worthy of Hall of Fame status, then they may as well shut down Cooperstown.
BEATen and Tired
I'm very frustrated right now. Re my Frank Thomas article, I had about 95% of my stats completed and most of the story written when Blogger asked me if I wanted to save or cancel the post. I clicked on the "save" button and then the post vanished in thin air as they say. It wasn't saved at all. Unfortunately, I didn't save it in Word. A story that had taken me literally hours to create disappeared in about a second.
It's late Saturday night. I am going to call it an evening and see if I am up to the task tomorrow.
Good night, Blogger.
The BEAT Marches On...
Dave's definition of BAP = # of bases advanced / # of plate appearances (where bases advanced equals total bases + walks + extra bases gained - base runners lost).
The value of BAP is its ability to include bases not captured in either OBP or SLG (and, therefore, OPS). I am intrigued by it because I have always thought that not all OBP and SLG were created equally. Re OBP, it seems inherently obvious to me that an Ichiro Suzuki walk is worth more than an Edgar Martinez walk because the former can subsequently do more with that base than the latter by stealing a base, taking an extra base on a hit, or simply preventing force outs and double plays. Similarly, an Ichiro infield single is not worth as much as a Martinez single because the former is less likely to advance a runner more than one base whereas the latter's singles are more apt to advance runners from first to third or from second to home.
In other words, BAP may allow us to judge players and teams on a much more comprehensive basis than OBP or SLG alone or even together (i.e., OPS). The beauty of BAP is that it includes all the stats that comprise OBP and SLG as well as those bases unaccounted for in OBP and SLG.
Off the top of my head, it would seem to me that the 2002 version of the Anaheim Angels could be a good example of the merits of BAP. I suspect that the Angels had more than their share of these so-called extra bases advanced than their opponents, which may explain the team's success more than anything else. A study of the Angels season and post-season may prove enlightening.
Please feel free to email Dave or me if you have any questions, comments, or further suggestions re BAP. And be sure to check back later this weekend for a full story on The Big Hurt and his place in baseball history (using OBP, SLG, OPS, and more--all of which are still incredibly useful--rather than BAP).
It's Time to Air a Few Commercials
When I created Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT a few weeks ago, I had no idea if there was even an audience for my articles. To be honest, I wasn't sure how much time I would be able to devote to the research, analysis, and writing. I had no clue about Blogger or blogging. Nonetheless, like Ray Kinsella before me, I decided if I would "write it, they would come". Three weeks later and I have to admit that I am having a lot of fun. I have met and corresponded with a number of great bloggers and readers out there. It has been a very rewarding experience thus far.
Reaching 1,000 visitors the first month wasn't even something I dreamed of doing. However, with the assistance of so many of my newfound blogger friends, I am pleased to report that my blog reached that milestone this past weekend. A special thanks goes to Aaron Gleeman, proprietor of the highly popular and widely read Aaron's Baseball Blog. Aaron gave this blog a great plug last week, and it resulted in a record 174 visitors in a single day. On July 16, Aaron wrote the following:
"And, if my entry today doesn't quench your thirst for baseball writing, I have two new blogs to recommend to you...
Earlier this evening, David Pinto, formerly the lead researcher for ESPN's Baseball Tonight and host of Baseball Tonight Online on ESPN.com, of Baseball Musings, posted a headline Griffey and the Hall of Fame with a link to Ken Griffey: Senior or Junior Status? Within a few hours, David's mention introduced a number of new readers to my blog.
Paul Sporer, whose "on the money" For Rich or Sporer blog was also touted by Aaron Gleeman on the same day, wrote about my article on Todd Helton following the All-Star game last week. Paul has a good feel for the game and what hardcore fans want to read.
Peter White of Mariners Musings yesterday mentioned Baseball BEAT in his Pythagorean Rankings: Week 16 column. If you're interested in a game-by-game accounting of the Seattle Mariners, this is the place to go.
Tim Daloisio, author of Musings From Red Sox Nation (RSN), recommended that his readers check out the Griffey story. This is a top drawer weblog and a must read for Red Sox fans but also worthy of your time even if you're not part of RSN.
Wil Everts of the highly attractive Baseballtopia, gave me kudos for helping him find a website with win-loss records for the past 20 games for his Team Index Ranking Update. Wil is a web designer, writer, outfielder, and Diamondbacks fan.
John Perricone, well-known in the baseball blogging world and creator of the Only Baseball Matters Triple Crown (earned by leading the league in batting, on base, and slugging averages), has been one of this blog's most faithful supporters with repeated references to my articles, including plugs to The Quad three-part series. John writes extensively on the San Francisco Giants and Barry Bonds. Oh, and did I mention Barry Bonds?
Mike from none other than Mike's Baseball Rants has been a mentor in terms of advice and was nice enough to call attention to my new blog and The Quad articles. Mike does a great job staying abreast of the Joe Morgan chats. Check it out, especially if you would like to get in on the make fun of Joe Morgan bandwagon (which is growing and for good reason).
**No Pepper** was an early supporter of my blog. If you're looking for information on the Atlanta Braves and its farm teams, then No Pepper is the place. Brad, how can I get a "box seat" or a "luxury suite"?
John Bonnes of Twins Geek.com has also been behind me since the outset. Twins fans are fortunate to have two great blogs--Twins Geek and Aaron's Baseball Blog--to read everyday. Both blogs cover baseball in general as well and make for good daily reads for all of us.
David Bloom of the D-Rays Blog has gone to the well on my behalf on more than one occasion, dating back to my first article on Rocco Baldelli and as recently as Monday regarding the Griffey piece. Bloom's blog provides baseball articles, scores, and links to well-known columnists, as well as his own commentary on the sport.
Lastly, Baseball News Blog and Baseball Blogs are two important sources of information for those of us who wish to scan as many articles as possible. Thank you for acting as the depository for all of us bloggers.
You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers...
I received the following questions in response to the Ken Griffey Jr. article posted over the weekend.
Q: You ranked Griffey as the sixth best center fielder of all time. How would you rank the top ten?
A: The top ten CF of all time, in my opinion, are as follows:
1. Ty Cobb 2. Mickey Mantle 3. Willie Mays 4. Tris Speaker 5. Joe DiMaggio 6. Ken Griffey Jr. 7. Duke Snider 8. Larry Doby 9. Earl Averill 10. Hack Wilson
The top five are in a league of their own. Five of the greatest players ever. Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle were the best offensively. Tris Speaker and Willie Mays were the best defensively. Mays and Joe DiMaggio were perhaps the most complete players. The latter's career counting stats would be even more impressive had he not missed three years at the peak of his career serving in the military during World War I. One could make a strong case for any of the top five--especially my top three--as the best ever. I just happened to pick Cobb, but I could understand why others might choose Mantle or Mays.
Griffey and Duke Snider are comparable players, falling short of The Big Five but well ahead of the rest of the pack. Like Speaker before them, Larry Doby and Earl Averill played the majority of their careers in Cleveland, giving the Indians three of the top nine center fielders of all time. I'm not particularly passionate about Doby, Averill, and Wilson as little separates them from the next best group of CF, which includes Jimmy Wynn, Fred Lynn, and Dale Murphy from the under-represented 1970s and 1980s.
Q: What do you think will happen to Griffey's ranking if he returns to play next season as currently expected?
A: Griffey has already established his level of greatness. Retiring now or down the road is not apt to affect his overall ranking one way or the other. By continuing to play, Griffey would obviously pad his counting stats, but his rate stats would almost surely deteriorate. The gains from the quantitative side of the ledger would be offset by losses on the qualitative side. In my judgment, Griffey is much closer to the player immediately beneath him (Snider) than the one above him (DiMaggio). As a result, it is more likely than not that any change in his ranking would be downward rather than upward.
Q: You focused on career numbers. How does Griffey show up based on "peak" value?
A: At most, Griffey might slip one or two notches based on peak value. Hack Wilson, who had a much shorter career than Griffey, had a fantastic five-year stretch from 1926-1930 in which he led the N.L. in HR four times and set the all-time single-season RBI record of 191. Griffey had a similar run, leading the A.L. in HR four out of six years. However, Wilson would get the nod over Griffey based on superior OPS+ numbers (five consecutive years over 150 with a high of 178 vs. two for Junior and a high of 172). Wilson's overall ranking is diminished by his poor defensive performance as well as playing only eight seasons with 100 or more games in the field. Duke Snider is at least on par with Griffey in terms of peak value--if not slightly ahead--having four straight seasons with an OPS+ of 150 or greater with his high being 172 as well. Like Griffey, Snider's career went into steady decline at the age of 30, most likely due to not adjusting to the Los Angeles Coliseum's unusual dimensions after having excelled at cozy Ebbets Field his entire career.
Photo credit: Baseball Library.com/Matthew Fulling.
Ken Griffey: Senior or Junior Status?
News Item: Ken Griffey Jr. ruptured a tendon in his right ankle Thursday and had surgery to replace the tendon on Friday. Griffey will miss the rest of the season and is also expected to have surgery on his right shoulder in a few weeks.
To answer that question, I have compiled the following lists to determine Griffey's career rankings among modern-day (1900-on) center fielders.
ON BASE PERCENTAGE OBP 1 Ty Cobb .433 2 Tris Speaker .428 3 Mickey Mantle .421 4 Roy Thomas .408 5 Joe DiMaggio .398 6 Earle Combs .397 7 Richie Ashburn .396 8 Hack Wilson .395 9 Earl Averill .395 10 Bernie Williams .392 16 Ken Griffey Jr. .379
OBP DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Ty Cobb .093 .433 .340 2 Mickey Mantle .087 .421 .333 3 Tris Speaker .084 .428 .344 4 Roy Thomas .082 .408 .326 5 Richie Ashburn .058 .396 .339 6 Willie Mays .054 .384 .330 7 Bernie Williams .051 .392 .341 8 Brett Butler .047 .377 .330 9 Hack Wilson .044 .395 .351 10 Lenny Dykstra .044 .375 .331 14 Ken Griffey Jr. .040 .379 .339
SLUGGING AVERAGE SLG 1 Joe DiMaggio .579 2 Ken Griffey Jr. .562 3 Willie Mays .557 4 Mickey Mantle .557 5 Hack Wilson .545 6 Duke Snider .540 7 Earl Averill .533 8 Wally Berger .522 9 Ellis Burks .514 10 Ty Cobb .512
SLG DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Joe DiMaggio .171 .579 .407 2 Mickey Mantle .165 .557 .392 3 Willie Mays .156 .557 .401 4 Ty Cobb .148 .512 .364 5 Ken Griffey Jr. .143 .562 .419 6 Tris Speaker .131 .500 .370 7 Hack Wilson .129 .545 .415 8 Duke Snider .129 .540 .411 9 Wally Berger .114 .522 .407 10 Earl Averill .111 .533 .422
ON BASE PLUS SLUGGING OPS 1 Mickey Mantle .977 2 Joe DiMaggio .977 3 Ty Cobb .945 4 Willie Mays .941 5 Ken Griffey Jr. .940 6 Hack Wilson .940 7 Tris Speaker .928 8 Earl Averill .928 9 Duke Snider .919 10 Bernie Williams .890
OPS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Mickey Mantle .252 .977 .725 2 Ty Cobb .242 .945 .704 3 Tris Speaker .215 .928 .714 4 Joe DiMaggio .213 .977 .764 5 Willie Mays .210 .941 .731 6 Ken Griffey Jr. .182 .940 .758 7 Hack Wilson .174 .940 .766 8 Duke Snider .171 .919 .749 9 Earl Averill .145 .928 .782 10 Larry Doby .132 .876 .744
ADJUSTED OPS OPS+ 1 Mickey Mantle 172 2 Ty Cobb 167 3 Tris Speaker 158 4 Willie Mays 156 5 Joe DiMaggio 155 6 Ken Griffey Jr. 144 7 Hack Wilson 144 8 Duke Snider 140 9 Wally Berger 138 10 Larry Doby 136
TOTAL AVERAGE TA 1 Mickey Mantle 1.091 2 Ty Cobb 1.057 3 Joe DiMaggio 1.012 4 Tris Speaker 1.012 5 Hack Wilson 1.005 6 Willie Mays .982 7 Ken Griffey Jr. .980 8 Earl Averill .956 9 Duke Snider .931 10 Larry Doby .893
TOTAL AVERAGE DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Mickey Mantle .431 1.091 .661 2 Ty Cobb .393 1.057 .664 3 Tris Speaker .338 1.012 .673 4 Willie Mays .319 .982 .663 5 Joe DiMaggio .299 1.012 .713 6 Hack Wilson .278 1.005 .727 7 Ken Griffey Jr. .273 .980 .708 8 Duke Snider .243 .931 .688 9 Earl Averill .211 .956 .746 10 Larry Doby .209 .893 .684
TIMES ON BASE TOB 1 Ty Cobb 5532 2 Tris Speaker 4998 3 Willie Mays 4790 4 Mickey Mantle 4161 5 Richie Ashburn 3815 6 Max Carey 3782 7 Brett Butler 3542 8 Vada Pinson 3385 9 Al Oliver 3360 10 Doc Cramer 3317 15 Ken Griffey Jr. 3015
TOB DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Ty Cobb 1777 5532 3755 2 Tris Speaker 1493 4998 3505 3 Mickey Mantle 1366 4161 2795 4 Willie Mays 1022 4790 3768 5 Richie Ashburn 850 3815 2965 6 Roy Thomas 695 2535 1840 7 Brett Butler 585 3542 2957 8 Joe DiMaggio 547 3050 2503 9 Bernie Williams 527 2691 2164 10 Duke Snider 519 3108 2589 11 Ken Griffey Jr. 512 3015 2503
TOTAL BASES TB 1 Willie Mays 6066 2 Ty Cobb 5857 3 Tris Speaker 5101 4 Mickey Mantle 4511 5 Vada Pinson 4264 6 Al Oliver 4083 7 Joe DiMaggio 3948 8 Ken Griffey Jr. 3883 9 Duke Snider 3865 10 Willie Davis 3778
TOTAL BASES DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Ty Cobb 2201 5857 3656 2 Willie Mays 1939 6066 4127 3 Tris Speaker 1692 5101 3409 4 Mickey Mantle 1576 4511 2935 5 Joe DiMaggio 1399 3948 2549 6 Ken Griffey Jr. 1122 3883 2761 7 Duke Snider 1030 3865 2835 8 Earl Averill 848 3391 2543 9 Ellis Burks 798 3599 2801 10 Al Oliver 755 4083 3328
RUNS CREATED RC 1 Ty Cobb 2757 2 Willie Mays 2355 3 Tris Speaker 2353 4 Mickey Mantle 2042 5 Joe DiMaggio 1622 6 Ken Griffey Jr. 1487 7 Duke Snider 1476 8 Max Carey 1435 9 Earl Averill 1393 10 Vada Pinson 1388
RUNS CREATED DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Ty Cobb 1381 2757 1376 2 Tris Speaker 1069 2353 1284 3 Mickey Mantle 1046 2042 996 4 Willie Mays 982 2355 1373 5 Joe DiMaggio 661 1622 961 6 Ken Griffey Jr. 538 1487 949 7 Duke Snider 500 1476 976 8 Earl Averill 418 1393 975 9 Hack Wilson 355 1050 695 10 Ellis Burks 352 1305 953
RUNS CREATED/GAME RC/G 1 Mickey Mantle 9.35 2 Ty Cobb 9.25 3 Joe DiMaggio 9.11 4 Tris Speaker 8.59 5 Earl Averill 8.15 6 Hack Wilson 8.02 7 Willie Mays 7.89 8 Ken Griffey Jr. 7.80 9 Duke Snider 7.45 10 Bernie Williams 7.15
RUNS CREATED/GAME DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Mickey Mantle 4.78 9.35 4.57 2 Ty Cobb 4.65 9.25 4.60 3 Tris Speaker 3.90 8.59 4.69 4 Joe DiMaggio 3.72 9.11 5.39 5 Willie Mays 3.29 7.89 4.60 6 Ken Griffey Jr. 2.82 7.80 4.98 7 Hack Wilson 2.70 8.02 5.32 8 Duke Snider 2.52 7.45 4.93 9 Earl Averill 2.44 8.15 5.71 10 Larry Doby 2.21 7.14 4.93
HOMERUNS HR 1 Willie Mays 660 2 Mickey Mantle 536 3 Ken Griffey Jr. 468 4 Duke Snider 407 5 Dale Murphy 398 6 Joe DiMaggio 361 7 Ellis Burks 345 8 Fred Lynn 306 9 Jimmy Wynn 291 10 Eric Davis 282
HOMERUNS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Willie Mays 390 660 270 2 Mickey Mantle 346 536 190 3 Ken Griffey Jr. 272 468 196 4 Joe DiMaggio 240 361 121 5 Dale Murphy 223 398 175 6 Duke Snider 218 407 189 7 Cy Williams 187 251 64 8 Hack Wilson 175 244 69 9 Wally Berger 164 242 78 10 Ellis Burks 150 345 195
RUNS R 1 Ty Cobb 2245 2 Willie Mays 2062 3 Tris Speaker 1882 4 Mickey Mantle 1677 5 Max Carey 1545 6 Joe DiMaggio 1390 7 Vada Pinson 1366 8 Brett Butler 1359 9 Doc Cramer 1357 10 Richie Ashburn 1322 13 Ken Griffey Jr. 1237
RUNS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Ty Cobb 928 2245 1317 2 Willie Mays 743 2062 1319 3 Mickey Mantle 712 1677 965 4 Tris Speaker 651 1882 1231 5 Joe DiMaggio 477 1390 913 6 Earle Combs 373 1186 813 7 Tommy Leach 343 1280 937 8 Duke Snider 333 1259 926 9 Kenny Lofton 318 1148 830 10 Max Carey 315 1545 1230 T11 Ken Griffey Jr. 310 1237 927 T11 Brett Butler 310 1359 1049
RUNS BATTED IN RBI 1 Ty Cobb 1933 2 Willie Mays 1903 T3 Tris Speaker 1537 T3 Joe DiMaggio 1537 5 Mickey Mantle 1509 6 Ken Griffey Jr. 1358 7 Duke Snider 1333 8 Al Oliver 1326 9 Dale Murphy 1266 10 Ellis Burks 1177
RBI DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE 1 Ty Cobb 810 1933 1123 2 Joe DiMaggio 686 1537 851 3 Willie Mays 671 1903 1232 4 Mickey Mantle 604 1509 905 5 Tris Speaker 484 1537 1053 6 Ken Griffey Jr. 481 1358 877 7 Duke Snider 465 1333 868 8 Hack Wilson 453 1063 610 9 Dale Murphy 348 1266 918 10 Al Oliver 317 1326 1009
* All statistics are through 2002. The career rate stats are based on a minimum of 5000 PA. Player positions are determined by career totals rather than by individual seasons.
Ken Griffey's Career Stats (through 2003):
YEAR G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG OPS CAREER 1914 7079 1271 2080 382 36 481 1384 940 1256 177 .294 .379 .562 .941
Griffey's Seasonal Averages (per 162 games played):
YEAR G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG OPS 11.81 162 599 108 176 32 3 41 117 80 106 15 .294 .379 .562 .941
Sources: sabermetric baseball encyclopedia, baseball-reference.com, and espn.com
An evaluation of Griffey (or any player) would not be complete without reviewing fielding and baserunning. By most measures, Griffey was at least an average--if not a plus--fielder and baserunner. Like most ballplayers, Griffey's defensive and baserunning performance improved through his early years before deteriorating slightly with age. Junior's defense and baserunning were generally stronger during his Seattle years and were weaker during his Cincinnati years. As noted above, Griffey won 10 Gold Gloves, perhaps due to his penchant for making spectacular catches as well as the possibility that his reputation may have preceded his actual performance. His fielding percentage as a center fielder was .985 vs. the league average for CF of .987. His range factor was 2.55 vs. the league average of 2.43. Baseball Prospectus rates Griffey's career defensive value at 99, meaning he was one run below average per 100 games. Griffey's highest defensive rating was 108 in 1995 and his lowest was 91 in 2002. Griffey had excellent speed, particularly early in his career before injuries took their toll. He stole 177 bases and was caught 66 times for a success rate of 73%, which is five percentage points above the league average and one percentage point above his position average.
Born on the same day (November 21) and in the same town (Donora, PA) as Stan Musial. The most similar player appears to be Duke Snider. Griffey was the first pick in the June 1987 draft. Junior collected 398 HR before the age of 30 and was the youngest player to reach 400. Ninth unanimous MVP in A.L. history. Belted 40 or more HR in seven out of eight seasons from 1993-2000 (with the only miss in 1995, a year he hit 17 homers in only 72 games). Four-year run of 209 HR and 567 RBI (equal to 52 HR and 142 RBI per year), including back-to-back seasons of 56 in 1997 and 1998. Hit A.L.-high 40 roundtrippers in just 111 games during the strike-shortened 1994 season, on pace for a 162-game total of 58.
Conclusion: Based on statistical comparisons, I believe Ken Griffey, Jr. is the sixth best center fielder of all time and is clearly worthy of being enshrined in the Hall of Fame even if he were to retire now and never play another game. There is a huge gap between Griffey and The Big Five (in alphabetical order, Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Tris Speaker), but he ranks higher than Snider (who I would rate #7) by almost every statistical measure and is unmistakably superior to the rest of the center fielders in baseball history.
Todd Helton: Why Don't We Do It (on) the Road?
"Why don't we do it in the road?
--John Lennon/Paul McCartney
Watching the All-Star game on Tuesday night, I heard Fox play-by-play announcer Joe Buck make the following comment about Todd Helton during his first at bat: "He does it at home. He does it on the road."
For the record, a check of Helton's home/road splits this year suggests otherwise:
Overall AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB AVG OBP SLG OPS Home 195 57 77 19 3 16 52 31 .395 .478 .769 1.247 Road 163 30 48 13 1 5 26 30 .294 .399 .479 .878
Lest someone thinks 2003 is too small of a sample, here are Helton's home/road splits for 2000-2003:
Overall AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB AVG OBP SLG OPS Home 962 269 372 91 9 77 253 167 .387 .477 .740 1.218 Road 894 144 257 66 5 44 158 152 .287 .391 .520 .911
Helton's home stats:
AVG OBP SLG OPS Helton .387 .477 .740 1.218 Ruth .342 .474 .690 1.164
Helton's road stats:
AVG OBP SLG OPS Helton .287 .391 .520 .911 Vaughn .294 .384 .526 .910
The bottom line: If Helton were allowed to play all of his games at Coors Field, he would be the best hitter of all time. Conversely, if Helton had to play all of his games on the road, he would be reduced to being an All-Star type caliber player at best rather than Babe Ruth on steroids.
The Quad, Part III
As promised, I have compiled the single season, career leaders, and number of times leading the league in the four Quad categories. In addition, I created an overall ranking in terms of the total number of times having led the league in all four categories.
Babe Ruth shows his might by being the only player making each of the top ten single season and career lists. Not surprisingly, Ruth also ranks number one overall with 36 career top ten finishes in these four categories. Ted Williams is right behind Ruth with 35. Barry Bonds is the only active player among the overall leaders, ranking eighth. However, his place needs to be put in perspective because, as mentioned in an earlier article, the number of teams and players has essentially doubled in the post-expansion. As a result, leading the league today is a more difficult accomplishment than in the pre-expansion years. Nonetheless, Bonds has the potential of moving into sixth place overall by the end of next year (behind only Ruth, Williams, Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musial, and Ty Cobb).
By the time Bonds retires, he is likely to end up in each of the top ten lists other than single season total bases. Bonds' all-time high is 411 TB (reached in 2001), good enough for 16th on the single season list (eight TB from placing in the top ten). In fact, Bonds, with continued good health and production over the next few years, may rank among the top four in career totals in each of the Quad categories (behind only Ruth, Williams, and Lou Gehrig in SLG and OBP; Pete Rose and Cobb in TOB; and Hank Aaron, Musial, and Willie Mays in TB).
As I see it, Bonds could wind up his career ranked fourth in OBP, fourth in SLG, second in TOB, and second in TB. If so, Bonds would rank behind only Ruth, Williams, and Gehrig in career rate stats but ahead of all three in career counting stats. It is the combination of qualitative and quantitative performance which separates the greatest from the great, the great from the very good, and the very good from the good. There are many players who rank among the best in one or the other (Hank Greenberg comes to mind with rate stats, Rose and Eddie Murray with counting stats), but only a very select number who have produced extraordinary qualitative and quantitative stats in the on base and slugging areas. Greenberg's career counting stats come up short of the all time greats, almost entirely due to missing more than four seasons near the peak of his career while serving in the military before and during World War II. Not to take anything away from Rose and Murray--both of whom were outstanding players--but they accumulated massive counting stats based on two of the longest playing careers ever (with each ranking among only eight players having played in more than 3,000 games).
The only other active players in major league baseball today on these top ten lists in addition to Bonds are Jeff Bagwell (single season SLG), Sammy Sosa (single season TB), Luis Gonzalez (single season TB), Frank Thomas (career OBP), and Manny Ramirez (career SLG). [Editor's note: With the Dodgers having signed Rickey Henderson (career TOB) on Monday, July 14, the 44-year-old outfielder now qualifies as an active player as well.]
SINGLE SEASON LEADERS
ON BASE PERCENTAGE
YEAR OBP 1 Barry Bonds 2002 .582 2 Ted Williams 1941 .553 3 Babe Ruth 1923 .545 4 Babe Ruth 1920 .532 5 Ted Williams 1957 .526 6 Babe Ruth 1926 .516 7 Barry Bonds 2001 .515 8 Ted Williams 1954 .513 9 Babe Ruth 1924 .513 10 Babe Ruth 1921 .512
Bonds, Williams, and Ruth hold all ten spots in single season on base percentage--an indication of their complete superiority in this all important stat. Bonds' 2002 season ranks number one with an almost unbelievable mark of .582--a level .029 (or more than 5%) ahead of Williams' previous all-time high.
YEAR SLG 1 Barry Bonds 2001 .863 2 Babe Ruth 1920 .847 3 Babe Ruth 1921 .846 4 Barry Bonds 2002 .799 5 Babe Ruth 1927 .772 6 Lou Gehrig 1927 .765 7 Babe Ruth 1923 .764 8 Rogers Hornsby 1925 .756 9 Mark McGwire 1998 .752 10 Jeff Bagwell 1994 .750
Bonds is also number one in single season slugging average (.863 in 2001). It is interesting to highlight that Bonds and Ruth hold the top five places in SLG. Bonds and Ruth are also the only players with top ten seasons in both OBP and SLG.
TIMES ON BASE
YEAR TOB 1 Babe Ruth 1923 379 2 Ted Williams 1949 358 3 Barry Bonds 2002 356 4 Babe Ruth 1921 353 5 Babe Ruth 1924 346 6 Ted Williams 1947 345 7 Wade Boggs 1988 342 Barry Bonds 2001 342 Lou Gehrig 1936 342 10 Wade Boggs 1985 340
Notice a pattern here? Ruth, Williams, and Bonds hold the top six spots in single season TOB and seven of the top ten. Common thread among the top ten players in both OBP and TOB? All of them bat lefthanded--a trait that runs throughout the all-time leaders in The Quad, whether it be single season, career, or number of times leading the league.
YEAR TB 1 Babe Ruth 1921 457 2 Rogers Hornsby 1922 450 3 Lou Gehrig 1927 447 4 Chuck Klein 1930 445 5 Jimmie Foxx 1932 438 6 Stan Musial 1948 429 7 Sammy Sosa 2001 425 8 Hack Wilson 1930 423 9 Chuck Klein 1932 420 T10 Lou Gehrig 1930 419 T10 Luis Gonzalez 2001 419
Hornsby and Jimmie Foxx, perhaps the two greatest righthanded hitters ever, rank second and fifth, respectively, in single season TB. Bonds falls out of the top ten for the first time, leaving Ruth as the lone survivor in each of the single season top ten lists.
ON BASE PERCENTAGE
OBP 1 Ted Williams .482 2 Babe Ruth .474 3 Lou Gehrig .447 4 Rogers Hornsby .434 5 Ty Cobb .433 6 Frank Thomas .432 7 Jimmie Foxx .428 8 Barry Bonds .428 9 Tris Speaker .428 10 Eddie Collins .424
Williams, Ruth, and Bonds are the only players among the top ten in single season and career OBP.
SLG 1 Babe Ruth .690 2 Ted Williams .634 3 Lou Gehrig .632 4 Jimmie Foxx .609 5 Hank Greenberg .605 6 Manny Ramirez .599 7 Barry Bonds .595 8 Mark McGwire .588 9 Joe DiMaggio .579 10 Rogers Hornsby .577
Ruth, Gehrig, Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Hornsby are the only repeats in single season and career SLG.
TIMES ON BASE
TOB 1 Pete Rose 5929 2 Ty Cobb 5532 3 Rickey Henderson 5316 4 Carl Yastrzemski 5304 5 Stan Musial 5282 6 Hank Aaron 5205 7 Tris Speaker 4998 8 Babe Ruth 4978 9 Eddie Collins 4891 10 Willie Mays 4791
Ruth is the only player ranking in the top ten in single season and career TOB. Also noteworthy is the fact that only Ruth, Cobb, and Eddie Collins rank among the top ten in career OBP and TOB--a tribute to their ability to get on base measured by rate and counting stats.
TB 1 Hank Aaron 6856 2 Stan Musial 6134 3 Willie Mays 6066 4 Ty Cobb 5854 5 Babe Ruth 5793 6 Pete Rose 5752 7 Carl Yastrzemski 5539 8 Eddie Murray 5397 9 Frank Robinson 5373 10 Dave Winfield 5221
Ruth and Musial are the only two ranking in the top ten single season and career TB. Ruth is the only player in career SLG and TB--a tribute to his slugging in terms of rate and counting stats.
* All statistics are through 2002. The single season and career leaders are from 1900-on. The single season rate stats are based on a minimum of 3.1 PA/G and the career rate stats are based on a minimum of 5000 PA.
TIMES LEADING LEAGUE
ON BASE PERCENTAGE
OBP 1 Ted Williams 12 2 Babe Ruth 10 3 Rogers Hornsby 8 4 Wade Boggs 6 Barry Bonds 6 Ty Cobb 6 Stan Musial 6 8 Lou Gehrig 5 Carl Yastrzemski 5 10 Richie Ashburn 4 Rod Carew 4 Joe Morgan 4 Mel Ott 4 Frank Thomas 4 Honus Wagner 4
SLG 1 Babe Ruth 12 2 Rogers Hornsby 10 3 Ty Cobb 9 Ted Williams 9 5 Stan Musial 6 Honus Wagner 6 7 Barry Bonds 5 Jimmie Foxx 5 Willie Mays 5 Mike Schmidt 5
TIMES ON BASE
TOB 1 Pete Rose 9 2 Wade Boggs 8 Stan Musial 8 Babe Ruth 8 Ted Williams 8 6 Lou Gehrig 6 7 Richie Ashburn 5 Roy Thomas 5 9 Barry Bonds 4 Rod Carew 4 Ty Cobb 4 Rogers Hornsby 4 Paul Waner 4 Carl Yastrzemski 4
TB 1 Hank Aaron 8 2 Rogers Hornsby 7 3 Ty Cobb 6 Stan Musial 6 Babe Ruth 6 Honus Wagner 6 Ted Williams 6 8 Lou Gehrig 4 Chuck Klein 4 Jim Rice 4
OBP SLG TOB TB TOTAL Babe Ruth 10 12 8 6 36 Ted Williams 12 9 8 6 35 Rogers Hornsby 8 10 4 7 29 Stan Musial 6 6 8 6 26 Ty Cobb 6 9 4 6 25 Honus Wagner 4 6 2 6 18 Lou Gehrig 5 2 6 4 17 Barry Bonds 6 5 4 1 16 Hank Aaron 0 4 2 8 14 Wade Boggs 6 0 8 0 14 Jimmie Foxx 3 5 3 3 14 Carl Yaz 5 3 4 2 14The distinguishing feature of the top eight players is the fact that they have led the league in each of the four Quad categories, reflecting their greatness qualitatively and quantitatively in their ability to get on base and drive baserunners home--the two most important components of run production. In fact, the top five players all led in each of the four categories at least four times, a true sign of dominace. Aaron, #1 all time in career TB, never led the league in OBP (although he led twice in TOB). Wade Boggs, tied for second all time in number of times leading the league in TOB, never led in SLG or TB. Boggs was more of a specialist at getting on base rather than a slugger but one of the greatest ever nonetheless at what he did best.
Note: These lists would be nearly impossible to compile without the assistance of the sabermetric baseball encyclopedia and baseball-reference.com. Thanks to Lee Sinins and Sean Forman for their great work.
The Quad, Part II
Last week, I introduced "The Quad." To recap, The Quad is awarded to a player who leads the league in on base percentage, slugging average, times on base, and total bases.
The Quad measures the two most important components of run production--the ability to get on base and the ability to drive base runners home. The former is covered via on base percentage (OBP) and times on base (TOB). The latter is covered via slugging average (SLG) and total bases (TB). None of these stats are team dependent. Therefore, The Quad is a pure statistical measure of an individual's offensive performance.
In the introductory article on The Quad, I listed the 17 different players in modern baseball history who have earned The Quad Award by leading their respective league in all four Quad categories. This exclusive fraternity has earned The Quad Award over the course of 31 different seasons with six of the players achieving this honor on more than one occasion--led by Babe Ruth and Ted Williams with five each.
I have consolidated the American and National League Quad Award honorees, along with their relevant statistics, into one table as follows:
RATE STATS COUNTING STATS YEAR PLAYER TEAM OBP SLG TOB TB 1901 Lajoie PHA .463 .643 269 350 1906 Stone SLB .417 .501 267 291 1908 Wagner PIT .415 .542 260 308 1909 Cobb DET .431 .517 270 296 1910 Magee PHI .445 .507 278 263 1915 Cravath PHI .393 .510 241 266 1917 Cobb DET .444 .570 290 335 1919 Ruth BOS .456 .657 246 284 1920 Hornsby STL .431 .559 281 329 1921 Hornsby STL .458 .639 302 378 1921 Ruth NY .512 .846 353 457 1922 Hornsby STL .459 .722 316 450 1923 Ruth NY .545 .764 379 399 1924 Hornsby STL .507 .696 318 373 1924 Ruth NY .513 .739 346 391 1926 Ruth NY .516 .737 331 365 1933 Klein PHI .422 .602 280 365 1934 Gehrig NY .465 .706 321 409 1938 Foxx BOS .462 .704 316 398 1942 Williams BOS .499 .648 335 338 1943 Musial STL .425 .562 294 347 1946 Williams BOS .497 .667 334 343 1947 Williams BOS .499 .634 345 335 1948 Musial STL .450 .702 312 429 1949 Williams BOS .490 .650 358 368 1951 Williams BOS .464 .556 313 295 1966 Robinson BAL .410 .637 279 367 1967 Yaz BOS .418 .622 284 360 1970 Yaz BOS .452 .592 315 335 1981 Schmidt PHI .435 .644 189 228 2000 Helton COL .463 .698 323 405* Bold indicates player earned The Major League Quad Award by leading the American and National Leagues in all four components of The Quad.
As a follow-up to The Quad, I thought it would be interesting to determine how many players have led their respective league in three of the four categories. Three is an important cutoff because it ensures superiority in at least one rate stat and one counting stat plus at least one on-base stat and one slugging stat. In other words, by virtue of their leadership status in three of the four legs, all of these players created runs by getting on base and driving home base runners.
There have been 31 different players covering 46 separate seasons, including 14 and 19, respectively, in the American League and 17 and 27, respectively, in the National League who have led in three of the four legs:
RATE STATS COUNTING STATS YEAR PLAYER TEAM OBP TOB SLG TB PLACE LEADER TEAM 1904 Lajoie CLE x x x 2nd Barrett DET 1911 Cobb DET x x x 2nd Jackson CLE 1915 Cobb DET x x x 2nd Fournier CHW 1916 Speaker CLE x x x 2nd Jackson CHW 1920 Ruth NYY x x x 2nd Sisler SLB 1928 Ruth NYY x x x 2nd Gehrig NYY 1931 Ruth NYY x x x 2nd Gehrig NYY 1932 Foxx PHA x x x 2nd Ruth NYY 1933 Foxx PHA x x x 2nd Cochrane PHA 1936 Gehrig NYY x x x 2nd Trosky CLE 1941 Williams BOS x x x 3rd DiMaggio NYY 1945 Stirnw'ss NYY x x x 6th Lake BOS 1948 Williams BOS x x x 3rd DiMaggio NYY 1953 Rosen CLE x x x 2nd Woodling NYY 1956 Mantle NYY x x x 2nd Williams BOS 1972 Allen CHW x x x 2nd Murcer NYY 1978 Rice BOS x x x 12th Carew MIN 1994 Thomas CHW x x x 3rd Belle CLE 2001 Giambi OAK x x x 3rd ARod TEX
RATE STATS COUNTING STATS YEAR PLAYER TEAM OBP TOB SLG TB PLACE LEADER TEAM 1901 Burkett STL x x x 4th Sheckard BRO 1904 Wagner PIT x x x 2nd Thomas PHI 1907 Wagner PIT x x x 3rd Shannon NYG 1909 Wagner PIT x x x 2nd Clarke PIT 1913 Cravath PHI x x x 2nd Huggins STL 1925 Hornsby STL x x x 2nd Cuyler PIT 1932 Klein PHI x x x 4th Ott NYG 1935 Vaughn PIT x x x 7th Medwick STL 1939 Mize STL x x x 2nd Ott NYG 1940 Mize STL x x x 3rd Fletcher PIT 1944 Musial STL x x x 2nd Nicholson CHC 1945 Holmes BSN x x x 3rd Cavaretta CHC 1946 Musial STL x x x 2nd Stanky BRO 1947 Kiner PIT x x x 3rd Walker PHI 1949 Musial STL x x x 2nd Kiner PIT 1952 Musial STL x x x 2nd Robinson BRO 1959 Aaron MIL x x x 2nd Cunn'ghm STL 1962 Robinson CIN x x x 2nd Mays SF 1963 Aaron MIL x x x 2nd Mathews MIL 1965 Mays SF x x x 8th Rose CIN 1992 Bonds PIT x x x 5th Sheffield SD 1993 Bonds SF x x x 2nd Dykstra PHI 1994 Bagwell HOU x x x 2nd Gwynn SD 1997 Walker COL x x x 4th Biggio HOU 1998 McGwire STL x x x 2nd Sosa CHC 2001 Bonds SF x x x 3rd Sosa CHC 2002 Bonds SF x x x 7th Guerrero MON
Barry Bonds and Stan Musial have performed this "trifecta" four times each. Other multiple winners are Honus Wagner and Babe Ruth (3x each); Ty Cobb, Jimmie Foxx, Johnny Mize, Ted Williams, and Hank Aaron (2x each). The only non-1B/OF to accomplish this feat are Nap Lajoie, Honus Wagner, Rogers Hornsby, Arky Vaughn, Snuffy Stirnweiss, and Al Rosen.
More Legs Than You Can Count
There are 11 batters who have captured all four legs of The Quad and three legs one or more times.
The Quad: 1901.
The Quad: 1908.
The Quad: 1909, 1917.
The Quad: 1915.
The Quad: 1919, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1926.
The Quad: 1920, 1921, 1922, 1924.
The Quad: 1933.
The Quad: 1938.
The Quad: 1934.
The Quad: 1942, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1951.
The Quad: 1943, 1948.
On 28 separate occasions, a player who captured three legs of The Quad has finished in second place in the fourth category. Another way of looking at that is to say that more often than not, a player leading the league in three Quad categories also finished second in the fourth.
Interestingly, 42 of the 46 players who have led in three legs of The Quad also led their league in OPS and OPS+. The only exceptions were Jesse Burkett in 1901 when he finished second to Ed Delahanty in OPS, Chuck Klein in 1932 when he ended up second behind Mel Ott in OPS+, Stan Musial in 1949 when he wound up second to Ralph Kiner in both, and Larry Walker in 1997 when he came in second behind Mike Piazza in OPS+. Moreover, it is noteworthy that all 46 batters finished no worse than second in OPS and OPS+ the year they captured three of the four legs of The Quad.
1945: A Baseball Oddity
The least heralded players to secure the three-legged Quad were Snuffy Stirnweiss and Tommy Holmes, both in 1945 when many of the game's stars, including Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, and Stan Musial, were serving in World War II. Nonetheless, Stirnweiss and Holmes were the best offensive players in their respective leagues that year. Stirnweiss played second base for the Yankees and led the A.L. in runs, hits, triples, extra base hits, stolen bases, batting average, slugging average, OPS, runs created, and total bases. Snuffy had two great seasons during the War in 1944 and 1945 but was no better than an average player the rest of his career. He was retired but only 39 years old at the time of his death when a train he was on plunged off an open drawbridge into a river in New Jersey.
Holmes played right field for the Boston Braves and led the N.L. in hits, doubles, home runs, extra base hits, slugging average, OPS, runs created, total bases, and total average. Tommy had a 37-game hitting streak in 1945, a then modern-day record that stood for 33 years before Pete Rose broke it on his way to a 44-game streak. Remarkably, Holmes struck out only nine times in 636 at bats that year. Holmes retired with the fourth best SO/AB ratio of all time, having fanned fewer times in his career in 4,992 AB than 29 mlb players in 2002 alone!
I will conclude my series on The Quad over the weekend with follow-up articles on the all-time top ten single-season, most times leading the league, and career leaders plus rankings based on active players and current year results through the All-Star break.
Photo credit: A&R Collectibles.
It's That Time of the Year Again
The All-Star teams were announced earlier today. As usual, there are some good and bad choices in both the American and National Leagues. I have listed Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT picks next to the actual selections below along with my comments.
LEAGUE ACTUAL BEAT COMMENTS C A.L. Posada Posada Counting stats put Posada on top N.L. Lopez Lopez Career year deserves starting nod 1B A.L. Delgado Delgado No brainer; MVP season N.L. Helton Pujols Helton's road stats tell real story 2B A.L. Soriano Boone Tough choice but Boone more deserving N.L. Giles Vidro Vidro better across the board SS A.L. ARod ARod Flip a coin between ARod or Nomar N.L. Renteria Renteria Nothing to argue with here 3B A.L. Glaus Koskie Hard to separate Koskie and Blalock N.L. Rolen Lowell Lowell's #s slightly better OF A.L. Suzuki Mora Mora 2nd best rate stats in the league A.L. Matsui Bradley Not the Japanese All-Star game A.L. Ramirez Ramirez Typical Manny year thus far N.L. Bonds Bonds All-time great nearly as great as ever N.L. Pujols Edmonds Who is going to play CF? N.L. Sheff Sheff MVP candidate DH A.L. Martinez Thomas Frank puttin' The Big Hurt on again
I took the liberty of voting as if I were the manager and not constrained by the positions listed on the ballot. As such, I made Albert Pujols the first baseman on the N.L. squad. Todd Helton's stats look good upon first glance but are artificially inflated by Coors Field. He is hitting .279/.382/.422 on the road this year, hardly of All-Star caliber--especially for a first sacker. Besides, by sliding Pujols over to 1B, it allows the N.L. team to start Barry Bonds in left, Jim Edmonds in center, and Gary Sheffield in right. Pujols, Bonds, Edmonds, and Sheffield are all having MVP-type seasons, and it would be unfair to leave one of them out of the starting lineup.
Worst Choice? Hideki Matsui in a landslide. Godzilla may be popular, but he doesn't even belong on the team as a reserve--much less as a starter.
Most Glaring Omission From the Starting Lineup? Jose Vidro, who is one of the most underrated players in the game among casual fans. Vidro plays in near obscurity in Montreal but is once again putting up All-Star numbers (.327/.416/.510).
Lock of the Year? Dontrelle Willis will replace Shawn Chacon, who is currently on the disabled list and unlikely to be ready to pitch next week. Brandon Webb's stats are similar, but he will have to buy a ticket to go to the game.
Biggest P.R. Blunder? Leaving Roger Clemens off the team. If Cal Ripken and Michael Jordan can start in their final season All-Star games, then certainly The Rocket should be given the same opportunity. Not only would it be the right thing to do, but Clemens is arguably deserving purely based on his stats this year. To wit, Clemens ranks 1st in the A.L. in Ks (122), 6th in WHIP (1.16), and 8th in BAA (.232). Maybe Clemens would have had a better chance to make the team if he were a reliever given the fact that six were chosen, including the legendary Lance Carter and his 4.17 ERA.
See you next weekend.
Introducing "The Quad" Award
The Qualitative and Quantitative Statistical Achievement
Combines the Best of Rate Stats and Counting Stats
Everyone knows about the Triple Crown: the league leader in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. Eleven different players have achieved this feat in modern baseball history with Rogers Hornsby and Ted Williams having accomplished it two times each. However, most sabermetricians have a problem with the choice of categories. Two of the three legs are flawed in the sense that batting average is not as well correlated with runs scored as on base percentage and slugging average, and runs batted in is a team-dependent statistic.
Well, now there is a better, more comprehensive version of the Triple Crown. It's called "The Quad," short for quadruple. The Quad is comprised of on base percentage, slugging average, times on base, and total bases. It is both a qualitative and quantitative statistical achievement. In short, The Quad combines the best of rate stats and counting stats. Rate stats are qualitative, gauging performance on a per at bat or plate appearance basis. Counting stats, on the other hand, are quantitative, evaluating performance on an absolute basis.
The Quad measures the two most important components of run production--the ability to get on base and the ability to drive baserunners home. The former is covered via on base percentage (OBP) and times on base (TOB). The latter is covered via slugging average (SLG) and total bases (TB). None of these stats are team dependent. Therefore, The Quad is a pure statistical measure of an individual's offensive performance.
There have been 17 different players in modern history over the course of 31 seasons who have earned The Quad Award by leading their respective league in all four of The Quad categories.
The honorees are as follows:
PLAYER TEAM YEAR OBP TOB SLG TB Wagner PIT 1908 .415 260 .542 308 Magee PHI 1910 .445 278 .507 263 Cravath PHI 1915 .393 241 .510 266 Hornsby STL 1920 .431 281 .559 329 Hornsby STL 1921 .458 302 .639 378 Hornsby STL 1922 .459 316 .722 450 Hornsby STL 1924 .507 318 .696 373 Klein PHI 1933 .422 280 .602 365 Musial STL 1943 .425 294 .562 347 Musial STL 1948 .450 312 .702 429 Schmidt PHI 1981 .435 189 .644 228 Helton COL 2000 .463 323 .698 405
PLAYER TEAM YEAR OBP TOB SLG TB Lajoie PHA 1901 .463 269 .643 350 Stone SLB 1906 .417 267 .501 291 Cobb DET 1909 .431 270 .517 296 Cobb DET 1917 .444 290 .570 335 Ruth BOS 1919 .456 246 .657 284 Ruth NY 1921 .512 353 .846 457 Ruth NY 1923 .545 379 .764 399 Ruth NY 1924 .513 346 .739 391 Ruth NY 1926 .516 331 .737 365 Gehrig NY 1934 .465 321 .706 409 Foxx BOS 1938 .462 316 .704 398 WilliamsBOS 1942 .499 335 .648 338 WilliamsBOS 1946 .497 334 .667 343 WilliamsBOS 1947 .499 345 .634 335 WilliamsBOS 1949 .490 358 .650 368 WilliamsBOS 1951 .464 313 .556 295 RobinsonBAL 1966 .410 279 .637 367 Yaz BOS 1967 .418 284 .622 360 Yaz BOS 1970 .452 315 .592 335
Interestingly, eight of the 17 players above have also earned The Quad Award for the entire major league by leading in all four Quad categories in both leagues. The creme de la creme are as follows:
PLAYER TEAM YEAR OBP TOB SLG TB Wagner PIT 1908 .415 260 .542 308 Cobb DET 1909 .431 270 .517 296 Cobb DET 1917 .444 290 .570 335 Ruth BOS 1919 .456 246 .657 284 Ruth NY 1921 .512 353 .846 457 Ruth NY 1923 .545 379 .764 399 Ruth NY 1924 .513 346 .739 391 Ruth NY 1926 .516 331 .737 365 Gehrig NY 1934 .465 321 .706 409 Foxx BOS 1938 .462 316 .704 398 WilliamsBOS 1942 .499 335 .648 338 Musial STL 1943 .425 294 .562 347 Yaz BOS 1967 .418 284 .622 360
PLAYER TEAM YEAR OPS OPS+ Wagner PIT 1908 .957 205 Cobb DET 1909 .947 194 Cobb DET 1917 1.014 209 Ruth BOS 1919 1.114 219 Ruth NY 1921 1.359 239 Ruth NY 1923 1.309 239 Ruth NY 1924 1.252 220 Ruth NY 1926 1.253 227 Gehrig NY 1934 1.172 208 Foxx BOS 1938 1.166 182 WilliamsBOS 1942 1.147 217 Musial STL 1943 .988 180 Yaz BOS 1967 1.040 195
By definition, all of the National and American League Quad honorees also led their respective leagues in On Base Plus Slugging or OPS in the year they captured all four jewels of The Quad. Furthermore, with the exception of Todd Helton, all of The Quad honorees had the highest Adjusted OPS or OPS+ in their respective league that year, underscoring the fact that not only were their stats the best in terms of raw numbers but also the best adjusted for park factors. Although Helton had a higher OPS (1.162) than Barry Bonds (1.127), he had a vastly inferior OPS+ (158) than Bonds (191). Coors Field had a park factor of 131 (meaning it helped batters by 31% over a neutral park), whereas Pac Bell Park had a factor of 91 (meaning it hurt batters by 9%). For the record, Bonds has actually had four years with an even greater OPS+ (205 in 1992, 206 in 1993, 262 in 2001, and 275 in 2002 with the latter two ranking first and second all time).
Surprisingly, Bonds has not won The Quad Award to date. However, he has captured three legs of The Quad on four separate occasions (1992, 1993, 2001, and 2002). Holding Bonds back has been the fact that the all-time great has only led the league in total bases one time, primarily due to an unusually high number of bases on balls (which limits his opportunities to accumulate TB); a relatively low batting average for most of his career compared to other similar players who had high walk totals, such as Babe Ruth and Ted Williams (both of whom led the A.L. in TB six times); and playing in an era with as many as 16 teams in a league vs. only eight in the days of Ruth and Williams (and the like), dictating the need to beat out twice the number of competitors as his counterparts from the pre-expansion days.
A Few Good Men
Moreover, except for Ruth in 1924, all of The Major League Quad honorees also had the highest OPS+ in the major leagues that year. Ruth came very close to leading the majors in OPS+ in 1924, but he fell just shy of Rogers Hornsby (220 for Ruth vs. 222 Hornsby). Although Ruth had a higher OPS (1.252) than Hornsby (1.203), the latter's park factor was .98 (meaning it slightly favored pitchers) as opposed to Ruth's park factor of 100. Hornsby not only captured Quad honors in the N.L. in 1924, he led the majors in batting average (.424) and hits (227). The "Rajah" also led his league in doubles (43), base on balls (89), and extra base hits (82), stringing together one of the best seasons ever by a middle infielder. Interestingly, Ruth and Hornsby are the only pair who have won The Quad in their respective leagues during the same year, and they did it twice (1924, as mentioned above, and 1921). If not for Ruth, Hornsby would have attained major league Quad honors in both of those years. Instead, Hornsby will have to be satisfied with having led his league four times, the third most in baseball history (behind only Ruth and Williams with five each) and the most in National League history. The only other repeat winners are Ty Cobb (1909 and 1917), Stan Musial (1943 and 1948), and Carl Yastrzemski (1967 and 1970).
Cobb and Ruth are in a class by themselves as the only multiple winners of The Major League Quad. Honus Wagner is unique being the only non-1B/OF to garner The Major League Quad. Wagner, Hornsby and Mike Schmidt are the only non-1B/OF to earn Quad honors in the National League, and Nap Lajoie is the only non-1B/OF to net Quad status in the American League.
One might say that those players who led their leagues in OBP, TOB, SLG, TB, and OPS+ achieved "The Quintuple"--a truly dominating individual performance qualititatively, quantitatively, and adjusted for park factors. These players were indisputably the greatest offensive performers in their league in the year that they achieved The Quad and finished on top in the additional stat of OPS+. For that, I award these truly special players with The Quad Plus or The QUAD+ Award.
The Quad seasons are not meant to be exhaustive in the search for the best offensive seasons ever. [As detailed above, Bonds' 2001 and 2002 campaigns are undoubtedly two of the best years ever. Ruth's 1920 (three legs plus a second place finish in the fourth) and 1927 (two legs) seasons fell short of Quad honors but probably rank among the most outstanding as well. Gehrig (1927) and Williams (1941) had seasons other than the years they won their Quads that would rank among the very best. Mickey Mantle had back-to-back seasons (1956 and 1957, in which he finished first or second in all four of the Quad components both years) that deserve mention as two of the finest offensive seasons of all time.] Instead, The Quad is designed to identify the players who led their respective leagues or the majors in the two most important stats leading to run production, both on the basis of per at bat (SLG) or plate appearance (OBP) as well as in absolute totals (TOB and TB). A hitter who may have led by a wide margin in three of the four categores and narrowly missed leading in the fourth may have had a better year than another batter who finished atop all four by razor-thin margins. Nonetheless, The Quad and QUAD+ achievements are worthy in their own right, shining light on some of the most significant and, in a few cases, underappreciated (i.e., George Stone, Sherry Magee, and Gavvy Cravath) seasons in baseball history.
The Quad and The QUAD+ also complement the OBP-SLG-OPS stats by adding TOB and TB to the mix. As a result, The Quad and The QUAD+ could be used to evaluate more comprehensively player performance, allowing General Managers as well as All-Star and Hall of Fame voters to differentiate between hitters with similar rate stats by also focusing on the corresponding counting stats because superior play is a result of both qualitative and quantitative measures.
I will continue to discuss The Quad and The QUAD+ in future articles. In the meantime, please feel free to email me with any questions or comments.
Photo credits: Baseball Library.com/Matthew Fulling.
The Word is Spreading...
More endorsements from around the baseball blogosphere:
1. Brian Wheel, The New York Yankees Report:
NEW BASEBALL BLOG
If you're like me, you're just dying for new baseball blog entries over the weekend. To get your weekend fix, head over to Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT. It's brand new. The first article is on rookie star Rocco Baldelli. Check it out.
Thanks also to:
2. Pete Sommers, Baseball News Blog:
"Looks good. I'll add it. Good luck!"
3. Aaron Gleeman, Aaron's Baseball Blog:
"The blog looks good. I added you to my links."
Other links include:
...and I have been told that there are more referrals and links to come!
Reminder: Don't foget to check back in over the long weekend for at least two new versions of Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT.
Getting Off The Ground
What they are writing about Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT, a new blog for fanatics, sabermetricians, and students of the game's history. Specializing in player evaluations, comparisons, and rankings.
1. Mike Carminati, Mike's Baseball Rants:
I have added two new links on the left. One is Rich Lederer's Weekend Baseball Beat, which features an article on Rocco Baldelli and his real-deal-ness. As for me, Baldelli's name still reminds me of Dann Bilardello too much for me to expect more than his being the D-Rays rep on the All-Star squad this year. If you want an in-depth analysis read Rich's article.
2. David Pinto, Baseball Musings:
Richard Lederer has a new blog, Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT. Check out his article on Rocco Baldelli.
3. David Bloom, D-Rays Blog:
Monday, June 30, 2003
The BEAT stands for Baseball Editorials, Analysis, and Talk
Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT is a new blog for baseball fanatics, sabermetricians, and students of the game's history. The first article Is Rocco Baldelli The Real Deal? is worth checking out.
4. John Bonnes, TwinsGeek.com:
if you're looking for more baseball coverage...
5. Jay Jaffe, Futility Infielder:
I'd like to call your attention to a new blog, Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT. Rich's first piece is on the American League's newest freak of nature, Devil Rays outfielder Rocco Baldelli. Rich looks at Rocco's hot start, his lack of plate discipline, and some historical parallels for the pride of Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Good stuff.
Editor's Note: These blogs are among the most established, widely read, and best written in the baseball blog business. Thank you for your support in helping get Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT off the ground.
Check back in over the long weekend for at least two new versions of Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT.
Happy Fourth of July!