Baseball BeatJuly 27, 2003
Let's Be Frank About The Big Hurt
By Rich Lederer

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.

Frank Thomas

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
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

The bottom two players will surely be replaced by the current crop of first basemen (i.e., Carlos Delgado, Todd Helton, and Jason Giambi) once they qualify.

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

Thomas should move past Allen, McGwire, Willie McCovey, and Hank Greenberg in TB vs. the league, perhaps by the end of this year.

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.

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)
Gray Ink: Batting - 180 (Average HOFer ~ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 48.5 (Average HOFer ~ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 160.0 (Likely HOFer > 100)

Sources: sabermetric baseball encyclopedia,, and


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.

Seven-Year Niche

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
* Thomas ranks 13th among all players in career SLG
* Thomas ranks 9th among all players in career OPS and OPS+

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.

Baseball BeatJuly 26, 2003
BEATen and Tired
By Rich Lederer

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.

Baseball BeatJuly 26, 2003
The BEAT Marches On...
By Rich Lederer

I am going to feature Frank Thomas this weekend with an analysis similar to the one written last weekend on Ken Griffey Jr. I think many readers will find his place in history surprising.

In the meantime, I recommend you check out Eisenberg Sports and Dave's preliminary findings of a new stat he is developing called Bases Advanced Percentage (BAP).

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).

Baseball BeatJuly 23, 2003
It's Time to Air a Few Commercials
By Rich Lederer

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...

The first is "Rich's Weekend Baseball Beat," which was recently started by Rich Lederer, a frequent visitor (and emailer) of Aaron's Baseball Blog. While guys like Yours Truly write blog entries during the week and generally take weekends off, Rich does the opposite on his blog, publishing great, new stuff on weekends. Go check it out, he has a very interesting multi-part series up right now that is definitely worth a read."

Earlier this evening, David Pinto, formerly the lead researcher for ESPN's Baseball Tonight and host of Baseball Tonight Online on, 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.

Jeremy Heit with a new blog by the same name gave Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT top billing on Tuesday. Like me, Jeremy's blog has been around for about a month. Unlike me, he likes the New York Mets.

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.

Last Wednesday, Bryan Smith of Bryball - Where Opinion Rounds the Bases, paid an extraordinarily nice compliment in his introductory piece. Be sure to check out Bryan's Take on Major League Baseball.

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 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.

Baseball BeatJuly 21, 2003
You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers...
By Rich Lederer

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.

Most Likely to Crash the Party: Bernie Williams and/or Jim Edmonds
Sadly Forgotten: Wally Berger
Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda: Pete Reiser

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 Fulling.

Baseball BeatJuly 19, 2003
Ken Griffey: Senior or Junior Status?
By Rich Lederer

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.

Question: Does Griffey possess Hall of Fame credentials in the event that he were to retire and never play another game?

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
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
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

MVP 1997
Gold Glove (10x): 1990-1999
All-Star (11x): 1990-2000
1992 All-Star Game MVP
1990s Player of the Decade
All Century Team

1995 ALDS, 1995 ALCS, 1997 ALDS
Griffey tied a post-season series record with five HR in the 1995 ALDS against the Yankees. Also hit .391 with nine runs and seven RBI.

Black Ink: Batting 26 (Average HOFer ~ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting 153 (Average HOFer ~ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting 49.3 (Average HOFer ~ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting 192.0 (Likely HOFer > 100)

Sources: sabermetric baseball encyclopedia,, and

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.

Miscellaneous Information

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.

Baseball BeatJuly 16, 2003
Todd Helton: Why Don't We Do It (on) the Road?
By Rich Lederer

"Why don't we do it in the road?
No one will be watching us.
Why don't we do it in the road?"

--John Lennon/Paul McCartney
The Beatles (The White Album)

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

Sorry Joe, but Helton is a substantially superior hitter at home than on the road. In fact, Todd Helton is better than Babe Ruth when he plays at home and is Mo Vaughn when he plays on the road.

Helton's home stats:

Helton	.387	.477	.740	1.218
Ruth	.342	.474	.690	1.164

Helton's road stats:

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.

Baseball BeatJuly 13, 2003
The Quad, Part III
By Rich Lederer

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.]



                              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.


                              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.



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.


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.


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.


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.



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


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


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


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


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	 14
The 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 Thanks to Lee Sinins and Sean Forman for their great work.

Baseball BeatJuly 11, 2003
The Quad, Part II
By Rich Lederer

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:

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.

Three-Legged Version

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:

American League

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

National League

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.

Nap Lajoie.

The Quad: 1901.
Three of the Four Legs: 1904.

Honus Wagner.

The Quad: 1908.
Three Legs: 1904, 1907, 1909.

Ty Cobb.

The Quad: 1909, 1917.
Three Legs: 1911, 1915.

Gavvy Cravath.

The Quad: 1915.
Three Legs: 1913.

Babe Ruth.

The Quad: 1919, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1926.
Three Legs: 1920, 1928, 1931.

Rogers Hornsby.

The Quad: 1920, 1921, 1922, 1924.
Three Legs: 1925.

Chuck Klein.

The Quad: 1933.
Three Legs: 1932.

Jimmie Foxx.

The Quad: 1938.
Three Legs: 1932, 1933.

Lou Gehrig.

The Quad: 1934.
Three Legs: 1936.

Ted Williams.

The Quad: 1942, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1951.
Three Legs: 1941.

Stan Musial.

The Quad: 1943, 1948.
Three Legs: 1944, 1946, 1949, 1952.

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.

Baseball BeatJuly 06, 2003
It's That Time of the Year Again
By Rich Lederer

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.

A.L.	Posada	Posada	Counting stats put Posada on top
N.L.	Lopez	Lopez	Career year deserves starting nod
A.L.	Delgado	Delgado	No brainer; MVP season
N.L.	Helton	Pujols	Helton's road stats tell real story
A.L.	Soriano	Boone	Tough choice but Boone more deserving
N.L.	Giles	Vidro	Vidro better across the board
A.L.	ARod	ARod	Flip a coin between ARod or Nomar
N.L.	Renteria	Renteria	Nothing to argue with here
A.L.	Glaus	Koskie	Hard to separate Koskie and Blalock
N.L.	Rolen	Lowell	Lowell's #s slightly better
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
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.

Baseball BeatJuly 05, 2003
Introducing "The Quad" Award
By Rich Lederer

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:

National League

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

American League

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:

Major League

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

Additional Statistics:

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

Saving Bonds

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 Fulling.

Baseball BeatJuly 02, 2003
The Word is Spreading...
By Rich Lederer

More endorsements from around the baseball blogosphere:

1. Brian Wheel, The New York Yankees Report:


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:

4. Musings from RSN

...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.

Baseball BeatJuly 01, 2003
Getting Off The Ground
By Rich Lederer

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:

Shouts Out

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:

Blog News

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,

Other Stuff

if you're looking for more baseball coverage...
I've added a new blog, Rich's Weekend Baseball Beat, which talks about Rocco Baldelli's future.

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!