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Albert Pujols

Posted by Andy on January 27, 2009

Statistically, Albert Pujols ranks as one of the greatest, or perhaps THE greatest, players in baseball history.

In a player's first 8 seasons, most qualified seasons with an OPS+ of at least 150:

                   From  To   Ages Seasons Link to Individual Seasons
+-----------------+----+----+-----+-------+------------------------------+
 Albert Pujols     2001 2008 21-28       8 Ind. Seasons                   
 Ted Williams      1939 1949 20-30       8 Ind. Seasons                   
 Frank Thomas      1991 1997 23-29       7 Ind. Seasons                   
 Hank Aaron        1956 1961 22-27       6 Ind. Seasons                   
 Mickey Mantle     1952 1958 20-26       6 Ind. Seasons                   
 Stan Musial       1942 1949 21-28       6 Ind. Seasons                   
 Johnny Mize       1937 1942 24-29       6 Ind. Seasons                   
 Rogers Hornsby    1916 1922 20-26       6 Ind. Seasons                   
 Tris Speaker      1909 1914 21-26       6 Ind. Seasons                   
 Ty Cobb           1907 1912 20-25       6 Ind. Seasons                   

Take a look at the names on this list. This ain't any old list. This list probably includes 8 or 9 of the 10 best offensive players ever.

Most homers through the first 8 seasons:

  Cnt Player             **HR** From  To   Ages   G    PA    AB    R    H   2B  3B  RBI  BB  IBB  SO  HBP  SH  SF GDP  SB   CS   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS  Positions Teams
+----+-----------------+-------+----+----+-----+----+-----+-----+----+----+---+---+----+----+---+----+---+---+---+---+----+---+-----+-----+-----+-----+---------+-----------+
    1 Ralph Kiner         329   1946 1953 23-30 1212  5223  4327  827 1214 167  34  888  870   0  613  22   4   0 101   20   2  .281  .404  .563  .967 *7/83     PIT-TOT     
    2 Albert Pujols       319   2001 2008 21-28 1239  5382  4578  947 1531 342  13  977  696 154  506  60   1  47 157   45  26  .334  .425  .624 1.049 *37/59D64 STL         
    3 Eddie Mathews       299   1952 1959 20-27 1177  5139  4346  821 1221 181  42  777  726  49  678  12  26  29  54   36  16  .281  .383  .548  .931 *5/7      BSN-MLN     
    4 Adam Dunn           278   2001 2008 21-28 1131  4749  3871  699  955 201   8  672  797  81 1256  58   2  21  57   59  19  .247  .381  .518  .899 *73/9D    CIN-TOT     
    5 Ernie Banks         269   1953 1960 22-29 1078  4632  4159  676 1213 188  55  778  398  95  502  27  10  38  92   36  37  .292  .354  .557  .911 *6/5      CHC         
    6 Ted Williams        265   1939 1949 20-30 1184  5348  4221 1082 1488 314  56 1038 1101   0  376  21   5   0  99   16  13  .353  .488  .642 1.130 *79/1     BOS         
    7 Frank Robinson      262   1956 1963 20-27 1190  5073  4377  831 1327 247  39  800  549  91  622  91  13  43 109  125  43  .303  .389  .557  .946 *793/85   CIN         
    8 Frank Thomas        257   1990 1997 22-29 1076  4789  3821  785 1261 246   8  854  879 118  582  26   0  63 123   18  15  .330  .452  .600 1.052 *3D       CHW         
    9 Hank Aaron          253   1954 1961 20-27 1194  5201  4717  829 1506 264  67  863  397  92  442  17  19  51 131   57  25  .319  .371  .565  .936 *987/45   MLN         
   10 Darryl Strawberry   252   1983 1990 21-28 1109  4549  3903  662 1025 187  30  733  580 108  960  26   1  39  45  191  75  .263  .359  .520  .879 *9/87     NYM         
   11 Todd Helton         251   1997 2004 23-30 1135  4798  4051  832 1372 328  22  836  667 109  542  31   2  47  97   30  23  .339  .432  .616 1.048 *3/79     COL         
   12 Willie Mays         250   1951 1959 20-28 1065  4629  4074  777 1291 204  79  709  505  69  435  14   1  35  89  179  53  .317  .391  .590  .981 *8/7      NYG-SFG     
   13 Mickey Mantle       249   1951 1958 19-26 1102  4770  3937  890 1238 185  50  766  799  48  773   7  11  16  37   77  22  .314  .430  .577 1.007 *89/645   NYY         
   14 Rocky Colavito      246   1955 1962 21-28 1006  4206  3608  580  979 167  12  712  537  27  526  15  12  34  94   10  20  .271  .365  .529  .894 *97/31    CLE-DET     
   15 Joe DiMaggio        244   1936 1946 21-31 1111  4984  4481  939 1495 263  90 1025  463   0  220  26  14   0  55   26   7  .334  .399  .596  .995 *8/79     NYY         
   16 Albert Belle        242   1989 1996 22-29  913  3922  3441  592 1014 223  16  751  396  49  622  37   4  44 114   61  25  .295  .369  .580  .949 *7D/9     CLE         
   17 Alex Rodriguez      241   1994 2001 18-25  952  4247  3758  760 1167 228  14  730  385  15  747  47  16  41  80  151  39  .311  .378  .571  .949 *6/D      SEA-TEX     
   18 Mike Piazza         240   1992 1999 23-30  981  4075  3653  611 1200 173   4  768  381  83  563  13   0  28 114   13  13  .328  .391  .575  .966 *2/D3     LAD-TOT-NYM 
   19 Roger Maris         240   1957 1964 22-29 1073  4457  3878  678 1021 143  31  681  511  32  545  30   9  29  50   21   9  .263  .351  .502  .853 *98/7     CLE-TOT-KCA-NYY 
   20 Ken Griffey         238   1989 1996 19-26 1057  4558  3985  695 1204 227  21  725  504 119  634  25   6  38  75  108  44  .302  .381  .549  .930 *8/D39    SEA         

Kiner played only 10 seasons total and if Pujols hits at least 33 HR in 2009, he'll pass Kiner on the list of most homers in the first 9 seasons. Overall, note how much less impressive this HR list is than the first list above. (Don't get me wrong, I'm not calling these guys shabby. I'll just take Ty Cobb over Darryl Strawberry.)

Pujols narrowly missed becoming the 4th player in history to amass 1000 RBI over his first 8 seasons:

  Cnt Player             **RBI** From  To   Ages   G    PA    AB    R    H   2B  3B  HR  BB  IBB  SO  HBP  SH  SF GDP  SB   CS   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS  Positions Teams
+----+-----------------+--------+----+----+-----+----+-----+-----+----+----+---+---+---+----+---+----+---+---+---+---+----+---+-----+-----+-----+-----+---------+-----------+
    1 Ted Williams        1038   1939 1949 20-30 1184  5348  4221 1082 1488 314  56 265 1101   0  376  21   5   0  99   16  13  .353  .488  .642 1.130 *79/1     BOS         
    2 Joe DiMaggio        1025   1936 1946 21-31 1111  4984  4481  939 1495 263  90 244  463   0  220  26  14   0  55   26   7  .334  .399  .596  .995 *8/79     NYY         
    3 Al Simmons          1005   1924 1931 22-29 1086  4752  4349  816 1580 315  89 173  292   0  327  13  98   0   0   61  45  .363  .405  .596 1.001 *78/9     PHA         
    4 Albert Pujols        977   2001 2008 21-28 1239  5382  4578  947 1531 342  13 319  696 154  506  60   1  47 157   45  26  .334  .425  .624 1.049 *37/59D64 STL         
    5 Earl Averill         892   1929 1936 27-34 1195  5378  4763  924 1547 309  95 190  550   0  345  28  37   0   0   56  48  .325  .398  .549  .947 *8/9      CLE         
    6 Ralph Kiner          888   1946 1953 23-30 1212  5223  4327  827 1214 167  34 329  870   0  613  22   4   0 101   20   2  .281  .404  .563  .967 *7/83     PIT-TOT     
    7 Jim Bottomley        885   1922 1929 22-29 1062  4690  4134  711 1354 261 104 146  406   0  337  24 126   0   0   40  15  .328  .391  .547  .938 *3/4      STL         
    8 Chuck Klein          880   1928 1935 23-30 1057  4677  4236  848 1467 287  56 232  385   0  347  11  45   0  19   58   0  .346  .402  .605 1.007 *97/8     PHI-CHC     
    9 Joe Medwick          873   1932 1939 20-27 1084  4706  4420  771 1492 353  81 145  241   0  376  18  27   0 106   28   0  .338  .374  .552  .926 *7/89     STL         
   10 Hank Aaron           863   1954 1961 20-27 1194  5201  4717  829 1506 264  67 253  397  92  442  17  19  51 131   57  25  .319  .371  .565  .936 *987/45   MLN         

OK, how about best batting average, first 8 seasons, minimum 4000 PAs?

  Cnt Player              **BA**    PA  From  To   Ages   G    AB    R    H   2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  IBB  SO  HBP  SH  SF GDP  SB   CS  OBP   SLG   OPS  Positions Teams
+----+-----------------+---------+-----+----+----+-----+----+-----+----+----+---+---+---+----+----+---+----+---+---+---+---+----+---+-----+-----+-----+---------+-----------+
    1 Ty Cobb              .366    4343 1905 1912 18-25 1021  3917  738 1433 230 109  43  684  286   0    0  37 103   0   0  398   0  .414  .513  .927 98/7      DET         
    2 Al Simmons           .363    4752 1924 1931 22-29 1086  4349  816 1580 315  89 173 1005  292   0  327  13  98   0   0   61  45  .405  .596 1.001 *78/9     PHA         
    3 George Sisler        .361    4574 1915 1922 22-29 1047  4155  732 1498 242 100  60  612  273   0  180  30 116   0   0  282  82  .404  .510  .914 *3/198745 SLB         
    4 Ted Williams         .353    5348 1939 1949 20-30 1184  4221 1082 1488 314  56 265 1038 1101   0  376  21   5   0  99   16  13  .488  .642 1.130 *79/1     BOS         
    5 Jesse Burkett        .353    4423 1890 1897 21-28  927  3863  940 1364 174  96  37  530  504   0  230  34  22   0   0  221   0  .432  .477  .909 *79/18    NYG-CLV     
    6 Wade Boggs           .352    5371 1982 1989 24-31 1183  4534  823 1597 314  36  64  523  754  87  339  17  23  43 123   14  22  .443  .480  .923 *5/3D7    BOS         
    7 Rogers Hornsby       .348    4281 1915 1922 19-26 1012  3807  641 1323 211 104  99  638  360   0  335  29  85   0   0  101  42  .408  .536  .944 465/3798  STL         
    8 Billy Hamilton       .348    4378 1888 1895 22-29  901  3656 1039 1274 147  67  26  455  642   0  189  71   9   0   0  638   0  .455  .447  .902 789       KCC-PHI     
    9 Stan Musial          .346    4747 1941 1949 20-28 1072  4133  815 1432 302 108 146  706  565   0  199  21  28   0  82   44   0  .428  .578 1.006 9378      STL         
   10 Chuck Klein          .346    4677 1928 1935 23-30 1057  4236  848 1467 287  56 232  880  385   0  347  11  45   0  19   58   0  .402  .605 1.007 *97/8     PHI-CHC     
   11 Paul Waner           .346    5429 1926 1933 23-30 1205  4753  901 1643 337 128  67  695  538   0  156  27 111   0  10   77   0  .415  .513  .928 *9/387    PIT         
   12 Lou Gehrig           .342    4024 1923 1930 20-27  921  3327  774 1139 248  89 187  811  581   0  414  18  98   0   0   42  45  .443  .639 1.082 *3/97     NYY         
   13 Honus Wagner         .342    4446 1897 1904 23-30 1031  4008  722 1372 275 102  41  750  326   0    0  58  54   0   0  311   0  .400  .493  .893 6953/8471 LOU-PIT     
   14 Heinie Manush        .340    4311 1923 1930 21-28 1048  3865  674 1313 265  84  66  628  262   0  191  46 138   0   0   81  43  .388  .503  .891 *78/93    DET-SLB-TOT 
   15 Todd Helton          .339    4798 1997 2004 23-30 1135  4051  832 1372 328  22 251  836  667 109  542  31   2  47  97   30  23  .432  .616 1.048 *3/79     COL         
   16 Joe Medwick          .338    4706 1932 1939 20-27 1084  4420  771 1492 353  81 145  873  241   0  376  18  27   0 106   28   0  .374  .552  .926 *7/89     STL         
   17 Hugh Duffy           .338    4702 1888 1895 21-28 1005  4256 1041 1438 219  76  73  766  414   0  192  16  16   0   0  413   0  .399  .477  .876 *89/675   CHC-CHI-BOS-BSN 
   18 Goose Goslin         .337    4293 1921 1928 20-27  999  3793  635 1277 212 103  90  730  353   0  248  37 110   0   0   98  45  .399  .518  .917 *7/89     WSH         
   19 Albert Pujols        .334    5382 2001 2008 21-28 1239  4578  947 1531 342  13 319  977  696 154  506  60   1  47 157   45  26  .425  .624 1.049 *37/59D64 STL         
   20 Joe DiMaggio         .334    4984 1936 1946 21-31 1111  4481  939 1495 263  90 244 1025  463   0  220  26  14   0  55   26   7  .399  .596  .995 *8/79     NYY         

There's Pujols at #19. He, Helton, and Boggs are the only players from the last 60 years to make the list, and both Helton and Boggs (though great hitters both) had a lot of help from theire home ballparks. Incidentally, just off the list at #21 is Tony Gwynn.

And finally, highest SLG, using the same criteria as BA above:

  Cnt Player             **SLG**    PA  From  To   Ages   G    AB    R    H   2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  IBB  SO  HBP  SH  SF GDP  SB   CS   BA   OBP   OPS  Positions Teams
+----+-----------------+---------+-----+----+----+-----+----+-----+----+----+---+---+---+----+----+---+----+---+---+---+---+----+---+-----+-----+-----+---------+-----------+
    1 Ted Williams         .642    5348 1939 1949 20-30 1184  4221 1082 1488 314  56 265 1038 1101   0  376  21   5   0  99   16  13  .353  .488 1.130 *79/1     BOS         
    2 Lou Gehrig           .639    4024 1923 1930 20-27  921  3327  774 1139 248  89 187  811  581   0  414  18  98   0   0   42  45  .342  .443 1.082 *3/97     NYY         
    3 Albert Pujols        .624    5382 2001 2008 21-28 1239  4578  947 1531 342  13 319  977  696 154  506  60   1  47 157   45  26  .334  .425 1.049 *37/59D64 STL         
    4 Todd Helton          .616    4798 1997 2004 23-30 1135  4051  832 1372 328  22 251  836  667 109  542  31   2  47  97   30  23  .339  .432 1.048 *3/79     COL         
    5 Chuck Klein          .605    4677 1928 1935 23-30 1057  4236  848 1467 287  56 232  880  385   0  347  11  45   0  19   58   0  .346  .402 1.007 *97/8     PHI-CHC     
    6 Frank Thomas         .600    4789 1990 1997 22-29 1076  3821  785 1261 246   8 257  854  879 118  582  26   0  63 123   18  15  .330  .452 1.052 *3D       CHW         
    7 Joe DiMaggio         .596    4984 1936 1946 21-31 1111  4481  939 1495 263  90 244 1025  463   0  220  26  14   0  55   26   7  .334  .399  .995 *8/79     NYY         
    8 Al Simmons           .596    4752 1924 1931 22-29 1086  4349  816 1580 315  89 173 1005  292   0  327  13  98   0   0   61  45  .363  .405 1.001 *78/9     PHA         
    9 Manny Ramirez        .592    4095 1993 2000 21-28  967  3470  665 1086 237  11 236  804  541  47  780  37   2  45  98   28  24  .313  .407  .999 *9/D      CLE         
   10 Willie Mays          .590    4629 1951 1959 20-28 1065  4074  777 1291 204  79 250  709  505  69  435  14   1  35  89  179  53  .317  .391  .981 *8/7      NYG-SFG     

There's Pujols at #3.

The man is absolutely incredible.

I also note that Frank Thomas appeared on most of these lists. It seems that 2008, his 19th season, was his last. That means that he and Greg Maddux should be heading to Cooperstown in 5 years. It's a bit early, but not way early, to suggest that Albert Pujols will be joining them there one day.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 at 8:42 am and is filed under Season Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

29 Responses to “Albert Pujols”

  1. [...] Pujols the greatest?? From the Baseball-Reference.com Stat of the Day Check out the link, it's pretty impressive what Pujols has done in his first 8 years in the [...]

  2. And hes only 28 years old!! It's scary to think that he is entering his PRIME. I know Ryan Ludwick is good but can you imagine just how incredible he would be if he had a hitter behind him that actually protected him. I hear he gets the least amount of strikes of any hitter in the leauge, except maybe ryan howard

  3. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    I don't think it's early for HOF talk at all. Pujols is in. If he dies before his 10th season, I think they give him an Addie Joss exception and let him in.

    He's been in his prime since he was a rookie. Some players, like Pujols or Williams, are so good when they first start that they don't necessarily follow a traditional aging curve. They can't really get much better. That said, it wouldn't surprise me if he pulls out a 55 homer, 1.200 OPS season somewhere along the way, just to scare Babe Ruth.

    ZimJim, if you look at "Pitch Data Summary" on his B-R page, you can see how many strikes are thrown to him. For some reason it's not updated for 2008 yet, but in '07, 57% of pitches were strikes, while league average is about 63%. I bet it's lower for last season, based on his BB/IBB totals. But not yet in recent Barry Bonds territory (40-50%).

  4. David in Toledo Says:

    Let's hope he has a better second half of his career than Frank Thomas did.
    Regarding ultimate comparisons, let's remember that Babe Ruth isn't on these lists.

  5. David in Toledo Says:

    This picks up on "Youngest Players to Hit X Homers" (Jan. 22, below).

    Pujols has averaged K's in the 50's the last 5 seasons. That means that when he isn't walking to first (BB's still trending up), he's making contact -- hard.

  6. I assume that strike % counts all batted balls as strikes, regardless of location, right? I wonder what % of balls Barry Bonds saw in the last few years of his career that were actually in the strike zone because I think he swung at a lot of balls out of the zone because they were the best pitches he got to hit.

    David, you're right on to mention Frank Thomas. He had 8 excellent years to start his career, just like Pujols, and seemed a lock for the HOF after those 8 (like Pujols.) From his 9th season on, he was significantly worse and never the same, although he's post numerous very solid years. As will likely be the case with Pujols, though, Thomas has performed well enough in the second half of his career to ensure that he'll make the HOF.

  7. Andy and David great points about Thomas but I ask you to consider this.
    If Thomas had flip flopped his career and done way better in the second half and not in the first half would it be different? recent memory of a player can really take away from their performance in the past, for better or for worse. it just depends on if the hall recognizes this.

  8. I think Thomas' 8 superior seasons, plus 3 or 4 more very good ones, plus 3 or 4 more solid ones, puts him in the HOF, regardless of which order they came in. Certainly those 8 coming in a block puts him in, regardless of when they happened, because he was one of the very best players in baseball in that period. If the 8 had been sprinkled throughout his career, he'd have slightly lower standing due to being superior and dominant some years, but not others, in an unpredictable fashion. I also think that his two big rebound years in 2000 and 2003, which came after his "great eight" ended in 1997, help immensely, by showing that he still had the TALENT--it implies (whether correctly or not) that he was robbed by injuries. That has got to push some voters to think that if not for injuries he would have had FOURTEEN superior years to start his career instead "only" eight. Not too many guys have fallen off from their peak only to have 40-HR seasons later in their careers, much less do it TWICE. And I haven't even addressed his 39-HR, 140 OPS+ season in 2006.

  9. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    Yes, all batted balls should be counted as strikes. Did Bonds chase a lot of pitches? It was my impression that he NEVER swung at anything off the plate, which made it impossible to pitch him, and that's why he walked 8 zillion times a year. Some people probably wanted him to expand his hitting zone when runners were on base, but he wouldn't do it. I think similar things have been said about Williams and the young F. Thomas.

  10. I recall watching games in 2002-2003 timeframe where he swung at pitches a few inches outside the strike zone because they were the only "good" ones he got. Whether he did that in general much, I don't know.

  11. How about his MVP vote placing, in order: 4, 2, 2, 3, 1, 2, 9, 1, second to Bonds in 2002 & 2003 and second to Howard in 2006, I think only Berra had a better 7 year run (at either end of P's 8 years) 7 straight in the top five...

  12. The Prince is certainly showing as one of the greatest hitters of all-time. But I don't think he's quite competitive for #1. Among all hitters (1901-current) through their age 28 year, Albert is 13th in career OPS+, with 170. That's significantly behind Ruth and Ted Williams (219 and 197 respectively), and a bit behind players like Musial, Mantle, Gehrig, Hornsby and Frank Thomas. He's very close to Mize and Foxx. This is extraordinary company, and he doesn't really get the mass-market recognition he deserves. But unless you accept the "players are better today" approach to cross-era evaluations, you can't really place him in the top 3 or 5.

  13. You never know how a player will be remembered if his stats fall off. Ted Williams "fell off" after eight years, too. Actually, it was mostly war, injuries and changes in the game, but his actual totals after the first eight seasons are merely very, very good. They aren't in the same category as the earlier seasons. It's true, Williams' amazing percentages didn't fall off while some of Thomas' did, but let's face it -- Ted Williams in a sense isn't that far off in career path from Thomas or Griffey. So there's hope for Pujols even if he takes a Williams-like "decline." Personally, I don't think he will.

    Johnny is also right about Pujols being in his prime from the start. That's so rare, that a player start that way and maintain it. Williams and DiMaggio spoiled multiple generations by making it look so much easier than it really is. Every kid with great raw talent is expected to be an impact player right away. That's just not how baseball usually works.

  14. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    It should also be noted that by all accounts Pujols is an exceptional defensive first baseman. While I don't think he can really challenge to be the #1 player of all time, it seems he might have a chance to be considered the best at his position. Obviously he still has a lot more work to do. I suppose the consensus would place Gehrig and Foxx atop that list.

  15. No doubt Pujols has been just about as good so far as anybody ever, but some of this depends on where you set the bar. Why isn't Willie Keeler at the top of the batting average list? Well, he had *only* about 3900 PA in his first 8 seasons, so he doesn't qualify. Of course, it's to Pujols' credit that, unlike Keeler's first two seasons, Pujols was a regular from the start. Then again, Pujols was 21 when he started, Keeler only 20, and they didn't play 162 games a season in Keeler's day, so it was harder to get up to 4000 PA.

    Pujols out-homers Arod, 319 to 241, over their first 8 seasons. On the other hand, through age 28, Arod out-homers Pujols, 381 to 319. It's not clear to me which of these should seem more impressive.

    Gehrig had about 980 RBI between ages 21 and 28. He doesn't show up on the list because he played 13 games at age 20 (and he got those 980 despite playing only 10 games at age 21).

  16. Gerry--you speak to a larger issue I have with rankings. I would never say more than that an argument can be made that Pujols has had the best first 8 seasons ever. But it's so hard to judge these things. These guys played in such different contexts--so many things have varied from conditioning of the players, approach to the game, quality of team, size of ballpark, etc, the list goes on forever. I think it's very difficult to characterize who the best pitcher of all-time was, or who was the best left fielder, or who was the best hitter.

    There is only one "best" in baseball that I think is totally clear, and that is who is the best home run hitter in history. The answer has absolutely GOT to be Babe Ruth, based on two facts: his yearly and career HR totals are impressive in ANY era, and in the era in which he played, his HR totals were absolutely massive as compared to every other player in the league. Do you realize that in 1927, the year Ruth hit 60 HR, the 8 AL teams combined for 379, not including Ruth's 60. That means that an average team hit 47 HR, and Ruth bettered that by about 27%. In 2008, the 14 AL teams combined for 2270 HR, or 162 per team. That means if a single player outhit the average team by 27%, he'd end up with 206 HR.

    THAT'S how much better Ruth was than everybody else. We've never seen anybody else who outstripped every other player in MLB in HR by anywhere close to the same margin.

  17. This may seem like a stupid question but where is Babe Ruth on this list. He would be atop the HR and SLG lists if I'm not mistaken.

  18. theygotmeplace Says:

    remember that babe ruth spent his first few seasons as a full time pitcher.

  19. If you want to compare Pujols to Ruth you need to sum Ruth's first 13 seasons (which gives him 206 more PA than Pujols has now). Ruth is clearly better, but the fact that Pujols doesn't look ridiculous is impressive. I've created a search to compare the two of them side by side:

    http://www.bb-ref.com/pi/shareit/x8tC

  20. Nice, Raphy. Actually it's amazing how well Pujols stacks up.

  21. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    Hopefully one day Retrosheet will get back into Ruth's career. I wonder how many times he was intentionally walked before Gehrig arrived?

  22. I don't know how accurate this is, but according to the following link, Ruth was intentionally walked 80 times in 1923 (Gehrig's first year; one in which he barely played.)

    http://tinyurl.com/d22ddp

  23. You think Albert could match The Babe on the mound? I don't know enough about making projections but do you think he was headed to a Hall of Fame pitching career?

  24. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    Great find Raphy.

    Gehrig's first full season was '25. I don't know when he started hitting cleanup. From 1920-1924, Ruth walked in 21.7% of plate appearances. From 1926-1930 he walked 19.0%. A notable difference, but not huge, and could be influenced by other things besides Gehrig's presence behind him. So I doubt Ruth was getting IBB'd in Bonds numbers. Maybe '23 was an exception (that was his career high in BB, 170).

    Ollie, some people have noted that Ruth's K-rate was declining. Even in an era of fewer K's, that was not a good sign, and so maybe he would not have lasted as an effective pitcher that much longer. But maybe he just couldn't pitch as well when he was also playing the OF a lot, and if he had remained mainly a pitcher he would have been fine.

  25. excluding his 69 at bats as a rookie, i count six seasons of 150 or more of ops+ for mike piazza, but he didnt make the list.

  26. Here is where Ruth ranked after 1000 innings.
    http://www.bb-ref.com/pi/shareit/3quw

    Certainly impressive, but early results do not guarantee a HOF career. Just ask Frank Tanana.

  27. Vincent - Andy's search didn't (can't) exclude any seasons that's why Piazza didn't make the list. Counting 1992 Piazza's first 8 seasons included 5 in which he qualified for the batting title and had on OPS+ of 150 or higher. He missed in '92, '94 and '99.

  28. thats what i figured, but still, piazza should be included in this bunch even though PI excludes him. and he did it as a catcher in a predominately pitcher's ballpark,- two factors which make his feat more impressive.

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