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Leading the league in triples and homers

Posted by Andy on August 16, 2011

A couple of readers wrote in about this, so here's the answer.

Curtis Granderson has a decent shot at leading the AL this year in both homers and triples. This was raised in the comments on a recent post. Thanks to reader Voomo Zanzibar who mentioned that Mickey Mantle (1955) , Willie Mays (also 1955), and Jim Rice (1978) all led the league in homers and triples in the same year.

In 1978, Rice led the AL in hits, triples, homers, RBI, SLG, OPS, and had 406 total bases. I guess that's why he won the MVP 🙂

76 Responses to “Leading the league in triples and homers”

  1. Jason Says:

    Ah...Jim Rice in 1978 was awesome. The most feard RH in the AL during his heyday. Ridiculous that it took so long for him to make the HOF.

    The 406 total bases is what I always remember about that year. Prior to
    1978, Stan Musial in 1948 had 429 TB and Hank had 400 in 1959. That's
    it post WWII.

    After Rice no AL has ever reached 400 again. In the NL it has been surpassed four times. Twice by Sosa in 98 and 01. And twice in
    Colorado by Larry Walker in 97 and Todd Helton in 00.

    Sosa's numbers are viewed in the context of steroids and Walker and
    Helton suffer due to their home park and era.

    It just makes Rice's achievement all the more remarkable.

    It seems that 400 total bases can almost be viewed as the four-minute-mile of three generations ago.

  2. Jason Says:

    From 1921 until 1937 the AL leader exceeded 400 TB nine times.
    Since then it has happend once. By the aformentioned Mr. Rice.

  3. Neil L. Says:

    I would have thought leading the league in both home runs and triples would almost be a guarantee of an MVP for that season since the skill sets are so very different for the two types of hit.

    Yet neither 1955 Mantle or Mays won the MVP. They lost out to catchers Yogi Berra and Roy Campanella respectively. Both Berra and Campanella were awarded their last of three MVPs.

    Jim Rice slam dunked it by sweeping almost all the offfensive categories in 1978, although I assume OPS was something totally unheard of in that year.

    Interesting, in retrospect, to consider if Mantle was hurt in MVP voting in 1955 by his youth (24) or his "low" RBI total, 99, but it certainly looks like he had a better offensive year than his teammate Berra.

  4. larry Says:

    Back in the "Dead ball Era" leading in 3b and HRs was a little more common as they were essentially the same skill

    I saw these before I stopped looking
    Tip O'Neill
    Tommy Leach
    Harry Stovey

  5. Richard Chester Says:

    I have previously posted that Tommy Leach, Harry Lumley and Jim Bottomley led the league in triples and homers.

  6. Neil L. Says:

    Good supplementary information, Jason. That puts Rice's other-worldly 1978 season in context.

    It is interesting to compare Curtis Granderson's season to the ones for Mantle, Mays and Rice.

    While Granderson has no shot at 400 TB, the fact that he currently leads the league in runs, triples and RBI and is within one of the HR lead makes for a very interesting line. It must be very infrequent that one leads the league in those four categories.

  7. jim Says:

    128 OPS+ t-181st != HOF

  8. Kwill Says:

    It's astonishing that Mays and Mantle finished 4th and 5th in the respective MVP voting that year - the winners were both New York catchers (Yogi Berra and Roy Campanella). It's mind-blowing to think how the voting must have gone - Mays in particular had better numbers than everyone ahead of him almost across the board.

  9. Neil L. Says:

    Kwill, that's what I noticed also in looking some information for #3. I totally agree!

  10. Rich Says:

    "Ah...Jim Rice in 1978 was awesome. The most feard RH in the AL during his heyday. Ridiculous that it took so long for him to make the HOF. "

    It took him so long because his heyday was like 3 seasons

  11. MSE Says:

    @1 Also, Barry Bonds 411 in 2001 (same caveat as Sosa).

  12. Neil L. Says:

    Richard, nice observation on the old timers.

    In 1902, Tommy Leach had 22 triples and 6 HR for an OPS+ of 132.
    In 1904, Harry Lumley had 18 triples and 9 HR for an OPS+ of 136.
    In 1928, Jim Bottomley had 20 triples and 31 HR for an OPS+ of 162.

    For comparison, in 1955 Mays had 13 triples, 51 HR for an OPS+ of 174.

    Of the three you posted about, Richard, only Bottomley came anywhere near Willie Mays in their respective seasons.

  13. Mario Says:

    Not sure if this is the right place to suggest it, but is it feasible for the Play Index feature to have Rank in each category as Criteria for search? That is, to figure out how many players have led the league in HRs and 3Bs one would search for Single Season Totals for which HR Rank = 1 and 3B Rank = 1. Obviously this would double the size of the database (for each category, there would be a corresponding Rank category created), and I'm not sure if it's worth the effort (reasons for this would be to facilitate searches like "Players who either lead the league or finished in the top 5 in categories X, Y, Z,...").

  14. Joe C Says:

    @1 yea, and he rode that season right into the Hall.

  15. Neil L. Says:

    MSE, thanks for appending Barry Bonds, 2001 season to Jason's list in #1. I had to look up the season.

    However drenched in PEDs the season was, Bonds accompished his total bases with only 2 triples and 73 home runs.

    He was a long way from leading the league in BOTH categories that year. Thirty six times more HR than triples..... Wow. But on second thought, maybe not that uncommon only with a lot less home runs.

  16. Raphy Says:

    @13 -

  17. John Autin Says:

    @1 -- "The most feared RH in the AL...."

    I'm wondering exactly how you know who was feared by whom from 1977-79, and to what degree. Is there any tangible basis whatsoever for your statement? Are there survey results available online somewhere?

    If not, it's empty rhetoric.

  18. georgeP Says:

    @17 Do you always feel the need to chime in when you think someone doesn't measure up to your obviously superior intellect?

  19. Andy Says:


  20. Andy Says:

    I would push back on JA a bit to say that comments about Rice being feared are highly subjective, opinion, and hindsight-based, but not perhaps as bad as "empty rhetoric".

  21. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @1 - Yes, 406 total bases is awesome, but Rice was also 4th (490) in Outs Made. It's a great season, but not as historically great as several people are suggesting. Those outs also have "value", but it is negative.

    For 1978, he's 466th all-time in Adjusted Batting Runs, and not in the Top-500 in Offensive WAR. Player had better years than Rice's 1978 most years.

    Luis Gonzalez also had 419 TB in 2001, behind Sosa.

    @2 - it's selective endpoints that make Rice's 406 TB stand out - Albert Belle had 399 in 1998, and a total of five AL players have 385+ Total Bases since 1978.

    @3 - the 1955 MVP voting - catching/middle-infield defense was valued very highly in the 50s/60s; besides Berra and Campy, Phil Rizzuto, Nellie Fox, Maury Wills, Dick Groat, and Elston Howard won MVP awards that in retrospect may seem somewhat questionable(although I believe Rizzuto and Howard deserved theirs).

    @8 - in 1955, Mays had won the MVP the year before, and (I'm guessing) Mantle hadn't proved himself "worthy" yet as Dimaggio's successor. Mantle probably got more criticism for finishing 3rd in strikouts than credit for finishing first in walks, OBA, and SLG.

  22. MLS Says:

    @ 21....I have to chuckle about Rice making those 490 outs in '78. Even with those dastardly outs that he's pretty safe to say that most teams would over-look them for a 400 TB guy..just my opinion ..LOL
    @1...My father was a starting pitcher for many years in the NL. I once asked if he ever feared a batter, his reply was," they have a name for pitchers who fear batters..they're called Minor Leaguers. The term is respect..not fear. Which leads me to this concerning OBP which I always said should be looked at with the utmost care. When my father was a youngster pitching for a free-swinging losing team, he lost to Warren Spahn. After the game, my Dad ran into him and asked if Spahn even threw a strike that entire game? Whereas, Spahn laughed and said "son, you're a pretty observant man, you'll do ok in this league, and the answer was "only when I needed to". The moral of the story is, a hitter reaching first base "may" not be due the hitters skills, but rather, to the pitchers indifference. It happens more frequently than one may expect.

  23. Jason Says:

    Jim Rice from 1975-86....

    Top Ten in the following categories...

    MVP 6X
    HITS 8X
    TB 9X
    HR 7X
    RBI 9X
    BA 6X
    OPS 6X

    These are the facts. I know because as someone who has watched
    baseball daily since 1977, I trust my eyeballs. Who was better in the
    AL during this time from the right side? You don't like my choice, what's yours?

    @10 read above and visit his page.

    I am aware of how many players came oh so close to 400TB. That is
    why I made the analogy to the four-minute-mile of 60 years ago. Google
    Roger Bannister if you don't know what I am talking about.

    I was only citing league leaders in my discussion of TB. Since Rice is the only player in the AL to exceed this number in the last 73 years, I didn't feel
    the need to look further down the leaderboard in the NL. I felt the point was
    made due to the AL's scarcity of 400 TB season's since FDR's 2nd term.

    I expect alot of criticism from cherry picked advanced stats. Have at it.

  24. Jason Says:


    A good friend for over 30 years, who pitched seven season's
    in the AL and NL back in the 90's told me that Paul Molitor
    was the best hitter he ever faced.

    Would anyone on this blog pick Paul Molitor (mid 30's) over
    all the great young hitters of the early 90's?

    Thought of this because as you say, what we see in baseball
    or think we see is not always everything.

  25. Andy Says:

    I think many readers of this blog would include Paul Molitor on a top 10 hitters of the 1990s list.

  26. MLS Says:

    @ 24...that last sentence you wrote is the essence of baseball and in life really. Never "think" you have a handle on something...cause there's always something you didn't account for!

  27. Jason Says:

    Here is a nice link that will take you through the years in regards
    to contemporary accounts and direct quotes about Rice.

    I hope this satisfies JA and Andy.

  28. Andy Says:

    Nice stuff, Jason!

  29. Jason Says:

    @25 I agree. How many would say he was the best though? That is
    my point.

  30. Jason Says:

    As I continue to research, it appears that the "most feared" tag was
    first applied around 1978. After that it may have become almost
    a cliche when writing about Rice. Even so, this should not diminish
    what he accomplished.

    I remember a story about Rice breaking his bat while checking his swing!

    Anyone else remember this? A story like this certainly would have inspired
    writers to build the legend.

  31. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    Following the Red Sox since 1967, I witnessed first-hand the career of Jim Rice. For most of his career he was regarded as an excellent, if impatient, power-hitter with limited defensive value. There was great admiration for his three excellent seasons from 1977 to 1979, but by 1982 there were grumblings that he had slipped a notch or two from the ranks of the elite AL hitters.

    He had an excellent 1983, but by 1985 there were more negative comments about his impatience, and all the GIDPs he hit into, and his declining fielding. He changed his batting approach in 1986 and had an MVP-type year, but the next two years he struggled to be an average hitter, mostly DHing. He played in 1989 only because he was still under contract, playing sporadically and being released shortly before the season ended.

    After his retirement, there were a number of articles looking back and celebrating his outstanding career, and commending him for being a career Red Sox player. Many of them speculated on his HOF chances. NONE of them, that I am aware of, stated that he was a "slam-dunk", "no-brainer", or any sort of automatic first ballot HOF selection.

    As a matter of fact, the tone of many of these articles was along the lines of "it's a shame his career ended so early, because he might have a hard time getting into the HOF with his career numbers". Several writers even had the audacity to hold up Dwight Evans as an equal or better candidate for the HOF.

    The criticism of his lack of walks is nothing new; even back in the early 80's many people wondered why a slugger of his stature wasn't walking more. Ted Williams in particular made exactly that statement; after 1984 he said it "was ridiculous" that a slugger like him drew only 44 walks. They didn't use the terminology we use now, but a number of people were aware that he made a lot of outs for all the RBI he racked up.

    What really got him into the HOF was a sustained, multi-year campaign by the Red Sox publicity department, who started the whole promotion of him as "most feared hitter". I'm not saying he's not a decent candidate, more that he was not regarded at retirement as an obvious HOFer. The 406 TB in 1978 is quite impressive, but that and the "most feared" by itself isn't a sufficient HOF arguement.

  32. MLS Says:

    @ 31.. For the record Teddy Ballgame was almost as great at talking as he was at hitting. The best hitter Teddy Ballgame ever saw? Until his dying day, he always said...Joe DiMaggio. Yes...the man who only drew more than 70 walks twice in his shortened career...that DiMaggio. Of course he also said on national TV he had played against Ken Griffey's father in spring training...which was totally impossible. Bottom line, Rice averaged 320 TB in his shortened career...not bad...not bad at all I would say.

  33. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @32/ MLS - Ted Williams was often quoted as saying that Joe Dimaggio was the best _player_ he ever saw, _not_ the best hitter.

    But what does this have to do with my basic premise, that Rice did not walk enough for a slugger of his stature. Nothing, that what it has to do with it.

    You seem to be hung up with batting average and total bases as the main measurement of a player's offensive ability. They are somewhat useful, but very crude and limited measures, not accounting for the era and the ballpark and other factors.

    By your standards, Chuck Klein should be regarded as one of the greatest hitters ever: he had seasons of 445 and 420 total bases, and averaged 325 TB for his career; he batted .380 and .368, with a lifetime average of .320. Klein benefitted hugely from playing in the Baker Bowl in the 1920s/30s, which was the best hitter's park ever until Coors Field.

    Klein is in the HOF, but most people regard him as a mistake.

  34. MLS Says:

    @ 33...He said both..but regardless..I said BA + TB was a good indicator..I never said it was THE best method of calculating a hitters value. One must factor in what you stated plus or minus more. For the record, I never said OBP wasn't a useful tool...I've always stated it should be viewed (like all stats) in a closer light. I feel the set up guys "should" have the higher OBP since they get paid to get on base..a closer look should be applied to the middle of the order guys however...they are the RBI men. Also...comman sense should prevail in all cases. But I've always contended..and always will...standing on 1st is NOT in scoring position....walking Henderson in "most" cases...has far more consequences than, let's say Killebrew...IF that doesn't make any sense...then I don't know what else to say!

  35. mosc Says:

    I've said this before but I think Jim Rice is a hall of famer because people are desperate to celebrate people not connected to steroids. Personally, I see steroids as endemic to the whole era and not the fault of any individual (though I do mentally scale some users more than other players). Jim Rice and Andre Dawson are in the hall because we don't like McGuire and Palmero.

    Looking at Jim Rice's numbers, I'm struck by how mundane his "good" years are, even for their era. He never posted an OPS over 1 (my typical measure for a HOF-type-peak year). He slugged .502 career but only in 4 years was he really any better (1 year of .504 I'm not counting) and . The guy had a short peak. Especially considering his DH status, his numbers are well below that of premier players during his era let alone in baseball history. A 350 obp career means a lot of outs that cost his team a lot of runs.

    Looking back at 1977-1979, I'd point to players like:
    Reggie Smith, George Foster 1977 (not counting Caru because he was a HOFer)
    Fred Lynn, Sixto Lezcano, Greg Luzinski1979

    All of those guys never sniffed the hall and had better peak years during the same period OPS wise than Rice. Rice's best years didn't even crack the top 500 all time in player-years. Including some early 80s non-hall guys who were putting up ops numbers 200 points better than rice when rice was in his late 20s for god's sake, he looks even worse.

    Discounting 77-79, Rice was basically your average MLB DH. He definitely deserved the MVP in 78, but a 1-time MVP is not a hall of famer. Honestly, I think the biggest drives for him were anti-steroid sentiment, single-team career bias, and I-95 bias. In that order.

    I'll stop ragging on Rice and say some nice stuff. MVP's don't grow on trees. The guy was a deserving all-star more than half a dozen times. He was a better left fielder than he got credit for with that green thing always in his way. An RE24 of 260 is nothing to sneeze at either.

  36. MLS Says:

    @ 35..Quick how many 5 tool players have EVER graced this game??? Once you get a handle on that..perhaps you could see the tree through the forrest...concerning Dawson.

  37. Jim Says:

    Since Dawson was a five tool player for only a handful of years, no. Also having more tools doesn't make you better. Williams did two things, hit for average and hit for power. And he was better than essentially every player, 5 tool or not, in ML history.

  38. mosc Says:

    Dawson was a speed threat who couldn't get on base and a power hitter guys weren't afraid to throw to. He was consistently good at everything except consistency, at which he was excellent. That said, I think he's a better candidate than Rice. He gave his all for years and years. He was above average for decades.

  39. MLS Says:

    Concerning my statement concerning "comman sense". Here's a factoid...everytime Killebrew reached base he scored 35 % of the time, Rice scored 39 % of the time..take away their HRS..Killebrew scored 23 % of the time, Rice scored 31 % of the time. Over their careers Killibrew scored 1283 runs and Rice scored 1249 runs. Killebrew being a huge "walker" in his day and Rice wasn't...wouldn't you believe that their run totals would be a larger spread, considering Killebrew reached base 500 more times than Rice??? Comman sense folks...comman sense!

  40. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @35/ Mosc Says: "...I've said this before but I think Jim Rice is a hall of famer because people are desperate to celebrate people not connected to steroids...."

    Mosc, I understand where you're coming from, but as a counterexample, I give you Dale Murphy, Edgar Martinez, and Allan Trammell, who not only have no PED suspision attached to them, but are renowned "nice guys", with no negative character issues at all. I consider all of them more worthy HOF candidates than Rice, but the anti-steroid sentiment doesn't seem to have helped them very much.

    Playing devil's advocate, during Rice's career, a .500 SLG was actually quite impressive. For example, in 1976, his .482 SLG was second in the AL, and in 1980, his .504 was 7th. Five times his SLG was more than 100 points better than the league average.

    You're right about 1977 Foster vs. 1978 Rice - better BA/ OBA/ SLG/ HR/ Runs/ RBI for Foster; the only edge Rice has is 406 to 388 in total bases.

    @35/36 - Andre Dawson was one of the best all-around players in the game for most of his Expos years (especially 1980-83); I think he has a much better HOF case than Rice; Dawson was much better defensively and on the bases. The only negative was a below-average OBA, but he did a lot to make up for that.

  41. Rich Says:

    Did you really cite top 10 in MVP votes as being some criteria for the HOF?

  42. jim Says:

    @39, 34

    what exactly is comman sense and why is it leading you to believe jim rice should be in the hall of fame?

  43. Matt Says:

    Am I missing something?...a 1 minute look at some stats shows that reaching 400 TB isn't terribly may be a bench-mark but it's a very slight percentage higher than MANY seasons for good-great 2001 alone, shows 4 hitters reaching the mark (Sosa, Gonzalez, Bonds, Helton) with Arod less than 2% off the pace at 393...TB is a nice stat, but when you've got the likes of Shawn Green, Derrick Lee, Matt Holliday, Jimmy Rollins, Alfonso Soriano, Vernon Wells, and the much-maligned-on-this-site Ryan Howard getting a sniff of 400, it might not be as impressive a feat as we think...i could be wrong here...just saying

  44. Doug Says:

    @30, Jason.

    "I remember a story about Rice breaking his bat while checking his swing!
    Anyone else remember this? A story like this certainly would have inspired
    writers to build the legend."

    Do we remember? Actually, there's a whole legend about this incident. But, did it really happen? I only ask beacuse, for all the references to it, I haven't seen any particulars - like date and place, for example.

    Anyone know of the particulars on Rice's broken bat check swing?

  45. kenh Says:

    Rarer than the Triple Crown. Hmmmm...What would be the Sabermetric TC? OBP, OPS and SLG?

  46. jim Says:

    lets not forget rice's status as a HUGE beneficiary of the monster, as his ridiculously unimpressive .277/.330/.459 away from fenway demonstrates to us... and that's including his 308 PAs of .336/.386/.661 in yankee stadium. in fact, those are the only two parks in which he manages an OPS over .900 in, his 23 PAs in shea are pretty meaningless

  47. Andy Says:

    #45, not that, since OPS = OBP + SLG, meaning if you lead in OBP and SLG, you automatically lead in OPS as well. My personal sabermetric triple crown would be OPS+, WAR, and WPA.

  48. jim Says:

    @45, 47

    i'd use WPA, wRC+, and WAR

  49. Johnny Twisto Says:

    MLS, if Rice was so feared -- ahem, respected -- and batters' walk totals are primarily due to pitchers' willingness to pitch around them, why didn't Rice walk more? Seems to me that it must have more to do with the batter, or Rice was getting himself out on a lot of Spahnian pitches off the plate.

    .I have to chuckle about Rice making those 490 outs in '78. Even with those dastardly outs that he's pretty safe to say that most teams would over-look them for a 400 TB guy..just my opinion

    Of course they would. The guy had a hell of a season. Just not quite as good as it seems if you ignore the outs. He made more outs in '78 than any of the other 36 player-seasons with 391 to 421 total bases, about 100 more than the median of that group. (Admittedly, there is some era effect, as OBPs were higher in the '30s.)

  50. Mike Felber Says:

    Rice is just not a legitimate HOF man if you look at stats that correctly ID how much value a player added. The one thing he excelled at was hitting. But context is HUGE: look at park, era, & line up. He had many more opportunities to put up raw #s than all but a few. When you look at career OR peak value, he just was not near an elite payer, or near so, for long enough. His His 128 OPS +, & proportionate peak, is indicative of his general value: quite good, but for a corner outfielder whose whole value comes with the bat, with mediocre longevity even with the DH, he is not near as worthy as many others.

    OBP & out creation is hugely important, & he neither had the overall value of Dawson, who is at least a borderline HOF man, nor Dick Allen, who was so good at his peak & just with his bat, that he is deserving. But one would NEVER get that by just looking at raw #s, absent considering park, line up & era. But put Allen & Rice in the exact same offensive context, & Allen is a significantly better hitter.

    Killer could be considered a just good enough HOF man. But he was good at enough at the one thing he was superb at HRs, that he is deserving. Also, runs scored are only one measure of value, if you want to compare him to Rice offensively, we must consider RBIS to. But BOTH under neutral conditions. It is very clear that Rice had a better line up, home park, & career for scoring more runs compared to Rice.

  51. MLS Says:

    Lets find some comman ground shall we? Would it be safe to say that the higher the BA is a good thing? It demonstrates that the player can hit a ball in an area that can't be fielded for an out. Regardless if they are playing in a matchbox or the Grand Canyon..the player hit the ball in an area that can't be fielded for an out. Not saying the area in which they play shouldn't be examined (even for the visiting team) closely. It is what it is. BA is solely an independant stat. In other words a teammate or the opposing team can not alter an individulas BA. Are we agreement on that? (cont)

  52. MLS Says:

    Walks and HBP, can be both viewed as either dependant OR independant. Some players have an extremely good eye at the plate and are very selective in the balls they choose to hit. Others are not. Also, some players have a knack of getting hit by the pitch. They hold their ground and some even go out of their way to get hit. Others choose not to go that route. On the other hand, dependant on advanced scouting, situations, ect mgrs/pitchers "may" choose to walk certain hitters, either intentionally or not giving the hitter a pitch that is close to the plate. Also, the mgr/pitcher "can" choose to downright be mean and hit a player for whatever reason. In otherwords, walks and HBP "can" be both an dependant and independant stat. Are we agreement on that? (cont)

  53. MLS Says:

    Outside HRS...Runs and RBI's are totally dependant on team mates. It is safe to say that fans and the opposing team knows what players are playing at any particular time.Who is hitting in front and back of particular players is a well known fact. Although the line-up can change in the game, it's irrelevant, because all bench players are known as well. In other words, the teams roster is a known entity, there are no suprises. As such, mgrs/catchers/pitchers prior to a game will go over of how to attack a certain line-up and go over different scenerios. This has been going on from the dawn of baseball. What's R' and RBI's have ANYTHING to do with this chatter you may ask? Believe me, it has everything to do with it! The object of the game is to score or not to be scored upon.(cont)

  54. MLS Says:

    As my Mother always said, the proof is always in the pudding. That's why I brought up Killebrew's 35 % scoring everytime he reached base but if you take away his HRS...he scored only 23 % of the time. I contend, the larger the gap between the two ( in this case 12 %) MUST tip their caps to the pitcher/mgr. I KNOW walking is not making an out, thus a good thing. Also, I concede it should NOT be held against a high walk type of guy. All I've ever said OBP for middle of the order guys....especially great HR hitters...should be taken in context! Also, I believe most everyone would concur, standing on 1st base is NOT in scoring this a correct assumption? There's a "reason" why Killebrew scored only 34 more times than Rice, although he was on base 500 + more times...pitcher/mgrs knew what they were doing and as such..give them some credit will ya?

  55. mosc Says:

    on the corrected tripple crown, I use obp instead of ba, iso power instead of hr, and RE24 instead of RBI's.

  56. MLS Says:

    In conclussion, wouldn't it be safe to say...IF you take away T Williams, Ruths,Gherigs,Aarons,Mays, HRS....wouldn't they STILL be great hitters? Now take away Killebrews or McGwires HRS....would they STILL be great? I believe you get the point.

  57. MLS Says:

    As far as my "dummy test" (BA + 162 game ave TB) one must ascertain IF it's somewhat valid. That's up to the individuals interpreting that info. Here's the top 10 on the list (<70 with 600+) of all-time. (note: all must have played 10 yrs at min, HOF elgible (say it aint so Joe), and not a active player, and played majority of careers after 1900)
    Gherig 719...Ruth...717...Hornsby..696..DiMaggio...693...T Williams..689...Cobb 679...Greenberg...678..Al Simmons...677 Foxx..672...Musial...659

    One "can" add in their Walk totals if their so inclined...but...I hardly think its necessary...especially when you're talking about these men! To make it reallllll interesting...lets add in Killebrews walks and HBP into his BA + 162 game ave TB + W/HBP 162 game ave= .256 + 276 + 107= 639.....kinda explains my position on Killebrew...doesn't even come close to the top 10...yet...some say he was great...I'll take their word on that!

  58. MLS Says:

    BTW...if you were to add W/HBP with this "dummy" test" in this lazy man's way of calculating...there's only 3 men ever to get more than 800..Ruth,Gherig,and T Williams...pretty far removed from Killebrews 639 total I would say.

  59. Mike L Says:

    I don't know that saying Killebrew isn't Ruth, Gherig or Williams makes Rice any more Hall-worthy. Nor cherry picking stats to eliminate HR's because that's what Killer did best. Rice was excellent at his fairly short peak, and then pretty much a B+ and then B player after that. Killer never had an OPS+ of less than 130 for 14 consecutive years (think about that for a second). Rice hit that number only six years in his entire career. Thome has a lifetime OPS+147. Rice managed that number only three times in his career-his absolute peak in 1977-79. And, if we want to talk about runs scored, he cracked 100 only three times-77-79. Look at Rice's stats in the aggregate, and you see a very good, productive player who didn't stay around long enough to achieve those milestone counting stats and can't really challenge the best on some of the qualitative ones. He's in, he's an OK pick, but he's no slam dunk first ballot unfairly overlooked by mean writers guy.

  60. MLS Says:

    @ 59..Follow my logic please. A 2X4 is a 2X4..just a piece of lumber you can pick up for around 5 bucks. Where you place that 2X4 in your homes frame makes that 2x4 more OR less "valuable" than other 2X4's. In other words, a 2x4 on an outside wall is much more valuable than an inside wall..wouldn't you agree? Just keep that in mind. TB is nothing more than raw data assigning values 1 thru 4 for singles, doubles, triples, HRS...the higher the TB only means that individual has gotten a number of XBH to go along with his singles. Nothing more, nothing less. SLG% gives the "appearance" that it somehow has "value"..but does it really? Is a HR "actually" four times the "value" of a single? There's where the rub comes in. A double with the bases loaded, to me anyway, is more "valuable" than a solo thumper...perhaps that's just me...dunno. Thus, to me anyways, SLG % doesn't tell me anything of "value". Then you add it to a stat (OBP) that (as I have discussed at length) should be viewed with open eyes, since it's NOT a totally "independant" stat to begin with, only compounds the issue of "value" further. Just like the 2x4 analogy...make sure you're looking at "true value"...not something that "appears" to be valuable.

  61. MLS Says:

    As far as Rice or Killebrew belonging in the HOF, that's clearly not my decision. If you want my honest to goodness thoughts though, here it is. Killebrew was a tomato can type hitter..all or nothing..outside his HRS he showed me nothing. Rice was a more complete hitter..he hit singles, doubles,triples, and of course the HR. If I were to have a pick-up game...I'd pick Rice each and every time. Right or wrong..that's my opinion.

  62. Mike L Says:

    @60 and 61, I've never seen Rice as a no-miss HOF, but essentially you and I arguing esthetics. You prefer the Rice-type player. If you don't like Killebrew, you won't like Thome either when he comes up for a vote. But, if Rice's BA is .298, and Thome's is .277, and Rice's OBA is .352 and Thome's is .403, over a 600 plate appearance season, Rice would be on base 210 times, and Thome 240 times. Rice would have about 15 extra hits, or about one extra hit every ten games. On the other hand, Thome would average about three extra walks per ten games, with a net additional time on base of about two for every ten games. I'd take Thome, you would take Rice.

  63. MLS Says:

    @ 62..and you would be incorrect in your assumption. Thome has proven he is not a tomato can (300 TB ave and .277 BA)...longevity does count for something. Believe this or not...I'm capable of looking at intangables as well as raw stats...Raw stats only points me in a "direction"...I have the comman sense not to allow my head to interfere with my instincts. Thome's HR's doesn't overshadow his other XBH by such a wide margin as to say...this guy ONLY swung for the hills. Thome has been a great ambassador of the game. There was/is nothing in any of his stats that is flat out UGLY (Killebrews .256 BA was just that...plain old UGLY). I'd pick Thome and have no problem doing such!

  64. MLS Says:

    I'd like to make it known that I have no personal grudge against any player (none of the players mentioned Thome,Killebrew, or Rice owes me money...LOL). I'm not attacking the individual..I'm attacking their "hitting" or for some "non-hitting" credentials..the ones that are totally and soley independant of their team mates. Which are TB and BA in this case.

  65. Mike Felber Says:

    But things like era, stadium & line up mean a freat deal, not just in counting stats. Rice was a more complete as a HITTER than Killer-though did nothing else well-but he was not as valuable overall. Because of how good he was at that one skill, & how important it was. Big Mac was not very complete either, but aside from the very legitimate PED issue, he was very hall worthy, total accomplishments & peak value.

    There are many variables in how often someone scores. You cannot just look at total #s WITHOUT adjusting for line up, park, & era. And MLS< you do undervalue HRs. Rice would have scored much less often than he did in Killer's era, park & line ups.

    The .256 average does not mean much. if it was .280, you would not complain. His forte was not average: it is how much TOTAL VALUE he added. But even looking at average in isolation, JUST the era-Killer's spanned the whole modern pitcher era-means his average will be depressed compared to others. Bethya that in a neutral context, Killer would have hit no lower than the .270's over a long career.

    Not that it means that much. Nobody thinks he was not limited & nowhere approached the game's immortals. But he did enough to deserve the Hall. Rice did not create nearly the same overall value.

  66. MLS Says:

    @ 65...Killer=Tomato Can, McGwire=Fortified Tomato Can...outside HRS (that I value strongly I might add), name one single OTHER "hitting" skill either brought to the table? I never said either Rice,McGwire, or Killebrew belongs in the HOF..that's not my decision. Who do I want in MY HOF differs greatly from others. Here it is in 2011 and Ruth is spoken of often as being great. Aaron, Mays, and Mantle are all spoken with reverence (same era as Killebrew I might add) and I suspect in the yr 2211 all those men will be STILL considered great. What makes those men so great is could pull anyone of their stats and they would have another to justify their greatness. In the 2211 when Killebrew's HR's (once 5th highest) will be placed down in about 200th place...some kid will visit the HOF and ask his Dad..why is a .256 hitter in the HOF? And that kid will be absolutely CORRECT! In my stat nannys don't exist...they may be in yours..and I respect that!

  67. Mike L Says:

    @66, MLS, I follow your argument on home runs, but only to a point. The game adapts, and has always adapted to excess performance in one area or the other. In 1961, the Yankees hit 240 home runs-a number that seemed ludicrous. In the same decade, with higher mounds and bigger strike zones, 100 home runs seemed to be a lot. If players get too big and strong, fences will get moved out and humidors will be installed in more places. And, as to the Hall, performances are always contextualized. All of us understand that records will be broken over time: we don't expect every player there to necessarily have achieved in their career what later players did. Doesn't make them less cool. In the 1924 Olympics Harold Abrahams ran 10.6 in the 100 meters and Eric Liddle 47.6 in the 400 meters (times that might not wi a high school meet right now), and they made a movie about them. Jessie Owens 1936 Olympics included two World Records and an Olympic record-needless to say, none of them are even close today. No-one expects performance to be frozen in time. Sure, there are a handful of all time greats who still stand apart. But the Hall doesn't evict when someone better comes along. That's as it should be.

  68. MLS Says:

    @ Mike L.....A true HOF'r , to me, and I think the original HOF board as well, is one that's so superior in his skills, that a reasonable man would ascertain that player would be at minimum be "good" from that time foreward. If you notice, I said skills, not skill.Why I "believe" the HOF meant this for the fact they did not pick Cy Young in their innaugrial voting. It would have been easy to pick the winningest pitcher of all-time on that 1st ballot...but they we all do...where as Young excelled in winning..he had his warts too. Regardless, I truly believe they wanted HOF type players to be somewhat well rounded in their body of work. Unfortunately, I believe the HOF has regressed from that logic, for whatever reasons. I'm not angry at those who believe Killebrew belongs..I got the same flack when I said Killebrew didn't belong when he was STILL playing! So this isn't anything new to me..LOL...I "understand" why people feel the way they do regarding the Killer...I truly do...but I don't care how much a cat tries to cover their crap...there's STILL a turd undernieth all that debris!

  69. Mike L Says:

    @69, MLS. You better get the moving truck, because there's a lot of plaques, dusty memorabilia, and other debris ready for the trash bin. Not to pick at a scab, though, but Jim Rice will be one of the first they are hauling out. He may have been more rounded than Killer, but, except for 77-79, he wasn't exceptional or memorable in the least.

  70. MLS Says:

    @69....just for the record...I'm not a Rice fan either, only because his time was limited..much like Indian Bob Johnson and Hal Trosky...when he played however, he was well rounded. But, I have NO problem with loading up a truck and starting anew!!! LOL

  71. MLS Says:

    One other thing I'd like to mention. I get sick and tired of hearing about the 60's being a pitching dominant era. Certainly, some of the best pitchers ever to suit up for baseball played in that's funny that some of the best hitters ever to suit up for baseball played in that era as well! Thus, because Killebrew played during that era..we should somehow turn a blind eye for his shortcomings??? Perhaps give him "credit"?...Don't make sense to this guy who watched many of those players first hand.

  72. DavidS Says:

    @71 - the 60s are referred to as a pitching dominant era because of the environment, not the individual players. Higher mounds, different parks, larger strike-zones,and whatever other effects were in place conspired to make run-scoring more difficult during that decade than in any other since the 1910s. As Bill James wrote, just because an average outfielder in 1930 hit .310 and an average outfielder in 1968 hit .240, it doesn't make the hitters in 1930 any better than those in 1968, it just means they played under circumstances more favorable to hitters. Sure there are periods where there are more great hitters or great pitchers but that doesn't do much to affect the league stats as a whole.

    We aren't giving Killebrew "credit" any more than we are demoting Todd Helton for putting up monster numbers in Coors Field. We are simply putting those numbers in context. It took a lot fewer runs to win a baseball game in the 1960s so Killebrew's hits/walks/HRs have more value than they would have had they been produced more recently.

  73. MLS Says:

    @ 72....Since I lived thru that era...I know what you write about..and it is absolutely true and then some. What Bill James and others have neglected to realize or put into "context" is that the truly great players will shine in any environment in which they play. An example is right there in which you write..1910=.310 outfielders..Cobb and a "few" others broke through that "ave" with much larger BA...Hence they were viewed as "great" and rightfully so. In the 60's Aaron, Robinson,Mantle,Clemente, Mays ect...demonstrated they were able to break out to demonstrate they were the cream of the crop in their era as well. The "real" question is, was Killebrew that caliber of player in that "same" era? To Killebrew's credit, when he hit his HR's, the parks in which he hit them were larger. But many will tell you..and they would be correct...most his HRS were not cheapies..there was NO park ever built that would hold his shots! I contend, was harder to hit a HR in those larger the same token..wouldn't it be easier to hit a double or a triple? Think about that for a moment. Outside Killebrews HRS..did he amass "enough" other XBH to warrant "greatness" status? To be honest, Killebrew most of his career wasn't even considered the best player on his team, not alone in the league. I'm NOT trying to dismiss Killebrews HR's accomplishments...he was at great at that...but to me...a HOF type player needs "more". To me, a "slugger" needs a substantial TB 162 game average be called a "slugger". What Killebrew was was a swing from the heels and hope for the best kinda guy..if that's "good" enough for you or anyone else..that's fine...but there are NO stats available to prove my statement wrong!

  74. Fireworks Says:

    MLS please stop making 15 of the 20 posts in a thread when you are saying absolutely nothing new, especially since you have little interest in doing line/paragraph breaks to increase readability. Also, two or three periods the way you are using them do nothing but create massive run-on sentences.


  75. MLS Says:

    Fireworks is that a "polite" way of saying shut the hell up? LOL...No problem..will do. Thanks. (Unlike many ,I can actually comprehend what I read). Thanks once again for your input!

  76. Fireworks Says:

    No, it's a way of saying consider readability when posting. I write looong posts and I do my best to go back sometimes and introduce a few paragraph where there had been none just so people that actually choose to read the post don't have to deal with 20 line blocks of unbroken text.