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Trivia on the 3000-hit club

Posted by Andy on December 27, 2007

As of now, there are 24 members of the 3000-hit club. Barry Bonds is 65 short, but I don't think hits in the prison sandlot softball games count. After him, nobody else is close enough to get it in 2 seasons (unless those are 2 stellar seasons.) Vizquel is 402 short. Julio Franco is 414 short. Griffey is 442 short. Steve Finley, Gary Sheffield, and Luis Gonzalez are just behind them, all needing fewer than 500 as well. My money is that we won't see another guy get into this club until the 2010 season at the earliest.

But anyway, this is some trivia about the 24 guys who are already in.

1. Who has the lowest and who has the highest career batting average?

2. Who has the fewest and who has the most career at-bats?

3. Who has the lowest and who has the highest career OBP?

4. Who has the lowest and who has the highest career OPS+?

If you'd like the list of the 24 players to help you out, here it is:

Aaron, Biggio, Boggs, Brett, Brock, Carew, Clemente, Cobb, Collins, Gwynn, Henderson, Kaline, Mays, Molitor, Murray, Musial, Palmeiro, Ripken, Rose, Speaker, Waner, Winfield, Yastrzemski, and Yount.

The full list and answers are after the jump.

Here are the members of the 3000-hut club:

  Cnt Player              BA    H    PA   OBP  OPS+ From  To
    1 Cal Ripken         .276 3184 12883  .340  112 1981 2001
    2 Rickey Henderson   .279 3055 13346  .401  127 1979 2003
    3 Craig Biggio       .281 3060 12503  .363  111 1988 2007
    4 Dave Winfield      .283 3110 12358  .353  130 1973 1995
    5 Robin Yount        .285 3142 12249  .342  115 1974 1993
    6 Carl Yastrzemski   .285 3419 13991  .379  129 1961 1983
    7 Eddie Murray       .287 3255 12817  .359  129 1977 1997
    8 Rafael Palmeiro    .288 3020 12046  .371  132 1986 2005
    9 Lou Brock          .293 3023 11235  .343  109 1961 1979
   10 Al Kaline          .297 3007 11597  .376  134 1953 1974
   11 Willie Mays        .302 3283 12493  .384  156 1951 1973
   12 Pete Rose          .303 4256 15861  .375  118 1963 1986
   13 George Brett       .305 3154 11624  .369  135 1973 1993
   14 Hank Aaron         .305 3771 13940  .374  155 1954 1976
   15 Paul Molitor       .306 3319 12160  .369  122 1978 1998
   16 Roberto Clemente   .317 3000 10212  .359  130 1955 1972
   17 Wade Boggs         .328 3010 10740  .415  130 1982 1999
   18 Rod Carew          .328 3053 10550  .393  131 1967 1985
   19 Stan Musial        .331 3630 12712  .417  159 1941 1963
   20 Paul Waner         .333 3152 10762  .404  134 1926 1945
   21 Eddie Collins      .333 3315 12037  .424  141 1906 1930
   22 Tony Gwynn         .338 3141 10232  .388  132 1982 2001
   23 Tris Speaker       .345 3514 11988  .428  158 1907 1928
   24 Ty Cobb            .366 4189 13072  .433  167 1905 1928

As you can see, Ripken has by far the lowest batting average. Really, he got 3000 hits on longevity alone and not because, as is true with most of the rest of the folks in the club, he was an unusually good hitter. Ty Cobb had the highest batting average, maintaining a stellar .366 average over more than 13,000 at-bats.

Speaking of at-bats, Clemente had the fewest with just 10,212. Gwynn was just ahead of him, though, at 10,232, plus Gwynn hit 21 points higher in his career, finishing with 141 more hits than Clemente. (Remember, though, that Clemente died in the off-season as an active player and would probably have racked up at least a few hundred more at-bats had he been able to come back for the 1973 season.) Pete Rose had the most at-bats, with 15,861, way ahead of #2 Yaz with 13,991.

Lowest OBP goes to Ripken again, who had a very pedestrian .340 career mark. Ripken's walk totals were a bit on the low side (though not dramatically so) but what really hurts him here is his "low" batting average of .276. It's hard to have a career OBP much more than 60-70 points higher than batting average, and Ripken was at 64 points. Note that Yount, at .342, is only a smidgen ahead of Ripken. Yount's walk totals are a bit lower than Ripken's, but his batting average is a little higher. And like Ripken, Yount makes it mainly on longevity. While Yount retired when he was 37, he also started in the league at age 18. Highest OBP goes to--who else--Tyrus Cobb at .433, a staggering number. Speaker and Collins were also over .420. By the way, Bonds' career OBP is .444 right now. If he managed one more short season and got his 65 hits, he'd almost certainly take over as the leader in this category. Todd Helton also has an outside shot, but he'd need to improve his performance of late on both the hits and OBP front.

Lou Brock has the lowest career OPS+, at just 109. Mind you, as primarily a leadoff hitter (8653 career PAs batting leadoff out of 11240 total,) an OPS+ of 109 is quite good. Who is the leader here? It's that man, Ty Cobb, again, at an amazing 167 OPS+. Granted power numbers were much, much lower in his day, but the beauty of OPS+ is that we can see how he compared to his contemporaries. Kudos to several other players with marks above 150: Mays, Aaron, Musial, and Speaker.

It's pretty difficult to maintain a career OPS+ of 150, which is why Aaron is the most recent member of the 3000-hit club to do it. Cobb's overall performance is really quite impressive, especially given that he had more than 13,000 at-bats. There are lots of guys with great careers consisting of 7,000 to 10,000 at-bats, but to maintain such high numbers over 13,000 at-bats is truly amazing.

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 27th, 2007 at 10:11 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.

4 Responses to “Trivia on the 3000-hit club”

  1. David in Toledo Says:

    I figure the next three are Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and I-Rod, if he holds up and wants to play four more years. As a catcher, I-Rod is already the hits leader, but that's in part because he won't take a walk. If he gets close to 3,000, I can imagine pitchers getting him to swing at literally everything. After these guys, the imponderable of health is the big variable; Vladimir can make it if he stays healthy, but he'll need six or seven years.

  2. I agree with your list. Manny is getting close, but it's amazing that he's never had more than 185 hits in a season since he's never played more than 154 games. With his skills dwindling, he'd probably need 5 more seasons to get it (making him 40 in the last year.) I doubt he'll get it. Franl Thomas is another possibility, but he's basically in an even worse boat than Manny. Thomas has never had more than 191 hits in a season, is 600 shy, and has topped 150 games only three times in the last 9 seasons. He'd need 4 more seasons just like 2007, but that would make him 43 and it seems very unlikely. If he were to stick around until age 45 or so, he MIGHT have a chance.

  3. BunnyWrangler Says:

    What about Honus?

  4. My list has gotta be 1901-present, which is why Wagner doesn't quite make it.