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500+ Doubles & SLG% Under .471

Posted by Steve Lombardi on January 15, 2011

How many players in baseball history have at least 500 career doubles and a lifetime slugging percentage of .470 or less?

Here's the list -

Rk Player SLG 2B From To Age G PA AB R H 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP OPS Pos Tm
1 Pete Rose .409 746 1963 1986 22-45 3562 15861 14053 2165 4256 135 160 1314 1566 167 1143 107 56 79 247 198 149 .303 .375 .784 37549/8 CIN-PHI-TOT
2 Rickey Henderson .419 510 1979 2003 20-44 3081 13346 10961 2295 3055 66 297 1115 2190 61 1694 98 30 67 172 1406 335 .279 .401 .820 *78D/9 OAK-NYY-TOT-SDP-NYM-BOS-LAD
3 Robin Yount .430 583 1974 1993 18-37 2856 12249 11008 1632 3142 126 251 1406 966 95 1350 48 104 123 217 271 105 .285 .342 .772 *68D/73 MIL
4 Craig Biggio .433 668 1988 2007 22-41 2850 12503 10876 1844 3060 55 291 1175 1160 68 1753 285 101 81 150 414 124 .281 .363 .796 *4287/D9 HOU
5 Mark Grace .442 511 1988 2003 24-39 2245 9290 8065 1179 2445 45 173 1146 1075 114 642 34 17 99 192 70 48 .303 .383 .825 *3/1D CHC-ARI
6 Roberto Alomar .443 504 1988 2004 20-36 2379 10400 9073 1508 2724 80 210 1134 1032 62 1140 50 148 97 206 474 114 .300 .371 .814 *4/D6 SDP-TOR-BAL-CLE-NYM-TOT
7 Wade Boggs .443 578 1982 1999 24-41 2440 10740 9180 1513 3010 61 118 1014 1412 180 745 23 29 96 236 24 35 .328 .415 .858 *5D/317 BOS-NYY-TBD
8 Cal Ripken .447 603 1981 2001 20-40 3001 12883 11551 1647 3184 44 431 1695 1129 107 1305 66 10 127 350 36 39 .276 .340 .788 *65/D BAL
9 Paul Molitor .448 605 1978 1998 21-41 2683 12160 10835 1782 3319 114 234 1307 1094 100 1244 47 75 109 209 504 131 .306 .369 .817 D543/6879 MIL-TOR-MIN
10 Al Oliver .451 529 1968 1985 21-38 2368 9778 9049 1189 2743 77 219 1326 535 119 756 82 17 95 254 84 64 .303 .344 .795 837D/9 PIT-TEX-MON-TOT
11 Nap Lajoie .451 510 1901 1916 26-41 1988 8256 7498 1083 2521 101 50 1141 457 0 74 97 204 0 0 293 26 .336 .382 .833 *43/657 PHA-TOT-CLE
12 Tony Gwynn .459 543 1982 2001 22-41 2440 10232 9288 1383 3141 85 135 1138 790 203 434 24 45 85 259 319 125 .338 .388 .847 *98/7D SDP
13 Garret Anderson .461 522 1994 2010 22-38 2228 9177 8640 1084 2529 36 287 1365 429 104 1224 8 13 87 197 80 47 .293 .324 .785 *78D9 CAL-ANA-LAA-ATL-LAD
14 Carl Yastrzemski .462 646 1961 1983 21-43 3308 13991 11988 1816 3419 59 452 1844 1845 190 1393 40 13 105 323 168 116 .285 .379 .841 *73D8/59 BOS
15 Honus Wagner .462 506 1901 1917 27-43 2298 9640 8507 1414 2766 210 78 1375 836 0 327 99 198 0 0 601 26 .325 .392 .853 *63/957481 PIT
16 Tony Perez .463 505 1964 1986 22-44 2777 10861 9778 1272 2732 79 379 1652 925 150 1867 43 9 106 268 49 33 .279 .341 .804 *35/D4 CIN-MON-BOS-PHI
17 John Olerud .465 500 1989 2005 20-36 2234 9063 7592 1139 2239 13 255 1230 1275 157 1016 88 12 96 232 11 14 .295 .398 .863 *3D TOR-NYM-SEA-TOT-BOS
18 Ivan Rodriguez .466 565 1991 2010 19-38 2499 10133 9468 1340 2817 51 309 1313 503 65 1446 57 29 76 331 127 64 .298 .334 .800 *2/D34 TEX-FLA-DET-TOT-WSN
19 Joe Cronin .468 515 1926 1945 19-38 2124 8838 7579 1233 2285 118 170 1424 1059 0 700 34 166 0 57 87 71 .301 .390 .857 *6/5347 PIT-WSH-BOS
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/15/2011.

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It's an interesting mix of some Hall of Famers, some could be Hall of Famers and some probably never will be Hall of Famers.

What did I learn here? I never realized, before this, how close Al Oliver and Garret Anderson were in terms of their offensive style/production.

This entry was posted on Saturday, January 15th, 2011 at 11:05 pm 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.

44 Responses to “500+ Doubles & SLG% Under .471”

  1. Why choose .470 as a benchmark? Is that the line between good and bad? In a related topic, what's a good benchmark for OBP and OPS?

  2. @1, Gonzo -- I can't answer on Andy's behalf, but I'll guess that the .470 cutoff was chosen just to keep the list to a manageable size.

    If Andy had taken the 20 lowest slugging averages, the cutoff would have been .471, and of course, we all like round numbers.

    If he'd set the SLG cutoff at .480, the list would include 6 more people (4 HOFers), for a total of 25: Dave Parker, Paul Waner, Dave Winfield, Eddie Murray, Luis Gonzalez and Charlie Gehringer.

  3. I should have said, "I can't answer on Steve's behalf."

    (Sorry, Steve.)

  4. @2

    John, this post was by Steve. Just so you know.

  5. Dang it! Always refresh the page before posting. How have I not learned this by now?!?

  6. Since SLG captures all forms of total bases, I'll toss out some short variations on Steve's list, starting with the highest & lowest ratios of doubles to hits among the 500-doubles club:

    Highest ratio of doubles to hits:
    1. Todd Helton, 0.236
    2. Bobby Abreu, .232
    3. Luis Gonzalez, .230

    Lowest ratio of doubles to hits:
    1. Willie Mays, 0.159
    2. Hank Aaron, .165
    3. Rickey Henderson, 0.167
    (Yeah, but they'd still make one hell of an outfield.)

    P.S. In one of the Mays biographies, Willie is quoted as saying that, when he batted ahead of McCovey, he often deliberately stopped at first base when he could have had a double, to discourage teams from intentionally passing Stretch. I looked for evidence of that in Mays's doubles rates during the years that he and McCovey played together, comparing games when McCovey did and did not follow Mays in the order; I didn't find any evidence, but it was by no means an exhaustive study.

    My hunch is that Mays may have done that a few times, but not on anything like a regular basis. And I don't think Mays necessarily said that in order to puff up his stats; I think it was just a typical case of a former player unconsciously exaggerating how often they used "hidden strategy."

    Willie just didn't hit a lot of doubles. He reached 30 just 6 times in his 18 qualifying seasons: 43, 36, 33, 33, 32, 32. In his two 50-HR seasons, he hit 21 and 18 doubles, and he had 7 qualifying seasons with no more than 22 doubles. And this can't be traced to his home parks; his doubles rate at home was a little higher than on the road, whether per PA or per hit. Obviously, many of his 140 career triples would have been doubles for a less extraordinary player, but even if we switch half his triples for doubles, he would still have a very low rate of doubles per hit, 0.18. Besides, Stan Musial hit even more triples than Willie (177), and he still managed to rack up 725 doubles, 20% of his total hits.

  7. Fewest HRs among the 500-doubles club:

    1. Nap Lajoie, 82 HRs (657 doubles)
    2. Honus Wagner, 101 HRs (643 doubles)
    3. Paul Waner, 113 HRs (605 doubles)

    Waner has the fewest HRs of any 500-doubles hitter in the live-ball era.

  8. @5, Dr. Doom -- Don't sweat it. I'm a slow writer (and maybe just a bit long-winded), so it happens to me frequently.

    I wish the site had a "Save before posting" feature.

  9. Fewest triples among the 500-doubles club:

    1. John Olerud, 13
    2. Edgar Martinez, 15
    3. Manny Ramirez, 20

    Four of Olerud's 13 career triples came in 1998, his second "career season" -- and all four came in a span of 22 days.

  10. Ratios of doubles to singles among the 500-doubles club:

    Highest ratio of doubles to singles:
    1. Barry Bonds, 0.402
    2. Todd Helton, 0.393
    3. (tie) Jeff Kent and Luis Gonzalez, 0.379

    Lowest
    1. Tony Gwynn, 0.228
    2. Pete Rose, 0.232
    3. Rickey Henderson, 0.234
    4. Ty Cobb, 0.237

    I included four spots in that last one just so I could say this:
    It cracks me up that both Rose and Cobb had over 3,000 singles.

    Rose had 1,041 extra-base hits, 24th all-time -- and his singles alone would rank 14th all-time, between Lajoie and Ripken. Or to put it another way: Rose had 36% more extra-base hits than Tony Gwynn did, yet Rose still had more singles than Gwynn had hits.

    I'm not saying Rose was or wasn't a better player than any of those guys -- just saying, he had a lot of hits. Rose had more than twice as many hits as Mike Piazza, Duke Snider, and more than 50 other HOF hitters. (Yeah, I know that Piazza is not a HOFer yet. You know what I mean.)

  11. Clarification re #10 above: Rose's singles would rank 14th on the all-time hits list. Sorry for the confusion.

  12. Why have Honus Wagner's 1897, 1898, and 1899 and especially his great 1900 season not been included?

  13. Random asides:

    1. In his 20-year career, Tony Gwynn struck out 434 times -- exactly as many times as Mark Reynolds has done in the last 2 years.

    2. With 9 Ks of Gwynn, Nolan Ryan is the only pitcher who whiffed him more than 6 times. In just 4 seasons, Mark Reynolds has whiffed 10+ times against 6 different pitchers, with 17 Ks.

    3. Tony Gwynn faced Greg Maddux 107 times and never struck out. Maddux faced Reynolds 13 times over 4 games, with 4 strikeouts.

    P.S. Gwynn batted .415 against Maddux, with 11 walks for a .476 OBP. On the other hand, Gwynn never "went yard" against Maddux, and his 39 hits produced just 9 RBI.

  14. @12, MikeTink -- I'm not sure if you're asking why the years before 1901 are generally omitted from these discussions, or if you're merely miffed that Wagner doesn't get his just due on this list. Assuming the former....

    The Play Index defaults to 1901 as the first year of a season search.

    I'm not privy to the reasons behind that decision, but I think it's good to have some default that tries to separate the "modern era" from the formative years of the pro game; otherwise, a lot of search results would be dominated by pitchers who threw 600 innings in a season (for example).

    As to why the default is 1901, specifically, I'd guess that was a convenient compromise between the dates that compete for the title of "the dawn of modern baseball," with 1903 and 1893 being the leading contenders. There wasn't a particularly momentous change in the rules in 1901, as there were in 1893 (pitching distance moved back to 60' 6") and 1903 (foul balls are strikes), but 1901 was historically significant as the start of the American League (and thus the two-league Major Leagues). Also, I think 1901 is commonly termed the "dawn of the modern era" by non-historian baseball people.

  15. Mike Felber Says:

    These rankings selects for long careers, pitchers era, & low homers. But I really think if these lists are to be more than curiosities, to say meaningful things about the individual players, They should at least adjust for park & era. Why ever do something like this without the "+"?

  16. @15, Mile Felber -- Again, I wouldn't presume to speak for Steve's purpose in posting these lists, but I think it is pretty much a "curiosity" list, which can be fun.

    I don't see any sign that Steve meant to denigrate these players for their slugging percentages. And after all, 14 of the 19 are HOFers. And anyone who wants to know can find out that Pete Rose's .409 SLG was 19 points above the league average for his career.

    Besides, how would you rework it as a "+" list? Is there a readily-available stat called "SLG+"? You could use OPS+, but that would be a very different list, for obvious reasons.

    P.S. I don't think it's entirely true that the list selects for "low HRs," when the median is 234 and two of the 19 have over 400 HRs. Nine of the 19 rank among the top 200 in career HRs, and three rank in the top 61.

  17. The thing about Mays is not just the high triples, but the extremely high home runs. He's a 660 home run guy, Musial had 475 if I remember correctly. That might be 185 doubles there, so Mays primarily had "too much power" as well as having "too much speed" to be a major doubles hitter.

  18. Merging the pre-1901 data into the list gives the following adjustments:

    Cap Anson - 581 doubles - .445 SLG
    Honus Wagner - 640 doubles - .466 SLG
    Nap Lajoie - 657 doubles - .467

    Eddie Delahanty is the only other member of the 500-club who played pre-1901 (522) but he slugged too high (.505).

  19. @17, Jimbo -- You may have something there.

    On the other hand, almost half the members of the 500-HR club had a doubles total at least 82% of their HR total, including Hank Aaron (755 HRs), Junior Griffey (630) and Frank Robinson (586).

    I checked the P-I for all seasons of 40 to 52 HRs; their median doubles total was 29. Mays had 6 seasons with 40-52 HRs, and averaging 25.5 doubles.

    But maybe, as you say, the power, combined with the speed that turned doubles into triples, may explain Mays's doubles total.

  20. Thread title doesn't quite match the search that was done in the PI link... Dave Parker slugged .4707.

  21. I think Jimbo is right. Mays' ratio is due to high triples and HR's. If you look at XBH per H, then Mays ranks 8th out of the 51 members of the 500-doubles club behind Bonds, Ruth, Gehrig, Ramirez, Griffey, TWilliams, FRobinson. (He's just missed seventh place, You need to go to six decimal points to break the tie with Robinson).

    Plus Mays had a lot of hits (3283) which is bad for a "per hit" metric.

  22. Glaring statistic.

    Garrett Anderson. Only 8 HBP's in his career.

  23. Phil Gaskill Says:

    Ever look at Mantle's and Maris's doubles in 1961? They each had 16. Sixteen doubles. I've always wondered how one hits 54 or 61 homers with only 16 doubles.

  24. Why choose .470 as a benchmark?

    Pudge Rodriguez. I noticed the other day that he's the active leader for most career doubles. And, I thought that was interesting because he's not really a power hitter - esp in the post-PED-tesing days. So, I looked at his career SLG% and rounded up, hence the line of .470 in this sort.

  25. I wouldn't presume to speak for Steve's purpose in posting these lists, but I think it is pretty much a "curiosity" list

    Exactly what I was doing here. It's just for fun, nothing else. Not trying to make a claim or prove a point, not at all.

  26. I've ALWAYS said this...

    Look at that list. Any one of them would be valuable for you team.

    AND, best of all.....

    They're cheap. Not one of them was ever overpaid like an Adam Dunn for instance. These guys were all great money values in their day. OK, please don;t try to destroy my list by finding one expensive guy. My point is, doubles hitters are a great bargain salary-wise.

  27. A note on the Oliver/Anderson comparison: Oliver was worth +223 batting runs over his career, Anderson -3. Not too similar at all, but most of us here already knew that.

    I wonder how possible it would be to get a similarity-score type comparison using WAR components. That would be a really fun tool to use.

  28. Interesting that only 2 are dead-ball era players (Wagner & Lajoie) as there weren't many homers hit then, but alot of doubles and triples.

  29. Dave Huemer Says:

    Before you sort, guess the player in this group with the highest OPS. Answer below.

    John Olerud--did you get it right?

  30. Johnny Twisto Says:

    They're cheap.

    How do you figure? 12 of these guys are HOFers, 2 more are going to be elected, and 1 other is out for non-playing reasons. I'd say about 5 of them were considered the best player in baseball at one point. For the most part these aren't undervalued players but were recognized as greats and I presume were paid commensurately.

  31. @23, Phil Gaskill re: Maris & Mantle 16 doubles each in 1961:

    Whatever it was, it wasn't unique to the M&M boys. Check out the rest of the Yankee regulars that year:
    -- Yogi Berra, 11 doubles in 437 PAs
    -- Bobby Richardson, 17 in 706 PAs
    -- Elston Howard, 17 in 482 PAs
    -- Clete Boyer, 19 in 578 PAs
    -- Bill Skowron, 23 in 607 PAs
    -- Tony Kubek, 38 in 658 PAs

    As a team, the Yankees were dead last in AL doubles, and by a pretty good margin. Their pitchers also allowed a pretty low number of doubles.

    I believe that Yankee Stadium was historically not a good doubles park.

  32. John Autin - you're a factoid machine! Just wanted to say thanks, as someone who has actually gotten into baseball through this site and has just started really following recently, I'm fascinated by the history of the game and I love this blog for all the weird little nuggets that put some context around certain players.

  33. P.S. to my last post -- Mantle and Maris both had extremely low doubles rates over their careers, averaging 23 and 22 doubles per 162 games, respectively (as compared to 36 and 30 HRs).

  34. @32, Bells -- Thanks!

    When I discovered B-R, I was like a kid in a candy store. Three years later, I still feel that way, only more so. And I know there are still many things that can be done on B-R that I haven't even touched yet.

    Enjoy!

  35. P.S. to Bells -- There have been 28 MLB players with the last name "Bell," including 7 All-Stars. But the only Bell in the HOF never played in the majors: Negro Leagues great Cool Papa Bell.

  36. @#27: I used war rankings in my all-time dream team selections. Come by and take a look. (Name linked to blog.)

  37. If he stays healthy, Brian Roberts could end up pretty high on this list -- at 32 he's got 332 doubles, and has been a safe bet for 45 2B every time he plays a full season. Career SLG now at .419.

  38. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #6/#17/#19- Willie Mays' doubles totals - I don't think they were unusually low; there were just fewer doubles hit in the NLof the 50s and 60s, than other eras that produced high single-season doubles totals.

    Here is where he ranks on the Giants in doubles for his full years (1954-71), he is usually first or second on the Giants:
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
    YEAR../RANK../Leading doubles total on the Giants
    '54 2nd 35
    '55 4th 21
    '56 1st 27
    '57 2nd 31
    '58 2nd 38
    '59 1st 43
    '60 2nd 36
    '61 1st 32
    '62 1st 36
    '63 2nd 33
    '64 2nd 27
    '65 1st 30
    '66 1st 29
    '67 3rd 26
    '68 1st 20
    '69 4th 26
    '70 5th 35
    '71 4th 32

    Perhaps someone with better P-I abilities than myself can determine if the Giants' home park had below-average doubles totals for these years...

  39. Surprising Eddie Collins did not make the list, 438 2Bs out of 3315 hits, only 13%, lower than Mays' rate.

    Sam Rice was very close, with 498 2Bs and a .427 SLG%. He missed 500 2Bs by 2 and 3000 hits by only 13. If he would have only played 1 more month he would probably be remembered much more.

  40. Looks like the worst HOF non-pitcher in terms of 2B% is Wee Willie Keeler with only 241 2Bs out of 2932 hits for 8%. I guess he could only hit singles where they aint.

  41. Before Willie Mays' catch in the 1954 World Series against Vic Wertz, the greatest catch in Series history was considered to be Sam Rice's catch in the 1925 World Series for the Senators against the Pirates. He caught the ball and tumbled over the outfield wall, re-emerging with the ball triumphantly held high.

    Naturally, no video exists. It was debated for years whether Rice held the ball. An interesting sidebar was that Rice had written his recollections in
    a letter to be opened upon his death. The HOF knowing of the existence of this letter, searched vainly after his death in 1965 but could not find it.

    Finally, an attorney in New York City, reading of the search, announced that he had the letter. In it Rice wrote that he, "had a death grip on it."

    So not only was Rice improperly remembered because he ended up 13 hits shy of 3,000, he also lost his spot as the best WS catch ever to Mays catch and the power of video.

  42. @38, Lawrence Azrin -- Good point. I checked the rate of doubles (as a % of total hits) in the NL for two 3-year periods during Mays's career, and compared to the last 3 years:

    NL -- Doubles as % of total hits:

    1954-56 -- 15.8%
    1966-68 -- 15.1%
    2008-10 -- 20.2%

    P.S. I had read somewhere that doubles accounted for about 20% of hits on a pretty consistent basis throughout the live-ball era. Not so!

  43. P.S. to Lawrence Azrin -- The Polo Grounds was definitely a bad doubles park, due to extremely short foul lines.

    In 1954, for example, there were 127 doubles in the Giants' home games, but 200 in their road games.

    The flip side of that was all the cheap HRs (which you somehow never hear about when people are guesstimating how many career HRs Mays lost to Candlestick Park): In '54, there were 187 HRs in the Giants' home games, just 112 in their road games.

  44. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I smell an Andy graph brewing on those doubles % numbers...