How about that Johnny Sturm? He gets one season in the big leagues, starting at 1B for the Yankees, ending the 2-year tenure of Babe Dahlgren; sullies the sainted Lou Gehrig's position even more than Dahlgren did; and winds up a World Champion.
Sturm is the only one of the past players here whose team won it all. Pete Rose made it to the Series.
From 1974-2010 (The era for which the batting event finder is complete.) forty-eight players hit more home runs than Jack Clark's 340. Yet no one hit more than Clark in extra innings. Of his 340 home runs, 18 (5.3 %) came in extra frames. Here are the leaders in extra-inning home runs since 1974.
"Jose Bautista was the AL home run king in 2010, while the second-place HR leader (Paul Konerko) had 15 homers less. Is that the biggest difference in history of HR kings?"
Not quite. While the 15-HR gap between Bautista and Konerko is impressive, it actually pales in comparison to some of the leads Babe Ruth had in his HR races.
In 1920, the same year he famously had 4 more HR by himself than any other AL team, Ruth also placed a 35-HR gap between himself and runner-up George Sisler. And the following year, Ruth repeated that feat, hitting 35 more HR than Ken Williams. All told, Ruth owns 5 of the 6 biggest differences between a league HR leader and the runner-up. Here's the full list of biggest disparities between #1 and #2:
Stevens says there's "no doubt" Ruth called the shot.
Then again, that's just one man's opinion, even if he was on the Supreme Court bench. As the TV Squad post notes,
"Ruth's called shot wasn't televised, but a pair of home movies recorded by other spectators at the game suggest Ruth may have really been pointing at the pitcher, or at the opposing team's bench. Much like the Supreme Court rulings, a unanimous verdict is hard to come by."
Consider this a retro-bloop, since I didn't catch it the first time around, but here's a great piece at ESPN about the most valuable World Series HRs of all time by "series WPA".
What's series WPA, you ask? It's basically like regular WPA, except it also take into account the probability of winning the series (using a process similar to this). In essence, these home runs are the blasts that most swung the probability of winning the entire World Series, rather than just changing the probability of winning a given game.
As for the #1 HR? Well, it came in this famous game... but it might not be the exact homer you're thinking of.
Seventy five years ago today, Babe Ruth hit his last home run. In fact, he hit the last 3 home runs of his career on that day in 1935. It was only the second 3-home run game of Ruth's illustrious career and it occurred when he was 40 years old. Robert W. Creamer has a nice description of the game in his biography of Ruth (h/t Rob Neyer).
Back in September of 2007, Andy wrote a nice and timely post about the oldest players to hit 3 homeruns in a game. In the intervening years, the resources available here at baseball-reference.com have greatly expanded and we can now conclusively create a complete list. First lets take a look at the list provided by the PI game finder (1920-1939, 1952-2010).
From 1871-1919 and 1940-1951 there weren't many seasons of 3+ home runs by players 38 years or older. The HR logs for those seasons reveal that no player 38 or older recorded a 3+ HR game during that time. Therefore, the PI list above is complete. Despite the passage of time, longer careers, better conditioning and other things*, only 2 players have been able to match the last hurrah of the famous Rajah.
The Mariners are on pace to hit 58 HR this season and the Astros are on pace for 64. Look at the season totals from, for example, 1998. The lowly Pirates hit 107 HR while the new and terrible Rays hit 111. The low teams in 2010 are way below those benchmarks. In 2009, the awful Mets had the lowest total but still managed 95 HR.
Of course, it's likely that the Mariners and Astros will both revert to the mean a little bit and hit HR at a faster pace for the rest of the season. (Not necessarily, though. After all, the Blue Jays are leading the league and on pace for 232 HR, similar to the Yankees' league-leading total of 244 last year and the Rangers' and Phillies' second-place totals of 224.)
Here's a little more info to put in perspective just how bad the HR hitting has been for Seattle and Houston so far:
Paul Konerko has more HR himself than the Mariners or Astros have as a team, and 3 other guys have as many HR as the Mariners.
Of the Astros' 11 home runs, 4 came with the bases empty and 7 were two-runs shots. They have no 3-runs homers or grand slams so far this season.
(When I did the sort, the rank got messed up, hence numbering from 2 to 28...)
Johnny Bench and Gary Carter are the guys to do it multiple times. For comparison, first basemen have done it 100 times, led by Mark McGwire, Carlos Delgado, and Lou Gehrig with 4 apiece.
One weird thing is that Buck i snow hitting just .194, a remarkably low batting average for a guy to hit 3 HR. I went back more than 10 years and couldn't find anybody else with a 3-HR game and such a low BA after the game. Next closest was Steve Finley hitting .235 after his 3-HR game in 2004. Like Buck's game, Finley's came fairly early in the season. A little more digging found Dan Wilson next in this 1996 game, after which he was hitting .222. This was just the Mariners' 9th game of the season and Wilson finished the year at .285.
Chase Utley's World Series Career has been relatively brief. Utley's 9 career World Series games tie him for 37th among second baseman. Yet, no second baseman has hit more World Series home runs. Utley's Game 4, 7th inning blast was his 5th, tying him with Billy Martin for most ever by a second baseman. It should be noted that it took Martin 27 games at second to reach that total. Here are the leaders:
One of the fun things to do with Baseball-Reference.com's Play Index is to just look for crazy things and see how many games or seasons or careers fit that bill. Today, I wondered: Has a team ever allowed 15 walks or more, in a game of 9 innings or less, and won? Well, thanks to B-R.com PI's Team Pitching Game Finder, we can see the answer:
From 1954 to 2009, Only 9-inning games, Team Won, (requiring BB>=15), sorted by greatest BB in a game
Cnt Date Tm Opp GmReslt IP H R ER **BB** SO HR Pit Str IR IS BF AB 2B 3B IBB HBP SH SF GDP SB CS Pk Ptchrs ERA
1 1992-05-07CHWBOS W 7-6 9 6 6 4 15 9 0 206 105 4 1 47 32 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 5 4.00
2 1959-07-31BOSDET W 6-5 9 5 5 5 15 4 3 7 0 47 29 0 0 1 0 2 1 0 0 0 1 5 5.00
Games found: 2.
So, since 1954, it's only happened twice - once in 1959 and once in 1992. How cool is that? And, it's interesting that both games involved the Boston Red Sox. And, to the question "How's they do that?," the answer is simple: Don't allow a lot of hits and get the other team to run up their LOB totals...and then maybe the walks won't kill ya...