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Friday, February 17, 2012

HHS: Is Hank Aaron still the home run king?

On August 8, 2007, Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run in the major leagues, passing Hank Aaron as the all-time leader.

Those are the facts….but does public perception match?There was remarkably little fanfare when Bonds set the record. For the days leading up to the event, media speculated as to whether commissioner Bud Selig would even attend. Bonds was embroiled in the steroids scandal and many fans didn’t want him to break the record.

Ironically, many fans didn’t want Aaron to break Babe Ruth‘s record, which he did on April 8, 1974. Much of the resistance to Aaron was based in racism, but in the case of Bonds (one African American man supplanting the record of another), it seems to be that much of the public just didn’t like Bonds. Aside from his cheating, he had a history of being pompous, gruff, and standoffish.

Many seem to still honor Hank Aaron today as the home run king, even though Bonds passed him. Just about all baseball fans know the number 755, and even the number 714 (Ruth’s total that was eclipsed by Bad Henry.) Few know Bonds’ final career total of 762. Maybe that’s because it hasn’t been even 5 years since Bonds hit his last homer and because nobody is close to challenging him for the record yet.

Thanks to Botch.

Repoz Posted: February 17, 2012 at 09:42 PM | 46 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   1. Tim McCarver's Orange Marmalade Posted: February 17, 2012 at 10:19 PM (#4063838)
No.
   2. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 17, 2012 at 10:36 PM (#4063845)
Bonds obviously holds the single season and career home run records, and nobody can take that away from him. He's also the Hall of Merit's all-time God. He knew what he was doing, he got what he wanted, he's set for life, and he's not complaining. What's the problem?
   3. PreservedFish Posted: February 17, 2012 at 10:40 PM (#4063848)
Eh. I didn't know the Bonds HR number off the top of my head.
   4. Bruce Markusen Posted: February 17, 2012 at 10:56 PM (#4063852)
For whatever reason, 762 is not as remembered a number as 755 or 714. It's probably a combination of steroids and anti-Bonds sentiment, or perhaps not enough time has passed by to solidify the number in our minds.

I think the only reason I know the number 762 so well is that we talk about the home run record with our students at the Hall of Fame, and by sheer repetition, I've committed the number to memory.
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 17, 2012 at 11:07 PM (#4063857)
To be honest, I completely forgot Bonds held the record. If the question had come up on Jeopardy, I would have said "Aaron."
   6. Downtown Bookie Posted: February 17, 2012 at 11:34 PM (#4063866)
There was remarkably little fanfare when Bonds set the record.


I believe this is known as revisionist history. Or, perhaps, the phrase "remarkably little" means something different to the writer than it does to me.

Many seem to still honor Hank Aaron today as the home run king....


And yet, not Aaron himself, who, as part of the "remarkably little" fanfare when Bonds broke his record, magnanimously congratulated Bonds on his achievement.

DB
   7. Booey Posted: February 18, 2012 at 12:16 AM (#4063878)
Many seem to still honor Hank Aaron today as the home run king....


Then I guess it's too bad for them that childish delusions can't change statistical facts.
   8. Bob Evans Posted: February 18, 2012 at 12:29 AM (#4063883)
Let Aaron remain the king, and Bonds can be emperor.
   9. Shock Posted: February 18, 2012 at 12:31 AM (#4063884)
It's not like they cut away from games to watch Bonds bat when he got close to the record.

Oh wait, they did do that. A lot.

And it was awesome. Watching Bonds bat was a ####### joy, sanctimonious ######### aside.
   10. PreservedFish Posted: February 18, 2012 at 01:44 AM (#4063908)
I believe this is known as revisionist history. Or, perhaps, the phrase "remarkably little" means something different to the writer than it does to me.


I don't know about "remarkably little." But I don't think it was much hubbub compared to the celebrations for McGwire's 62nd, or Ripken's record.
   11. Something Other Posted: February 18, 2012 at 04:59 AM (#4063922)
And yet, not Aaron himself, who, as part of the "remarkably little" fanfare when Bonds broke his record, magnanimously congratulated Bonds on his achievement.
Aaron seems to be a gracious man. As long as MLB wasn't denying the legitimacy of the chase, what should we expect him to do? Come across as a sour old assh@le and call Bonds a cheat?

By and large Bonds' audience protended his pants weren't down around his ankles as he flailed away.
   12. Cooper Nielson Posted: February 18, 2012 at 08:00 AM (#4063928)
Few know Bonds’ final career total of 762. Maybe that’s because it hasn’t been even 5 years since Bonds hit his last homer and because nobody is close to challenging him for the record yet.

I'm pretty sure this is the case. I still remember Ty Cobb's hit record of 4191 (though this was retroactively changed to something like 4189, no?) but I'm not sure about Pete Rose's final total. I know Lou Gehrig played 2130 games in a row, but I don't know what number Cal Ripken stopped at. Walter Johnson: 3508, Nolan Ryan: ??? Lou Brock: 938, Rickey Henderson: ???

It takes time for these numbers to become meaningful and memorable. Either someone else has to get close to the record, or a lot of time has to pass with nobody getting close.
   13. AJMcCringleberry Posted: February 18, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4063945)
Those are the facts….but does public perception match?

Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything that's remotely true. Facts schmacts.
   14. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: February 18, 2012 at 10:08 AM (#4063949)
Hmmm...I don't think my kids (who are 6 and 8) are going to give a crap about steroid use back in the 1990s and early 2000s by the time they are adults. BTW, is there anybody in a position to make a run at 762?

ARod needs 133 to tie Bonds. Doesn't seem possible.
Phat Albert is 31 years old, and needs 317 HRs.
The top HR hitters in their 20s are Cabrera and Fielder - yeah, those guys will play into their 40s...

Unless Pujols has some 40 HR seasons for the next four years, Bonds' record seems safe for a while...
   15. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: February 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4063957)
By and large Bonds' audience protended his pants weren't down around his ankles as he flailed away.


If they were, that makes his feat all the more impressive. I can't imagine trying to hit a home run with that kind of restriction on movement.

ARod needs 133 to tie Bonds. Doesn't seem possible.


This is certainly possible, especially since ARod is known to be willing to take PEDs, sacrificing his body for the good of his team.
   16. Karl from NY Posted: February 18, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4063981)
How about the single season record? I daresay McGwire's 70 is more known than Bonds' 73, but Maris's 61 still more than both.
   17. Enrico Pallazzo Posted: February 18, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4063991)
This is certainly possible, especially since ARod is known to be willing to take PEDs, sacrificing his body for the good of his team.

:P

I don't know how A-Rod hitting 133 homers in the rest of his career doesn't seem possible. It seems entirely possible. I would even wager that it is likely.
   18. Swedish Chef Posted: February 18, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4063995)
Hank Aaron is still Home Run King, that has to be one of those titles you get to keep when you step down.
   19. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: February 18, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4064030)
There was remarkably little fanfare when Bonds set the record.

This person is just making stuff up.

By and large Bonds' audience protended his pants weren't down around his ankles as he flailed away.

If they were, that makes his feat all the more impressive. I can't imagine trying to hit a home run with that kind of restriction on movement.

Baggy pants, short stride... it's doable, but you'd better hit it over the fence, because it's going to be tough to get any kind of jump out of the batter's box.
   20. AROM Posted: February 18, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4064062)
"I don't know how A-Rod hitting 133 homers in the rest of his career doesn't seem possible. It seems entirely possible. I would even wager that it is likely."

He's a great hitter but nowhere near the peak of Ruth, Williams, Bonds, or for that matter Mickey Mantle. If he breaks the record it's due to coming up at age 18, having a contract that will pay him till he's 42, and playing his best years in a time that was great for sluggers. He's got 6 years on the contract and needs to average 23 homers per year.

It really comes down to how well he can stay in the lineup. A pair of 30 homer seasons the next 2 years would probably cinch it, meaning he'd just need to average 16 per year in his last 4 seasons.

Things like the Bill James favorite toy take a rough guess as to how long a player will play, but paying attention to specific contracts works better. At this point I don't know if Johnny Damon will get a starting job, or if he's already played his last game. But if the Yankees had gotten crazy 2 years ago and given him a 4 year extension, I have no doubt he'd be getting to 3000 hits.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: February 18, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4064093)
Yep, AROD is definitely at least "possible" for passing Bonds.

Pujols needs 317. OK, that would be the 5th most all-time for ages 32+ -- Bonds #1 with 458 -- but it would also be fewer than Palmeiro hit from age 32 on and only 34 more than Andres Galarraga who missed an entire season to battle cancer. And, as AROM notes for AROD, Pujols is signed for 10 more year. (Ruth and Aaron being the other two who surpassed 317 from ages 32 on). Anyway, in short, for Pujols to catch Ruth, Aaron and Bonds he'll -- shockingly enough -- have to do exactly what they did and hit a lot of HR from age 32 on.

If anything, AROD would be odd because he hit so many early. For whatever reason, the mega-high HR hitters are all guys you wouldn't necessarily have pegged early in their careers. Aaron had only the 12th most HR through age 25; Mays #22, Bonds #43 and Ruth #72. But not just those guys -- Jackson #36, Killebrew #38, McGwire #44. Cabrera had just 4 fewer HR through age 25 than Aaron. (AROD is #1 through age 25.) It's true that being at the top of this list is a good bet to make 500 -- 7 made it plus Pujols will likely make it 8 -- but only AROD and Griffey have made it to 600. (in my brain, Griffey is stuck on 580-something ... brain wrong)

The list doesn't really change that much through age 30. AROD still #1, Griffey now #2, Aaron #10. Andruw, Juan Gonzalez and Adam Dunn are sitting comfortably at #9, #11 and #12. Mays #16, Ruth #20, Bonds #26. Take the list through age 35 and it starts to look "right" -- AROD, Sosa, Ruth, Aaron, Mays, Griffey.

Various trivia bits:

HR through age 25: AROD
ages 26-30: Griffey (249), Sosa (241)
ages 31-35: Ruth (256), Sosa (238)
ages 36+: Bonds (268), Aaron (201), Da Evans (182), Palmeiro (169), Fisk! (167)

Sosa does squeak past Ruth for the age 26-35 lead at 479 to 462. And for your next bar trivia duel, Sosa holds the single season record for HRs by a player 30 or younger -- 66 and 63.

He's a great hitter but nowhere near the peak of Ruth, Williams, Bonds, or for that matter Mickey Mantle. If he breaks the record it's due to coming up at age 18, having a contract that will pay him till he's 42, and playing his best years in a time that was great for sluggers. He's got 6 years on the contract and needs to average 23 homers per year.

This undersells things a bit. AROD has led the league in HR 5 times and topped 50 HRs 3 times. He's led the league in TB 4 times. Mantle, for example, led the league in HR only 4 times, TB only 3 times and topped 50 HRs only twice. Aaron led the league in HR only 4 times, never hit 50 but did lead the league in TB 8 times. Williams led the league in HR only 4 times and only once topped 40 much less 50 -- did lead the league in TB 6 times which is impressive given his walk rate. No, AROD was never the overall hitter that Ruth, Williams, Mantle or Bonds were but neither was Aaron.

If AROD gets the record he will get it in much the way Aaron did actually -- by being excellent but not Babe Ruth for a ridiculously long time. AROD was better (as a HR hitter at least) younger* and will surely be worse older than Aaron was. And while Aaron didn't have the luxury of a long-term contract guaranteeing playing time when healthy he got plenty of legacy PA at 41-42 in Milwaukee and added 22 HR in those years.

Obviously some of that is era. But the 50s and 60s were a pretty good time for HR hitters too -- "tons" of guys broke 500, it was practically an annual event during my early fandom.

*AROD had 106 HR through age 22, Aaron just 66. And only 5 of AROD's HRs were before age 20 so his coming up at 18 will only matter if he barely sneaks past Bonds/Aaron.
   22. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: February 18, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4064095)
I'm surprised that people see ARod getting to 757 as so plausible. 133 HRs is still a lot of HRs, and there is little evidence that ARod is likely to be able to either play most of a 162-game season, or to perform at the level of three or four years ago.

Consider his last five seasons, ages 31 through 35, all in NY:

Age 31: 158 GP, 54 HRs, OPS+ of 176
Age 32: 138 GP, 35 HRs, OPS+ of 150
Age 33: 124 GP, 30 HRs, OPS+ of 138
Age 34: 137 GP, 30 HRs, OPS+ of 123
Age 35: 99 GP, 16 HRs, OPS+ of 116

I don't care what the length and size of his contract is - his OPS+ keeps going down, and it's going down in a run environment that is also going down. In other words, even if he stabilizes for a few years at, say, an OPS+ of 125 (think somewhere between 2011's Swisher and Cano), that's not likely to get him more than 30 HRs...and that's if he can stay on the field for 135 games or more a season. A 40-HR season is not walking through that door again.

Remember: the two greatest finishing kicks in MLB history are probably Bonds and Aaron. Bonds had a little extra help from PEDs, and Aaron had a little extra help from playing in Fulton County Stadium at a time when he needed every HR he could get. Aaron's OPS+ for the same age 31-35 seasons:

31: 150 GP, 32 HRs, OPS+ of 160
32: 158 GP, 44 HRs, OPS+ of 142
33: 155 GP, 39 HRs, OPS+ of 168
34: 160 GP, 29 HRs, OPS+ of 153
35: 147 GP, 44 HRs, OPS+ of 177

The, at age 37, he is one of three guys on 1971 Braves who jacks 40+ HRs (He hits a career-high 47 HRs at age 37. If that had happened in about 2002, do we not think he would've been a suspected PED user?)

There is nothing in ARod's last five years that suggests he is going to be able to hit another 133 HRs. Aaron had plenty of evidence by the beginning of his age 36 season that he could hit the 161 HRs he needed to beat Ruth.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: February 18, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4064102)
On the numbers we remember -- probably we remember the ones that were records when we first became "serious" fans, back when we'd have trivia contests with our friends, etc. As mentioned above, I don't have a clue what Rose's hit total is. I even have trouble remembering which year Bonds hit 73 ... or whether it was 72.

Or it could just be my crappy memory -- can't tell you the exact date of the moon landing either.
   24. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 18, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4064107)
On the numbers we remember -- probably we remember the ones that were records when we first became "serious" fans, back when we'd have trivia contests with our friends, etc. As mentioned above, I don't have a clue what Rose's hit total is. I even have trouble remembering which year Bonds hit 73 ... or whether it was 72.


I think this is exactly right. We memorized historical facts. As somebody mentioned upthread, I know that Lou Gehrig played in 2,130 consecutive games. I watched Cal Ripken play in his 2,131st consecutive game. He then played several more games in a row where I didn't bother to re-memorize the number every time.

Or it could just be my crappy memory -- can't tell you the exact date of the moon landing either.


As further proof that we remember "history" better than what happened for us live, I was only a year old for the moon landing, so I learned this as a fact at some point. Without looking it up, I'm pretty sure it's July 20, 1969. I can't recall, for example, the date of the Challenger explosion despite having a clear memory of it actually happening (even though there was a big anniversary of it - 25th, I think - within the past month or two).
   25. Swedish Chef Posted: February 18, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4064114)
even if he stabilizes for a few years at, say, an OPS+ of 125 (think somewhere between 2011's Swisher and Cano), that's not likely to get him more than 30 HRs...

He's playing in NYS, Teixeira hit 39 with an 117 OPS+ there.

Two mildly positive seasons (say 35 HR a piece, totally doable if he gets 150 games even if he doesn't bounce back harder) and then hanging on as a crap player would be all it would take for A-Rod. I don't think that is very far-fetched at all.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: February 18, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4064126)
There is nothing in ARod's last five years that suggests he is going to be able to hit another 133 HRs. Aaron had plenty of evidence by the beginning of his age 36 season that he could hit the 161 HRs he needed to beat Ruth.

Sure ... and he went on to hit 202. But AROD doesn't need to be Aaron.

AROD needs "just" 133 to catch Bonds, which is a lot less than 202. Through age 35, AROD has 75 more HR than Aaron did. That's a nice head start. The 133 he needs is similar to the post-36 totals of Winfield, Yaz, Edgar and Reggie. Moises Alou couldn't stay healthy, wasn't a big HR hitter (but had a big year at 37) and was done at 40 and he managed 115. For crying out loud, Craig Biggio had 111 HR after age 35, it's hardly a stretch to think it's plausible that AROD will top that.

Obviously AROD could be unable to take the field and/or his offense totally crater. But he's under contract for 7 more years. He'll get PAs when healthy.

Note, I think only one person in this thread has said it's "likely." ZiPS projects him to just 705 but then ZiPS projects him to only 1550 more PA. If he gets just 1550 more PA in his career, obviously he won't make it. But ZiPS is giving him 76 HR in those 1550 PAs which is the pace he needs to get the record. It's primarily a question of health and none of us are good at predicting health but it is plausible that AROD gets 3000 more PA. Jeff Conine got 2928 PA after age 35. Galarraga got slightly more despite missing a full season at 38 and not being particularly good at ages 40-41.

AROD doesn't have to be Aaron to get the record. He's got to fall somewhere in the range of Kent, Baines, Conine, Perez, Galarraga, Alou, Winfield, Palmeiro, Biggio, Murray. That's not gonna be easy but it seems pretty clearly plausible to me.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: February 18, 2012 at 05:48 PM (#4064134)
And I'll pick some nits:

There is nothing in ARod's last five years that suggests he is going to be able to hit another 133 HRs.

In those 5 years (your choice, not mine), AROD hit 165 HR in 2860 PA. Over the remaining 7 years of his contract, he'd need only average 410 PA per season to match that -- in those 5 years you cited, he never had as few as 410 PA. There's plenty in those 5 years that suggests he is able to hit another 133 HRs.

Now that's a bit "unfair" because it includes his big age 31 season with 54 HR -- but again it was your 5 year selection, not mine. Still, limit it to the last 4 years and you get 111 HR in 2152 PA, an average of about 540 PA and a little better than 1 HR per 20 PA pace. Another 2800 PA over 7 years while maintaining a 1 HR per 20 PA pace gets him over the top. In only one of those seasons did his HR rate drop below 1 per 20 PA. From ages 32-34, he averaged 570 PA and 1 HR about ever 18 PA, well above the pace of PA and/or HR/PA that he needs to get the record.

So it's really only last year which has "nothing" to _suggest_ he is able to hit another 133 HRs.

FWIW, which may well be nothing, prior to the injury, AROD had played in 80 of 86 games with 344 PA. He had an OPS of 852 and an OPS+ of 120. The HR pace was still too low (less than 1 per 25) but it was really the 191/345/353 line after coming back that killed the season. He was also terrible in the playoffs. That could be a harbinger of things to come or it could be that he wasn't fully healthy yet and he'll be back to his old new self again this year.
   28. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: February 18, 2012 at 06:20 PM (#4064140)
I guess what one thinks of ARod's chances of breaking Bonds' record depends on how you feel about two things:

1) His ability to stay on the field for enough games to hit 133 more HRs (I do not).
2) His ability to hit HRs going forward when he is on the field (I think that will also decline rapidly in the next few years).

A few nits in response to prior posts:

1) #27 notes that he had an OPS+ of 120 prior to the injury last year...but I'm saying that unless you believe he can play, say, 450 games over the next three years, a 120 OPS+ is probably not going to get it done (unless it was an extremely SLG-heavy 120 OPS+). And I think a 120 OPS+ is on the high side of his possible range in 2012.
2) #26 mentions several players who hit a good number of HRs, and enjoyed decent health, after age 35. But. But Gallaraga's stats include one of his crazy-big Coors Field seasons - and he was not coming into his age 36 season with five consecutive seasons of declining OPS+. And it was the late 1990s, a higher run environment. And he had only 1,467 games played entering his age 36 season. ARod has a lot of miles on his tires, and is a very big guy, beginning to suffer from "big guy" injuries. Harold Baines only hit 107 HRs after his age 35 season, and he had been a DH for years even before his age 36 season. Alou has barely played in 1300 games prior to his age 36 season, including two entirely missed season. He also hit only 115 HRs from age 36 on. As for Conine, the higest OPS+ he had after age 35 is 110. There's no way ARod is hitting 133 more HRs if his highest OPS going forward is 110. I will say that Dave Winfield is the best example of a guy who was able to play at a high enough level, despite lots of mileage, a very big guy, he missed an entire season at age 37, etc. Winfield had four post-age 35 seasons with an OPS+ of 120 or higher, followed by parts of three seasons where he was probably a below-average player.

Dave Winfield seems like a very good comp for how ARod could get to 133...
   29. DanG Posted: February 18, 2012 at 07:42 PM (#4064175)
I was only a year old for the moon landing, so I learned this as a fact at some point. Without looking it up, I'm pretty sure it's July 20, 1969. I can't recall, for example, the date of the Challenger
Heck, I can't remember what day Nine-eleven happened. (September, I think...)
   30. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 18, 2012 at 07:48 PM (#4064178)
September 9, 2011, a day that will live in infamy.
   31. Walt Davis Posted: February 18, 2012 at 10:38 PM (#4064222)
My point about guys like Conine is that Conine didn't hit particularly well, did his mediocre hitting as a 1B/LF and still got tons of playing time. Tony Perez did the same thing. My point with some of the other guys is that they were fragile in their early 30s but still managed a lot of PAs after 35. I'm just expressing that there's a lot of variability in any projection about how a guy is going to age. And my general point is that he doesn't have to age as well as Aaron/Bonds to catch Aaron/Bonds -- he's just gotta stay healthy enough and not suck.

And the guys I listed are far from the top of the post-35 PA heap. "Fragile" players like Edgar and Molitor piled up tons of post-35 PAs, Molitor with plenty in years in which he wasn't particularly good. Durable but declining players like Yaz (OPS+ of 113, 118, 139, 140, 111 ages 31-35) hung around forever (4242 post-35 PAs) -- durability like that is _possible_ for AROD.

Because of the money he's paid, AROD will get a chance to play whenever he is healthy (barring a total offensive collapse). Will he be healthy enough? I don't know. I wouldn't consider it the median outcome but I'm guessing it's something like a 20-25% shot (ZiPS apparently considers it much lower). It may depend on when the Yanks give up and move him to "full-time" DH. Anyway, he's probably got to get about 2800 PA so 400 a year. That's just not THAT hard -- it ain't easy but it ain't impossible -- especially when you've got a 7-year contract to fulfill.

One thing we do know is that the Yanks were keeping him out there. Through the half-point of their season, AROD had 322 PA. The Yanks weren't treating him like a fragile player. And he was doing OK and on pace for 26 HR and rate stats substantially better than 2010 (304/379/509). He didn't look like an old, fragile guy limping to the line then.

Then he got hurt. Maybe he never really recovers from that injury or maybe to keep him reasonably healthy the Yanks have to give him a max of 500 PA in a season, declining going forward. Then he's probably got no shot. But maybe he recovers and turns into the AROD of 2009 to mid-season 2011 -- three years from now, that guy has added about 80 HR and just needs to limp across.

I understand and agree with the point about him having a lot of miles on his body already. And if he needed 3500 PA or something, I'd agree there's almost no chance. But, mileage or no, AROD right now is a much better player than Gary Gaetti was entering his age 36 season -- and Gaetti got over 2500 PA and 103 HR. Is there a good reason to think he won't age better than Griffey (2200 PA, 94 HR) or Ernie Banks (2200 PA, 93 HR)?

Yes, he's got to do better than your standard aging superstar but not by leaps and bounds. If teams have been perfectly willing to give heaps of playing time to the aging Conine, Baines, Murray, Winfield, Yaz, Molitor, etc. the Yanks are certainly going to do everything possible to give it to a guy they owe 7 years, $210 M to -- unless maybe there's an insurance company out there that was dumb enough to cover that. He has the advantage over those guys that he doesn't have to earn the opprotunity, "all" he's got to do is stay healthy and not embarrass himself with the bat (a 100 OPS+ over the next 7 years) and he'll get the playing time. Even that doesn't guarantee him the HR record as he's still got to keep the HR/PA rate in the 4-5% range.
   32. Something Other Posted: February 18, 2012 at 11:24 PM (#4064237)
I'm surprised that people see ARod getting to 757 as so plausible. 133 HRs is still a lot of HRs, and there is little evidence that ARod is likely to be able to either play most of a 162-game season, or to perform at the level of three or four years ago.
Pretty sure there was a longish thread on this very subject not long ago, and a slight majority, iirc, had ARod not quite making it.

What I'm surprised not to see mentioned is what it all depends on: Will the Yankees make Rodriguez their permanent DH before he suffers a career-crippling injury at third? If they're even thinking about it in passing we're not hearing the rumors, which suggests to me that it's not really on the table. If the chances of him making it to 763 as a DH are, say, 50%, I'd put it well under half that if he keeps trying to play the field.

By the way, it's rarely mentioned any longer that if not for the Korean War, Mays might well have nipped Ruth for the all-time crown in 1972 or 1973 and... held it for all of two years.


Trivia Questions:

1900 on, how many player(s) have won a single season HR title and SB title?
Name those player(s).
Did any of those player(s) win their titles in the same year?


   33. Something Other Posted: February 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM (#4064245)
If I can cut at will...

It may depend on when the Yanks give up and move him to "full-time" DH.

The problem is likely to be that they wait until the day after he gets his knee torn up tagging out a sliding runner or diving for ball to make that move. He's been out there enough and gotten dinged up enough so that what seems to be the current laissez-faire policy--play him in the field and hope he only gets hurt a little and not a lot and that gives you enough warning to move him permanently to DH--may in fact permanently cripple his chances.

Then he got hurt. Maybe he never really recovers from that injury or maybe to keep him reasonably healthy the Yanks have to give him a max of 500 PA in a season, declining going forward. Then he's probably got no shot.
Well, you mention elsewhere that he needs something like 7 * 400 = 2800 PAs to make it, so unless I'm misunderstanding you the Yankees could aim to get him 500, then 460, then 420, then 380... as much as you can plan these things.

Assuming that means ARod's still playing third, I don't like that idea much. Whatever value the Yankees get by keeping him in the field gets lost by reducing the number of PAs he gets overall, and the toll injuries in the field will take on his performance at the plate. Unless he has real, lingering health issues as of today, I don't think the Yankees will have to pace him much at DH. He's not The Edgar, but Martinez DH'ed 810 games (give or take) from age 36 on, and was at 141 and 145 in his age 40 and 41 seasons.

The Yankees will be fools (I think) to keep him in the field. The only thing worse than a $30 million a year DH is a $30 million a year DL. A small renaissance wouldn't surprise me either, if the wear and tear is reduced. You pointed out how well he hit the first half of 2011. I wouldn't be surprised at all if from the DH slot his OPS returned to .875 or so. And while it's a mere 50 games that he's DH'ed over his career, he's actually a slightly better hitter from there than he was from SS or 3B.

   34. Gotham Dave Posted: February 19, 2012 at 12:05 AM (#4064246)
Anybody who saw ARod at the beginning of last season knows he still has the skills to be a dominant player. It's pretty unlikely that his body will hold up enough for him to get much use out of them over the next seven years, but even 800 homers is possible. If I had to guess I'd say he finishes somewhere close to Ruth.
   35. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: February 19, 2012 at 03:54 AM (#4064289)
1900 on, how many player(s) have won a single season HR title and SB title?
Name those player(s).
Did any of those player(s) win their titles in the same year?

Ty Cobb.
   36. Something Other Posted: February 19, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4064370)
Cobb is the one who won titles in the same year. Any other players?

That was Cobb's awesome 1909 season, perhaps the most dominant season by a position player of all time.

1st in runs
1st in hits
1st in home runs
1st in runs batted in
1st in stolen bases
1st in batting average
1st in on base percentage
1st in slugging

While playing an awesome center field. At age 22.

Cobb's player page is great to look at, with all that black ink.

   37. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 19, 2012 at 05:01 PM (#4064376)
Cobb is the one who won titles in the same year. Any other players?


Dugout readers should know, since Misirlou asked the same question (and many, many others) earlier this week.


   38. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 19, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4064381)
James Samuel Tilden Sheckard.
   39. Mefisto Posted: February 19, 2012 at 05:19 PM (#4064389)
Willie Mays.
   40. Something Other Posted: February 19, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4064415)
@37--Jeez. That's not nice.

@38, 39. Yes indeed. I never would have gotten Sheckard in a million years.

One of the great thing about Mays is that he won the home run title, peeled off four straight stolen base titles, then rested up for a couple of seasons and won three of the next four home run titles. While stealing 64 bases at an 82% clip during those four seasons.

All at a listed height and weight of 5'-10" and 170 lbs.

Oh, and he started that whole run by winning the batting title in his first full season.
   41. alilisd Posted: February 19, 2012 at 08:30 PM (#4064470)
There is nothing in ARod's last five years that suggests he is going to be able to hit another 133 HRs.


Except the average of 35 HR per season. Throw out the outliers and he averaged 31 HR per season.

Out of curiosity, why are you trying to associate he'll have to OPS+ with where he'll end up in terms of HR?
   42. jyjjy Posted: February 19, 2012 at 08:59 PM (#4064481)
If I remember properly A-Rod's contract has 30 mill worth of bonuses tied to him passing Ruth/Aaron/Bonds. The Yankees actually have financial disincentive to coddle him as he chases the record, especially if he hasn't been earning his base contract for a while.
   43. Something Other Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4066317)
There is nothing in ARod's last five years that suggests he is going to be able to hit another 133 HRs.

Except the average of 35 HR per season. Throw out the outliers and he averaged 31 HR per season.


Just guessing, but I imagine he's looking at the trajectory and, even assuming improvement from last sesaon, that a normal aging curve sinks Rodriguez prior to 763.

Looking at his last five seasons without the context that over his next five Rodriguez will be in his ages 36 to 40 seasons doesn't work well with regard to projecting the latter. If over his last five seasons Rodriguez had hit 50, 47, 42, 37, and 32 home runs, in 152, 150, 146, 140, and 135 games that would be something 'in his last five years that suggests he is going to be able to hit another 133 HRs.'

As it stands, I'd say there's not enough to suggest he is going to be able to hit another 133 HRs; not as a 50-50 proposition, anyway.

   44. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4066328)
Dugout readers should know, since Misirlou asked the same question (and many, many others) earlier this week.


To be fair, all I asked was which two HOFers are the only 2 players to win HR and SB titles in the same season. Answers were Cobb (already answered), and Chuck Klein.
   45. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: February 22, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4066339)
By the way, it's rarely mentioned any longer that if not for the Korean War, Mays might well have nipped Ruth for the all-time crown in 1972 or 1973 and... held it for all of two years.


Without 2 wars, Ted Williams might have done the same thing. Give him a conservative 36 HRs for 1943-1945, and assume he would have hit 60 in 1952-53 (he hit 14), and he's at 675 after 1960. If he wanted to play in 1961, he could have.

That was Cobb's awesome 1909 season, perhaps the most dominant season by a position player of all time.

1st in runs
1st in hits
1st in home runs
1st in runs batted in
1st in stolen bases
1st in batting average
1st in on base percentage
1st in slugging

While playing an awesome center field. At age 22.


And yet, it might have been only the second best season put in by a player in the 1909 WS.

Honus Wagner 1908:

2nd in Runs (1 behind the leader)
1st in hits
1st in doubles
1st in triples
2nd in home runs (2 behind the leader)
1st in runs batted in
1st in stolen bases
1st in batting average
1st in on base percentage
1st in slugging


While playing an awesome SS.


   46. Rants Mulliniks Posted: February 22, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4066361)
Trivia Questions:

1900 on, how many player(s) have won a single season HR title and SB title?
Name those player(s).
Did any of those player(s) win their titles in the same year?


Chuck Klein led in both in 1932.

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