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Friday, May 09, 2014


Do the work, Don.

For the cleanup slot, the race is much closer, with nine hitters within 40 HRs of each other. One name here might be surprising: Albert Belle. The glowery Cleveland slugger hit 96% of his HRs (366 out of total of 381) while batting cleanup, which is probably the record. (We’ll defer to someone like the indefatigable Tom Ruane to go the full distance on this.)

It’s not surprising, however, that some eighty years later, that Ruth and Lou Gehrig, baseball’s original 1-2 punch, are still atop the lifetime totals for BOPs #3 and #4. (Though, as you can see, another slugger who originated in Cleveland—Manny Ramirez—gave him a run for his money.)

As you’d expect, McGwire turns up on this list, ranked #10 with his total of 302.

There are seven hitters who hit 50+ HRs while batting cleanup. Hack Wilson hit all 56 of his 1930 total from the #4; Mickey Mantle hit all 54 of his 1961 total there, as did Alex Rodriguez in 2007. Jim Thome (yet another Cleveland slugger—has any team produced such a group of sluggers at one time as the 90s Indians) hit all 52 of his 2002 total from the cleanup slot. Johnny Mize hit all 51 of his from the #4 BOP in 1947 (detecting a pattern here?). Mark McGwire hit 51 (all but one of his 1996 total) there for the A’s—our lone exception.

And finally, Mr. Belle, with 50 from the cleanup slot (another 100% performance) in 1995, a season that—as you may dimly remember—was cut short to just 144 games due to the aftermath of the 1994 strike. The first sluggin’ Albert also hit 48 cleanup homers in 1996 and 1998.

Gehrig doesn’t make the 50+ list (he never hit 50 homers in a season), but he shows up four times in the list of 40+.

All in all, there are 51 player-seasons where hitters hit at least 40 HRs batting clean-up. By way of comparison, there are 74 player-season where hitter hit 40+ HRs while batting third.

Repoz Posted: May 09, 2014 at 06:55 AM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   1. Al Kaline Trio Posted: May 09, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4703691)
It's not surprising, however, that some eighty years later, that Ruth and Lou Gehrig, baseball's original 1-2 punch, are still atop the lifetime totals for BOPs #3 and #4.

I'm surprised by that considering they are #3 and #27 on the overall list. I guess I thought that somebody would have passed Gehrig for the cleanup spot. I guess with players changing teams they are more likely to change lineup spots too.
   2. AndrewJ Posted: May 09, 2014 at 06:54 PM (#4703748)
Very interesting research.

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