Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nightengale: Pujols nears 500 home runs…and no one seems to care

Could always ask Brad Lidge.

It’s sure getting harder and harder to impress us these days.

Here we are, on the brink of one of the most magnificent milestones in all of sports, and it seems nobody cares.

Just 25 men in Major League Baseball history have ever hit 500 homers in their lifetime, and here’s Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols ready to join them after hitting No. 496 on Monday night.

Yet it’s getting all of the acclaim of an NBA triple-double.

What has happened to us?

“I don’t know what has happened.’’ Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson tells USA TODAY Sports. “It should be front and center. There have almost been 18,000 players who have played our game, and only 25 have hit 500 homers.

“We’ve had a string of power hitters achieve the mark in the past decade, but that shouldn’t diminish how big of a mark it really is.’‘

The trouble, of course, is that the steroid era has dulled our senses and watered down the excitement.

Just four players hit 500 home runs by 1965, but in the last 15 years, 10 new members joined the 500 club.

We’ve seen the likes of Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, Rafael Palmeiro and Gary Sheffield all eclipse 500 home runs since 1999, and in some cases, 600 and 700 home runs.

We’ve also seen each of them test positive, or at least be strongly linked to performance-enhancing drugs.

The only players in the last seven years to eclipse 500 home runs with no links to PEDs are Frank Thomas and Jim Thome.

Does anyone remember the moment Thomas hit his 500th homer? How about Thome’s 600th?

Repoz Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:10 AM | 82 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, history

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4686841)
#### you, Nightengale. I care.
Does anyone remember the moment Thomas hit his 500th homer? How about Thome’s 600th?
Yes, and yes. Nightengale must not like baseball; he doesn't seem to have watched much of it.
   2. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:28 AM (#4686844)
I have to admit, the lustre has worn off for me.
   3. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4686846)
When I was a boy, it was a huge, huge deal that Michael Jack Schmidt was closing in on 500 HR. Of course, only 13 other people had done it and I grew up near Philadelphia and he was my favorite player, so maybe my perspective/time was skewed.

There are now 25 members. The march to 500 definitely seems to mean a lot less than it used to. Shoot, I didn't even realize Gary Sheffield is in the club.
   4. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4686848)
Yeah, the mega offense era has watered it down. I remember even getting excited about Dave Kingman's 400th and buying a book about every player who had hit 300 HR's.
   5. The Good Face Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:48 AM (#4686854)
I have to admit, the lustre has worn off for me.


Yep. Part of it is just overfamiliarity; it's hard to get as excited over seeing something for the 15th time compared to the 1st. But I also think the SABR revolution has changed how I think about baseball accomplishments; I'm more impressed by value than I am with milestones. The Pujols of 5 years ago impressed the hell out of me. The current Pujols, hot start or no, is a bit meh. Any anybody's star is going to be a bit dimmed standing next to Mike Trout...
   6. Astroenteritis (tom) Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:50 AM (#4686855)
I can't stand the whole "who cares?" argument. It's just another way to try and minimize things, often by people who are too lazy to learn about the thing they don't care about. If a journeyman pitcher gets his 100th win, there are people who care, and certainly 500 homers is worth noting, even if the offensive era has taken some of the shine off.

As for the Lidge connection, I'm pretty sure the debris the ISS had to dodge recently was that ball.
   7. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4686860)
Just four players hit 500 home runs by 1965, but in the last 15 years, 10 new members joined the 500 club.

We’ve seen the likes of Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, Rafael Palmeiro and Gary Sheffield all eclipse 500 home runs since 1999, and in some cases, 600 and 700 home runs....

...The only players in the last seven years to eclipse 500 home runs with no links to PEDs are Frank Thomas and Jim Thome.


Weirdly written to exclude Ken Griffey, Jr.

Don't underestimate the Pacific Time factor. Now that I'm over 50, players on the west coast might as well be playing in Japan.
   8. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4686862)
I have to admit, the lustre has worn off for me.


I don't necessarily think you are wrong about this. That said, it's still a pretty big accomplishment. I think one of the problems is that for people around my age (born in '77), seeing a guy reach the milestone during our "formative" years was rare and it was a pretty big deal. During the sillyball era, it seemed like someone was reaching the milestone every season.

Still, Pujols is only going to be the 26th to do it and no one has done it since '09.
   9. BDC Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:03 AM (#4686867)
The timing may dampen the hype. Pujols is neither still MVP-awesome nor on a farewell tour yet. I hope he gets to 700 before he's through; that would command attention.
   10. bunyon Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4686870)
I think way too many older folks (read: adults) miss the fact that the lustre is off pretty much everything. Stuff that happened when I was 13 was amazing and unique. Stuff that happens when I'm 43 reminds me of stuff that I once saw, only the old stuff was better.

This is true of travel, love, books, movies, sunsets, games, etc. It's a natural progression of being human and if one doesn't recalibrate, one won't be amazed or inspired by anything. So I try to mentally recalibrate periodically. If I'm as impressed as I am today that Pujols is about to hit 500 I have to multiply that some to get how excited I would have been by the same feat when I was 13. For me, this helps me appreciate stuff more. YMMV
   11. puck Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:08 AM (#4686871)
People might not realize Pujols is still alive.
   12. Dale Sams Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4686874)
We’ve also seen each of them test positive,...


It was at this point that Gary Sheffield spit up his cereal.
   13. Mark Armour Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4686879)
I think Nightengale is essentially correct. A lot of people have done it recently, and the PED controversy has led to either a general distrust of home runs or has otherwise elbowed into the story. People seem to like Albert well enough, but even the positive stories are dominated with discussions of how he is a clean player. Clean or dirty is part of the story, rather than just celebrating the awesome. I hope I am wrong, but I bet it will be difficult to find an Albert story during the remaining week or two of the chase that does not mention steroids in some way.

   14. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4686886)
I can't stand the whole "who cares?" argument.


Agreed--different people are entertained by different things. Lately I've noticed several times that Emily Bazelon of the Slate gabfest has expressed her pride about knowing/caring nothing about sports.
   15. Perry Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4686890)
I think way too many older folks (read: adults) miss the fact that the lustre is off pretty much everything. Stuff that happened when I was 13 was amazing and unique. Stuff that happens when I'm 43 reminds me of stuff that I once saw, only the old stuff was better.

This is true of travel, love, books, movies, sunsets, games, etc. It's a natural progression of being human and if one doesn't recalibrate, one won't be amazed or inspired by anything. So I try to mentally recalibrate periodically. If I'm as impressed as I am today that Pujols is about to hit 500 I have to multiply that some to get how excited I would have been by the same feat when I was 13. For me, this helps me appreciate stuff more. YMMV


Very very much this (only I'm 59).

Also, I think there'd be more attention being paid if he were still a Cardinal. For the Angels to be celebrating it seems not quite right somehow. And that's been true of a lot of the more recent "milestone" guys -- they hit their magic number with a team they don't have a career-long history with.
   16. Shredder Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4686891)
I'd be more excited about it if I wasn't fairly certain it would be quickly followed by the Angels bullpen giving that run right back and then some.
   17. jdennis Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:29 AM (#4686897)
I think Pujols' greatness also dampens the reaction. All of us expect him to hit 500 HR, we expected it last year, there's not a question of him making it, he's not going to retire soon most likely. This may just be semantics on the "timing" comment earlier.
   18. The Polish Sausage Racer Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4686904)
Tell it to Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt.
   19. Booey Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4686909)
People also seem to forget that the rush of 500 HR hitters has happened before. Due in part to the deadball era, the color barrier, and WW2, only 4 men who played before the 1950's had ever reached 500 (Ruth, Foxx, Ott, Williams), but then we saw 8 players debut in a 9 season span from 1951-1959 that ended up reaching it. That's not much different than the 10 players from the sillyball era that debuted during a similar 9 season span from 1986-1994. For those old enough to remember, did 500 lose some of it's luster each time a new member of the Aaron/Mays/Mantle/Robinson/Killebrew/Banks/Mathews/McCovey group reached the mark?
   20. McCoy Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4686916)
Does anyone remember the moment Thomas hit his 500th homer? How about Thome’s 600th?

No and no for me.

I remember Sammy's 56th homer in 1998, Mark's 62nd of that year, Johnny Estrada's first and that is about it.

edit: And I remember a Glenallen Hill almost.
   21. Drexl Spivey Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:19 PM (#4686933)
Tell it to Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt.


I know who Harrison Schmitt is thanks to Norm Macdonald (at the 5:45 mark of this link).
   22. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:33 PM (#4686949)
The only milestone homers I can remember** are Mickey Mantle's 300th and Manny's 500th, and that's only because I was in the stands. And even there, the things I remember most about those games was howling in agony at Ryne Duren walking home the winning run, and suppressing a hoot when I saw Kevin having eye contact with Nieporent. Memories like that can easily trump a meaningless individual number.

**aside from #715, 756, etc.
   23. Booey Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:37 PM (#4686958)
The 90's are actually only tied with the 60's for the most 500 HR hitters in a decade. If you divide all the 500 club into the decades in which they hit the most homers, you get the following list:

1920's (1) - Ruth
1930's (2) - Foxx, Ott
1940's (1) - Williams
1950's (2) - Mantle, Mathews
1960's (6) - Aaron, Mays, Robinson, Killebrew, Banks, McCovey
1970's (1) - Jackson
1980's (2) - Schmidt, Murray
1990's (6) - Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Thomas, Griffey, Palmeiro
2000's (5*) - Sheffield, Ramirez, Thome, Rodriguez, Pujols*


Looking at the list, I can see how someone would think that 1-2 players a decade is the "normal" amount and the 5-6 we saw in the 60's, 90's, and 2000's was excessive, but extenuating circumstances that no longer exist (deadball era, color barrier, war service, early training and medical techniques, etc) lowered the numbers of every decade prior to the 1950's. And the 70's and 80's have always seemed like somewhat "meh" decades to me with relatively few standout greats, more of the exception rather than the rule. I tend to think that 5 players a decade is probably more in line with what should be considered "normal" by modern standards rather than the 1-2 players people seem to expect. I'd actually be a bit surprised if any decade going forward only produces 1 or 2 new members.
   24. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4686966)
Looking at the list, I can see how someone would think that 1-2 players a decade is the "normal" amount and the 5-6 we saw in the 60's, 90's, and 2000's was excessive, but extenuating circumstances that no longer exist (deadball era, color barrier, war service, early training and medical techniques, etc) lowered the numbers of every decade prior to the 1950's.


Not seeing how the war cost anyone 500. Maybe Greenberg, but that's about it. Musial missed only 1 year and needed 25, but he never topped 20 until 1948. Mize would have had to average 47 per missed year. Ditto Dimaggio.
   25. Jeltzandini Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4686973)
10 in 15 years is enough of an explanation. Something that's been happening every year and a half isn't going to stop the presses when it happens again.

   26. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 16, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4686978)
I guess I'm still a little kid, but I still get irrationally excited every time a great player nears one of those landmark numbers.
   27. Booey Posted: April 16, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4686994)
Not seeing how the war cost anyone 500. Maybe Greenberg, but that's about it. Musial missed only 1 year and needed 25, but he never topped 20 until 1948. Mize would have had to average 47 per missed year. Ditto Dimaggio.


Yeah, there's no one who clearly lost out due to the war. But those 4 guys would have been close enough that they might have stuck around a little longer if people made as big a deal about milestones then as they do now.

Musial was only averaging 10-15 homers a year at the time, but that would have put him at 485-490. Would he have played another season if the fans and media cared as much then? Based on everything I've read about his personality I'd say probably not, but you never know.
   28. Booey Posted: April 16, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4686997)
10 in 15 years is enough of an explanation. Something that's been happening every year and a half isn't going to stop the presses when it happens again.


Yeah, except that it hasn't happened in 5 years. And it may not happen again for awhile. Dunn or Ortiz could hit their 500th in a few years, but I wouldn't place much money on it. Cabrera is the next one that I'd be very confident about.

   29. Chone Mueller Posted: April 16, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4687006)
The half-wits calling the game for ESPN Monday night sure noticed. Other than some praise for Mike Trout and an occasional acknowledgment that a team wearing green was also on the field, they spent nearly the whole night talking about Pujols. When Jaso hit the pinch homer in the ninth to give the A's the lead, the camera panned on Pujols and the broadcasters commented on how Albert's earlier homer and clutchness would sadly be forgotten.
   30. DanG Posted: April 16, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4687011)
In the Primate Studies archives is an article I wrote 11 years ago discussing the 500 HR club:

500 Homerun Club Braces For a Flood
   31. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: April 16, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4687013)
Weirdly written to exclude Ken Griffey, Jr.


Ken Griffey, Jr. was known to have occasional friendly conversations with Barry Bonds. Thus, he is "strongly linked to performance-enhancing drugs."
   32. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: April 16, 2014 at 01:35 PM (#4687025)
Yeah, except that it hasn't happened in 5 years.


OTOH, 600 has happened twice in that time. And the player about to hit his 500th is still a damned good bet to get to that loftier milestone, even as a shell of his former self.
   33. Booey Posted: April 16, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4687037)
OTOH, 600 has happened twice in that time. And the player about to hit his 500th is still a damned good bet to get to that loftier milestone, even as a shell of his former self.


That's the other thing; 500 is a nice career capper for a Murray or Sheffield type player, but for the Bonds/A-Rod/Pujols/Griffey types it seems almost like an afterthought since it was basically a lock that they'd reach even higher milestones.

Of course, McGwire would've been in that "lock" category too, so maybe we shouldn't be saving our excitement for Pujols for the next milestone, cuz you just never know.
   34. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: April 16, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4687099)
I guess I'm still a little kid, but I still get irrationally excited every time a great player nears one of those landmark numbers.


I do, too. I also really enjoy the fact that it prompts me and others to go back over that player's career and re-marvel over just how great he was.
   35. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: April 16, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4687123)
Much like Doc Ellis (#3), I might be biased by being a kid in Philly, but man did Schmidt's 500th seem epic. It was also a time with very few big-time power guys (basically, he and Reggie). I also had a poster of the 500 HR hitters, with Schmidt at the bottom, and memorized the names and numbers. And yet, I also would not have guessed Sheffield was on the list. Not a problem with baseball or society, but just getting old and focusing on different stuff.
   36. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 16, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4687148)
Who did Sheff get 500 with? I'd guess the Mets, but I wouldn't put money on it.
   37. Booey Posted: April 16, 2014 at 03:47 PM (#4687160)
#36 - Mets, yeah. He finished 2008 with the Tigers at 499, then hit 10 with the Mets in 2009 to finish at 509.
   38. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: April 16, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4687164)
Yep. Five years ago tomorrow. Against the immortal Mitch Stetter of the Brewers. Tied the game in the bottom of the seventh. (I'd already looked up a few guys' 500th and 600th when reading this thread earlier.)
   39. Booey Posted: April 16, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4687180)
And yet, I also would not have guessed Sheffield was on the list. Not a problem with baseball or society, but just getting old and focusing on different stuff.


I think part of that is the nature of Sheff's career, as well. Even in the sillyball era when seemingly a lot of sluggers were doing it, all the others who did are pretty obvious and easy to remember for me. Sheffield is the only one I sometimes forget, partly cuz he limped to the finish line, partly cuz he never led the league or hit more than 43 in a season, and partly cuz he bounced around so much from team to team that like SoSh, I had a hard time even remembering who his 500th came with. Plus of course he seemed almost universally disliked, so I think there was less media fanfare when he approached the milestone than there was for anyone else (and yes, he was also the 10th player to do it in the previous 11 seasons, so the luster was mostly gone for many).
   40. baerga1 Posted: April 16, 2014 at 04:12 PM (#4687195)
The recent rush of club members is significant, of course, but I'm in the "things generally feel less notable as we get older" camp. I was born in '77 and can name every World Series winner since 1983 (I am aware this is not going to impress anyone around here). And yet when I recount them in my head, it is basically automatic up until about the 2000's, at which point I begin to have to actually think about it. And of course the WS club doesn't suffer from the same problem as the 500 homer club because WS club membership doesn't accelerate. Point being, it should be easier to remember the most recent winners and yet it is harder because the earlier ones simply felt more significant and at some point it becomes old hat. At least that's one possible explanation but it makes sense to me..
   41. cardsfanboy Posted: April 16, 2014 at 04:31 PM (#4687221)
When I was a boy, it was a huge, huge deal that Michael Jack Schmidt was closing in on 500 HR. Of course, only 13 other people had done it and I grew up near Philadelphia and he was my favorite player, so maybe my perspective/time was skewed.


Similar here, when I was a kid, my dad took me to see Bob Gibson become just the 2nd pitcher in baseball history to record 3000 strikeouts, nowadays that would barely make the news.

Yep. Part of it is just overfamiliarity; it's hard to get as excited over seeing something for the 15th time compared to the 1st. But I also think the SABR revolution has changed how I think about baseball accomplishments; I'm more impressed by value than I am with milestones. The Pujols of 5 years ago impressed the hell out of me. The current Pujols, hot start or no, is a bit meh. Any anybody's star is going to be a bit dimmed standing next to Mike Trout...


I was afraid something like that would happen to me, but I find that I still enjoy accomplishments that may not have as much value as they were thought to have in the past, a triple crown is still just impressive, 20 win seasons still strike me as a goal, a complete game shutout resonates well for me. etc.

I guess I'm still a little kid, but I still get irrationally excited every time a great player nears one of those landmark numbers.


I do, too. I also really enjoy the fact that it prompts me and others to go back over that player's career and re-marvel over just how great he was.


Have to agree, even if it's not a great player, I still remember watching for Reggie Sanders to get 300/300 and barely beating Steve Finley to that lofty achievement.
   42. Booey Posted: April 16, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4687231)
The recent rush of club members is significant, of course, but I'm in the "things generally feel less notable as we get older" camp. I was born in '77 and can name every World Series winner since 1983 (I am aware this is not going to impress anyone around here). And yet when I recount them in my head, it is basically automatic up until about the 2000's, at which point I begin to have to actually think about it. And of course the WS club doesn't suffer from the same problem as the 500 homer club because WS club membership doesn't accelerate. Point being, it should be easier to remember the most recent winners and yet it is harder because the earlier ones simply felt more significant and at some point it becomes old hat. At least that's one possible explanation but it makes sense to me..


This too. Well, I can usually remember World Series winners okay, but I have a hard time remembering who won all the MVP's, batting, HR, and rbi titles in the last 10 years, yet I can rattle off all the 90's winners with no hesitation. Hell, just a few weeks back it came up somehow in a discussion and I couldn't for the life of me recall who won NL MVP in 2011, and that should be an obvious one considering all the (negative) media attention it's received since. But any year from 1987 through the early 2000's and I wouldn't have to give it a second thought.

Getting old sux.
   43. BDC Posted: April 16, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4687235)
it should be easier to remember the most recent winners and yet it is harder because the earlier ones simply felt more significant

That's an interesting feature of the passage of time, isn't it. I remember a lot of elaborate detail about things like batting champions, Oscar nominees, Presidential primary losers, Olympic venues and champions from the era when I first became aware of those things (c1970 mostly), but then ask me something about the Oscar winners of the 2000s and it's a blur, Russell Crowe or somebody, who knows. I might know that somebody has won an Oscar or run for President, but fitting them into a sequence or narrative is impossible.

A corollary is that important stuff from just before I became aware of it might as well have been the Dark Ages. I don't remember Sandy Koufax or Stan Musial as players, and they always seemed to have been retired forever, but I remember Willie Mays and Hank Aaron in great detail, who were contemporary with them – just because they played that little bit longer.
   44. cardsfanboy Posted: April 16, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4687236)
The recent rush of club members is significant, of course, but I'm in the "things generally feel less notable as we get older" camp. I was born in '77 and can name every World Series winner since 1983 (I am aware this is not going to impress anyone around here).


I think MLB got more behind these records in the 70's and early 80's than they did in prior decades or even recent decades. Even with the increased news cycle and access to information, I just don't think the league has pressed these events in the same manner as in the past. Yes they embraced Cal Ripken's streak, and McGwire/Sosa chase, but the other events, I don't think were followed and promoted by the league as much (I do think that some of it has to do with worrying about a PED backlash)

I also think that players who have moved teams are going to get a little less love from the league and press as one team (or primarily identified by one team) players. Talking about Pujols is talking about his past, and his past isn't that "notable" as an Angel.
   45. Walt Davis Posted: April 16, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4687239)
Just four players hit 500 home runs by 1965, but in the last 15 years, 10 new members joined the 500 club.

C'mon Nightengale (and some of y'all), it's staring you in the face. 4 before 65, 10 in recent years, total of 25 ...

10 in 15 years is enough of an explanation.

Grrr...

1965 Mays
1967 Mantle, Mathews
1968 Aaron
1969 Mays #600
1970 Banks
1971 Aaron #600
1971 Robinson, Killer
1973 Aaron #700
1974 Aaron #715

That was 7 guys in 7 seasons getting to 500 plus two guys getting to 600. Nobody wsa tired of it then.

EDIT: McCovey 78, Jackson 81, Schmidt 84 and Murray 96 if you're curious. So that would be 10 in 20 seasons which ain't that different than 10 in 15 or Pujols about to make it 11 in 20.
   46. Booey Posted: April 16, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4687242)
I was afraid something like that would happen to me, but I find that I still enjoy accomplishments that may not have as much value as they were thought to have in the past, a triple crown is still just impressive, 20 win seasons still strike me as a goal, a complete game shutout resonates well for me. etc.


Agreed. WAR is cool, but the race to see if someone could finish with a 10 WAR season wouldn't hold nearly as much interest for me as seeing another 60 homer season would (and for those who were numbed by seeing 6 of them from 1998-2001, consider that it's now been 13 years since the last one). Cabrera's Triple Crown was still very exciting for me, as was Ichiro's successful run at the season hits record in 2004. And I'd be absolutely giddy if someone neared the end of a season with a shot at 30 wins or a .400 avg, even if their overrall value didn't rank it as a historically dominant season.

   47. Greg K Posted: April 16, 2014 at 04:55 PM (#4687247)
This is true of travel, love, books, movies, sunsets, games, etc. It's a natural progression of being human and if one doesn't recalibrate, one won't be amazed or inspired by anything. So I try to mentally recalibrate periodically. If I'm as impressed as I am today that Pujols is about to hit 500 I have to multiply that some to get how excited I would have been by the same feat when I was 13. For me, this helps me appreciate stuff more. YMMV

One thing I admire about my parents is that now that they are retired they travel a lot, and every single place they go amazes them. They'll come home all abuzz with stuff they learned or saw in Barcelona, or some secluded lake they found in Newfoundland. Hell they managed to have fun in Rugby, North Dakota when they drove me to university out west my first year. I don't think they've ever been to a place they didn't have some sort of wonderful new experience in. I only hope I'm capable of those kind of experiences throughout my life.
   48. Booey Posted: April 16, 2014 at 04:55 PM (#4687248)
#45 - Yep. See my posts #19 and #23. ;-)

It does surprise me how many people forget that all this happened before (not here specifically, just in general).
   49. Greg K Posted: April 16, 2014 at 04:57 PM (#4687250)
I was afraid something like that would happen to me, but I find that I still enjoy accomplishments that may not have as much value as they were thought to have in the past, a triple crown is still just impressive, 20 win seasons still strike me as a goal, a complete game shutout resonates well for me. etc.

For me I love the idea of seeing whole careers unfold before me. I was a huge fan as a kid, then dipped out of paying close attention to baseball in the mid to late 90s. So Pujols is part of the first generation that I think I'll follow closely throughout their entire careers. It's mildly frightening how much I look forward to being an old man and able to recollect the entire narrative arc of Pujols' career, and that of Bryce Harper, Brian Dozier, and Brett Cecil!
   50. Booey Posted: April 16, 2014 at 04:59 PM (#4687254)
EDIT: McCovey 78, Jackson 81, Schmidt 84 and Murray 96 if you're curious. So that would be 10 in 20 seasons which ain't that different than 10 in 15 or Pujols about to make it 11 in 20.


Not that it changes your overall point, but Schmidt was 1987. I remember that clearly cuz I started following baseball in 1988, so I grew up memorizing the 1987 stats on the backs of all the cards I bought.
   51. BDC Posted: April 16, 2014 at 05:04 PM (#4687256)
Pujols is part of the first generation that I think I'll follow closely throughout their entire careers

For me that was Reggie Jackson, Johnny Bench, Nolan Ryan.

Which means that I'm at the age where I might very well cash it in before Mike Trout retires. That is the less attractive part of the passage of time :)
   52. Chris Fluit Posted: April 16, 2014 at 05:47 PM (#4687305)
buying a book about every player who had hit 300 HR's.



I have a that book, too.
   53. Davo Dozier Posted: April 16, 2014 at 06:19 PM (#4687330)
ANECDOTE:

At the 2012 SABR Baseball Trivia event, no one correctly answered the question "Who was the most recent player to join the 500 home run club?"
   54. TJ Posted: April 16, 2014 at 06:41 PM (#4687352)
I take some notice in Pujols chasing homer #500. I take more notice of Ben Revere chasing homer #1- you know Pujols will get there, but you can't be sure about Revere!
   55. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: April 16, 2014 at 07:12 PM (#4687368)
At the 2012 SABR Baseball Trivia event, no one correctly answered the question "Who was the most recent player to join the 500 home run club?"


That's amazing. And a question like "Who was the Xth player to get 500 home runs" would probably be answered immediately by everyone in the room for values of X up to 15 or so.
   56. Steve Treder Posted: April 16, 2014 at 07:23 PM (#4687373)
And a question like "Who was the Xth player to get 500 home runs" would probably be answered immediately by everyone in the room for values of X up to 15 or so.

Well, I can rattle of the top of my head the complete starting lineup from, say, the 1949 Browns. But if you ask me to name two guys on the current, say, Twins roster, I'm probably stumped.
   57. BochysFingers Posted: April 16, 2014 at 07:33 PM (#4687377)
Well, I can rattle of the top of my head the complete starting lineup from, say, the 1949 Browns. But if you ask me to name two guys on the current, say, Twins roster, I'm probably stumped.

Well, let's see.. there's the guy who pitched for the Giants, Corea, or something like that. Then there's the guy with the thing on his head...
   58. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 16, 2014 at 08:09 PM (#4687388)
Grrr...

1965 Mays
1967 Mantle, Mathews
1968 Aaron
1969 Mays #600
1970 Banks
1971 Aaron #600
1971 Robinson, Killer
1973 Aaron #700
1974 Aaron #715

That was 7 guys in 7 seasons getting to 500 plus two guys getting to 600. Nobody wsa tired of it then.


But a lot of us have no personal recollection of that.
   59. EO1828 Posted: April 16, 2014 at 08:19 PM (#4687397)
Grrr...

1965 Mays
1967 Mantle, Mathews
1968 Aaron
1969 Mays #600
1970 Banks
1971 Aaron #600
1971 Robinson, Killer
1973 Aaron #700
1974 Aaron #715

That was 7 guys in 7 seasons getting to 500 plus two guys getting to 600. Nobody wsa tired of it then.

But a lot of us have no personal recollection of that.


And no specter of any PED's at that time or greenies. Also baseball as an american sport had a different place in the sports hierarchy in the 60's and even 70's than it does today.
   60. dlf Posted: April 16, 2014 at 08:34 PM (#4687412)
One thing I admire about my parents is that now that they are retired they travel a lot, and every single place they go amazes them. They'll come home all abuzz with stuff they learned or saw in Barcelona, or some secluded lake they found in Newfoundland. Hell they managed to have fun in Rugby, North Dakota when they drove me to university out west my first year. I don't think they've ever been to a place they didn't have some sort of wonderful new experience in. I only hope I'm capable of those kind of experiences throughout my life.


I always admire people who continue to see the world afresh even as they age. Too many people grow too cynical as they age rather than find wonder in everything around us. Pujols hitting 500 excites me even if I've been aware of it being done 15 times before.

Which means that I'm at the age where I might very well cash it in before Mike Trout retires. That is the less attractive part of the passage of time :)


I'm in my late 40s. Thinking that there is a decent chance I retire before Mike Trout does gives me pause.
   61. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 16, 2014 at 08:38 PM (#4687419)

In addition to the points others have raised, I think our understanding of statistics has also changed. There are more stats to pay attention to and the triple crown stats are no longer as important as they seemed 20 years ago.

#9 also hits on this a bit, but I think the timing within Pujols' career also has an impact here. Pujols already punched his ticket to Cooperstown several years ago, but barring a major change in career trajectory he's basically taken himself out of GOAT contention. 500 home runs doesn't change our opinion of him at all, and I doubt it makes a difference for mainstream fans. I remember the media paying closer attention to Craig Biggio's run at 3,000 hits and even Jim Thome's run at 600 homers which probably did have more of an impact on their HOF prospects. I bet people will pay closer attention if David Ortiz approaches 500 homers for similar reasons.
   62. Srul Itza Posted: April 16, 2014 at 08:57 PM (#4687430)
I'm in my late 40s. Thinking that there is a decent chance I retire before Mike Trout does gives me pause.


I turn 60 next year. In my case "retiring" before Mike Trout has a whole 'nother meaning
   63. bunyon Posted: April 16, 2014 at 09:52 PM (#4687468)
This is true of travel, love, books, movies, sunsets, games, etc. It's a natural progression of being human and if one doesn't recalibrate, one won't be amazed or inspired by anything. So I try to mentally recalibrate periodically. If I'm as impressed as I am today that Pujols is about to hit 500 I have to multiply that some to get how excited I would have been by the same feat when I was 13. For me, this helps me appreciate stuff more. YMMV


One thing I admire about my parents is that now that they are retired they travel a lot, and every single place they go amazes them. They'll come home all abuzz with stuff they learned or saw in Barcelona, or some secluded lake they found in Newfoundland. Hell they managed to have fun in Rugby, North Dakota when they drove me to university out west my first year. I don't think they've ever been to a place they didn't have some sort of wonderful new experience in. I only hope I'm capable of those kind of experiences throughout my life.


I just want to be clear that I, too, am often amazed by stuff and will cheer hard for Pujols' 500th (and 600th, hopefully). I'm just saying it ISN'T the same as when I was 13. You just can't replicate that. I wish like crazy you could. But if you keep on top of yourself, you can come close and add many layers of sophistication and wisdom to the joy and amazement you do feel. If you don't, you just become a cynical old fart no one likes to be around.
   64. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:21 PM (#4687518)
I always admire people who continue to see the world afresh even as they age. Too many people grow too cynical as they age rather than find wonder in everything around us. Pujols hitting 500 excites me even if I've been aware of it being done 15 times before.

My favorite chapter in The Glory of Their Times was the one featuring Specs Toporcer. Some of the interviews veered into the standard "baseball was better back in my day" territory for the reasons discussed here (and elsewhere). Toporcer's did not do that, and there was an elegant and touching reason why not: he went blind. That limited his baseball consumption to listening to the games on the radio, and because he was receiving the players as described by the announcers rather than as watched by an MLB veteran, he was able to recapture a sense of unbridled awe in a way that wouldn't be possible for anyone else.
   65. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:30 PM (#4687525)
Well, I can rattle of the top of my head the complete starting lineup from, say, the 1949 Browns. But if you ask me to name two guys on the current, say, Twins roster, I'm probably stumped.

Let's see, there's Joe Mauer, Trevor Plouffe, and Brian Dozier. And...not Lombardozzi, a different Italian guy. And Glen Perkins. That's all I can do. Not a single starting pitcher!
   66. Davo Dozier Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:57 AM (#4687546)
65-- Come on, I'm named after him!
   67. Rob_Wood Posted: April 17, 2014 at 02:15 AM (#4687553)

Many will remember Bob Costas rattling off the US Presidents in order (in rapid fire) and then slowing down dramatically when it came to Carter & Reagan, etc.

Of course, he learned/memorized the list when he was a teen and then had to tack on any presidents who came after that.

Same with me and the 1965 SF Giants.
   68. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 17, 2014 at 08:24 AM (#4687566)
I'm the same way, I have a superb memory for things I've read or been told, but a very poor one for things I've actually experienced first hand.
   69. Jeltzandini Posted: April 17, 2014 at 08:48 AM (#4687573)
I can still work out all the WS winners and losers of recent years. Working back from who won that year, oh yeah, now who did they beat. Can't always extend that to the LCS losers, which I can still remember for the 1969-1993 years. Partly it's because of the age-related reasons described above, partly because seven series a year now blurs everything together.

   70. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 17, 2014 at 09:42 AM (#4687602)
Then there's the guy with the thing on his head...


John Olerud is still playing?
   71. McCoy Posted: April 17, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4687617)
I've reached an age where matters like who won the last championship no longer matters to me. If you jumped out of the woodwork and asked me who won the last Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, or Stanley Cup Finals. The only one I would get right is the Blackhawks (right?) and the only reason I know that is because they won the cup as I was getting off the plane in Vegas last summer. I didn't even know they were in the finals or that there was even a hockey playoffs going on. As for the NBA I would just guess the Heat since I just assume they win it every year. But as far as baseball and football goes it would definitely take me awhile to figure it out. I think the Red Sox did it but I', not totally sure. Broncos?
   72. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: April 17, 2014 at 10:01 AM (#4687621)
Well, I can rattle of the top of my head the complete starting lineup from, say, the 1949 Browns. But if you ask me to name two guys on the current, say, Twins roster, I'm probably stumped.


For a long time the most useless thing I knew was the chronological order of all heavyweight boxing champions beginning with John L Sullivan and up through Larry Holmes. Then we got all the alphabet soup champions and I at least knew "the man who beat the man" up through Tyson before the sport got bogged down in baloney and I lost interest. I can certainly say more about the top contenders of any decade of the 20th century than I could of today's top stooges.
   73. Rob_Wood Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4687821)

You want to be tested on your heavyweight boxing knowledge? My father served in WWII with a boxer who went on to become a disputed heavyweight champion after Joe Louis retired (the first time). He was from Minnesota and later lost fights to Louis and Marciano. Name him.
   74. Greg K Posted: April 17, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4687858)
I've reached an age where matters like who won the last championship no longer matters to me. If you jumped out of the woodwork and asked me who won the last Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, or Stanley Cup Finals.

On a timed question I probably have a better chance of getting the World Series champion from some random year from 1920-2004 than I do from the last ten years or so. Given time I can work out the recent winners, but historically I have teams attached to specific years in my mind.
   75. Walt Davis Posted: April 17, 2014 at 06:45 PM (#4688147)
The important thing is that Jamey Wright is still pitching. He'll probably pass the 2000 inning mark this year. There is no particularly good reason he has thrown a pitch in the majors since 2007 or, arguably, even 2000. As long as he's going, there's hope for us all.

And that doesn't hold a candle to the sheer ecstasy I feel seeing that Brett Tomko is in AAA at the age of 41. He pitched indy ball last year and not particularly well (4.98 ERA) but the Royals have him stashed at Omaha where he's carrying a 1.6/3.3 K/BB ratio.
   76. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: April 17, 2014 at 07:00 PM (#4688154)
I turn 60 next year. In my case "retiring" before Mike Trout has a whole 'nother meaning


Hang in there, papi.
   77. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 17, 2014 at 07:00 PM (#4688155)
What I noticed is that Pujols' OPS+ is 148, of course it's just 15 game and all, but just a week ago a bunch of people were discussing an "unprecedented" decline writing off Pujols for dead. (of course now that I've written that he's going to hit .245/.295/.450 the rest of the way.
   78. TerpNats Posted: April 18, 2014 at 08:30 AM (#4688340)
You want to be tested on your heavyweight boxing knowledge? My father served in WWII with a boxer who went on to become a disputed heavyweight champion after Joe Louis retired (the first time). He was from Minnesota and later lost fights to Louis and Marciano. Name him.
Ezzard Charles? It's either him or Jersey Joe Walcott.
   79. Rob_Wood Posted: April 18, 2014 at 09:07 AM (#4688349)

No, his initials were LS
   80. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: April 18, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4688417)
What I noticed is that Pujols' OPS+ is 148, of course it's just 15 game and all, but just a week ago a bunch of people were discussing an "unprecedented" decline writing off Pujols for dead. (of course now that I've written that he's going to hit .245/.295/.450 the rest of the way.


David Cameron write an article noting this unprecedented decline. Albert then promptly hit 3 homers in the next few games.

The Mariners still are not the 6th best org.
   81. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: April 18, 2014 at 10:42 AM (#4688420)
No, his initials were LS


Lee Savold? I think I have footage of the Louis and Marciano fights in my archives.
   82. Rob_Wood Posted: April 18, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4688775)

Yes, that is the champ. I guess some organizations declared Savold champ rather than Ezzard Charles before Charles defeated Louis in his return to boxing after being retired for over two years. There really was a vacuum in the heavyweight division after Louis retired (and this is not a knock on Charles or Walcott who were both fine boxers).

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
aleskel
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogHBT: Talking head says Jeter is “a fraud” and “you are all suckers”
(60 - 6:04pm, Sep 20)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogKeri: How Washington Built a World Series Favorite
(58 - 5:55pm, Sep 20)
Last: Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 9-20-2014
(21 - 5:50pm, Sep 20)
Last: Dale Sams

NewsblogEsquire: Martone: The Death of Derek Jeter
(308 - 5:49pm, Sep 20)
Last: Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige

NewsblogRoyals encounter problem with online sale of playoff tickets
(5 - 5:16pm, Sep 20)
Last: Zach

NewsblogOT: September 2014 College Football thread
(296 - 5:14pm, Sep 20)
Last: Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams)

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread, September 2014
(311 - 4:44pm, Sep 20)
Last: frannyzoo

NewsblogOT: Politics, September, 2014: ESPN honors Daily Worker sports editor Lester Rodney
(3394 - 3:09pm, Sep 20)
Last: BDC

NewsblogPedro pens a letter to Clayton Kershaw
(68 - 3:09pm, Sep 20)
Last: Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - September 2014
(292 - 2:37pm, Sep 20)
Last: Steve Parris, Je t'aime

NewsblogLindbergh: Dellin Betances’s Season & Bullpen Strategy
(2 - 2:32pm, Sep 20)
Last: Steve Parris, Je t'aime

NewsblogRon Washington Acknowledges Infidelity, Doesn’t Explain Why He Resigned
(60 - 1:18pm, Sep 20)
Last: Lassus

NewsblogEn Banc Court May Call Foul on Bonds Conviction
(34 - 1:08pm, Sep 20)
Last: Brian

NewsblogNew approach on offense has Pirates in playoff contention this season
(26 - 11:42am, Sep 20)
Last: BDC

NewsblogAraton: The Other Side of a Derek Jeter Hustle Play
(35 - 9:43am, Sep 20)
Last: Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip

Page rendered in 0.5312 seconds
52 querie(s) executed