April 23, 2000

The Bing Bang On Three Large
by Steve Lombardi

On April 15th of this year, during the top of the seventh inning in an Orioles - Twins’ game, Cal Ripken Jr. lined a single to center against Hector Carrasco; thus enabling Ripken to become the 23rd member of the MLB three thousand career hit club.

Shortly thereafter, this writer began to ponder: Of all the batters to produce 3,000 hits in their career, who were the most dangerous? More precisely, which batters with 3,000+ hits most frequently had the greatest value associated to their hits?

Quickly, the following formula came to mind:

[{(Slugging Percentage * At Bats) + (Runs+RBI-Homeruns)} * Batting Average] / Hits

What does this formula aim to establish? It is an effort to take into account "damage caused" (via Extra Base and Run Production) for each hit produced adjusted by "frequency" (via Batting Success).

What’s the result called? For lack of a better name, we’re calling it "Bingle Bang" or "BingBang," for short. ("Bingle" as in to "hit safely" and "Bang" as in "Bang for your buck.")

This all said, how do the members of the "3,000 Hit Club" fair in terms of BingBang? Witness the following chart (statistics are career totals - those for Ripken and Gwynn being through April 22, 2000).

AB

SLG%

R

RBI

HR

H

BA

BingBang

Stan Musial

10,972

.559

1,949

1,951

475

3,630

.331

.87157

Ty Cobb

11,434

.512

2,245

1,933

117

4,190

.366

.86610

Willie Mays

10,881

.557

2,062

1,903

660

3,283

.302

.86154

Hank Aaron

12,364

.555

2,174

2,297

755

3,771

.305

.85555

Tris Speaker

10,195

.500

1,882

1,537

117

3,514

.345

.82465

Honus Wagner

10,430

.466

1,736

1,732

101

3,415

.327

.78780

Nap Lajoie

9,589

.466

1,504

1,599

82

3,242

.338

.78083

Paul Waner

9,459

.473

1,626

1,309

113

3,152

.333

.77081

George Brett

10,349

.487

1,583

1,595

317

3,154

.305

.76404

Al Kaline

10,116

.480

1,622

1,583

399

3,007

.297

.75674

Dave Winfield

11,003

.475

1,669

1,833

465

3,110

.283

.75195

Eddie Murray

11,336

.476

1,627

1,917

504

3,255

.287

.74381

Eddie Collins

9,948

.429

1,821

1,300

47

3,312

.333

.73816

Roberto Clemente

9,454

.475

1,416

1,305

240

3,000

.317

.73667

Carl Yastrzemski

11,988

.462

1,816

1,844

452

3,419

.285

.72908

Tony Gwynn

9,086

.458

1,365

1,108

133

3,071

.338

.71555

Paul Molitor

10,835

.448

1,782

1,307

234

3,319

.306

.71075

Wade Boggs

9,180

.443

1,513

1,014

118

3,010

.328

.70566

Cal Ripken Jr.

10,820

.451

1,572

1,583

406

3,006

.278

.70553

Robin Yount

11,008

.430

1,632

1,406

251

3,142

.285

.68215

Rod Carew

9,315

.429

1,424

1,015

92

3,053

.328

.68148

Pete Rose

14,053

.409

2,165

1,314

160

4,256

.303

.64549

Lou Brock

10,332

.410

1,610

900

149

3,023

.293

.63942

If you require a point of perspective, we offer the following - through the end of the 1999 season, these are the career BingBangs for a handful of contemporary players:

Player

BingBang

   NetShrine Comment
Barry Bonds .88959    BingBang higher than any on the 3,000 Hit List.
Harold Baines .72971    Same BingBang as Yaz.
Rickey Henderson .71473    Just a tick BingBang-wise under Gwynn.
Chili Davis .71073    Almost the exact BingBang as fellow DH Molitor.
Gary Gaetti .66998    Better BingBang than Rose and Brock.

Some observations on the BingBang shakedown of the 3,000 Hit Club:

  1. Tris Speaker rarely receives the credit due. Many are quick to offer the likes of Brett, Clemente, Rose, and Gwynn in the conversation of "sweet swingers."   However, Speaker (according to BingBang) is clearly superior to all but Musial, Cobb, Mays and Aaron.
  2. Pete Rose may be the "Hit King" - but, few have done as little with as many as Charlie Hustle.
  3. Greatest hitter ever? Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Cobb and Mays are the names usually mentioned the most. Perhaps it’s time that some slip Musial into the argument? At the least, how about giving Stan The Man the nod for greatest hitter ever in the National League?
  4. Based on BingBang, Cal Ripken and Wade Boggs are neck-and-neck. Considering their playing careers paralleled each other, you may now consider them equals in terms of "Who was a better hitter?" - whereas in the past, based on an observation of Batting Average alone, Boggs appeared superior to Ripken.
  5. Of course, in a perfect world, each BingBang would be adjusted for relativity - matching the individual career BingBang versus the BingBang for the player’s league in that same time span. Obviously, that would change the order somewhat. Perhaps the Brocks and Kalines would move up some and the Musials and Molitors would move down slightly? However, in the end, BingBang relativity adjustments made, the Musials would still be better than the Brocks, the Wagners would still be better than the Kalines, and the Molitors would still be in the ballparks of the Carews, etc. It’s not expected that relativity adjustments would mean wholesale changes in the order. (If anyone wants to calculate the Relative BingBangs, please contact us and NetShrine will gladly publish the findings.)

In any event, perhaps the most important lesson here is: When looking at the 3,000 Hit Club, don’t assume that Rose was the best hitter in the bunch because he’s on top - and don’t assume that Clemente is the least productive hitter in the group because he only had 3,000 hits. More so, think about how frequent those hits came, what type of hits were they, and what did the hits accomplish - - these three results are more important than raw cumulative hit totals.

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