March 27, 2000

It's Amazing What You Can Learn In The Bathroom
by Steve Lombardi

Is there any honor amongst those who lift research from other sources?  Perhaps not.  Nonetheless, there must be some nobility in sharing good information, no?   Hopefully, the latter contains some truth.  Why?  It will make me feel better for what I'm about to do.  What follows are some interesting tidbits which I've "liberated" from the pages of ESPN The Magazine (Volume 3, No. 7 - April 3, 2000).  These facts are too good to leave on transitory pages where their life span is contingent to your friendly neighborhood sanitation department's recycling schedule.  They clearly show that we are presently witnessing some incredible efforts from today's players.   Read on:

In Barry Bonds' seven years with the Giants, he has amassed 269 HRs and 743 RBI and scored 783 runs.  Only one other player can match those numbers in his first seven years with a team:  Babe Ruth went 307-871-923 with the Yankees from 1920 to 1926.

NetShrine Comment:  Does this mean that the Pirates are to suffer the Curse of the Bond-bino?

Any doubt that Craig Biggio is on his way to the Hall of Fame?  Over the past five seasons, No. 7 has scored 628 runs.  Since 1940, only one player has scored more runs over any five-year span: No. 7 Mickey Mantle (630, 1954-58).

NetShrine Comment:  Throw in those 18 games cut from the 1995 season and I'm sure that Biggio tops that 630 total.  What would have happened if the 'Stros never moved him from catcher?

To have his career average fall below .300, Tony Gwynn would have to go 0-for-his-next-1,165.

NetShrine Comment:  A collar that big would slip right off of Godzilla's head.

Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle never hit .300 with 40 HRs three years in a row.  But Vinny Castilla did it from 1996 to 1998.

NetShrine Comment:  Yeah, but Willie, Mickey and The Hammer were never left unprotected by the Braves during an expansion draft either.

Greg Maddux has won at least 15 games in each of the last 12 seasons.  Only three other P's have won 15-plus games at least 12 seasons in a row:  Christy Mathewson (1903-14), Gaylord Perry (1966-78) and Cy Young (1891-1905).

NetShrine Comment:  I know what you're thinking:  How did Gaylord slip in there with Matty, Cy and Maddux?  Must have been the vaseline.

Junior [Ken Griffey Jr.] has 209 home runs and 567 RBI over the past four seasons.   Only one player in major league history has ever had a four-year span in which he produced such high totals in those categories.  From 1927 to 1930, Babe Ruth had 209 homers and 613 RBI.

NetShrine Comment:  Perhaps Reds' G.M. Jim Bowden had a right to wear that fecal matter eating grin when he gave his "Two, Ten, Two Thousand" speech at the press conference after Cincinnati acquired Griffey?

Mark Grace has batted .300 or higher with runners in scoring position in each of the last eight seasons, the longest current streak by any player in the majors.

NetShrine Comment:  Clutch hitting, slick fielding - a modern day Keith Hernandez sans the Lounge Lizard routine.

Juan Gonzalez has 340 career HRs but only 344 career walks.  That's the lowest BB-to-HR ratio in ML history among the 578 players with 100-plus HRs.

NetShrine Comment:  He's obviously got that "A walk is as good as a hit" thing mixed up.

With his first appearance this season, Jesse Orosco will join Nolan Ryan and Jim Kaat as the only pitchers to pitch in four decades.  If Mike Morgan makes the Diamondbacks and pitches this season, he will also join that elite club.

NetShrine Comment:  It's a shame that the Cards and D'backs don't play each other to open this season.  Imagine if they both had their first appearance in the same game this year?  Helluva trivia question it would have been - pity.

Albert Belle's 659 RBI over the past five years are the most by any player over a five-year span since Joe DiMaggio's 691 in 1937-41.  And Belle's 441 extra-base hits over the past five years are the most over a five-year span since Lou Gehrig's 457 in 1930-34.

NetShrine Comment:  Joltin' Don't Call Me Joey Belle?  The Iron Sour Puss?  Quick, somebody get Albert a fancy nickname.

Edgar Martinez has hit .320 or higher with at least 20 HRs in each of the past five years.  The last player to do that was Ted Williams (1954-58).  The last player with a streak of more than five years:  Stan Musial (1948-54).

NetShrine Comment:  Read that one over a few times.  Ted Williams, one of the three best hitters ever in the AL.  Stan Musial, one of the three best hitters ever in the N.L.  And, Edgar Martinez.  Keep reading it over.

The two most essential skills in baseball are hitting for average and hitting for power.  Over his seven full seasons in the majors, Mike Piazza has batted .330 with 239 home runs.  The last player with higher figures in both categories over any seven-year period was Jimmie Foxx from 1933 to 1939.

NetShrine Comment:  This is the funny (?) part - Foxx debuted in 1925 and played mostly at catcher until 1927 (when he was moved to 1B).  He went on to hit 534 HRs in his career.  How many will Piazza finish with?

Larry Walker has hit over .360 each of the past three seasons.  The last player to do that was Al Simmons, 1929-31.

NetShrine Comment:  Coors-some.  From the same ESPN feature - - While leading the majors in batting in each of the past two seasons, Walker has hit .439 at home and .295 on the road.

Also included were a couple of ignoble team "achievements" -

The Tigers, Brewers, and Royals were the only teams in baseball to go through the 1990s without a Gold Glove winner.

NetShrine Comment:  Yeah, but they've never had Rafael Palmeiro at DH either.

Except for the 1990s expansion teams, the Angels and the Royals are the only teams that have never had a 40-HR hitter.  Steve Balboni is the Royals' single season leader with 36 in 1985, and Reggie Jackson is the Angels' best, with 39 in 1982.

NetShrine Comment:  Note to the opportunistic entrepreneur - - There's a need for Creatine distributors in Anaheim and Kansas City.

 

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