March 30, 2017

Comments on The SABR Baseball List and Record Book, Part 7

March 1, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Here is Part 7 of my postings (updated from original posting at my personal blog in 2007) on what I find interesting and worthy of comment while browsing through the 2007 SABR book, The SABR Baseball List and Record Book (available at Amazon). This time around I comment on some career HR oddities.

Note: All lists discussed in this posting are through the end of the 2006 season only.

List 140 gives the three players retired with fewer than 200 career home runs but who hit 40+ in a season. Can you name them? I wouldn’t have been able to. I’ll give them at the end of this post.

List 141 is similar and also has three members. Which players had fewer than 300 career home runs but managed to hit 50+ in a season? Hint: they all have 200+ career HR. I would have been able to guess all three here, as I consider this a much easier scenario to guess than List 140 is. Again, see bottom of this post for the answers.

List 142 is “Most Career Home Runs Without Ever Hitting 20 In a Season”. Number one on the list is Ron Fairly, who hit 215 over 21 seasons for the Dodgers, Expos, and other teams. His top HR total was in his second to last season, in 1977, when he hit 19 as a DH/1B/OF for the Blue Jays.

Next on the list is Yankees great 2B Tony Lazzeri with 178. A key member of the late 1920s – 1930s Yankees dynasty, Lazzeri had 100+ RBI seven times, but never had more than 18 HR in a season (a total he managed four times).

Third and fourth on this list are a couple of fine-hitting first-basemen, neither of whom had a lot of power: Bill Buckner (174) and Mark Grace (173). They each had 15+ HR four times, but never topped 20 in a season.

The rest noted in this list are also interesting: Tim Raines (170), Enos Slaughter (169), Jose Cruz Sr. (165), Claudell Washington (164), Bill Madlock (163), Keith Hernandez (162), Pete Rose (160), Dan Driessen (153), Carney Lansford (151), Shawon Dunston (150).

List 144 is similar: “Most Career Home Runs without ever Hitting 30 in a Season”. The top two on this list were slightly surprising to me. First is the great Al Kaline with 399. He had 29 HR twice, and 27 HR four other times, but never belted 30 in a season. Next is Harold Baines who had 384, and 11 times had 20+ HR in a season, but never reached 30. That is pretty amazing.

There is then a big dropoff for third place, so far less surprising to me are Rickey Henderson (297), Paul O’Neill (281), Craig Biggio (281), Brian Downing (275), Brook Robinson (268), Joe Morgan (268), George Hendrick (267), Tim Wallach (260), Vada Pinson (256), Kirk Gibson (255), John Olerud (255), and Robin Yount (251). Some great players there, but none of them are people I would have recalled or guessed had ever hit 30+ HR in a season.

And list 145 is also similar: “Most Career Home Runs without ever Hitting 40 in a Season”. The top two here I could have guessed. Eddie Murray was a great hitter, belting 504 HR in his career. He had between 25-33 in a season 12 times, but never had 34, let alone 40. Fred McGriff ended up with 493 in his career, and did have some higher totals, as he six times hit 34-37 in a season — but never 40.

More surprising is Stan Musial with 475 appearing on this list. If you’d asked me I would have guessed he would have hit 40 at least once. He did hit 39 in 1948, and hit 30+ five other times. Next up is someone who I consider more like Murray and McGriff in this regard: Dave Winfield with 465. He only had 30+ three times, hitting 20+ another 12 times. Then fifth is of course Cal Ripken with 431, followed by Al Kaline making this list as well with his 399. The others listed are Joe Carter (396), Graig Nettles (389), Dwight Evans (385), Harold Baines (384), Carlton Fisk (376), Gary Gaetti (360), Yogi Berra (358), Lee May (354), Chili Davis (350).

OK, so now the answers to the earlier ones I turned into trivia questions. For list 140, the three guys are Al Rosen with 192 HR and hit 43 in 1953, Jim Gentile with 179 HR and hit 46 in 1961, and Davey Johnson with 136 HR and hit 43 in 1973. For list 141, the three guys are Roger Maris with 275 HR and hit 61 in 1961, Hack Wilson with 244 and hit 56 in 1930, and Brady Anderson with 210 HR and hit 50 in 1996.

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