March 24, 2017

Comments on The SABR Baseball List and Record Book, Part 8

March 6, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Here is Part 8 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 several seasonal records.

In list 158 “Four Home Runs in a Game”, I learned that twice when this happened it was in a losing effort. Imagine that?! Ed Delahanty on July 13, 1896 (when HR weren’t even that common!), and then when Bob Horner did it on Jul 6, 1986.

In list 179 “Most At-Bats in a Season, since 1893”, I learned that through 2006, Willie Wilson was still the leader here with his 705 at-bats in 1980 for the Royals. I knew he had the record at that time, but didn’t realize that he still had it 25+ years later. Ichiro Suzuki came as close as you can in 2004 when he had 704 at-bats, and then in 2006 Juan Pierre had 699. But since this book’s publication, Jimmy Rollins has broken the record, as he had 716 at-bats in 2007!

In list 184 “Most Plate Appearances in a Season, since 1893”, I learned that Wilson’s 1980 season of many at-bats doesn’t rank very well in terms of plate-appearances — not even in the top 25. He didn’t walk much at all, so his total PA that year was “only” 745. Through 2006, the all-time record was 773, by Lenny Dykstra for the Phillies in 1993. Next was Pete Rose’s 771 from 1974. But again, Jimmy Rollins’ 2007 campaign broke the record, as he managed 778 plate appearances.

List 259 “Most Intentional Walks in a Season, since 1955”. Ouch… Barry Bonds leads here by an insane amount. His 120 in 2004 is almost twice his 68 from 2002, or his 61 from 2003. Then in distant fourth place is Willie McCovey’s 45 from 1969.

List 260 “Batters with 20 Doubles, 20 Triples, and 20 Home Runs in a Season”. What a fascinating list. Through 2006, only five players had done this. I highly doubt anyone could name all five. I’ll list them at the bottom of this post… think it over! And of course, Curtis Granderson joined this exclusive club in 2007, as he smashed 38 doubles, 23 triples, and 23 homeruns.

List 262 “More Walks Received than Games Played in a Season (min. 100 Walks)”. Of course Babe Ruth (2), Ted Williams (5), and Barry Bonds (4) appear more than once on this list. But the other players who have done this are not as obvious: Mark McGwire in 1998, Jack Clark in 1987, Mickey Mantle in 1957, and Eddie Joost in 1949. (I don’t know if anyone did so in 2007 or 2008.)

List 270 “Batters Who Led the League in Hits and Walks in the Same Season”. Another good one for trivia purposes! There are six players who have done this (one time each). Can you name any of them? Given information above, one might be easy. Again, see the bottom of this post for the answers.

List 282 “Most Consecutive Games with an Extra-Base Hit”. How did I miss this record-tying event in 2006? Chipper Jones had 14 consecutive games with an extra base hit, from June 26 through July 16. That tied Paul Waner’s record (from June 3 to Jun 19 in 1927). I must have missed SportsCenter the day Jones tied it!

List 283 “Longest Consecutive Game On-base Streaks”. We all know about Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. But who has the longest on-base streak? Not Joe it turns out, he ranks second with a 74 game streak. The record is held by his rival, the great Ted Williams who had an 84 game streak in 1949. Williams also had a 69-game streak in 1941, which is third all-time. Then old-timer Bill Joyce is fourth with his 64-game streak from 1891. Then, surprising to me, is Orlando Cabrera with a 63-game on-base streak from 2006 — I also don’t remember hearing about that on SportsCenter either!

List 288 “40 Home Runs and 200 Hits in a Season”. This list, as well as anything I’ve seen, demonstrates the rise and fall of baseball statistics throughout the decades. Any serious baseball fans know that the past 15 years or so have seen an explosion in offensive numbers, and that there have been other eras that also had offensive-statistics inflation (e.g., the 1930s). So for this list, we see that 40 HR/200 Hits was achieved 17 times in the 17 seasons from 1921-1937 and 11 times in the 11 seasons from 1996-2006. But it was only accomplished 4 times in the 58 seasons from 1938-1995. Wow… that is very impressive. Also of note is that Babe Ruth did this 3 times, but Lou Gehrig did it 5 times. It looks like the only other players to do it twice were Chuck Klein, Jimmie Foxx, and Mo Vaughn (through 2006).

List 291 “50 Doubles and 30 Home Runs in a Season”. This has been accomplished 19 times through 2006. An assortment of all-time great hitters have done it, with only three players having done it twice. Chuck Klein had 59 D and 40 HR in 1930 and then 50 D and 38 HR in 1932. Through 1994 this had been done only 8 times, with the other 11 times coming since then. During that span Todd Helton did it in 2000 and 2001, and then Albert Pujols in 2003 and 2004. The great Pujols could easily do it again, which would leave him alone at the top of this particular category.

OK, now for the answers to the two I left for you to think about. For list 260, we have George Brett in 1979; Willie Mays in 1957, Jeff Heath in 1941, Jim Bottomley in 1928, and Frank Schulte in 1911. I was especially surprised to see someone from 1911 make this list! And then for list 270, the perhaps easy one was Lenny Dykstra from 1993, since I had previously mentioned that he set the record for the most plate appearances that year. Before him were Carl Yastrzemski in 1963, Richie Ashburn in 1958, Rogers Hornsby in 1924, and then old-timers Billy Hamilton in 1891, and Ross Barnes in 1876.

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