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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Chris Davis, let's see you beat The Babe.

Chris Davis leads the Major Baseball League (MBL) in home runs (HR) with 47 through 134 Baltimore Orioles games.  That leaves Davis 20 more Oriole games to reach 60 HR within 154, the old schedule through 1960.

During today's Oriole game at Yankee Stadium Yankee announcer Michael Kay mentioned that Davis had stated clearly that he considered the single season HR record to be the 61 hit by Yankee Roger Maris in 1961, the first American League season with 162 games, five percent more.  In 1962 the National League went to 162 also.  The reason was that two teams were added to each league: 8 to 10.  The increased number of games was originally considered temporary until more teams were added.  However, the owners quickly came to appreciate that they had 5% more play for the same pay.

The Maris record was denigrated at the time because of the expansion and the dilution of the pitching.  I won't go into that here but it appears that Davis is oblivious about that.  His point is that he wants to break the non performance enhancing drugs (PED) record, not the 73 HR hit by Barry Bonds in 2001.

Obviously it's easier for a player to break a record of a lower total.  It's easier to hit 61 HR than to hit 73 HR.  It could be that Chris Davis is using the anti PED sentiment to his advantage.  It could be that he is sincere in trying to make a distinction.

1. How about Chris Davis volunteering to be tested by a non-MBL entity for PED just so we have some comfort level that we are not being deceived?
2. How about Chris Davis committing to break the 154 game record set in 1927 by Babe Ruth: 60?

As far as I know in all the PED 60 HR seasons the batter beat The Babe in his team's first 154 games.  Maris, of course, failed despite quite a bit of pressure for him to do it in 1961.  Maris hit 59 HR in the first 154 Yankee games in 1961.

So, Babe Ruth is the only batter to hit 60 HR in 154 games without PED.  Let's see Chris Davis announce that he is after that record.  He needs 13 HR in the next 20 games just to tie.

Note: The Yankees played a tie game in both 1927 and 1961.  Ruth hit number 60 in Yankee game 155, although The Babe himself played 151 games.

Arenas must be dry. Constitutional amendment 4.

4. Arenas must be dry.
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Friday, June 8, 2012
Constitutional amendments for team sports.
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Seems pretty fundamental.  For NBA games it is actually taken for granted.  Not so for NFL games.  Increasingly in recent decades the integrity of Major Baseball League (MBL) games under commissioner Allen Huber "Bud" Selig has been undermined by many policies that he originated or let become worse.

Playing tournament games in the rain has become common.  Regular season games are often played in the rain or at least on wet fields.  This is totally unacceptable.  Selig should be ashamed but he has no shame.

So what to do?  Put lids on the ball parks.  What, you say?  Most of those parks have been built in recent years under the Selig regime and there are now fewer parks with a roof than before.  Gee, maybe Bud should have considered that.  Too bad.  The new constitutional amendment must be followed.  It's not my fault that Selig screwed up just about every issue.

So for open air ball parks, play must be halted whenever the field becomes wet.  No, not soaked, just wet.  This will cause a problem adhering to constitutional amendment 1, that games must be completed within two hours.

Bud Selig, you really suck at being commissioner.

Friday, August 30, 2013

No trades during the season. Constitutional amendment 3.

3. No trades during the season.

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Friday, June 8, 2012
Constitutional amendments for team sports.
______________________

There are really no implementation issues here, just the elimination of a rule.  Below is the reasoning for that.

This is pretty much the same for all three U.S. sports.  For a long time baseball has done this the most.  However, with the addition of one more tournament spot in 2012 more teams seem reluctant to give up and trade otherwise good players just to possibly get some benefit a few years later.

Aside from any tactical considerations trades during the season undermine the integrity of the game, yes, much more than use of performance enhancing drugs (PED).

Try this scenario.  A team spends all off season promoting certain players.  Based on that fans buy lots of tickets in advance, including season tickets, i.e., tickets for EVERY game.  Then before the July 31 trading deadline that same team trades some or even all of those featured players.  I'm amazed that fans have yet to file a class action law suit claiming false advertising, etc.

Plus, that team becomes much less competitive immediately.  Any other team that plays them after the best players have been traded has a big advantage over a rival that played the team before it traded its best players.  What happens in 2-3 years does not make up for the impact on the tournament competition this season.

The clown rules that seem to provide incentive for teams substantially changing their roster should be changed or eliminated.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

No overtime in the regular season. Constitutional amendment 2.

2. No overtime in the regular season.

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Friday, June 8, 2012
Constitutional amendments for team sports.
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For baseball this means no extra innings.  That should help with amendment number one: Regular season games must end within two hours.

Won't that lead to a lot of tie games?  Maybe.  My implementation suggestion is that only wins count in the standings.  That should inspire the head coach (manager) to be aggressive and imaginative to try to win each game.

Extra innings are boring.  They quickly devolve into a war of attrition with the game usually being settled when one of the worst pitchers on a team allows runs.  Maybe starting pitchers would be used in relief to try to nail down a win within nine innings.  If not, too bad.

A tie is as bad as a loss.  Take chances.  Do unusual stuff.  Go for the win. You have nothing to lose.  Don't let the game drift into an inconclusive state.

No extra innings!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Albert Pujols and Defamation Law

Albert Pujols and Defamation Law    August 23, 2013

by

Eric Weiss

The legal issues that we will discuss here are whether Pujols should sue (Jack Clark) for libel, and the likelihood of success of such a lawsuit. Legal claims for libel (written statements) and slander (spoken statements) are commonly called defamation actions...

Truth is an absolute defense to a defamation lawsuit. Pujols would therefore have to prove that he never used PED's during his career. It is not easy to prove a negative...


additional legal hurdle ... for a public figure ...  "actual malice" ... with reckless disregard for the truth ... extremely difficult for someone like Albert Pujols to win such a lawsuit
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Miguel Cabrera: doing the impossible ... again.

Miguel Cabrera is proving me wrong.  I had done extensive research and concluded that a batter leading his league/conference in home runs (HR), runs batted in (RBI) and batting average (BA) in the same season had become almost impossible in large part because of expansion since 1961.  In other words, there are just too many other players: twice as many in the National and about 80% more in the American than in 1960.

Source:

The odds against Cabrera this season are even greater than last because Major Baseball League  (MBL) Commissioner Allen Huber "Bud" Selig again moved a team from one entity to another.  For this season Selig moved Houston from the National Conference to the American Conference.  This increased the number of American Conference teams from 14 to 15.  Despite all that Cabrera is proving me wrong again.

Here are the current American Conference leaders in triple crown stats.

Batting Average (BA):
1.Cabrera (DET).357
2.Trout (LAA).331
3.Beltre (TEX).326
4.Mauer (MIN).324
5.Ortiz (BOS).316
6.Cano (NYY).305
7.Peralta (DET).305
8.Hunter (DET).305
9.Loney (TBR).304
10.Pedroia (BOS).302

RBI:
1.Cabrera (DET)130
2.Davis (BAL)118
3.Encarnacion (TOR)97
4.Jones (BAL)95
5.Fielder (DET)90
6.Cano (NYY)85
7.Trumbo (LAA)84
8.Trout (LAA)81
9.Ortiz (BOS)79
Beltre (TEX)79
Dunn (CHW)79

Home Runs (HR):
1.Davis (BAL)46
2.Cabrera (DET)43
3.Encarnacion (TOR)33
4.Dunn (CHW)30
5.Trumbo (LAA)29
6.Longoria (TBR)28
   Bautista (TOR)28
8.Cruz (TEX)27
   Jones (BAL)27
   Beltre (TEX)27

Obviously HR is where Cabrera is the most vulnerable.  Chris Davis has been the shock story of the season.  Davis leads Cabrera by three HR.  Cabrera's Detroit Tigers have played 132 games, so there are 40 remaining.  The Baltimore Orioles of Davis have played 130 games and so have 42 more games.  Davis clearly has the edge but Davis has never been in a position anything like this and who knows how he will perform.

In 1927 Yankees Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were having the first great HR race.  In early September they were tied at 45.  Ruth won 60 to 47.  You just never know.

If Miguel Cabrera were to achieve a second consecutive triple crown his stature would be huge.  HUGE.

Alex Rodriguez is no longer a threat. Somebody tell Selig.

Alex Rodriguez may have used performance enhancing drugs (PED) in recent seasons but they have not enhanced his performance.

Career cumulative through 2009:
BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
.305 .390 .576 .965 147

BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
.270 .341 .506 .847 123    2010
.276 .362 .461 .823 119    2011
.272 .353 .430 .783 112    2012
.271 .354 .429 .783 115    2013 through 8/27

For the fourth consecutive season Rodriguez has been consistently good but far from great.  So why the vendetta by Major Baseball League (MBL) commissioner Allen Huber "Bud" Selig?

More to the usual point of the hysteria of the steroid zealots: home run rate.

Career through 2009:


ABHRAB/HR
8,3045830.0702
533300.05632010
373160.04292011
463180.03892012
7030.04292013

Rodriguez is clearly no longer a big time home run threat.  His third HR in 2013 on August 26 was number 650 in his career.  That's ten behind Willie Mays.  Rodriguez has over a month to hit those ten HR and catch Mays.  Who thinks that he can do that?  Ten HR in a month is not that big a deal but as a player ages he loses his youthful abilities.  Rodriguez still has the power but he lacks the knack.

Teammate Derek Jeter, 13 months older, has also dropped precipitously since 2009 when his OPS+ was 125 (121 cumulative career through 2009), although Jeter inexplicably rebounded in 2012 and led the American Conference in plate appearances, at bats and hits.

2010 90
2011 100
2012 114
2013 65

Reasonable milestones that Rodriguez could reach in 2014:
- 2,000 Runs (1,908 currently)
- 2,000 RBI (1,957 currently)
- 3,000 Hits (2,920 currently)
- 661 HR to pass Mays (650 currently)

Wouldn't the MBL be better off with that happening rather than a pointless punishment for offenses that have embarrassed and humiliated Rodriguez and made him an object of ridicule by both the public and many of his fellow players?

Is Alex Rodriguez such a threat to truth, justice and the American way?  Obviously not.  Somebody tell Selig.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

No "starting" pitchers.

Stephen Strasburg already had it.  Matt Harvey may need it.  It is Tommy John elbow surgery, named after the pitcher who had it decades ago and made it famous.

The real issue is whether anyone has any idea how to manage ball players who throw the ball to the batters.  This resource costs about 40% of team payroll.  It seems to have increasingly become a gamble.  High priced college hot shots like Strasburg and Harvey appear to be as vulnerable as any even though they receive the most attention and care and are treated like the costly resource they are.

In the 1960s Sandy Koufax pitched a million innings in a season, struck out a million batters and completed a lot of games.  Then at the age of 30 his left pitching arm fell off and he retired.  It does not seem like baseball professionals have learned very much since then.

It seems like almost all pitchers can now throw the ball at least 90 miles per hour (MPH).  The Major Baseball League (MBL) could put in a rule that prohibits pitches that are more than 89 MPH.  It's feasible since the speed of all pitches is flashed on the screen immediately.  What do you think?  Will a league run by Allen Huber "Bud" Selig try something so radical but practical?

One problem with this is that it might not protect the pitchers, who may then work extra hard on their Bugs Bunny pitches and put even more stress on their arms.

Here's another of my golden oldie ideas.

Friday, March 9, 2012
12 man pitching rotation

SO% for relief pitchers: 29.8%; for starters 25.8%.

More ammunition for my idea that at least lousy teams like Pittsburgh and Kansas City should try something radically different like a 12 man pitching rotation: three pitchers throw three innings each game.  Forget about trying to match the big spending teams on pitching and spend your limited resources on defense and hitting.  Relief pitchers are a dime a dozen.  Get 14 or so and rotate them as needed.
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Sunday, July 1, 2012
12 man pitching rotation refinement: 2 pitchers at once.

Start one pitcher at first base.  The best mix is a lefty pitcher and a righty pitcher.  Switch them between the mound and first base as needed.  If both pitchers are right handed, then maybe mix a fastballer with a junk baller.  Best would be if the rules permit: switch pitchers during a plate appearance ... as needed:
- mess up a switch hitter
- with the count 0-2, have the breaking ball pitcher throw it; so what if the batter thinks it's coming.

When the first base spot in the batting order comes up, pinch hit and replace with another pitcher as needed.  Even if this is done only in the first three innings, it should provide a competitive advantage.

The basic 12 man pitching rotation is best implemented if the middle pitcher is lefty and the staring and ending pitchers are righty.  That messes up the opposing team's lineup.
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The entire pitching thing has devolved from a nine inning starter to a six inning starter.  Just dump the idea of a starter as a pitcher who throws more than three innings.  Simple, safe and cost effective.  But probably too radical for MBL teams.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Who's on first? Ichiro Suzuki, a Singles King.

Upon completing a plate appearance (PA) Ichiro Suzuki is no further than first base a high percentage of the time: 30.45%.  This excludes events in which he creates an out such as hitting into a force play.  It includes singles (1B), bases on balls (BB) and hit by pitch (HBP).  Click this link to view the data.

By contrast let's look at two of his teammates, one a home run hitter, one not.  All three players have spent their entire careers in the American Conference with the designated hitter rule.

Derek Jeter actually stops at first base in a slightly higher percentage of PA than Suzuki: 30.77%.

Alex Rodriguez stops at first base in 27.75% of PA.

Those differences do seem great but consider their home run rates:
NameABHRAB/HR
Suzuki8,52511077.50
Jeter10,57025641.29
Rodriguez9,72864914.99

Now their on base and slugging averages:
NameOBASLG
Suzuki0.3620.416
Jeter0.3810.477
Rodriguez0.3840.559

Suzuki actually has by far the lowest OBA of the three AND, by a huge margin, the lowest HR rate, only one every 77.5 at bats (AB).  This is reflected in his lower SLG.

Here are the percent of PA in which they stop at a base:


NameFirstSecondThirdHome
Suzuki30.45%3.50%0.90%1.20%
Jeter30.77%4.40%0.55%2.15%
Rodriguez27.75%4.57%0.27%5.78%

Percent of Hits per hit type (example: singles/Hits) and percent of PA resulting in BB:
Name1B2B3BHRBB
Suzuki81.10%11.82%3.05%4.04%5.86%
Jeter74.46%15.84%1.96%7.74%8.74%
Rodriguez59.13%17.61%1.03%22.23%10.89%


81% of Suzuki's hits are singles and only 11.8% are doubles, which contributes to his low SLG.  While Suzuki's triple rate (.9%) is the best of the three, triples account for only 3% of his Hits.

For players leading the league/conference in singles click this link.

Suzuki led the American Conference in singles in:
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010.

Every season for each of ten consecutive seasons.  Jeter led in 1997, 1998, 2012.

Nellie Fox led seven consecutive seasons:
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960.

I do not see any batter who comes close to matching the singleness of Ichiro Suzuki.  Here are the top ten in singles in a season:

Other than Suzuki at numbers 1, 3, 6, 10, the only batters in the top ten since the 1800s are Lloyd Waner (2) and Wade Boggs (9).  2004 is the season in which Suzuki broke the record of George Sisler for most hits in a season.  Suzuki also broke the record for most singles that same season: 85.9% of his 262 Hits in 2004 were singles.  In 1920 Sisler had 171 singles out of 257 hits: 66.5%.

For a minimum 120 hits: 415 player seasons had singles that were at least 85% of the players's hits.  Suzuki at 85.9% in 2004 was number 316 of the 415 seasons.  Roy Thomas had the ranks 1, 3, 11, 18, 20.  His tops was in 1900: 95.%; 168 hits, 161 singles, 4 doubles, 3 triples.  Thomas had career OBA .413, SLG .333 OPS+ 124.  Thomas is the all time singles king but Suzuki is the singles king of recent decades.

Since 1980 Suzuki's 2004 season ranks number 43.  Two seasons exceeded 90%: Steve Sax 1985 (90.4%) and Otis Nixon 1998 (90.2%).

Pete Rose topped out on singles with 181 in 1973 tied at number 18: 78.7% of his hits that season were singles.

Ty Cobb topped out on singles with 169 in 1911 tied at number 62: 68.2% of his hits that season were singles.

Rose led in singles: 1973 (181), 1979, 1981.

Cobb led in singles: 1907, 1909, 1911 (169), 1912, 1915, 1917.

Suzuki may not be the Hit King but he certainly is a Singles King.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ichiro Suzuki and Roger Maris set season records. But how good were they?

Ichiro Suzuki and Roger Maris each broke single season records, which seemed unbreakable and which had stood for decades.  Both records were totals, not averages.

George Sisler had set the record for most hits with 257 in 1920.  That record stood 84 years.  In 2004 Ichiro Suzuki got 262 hits playing a schedule with five percent more games: 162 to 154.

Sisler also led the old American League in 1920 in:
- games 154
- AB 631
- batting average (BA) .407
- total bases (TB) 399

Suzuki also led the American Conference in 2004 in:
- plate appearances (PA) 762
- AB 704
- BA .372
- intentional bases on balls (IBB) 19

Sisler had his personal best BA in 1922: .420.

On base average (OBA):
Sisler .449; personal best 1922: .467
Suzuki .414, his personal best

OPS+:
Sisler 182 personal best
Suzuki 130 personal best

OPS+ career:
Sisler 125
Suzuki 112

1920 OPS+ >=150 and Qualified for league batting title:


Rk Player OPS+ Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Babe Ruth 255 1920 25 NYY AL 142 616 458 158 172 36 9 54 137 150 80 3 5 14 14 .376 .532 .847 1.379 *978/31
2 George Sisler 182 1920 27 SLB AL 154 692 631 137 257 49 18 19 122 46 19 2 13 42 17 .407 .449 .632 1.082 *3/1
3 Shoeless Joe Jackson 172 1920 32 CHW AL 146 649 570 105 218 42 20 12 121 56 14 7 16 9 12 .382 .444 .589 1.033 *7/9
4 Tris Speaker 172 1920 32 CLE AL 150 674 552 137 214 50 11 8 107 97 13 5 20 10 13 .388 .483 .562 1.045 *8
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/23/2013.

2004 OPS+ >=130 and Qualified for league batting title:


Rk Player OPS+ Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Travis Hafner 162 2004 27 CLE AL 140 576 482 96 150 41 3 28 109 68 7 111 17 0 6 11 3 2 .311 .410 .583 .993 *D3
2 Vladimir Guerrero 157 2004 29 ANA AL 156 680 612 124 206 39 2 39 126 52 14 74 8 0 8 19 15 3 .337 .391 .598 .989 *9D
3 Melvin Mora 155 2004 32 BAL AL 140 636 550 111 187 41 0 27 104 66 0 95 11 6 3 10 11 6 .340 .419 .562 .981 *5/6D
4 Manny Ramirez 152 2004 32 BOS AL 152 663 568 108 175 44 0 43 130 82 15 124 6 0 7 17 2 4 .308 .397 .613 1.009 *7D
5 David Ortiz 145 2004 28 BOS AL 150 669 582 94 175 47 3 41 139 75 8 133 4 0 8 12 0 0 .301 .380 .603 .983 *D3
6 Carlos Guillen 143 2004 28 DET AL 136 583 522 97 166 37 10 20 97 52 3 87 2 3 4 12 12 5 .318 .379 .542 .921 *6
7 Gary Sheffield 141 2004 35 NYY AL 154 684 573 117 166 30 1 36 121 92 7 83 11 0 8 16 5 6 .290 .393 .534 .927 *9D/5
8 Erubiel Durazo 138 2004 30 OAK AL 142 578 511 80 164 35 1 22 88 56 9 104 9 0 2 7 3 2 .321 .396 .523 .919 *D/3
9 Ivan Rodriguez 137 2004 32 DET AL 135 575 527 72 176 32 2 19 86 41 6 91 3 0 4 15 7 4 .334 .383 .510 .893 *2/D
10 Hideki Matsui 137 2004 30 NYY AL 162 680 584 109 174 34 2 31 108 88 2 103 3 0 5 11 3 0 .298 .390 .522 .912 *7/8
11 Eric Chavez 134 2004 26 OAK AL 125 577 475 87 131 20 0 29 77 95 10 99 3 0 4 21 6 3 .276 .397 .501 .898 *5/7
12 Mark Teixeira 131 2004 24 TEX AL 145 625 545 101 153 34 2 38 112 68 12 117 10 0 2 6 4 1 .281 .370 .560 .929 *3/9D
13 Alex Rodriguez 131 2004 28 NYY AL 155 698 601 112 172 24 2 36 106 80 6 131 10 0 7 18 28 4 .286 .375 .512 .888 *5/6
14 Jorge Posada 131 2004 32 NYY AL 137 547 449 72 122 31 0 21 81 88 5 92 9 0 1 24 1 3 .272 .400 .481 .881 *2
15 Miguel Tejada 131 2004 30 BAL AL 162 725 653 107 203 40 2 34 150 48 6 73 10 0 14 24 4 1 .311 .360 .534 .894 *6
16 Aaron Rowand 130 2004 26 CHW AL 140 534 487 94 151 38 2 24 69 30 1 91 10 5 2 5 17 5 .310 .361 .544 .905 *89
17 Ichiro Suzuki 130 2004 30 SEA AL 161 762 704 101 262 24 5 8 60 49 19 63 4 2 3 6 36 11 .372 .414 .455 .869 *9/D
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/23/2013.
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Babe Ruth hit 29 home runs in 1919 playing his final season with the Boston Red Sox to set the season record.  The Babe broke his own record three times playing for the New York Yankees:
1920 54; home park: Polo Grounds
1921 59; home park: Polo Grounds
1927 60; home park: Yankee Stadium

Ruth held the record 42 years until Roger Maris broke it in 1961.  As with the record for most hits, the new record was set in a season with five percent more games: 162 to 154.

Ruth also led the old American League in 1927 in:
Runs 158
BB 137
SO 89
OBA .486
SLG .772
OPS 1.258
OPS+ 225

Maris also led the old American League in:
Runs 132
RBI 141
TB 366

1927 OPS+ >=150 and Qualified for league batting title:


Rk Player OPS+ Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Babe Ruth 225 1927 32 NYY AL 151 691 540 158 192 29 8 60 164 137 89 0 14 7 6 .356 .486 .772 1.258 *97
2 Lou Gehrig 220 1927 24 NYY AL 155 717 584 149 218 52 18 47 175 109 84 3 21 10 8 .373 .474 .765 1.240 *3
3 Harry Heilmann 180 1927 32 DET AL 141 596 505 106 201 50 9 14 120 72 16 2 17 11 5 .398 .475 .616 1.091 *9
4 Al Simmons 172 1927 25 PHA AL 106 457 406 86 159 36 11 15 108 31 30 1 20 10 2 .392 .436 .645 1.081 *87/9
Generated 8/23/2013.

1961 OPS+ >=150 and Qualified for league batting title:

Rk Player OPS+ Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Mickey Mantle 206 1961 29 NYY AL 153 646 514 131 163 16 6 54 128 126 9 112 0 1 5 2 12 1 .317 .448 .687 1.135 *8
2 Norm Cash 201 1961 26 DET AL 159 673 535 119 193 22 8 41 132 124 19 85 9 2 2 16 11 5 .361 .487 .662 1.148 *3
3 Jim Gentile 187 1961 27 BAL AL 148 601 486 96 147 25 2 46 141 96 5 106 11 0 8 12 1 1 .302 .423 .646 1.069 *3
4 Roger Maris 167 1961 26 NYY AL 161 698 590 132 159 16 4 61 141 94 0 67 7 0 7 16 0 0 .269 .372 .620 .993 *98
5 Harmon Killebrew 162 1961 25 MIN AL 150 656 541 94 156 20 7 46 122 107 6 109 3 0 5 11 1 2 .288 .405 .606 1.012 *35/7
6 Rocky Colavito 157 1961 27 DET AL 163 708 583 129 169 30 2 45 140 113 2 75 2 2 8 14 1 2 .290 .402 .580 .982 *79
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/23/2013.

Among the six AL players in 1961 who hit at least 40 HR, all except Killbrew had career highs and
Killbrew had a career high to that point in his career.  Maris did not even have the best home run to at bats ratio on his own team; Mickey Mantle did.  In 1961 the AL expanded from 8 to 10 teams.  But before you go all Does Rico Petrocelli make us stupid?, consider that in 1960 Maris hit 26 home runs on the road without Mantle batting behind him most of that season.  In 1961 Maris hit 30 HR at home, 31 on the road.  In 1927 Ruth hit 32 on the road.
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The Maris record has already been broken several times during the steroid era.  I won't get into that here.  The Suzuki record is not likely to be challenged much less broken.  Since 1903 250 hits in a season has been achieved only seven times, once each by seven different players.


Rk Player H Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Ichiro Suzuki 262 2004 30 SEA AL 161 762 704 101 24 5 8 60 49 19 63 4 2 3 6 36 11 .372 .414 .455 .869 *9/D
2 George Sisler 257 1920 27 SLB AL 154 692 631 137 49 18 19 122 46 19 2 13 42 17 .407 .449 .632 1.082 *3/1
3 Bill Terry 254 1930 31 NYG NL 154 708 633 139 39 15 23 129 57 33 1 19 8 .401 .452 .619 1.071 *3
4 Lefty O'Doul 254 1929 32 PHI NL 154 732 638 152 35 6 32 122 76 19 4 13 2 .398 .465 .622 1.087 *79
5 Al Simmons 253 1925 23 PHA AL 153 697 654 122 43 12 24 129 35 41 1 6 7 14 .387 .419 .599 1.018 *8
6 Chuck Klein 250 1930 25 PHI NL 156 721 648 158 59 8 40 170 54 50 4 13 4 .386 .436 .687 1.123 *9
7 Rogers Hornsby 250 1922 26 STL NL 154 704 623 141 46 14 42 152 65 50 1 15 17 12 .401 .459 .722 1.181 *4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/23/2013.

Ichiro Suzuki is the only player to reach 260 hits and the only player since 1930 to reach 250 hits.  Here are those seven again, this time sorted by OPS+:


Rk Player OPS+ H Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Rogers Hornsby 207 250 1922 26 STL NL 154 704 623 141 46 14 42 152 65 50 1 15 17 12 .401 .459 .722 1.181 *4
2 George Sisler 182 257 1920 27 SLB AL 154 692 631 137 49 18 19 122 46 19 2 13 42 17 .407 .449 .632 1.082 *3/1
3 Lefty O'Doul 160 254 1929 32 PHI NL 154 732 638 152 35 6 32 122 76 19 4 13 2 .398 .465 .622 1.087 *79
4 Chuck Klein 159 250 1930 25 PHI NL 156 721 648 158 59 8 40 170 54 50 4 13 4 .386 .436 .687 1.123 *9
5 Bill Terry 158 254 1930 31 NYG NL 154 708 633 139 39 15 23 129 57 33 1 19 8 .401 .452 .619 1.071 *3
6 Al Simmons 149 253 1925 23 PHA AL 153 697 654 122 43 12 24 129 35 41 1 6 7 14 .387 .419 .599 1.018 *8
7 Ichiro Suzuki 130 262 2004 30 SEA AL 161 762 704 101 24 5 8 60 49 19 63 4 2 3 6 36 11 .372 .414 .455 .869 *9/D
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/23/2013.

Suzuki has by far the lowest OPS+.  Suzuki also has the lowest BA and OBA.

Both Suzuki and Maris are flawed record setters.  Even though OPS+ is somewhat biased in favor of slugging over on base average, it still gives a reasonable approximation of a batter's achievement.  Maris leads Suzuki in their record breaking seasons in OPS+ 167 to 130.  That is substantial.

From 1903 through 2012 there have been 200 player seasons with OPS+ at least 175.  This includes multiples by some players.  There have been 47 seasons with OPS+ at least 200.  And four seasons of 255 or higher: top three Barry Bonds, then Ruth.

Maris with 167 is tied for number 320.

Suzuki with 130 is well below number 1,600.

For comparison with three other modern batters with high BA but not a lot of HR:
Wade Boggs: 174; seven seasons 140 or higher
Rod Carew: 178; nine seasons 132 or higher
Tony Gwynn: 169; nine seasons 132 or higher

Suzuki is not close even to them.  He'll be elected to the Hall of Fame but he should not be.  The 4,000 hit thing will help as will his very odd batting style, which seduces some into ignoring his singles heavy numbers.  Suzuki simply does not contribute that much as a batter.

Maris hit 100 home runs in his first two seasons with the Yankees, and each season led the AL in RBI  and edged out Mantle for AL MVP.  In his third Yankee season Maris hit 33 HR with 100 RBI.  That's it.  Clearly Maris should not be elected to the Hall of Fame.