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Friday, January 31, 2014

Larry Walker: would he be more suspicious to steroid zealots if he had hit 62 homers in 1997?

Larry Walker is failing to get support by Hall of Fame voting writers for two reasons:
1. suspicion that he used performance enhancing drugs (PED), including steroids
2. he benefited from playing home games in the mile high city of Denver, Colorado 1995-2004.

Thursday, January 30, 2014  At least 25 road homers but fewer than 50. Could they have hit 50 homers playing only on the road?

When the road HR rate is applied to total AB 39 of 59 increase to at least 50 HR led by Larry Walker in 1997 with Colorado zooming from 49 to 62, the only batter to reach 60...

The road rate applied to Maris in 1961 would have reduced him from 61 to 59.
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In case you were wondering about Mark McGwire in 1997: he would have dropped from 58 home runs (HR) to 52.  See:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014  50 homers home/road splits. How many would they hit without their home park?

Maris drops from 61 to 59.  Roger never gets a break.  The Babe is sitting pretty at 60 because his home/road splits in 1927 were almost identical.
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Walker had 51% (4,076/8,030) of his plate appearances (PA) as a members of the Colorado Rockies.  32% (2,531/8,030) of his PA were in Colorado; 30 in Mile High Stadium, the rest in Coors Field, some of which may have been as a visiting member of the St. Louis Cardinals 2004-2005.

Suppose that Walker had played only in road parks in 1997 and hit 62 HR.  Would that help or hurt him with steroid zealots?

1. Larry Walker would have broken the season home run record of 60 set by Babe Ruth in 1927.
2. Walker would have done it in spite of Coors Field and the altitude of Denver.
3. Walker would have been one year ahead of McGwire and his home run race partner Sammy Sosa.

Looking only at performance in road parks does not negate the utter stupidity of the non-uniform playing areas but it provides a much better insight.  As that relates to the home run record, it's not the same for all players.  Only Walker's teammates get to play in the same home park.  And even that is not always even.

In 1961 Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle were Yankee teammates, both challenging the HR record.  But Maris was a lefty batter and Mantle a switch hitter.  When batting right handed in Yankee Stadium Mantle was hitting towards a much longer distance in left, his pull field.

Mantle for his career (pitcher handedness is used because he batted righty v. righty a few times on the road):
AB/HR (lower is better)
19.51 home v. lefties
13.12 home v. righties
15.15 road v. lefties
15.33 road v. righties

Mantle (bold is career best):
YearTotvLhomevLroadvRhomevRroad
19619.523.010.76.99.1

Maris in 1961: 9.3 home, 10 road.  Maris was much more balanced than most tend to think.

Steroid zealots are concerned almost exclusively with the home record and even there only with a count, not an average per AB or some form of HR+ in which difficulty of era and park in HR hitting are considered.  Truth, justice and the American way (Superman) are used as excuses for their protecting a record that is ridiculous.

Home run records are ridiculous because they are a count of long hits over walls of different distances and different heights even in the same park.  It's completely ridiculous!  The non-uniform playing areas undermine the integrity of baseball much more than players using PED.  Non-uniform playing areas undermine and make ridiculous the most cherished record in American team sports, the home run.

Note the lack of concern about players who used performance decreasing drugs, legal and illegal.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

At least 25 road homers but fewer than 50. Could they have hit 50 homers playing only on the road?

Donn Clendenon: could he have hit 50 homers in 1966 playing only on the road? What about all batters with at least 25 road homers but fewer than 50?  Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Donn Clendenon hit 25 home runs (HR) on the road in 1966 playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates...

Now I will examine batters who hit at least 25 HR on the road but did not hit 50 HR for the season to determine whether playing only on the road they could have reached 50 HR.

Click link to view details; tab "25 HR road but < 50 total" is sorted by total HR...

Clendenon homered every 90.7 at bats (AB) at home, every 12 AB on the road: 87 percent better on road.  Percent of home HR: 11.

Clendenon hit only three HR at home for a total of 28, the lowest of any of the 59 seasons with at least 25 HR on the road but fewer than 50 HR for the season.
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Please read the post above in its entirety before continuing.  This post is really a continuation.

48 different players, including both named Frank Thomas, hit at least 25 HR on the road but fewer than 50 HR in a season; it was done 59 times.  Eight players who did it it multiple times:
PlayerCountMaxHRroadMinHRroadMaxHRyear
Albert Pujols4282549
Hank Aaron3272545
Harmon Killebrew2282548
Eddie Mathews2302647
Mark McGwire2282549
Carlos Delgado2272644
Jose Canseco2282644
Barry Bonds2272546

50 HR have been hit 43 times by 27 different players.

29 of the 59 hit at least ten more homers on the road (HRh-r).  Those with at least 15 more on the road:

Player Year Team HRyear HRhome HRroad HRh-r AB/HRh AB/HRr Rate H-R Rate % Dif HR%h Age bats First Last PlayerID AByear ABhome ABroad
Donn Clendenon 1966 PIT 28 3 25 -22 90.7 12. 78.7 .87 .11 31 R Donn Clendenon clenddo01 571 272 299
Jeff Bagwell 1999 HOU 42 12 30 -18 23.1 9.5 13.6 .59 .29 31 R Jeff Bagwell bagweje01 562 277 285
Matt Williams 1997 CLE 32 7 25 -18 38.9 13. 25.9 .67 .22 32 R Matt Williams willima04 596 272 324
Jason Giambi 2003 NYA 41 12 29 -17 21.1 9.7 11.4 .54 .29 32 L Jason Giambi giambja01 535 253 282
Frank Thomas 1958 PIT 35 9 26 -17 30.4 11.1 19.3 .63 .26 29 R Frank Thomas thomafr03 562 274 288
Adrian Gonzalez 2009 SDN 40 12 28 -16 21.5 10.5 11. .51 .3 27 L Adrian Gonzalez gonzaad01 552 258 294
Alex Rodriguez 2000 SEA 41 13 28 -15 20.4 10.3 10.1 .5 .32 25 R Alex Rodriguez rodrial01 554 265 289
Jeff Kent 2002 SFN 37 11 26 -15 27.1 12.5 14.6 .54 .3 34 R Jeff Kent kentje01 623 298 325

Two of the top five above were right handed batters in Pittsburgh: Clendenon and the first Frank Thomas, who held the Met record for homers in a season with 34 from 1962 through 1974.  The surprise above is Jason Giambi.  Not that he hit 29 HR on the road but that he did it playing his home games in Yankee Stadium, a park which contradicts its reputation for rewarding lefty home run hitters more than expected.

9 times a batter in this group had a HR rate at least 50% better on the road (Rate % Dif), led by Clendenon at 87%:

Player Year Team HRyear HRhome HRroad HRh-r AB/HRh AB/HRr Rate H-R Rate % Dif HR%h Age bats First Last PlayerID AByear ABhome ABroad
Donn Clendenon 1966 PIT 28 3 25 -22 90.7 12. 78.7 .87 .11 31 R Donn Clendenon clenddo01 571 272 299
Matt Williams 1997 CLE 32 7 25 -18 38.9 13. 25.9 .67 .22 32 R Matt Williams willima04 596 272 324
Frank Thomas 1958 PIT 35 9 26 -17 30.4 11.1 19.3 .63 .26 29 R Frank Thomas thomafr03 562 274 288
Jeff Bagwell 1999 HOU 42 12 30 -18 23.1 9.5 13.6 .59 .29 31 R Jeff Bagwell bagweje01 562 277 285
Jason Giambi 2003 NYA 41 12 29 -17 21.1 9.7 11.4 .54 .29 32 L Jason Giambi giambja01 535 253 282
Jeff Kent 2002 SFN 37 11 26 -15 27.1 12.5 14.6 .54 .3 34 R Jeff Kent kentje01 623 298 325
Ted Williams 1957 BOS 38 12 26 -14 17.2 8.2 9. .52 .32 39 L Ted Williams willite01 420 206 214
Adrian Gonzalez 2009 SDN 40 12 28 -16 21.5 10.5 11. .51 .3 27 L Adrian Gonzalez gonzaad01 552 258 294
Alex Rodriguez 2000 SEA 41 13 28 -15 20.4 10.3 10.1 .50 .32 25 R Alex Rodriguez rodrial01 554 265 289

12 of 59 had no more than 33% of homers at home (HR%h)Clendenon lowest at 11%:

Player Year Team HRyear HRhome HRroad HRh-r AB/HRh AB/HRr Rate H-R Rate % Dif HR%h Age bats First Last PlayerID AByear ABhome ABroad
Donn Clendenon 1966 PIT 28 3 25 -22 90.7 12. 78.7 .87 .11 31 R Donn Clendenon clenddo01 571 272 299
Matt Williams 1997 CLE 32 7 25 -18 38.9 13. 25.9 .67 .22 32 R Matt Williams willima04 596 272 324
Frank Thomas 1958 PIT 35 9 26 -17 30.4 11.1 19.3 .63 .26 29 R Frank Thomas thomafr03 562 274 288
Jeff Bagwell 1999 HOU 42 12 30 -18 23.1 9.5 13.6 .59 .29 31 R Jeff Bagwell bagweje01 562 277 285
Jason Giambi 2003 NYA 41 12 29 -17 21.1 9.7 11.4 .54 .29 32 L Jason Giambi giambja01 535 253 282
Jeff Kent 2002 SFN 37 11 26 -15 27.1 12.5 14.6 .54 .3 34 R Jeff Kent kentje01 623 298 325
Adrian Gonzalez 2009 SDN 40 12 28 -16 21.5 10.5 11. .51 .3 27 L Adrian Gonzalez gonzaad01 552 258 294
Ted Williams 1957 BOS 38 12 26 -14 17.2 8.2 9. .52 .32 39 L Ted Williams willite01 420 206 214
Alex Rodriguez 2000 SEA 41 13 28 -15 20.4 10.3 10.1 .5 .32 25 R Alex Rodriguez rodrial01 554 265 289
Carlos Delgado 2001 TOR 39 13 26 -13 21.6 11.3 10.3 .48 .33 29 L Carlos Delgado delgaca01 574 281 293
Roger Maris 1960 NYA 39 13 26 -13 17.8 10.3 7.5 .42 .33 26 L Roger Maris marisro01 499 232 267
Jay Buhner 1997 SEA 40 13 27 -14 18.7 11. 7.7 .41 .33 33 R Jay Buhner buhneja01 540 243 297

Note Roger Maris in 1960.

7 of 59 had road HR rates (AB/HR; lower is better) less than 10 (AB/HRr), led by Barry Bonds at 8:

Player Year Team HRyear HRhome HRroad HRh-r AB/HRh AB/HRr Rate H-R Rate % Dif HR%h Age bats First Last PlayerID AByear ABhome ABroad
Barry Bonds 2002 SFN 46 19 27 -8 9.9 8. 1.9 .19 .41 38 L Barry Bonds bondsba01 403 188 215
Ted Williams 1957 BOS 38 12 26 -14 17.2 8.2 9. .52 .32 39 L Ted Williams willite01 420 206 214
Jim Gentile 1961 BAL 46 16 30 -14 14.3 8.6 5.7 .4 .35 27 L Jim Gentile gentiji01 486 228 258
Larry Walker 1997 COL 49 20 29 -9 15.1 9.2 5.9 .39 .41 31 L Larry Walker walkela01 568 302 266
Jeff Bagwell 1999 HOU 42 12 30 -18 23.1 9.5 13.6 .59 .29 31 R Jeff Bagwell bagweje01 562 277 285
Jason Giambi 2003 NYA 41 12 29 -17 21.1 9.7 11.4 .54 .29 32 L Jason Giambi giambja01 535 253 282
Frank Thomas 1995 CHA 40 15 25 -10 16.5 9.8 6.7 .41 .38 27 R Frank Thomas thomafr04 493 247 246

When the road HR rate is applied to total AB 39 of 59 increase to at least 50 HR led by Larry Walker in 1997 with Colorado zooming from 49 to 62, the only batter to reach 60.  Donn Clendenon was not among the 39 but he improved from 28 to 48.


Only one player dropped: Babe Ruth 1929 from 46 to 44.6.  Ruth's AB were skewed: 219 home, 280 road.  Homers: 21 home, 25 road.

Joe DiMaggio finally overcame the vast left and center field of Yankee Stadium in his day, improving on his 1937 46 to 53.

Albert Pujols had the most shots, hitting on two of four:
2004 46 to 56
2006 49 to 50
2009 47 to 48

2010 42 to 47.

Hank Aaron reached 50 on 2 of his 3:
1957 44 to 51
1962 45 to 52
1963 44 to 48.

Lou Gehrig got there: 1930 from 41 to 51.

Roger Maris not quite: 1960 from 39 to 49.

Ted Williams jumped from 38 to 51 in 1957 to go with his .388 batting average.

Both players named Frank Thomas got to 50, the elder from 35 in 1958, the younger from 40 in 1995.

Nine moved up to at least 55 HR (HRonlyRoad), including Mark McGwire in 1987, his rookie season, from 49 to 56.

Player Year Team HRyear AB/HRr AByear HRonlyRoad Dif HRhome HRroad ABhome ABroad
Larry Walker 1997 COL 49 9.2 568 61.7 12.7 20 29 302 266
Jeff Bagwell 1999 HOU 42 9.5 562 59.2 17.2 12 30 277 285
Shawn Green 2001 LAN 49 10.7 619 57.9 8.9 19 30 299 320
Eddie Mathews 1953 ML1 47 10. 579 57.9 10.9 17 30 279 300
Jim Gentile 1961 BAL 46 8.6 486 56.5 10.5 16 30 228 258
Albert Pujols 2004 SLN 46 10.6 592 55.8 9.8 18 28 295 297
Mark McGwire 1987 OAK 49 10. 557 55.7 6.7 21 28 278 279
George Bell 1987 TOR 47 11. 610 55.5 8.5 19 28 302 308
Jason Giambi 2003 NYA 41 9.7 535 55.2 14.2 12 29 253 282


Seven Yankees sorted by year:


Player Year Team HRyear AB/HRr AByear HRonlyRoad Dif HRhome HRroad ABhome ABroad
Babe Ruth 1929 NYA 46 11.2 499 44.6 -1.4 21 25 219 280
Lou Gehrig 1930 NYA 41 11.5 581 50.5 9.5 14 27 270 311
Joe DiMaggio 1937 NYA 46 11.7 621 53.1 7.1 19 27 306 315
Roger Maris 1960 NYA 39 10.3 499 48.4 9.4 13 26 232 267
Reggie Jackson 1980 NYA 41 10.3 514 49.9 8.9 16 25 256 258
Tino Martinez 1997 NYA 44 12.1 594 49.1 5.1 18 26 280 314
Jason Giambi 2003 NYA 41 9.7 535 55.2 14.2 12 29 253 282

All but Ruth improved with 3 of 7 reaching 50 HR.  Yankee Stadium might not have been the HR haven some had thought for lefty batters.  DiMaggio was the only righty.

In addition to Maris hitting 61 (31 road) in 1961 and teammate Mickey Mantle hitting 54 (30 road), the old American League might have had two more over 50.  The road rate applied to Maris in 1961 would have reduced him from 61 to 59.  Mantle would have remained at 54.


Player Year Team HRyear AB/HRr AByear HRonlyRoad Dif HRhome HRroad ABhome ABroad
Jim Gentile 1961 BAL 46 8.6 486 56.5 10.5 16 30 228 258
Rocky Colavito 1961 DET 45 11.2 583 52.1 7.1 18 27 280 303