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Saturday, May 9, 2015

How is a milestone marketed?

Beats me.  Maybe like this:
Brand: Camel Manufacturer: R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
Quote: "I've smoked Camels for 8 years. They have the mildness that counts with me." 1941
By Camel Cigarettes [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
When Alex Rodriguez passes Willie Mays in home runs ... Friday, April 24, 2015

OK, May 7, two days ago at Yankee Stadium, Alex Rodriguez passed Willie Mays.  A-Rod was treated the opposite of how he had been in Boston when he tied Mays in home runs at 660.  Yankee fans cheered and even influenced Rodriguez to take a brief curtain call after Rodriguez had gotten impromptu clearance from manager Joe Girardi.  There was even a message displayed very briefly on the scoreboard.

Now what?  Ordinarily, the player's team would have been promoting the inevitable event in order to encourage fans to attend games.  Maybe some thought would have been given to altering the player's appearances in road games to increase the likelihood that the milestone would occur at home.  This was considered by Braves owner Ted Turner over 40 years ago.  Here are the home run leaders through 1973:


Rk Player HR From To Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Tm
1 Babe Ruth 714 1914 1935 19-40 2504 10622 8399 2174 2873 506 136 2214 2062 1330 43 113 2 123 117 .342 .474 .690 1.164 971/H83 BOS-NYY-BSN
2 Hank Aaron 713 1954 1973 20-39 2964 12708 11288 2060 3509 584 96 2133 1258 283 1265 31 19 111 299 239 71 .311 .378 .569 .947 *9873/H45 MLN-ATL
3 Willie Mays 660 1951 1973 20-42 2992 12496 10881 2062 3283 523 140 1903 1464 192 1526 44 13 91 251 338 103 .302 .384 .557 .941 *8H/39675 NYG-SFG-NYM
4 Frank Robinson 552 1956 1973 20-37 2579 10935 9344 1724 2783 496 69 1710 1295 201 1410 188 15 94 254 199 75 .298 .391 .543 .934 973D8/H5 CIN-BAL-LAD-CAL
5 Harmon Killebrew 546 1954 1973 18-37 2207 9082 7502 1230 1950 270 24 1486 1460 150 1568 47 0 71 226 18 16 .260 .381 .521 .901 357H/4D9 WSH-MIN
6 Mickey Mantle 536 1951 1968 19-36 2401 9907 8102 1676 2415 344 72 1509 1733 126 1710 13 14 47 113 153 38 .298 .421 .557 .977 *8397H/645 NYY
7 Jimmie Foxx 534 1925 1945 17-37 2317 9676 8134 1751 2646 458 125 1922 1452 1311 13 71 69 87 73 .325 .428 .609 1.038 *35H2/7916 PHA-BOS-CHC-PHI
8 Ted Williams 521 1939 1960 20-41 2292 9788 7706 1798 2654 525 71 1839 2021 86 709 39 5 20 197 24 17 .344 .482 .634 1.116 *79H/1 BOS
9 Ernie Banks 512 1953 1971 22-40 2528 10394 9421 1305 2583 407 90 1636 763 198 1236 70 45 96 229 50 53 .274 .330 .500 .830 36/H57 CHC
10 Eddie Mathews 512 1952 1968 20-36 2391 10100 8537 1509 2315 354 72 1453 1444 107 1487 26 36 58 123 68 39 .271 .376 .509 .885 *53/H7 BSN-MLN-ATL-HOU-DET
11 Mel Ott 511 1926 1947 17-38 2730 11348 9456 1859 2876 488 72 1860 1708 896 64 109 82 89 .304 .414 .533 .947 *95H8/74 NYG
12 Lou Gehrig 493 1923 1939 20-36 2164 9663 8001 1888 2721 534 163 1995 1508 790 45 106 2 102 100 .340 .447 .632 1.080 *3/H976 NYY
13 Stan Musial 475 1941 1963 20-42 3026 12717 10972 1949 3630 725 177 1951 1599 127 696 53 35 53 243 78 31 .331 .417 .559 .976 3798H/1 STL
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/9/2015.

Mays was already retired and Aaron was only one homer behind Ruth.  Aaron had long since past Ruth in at bats: 11,288 to 8,399.

Thursday, April 4, 1974, Riverfront Stadium
Attendance: 52,154, Time of Game: 3:09
Reds 7, Braves 6

HR: H Aaron (1, off Jack Billingham, 1st inn, 2 on, 1 out to LF-CF).


As you can see Aaron had the ill timing to tie the Babe in his very first plate appearance in 1974 and he did it on the road in Cincinnati.  Fortunately for Turner, Aaron did not break the record in that game.  Aaron did not play in game two (attendance 17, 703) two days later, which the Braves lost 7-5.

The Braves had one more game in Cincinnati before heading home to Atlanta to play the Dodgers.  Turner considered having Aaron benched again but commissioner Bowie Kuhn forbade it and Aaron started in game three:

Sunday, April 7, 1974, Riverfront Stadium
Attendance: 35,588, Time of Game: 2:00
Braves 5, Reds 3


Aaron batted three times, the last in the 5th inning: no hits, two strike outs.  With the Braves leading 5-3 going to the bottom of the 7th, Rowland Office replaced Aaron batting clean up.  Office was the third batter in the 8th; all three struck out.

Monday, April 8, 1974, Atlanta Stadium
Attendance: 53,775, Time of Game: 2:27
Braves 7, Dodgers 4

HR: H Aaron (2, off Al Downing, 4th inn, 1 on, 0 outs to Deep LF).


Aaron walked in the second inning then hit number 715 in his second plate appearance at home in 1974.  Ted Turner had just that one packed house.  Rowland Office replaced Aaron again, this time for the top of the 8th with the Braves leading 7-4.  The next night the Braves lost 9-2 before 10,648 fans; Aaron did not play.

Aaron was lauded during a break in the game after he hit 715 but I don't know what else was done.  When Derek Jeter was approaching hit number 3,000, a milestone but not a record, the Yankees made the most of it, I guess.  These days, there's a lot more memorabilia manufactured and sold.  I guess money was made on commemorative tee shirts, etc.  How much?  Beats me.  TV ratings may have improved, too.

The issue with Rodriguez seems to have been a way for the team and player to address a gap in the new contract being negotiated eight years ago.  It's my general understanding that Rodriguez wanted $300 million for ten years and the Yankees were willing to pay $270 million.  A separate contract was dreamed up giving the Yankees the right to make money marketing, whatever that means, milestone home runs hit by Rodriguez.  Specifically, $6 million would be paid to Rodriguez for reaching 700 home runs and for each of four players he passed in career home runs: Mays, Ruth, Aaron, Bonds.

Given that the Yankees made such a big deal about Jeter getting 3,000 hits, it's odd that they tied A-Rod's bonuses exclusively to home runs.  Didn't they realize that A-Rod, too, would reach 3,000 hits?  And unlike Jeter, A-Rod would likely also reach 2,000 RBI and 2,000 Runs.  Even having missed 2014 because of his performance enhancing drug (PED) suspension Rodriguez is fast approaching 2,000 RBI and 3,000 hits.  What will the Yankees do about them?  And if they do something, won't that undermine their argument that Rodriguez ruined the value of his home run milestones?  If the Yankees do nothing about RBI and Hits, then the Steinbrenner Kids are dumber than even I thought.

Here are the 23 players with at least 500 home runs through 2007.  Rodriguez was number 17 with 518.  Ken Griffey, Jr. had 593 and was the only other player likely to join the five who already had at least 600.  Why wasn't 600 a bonus milestone for Rodriguez?


Rk Player HR From To Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Tm
1 Barry Bonds 762 1986 2007 21-42 2986 12606 9847 2227 2935 601 77 1996 2558 688 1539 106 4 91 165 514 141 .298 .444 .607 1.051 *78H/D9 PIT-SFG
2 Hank Aaron 755 1954 1976 20-42 3298 13941 12364 2174 3771 624 98 2297 1402 293 1383 32 21 121 328 240 73 .305 .374 .555 .928 *9783DH/45 MLN-ATL-MIL
3 Babe Ruth 714 1914 1935 19-40 2504 10622 8399 2174 2873 506 136 2214 2062 1330 43 113 2 123 117 .342 .474 .690 1.164 971/H83 BOS-NYY-BSN
4 Willie Mays 660 1951 1973 20-42 2992 12496 10881 2062 3283 523 140 1903 1464 192 1526 44 13 91 251 338 103 .302 .384 .557 .941 *8H/39675 NYG-SFG-NYM
5 Sammy Sosa 609 1989 2007 20-38 2354 9896 8813 1475 2408 379 45 1667 929 154 2306 59 17 78 202 234 107 .273 .344 .534 .878 *98D/H7 CHW-CHC-BAL-TEX
6 Ken Griffey 593 1989 2007 19-37 2378 10167 8826 1545 2558 473 37 1701 1162 230 1593 77 8 94 177 184 68 .290 .374 .553 .927 *89/HD73 SEA-CIN
7 Frank Robinson 586 1956 1976 20-40 2808 11742 10006 1829 2943 528 72 1812 1420 218 1532 198 17 102 270 204 77 .294 .389 .537 .926 97D3H8/5 CIN-BAL-LAD-CAL-CLE
8 Mark McGwire 583 1986 2001 22-37 1874 7660 6187 1167 1626 252 6 1414 1317 150 1596 75 3 78 147 12 8 .263 .394 .588 .982 *3/HD59 OAK-STL
9 Harmon Killebrew 573 1954 1975 18-39 2435 9833 8147 1283 2086 290 24 1584 1559 160 1699 48 0 77 243 19 18 .256 .376 .509 .884 357DH/49 WSH-MIN-KCR
10 Rafael Palmeiro 569 1986 2005 21-40 2831 12046 10472 1663 3020 585 38 1835 1353 172 1348 87 15 119 232 97 40 .288 .371 .515 .885 *3D7/H98 CHC-TEX-BAL
11 Reggie Jackson 563 1967 1987 21-41 2820 11418 9864 1551 2584 463 49 1702 1375 164 2597 96 13 68 183 228 115 .262 .356 .490 .846 *9D8H/7 KCA-OAK-BAL-NYY-CAL
12 Mike Schmidt 548 1972 1989 22-39 2404 10062 8352 1506 2234 408 59 1595 1507 201 1883 79 16 108 156 174 92 .267 .380 .527 .908 *53/H64 PHI
13 Mickey Mantle 536 1951 1968 19-36 2401 9907 8102 1676 2415 344 72 1509 1733 126 1710 13 14 47 113 153 38 .298 .421 .557 .977 *8397H/645 NYY
14 Jimmie Foxx 534 1925 1945 17-37 2317 9676 8134 1751 2646 458 125 1922 1452 1311 13 71 69 87 73 .325 .428 .609 1.038 *35H2/7916 PHA-BOS-CHC-PHI
15 Willie McCovey 521 1959 1980 21-42 2588 9692 8197 1229 2211 353 46 1555 1345 260 1550 69 5 70 176 26 22 .270 .374 .515 .889 *3H7/9D SFG-SDP-OAK
16 Ted Williams 521 1939 1960 20-41 2292 9788 7706 1798 2654 525 71 1839 2021 86 709 39 5 20 197 24 17 .344 .482 .634 1.116 *79H/1 BOS
17 Alex Rodriguez 518 1994 2007 18-31 1904 8482 7350 1501 2250 395 26 1503 915 70 1524 127 16 74 173 265 64 .306 .389 .578 .967 *65/DH SEA-TEX-NYY
18 Frank Thomas 513 1990 2007 22-39 2251 9786 7953 1467 2409 488 11 1674 1628 168 1340 84 0 120 217 32 23 .303 .421 .561 .982 *D3/H CHW-OAK-TOR
19 Ernie Banks 512 1953 1971 22-40 2528 10394 9421 1305 2583 407 90 1636 763 198 1236 70 45 96 229 50 53 .274 .330 .500 .830 36/H57 CHC
20 Eddie Mathews 512 1952 1968 20-36 2391 10100 8537 1509 2315 354 72 1453 1444 107 1487 26 36 58 123 68 39 .271 .376 .509 .885 *53/H7 BSN-MLN-ATL-HOU-DET
21 Mel Ott 511 1926 1947 17-38 2730 11348 9456 1859 2876 488 72 1860 1708 896 64 109 82 89 .304 .414 .533 .947 *95H8/74 NYG
22 Jim Thome 507 1991 2007 20-36 2011 8427 6841 1338 1925 369 24 1398 1459 150 2043 62 1 64 120 18 20 .281 .409 .565 .974 *35D/H CLE-PHI-CHW
23 Eddie Murray 504 1977 1997 21-41 3026 12817 11336 1627 3255 560 35 1917 1333 222 1516 18 2 128 315 110 43 .287 .359 .476 .836 *3D/H57 BAL-NYM-CLE-LAD-ANA
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/9/2015.

Through 2007 here are the number of players with at least these numbers of hits:
3,000: 24
2,500: 75
2,000: 200

101: Jeter 2,356
128: Rodriguez 2,250 - only 106 behind Jeter

Rodriguez also had:
1,503 RBI - now 1,988
1,501 Runs - now 1,935
Oh, and Rodriguez now has 2,963 Hits.

What the heck are the Steinbrenner Kids thinking?  Just how dumb are they?  They denigrate and belittle their biggest star and one of the all time greats.  What the heck?

More on the selling of Derek Jeter. Sunday, September 7, 2014

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