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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mickey Mantle Home Run Rate final two seasons: 7th, 9th. Who knew?

Mickey Mantle was a shadow of the great hitter that he had been from 1952 through 1964 in his final seasons: 1965-1968. But here is something that I just noticed about his Home Run (HR) Rate (AB/HR):

1952 AL  23.9 (10th) 
1953 AL  22.0 (6th) 
1954 AL  20.1 (4th) 
1955 AL  14.0 (2nd) 
1956 AL  10.3 (1st) 
1957 AL  13.9 (3rd) 
1958 AL  12.4 (2nd) 
1959 AL  17.5 (5th) 
1960 AL  13.2 (2nd) 
1961 AL  9.5 (1st) 
1962 AL  12.6 (2nd) 
1964 AL  13.3 (3rd) 
1967 AL  20.0 (7th) 
1968 AL  24.2 (9th) 
Career  15.1 (15th)

Statue of Mickey Mantle at the Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City by Brokentaco via Wikimedia Commons
Mantle was 7th and 9th in his final two seasons. Recent posts here have highlighted this very overlooked stat and also the general topic of criteria for qualifying for leading a league in a rate/average stat. Here are his plate appearances (PA), AB, HR:
1967: 553, 440, 22
1968: 547, 435, 18

502 PA qualifies a batter for an average stat but other than a stat like on base percentage (average) the opportunities variable is AB and a hitter should have enough AB or enough accomplishments (HR here) to qualify. Here is where Mantle ranked in AB and HR:
1967: 49, 8
1968: 47,13

Mantle is way down in AB and should not qualify on the basis of opportunities. However, his being in the top ten in HR in 1967 should definitely qualify him and even his number 13 rank in 1968 could do the trick.

Obviously, the gap between Mantle's PA and AB is mostly bases on balls (BB). Amazingly, Mantle was second in BB in each of his final two seasons.

1952 AL  75 (7th) 
1953 AL  79 (7th) 
1954 AL  102 (3rd) 
1955 AL  113 (1st) 
1956 AL  112 (2nd) 
1957 AL  146 (1st) 
1958 AL  129 (1st) 
1959 AL  93 (3rd) 
1960 AL  111 (2nd) 
1961 AL  126 (1st) 
1962 AL  122 (1st) 
1964 AL  99 (2nd) 
1965 AL  73 (6th) 
1967 AL  107 (2nd) 
1968 AL  106 (2nd) 
Career  1,733 (8th)

Only Harmon Killebrew (131 in 1967) and Carl Yastrzemski (119 in 1968) had more BB. Teams feared Mantle more than they should and that gave him On Base average ranks 5 (.391) and 3 (.385); career: .421. That boosted Mantle's OPS+ to 7th and 8th.

1952 AL  162 (2nd) 
1953 AL  144 (5th) 
1954 AL  158 (2nd) 
1955 AL  180 (1st) 
1956 AL  210 (1st) 
1957 AL  221 (2nd) 
1958 AL  188 (1st) 
1959 AL  151 (1st) 
1960 AL  162 (1st) 
1961 AL  206 (1st) 
1962 AL  195 (1st) 
1964 AL  177 (1st) 
1967 AL  149 (7th) 
1968 AL  143 (8th) 
Career  172 (6th)

Mantle retired after 1968, his age 36 season, because he couldn't hit like he used to. He was correct. Opposing teams just could not quite trust that it was so.

Ted Williams in 1954 second in home runs, which should qualify him for HR Rate. Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Mantle's stats from baseball-reference.com.

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