Thursday, February 22, 2007

First Post: At Bats....

My Man Kevin sent this along today. It was the message that finally sent me over the edge. "Gotta get that Giants blog up and running," I said to nobody in particular.

So, here is the first post on our brand new Giants blog The Cha Cha Bowl, courtesy of Kevin.

It'll be re-posted under his own name once he gets his account all up and running.
I'm a history buff. Especially when it comes to baseball.

I'm scanning through various numbers and am generally impressed with the production of some ballplayers. Not guys who play ball but ballplayers.

I'm going over Hank Greenberg's career and see a couple of years where he didn't get many at-bats but he played during the second World War so I figure he lost considerable time (as did Ted Williams) to the military service.

Then I come across Lou Gehrig, the Iron Horse, damn this guy had a considerable tally of statistics during a phenomenal 14-year run that spanned from 1925-1938. And we all know it took an incurable disease to get him to stop playing.

Well, when Mr. Gehrig retired, he had 1,995 runs batted in.

Barry Bonds has 1,930 going into this season. For Bonds not to reach the Iron Horse would mean he chose to play one year more than he should have, because 65 has to be well within his reach. Of course, even though no player has ever been put on base (walked) more than Barry Bonds, at-bats play a key role whenever people are inebriated enough to discuss, "Who's da greatest, mang?"

All of Lou Gehrig's stats were done in just 8,001 at-bats.

Every player ahead of him, all-time, had a considerably greater number of at-bats, with the exception of only Babe Ruth. (Which further proves how great Ruth was. We all know he "toed the slab" before he was made into an outfielder, but the Bambino only had 8,399 at-bats, still he had 398 more than Lou.)

All-time RBI leader is Hammerin' Hank Aaron at 2,297. Aaron had 12,364 at-bats. And no military for Aaron and playing in cigar box-sized stadiums made his homer totals reach the level they did. But the man was a rope -- as his RBI total proves. But it should be duly noted that the most Aaron was ever walked in one season was 92 (1972). Ruth and Bonds could only wish they had gotten the same opportunities to bat versus bases on balls. (Bonds-2,426 walks and counting...Ruth 2,062...Know who is second all-time behind Barry Bonds? Rickey Henderson at 2,190. In contrast, that gave him more opportunity to steal a base..why would you walk a base stealer? So his SB totals were handed to him, sort of.)

I'm not knocking anyone great enough to enter the hallowed halls of Cooperstown but it should be recognized that at-bats are crucial to the final assessment of someone. If you get more chances and you're a great player, you WILL produce the necessary numbers. As much as Major League baseball won't let Pete Rose into it's Hall of Fame, teams did offer him plenty of opportunity to surpass the much maligned Ty Cobb in all-time base hits.

Pete Rose had 14,053 at-bats to Ty Cobb's 11,429 AB's.

Pete Rose 4,256 hits

Ty Cobb 4,191 hits. A difference of 65 hits.

2,624 more at-bats equalled 65 hits.

Clearly an asterisk -- of some kind -- needs to go by this all-time record. Although, with Pete Rose, perhaps an ASSteroid would be more apropos.

Aaron had 12,364 at-bats in his career.

Bonds has 9,507 at-bats and counting.

We are seeing greatness when you compare the numbers.

Can Barry keep it up? Last year he came off an injury-plagued season for the first time in his career and measured when to kick it in gear. Let's see if he can adjust his throttle and keep the pedal to the metal for an entire campaign.

Aaron had some real good hitting Brave teams to support him and he delivered the RBI. His homers merely came due to the many opportunities, the size of his home field and the fact that the Hammer could hit.

I recall Ron Fairly saying how Henry never hit the majestic blast. His barely got over the fence, but they got OVER the fence. Again and again.