Monday, July 11, 2011

A Pretty Exclusive Club

Though the only 2011 starting MLB lineup I could rhyme off is that of the Yankees, you know you can count on me to put modern events into historical perspective. So here goes.

June 28, 2007 Craig Biggio, who was hitting under .240 goes 5-for-6 and his third single of the night is his 3,000th hit. How could you top that? Well leave it to Derek Jeter, one of the great clutch hitters of all time.

He was coming off an injury and having a pretty mediocre season to-date There were just two home games left before the All-Star break and an 8-game road trip. After all the hype you knew he'd like to get it at home. So, Jeter went 5-5 to better Biggio and also got his 3,000th on a homer. The only other 3,000 hit club member to homer for 3,000 was Wade Boggs, who also did it against the Devil Rays.

The list of players with 3,000 hits can be divided fairly evenly between old-timers, players from the 60s and 70s (including Rod Carew – the only one to reach 3,000 in the 80s), and 'modern' ballplayers.

The old-timers include Cobb, Musial, Speaker, Honus Wagner, Eddie Collins, Nap Lajoie, Paul Waner, and Cap Anson.

The 60s to 80s list features Rose, Aaron, Yastrzemski, Mays, Carew, Lou Brock, Al Kaline, and Roberto Clemente.

The modern list includes Paul Molitor, Cal Ripken Jr., Eddie Murray, George Brett, Robin Yount, Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield, Craig Biggio, Rickey Henderson, Rafael Palmeiro, Wade Boggs, and now Derek Jeter.

Who got there fastest? Stan Musial, in just 8,774 at bats. So he was hitting a career .342 at the time. Who took the longest? Cal Ripken Jr. took 10,803 at bats. So he was hitting just .278 lifetime when he reached 3,000. In the past 75 years who is the member with the highest career average? Of course it's Tony Gwynn – at .338.

Who's next in line among modern players after Jeter? That would be Ivan Rodriguez, now with the Washington Nationals – he's about 150 away. Next are Omar Vizquel, A-Rod, and, surprisingly, Johnny Damon.

Who are the only members of the club not in the Hall of Fame? Rose, Jeter, and Craig Biggio, who retired in 2007.

Who just about made it but didn't? Sam Rice of the Senators fell thirteen hits short. Sam Crawford, Frank Robinson, Barry Bonds, Wee Willie Keeler, Rogers Hornsby, Al Simmons, and Jake Beckley all had more than 2,900. And before you dismiss Beckley, a .308 hitter, keep in mind that his 2,930 hits included a whopping 246 triples. But a lot of his hits were bunt singles. To deaden the ball, 'Old Eagle Eye' would flip the bat around and bunt with the handle!

Mel Ott, Babe Ruth, Harold Baines, and Brooks Robinson, had over 2,800. Because of his premature death Lou Gehrig reached just 2,721 and missing seasons due to WWII and Korea left Ted Williams at 2,654.

It takes longevity (such as Aaron and Ripken) and it takes a lot of skill too. Hard to believe Jeter is the one and only Yankee in the club, but he sure did it in style.

1 comment:

Rick Blechta said...

Excellent post, Will. Very informative. Thanks!