Saturday, August 31, 2013

How Soon They Forget

Don't scroll down to the bottom of this post. You'll see why.

Miguel Cabrera is, as they, say, good at baseball. You probably already knew this. I ran some lists to figure out how good. He's in his 11th major league season. Among right-handed hitters at a similar point in their career (since 1901, minimum 4500 plate appearances), Cabrera is:

  • 7th in home runs
  • 4th in RBI
  • 13th in runs scored
  • 4th in total bases
  • 6th in hits
  • 3rd in doubles
  • 12th in batting average
  • 16th in on-base percentage
  • 15th in slugging percentage
  • 11th in on base plus slugging
He's also top 10 in a bunch of advanced hitting metrics, like runs created, batting wins above replacement, batting runs, base-out runs added...OK, I'll stop.

The point here isn't that Cabrera's great. As I said, you probably knew this. What surprised me was the list of his peers, that is, the greatest right-handed hitters of all time. Here are some of them. Again, no surprises:
  • Hank Aaron
  • Dick Allen
  • Jeff Bagwell
  • Joe DiMaggio
  • Jimmie Foxx
  • Hank Greenberg
  • Rogers Hornsby
  • Willie Mays
  • Manny Ramirez
  • Frank Robinson
  • Alex Rodriguez
  • Frank Thomas
OK, here's the surprise. Look at that list. Again, these guys, plus Cabrera, are the greatest right-handed hitters of all time through 11 seasons. I left one guy off the list on purpose. It's a glaring omission. As good as Cabrera's been, this guy was better. In every single category I listed. Do you know who it is?

No, it's not an old-timer. In fact, he's still playing. Can you guess?

I'll put the answer in the comments. Don't feel bad if you can't get him. I probably wouldn't have either. Shows how fleeting our memories are. 

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