Post-season stat freaks
I’ll grab that sports page on the Tuesday after the last game, vibrate my Do Not Disturb aura and establish a reverent, meditative, quasi-flatline glom zone. And this year’s glom, I’m happy to report, yielded some truly terrific stats that rate with some of the greatest in baseball history.
If you’re not a stat kook, I should explain a bit. Baseball positively runs amok with statistics, but the big ones are the Triple Crown: homers, runs batted in and average. In this column, they will be listed in that order, like so: 30-100-300. Those numbers right there are the traditional marks of a great season. If you can rack up a few 30-100-300s, you’ll make a lifetime stack o’ jack in about three years.
There were lots of guys who went 30-100-300 this year: 13 in the National League, seven in the American. And there were five men who had Years for the Ages, puttin’ up numbers that are positively thrilling for true baseball freaks to behold. Todd Helton of the Rockies went 49-146-336. Those are monster numbers. They compare favorably with Joe DiMaggio’s best year, 1937, when The Jolter went ape-wire with a 46-167-346. Then there was A-Rod, who this year quietly justified his controversial mega-contract by going 52-135-318. That’s some massive action, and slightly better than Willie Mays’ greatest year, 1955, when Mr. Say-Hey threw down a super solid 51-127-319.
How about Luis Gonzalez of the Arizona Diamondbacks? Out of nowhere, Gonzo went gonzo, to the tune of 57-142-325. That’s Herculean stuff right there or, even better, Mantle-esque. The Mick’s greatest year was ‘56, when he went 52-130-353. Those are huge numbers, and Lugo edged Mickey in two out of three categories.
Next is Bonds. 73-137-328. That first number is, of course, nuts. Bonds had never hit 50 before this year, and then 73? Shouldn’t Barry have to pee in a cup or somethin'? Compare Superjerk’s amazing year to Big Mac’s ‘98: 70-147-299. Both are titanically Olympian pieces of work, with Bonds getting the edge due to his excellent average.
And finally, there’s Sammy. Sosa’s year takes a back seat to no one, including Bonds, with a 64-160-328. Wow. That’s old-school stuff, man, goin’ back to Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Compare Sammy’s 2001 to The Babe’s 1927, when Ruth blew America’s mind with 60-164-356. Or the Iron Man’s ‘27, when he went 47-175-373. Not bad, Sammy.
P.S. to baseball nuts—blow three hours online and go to www.baseball-reference.com. It has every stat from every guy who ever played, and that includes the 1891 Cleveland Spiders!