As I was researching some stats for a piece about baseballs best young player, I ran into some fascinating statistics. Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com and their endless archive of meaningless numbers I found some really shocking stuff among the career and active leaders on offense.
Here are some things that surprised me.
Active Batting Average
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that Albert Pujols (.3324) is the active leader in career batting average. The rest of the top five is pretty much what you’d expect: Ichiro (.3311) is second, Todd Helton (.3284) is third, Vlad Guerrero (.323) is fourth and Derek Jeter is fifth (.3157). But then Nomar Garciaparra checks in at sixth (.3146) followed by Manny Ramirez (.3116), Magglio Ordonez (.3114), Miguel Cabrera (.3102) and Chipper Jones (.3098). Nomar? Really?
How about the fact that Placido Polanco checks in at 13th with a .3058 average? Or that Moises Alou is 15th at .3032?
Just to give you some perspective, if Polanco retired today he’d have a better career average than Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, George Brett, Tony Oliva, Mel Ott, Manny Mota, Will Clark, Frank Robinson and Duke Snider. No disrespect to Placido, but that’s insane.
Career Slugging Percentage
OK, so the all-time leader is obviously Babe Ruth. But the distance between the Babe and the field is huge. Ruth’s number is .6898, then Ted Williams checks in at .6338 and Lou Gehrig follows at .6324.
We all know Albert Pujols is a stud and has great numbers, but he’s currently fourth on the list at .6199. That means he’s currently ahead of: Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenberg, Joe DiMaggio, Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musial, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron and every other player that’s ever played the game (not listed in the above paragraph).
Career On Base Percentage
The top of the list isn’t shocking: Ted Williams and Babe Ruth. What’s shocking is the fact that Williams’ number of .4817 means he got on base basically half the time he got to the plate for his entire career.
Jason Giambi checks in at No. 33 on the list with a career .4103 OBP. That’s better than Jackie Robinson.
The corpse of Brian Giles – currently patrolling right field for the San Diego Padres – is 50th all-time at .4039. He ranks ahead of Rickey Henderson, Joe DiMaggio, Rod Carew, Cap Anson and Joe Morgan.
J.D. Drew is 93rd all-time at .3913. That’s ahead of Honus Wagner, Alex Rodriguez and Tony Gwynn. To repeat, J.D. Drew ranks ahead of Honus Wagner, A-Rod and Tony Gwynn in a statistical category. Just let that sink in a bit.
Active Runs Leaders
Barry Bonds (technically still active) is the leader with 2,227. Not surprising. But Ken Griffey Jr. is second (also not too surprising) 642 runs off the pace. Somehow Gary Sheffield (1,563) is third and Alex Rodriguez (1,553) is already fourth.
On a side note, A-Rod is currently 49th all-time, but with his next 200 runs he’ll move into the top 20.
Craig Biggio is also 13th all-time with 1,844.
Career Total Bases
Hank Aaron comes in on top, but again, his distance from the field is staggering. Aaron’s total of 6,856 is 722 ahead of Stan Musial’s second place total of 6,134. For some perspective, Musial would have had to hit 180 more home runs and a double just to tie Aaron.
Jeff Kent currently ranks 48th all-time with 1,498 RBI. That puts him ahead of Eddie Matthews, Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench, Brooks Robinson, Carlton Fisk and Duke Snider.
Career Bases On Balls
Joe Morgan is fifth all-time with 1,865 walks. I had no idea. And I was a little surprised that despite his gigantic strike zone, Frank Thomas is ninth all-time with 1,654.
Reggie Jackson leads with 2,597. But Sammy Sosa is second at 2,306, Jim Thome is third with 2,122 and Andres Galarraga is fourth with 1,942.
I didn’t know Reggie Sanders was a K-machine, but apparently he is, as he checks in at No. 25 with 1,614.
Despite being only 32-years-old, A-Rod is 30th all-time with 1,575.
At Bats Per Home Run
Mark McGwire is tops all-time with 10.60. Second is Babe Ruth (11.80) followed by Barry Bonds (12.90), Jim Thome (13.60) and Adam Dunn (14.00). I couldn’t believe that Jim Thome and Adam Dunn were ahead of A-Rod, Pujols, Sosa, Manny Ramirez, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle on this one.
Times Grounded Into Double Plays
See this is the kind of stat I love. And Cal Ripken Jr. tops the list with 350. The names that surprised me were Julio Franco (312) coming in seventh and Harold Baines (298) ending up eighth.
Just for fun I figured I’d note that Joe Torre is 12th with 284, just ahead of Pudge Rodriguez who has 279.