2013 Milestone Musings – Batters’ Edition

How is your favorite veteran ballplayer doing? He may have passed a notable career milestone and you missed it. To find out, or if you just have a fascination for round numbers, here’s a review of this year’s milestone moments and a look ahead to those still to come.

Let’s go player by player and see what we get.

Alfonso Soriano

Alfonso has been a smash hit in his return engagement in the Bronx, passing two significant career milestones this season. Soriano collected his 2000th hit on August 11th with a homer off Justin Verlander, then connected for home run number 400 on August 27th off J.A. Happ. Soriano has recorded his 13th consecutive season of 25 doubles, the 6th player to do so for ages 25 to 37.  Bobby Abreu and Johnny Damon did the same in 2011. Prior to that, only Pete RoseStan Musial and Tris Speaker had managed the feat.

Miguel Cabrera

Cabrera passed 50 WAR this season, becoming the 47th position player since 1901 to reach that plateau in his age 30 season or younger. Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle were the youngest to reach 50 WAR, both doing so in their age 25 seasons. Miggy’s other big milestones were 1000 runs (May 23) and 400 doubles (May 30). Cabrera reached 350 HR (Jul 9) with another 30 HR season, his 9th. Only Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx had 10 such seasons by age 30. Still to come for Cabrera is hit number 2000, expected sometime in mid-September.

Raul Ibanez

Rau-oool has had a memorable season, among the best ever for a 41 year-old. But, he also reached a bunch of career milestones, including 400 doubles (May 24),  1000 runs (Jun 11) , and 2000 games (Jun 20). And, he may not be done as, with a month to go, he needs just 4 home runs for 300, and 21 hits for 2000. Should Ibanez reach 300 HR, he will also match or pass the record of 29 HR in an age 41 season, set by Ted Williams in his final year in 1960.

Aramis Ramirez

Ramirez reached 2000 hits (Jun 26) and 350 home runs (Aug 27), and is likely to pass 1000 runs by season’s end. It went largely unnoticed, but Ramirez’s league-leading 50 doubles last year marked only the 8th time a player had reached that level aged 34 or older, and only the 3rd time since 1927.

Torii Hunter

Hunter reached 50 WAR this season, the 12th active position player at that level. Hunter passed 2000 hits (Apr 9), 300 home runs (Jun 16), 1200 RBI (Aug 10) and 1500 strikeouts (Jul 21), the 30th player since 1901 with those four marks. There are 54 others with the first 3 marks and fewer than 1500 whiffs, including 7 other active players.

David Ortiz

Ortiz notched double number 500 on July 2nd, just the 58th player to reach that milestone. This is also the 12th straight season for Ortiz with 25 doubles and 20 HR, an achievement matched this year by Alfonso Soriano. Those two are the only players to record that feat, aged 26 to 37. Watch for Ortiz to reach 2000 hits any day now (just two more to go).

Ichiro Suzuki

Ichiro played game number 2000 on July 14th and passed Pete Rose as the all-time leader in games played in the first 13 seasons of a career. Suzuki also reached 3500 total bases (Jul 9), just the 33rd player to do so in his first 13 seasons. In a milestone of another sort, Ichiro, together with Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, were in the starting lineup for the Yankees on August 26th against Toronto, the first game ever with the top 3 active leaders in career hits all starting for the same team.

Adrian Beltre

Beltre passed the 70 WAR mark this season, part of his 4th straight 5 WAR season, the 17th batter to do that aged 31 to 34. Fourteen of the other 16 are HOFers. Of retired players with 70 WAR, 55 are in the HOF or currently on the HOF ballot, while only four (Dahlen, Rose, Whitaker, Grich) are not. Beltre also notched his 4000th base on July 23rd with a double off Phil Hughes, just the 82nd player to reach that mark, and only the 20th to do so by his age 34 season.

Beltre this year became just the  4th player since 1901 with 15 consecutive 20 double seasons aged 34 or younger. He needs 10 more for 500, so will need a hot September if he is to do it this year. If he does get it, he will be just the 6th player to do so in his age 34 season or younger.

Albert Pujols

Albert is the youngest to hit his 500th double or, to be precise, tied for the youngest with Joe Medwick, each reaching that milestone aged exactly 32 years, 250 days (I kid you not).  Albert is now officially out for the season. Look for him to reach 1500 RBI early next year (he needs just two more) and 500 home runs not long afterwards (8 more to go).

Other milestones of note.


Comments

2013 Milestone Musings – Batters’ Edition — 14 Comments

  1. Evan Longoria poised to become Tampa’s all-time WAR leader:
    1. Carl Crawford 35.4
    2. Evan Longoria 35.2
    3. Ben Zobrist 30.5
    4. James Shields 19.7
    5. Carlos Pena 18.2
    6. David Price 17.7

  2. Much of Aramis Ramirez’s career has passed by largely unnoticed, it seems to me. I tend to forget he’s still in the league, yet there he is with a nice accumulation of counting stats, and a pretty darn respectable career.

    “Beltre passed the 70 WAR mark this season, part of his 4th straight 5 WAR season, the 18th batter to do that aged 31 to 34. Fifteen of the other 17 are HOFers, as is every eligible batter but one with 70 career WAR and who is retired and not currently on the HOF ballot. ”

    I see 3 batters with more than 70 career WAR and otherwise meeting your criteria:

    Bill Dahlen 75.3
    Lou Whitaker 74.8
    Bobby Grich 71.0

    Or have I misunderstood your criteria?

  3. Derek Jeter needs only 23 more hits, to reach #5 on this all-time career hits list:
    Most Career Hits, Regular and Post-Season Combined:
    1. Pete Rose 4,342
    2. Ty Cobb 4,206
    3. Hank Aaron 3,796
    4. Stan Musial 3,652
    5. Tris Speaker 3,536
    6. Derek Jeter 3,513
    7. Cap Anson 3,451
    8. Carl Yastrzemski 3,443
    9. Honus Wagner 3,434
    10. Paul Molitor 3,362

    When you think about it, there is very little reason to exclude post-season stats from career totals. Sure, post-season opportunities are not distributed equally among all players, but career counting stats are never about equal distribution of opportunities.

    • I wonder when and why the decision was made to keep post-season stats separate from career totals. It made a certain kind of sense when there was no such thing as “the post-season”, just the World Series – for one thing, very few players who weren’t Yankees (or Frankie Frisch) had the opportunity to accumulate more than a few handfuls of plate appearances or innings pitched.

      And because there was no interleague play, and players didn’t change leagues as readily as they do in the free-agent era, the WS probably seemed ‘different’ enough from regular season play to justify keeping them separate. Perhaps the WS seemed like another form of exhibition game, similar to the various City Series that used to be played after the season was over. No one would suggest adding City Series stats to a player’s career totals, even if the Series were played with major-league players…

      Anyway, I’m just spitballin’. Does anyone have any actual information on the question?

      • David, I don’t think seasonal and post-season stats were ever conflated in official records. If that were the case, league leader totals prior to that decision would have needed to await the end of the post-season, and would certainly have been affected by the outcome.

        Looking at the earliest list of league leader figures I have, in Francis Richter’s 1914 “History and Records of Base Ball,” these exclude figures for all post-season games (from the perspective of 1914, the ten “modern” World Series’ that had been played were seen as just the most recent version of the 22 total post-season play-offs since 1884). In addition, selected career records that he gives for about half a dozen players, from Cap Anson and Dan Brouthers to the young Ty Cobb, include career totals that exclude the post-season.

        However, in calculating the greatest pitching season ever, Richter reveals something like the perspective you are suggesting:

        “There have been many wonderful pitching records made in organized ball since the development of Base Ball into the National game, but the best individual record for any one season was made by pitcher Charles Radbourn, of the Providence National League team of 1884. Radbourn, in 1884, worked in 80 full games for Providence, then in the National League — 71 scheduled championship games, six exhibitions, and three games in the World Series, winning 66 and losing 12. Two were tie games. His percentage of victories was .846, the second highest on record.”

        Richter goes on to list each game, and it turns out that he had Radbourn at 57-12 for the regular season, not 59-12, as he’s now listed — 60-12 for traditionalists. The exhibition games included what appear to be four American Association teams, and teams from Harrisburg and Trenton, all of which Old Hoss won.

        So here’s an example that suggests that early observers kept in mind two perspectives on player performance: records in “championship games” (pennant race games), and records in all games, including exhibition and post-season together.

        • Good point about not being able to calculate league leaders, hadn’t thought of that. Although I can imagine a system that keeps things separate on a seasonal basis, but still adds postseason stats to career totals.

    • Roy Halladay’s playoff no hitter always made me think of this.

      If a pitcher threw 6 career regular season no hitters, and 1 (or 2) career post season no hitters, wouldn’t it be ridiculous to still think of Nolan Ryan as the all time king of no-hitters?

      • No.

        They don’t count postseason stats together in any sport, anywhere, that I’m aware of.

        Are we going to roll the spring training stats in too?

        • Spring training games have no implications other than as practice and warm-up, and it is understood that no teams are trying to win them. Spectators are not paying regular prices to attend these games, because they understand they are not seeing games that teams are trying hard to win. There is thus every reason to not count these games in terms of performance records. Post-season games are the exact opposite — arguably these games have even more at stake than regular season games and spectators pay even more to see them than usual precisely because so much is understood to be at stake. All the more odd and seemingly illogical, then, that these of all games should not be counted when we count up a player’s “career” hits, homers, strikeouts, etc. I still see no rational reason for the practice other than long-standing tradition. And I wish b-ref’s Play index would include an option to combine regular and post-season stats in career totals.

          I do agree though that post-season stats should not be included in “season” records, because part of the point of those is that all players have an equal shot at performing within the 162-game limit. But careers vary in opportunities tremendously and so the same rationale doesn’t apply. I think it is probably true that the practice of excluding post-season games in “career” stats is simply a function of reflexively applying the same rules to career stats (where the exclusion makes little sense) as to season stats (where the exclusion does make sense).

        • By the way, as to the practices of other sports, it may be relevant to note that post-season games can be a much larger percentage of a player’s overall play during a year in the other major American team sports, compared to baseball. If I’ve run the numbers right, an MLB player who plays every possible regular and post-season game his team can play in 2013 would end up with about 11% of his games in the post-season (and 89% in the regular season). In the NFL, the post-season number would be 20% and in the NBA and NHL the post-season number would be about 25%.

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