The 87th round of voting for the Circle of Greats inducts Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig, winning election in his debut on the COG ballot. The original Ironman was a near-unanimous selection, appearing on the first 28 ballots cast en route to a final vote share just shy of 90%.
More on Gehrig after the jump.
So much has been said of Gehrig, both the ballplayer and the man, that any cataloging here of his life and accomplishments would be, at once, both superfluous and inadequate. So, I won’t attempt such an encapsulation, and will instead just offer a few statistical observations, and then yield the floor to you.
- Gehrig’s career was, of course, cut short due to the onset of the disease that would tragically claim his life and later bear his name. Nevertheless, Gehrig still surpassed career milestones for 2500 hits, 500 doubles, 1500 walks and 1500 runs, and finished just shy of 500 home runs and 2000 RBI. For careers since 1901 through age 35, Gehrig ranks first in extra-base hits, runs and RBI, top 5 in total bases, walks, OBP, SLG, OPS and OPS+, top 10 in WAR, doubles and BA, and top 20 in Hits, HR and triples.
- Among first basemen, Gehrig’s 112.4 career WAR is tops all-time, as is his 179 OPS+ and its OBP, SLG and OPS components. Gehrig would have a clean sweep of the rate stats for first sackers if not for Bill Terry, whose .341 BA barely edges out Gehrig’s .340 mark.
- Gehrig wore uniform number 4 because the Yankees first employed that innovation in player identification to denote customary batting order position. While that was indeed Gehrig’s usual lineup spot, he batted in other positions in more than one-quarter of his career PAs, with his 72.5% of PAs batting fourth a lower proportion than 18 others with 3000 PAs since 1914 (including his successor as Yankee cleanup hitter, Joe DiMaggio). Which slugger has the highest career ratio of cleanup PAs (min. 3000 career PAs since 1914)?
- Since Gehrig retired, only Ted Williams has posted a career .340 BA. Those two faced each other just once, in Williams’ career debut on opening day of the 1939 season. What were the last NL games with: two career .340 hitters; and two career .340 hitters who played primarily in the NL?
I could go on, but you get the picture. Now, it’s your turn.