Each week I write a piece entitled By The Numbers where I break down all forms of interesting information from the baseball diamond. In this entry I’m gonna take that same idea but go back in time with my time machine as I’ll list a bunch of interesting numbers and facts that pertain to players that have been immortalized in the HOF.
Luis Aparacio led the AL in steals in each of his first nine seasons in the league (his high was 56). From 1960-64 he stole 51, 53, 31, 40 and 57 bases each season. While none of those totals are outlandish, it should be pointed out that the game was played differently back then with base runners rarely attempting a steal. In fact, during that five year only one other rival was able to steal as many as 30 bases in a season.
Yogi Berra is one of the greatest hitting catchers of all-time (11 times he went deep 20 times and nine times he produced at least 90 RBI). He also won the MVP award on three separate occasions. But perhaps the most amazing number of all in his career is the fact that he struck out 12 times, twelve, in 1950 over the span of 597 at-bats. He was no slap hitter that year either producing a batting line of .322 with 28 homers and 124 RBI for the Yankees.
Sandy Koufax led the NL in ERA each of the last five seasons of his career (he had to retire with elbow problems at the age of merely 30). Three times he posted a mark below 1.90, and his five year run resulted in an overall ERA of 1.95 in that time. He also went 111-34 during that five year year of excellence for the Dodgers (.766 winning percentage).
Juan Marichal led baseball with 191 victories during the 1960′s. Three times in that decade he won at least 25 games, but he was never able to win the Cy Young award
Bill Mazeroski made the Hall of Fame despite the fact that he never hit even .285 in a season. Moreover his career mark was .260, he had a pathetic .299 OBP, and his career OPS was a frightening .267. He did however make six All-Star teams while also winning eight Gold Gloves as one of the finest fielding second basemen of all-time. It’s ironic that he is most remembered for hitting the first walk-off homer in World Series history in Game 7 when the Pirates defeated the Yankees in 1960 on his blast.
Amos Rousie is a HOF pitchers who won 246 games in his career with a 3.07 ERA from 1889-1901 (he won 30-games 4-straight seasons). Still, he was far from a control artist as he led the league in walks five straight seasons with a high of 289 batters in 1890, the most ever in a single season. At the same time you’ll want to cut the guy a little bit of slack since he tossed 548.2 innings in that season. In fact, in the five seasons that he led the league in walks, each season with at least 200 free passes, he never threw less than 444 innings. During that fateful season of 1890 his BB/9 rate was 4.74 which is actually a hair lower than the 4.78 mark that Scott Kazmir currently has to lead the “worst” list of 2010.
Hoyt Wilhelm was the first pitcher in big league history to win the ERA title despite the fact that he spent the entire season in the bullpen. In 1952, his rookie season mind you, Hoyt led the league with a 2.43 ERA and 71 games pitched. Since the NL played 154 games that year, his total of 159.1 innings was enough for him to qualify for the ERA title. He won 15 games and saved 11 on his way to another league leading figure, a .833 winning percentage.
Ted Williams won the Triple Crown in 1942 (.356-36-137) and 1947 (.343-32-114). He didn’t win the MVP in either season as he finished second in ’42 and ’47. Amazingly, Williams also led the league in OBP each season (.499 and .497) as well as SLG (.648 and .634) yet he still wasn’t awarded the trophy. Moreover, and this is truly amazing, from 1941-42, and 1946-49 (he missed 1943-45 serving in World War II), Williams led the AL in OBP and SLG in each and every season. All told, he led the AL in both slash categories an amazing nine times. As great as Albert Pujols is he has done that only one time (in 2009).
By Ray Flowers