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Ballot 20: Magglio Ordóñez

2009-Topps-Baseball-Cards-Series-2-395-Magglio-Ordonez-395.jpg

Magglio Ordóñez

Played 15 years for two different teams

Six-time all-star won a batting title and hit 294 career home runs. 38.5 WAR, 11.1 WAA

Pro argument: Could really hit. His .309 career average is 24th all-time among hitters with at least 7,500 plate appearance.

Con argument: A bit too one-dimensional; wasn’t good enough for long enough.

Deserves to be in Hall?: No

Will get elected this year?: No

Will ever get elected?: No.

* * *

Magglio Ordóñez would absolutely kill the Kansas City Royals. Every baseball fan in Kansas City would talk about it. There were a handful of players — Ordóñez, Jim Thome, Justin Morneau and so on — who would always seemed to light up just a little bit when they played Kansas City. Ordóñez was the king of them all.

The Royals obviously faced Ordóñez a lot because he played his whole career for the White Sox and Tigers and so was always in Kansas City’s division. And you didn’t even need to look at his statistics to know that Ordóñez LOVED hitting against the Royals. Homers. Doubles. Whatever he wanted. It looked so easy for him with that splendid right-handed swing — you wondered how the Royals EVER got the guy out.

Sometimes in the press box, you would hear someone say something like, “Man, I’ll bet Ordóñez would love to play the Royals every day. If he only faced the Royals, he’d be the greatest hitter in the history of the game.”

As it turns out, Ordóñez hit .310/.355/.492 against Kansas City.

He hit .309/.369/.502 against everybody.

In other words: He was exactly the same player against Kansas City as he was against every other team. The man could hit no matter the park, no matter the competition.

* * *

There was something that struck me while watching the movie “Moana.” You probably know that the Rock plays Maui, a busted-down demigod who has made a mess of the world and is given a chance to redeem himself. Well, I’m looking at Maui …

maui_0.jpg

And then it hits me …

MagglioClose.jpg

* * *

Magglio Ordóñez WAS a bit of a demigod, at least at the plate. He grew up in Venezuela and was signed when he was 17. He was not an instant sensation — he didn’t hit at all his first couple of years in the minors and didn’t hit all that much for two more years after that.

Then in 1997, as a 23-year-old, he reached Class AAA Nashville, and he hit .329 and he never stopped hitting after that. In his 10 full seasons in the Majors — seasons where he got at least 500 plate appearances — he hit .300 eight times. He hit .298 one of the other two seasons.

Speaking of Kansas City, Ordóñez was often compared to the Royals Mike Sweeney in those early days — you know, two young right-handed power hitters who were not great in the field but could flat-out hit. There’s actually something to that:

From 1999 to 2003, Ordóñez hit .312/.372/.546 and averaged 40 doubles, 32 homers, 118 RBIs per season. He had a 134 OPS+.

Those same five seasons, Mike Sweeney hit .320/.395/.524 and averaged 34 doubles, 24 homers and 103 RBIs per season. He had a 132 OPS+.

They weren’t the SAME player — Ordóñez was a better athlete. You could probably win a bar bet with the knowledge that Ordóñez once stole 25 bases in a season. He could run a bit in those days. But the big difference between Ordóñez and Sweeney is that Mike did not really have a second half to his career. The injuries wore him down. He hit .300 with 21 homers and a .517 slugging percentage as a 31-year-old. He never got 300 plate appearances in a season after that.

Ordóñez seemed destined for the same ending. He badly hurt his knee in 2004 and did not play in after July. The Tigers improbably gave him a five-year, $75 million deal, a seemingly bizarre choice for a 31-year-old outfielder with a blown-out knee. Sure enough, Ordóñez promptly strained his abdominal muscle and missed three months.

But then, Ordóñez started crushing baseballs again. For the remainder of his four-year deal, he hit .323/.385/.503, won a batting title, made two All-Star teams and was front and center for the Tigers ascendancy after almost two decades of awfulness.

We should talk about that batting title for a minute; in 2007, Ordóñez hit .363 with a league-leading 54 doubles, 28 homers, 117 runs and 139 RBIs. He finished second in the MVP balloting to A-Rod, who mashed 54 homers.

It’s that .363 average that stands out, of course — it’s the second-highest average for any player over the last decade (behind Joe Mauer’s .365 in 2009).

Batting average, as a statistic, has taken a beating over the last few years — and rightfully so because it is illogical. Batting average refuses to acknowledge pretty important things like walks. And it calculates capriciously. If you hit a ball that probably should have been caught, batting average gives you an out even though you didn’t make an out. If you bunt a runner from first to second, batting average will let you slide on the out you made, but if you dribble a grounder that moves a runner from first to second, that out goes on your permanent record. And so on.

Still, there’s something nostalgic about high-average seasons like Ordóñez’s 2007 season … because they’re basically gone.

Decades with .360-plus batting average.

1970s: 4

1980s: 6

1990s: 10

2000s: 8

2010s: 0

The main reason is those strikeouts. Everybody, even the very best players (ESPECIALLY the very best players) strikes out a lot. And no player who has ever hit .360 or better has had 100 strikeouts. It’s basic math — it’s POSSIBLE to hit .360 with 100 strikeouts, but it would be very hard because you give away too many free outs.

Take Joey Votto — a player who has closely studied Ted Williams. Last year, he hit .326, the fourth-highest total in baseball. And he struck out 120 times. That’s not a particularly high strikeout total in today’s game but do you know how many times his hero Teddy Ballgame struck out in his .400-season in 1941? He struck 27 times.

If Votto had struck out 27 times, that would have meant putting 93 more balls in play. Based on Votto’s batting average on balls in play, that likely adds 34 more hits to his total.

Votto with 34 more hits would have hit .387.

Now, that’s obviously an extreme example but the reality is that there just aren’t many balanced hitters like Magglio Ordóñez today, players who hit with power even while not striking out like crazy. Ordóñez never struck out 100 times in a season. He never struck out 90 times in a season. He only once struck out 80 times. He grew up in a game that still had sluggers like that — Albert Pujols, Todd Helton, Larry Walker, a couple of other players on this year’s ballot, Gary Sheffield and Vlad Guerrero. Edgar Martinez only struck out 100 times once in his career. You get the point.

Those players are pretty much gone. Of the 35 players who slugged .500 in 2016, 29 struck out at least 100 times. Daniel Murphy could be developing into that sort of throwback hitter; his power jumped this year and he doesn’t strike out much at all. Mookie Betts is not a big guy, but he flashed a lot of power and struck out 80 times. Jose Altuve is even smaller than Betts, but he too showed big power without many strikeouts.

So, the Ordóñez way might be coming back into style. Batting average might not mean what is used to, but it would still be fun to see people hitting .360 and .370 again.

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54 Responses to Ballot 20: Magglio Ordóñez

  1. invitro says:

    I remember when Boggs hit .349 as a rookie. It was 338 AB, so we were like let’s get a few of his rookie cards (the beautiful 1983 Topps ones), but not reserve a HoF place yet, it may be a fluke. Then in 1983 he hit .361 in 582 AB, and we were like OH.

    Funny thing: batting average was big in the 1980’s, I guess, but Boggs was still severely underrated, at least in MVP voting. I never could figure out why. A best MVP finish of #4 is pretty darn low for an Inner Circle Hall of Famer like Boggs. At least he got in 12 straight All-Star games.

    Boggs has four of the six >.360’s in the 1980’s. Gwynn had the fifth. I’ll have to think a bit to see if I can come up with the sixth…

    • invitro says:

      Here’s a link to that beautiful 1983 Topps Boggs card, in gem mint condition, from the famous Dmitri Young collection. http://caimages.collectors.com/psacertimages/35331_706x1199.jpg

    • Hack says:

      Red Sox fan here. All you had to do was watch Boggs every day to know why he’s not given more respect: he was the MOST selfish player I’ve ever seen. Wouldn’t do anything to help the TEAM but would do ANYTHING to make his batting average impressive. Boggs is a prime example as to why BA is a lousy statistic. Watch ol’ Wade tip toe into second base when EVERY other player would make third and you’ll see why I despise him aa a baseball player. But, boy howdy, could he ever tap that ball just over the shortstop’s head…he’s not an ‘inner circle’ hall of famer in my book; I can’t understand how he is in anyone’s.

      • invitro says:

        You know that getting thrown out at third base doesn’t hurt your BA, right? You’re not mad at Wade for playing for the Yankees, are you? What do you think about Clemens and Ellsbury?

        A short answer to why he’s an “inner circle” HoFer (I know “inner circle” is different sizes for different people… I’m going with 50 players here): he led AL hitters in WAR three years in a row (1986-88), and was second three other seasons. That’ll do it!

      • MarkWIDX says:

        Sure was selfish of him to get on base all those times….

      • Dave says:

        As a Sox fan who came of age in the Boggs era, I completely disagree with this comment. Boggs career was defined by relentlessly focusing on improving himself and finding ways to beat the other team.

        Wade was a terrific player well before he made it to the majors, probably spent at least 3 more years in the minors than he should have because Sox management of that era was beyond inept. In 1979 he hit .325 with a .420 OBP at AA Bristol, and was almost certainly a better player than incumbent 3B Butch Hobson right then.

        Remember, Hobson was an inept defender, never walked, and his only offensive value was his ability to occasionally hit a home run. But it was another 3 seasons before he got a chance in the majors, after Carney Lansford was injured early in 1982. Lansford had been acquired from the Angels for Hobson…and Rick Burleson. So imagine the Sox with Boggs and Burleson manning the left side of the infield in the early 80s, instead of Hobson/Hoffman/Stapleton.

        Boggs was perceived to be not a good defender when he came up, though the stats say otherwise, but he worked on his defense constantly, and later in his career won two gold gloves. He was also relentless at improving his hitting; his daily regimen was legendary at that time, and many stories were written about his religious-like commitment to it. Not unlike another Boston legend of the time, Larry Bird.

        Boggs knew the best way he could help the club was to get on base, and he did that better than anyone in his era, leading the league in OBP six times. He scored 100 runs like clockwork, despite not having much speed at all. His batting eye was incredible, and as for “tapping the ball over the shortstop’s head,” yes, he could drive an outside pitch the opposite way for a hit very successfully. How that’s a bad thing I’m afraid I don’t understand. But Boggs was – and people forget this – not just a singles hitter. We’re not talking about Luis Castillo or Ichiro Suzuki here. He hit 40 or more doubles eight times, twice leading the league. His career slugging percentage for Boston was .462 – the same as Carl Yastrzemski’s.

        He was rarely out of the lineup, hit anywhere in the lineup he was asked to, and (other than perhaps 1985) was easily the best 3B in the league from 1983 until 1991 or so. Fans, players, managers, and coaches all knew it – he made the All Star team 12 times, won 8 silver slugger awards, and (here’s something no one remembers) was intentionally walked more than any other player in the league six seasons in a row.

        Interesting thing about that last fact: Boggs ranks 26th in MLB history with 180 IBBs. Jim Rice, who is often ludicrously cited as the “most feared hitter” of his era, was walked intentionally just 77 times in his career. Rice never led the league, and was never walked more than 10 times in a season. Boggs exceeded that 7 times.

        Wade Boggs could beat you many different ways. And everyone who played against him in the 1980s knew that.

      • SDG says:

        Not a Sox fan. Didn’t start caring about baseball until after Boggs retired; to me he’s the guy who got in a bar fight with Barney Gumble.

        But the argument about the selfish player who cares only about his own BA instead of winning has been around since Nap Lajoie and probably earlier. Usually it means the player tries to hit instead of sacrificing – something that’s now pretty much accepted as being almost always a bad move. Except in highly specific circumstances, it’s better to go for a hit. Do you mean Boggs was a notorious bad-ball hitter who would refuse to take a walk? That would be caring about avg more than the team, but Boggs walked a ton and had a great OBP. Was he refusing to try to hit for power?

        I’m not criticizing – I’m trying to understand, here. Getting thrown out trying to stretch an extra base hit doesn’t affect BA, as has been pointed out. And isn’t it good that he’s smart enough to know his limitations and not try to be Rickey Henderson on the basepaths and get thrown out?

      • Luis says:

        What’s with the Red Sox fans and their obsession to label incredibly great players a selfish? After all, that was the impression among the Boston media regarding Ted Williams.

        That’s 2 for 2 Boston. Knock it off already.

    • fivetwentyone says:

      Is 1980 the first year of the 80s or the last year of the 70s?

    • Mike says:

      “Boggs has four of the six >.360’s in the 1980’s. Gwynn had the fifth. I’ll have to think a bit to see if I can come up with the sixth”

      You’re over-thinking it. The sixth is THE MOST obvious of ANY of the 360+ seasons referred to in Joe’s post.

      You’re gonna kick yourself when you realize which it is.

    • Chad says:

      Forget his batting averages, his beer intake is what’s really impressive.

  2. Jamie says:

    I was really hoping for some kind of explanation for why he ended up in front of Cameron…

    • Matt Doc says:

      Reason number one is he was a FAR superior baseball player than Cameron! Other thanight that I’m not sure…

      • Jamie says:

        It is hard to ignore the roughly 10 WAR difference between these 2 players, and I am surprised Joe doesn’t explain why he ignores that. Or does was a dramatically better hitter than Cameron, but Cameron was so much better at running the bases that their oWAR is actually pretty close. When you factor in defense it seems so clear that Cameron is the better player. One has to not only really not believe in the defensive component of WAR, but the baserunning as well in order to have these 2 players ordered this way.

        • Mike says:

          If you look at MC’s Defensive WAR stats throughout his career, he had a VERY high peak years. Just like offensive peak years, and not sustaining, I think MC gets a lot of credit for a terrific three year period. He was very average the rest of his career.

    • jpdg says:

      If I had to guess Joe is listing guys according to likelihood of getting elected. While Cameron put more value in his career, he did it in ways (defense, base running) that get overlooked by the electorate. Maglio’s offensive contributions jump off the page while flaws happen to be those same things that the electorate overlooks.

      And if I’m right about Joe’s reasoning, then I think Joe got it right. Because at the end of day, I think Magglio has a shot to stay on the ballot while Cameron will almost certainly fall off.

      • invitro says:

        Certainly the order of the players is Joe’s ranking of them. I mean, Joe has a HoF ballot himself, so he’s ranking them anyway. And his first post says: “We’ll do it in order, from the No. 34 ballplayer on the list all the way up to the No. 1 ballplayer on the list.”

  3. William Keane (@largebill68) says:

    Joe,

    Thanks for doing this series of reviews of all the players on the ballot. Even players that fall short of the Hall of Fame standards should be remembered. I don’t expect every voter to give as much study to this as you do, but would be nice if they all would take the time to at least review the career of every player on the ballot.

  4. ajnrules says:

    I mentioned this in the Magglio and Mike post, but I guess I’ll say it again here. I’ve always had a soft spot for Magglio Ordonez. Back in 1997, I had a chance to go to a Royals – White Sox game, where I got to see Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, Today’s Game ballot candidate Albert Belle, and BBWAA ballot candidate Mike Cameron. There was also a guy by the name of Magglio Ordonez, who was only a September call-up then. He rapped two singles but otherwise didn’t contribute much to the 8-4 White Sox win. As an autograph hound, I waited around the White Sox bus after the game. I got two autographs: one from Norberto Martin. The other took me a while to decipher, but I later figured out it was the prospect with the funny name: Magglio Ordonez. I liked Ordonez after that

    Fast forward 14 years. Magglio blossomed into an All-Star in Chicago, became a post-season hero in Detroit, and had a Hall of Fame season in 2007. By 2011 he had been slowed by injuries, including a fractured ankle, and had his first below-replacement season. He was still included on the post-season roster. I had gone to Game 1 of the 2011 ALCS between Texas and Detroit. He went 0 for 2, while unbeknownst to others he had refractured the ankle. In the 5th, C.J. Wilson was trying to protect a lead that had shrunk from 3-0 to 3-2 but had runners on second and third with two outs. He intentionally walked Magglio, and then the game went in a rain delay, the second of the evening. By the time play resumed, he had been replaced with a pinch runner. It was later revealed he broke his ankle and he would be out the rest of the post-season. He was not signed in 2012 and eventually retired. So 14 years after getting his signature as a September call-up, I saw Magglio Ordonez’s last at-bat in the majors.

  5. AndyL says:

    Enjoying the series as well. For those who love rankings and need more baseball on this snowy (at least in NY) day, Ross Carey of the Replacement Level podcast is counting down his top 250 players of all time. Fun.

    Here is a link to the page http://www.replacementlevelpodcast.com/ and here is a link to the first in the series, 226-250. http://www.replacementlevelpodcast.com/2016/12/12/ranking-the-top-250-baseball-players-ever-part-1-250-226/

    He just finished 126-150.

  6. birtelcom says:

    Here’s one remarkable item about Magglio’s 2007 season.
    Most Hits with Runners in Scoring Position, Any MLB Season since 1931:
    82, Magglio Ordonez 2007
    80, Tommie Davis 1962
    79, Mike Sweeney 2000
    78, Andres Galarraga 1996

    You have to go back to 1930 to find a batter with more hits with RISP than Magglio. Al Simmons had at least 83 hits with RISP that season (out of his 211 hits) and for six of his hits, the records at Retrosheet are not complete enough to show what runners were on base, so theoretically he might have had as many as 89 hits with RISP in 1930.

  7. Brad says:

    Talk about guys who owned the Royals, and it starts and stops with Jim Thome. Of his 500+ HR’s, he hit more against KC than any other team, and if my memory serves a lot of them were late inning game changers. I’d scream at the TV to walk him, but no, they’d challenge him and Thome would deliver time and again. It was like watching the Harlem Globetrotters toy with Red Klotz and the Washington Generals.

    • invitro says:

      Tracer time! Thome actually did *worse* against the Royals than any other (non-Cleveland) AL Central team! By OPS and tOPS+, anyway. The stats:

      vs DET: 122 tOPS+, 1.068 OPS, 66 HR in 900 PA
      vs MIN: 118 tOPS+, 1.049 OPS, 61 HR in 826 PA
      vs CHW: 116 tOPS+, 1.037 OPS, 43 HR in 588 PA
      vs KCR: 108 tOPS+, 0.996 OPS, 49 HR in 787 PA

      Also, the KC actually walked Thome *more* than any team except the Tigers. And yes, Thome did better against all these AL Central foes than against all other AL teams.

      Since these results are the opposite of what you state, maybe I’m reading the splits wrong? I got them here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=thomeji01&year=Career&t=b

      Weird stat: The Nationals intentionally walked Thome more than any team except the Tigers.

      • Brad says:

        Funny thing, I thought I’d run into you here. Thanks for the stats update. Little comfort to know he drilled the Tigers and the Twins more than KC. I believe what I heard on the Royals broadcast was Thome has more career HR’s against KC than any other player. I couldn’t find any backing of that on the net, but if you have some, I’d love to see it.

        • truebloo says:

          My guess is that you are both “right”. Thome may have enjoyed his best games against Detroit, but he also could have the most HRs of any player against the Royals. The combo of homer-adverse Kauffman Stadium and the dreadful pitching (way too many walks) of the Royals during Thome’s career could explain the relative homer disparity.

  8. Alejo says:

    Magglio also played winter ball in Venezuela and is a franchise hero for the “Caribes de Anzoategui” baseball club.

    Although he lived, worked and became a multi-millionaire in free-market USA, where his rights were upheld by contract and the union he belonged to, he used his popularity to help a socialist dictatorship maintain power and oppress the Venezuelan people. He is now an elected official for the Socialist Party of Venezuela.

    All sort of rumours connect him to political corruption, construction and arbitration rackets. Only rumours mind, the Venezuelan justice system would never investigate a socialist official.

    So, why would someone who made 134 million bucks playing ball become a fervent socialist and involve himself with one of the most corrupt governments in the planet? I have no idea.

    Two of the Venezuelan president’s nephews, a couple of kids who lived between idleness and currency profiteering, millionaires (in dollars) before 30, sheltered by the Venezuelan state, one day decided to export cocaine to the US via the Dominican Republic. They were tried, found guilty and are now jailed in New York last month.

    Just to show, people do stupid things.

    We may never know whether the rumours are true, but the city Magglio runs has become more violent and unsafe during his tenure. In spite of heavy propaganda in his favour, deterioration of public services is evident, as well as inequality between the people and the officials who drive around in armoured cars surrounded by bodyguards.

    To add insult to injury, Magglio spends a big chunk of his time living in Florida. He has been photographed buying at one Miami Apple store wearing Gucci bags and in supermarkets paying for titanic amounts of food (totally fine, he is a very wealthy man), but back home he is called “comrade Magglio” and lambasts the “Empire” (i.e the US) while his voters only have access to limited amounts of rationed food and have to queue whole nights to buy medicine.

    Even if he was HoF worthy, the character clause should apply here. He is in the best case a hypocrite, in the worse a corrupt official.

    • invitro says:

      I wasn’t aware of any of this. Brilliant comment.

    • EnzoHernandez11 says:

      You lost me at “all sorts of rumours.”

      • Luis says:

        Only his involvement in corruptions are rumors, but everything else that Alejo stated is a matter of public record. Everything Alejo said is correct and can be backed up with the exception of the corruptions allegations which take about two lines in his entire comment.
        Just hoping we can “find” you…

        • EnzoHernandez11 says:

          I’m not especially interested in debating Hugo Chavez, socialism, or Venezuelan politics. This is a conversation about Magglio Ordonez and his qualifications for the Hall of Fame. Therefore, the only matter of interest in Alejo’s comment is whether Magglio’s “character” is so flawed that it disqualifies him for enshrinement in Cooperstown (notwithstanding the fact that nobody is seriously considering electing him).
          On that count, Alejo has nothing but rumors of personal corruption. Being a socialist is not a character flaw, per se, nor is being an ineffective mayor. The facile argument that rich socialists are hypocrites is fair game, I suppose, but hardly disqualifies Ordonez or anyone else for the H of F. Choosing to live in Florida part of the year may indeed be a character flaw, but plenty of otherwise decent people continue to insist on moving there. 🙂
          Anyway, I’m going to stop now because somehow I’ve been roped into debating someone’s fitness for an honor he will never receive. But, really, if we want to debate Venezuela politics (a subject somewhat more complicated than Alejo would have us think), there are other and better places to do so.

  9. otistaylor89 says:

    “The main reason is those strikeouts. Everybody, even the very best players (ESPECIALLY the very best players) strikes out a lot. And no player who has ever hit .360 or better has had 100 strikeouts. It’s basic math — it’s POSSIBLE to hit .360 with 100 strikeouts, but it would be very hard because you give away too many free outs.”

    In 1967, Roberto Clement struck out 103 times and hit .357, or 2 hits from .360 – soooo close!

    • SDG says:

      Babe Ruth once hit .393 with 93 SOs and twice hit .378 with 81. Unless I’m missing something mathwise, if you turn some of those hits in to SOs, he would still hit greater than .360 with 100 SOs (keeping in mind he had a shorter season).

  10. most career HR vs KC:
    arod 50
    thome 49
    paul konerko 45

    highest fraction of career HR vs KC (at least 100 career HR):
    craig monroe 20/115 (17%)
    grady sizemore 25/150 (17%)
    carlos santana 23/151 (15%)

    • KHAZAD says:

      Do you mind if I ask where you got these splits? I know how to look up an individual players splits vs KC, but coming up with a list like this would be fun.

      The fact that Thome is second all time in home runs vs. KC and this is not nearly his most against other opponents (above) highlights the difficulty of hitting home runs at Kauffman. The fact that it can make this much of a difference in an opponent’s totals (despite the fact that KC had some bad pitching during much of Thome’s career) kind of shows the effect that it has on players that play there.

      • Brad says:

        That’s the info I’ve been looking for. Didn’t know A-rod had passed Thome on the Royal hit list. Thome naturally would have a bunch against KC, from his Indian, White Sox and Twins days, plus most of those years KC’s staff was AA quality.

  11. Cliff Blau says:

    The 24th highest BA among players with at least 7500 plate appearances is .328, belonging to Honus Wagner. Ordonez’s BA is 59th. Of course, I’m not sure why anybody is using batting average in 2016.

  12. invitro says:

    “Do you mind if I ask where you got these splits? I know how to look up an individual players splits vs KC, but coming up with a list like this would be fun.” — Khazad, it’s the bb-ref Play Index, man! I haven’t used it much myself, because I thought you had to pay to see the full results, maybe you do(?), and/or I’ve wanted to use my own database and programs. Well my database is corrupt now, so I got to learn a little Play Index.

    Well in this case, it’s called “Batting Split Finder”. Go here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/split_finder.cgi . Then, in the yellow bar at the top, choose the “Find Career Totals” radiobox, and the choices below will change. Look for “Choose Split Type”, at the top of the middle column, and scroll down and choose “Opponent”. Under “Choose a Split”, pick a team. In the yellow box at top right, for “Sorted By”, choose HR, or whatever. Then click Get Report and wait for the results! You can then click back in your browser to choose another team… your previous choices will be remembered. If you sort by an average like OPS, you probably want to use the box in the lower right “Select Additional Criteria”, and make the first row “PA >= 500” or whatever you want. It’s fun!

  13. invitro says:

    On the Thome stuff above, I started wondering… if Thome has the second-most HR against KC, but he hit the other AL Central teams even better, he’s probably on the HR leaderboard of those teams too, right? Well, if you limit the players to those starting after, say, 1960, you do. Here are the all-time top HR hitters against the non-CLE AL Central teams, but including only players who played their first game after 1960, and I got this from the bb-ref Split Finder I talk about above…

    vs MIN: 61-Thome, 52-FrThomas, 51-RegJackson, 51-ARodriguez, 50-Konerko
    vs CHW: 46-RegJackson, 43-Thome, 35-Canseco, 35-Torii Hunter/Murray/Palmeiro
    vs KCR: 50-ARodriguez, 49-Thome, 45-Konerko, 41-Palmeiro, 37-Jackson
    vs DET: 66-Thome, 65-Yastrzemski, 45-Konerko, 43-McGwire/Palmeiro

    Does anyone like Sporcle? Here’s one of their quizzes, where you try to name the top five HR hitters for every franchise: https://www.sporcle.com/games/DJC83/mlbmhrhaef

    • KHAZAD says:

      It kind of looks like Thome was just a bad man all around. He also has the longest home run I have ever seen in person, (late in his career against KC in Minnesota, as well as the longest I have seen on TV. (In Cleveland)

  14. invitro says:

    One more Thome / career-vs-team bit. I found this sports-on-earth article: http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/77104490/mlb-best-hitters-vs-teams-babe-ruth-barry-bonds-mark-mcgwire . I’m too deep in other rabbit holes to have read it all yet, but it looks cool, and it has this item:

    “Jim Thome hit the Cardinals harder than I think anyone has ever hit any team ever. I’ll give it to you without any hyperbole: Thome batted .430, he got on base 56 percent of the time, and he slugged 1.010. That’s a 1.575 OPS. In 100 at-bats, Thome homered 18 times. That’s how you do that. Just wow.”

    I saw Thome’s 1.575 OPS vs the Cards when I was looking at his splits earlier today. It is indeed the highest against the Cards (minimum 100 PA). It looks like the sports-on-earth writer was using bb-ref, so this may indeed be the greatest OPS ever over a 100 PA minimum. I was going to ask if a BR could come up with anyone better, until I learned the Split Finder and that it’s too easy to use that as a challenge. Anyway! (I’m looking forward to Joe doing this HoF rundown next season, when Thome debuts on the ballot. The first-time players on the 2018 and 2019 ballots look a *lot* more interesting to me than the 2017 ones… minimum disrespect meant to IRod/Manny/Vlad.)

  15. There’s retrosheet data going back to 1970 available on Kaggle. Here’s an example using it to graph hits-with-runners-in-scoring-position https://www.kaggle.com/bdilday/d/bdilday/retrosheet-events-1970-2015/hits-w-risp

  16. Anon says:

    Errata: Ordonez’s .363 is actually the 3rd highest in the last decade. Chipper hit .364 in 2008

  17. the_slasher14 says:

    For a few moments in 2003, Magglio Ordonez was going to the Red Sox as part of the deal involving A-Rod, Nomar, and a bunch of other guys. The deal was shot down by the union because it involved A-Rod taking a voluntary pay cut. I forget the other players involved. Imagine a middle of the order of A-Rod, Papi, and Magglio, with an AVERAGE of over 500 career HRs.

    • invitro says:

      ARod + Papi + Magglio = 696 + 541 + 294 = 1531.
      Not bad, but we can do MOAR!

      1954-62 Milwaukee Braves: Aaron + Mathews + Adcock = 755 + 512 + 336 = 1603. We’re not worthy.

      1996-9 Seattle Mariners: ARod + Griffey + EMartinez = 696 + 630 + 309 = 1635. MOAR POWAH.

      1996-9 Seattle Mariners: ARod + Griffey + Buhner = 696 + 630 + 310 = 1636. No wonder that team won all those playoff games! OH WATE.

      2002-3 Texas Rangers: ARod + Palmeiro + Juan Gone = 696 + 569 + 434 = 1699. CRUSHED IT.

      • invitro says:

        But if we’re playing What If, what if the Braves had held on to that trade they made to get Bonds in 1992? And still signed McGriff? We’re talking 1995-7 Atlanta Braves: Bonds + McGriff + Chipper = 762 + 463 + 468 = 1723. Also in the lineup: Klesko (278) and Javy (260), and in 1997, Andruw (434) joins the fold. Either Barry or Klesko would have to move to RF though.

      • KHAZAD says:

        Because you have two triplets with one team, you think that would be the most for four.

        But I would guess it is the 1994-96 Cleveland Indians with Thome+ManRam+Murray+Belle=612+555+504+381=2052

    • Anon says:

      According to this article: http://www.si.com/mlb/2016/08/09/alex-rodriguez-trade-red-sox-yankees-alternate-history

      The trade from the Red Sox’s perspective would have meant giving up Nomar, Manny, Scott Williamson and a still-3-years-from-his-debut Jon Lester for A-Rod, Magglio and Brandon McCarthy. Not sure that trade really helps the Sox all that much. A-Rod is an upgrade but Manny cont’d to be an offensive force for several more years (of course, always offset by his historically dreadful defense). Nomar immediately fell apart of course (due largely to injuries), but Magglio actually wasn’t anything special after 2003 except for his huge 2007. For as much as his peripheral numbers have always sparkled, McCarthy has never really put together a good season and the Sox would have had to give up Lester who was obviously a big part of the 2007 and 2013 WS champs.

      It’s probably a good trade for the Sox overall, but it wouldn’t have been a massive upgrade.

  18. Chaim Mattis Keller says:

    I love the Magglio Ordonez-Maui connection. In a similar way, I have always thought Grug Crood (from The Croods) bore an amazing resemblance to Eric Hosmer. (If you haven’t seen thar movie, I recommend you do, it’s a great one for fathers of teenaged girls.)

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