Showing posts with label Derek Jeter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Derek Jeter. Show all posts

Friday, June 17, 2016

Pete Rose, Ichiro and other people with more than 4,000 professional hits

Ichiro Suzuki
Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki now has 4,257 hits in his professional career -- if you combine his numbers in the major leagues with his totals from the Japanese League.

Pete Rose, of course, holds the record for hits in the majors with 4,256. Ichiro passing that figure with his combined total has provoked plenty of discussion of late, and Baseball Digest posted a graphic on its Facebook page that I thought was interesting enough to share here.

We normally think of Rose and Ty Cobb as the only two men in the 4,000-hit club, because they are the only two to achieve that milestone in the big leagues. But what if we included all the other professional leagues -- all the minor leagues in the U.S., the Japanese League, the Mexican League, the Cuban League, the Negro Leagues, so on and so forth?

Baseball Digest's research turned up nine men who achieved 4,000 professional hits. Here they are, from highest to lowest:
Julio Franco

1. Rose
Majors: 4,256
Minors: 427
Total: 4,683

2. Cobb
Majors: 4,189
Minors: 166
Total: 4,355

3. Ichiro
Majors: 2,979
Japanese League: 1,278
Total: 4,257

4. Julio Franco
Majors: 2,586
Minors: 618
Mexican League: 316
Japanese League: 286
Dominican Winter League: 267
Korean League: 156
United Baseball League: 6
Total: 4,235
Minnie Minoso

5. Hank Aaron
Majors: 3,771
Minors: 324
Total: 4,095

6. Jigger Statz
Majors: 737
Minors: 3,356
Total: 4,093

7. Minnie Minoso
Majors 1,963
Minors: 429
Cuban League: 838
Mexican League: 715
Negro League: 128
Total: 4,073

8. Derek Jeter
Majors: 3,465
Minors: 554
Total: 4,019

9. Stan Musial
Majors: 3,630
Minors: 471
Total: 4,001
Stan Musial

The first thought that comes to mind when looking at this list is, who the hell is Jigger Statz? Well, he was born in Waukegan in 1897 and played eight big-league seasons, including four with the Cubs from 1922-25. He played his last game in the majors with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1928, but he continued to play in the minors until 1942, retiring just before his 45th birthday. I guess that's how you accumulate more than 3,000 minor league hits.

There are two players with White Sox ties on the list, the first of which is Julio Franco. I remember Franco playing shortstop with the Cleveland Indians when I was a little kid in the early 1980s. He was the designated hitter for the Sox in the ill-fated, strike-shortened season of 1994. He hit .319 with 20 home runs and 98 RBIs -- and remember, that season ended the second week of August. Franco's last game in the majors came as a 48-year-old with the Atlanta Braves in 2007. He collected six hits as a 55-year-old playing in the United Baseball League two years ago. I don't know if there's a more traveled player in the history of the game than Julio Franco.

Lastly, Minoso, aka Mr. White Sox, appears at No. 7. The only thing I can say about Minnie is this: How the hell is that man still not in the Hall of Fame? That injustice needs to be corrected. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Myth-busting: Single-team career stars are *not* becoming more rare

You know who played 3,308 career games all with the Boston Red Sox?

YAZ!

Indeed, Ken "Hawk" Harrelson's oft-mentioned former teammate, Carl Yastrzemski, tops a list of 36 players in major league history who have played at least 2,000 career games all with the same team.

If you've watched ESPN or MLB Network at any point during the last two months, you are no doubt aware that longtime New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is retiring at the end of the season. Jeter is among those 36 players, having played each of his 2,610 career games (entering Thursday) in a Yankee uniform.

On a recent MLB Network broadcast, I heard one of the commentators note that Jeter has spent his entire career in New York. They added that in this era of free agency, "you just don't see that too often anymore." That's conventional wisdom. Heck, I think I've probably said things like that myself.

But every now and then I like to research the facts behind the conventional wisdom, just to see if they are accurate. In this case, they are not.

Of the 36 players on that list, 23 are players who have played in my lifetime. For the record, I was born in 1976.

So, that means between the years of 1901 and 1976, a span of 75 years, there were only 13 players who played 2,000 games or more all with the same team. In the 38 years since 1976, 23 players have played 2,000 or more games all with the same team

Contrary to conventional wisdom, it's actually more common nowadays for a player to have a long career with the same team.

I won't bore you by listing all the players on the list, but among the 36 are some star players I recall watching during my 1980s childhood: Tony Gwynn, George Brett, Robin Yount, Mike Schmidt, Cal Ripken.

Others, like Jeter, are names familiar to fans who have followed baseball over the last 10 or 15 years: Barry Larkin, Craig Biggio, Edgar Martinez, Chipper Jones, Jeff Bagwell, Todd Helton.

Don't get me wrong: Given the sheer volume of players who make it to the major leagues, it is still uncommon for a guy to spend a career that spans more than a decade in the same city. At some point, most guys get traded, or leave their original franchise via free agency. But the conventional wisdom that says single-team career stars like Jeter are becoming more and more rare is just plain wrong.

In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if this list continues to grow over the next decade. You can find examples of players who are candidates to join the list. Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia has played 1,025 career games (entering Thursday). He is under contract with the Red Sox until 2021, when he will be 38 years old. How about Evan Longoria? He's played 807 career games (entering Thursday) and is under contract with the Tampa Bay Rays through 2023. There's two possibilities right there. I'm sure there are others.

You see, this old-school lament that "players just don't stay in the same place anymore" is not quite right. They didn't stay in the same place all that often back in the old days either. If I ever try to tell you otherwise, remind me I'm wrong. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Joe Girardi to the Cubs? Idiotic speculation or a real possibility?

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi's contract is up at the end of the season. You know what that means. It is time for renewed speculation that Girardi will "come home" to manage the Cubs.

Chicago Tribune columnist Phil Rogers is leading the media charge with his piece in today's paper.

Rogers and others have reported the Cubs are open to the possibility of replacing manager Dale Sveum, who frankly has had no chance to win the last two years with the crappy rosters he has been handed. But, perhaps Cubs brass is unhappy with Sveum because supposed core players Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and Jeff Samardzija have all taken a step backward this season.

My opinion on Sveum? Take him or leave him. I don't think he's anything special as a field boss, but the truth is no manager ever born could have coaxed the Cubs teams of the last two years to anything close to a .500 record, let along playoff contention.

As for Girardi, I'd be stunned if the Yankees don't offer him another contract. Even though New York will likely not make the playoffs, Girardi has done an unbelievable job of keeping a mediocre roster in contention deep into September.

Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson have barely played this season. Alex Rodriguez, as usual, has created a circus around that team. C.C. Sabathia has had the worst season of his career. New York's pitching, statistically, is worse than both of the woeful Chicago baseball teams this year. Despite all that, Girardi is going to squeeze 85 to 87 wins out of a team that had to give way too many at-bats to guys like Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay and Eduardo Nunez. Girardi's a good manager. He's better than Sveum. There's no denying that.

But would he leave New York for Chicago? What would be his motivation to do that? His local roots, I suppose. He's from Peoria. He attended Northwestern, and he played seven of his 15 MLB seasons on the North Side. I can't imagine money would be a motivation. Whatever the Cubs can offer, the Yankees could surely match. I don't think the Cubs can offer Girardi a better on-field situation than what the Yankees have. New York contends every year. The Yankees will find a way next year, too, regardless of who the manager is. They'll open up their pocketbook this offseason and address their holes. They always do. The Cubs, in contrast, are at least another two years away.

Are the local ties enough to pry Girardi out of New York? I don't know, but that's really all the Cubs have to offer. And, if Girardi is sick of New York and ready for a change, he would have other options than Chicago. I hear Washington is looking for a manager, and the Nationals have a team that should be ready to win. Attractive jobs could come open in Texas and Anaheim, as well.

When it comes to the Cubs, it's always hard for me to tell whether some of the local reporting is legitimate news, or just cheerleading from the press box. When I read some of these articles, it almost strikes me as if the Cubs reporters are trying to woo Girardi to Chicago themselves. In the coming months, it will be interesting to see whether that story has legs, or if it's just another round of idiotic speculation at the end of another lost season on the North Side.