Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 20, 2005
BASEBALL: Getting to First

Following on yesterday's thoughts, you can see the list here of all players, through 2001, who posted a .370 OBP in a season of 500 or more at bats with a slugging percentage below .400. 27 players have done the feat more than twice, and thus established themselves, at least at some point in their careers, as "pure" OBP guys; I will group them by era.

1871-1919
Jimmy Barrett
Bob Bescher
Donie Bush
Topsy Hartsel
Dummy Hoy
Miller Huggins
Fielder Jones
Clyde Milan
Jimmy Sheckard
Burt Shotton
Roy Thomas

1920-1959
Luke Appling
Richie Ashburn
Lu Blue
Elbie Fletcher
Jim Gilliam
Billy Goodman
Stan Hack
Johnny Pesky
Pee Wee Reese
Eddie Stanky
Eddie Yost

1960-2001
Brett Butler
Rickey Henderson
Tony Phillips
Willie Randolph
Ozzie Smith

It does seem to me that a disproportionate number of these guys played for a lot of successful teams, notably Henderson, Randolph, Ozzie, Gilliam, Reese, Sheckard, Stanky, Hack, Pesky, and Jones.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:16 AM | Baseball 2005 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

That such a large percentage of players were successful on good teams might mean that only good teams can carry one or two players like that. Or that the combination is not as important as we might think. Or that these players, many noted for their defense or "leadership" skills compensated in other areas.

My own guess is that these are players who, when they came to the plate, may not have brought in lots of runs, but did not make many outs either. So they work a walk, or a sacrifice, or something that keeps an inning going. Hmm, soounds like an ideal no. 2 hitter, which many of these fellas are.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at September 20, 2005 10:30 AM

One thing many of these players had was an excellent BB:K ratio. Among the players on your list, the only one who had a single year with more K's than BB's was Tony Phillips, had 125 BB's and 132 K's, and he barely made the cutoff, with an SLG of .399. Ozzie Smith is a little extreme, but he's a great example of this, as he averaged 84 walks and 33 strikeouts in his 3 years on the list.

Posted by: Tom at September 20, 2005 1:20 PM
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