Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
December 5, 2011
BASEBALL: How to Score Runs, Part II

I cut off my examination of runs scored per times on base at 1920 because of the many ways in which the early game was different. But let's complete the picture with guys who reached base 3500 or more times and were active before 1920 (I went through the end of their careers this time, so the numbers for Babe Ruth are a little different here; Frankie Frisch's totals are different but the percentages are the same). The #1 man here, of the 24 guys who qualified, sure does stick out. I ran the numbers both with and without including homers, and ranked by the latter:

PlayerRTOBweHRR/TOBR/TOB(-HR)
Willie Keeler171935853347.9%47.5%
Roger Connor1620350813846.2%44.0%
Cap Anson199944519744.9%43.7%
Fred Clarke162237076743.8%42.7%
Jesse Burkett172039547543.5%42.4%
Bill Dahlen159036658443.4%42.1%
George Davis154536147342.8%41.6%
Jake Beckley160237338742.9%41.6%
Frankie Frisch1532363910542.1%40.4%
Sam Rice151437513440.4%39.8%
Max Carey154537827040.9%39.7%
Ty Cobb2246553211740.6%39.3%
Harry Hooper142936787538.9%37.6%
Nap Lajoie150438928238.6%37.3%
Honus Wagner1739450810138.6%37.2%
Lou Gehrig1771398346444.5%37.1%
Eddie Collins182148914737.2%36.6%
Tris Speaker1882499811737.7%36.2%
Sam Crawford139137449737.2%35.5%
Goose Goslin1477372224639.7%35.4%
Rogers Hornsby1579401930139.3%34.4%
Babe Ruth2174497871443.7%34.2%
Zack Wheat1289361113235.7%33.3%
Harry Heilmann1291355618336.3%32.8%

Just out of curiosity, I ran the same numbers over the whole 1871-2011 period for three groups of players with over 2000 plate appearances who seemed likely to score a lot: players who scored at least 60% of their times on base overall, players who scored at least 0.85 runs per game, and players who stole at least 30% as many bases as times on base. It will not surprise you that this list is dominated by guys from the game's very earliest days; Keeler sticks out a lot less on this list, when compared to contemporaries and teammates like Hamilton, Delahanty, McGraw, Thompson, Duffy and Brouthers. It's sort of disappointing that the all-time leader here is the obscure Ned Cuthbert, who retired in 1884 with a career .276 OBP, but the #2 man is the game's very first dominant superstar, and the #3 man one of the founding fathers of organized professional baseball:

PlayerRTOBweHRR/TOBR/TOB(-HR)
Ned Cuthbert453602875.2%74.9%
Ross Barnes698976671.5%71.3%
George Wright6659341171.2%70.9%
Mike McGeary484710068.2%68.2%
Dave Eggler491746065.8%65.8%
Andy Leonard481744464.7%64.5%
Tom Poorman3966161264.3%63.6%
Lip Pike4346892163.0%61.8%
Cal McVey5558991161.7%61.3%
Tom Carey405662561.2%60.9%
Arlie Latham148125102759.0%58.6%
Harry Stovey1492246512260.5%58.5%
Hub Collins65311411157.2%56.8%
Abner Dalrymple81314144357.5%56.2%
King Kelly135723746957.2%55.9%
George Gore132723594656.3%55.4%
Tom Brown152327486455.4%54.4%
Buck Ewing112920267155.7%54.1%
Hugh Nicol6311173553.8%53.6%
Jim O'Rourke172931886254.2%53.3%
Eddie Burke74713783054.2%53.2%
Mike Griffin140626424253.2%52.5%
Ed Daily3967461953.1%51.9%
Billy Sunday3396461252.5%51.6%
Hugh Duffy1554298610652.0%50.3%
Jim McTamany69313741950.4%49.7%
Billy Hamilton169734424049.3%48.7%
Mike Tiernan1316262710650.1%48.0%
Sam Thompson1262250212650.4%47.8%
Jake Stenzel66413823248.0%46.8%
Dan Brouthers1523324110647.0%45.2%
Ed Delahanty1600343210146.6%45.0%
John McGraw102422791344.9%44.6%
Miguel Dilone314712644.1%43.6%
Bill Joyce82218007045.7%43.5%
Vince Coleman84919882842.7%41.9%

So yes, while the modern leader over a career with 3500 or more times on base is Kenny Lofton, both Vince Coleman and Miguel Dilone scored more frequently once on base.

PS - Take another look at that list and consider how many guys above 50% batted in front of Cap Anson - I don't know where Anson hit in the batting order in the 1870s (by the 1880s, before you had to announce lineups before the game, he was inserting himself whenever there were men on base) - Barnes, McVey, Dalrymple, Kelly, Gore and Sunday all come to mind.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:05 AM | Baseball 2011 • | Baseball Studies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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