Defying law of averages
Barry Bonds and Ichiro are headed for 2004 batting titles. If so, it would be the most diverse pair in MLB history.
Not that us Useless Info-maniacs can recall. Let's take a look:
In fact, as loyal reader Bret Turner observed, there was a time when it appeared as if Ichiro might finish with twice as many hits. Well, needless to say, no hitting champ has ever doubled his fellow champ's hit total.
And even though Ichiro won't do that, he is going to become the first champ in history to outhit the other league's batting champ by more than 100 hits. The current leader board, courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau:
90 -- 1911 (Ty Cobb 248, Honus Wagner 158)
84 -- 1942 (Ted Williams 186, Ernie Lombardi 102)
80 -- 1958 (Richie Ashburn 215, Ted Williams 135)
More Useless Ichiro Information
Despite some reports that the last player to get that many hits in a month was Jeff Heath in 1938, loyal reader Trent McCotter disputes that note. McCotter says his review of official American League day-by-days shows that Dale Mitchell (more famous for making the last out in Don Larsen's perfect game) got 59 hits in August, 1948.
Since 1990, according to Elias, only three players have gotten 200 hits or more, led their league and not made the top 10 in runs scored:
Ichiro's current rank (through Thursday): 19th (with 90). Bernie Williams had 101 fewer hits -- but had scored three more runs.
The current record-holder in that department, according to Lee Sinins' Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia, is Kirby Puckett:
140 -- Kirby Puckett, 1989 (215 hits, 175 runs)
138 -- George Sisler, 1929 (205 hits, 67 runs)
138 -- Felipe Alou, 1968 (210, 72)
137 -- Heinie Manush, 1938 (241, 104)
More Useless Bonds Information
381 -- Babe Ruth 1923
358 -- Ted Williams, 1949
356 -- Barry Bonds, 2002
353 -- Babe Ruth, 1921
Shea Hillenbrand -- 84 BB, 2,121 AB
Bengie Molina -- 86 BB, 2,034 AB
Einar Diaz -- 89 BB, 1,908 AB
A.J. Pierzynski -- 76 BB, 1,853 AB
Cesar Izturis -- 78 BB, 1,737 AB
Juan Uribe -- 88 BB, 1,608 AB
Randall Simon -- 80 BB, 1,588 AB
Juan Castro -- 98 BB, 1,575 AB
Think about George Brett's Hall of Fame career. Now think about all Alex Rodriguez already has accomplished in his career.
Add their two careers together, and they still don't equal as many home runs as Bonds has now (378 for A-Rod, 317 for Brett come to 695 combined).
In his final game in Arizona last Sunday, according to the East Valley Tribune's Ed Price, Bonds had more than seven times as many homers (697-92) and more than twice as many at-bats (2,692-1,125) as all the players in the Diamondbacks' lineup put together.
Meanwhile, as loyal readers Ryan Shough and Divy Ravindranath report, Bonds arrived in Milwaukee the next day with more career homers (699) than all the position players on the Brewers' 40-man roster (plus Brooks Kieschnick) combined (699-643).
Even if he had zero hits this year (i.e., subtract his hit total from times on base), Bonds still would have a higher on-base percentage (.378) -- just counting his walks -- than Juan Pierre (.373), Vladimir Guerrero (.377), David Ortiz (.373), Milton Bradley (.363) or Rafael Furcal (.352). Among about 600 others.
Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
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