posted on Mar, 14 2006 @ 05:27 PM
CLUES, for Hootie and others, about the old-timer
1. He was born in 1911 and died in 1986, of cancer.
2. He only had 10 seasons with over 67 at bats, and 9 with over 300, yet any expert will agree he is one of the greatest ever at his position.
3. In this scant career, he hit 379 doubles, 71 triples and 331 homers--leaving us to wonder what he would have done, had he played a real career and
not lost over 4 years to WWII.
4. He had a career .313 batting average, a whopping .412 career on-base average, and an absoluely magnificent .605 career slugging average, making
him one of the greatest hitters ever.
5. His career runs created per 27 outs was also pretty staggering, at 9.46.
6. He was a terrible left fielder, a fact which was inevitable, but apparently Rudy York would have been even worse, and apparently the Tigers felt
they had to have York in their lineup. They sure as hell had to have THIS GUY in their lineup.
7. This guy's best year was 1938. He amassed 58 HR's, which was tied for the 4th best ever for a long time, until steroid ball arrived. He also had
a career-best .438 on-base and a career-base .683 slugging in 1938.
8. In 1937, he had a startling 103 extra base hits--check the list of guys with over 100 XBH in a season; until Steroid Ball, it was tiny--and drove
in 183 runs, which is still the second-highest American League total ever, only one behind Lou Gehrig's 184. And this guy didn't have Babe
Ruth constantly getting on base in front of him.
9. This guy was the first real Jewish baseball star, and unless I'm overlooking a real monster of a player, he's still the greatest Jewish player
ever. I would take his short career over Sandy Koufax's short career, any day of the week, as long as we didn't have to play in the cavernous version
of Dodger Stadium Koufax got to pitch in during his great seasons.
Bill James has said, with regard to the Phillies' Greg Luzinski and his laughably atrocious defensive flaws, that "it was like having Herman Munster
play left field." I'm quite certain that's what this guy looked like out there, and personally I would not have put Rudi York at 1B for all the tea
in China. But THIS GUY--well, he was without any doubt one of the greatest legitimate hitters of all time, and like Frank Howard 1.5 generations
later, someone pitchers must have just DREADED facing.
I have referred to this man's enormous size in other places. I have not referred to the fact he had massively flat feet, making whatever hope he
might otherwise have had of controlling his gigantic body impossible.
And please also note: The player from the 40's, 50's and 60's--who, pending the completion of A-Rod's career, is easily the greatest of these 4
players--was the answer to one of my other questions. Bill James' #8 all-time major leaguer, and probably one of my Top 10, with unbelievable stats
which are getting somehow forgotten with time and because of a probably better player who shared his era and his position.