posted on Mar, 16 2006 @ 03:06 PM
I'm trusting nobody will look at the all-time HR list here.
TRD: You said you looked at it 2 or 3 months ago. Three of these guys retired with--respectively--586, 573 and 521 home runs. I will not give you
the fourth number, and that right there should be quite a hint.
I posted this at 3:39 a.m. Eastern, 12:39 a.m. here on the Pacific Coast. At that time tonight--if he's in the mood--Hootie will name any that
haven't already been named.
One more hint: As pure HR hitters, these guys put the Class of '31 to shame. Mr. 573 had, among guys who played MORE than 10 seasons in MLB, a
better HR/AB ratio than anyone but Babe Ruth, until Steroid/HGH ball. Mr. I'm Not Giving His HR Number was ahead of Mays in HR/AB, and had the irony
of playing all of his prime seasons in a dreadful park, but all of his "decline phase" seasons in a hitter's dream park. Mr. 521 blows Ernie Banks
away in HR/AB, and not only shares Ted Williams' career HR number, but also shares Ted Williams' horribleness in the field--except he at least always
tried to improve.
And that leaves Mr. 586 vs. Eddie Mathews. Mathews has the edge in HR/AB because he retired so young, but Mr. 586 has an edge of 74 HR's--and, in any
event, was a MUCH better baseball player. He also was a great clutch hitter, with 10 HR's in 126 post-season at bats, including one W.S. where he had
14 AB's, with a triple and 2 HR's. (That's an .857 slugging average.)
I'm afraid Mr. 586 will get largely forgotten over time, because he played in the shadows of three of baseball's greatest players ever--Mays, Mantle,
and Mr. I'm not giving his #. And no, he wasn't as good as they were. But that's not too different from saying Gehrig wasn't as good as Ruth, or
Eddie Collins wasn't as good as Cobb, Speaker and Wagner. Now, it's true that having Ruth, and later DiMaggio, in the lineup inflated Gehrig's
stats--especially his fantastic RBI stats. NOBODY ever inflated Mr. 586's stats, because except for All-Star games, nobody EVER wanted to pitch
He was a VERY fierce competitor--not in a maniacal sense, like Cobb, but much more so than Mays or Mantle, and he once got arrested, early in his
career, for carrying a concealed firearm. He had the kind of personality which, from my readings, I imagine the incredible Oscar Charleston to have
He also was baseball's first black manager, and as a player-manager, homered in his first at bat. Several years later, while managing my Giants, he
took a NOTHING team whose two best everyday players (no, Jack Clark, NOT you) were far over the hill and kept them in contention until the penultimate
game of the season. On the final game of the season, 40-year Joe Morgan hit a 3-run HR off Dodger reliever Terry Forster, to break a 2-2 tie in the
bottom of the 7th, all but eliminating the Dodgers and giving the division to the Braves. When the game was over, as the beaten and despondent
Dodgers walked off the field, the Giants' organist played "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." The fans acted like the Giants had just won the 7th
game of the World Series.
Only 1.5 years later, the idiot Giants management somehow fired Mr. 586, instead of their horrible G.M., Tom Haller. But Mr. 586 still has a very
prominent role in baseball today, 30 years after his great playing career ended, and his seek-no-quarter-and-give-none philosophy is as evident as
when his playing career began in 1956. I do not know if he is STILL the only man to win the MVP Award in both leagues, but I do know he was the first
to accomplish that heady feat.