Since we are up to the 20th entry of this blog, I figured a celebration would be in order. Baseball is a game about numbers, sometimes too much of them but most of the time they can be fun. The numbers to follow are not the well-known baseball ones like 56 and 755. Rather they are numbers that can amaze, amuse or inform. And that is the purpose of writing this blog. So let’s begin with the number that represents this post.
20-I admit it, the number 20 seems a tad boring. But then you have to look all of the famous players that have donned that uniform. You can start with the allegedly retiring Jorge Posada. Then there is Boston’s favorite shortstop, Bucky Dent. There have been a total of 5 Hall of Famers that wore 20 including all-time great Frank Robinson. For my money, the best player to ever wear the number 20 is Mike Schmidt. He led the National League in home runs 8 times and won 3 MVP awards. Schmidt was no slouch with the glove either, collecting 10 Gold Gloves. He is easily one of the best combinations of hitting and fielding ever and was arguably the best player of the late 70′ and all of the 80’s.
672-If I had told you there was a player in the Hall of Fame who went by the name of “Rabbit”, you’d lock me up and make me watch reruns of “Dance Moms”. Well, Rabbit Maranville is in the Hall of Fame and 672 represents the number of at bats he had in 1922 without hitting a single home run. For his career, he hit 28 home runs in 10,078 at-bats. You would think that with such little power he probably had a high batting average. Wrong again. His career number is .258. That would tell us that he is in the Hall of Fame because his glovework was off the charts. Since he played so long ago, we have to assume he would have been the Ozzie Smith of his day.
2,405-That is the number of games Buddy Bell played in without seeing action in one playoff game. However, instead of just stopping there, people should realize what a tremendous player Bell was. He appeared in 5 All-Star Games and earned 6 Gold Gloves. His best season came in 1979 when he hit 18 home runs with 101 RBI’s, batted .299 and led the American League with 670 at-bats. Bell’s problem was that he played on some really wretched teams in Cleveland and Texas. He is one of the most underappreciated players of his time and hopefully, this and other outlets will give him some more love.
7,132-There are actually two numbers that belong here so I started with the greater one. The other number in this equation is 114. Hall of Famer Joe Sewell had 7,132 at-bats and 114 represents the number of times Sewell struck out in his CAREER. How many current and past players had at least 114 strikeouts in one season? Right, none of us can count that high. On average, Sewell struck out 10 times during a 162 game season. His fewest number of strikeouts in a season was 4. Oh yeah, he had 699 at-bats and drove in 98 runs that very same year. That my friends is truly remarkable and are the type of numbers that need to be repeated more often.
15,189-The number of views I hope this blog records over the next 48 hours.