6 years, 1,500 posts, and a lot of baseball cards

8 03 2016

Today is my 1,500th post.  I used to do something different every time I had a post divisible by 100.  Kind of like Topps in the 1980’s, I wanted to put Pete Rose or Mike Schmidt on anything that ended in “00”.   Doing posts like this was a fun way to circle back on how long I’ve been doing this blog.  Sometimes I would tie it to historical statistics.  Other times I could look back and see how long it took me to do all my posts.

Once I did my 1,000th post, I figure I’m enough of a veteran at this game that I should celebrate less frequently.  Plus, as a 6-year blogging veteran, I can’t handle a celebration hangover like I used to :).  So post #1100, #1200, #1300, and #1400 came by with no fanfare.  But 1,500 seems like a bit of a milestone.

So I’ll look back at how long it took me to do these posts.

It took me 808 days to get from 1,000 to 1,500.  That’s a rate of 1.6 days per post.  For the first 1,000 posts, I was a little faster, going at a rate of 1.4.  I took something of a hiatus in 2014, and came back posting less frequently than I had been.  I’ve been ticking that up of late, however.

I’ll also do something statistical.

One thousand five hundred is half the way to three thousand.  And back in 2011 when Derek Jeter got his 3,000th hit, I did a series of posts around that milestone.  One for Jeter.  One for guys who’d already made it into the club.  And another for my expert predictions on who would make it in the future.  I gave Alex Rodriguez a 99% chance.  I got that one right, though it did kind of look to be in jeopardy after his 2014 suspension. Here’s the updated info for Alex, after he became the 29th player to join the club.

2012 Gypsy ARod

#29 – Alex Rodriguez – June 19, 2015.  Home run off Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers.  Yankee Stadium, New York, NY.  (3,070 hits and counting)

Here’s the rest of my predictions:

  • Ichiro – 85%

I think I was pretty good there.  Ichiro is now in the “lock” category – so if I did it today I’d go 95% or even higher.  Since he signed with the Marlins, the only thing keeping him from it will be injury or if he is unexpectedly ineffective.  I don’t see the latter happening given the nature of how he plays.

  • Albert Pujols – 80%

I think I got that correct as well.  Pujols has 2,666 hits so far, and he has a contract that runs another 6 years.  Yes, he’s hurt more now, but he’s still averaged 150 hits a season in Anaheim.  60 hits a year would get him there over the life of his contract.  I’d actually move him up a tick to 85% today.

  • Johnny Damon – 70%

I blew this one.  At the time, Damon was having a pretty good season for Tampa Bay.  His 2nd half of 2011 wasn’t as good as his first half, and his ability had eroded by the next year when he signed with Cleveland.  He finished with 2,769 hits, and I think he deserves more HOF consideration than he’s going to get.

  • Vlad Guerrero – 45%

I probably overestimated Guerrero’s chances, but I was very surprised nobody signed him after he had a decent 2011 with Baltimore.  He finished with 2,590 hits.

  • Bobby Abreu – 35%

I overrated this as well – it’s just tough to predict how much these guys are going to drop off.  After an OK 2011, Abreu played 8 games in 2012 with the Angels, was released and signed with the Dodgers.  He didn’t play in 2013, then came back to get 33 hits with the Mets in 2014 to finish with 2,470 for his career.

  • Ivan Rodriguez – 25% chance

Pudge went on the DL right after I did that post, so I’d have rated him lower at that point if I knew that.  At that point he had 2,842 hits.  He finished with only 2 more.

  • Omar Vizquel – 15% chance

I was about right with this.  Vizquel just couldn’t quite get across the finish line.  He ended up with 2,877 hits, more than anyone else on the list (not counting A-Rod).

So that’s my 3,000 hit post.  Adrian Beltre has since moved up the list.  Unlike Guerrero and Abreu, he has really poured it on after his year 32 season.  He now sits at 2,767 hits.  Considering he had 163 last year and led the league with 199 only 3 years ago – he has a pretty good chance.  Miguel Cabrera (2,331, age 32) is looking like he has a good chance, and Robinson Cano just passed 2,000 hits in his age 32 season.

Back to the milestone post thing.  Today happens to be my birthday, and this post is just 6 days past my 6th anniversary on this blog.  So that’s all pretty cool.  I had my first post on this blog back on March 2, 2010.  I was living in Columbus at that time.  Since then I moved to New Jersey, moved to Wrigleyville in Chicago, moved to another neighborhood in Chicago, and then moved to the suburbs.  My wife and I now have 2 kids.  So a lot has changed, and I’m frankly a bit surprised I’m still blogging about 2½ x 3½ cards!

So thanks for reading!  I’ve only got 4 more years and another 1,500 posts or so to make the decade and 3,000 clubs!

**********

P.S.  Now that I’m at the end of the post, I realized that the only picture was of Alex Rodriguez.  I don’t hate the guy or anything, but it seems like I need something more fun than that.

2004 Topps Griffey

There. Griffey robbing a home run. Blown up the size of my blog.  Much better.





The Ghost of 3,000 Hits Future

12 07 2011

Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit prompted me to do a three-part series on 3,000 hits.  First post was about Jeter’s 3,000th hit, yesterday’s was about the 27 guys who got there before him, and today I’ll look at who could get 3,000 hits in the future.  I kept it to players who could get there in the next 5-6 years, as I don’t want to get into projecting too far down the line.

Alex Rodriguez – 3B, New York Yankees.  2,762 hits in 2,383 games.  Turns 36 in July.

2011 stats – 90 hits in 305 AB / 80 G / .295 Avg. / .366 OBP

2010 stats – 141 hits in 522 AB / 137 G / .270 Avg. / .341 OBP

A-Rod is the easiest choice on here.  He has shown a propensity for getting injured of late, but not significantly enough to keep him from getting 238 hits before he retires.  The decrease from best in the game to All-Star caliber player means he no longer has a chance at 4,000, but 3,000 is a cinch.

99% chance

Ichiro Suzuki – OF, Seattle Mariners.  2,345 hits in 1,677 games.  37 years old.

2011 stats – 101 hits in 370 AB / 89 G / .273 Avg. / .320 OBP

2010 stats – 214 hits in 680 AB / 162 G / .315 Avg. / .359 OBP

Ichiro is the next most likely, though he isn’t the shoe-in that A-Rod is.  He’s had 200 hits in all ten of his big league seasons, though he’s on pace for slightly less than that this year.  I think he’ll come around and end up with about 2450 hits at the end of this year – he always seems to have a stronger 2nd half.  550 hits after age 38 isn’t a guarantee for anyone, but Ichiro is likely to want that milestone and he should be good for at least 4 more seasons after this one.  Injury would likely be the biggest obstacle, but Ichiro has proven himself to be relatively injury-free.  Interestingly, right now he stands at 3,620 hits when you include the base knocks he got in the Japanese Major Leagues.  So if he gets to 3,000 in the U.S., he would have more hits in the two leagues than Pete Rose had in the Majors.

85% chance

Albert Pujols – 1B, St. Louis Cardinals.  1,984 hits in 1,636 games.  31 years old.

2011 stats – 84 hits in 300 AB / 78 G / .280 Avg. / .357 OBP

2010 stats – 183 hits in 587 AB / 159 G / .312 Avg. / .414 OBP

Pujols and Ichiro have swapped the title of active lifetime Batting leader over the last few years, so he’s definitely the next best bet. Albert is having the worst season of his career, but he’s shown he’s beginning to turn the corner and will probably still end up with 30+ HR, around 100 RBI and around a .300 Average.  He’s never once been under those totals in his ten years in the majors.  Even if falls a little short of that, he’ll end the season with just under 2,100 hits.  He’s looking to sign a 10-year deal, but is probably more likely to get something around 7 years.  Not gaining 900 hits in those 7 years (and any additional years) would only be stopped by a combination of a serious injury (or 2) and the large number of walks he’s likely to draw wherever he plays during the second half of his career.  I’d put him just behind Ichiro, if only because he’s far enough away that an injury could derail him.

80% chance

Johnny Damon – DH/OF, Tampa Bay Rays.  2,663 hits in 2,359 games.  37 years old.

2011 stats – 92 hits in 330 AB / 83 G / .279 Avg. / .326 OBP

2010 stats – 146 hits in 539 AB / 145 G / .271 Avg. / .355 OBP

Damon is slowing down a little, but not much.  He’s averaged a little over 155 hits the last five years, and is on pace to have 170 or so this year.  That would leave him with 2,750 at the end of the year.  At 38, 250 should be very doable.

70% chance

Vlad Guerrero – DH, Baltimore Orioles.  2,514 hits in 2,085 games.  36 years old.

2011 stats – 87 hits in 312 AB / 83 G / .279 Avg. / .315 OBP

2010 stats – 146 hits in 593 AB / 152 G / .300 Avg. / .345 OBP

Vlad could get there, or he could be done after this year.  He had a truly great comeback season last year, but he’s slugging less than .400 this year.  That doesn’t bode well for his ability to stay in a starting lineup the next couple years, especially for someone who is exclusively a DH at this point.  He’s still hitting for a good average, and he’s not that old yet – so maybe he can turn it around next year.

45% chance

Bobby Abreu – OF, Los Angeles Angels.  2,343 hits in 2,193 games.  37 years old.

2011 stats – 86 hits in 311 AB / 88 G / .277 Avg. / .394 OBP

2010 stats – 146 hits in 573 AB / 154 G / .255 Avg. / .352 OBP

Abreu had a down season last year, but he is bouncing back nicely.  He appears to still have a few good years left, and that could get him to the plateau.  He’ll be at ~2,425 at the end of the year, but that may be a little too much to go considering he’ll be 38 starting next season.  He’ll be a starter for a few more seasons, but the incredible amount of walks may actually hurt him in the long run.

35% chance

Ivan Rodriguez – C, Washington Nationals.  2,842 hits in 2,538 games.  39 years old.

2011 stats – 25 hits in 117 AB / 39 G / .214 Avg. / .276 OBP

2010 stats – 106 hits in 398 AB / 111 G / .266 Avg. / .294 OBP

Pudge just went on the DL, and that doesn’t bode well for his chances.  He isn’t hitting well, which begs the question – has he hit the end of the road.  I’d give him a better chance of getting more at bats than Vizquel, who is the same distance away but is 5 years older.

25% chance

Omar Vizquel – SS, Chicago White Sox.  2,831 hits in 2,890 games.  44 years old.

2011 stats – 32 hits in 119 AB / 40 G / .269 Avg. / .299 OBP

2010 stats – 95 hits in 344 AB / 108 G / .276 Avg. / .341 OBP

Vizquel hasn’t had over 100 hits since 2007.  He is only playing about every third game or so, and at 44 years old, something would need to change for him to bridge the gap of 170 hits.

15% chance

Others who have an outside shot to get there:

Carlos Lee, Magglio Ordonez, Michael Young





The Ghost of 3,000 Hits Past

11 07 2011

Given the milestone that a certain player reached in the Bronx yesterday, I figured I’d do a post of guys with 3,000 hits.  The amount in parentheses reflect the players’ final tally. I included what Major League Baseball recognizes when there is a discrepancy.

#1 – Cap Anson – 1894 or 1897*.  (between 3,045 and 3,011*)

* – depending on what you count.  Anson played in the National Association (NA) from 1871-1875, which was a pre-cursor to the National League.  If you count his hits from then, he’s around 3,400 hits. If you don’t count them, he’s either at 3,012 or 3,018.  1897 assumes you don’t count the NA hits.

#2 –  Honus Wagner – June 9, 1914.  Double off Erskine Mayer, Philadelphia Phillies.  Baker Bowl, Philadelphia, PA.  (3,415)

#3 – Nap Lajoie – September 27, 1914.  Double off Marty McHale, New York Yankees.  League Park, Cleveland, OH.  (3,242)

#4 – Ty Cobb – August 19, 1921.  Single off Elmer Myers, Boston Red Sox.  Navin Field, Detroit.  (4,191**)

** – Listed as either 4,189 or 4,191 due to a possible double-counted game in 1910.  Cobb is still the youngest player to reach this mark.

#5 – Tris Speaker – May 17, 1925.  Single off Tom Zachary, Washington Senators.  League Park, Cleveland, OH.  (3,514)

Zachary also gave up Babe Ruth’s 60th home run in 1927.

#6 – Eddie Collins – June 3, 1925.  Single off Rip Collins, Detroit Tigers.  Navin Field, Detroit, MI.  (3,315)

Ty Cobb was the opposing player-manager against Chicago that day – the first time a fellow 3,000 hit member was present at another player’s 3,000th hit.

#7 – Paul Waner – June 19, 1942.  Single off Rip Sewell, Pittsburgh Pirates.  Braves Field, Boston, MA. (3,152)

#8 – Stan Musial – May 13, 1958.  Double off Moe Drabowsky, Chicago Cubs.  Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL. (3,630)

#9 – Hank Aaron – May 17, 1970.  Single off Wayne Simpson, Cincinnati Reds.  Crosley Field, Cincinnati, OH.  (3,771)

Aaron also hit his 714th home run in Cincinnati.

#10 – Willie Mays – July 18, 1970.  Single off Mike Wegener, Montreal Expos.  Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA.  (3,283)

#11 – Roberto Clemente – September 30, 1972.  Double off Jon Matlack, New York Mets.  Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA.  (3,000)

If I was asked, what’s the most incredible story in the history of major league baseball, I’d have to say it’s the tale of Clemente, his 3,000th hit, and subsequent tragic death.

#12 – Al Kaline – September 24, 1972.  Double off Dave McNally, Baltimore Orioles.  Memorial Stadium, Baltimore, MD. (3,007)

#13 – Pete Rose – May 5, 1978.  Single off Steve Rogers, Montreal Expos.  Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, OH.  (4,256)

#14 – Lou Brock – August 13, 1979.  Single off Dennis Lamp, Chicago Cubs.  Busch Stadium (#2), St. Louis, MO.  (3,023)

#15 – Carl Yastrzemski – September 12, 1979.  Single off Jim Beattie, New York Yankees.  Fenway Park, Boston, MA.  (3,419)

#16 – Rod Carew – August 4, 1985.  Single off Frank Viola, Minnesota Twins.  Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, CA.  (3,053)

#17 – Robin Yount – September 9, 1992.  Single off Jose Mesa, Cleveland Indians.  County Stadium, Milwaukee, WI.  (3,142)

#18 – George Brett – September 30, 1992.  Single off Tim Fortugno, California Angels.  Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, CA.  (3,154)

#19 – Dave Winfield – September 16, 1993.  Single off Dennis Eckersley, Oakland Athletics.  Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN.  (3,110)

Winfield was picked 2nd overall in the 1972 MLB Amateur Player Draft, one spot ahead of fellow member Yount.

#20 – Eddie Murray – June 30, 1995.  Single off Mike Trombley, Minnesota Twins.  Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN.  (3,255)

3,000 hit member Winfield was Murray’s teammate in 1995.  Though he was on the DL at the time Murray recorded his 3,000th hit, he was one of the first players out of the dugout to congratulate his teammate.

#21 – Paul Molitor – September 16, 1996.  Triple off Jose Rosado, Kansas City Royals.  Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, MO.  (3,319)

Molitor and Winfield got their 3,000th hit exactly 3 years apart while playing for their team from their hometown Minnesota Twins.

#22 – Tony Gwynn – August 6, 1999.  Single off Dan Smith, Montreal Expos.  Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.   (3,141)

Like Molitor (University of Minnesota), Gwynn (San Diego St.) played college ball in the same city as the team he got his 3,000th hit for.

#23 – Wade Boggs – August 7, 1999.  Home run off Chris Haney, Cleveland Indians.  Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL.  (3,010)

#24 – Cal Ripken – April 15, 2000.  Single off Hector Carrasco, Minnesota Twins.  Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN.  (3,184)

Eddie Murray, fellow 3,000 hit member, was the first to congratulate Cal – he was the first base coach for the Orioles.

#25 – Rickey Henderson – October 7, 2001.  Double off John Thompson, Colorado Rockies.  Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA.  (3,055)

This was Rickey’s teammate and fellow 3,000 hit member Tony Gwynn’s last game.

#26 – Rafael Palmeiro – July 15, 2005.  Double off Joel Piniero, Seattle Mariners.  Safeco Field, Seattle, WA.  (3,020)

#27 – Craig Biggio – June 28, 2007.  Single off Aaron Cook, Colorado Rockies.  Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX.  (3,060)

See my previous post for the only current player with 3,000 hits.

Other info about the 28 players with 3,000 hits

Amazingly, 7 different seasons have seen 2 players reach 3,000 hits – 1914, 1925, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1992, and 1999.

Both the 1970’s and 1990’s saw 7 players reach the 3,000 hit plateau.

The longest stretch between members was the 17+ years between Collins and Waner.  The shortest was the one day between Gwynn and Boggs.

September is the most common month (8 entrants)

May 17, September 16th and September 30th have seen 2 hitters reach the milestone.

Both Clemente and Henderson got their 3,000th hit on the last game of the year.  Thus, you can find cards of them with “3,000” at the bottom of the hit total.

2 teams, (both expansion teams) the Twins and Expos, have both given up 3,000 hits on 3 separate occasions.

8 teams – the Pirates, Indians, Cubs, Tigers, Cardinals, Twins, Padres, and Orioles have all had 2 players reach the milestone.

This gives the Twins the distinction of seeing the most games – 5 – with 3,000 hits.

Minneapolis is the only city to see 3 players reach 3,000 – and all happened at the Metrodome.

Waner, Brock, and Carew all reached the milestone against their former team.

Of the 3,000 hit club members, 14 players batted right, 12 batted left, and Murray and Pete Rose are the only switch-hitters with 3,000 hits.

As noted above, there have been 4 occasions when a current member of the club was in uniform at the game where the newest member reached the milestone – twice as teammates, once as a coach for the same team, and once as a player-manager for the other team.

No player has been on a World Series winning team (or even made the series) in the year he got his 3,000th hitter.  Obviously this remains in play for Mr. Jeter.

Jeter joins Craig Biggio as the only player with 5 hits on the day he collected #3,000.

Lifetime batting averages range from .276 (Ripken) to .367 (Cobb – the all-time leader).

Home Run totals range from 47 (Collins) to 755 (Aaron).





The Ghost of 3,000 Present – Jeter gets his hit

10 07 2011

#28 – Derek Jeter – July 9, 2011.  Home run off David Price.  Yankee Stadium (#2), New York, NY.  (3,003 and counting)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t do a post about the milestone that Jeter passed yesterday.  I now live in the greater NYC area – and it’s been all the talk shows could discuss the last couple of days.  So on some level, I’m just glad it’s over.  All the “should the Yankees have called Friday’s game so early?” “should they have forced the Rays to do an afternoon doubleheader?”.  I’m glad we can move on.

But I’m also glad for Jeter.  He has never been my favorite player.  In fact, I used to kind of dislike him – I think because Ken Griffey has long been my favorite player, and for a long time, Jeter seemed to always be the other player who truly had a “Madison Avenue” marketable presence in baseball.  I always thought he was a bit overrated – he was continuously compared to A-Rod as a great player, and to me, he just didn’t measure up.  Since then, I’ve begun to appreciate his greatness, however.  If you throw out A-Rod, Ernie Banks and Robin Yount out because they played half their careers at other positions, Jeter is probably the 3rd best Shortstop to ever lace ’em up. Behind Honus Wagner and Cal Ripken.  At baseball’s most demanding position, that’s pretty impressive.  Where I used to dislike him because of jealous comparisons to my icon growing up – I have since acknowledged that he and Griffey are the two all-time greats who played in the steroid era with their image intact.

How he did it was amazing – just the 2nd to reach it on a home run.  Funny, for all the great home run hitters who do have 3,000 hits, only Wade Boggs and Jeter reached it that way.  And to go 5-for-5 and carry his team to a victory when they really needed it, also impressive.

I’ve had the two RCs of his, shown above, for a long time.  Probably since 1993 – I completed both sets when I was a kid collecting Upper Deck only.  I’m pretty sure I sold a second copy of the SP rookie for 15 or 20 bucks back then as well.  Oh well.

It’s funny, but 3 out of my top 10 pulls (actually, it’s probably 3 out of my top 6) are actually Jeter cards.  And 3 actually came from the same box – my incredible 2008 Upper Deck Heroes box.  Here are the relics of Derek Jeter that I’ve pulled:

1) 2008 Upper Deck Heroes Auto #/5

2) 2007 SP By The Letter Patch Auto #/20

3) 2008 Upper Deck Heroes Quad Jersey #/50, with DiMaggio, Jackson, Berra

4) 2008 Upper Deck Heroes Jersey