April 26, 2000
Doctoring The Numbers
The Superstar Edition
They're Similar in Everything but Religion
With Randy Johnson's torrid start, his career won/lost record is now 164-88. There are those who think that despite his terrific winning percentages and his two Cy Young Awards, Johnson simply hasn't won enough games to merit Hall of Fame consideration yet. To that, I say, "phooey." Check out Johnson's career numbers, next to a mysterious Pitcher X...alright, it's Sandy Koufax:
Name W L G GS CG ShO IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA BR/9 Johnson 164 88 335 326 71 27 2286 1748 917 817 1018 2735 201 3.22 10.89 Koufax 165 87 397 314 137 40 2324 1754 806 713 817 2396 204 2.76 9.96
The two have virtually identical records, and when you factor in ballpark and era, Koufax's 46-point edge in ERA disappears. If anything, Johnson has been more dominant in his time.
Koufax does have the advantage in postseason performance (the all-time record of a 0.95 ERA in 57 World Series innings), and has three Cy Youngs to Johnson's two. He might have won a fourth in 1965 had each league given out their own Cy Youngs.
If Koufax was a first-ballot Hall of Famer, Johnson already deserves enshrinement. Not that another 100 wins or so wouldn't help.
And McGwire Has Missed Nine Games
The Cardinals are already threatening to destroy every team power record known to man. They broke the all-time NL record for home runs in April with a week to go, and with 44 home runs in just 19 games, they're on a 375-homer pace. This for a franchise that, prior to 1998, had never hit more than 144 in a season. The 1942 Cardinals, who won 106 games and the World Series, hit 60 homers all year. The 1982 Cardinals, also World Champions, hit 67.
It's been a total team effort. Seven players, including Placido Polanco, Shawon Dunston and Thomas Howard, have hit at least three homers so far. Only four teams in history had even five players hit 25 homers apiece:
Team Year Players Cincinnati 1956 Robinson 38, Post 36, Kluszewski 35, Bell 29, Bailey 28 Boston (AL) 1977 Rice 39, Scott 33, Hobson 30, Yastrzemski 28, Fisk 26 Baltimore 1996 Anderson 50, Palmeiro 39, Bonilla 28, Ripken 26, Hoiles 25 Colorado 1997 Walker 49, Galarraga 41, Castilla 40, Burks 32, Bichette 26
Why John Olerud Was the Winter's Best Free-Agent Acquisition
Alex Rodriguez walked five times on Saturday, giving him 18 walks in the Mariners' first 18 games. Rodriguez only has Ernie Banks in his way on the list of most home runs by a shortstop in a single season (min: 75 games at shortstop):
Name Year HR Ernie Banks 1958 47 Ernie Banks 1959 45 Ernie Banks 1955 44 Ernie Banks 1957 43 Alex Rodriguez 1998 42 Alex Rodriguez 1999 42
Here's the list of most walks by a shortstop in a single season:
Name Year BB Eddie Joost 1949 149 Eddie Joost 1952 122 Luke Appling 1935 122 Luke Appling 1949 121 Eddie Lake 1947 120
Since 1955, only once has a shortstop drawn 100 walks: Cal Ripken, with 102 in 1988.
Rany Jazayerli, M.D., can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.