A conversation between the author and his imaginary friend, Jay Whitman. Jay is not a fan of sabermetrics or advanced stats of any kind. We enter as the author, in a spirit of contrarianism, challenges Jay to explain why Reggie Jackson was a better player than Adam Dunn.
LG: Come on, this should be easy. Reggie's a Hall of Famer. Mr. October. Reggie Bars! Adam Dunn's just some guy who couldn't get a decent contract two years ago who (supposedly) hates baseball.
JW: Dunn? Come on, he's the worst player in baseball this year.
LG: Ignore 2011 for a minute. We're talking Reggie vs. Adam Dunn. It shouldn't be too hard to say why Reggie is better than even the 2010 version of Dunn.
JW: Alright, alright. Let's see, where d-
LG: One other thing: no stats. You're a big "no stats" kind of guy. Tell me why Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson – Mr. October! – is better than Adam Dunn without any stats.
JW: Uh… ok. Sure. Why not. Reggie is, pure and simple, one of the greatest power hitters of all-time. Ask anyone who watched baseball during Reggie career. When he stepped up to the plate, you knew he was hitting a home run.
LG: Well, a home run or a strikeout…
JW: Sure, a home run or a strikeout. But the strikeouts didn't matter when he was hitting 563 home –
JW: runs and three home runs –
JW: in Game 6… What the &*#% was that?
LG: The "Big Obnoxious Buzzer". I'm going to ring it every time you cite a stat.
JW: What? 563 home runs? That's not a stat.
LG: Are you an idiot?
JW: Okay, fine. No stats. Reggie's still obviously better than Dunn.
JW: Have you ever seen a Reggie Jackson home run? I'm pretty sure they invented the word "moonshot" for Reggie.
LG: Have you ever seen an Adam Dunn home run? The guy knows how to do three things: strikeout, make hilarious errors in the field, and hit the ball about three miles at a time. He doesn't do much else.
JW: Fine. But what has he done in the postseason?
LG: What's Reggie done in the postseason?
JW: What?! This is Reggie. Mr. October. He destroys the postseason. He batted over .350 in the –
JW: World Series with four straight home –
JW: runs for the Yankees. Four World Series rings.
LG: I'll give you that. But, come on, is it really Dunn's fault he played for some really, really crappy teams?
JW: Well, if Dunn was so good, they wouldn't have been so crappy, wouldn't they? Reggie was on a bunch of great teams for a reason.
LG: Ah, is that it?
JW: Not a coincidence, I'll tell you that.
LG: … So what makes Reggie "one of the greatest sluggers of all-time"?
JW: That power. All those home runs. Those RBIs. He has something like 1700 RBIs –
LG: BUZZ! – C'mon, Jay.
JW: Fine… The power, the homers, the RBIs, that humongous swing.
LG: But how is that different than Dunn?
JW: Well, look at when they were hitting home runs. When Reggie played, he'd lead the league with –
JW: What the hell, man!
LG: That's a stat!
JW: Well –
LG: Listen. Is your entire argument that Reggie hit a lot of home runs with a bunch of RBIs and was really good in the World Series? Because, honestly, that's not very convincing.
JW: It's more than that. You have to watch the games. Reggie was better.
LG: Sure, sure. I know. You just can't tell me why.