More Gems from Deane


Here's a look at some of the more interesting accomplishments of the 2002 season:

Bartolo Colon
Bartolo Colon had a singular season in 2002.  Colon had a 10-4 record with a 2.55 ERA for Cleveland before going to Montreal in a six-player deal on June 27.  Thereafter, Bartolo went 10-4 for the Expos as well, to finish with an overall record of 20-8 with eight complete games (tied for the most in the majors), three shutouts (tied for third), and a 2.93 ERA.  Colon joined Hank Borowy, who went 10-5 for the Yankees and 11-2 for the Cubs in 1945, as the only pitchers to win at least ten games in both the AL and NL in the same
season.

Bonds and Ramirez
For the first time ever, both the NL and AL batting champions had fewer hits than their teams had games played.  This again calls into question the practice of setting minimum qualifications (in this case, plate appearances) which have little or nothing to do with what is being measured.  The Giants' Barry Bonds, who walked a record 198 times, won the NL title with a .370 average, while finishing just 39th in the league with 149 hits.  Boston's Manny Ramirez, who missed 42 games due to injury, went 152-for-436 to claim the AL crown at .349, though he was only 32nd in the league in hits.  Only 11 previous batting titleists since 1900 finished with less than a hit per game, with Bill Madlock doing it twice.

Vladimir Guerrero
Montreal's Vladimir Guerrero fell just short of joining Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez in the 40-40 Club - hitting 40 home runs and stealing 40 bases in the same season.  Vlad reached 40 steals on the nose, a career high, but fell one short in the homer column.  Guerrero did hit 42 homers in 1999 and 44 in 2000, however.  He thus joins Willie Mays, Ryne Sandberg, and Brady Anderson in the "Pseudo-40-40 Club" - players who reached 40 in each category, but not in the same season.  Mays stole 40 bases in
1956, and topped 40 homers in six other seasons; Ryne Sandberg had 54 steals in 1985 and 40 homers in 1990; and Anderson established the "Pseudo-50-50 Club" by stealing 53 bases in 1992 and hitting 50 homers in 1996.

San Francisco Giants
The 2002 World Series featured the second-greatest collapse (or the second-most unlikely comeback, if you prefer to look at the bright side) in Fall Classic history.  The Giants had a three-games-to-two advantage, and a 5-0 lead as Garret Anderson grounded out to open the bottom of the seventh inning of Game Six.  According to exhaustive play-by-play data by statistician Pete Palmer, San Francisco was 97.8% certain to win that game, and 98.9% sure to win the Series, at that point.  Only the 1986 Red Sox blew a greater opportunity (99.4%).  Following are the teams to lose a World Series after having established at least a 90% probability of winning it [chart omitted, since I submitted it to SABR-L a few months ago].

Albert Pujols
The Cardinals' Albert Pujols finished second in 2002 NL MVP voting, after having ranked fourth in 2001, his rookie year.  Pujols is just the fifth player ever to finish in the top five in each of his first two full seasons, joining Rabbit Maranville (1913-14 NL, 3rd, 2nd), Frank McCormick  (1938-39 NL, 5th, 4th, then 1st in 1940), Johnny Pesky (1942-46 AL, 3rd, 4th), and Tony Oliva (1964-65 AL, 4th, 2nd).

Mike Hampton
Perhaps it's time for Colorado [written before the trade] to give up on Mike Hampton's arm and find a way to get his bat in the lineup every day. Hampton had a dismal 7-15 pitching record and 6.15 ERA in 2002, being ravaged for 228 hits and 91 walks in 178-2/3 innings.  This was a continuation of his second-half performance of 2001, his first season with the Rockies.  There was nothing wrong with Hampton's stick, though, as he hit .344 with 22 hits, three homers, and a .516 slugging percentage.  In 143 at bats with Colorado, Hampton now has 45 hits, 10 homers, a .315 batting average, and a .552 slugging mark.  His career mark for 515 at bats is a solid .254.

Good-Hitting Pitchers
Besides Hampton, pitchers who did well at the plate in '02 included his Colorado teammate, Rookie of the Year Jason Jennings (19 hits, 11 RBI, .306); Milwaukee's Glendon Rusch (19 hits, homer, .288); and San Francisco's Russ Ortiz (17 hits, five doubles, two homers, .246).  Philadelphia's Robert Person, who went 2-for-24, was the ultimate all-or-nothing swinger: seventeen of his 22 outs were strikeouts, but both of his hits were home runs, good for seven RBI, all on June 2 against Montreal.  The Yankees' Mike Stanton went 0-for-2, but we can still say that he has the highest lifetime batting average in history among players with at least 800 games played.  In 835 contests, Stanton is 7-for-16 (.438).

Roger Clemens
Roger Clemens could reach two significant milestones on the same day. Clemens enters the 2003 season with 293 lifetime wins and 3909 strikeouts. Based on his career averages of .51 wins and 6.81 K's per game, he projects to reach both 300 wins and 4000 whiffs in his 14th start of the year.

Alex Rodriguez
With 57 home runs in 2002, Alex Rodriguez increased his career total to 298, the tenth-highest total ever for a player under 30.  Among those passed by A-Rod this year were Barry Bonds (253), Reggie Jackson (256), Ernie Banks (269), Sammy Sosa (273), Lou Gehrig (282), Babe Ruth (284), and Willie Mays (285).  And here's the kicker: Rodriguez doesn't turn 30 until July 27, 2005!  Next up: Harmon Killebrew (311), Frank Robinson (314), Juan Gonzalez (340), Mel Ott (342), and Hank Aaron (342).  Ken Griffey, Jr. holds the record with 398.

Geoff Jenkins
Milwaukee's Geoff Jenkins is the latest argument against the prevailing wisdom that sliding feet-first is safer than head-first.  Jenkins suffered a season-ending injury in a game against Houston on June 17, severely dislocating and tearing ligaments in his right ankle while sliding back into third base.  The momentum of the slide carried his body over his ankle, which twisted grotesquely as he fell over the base.  Jenkins's mishap joins a list of the most devastating sliding injuries in history - including ones by Fred Dunlap (1891), Mike Donlin (1906), Bob Meusel (1926), Rogers Hornsby (1930), Jeff Heath (1948), Gene Freese (1962), Tommy Davis (1965), and Rennie Stennett (1977) - all of which resulted from feet-first slides.  And, the players with the most games (Pete Rose) and steal attempts (Rickey
Henderson) both used the head-first slide throughout their careers.

(editor's note:  Deane is not neccesarily advocating Pete Rose as a model base runner.  In fact, Rose is the worst in history at stealing bases.  No one with at least 150 attempts has a worse success rate than Rose's 57% career percentage.)


Potpourri
Only one American Leaguer reached first base on catcher's interference all year: Magglio Ordoñez on May 15.

Tampa Bay pitcher Joe Kennedy made ten errors in just 41 chances, a .756 percentage.  No other big league pitcher made more than six errors, but the Cubs' Jesus Sanchez made two in three chances.

Seattle shortstop Luis Agueto made more errors in 13 chances than Baltimore's Mike Bordick made in 570.

AL pinch-hitters batted an aggregate .216 (down from .225 the previous year).  Only three Junior Circuit clubs hit over .235 in the pinch; the mighty Yankees batted .145.  With pitchers usually not batting, how much better could these hitters have been than the guys they were hitting for?

 The full-time designated hitter has given way to the DH by committee.  Cleveland's Ellis Burks had 150 hits as a DH last year, and
Chicago's Frank Thomas had 128; no other designated hitter had 100 hits in 2002.

 The Red Sox had 17 shutouts, and Pedro Martinez started eight of them -- but he didn't complete any.  Oakland's Cory Lidle started four consecutive shutouts, on August 4, 10, 16, and 21, but completed only the last one, a one-hitter against Cleveland.  Bartolo Colon had all of the complete-game shutouts recorded by Cleveland (2) and Montreal (1) in 2002.

Oakland was 16-2 against the National League; Atlanta was 15-3 against the American League.

A season of 27 homers and 110 walks isn't bad.  That's what Barry Bonds did in road games only -- not to mention a .386 batting average, .596 OBP, and .842 slugging percentage.  Bonds also had more intentional walks than any two other major leaguers.

National League pitchers had three complete-game one-hitters in April, and one the rest of the year.