Thursday, August 11, 2016

Jose Altuve is now batting .438 on the road.

Jose Altuve is now batting .438 on the road.

On a scale of miraculous feats, that ranks somewhere between Gus Triandos stealing a base and Lazarus returning from the dead. I've been through all the big seasons since 1913, and I could not find a road batting average higher than .405, although the home/road data are not yet available for Ty Cobb's two best years (1911 and 1912).

The .405 average, by the way does not belong to any of the legendary hitters, but to Ichiro. I would have to say that Harry Heilmann's .404 in 1923 was more impressive, given that he was considered the slowest player in the majors, so he didn't beat out a lot of infield grounders Ichiro-style.

By the way, here's what you need to say the next time anyone points out how amazing it is that Ichiro reached 3000 hits despite never having played in the majors before his 27th birthday:

If you throw out all the hits Pete Rose had before he turned 27 and pretend they occurred in Japan, that still leaves 3353 major league hits!

At Ichiro's current pace, he would have to play until he was 114 years old to reach that mark. OK, I'm kidding, but he would have to play at least three more seasons, maybe four.

If you look at what they did before that birthday, Ichiro had 1258 hits in Japan, while Rose had 903 honest-to-goodness real major league hits and 427 more in the minors, for a total of 1330. Moreover, Rose did that in eight seasons (plus four games in 1968), while Ichiro took nine seasons to reach a lower number. In other words, Rose comes out on top no matter how you stack the deck against him. In addition, Rose hit far more doubles (805 counting the minors, compared to 562 counting Japan) and triples (187 to 116). Ichiro, for all his blinding speed, was never very successful at producing triples, while Charlie Hustle's average speed once produced 30 triples in a single minor league season. Pete Rose may not be to your taste, but the man's numbers are monstrous.

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