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04/10/2005 Archived Entry: "MLB: Milestones preview"

2005 Season Milestone Preview

By Michael Toeset

When word got around that Barry Bonds would miss most - if not all - of the 2005 season, most people's thoughts likely immediately ran to steroids. But for those of us deep in the world of numbers, our thoughts turned to baseball records. Bonds is at the top of nearly every all-time records list, the most prominent being home runs, and the news put a damper on the season to be. Some will undoubtedly consider Bonds' records tainted, but there's no way to "prove" Bonds took steroids, and furthermore, no way to "prove" steroids help a player. (Consider the case of the Giambis: Jason was great, but his brother Jeremy was terrible. So steroids a great player does not make.) Let me make it clear, however, that I think steroids are cheating.
At any rate, Bonds' pursuit of history has been sidetracked. It's undoubtedly a big loss, but the season is not lost without him; many other big names are chasing their own milestones.
So without further ado, let's take a look at some of those players chasing career milestones this season (all numbers are pre-Opening Day). We won't delve into the more obscure records unless someone is threatening to break them.

Games: He's No. 24 with 2716, right behind Rafael Palmeiro, and needs 15 games to move past Mel Ott.
Runs: No. 6 with 2070, and won't move up this season. Pete Rose is No. 5 with 2165; No. 1 is Rickey Henderson with 2295.
Total bases: No. 7 with 5556. Again right behind Rose (5752), and within striking distance of No. 1 Hank Aaron (6856).
Doubles: No. 19 with 563, right behind Craig Biggio and Rafael Palmeiro. He probably won't catch those two, but he should be able to move up the list.
Home runs: You already know this one: No. 3 with 703. Behind Babe Ruth (714) and Aaron (755).
RBI: No. 12 with 1843. Needs two to pass Yaz.
BB: Already owns the record with 2302.
Intentional BB: Owns this record, too, with 604. No. 2 is Aaron, who has a mere 293. Wow.

Home runs: When (or if) Franco hits a homer this season, he'll become the oldest player ever to do so. He was born in 1958 and is older than some managers. If ever there was a reason for respecting your elders, it's Franco. What hasn't he seen in his career?

Games: Right ahead of Bonds at No. 23 with 2721. Will soon pass Ott.
At bats: No. 21 with 10103. With 400 AB this year, will move to No. 14.
Runs: Not in top 30 yet, but 80 runs will move him to No. 24.
Hits: Same as above, but only needs 100 hits to move to No. 23. Should be No. 20 by year's end.
Total bases: No. 11 with 5223. Frank Robinson is ahead of him with 5373.
Doubles: No. 17 with 572. If he hits 29 like in 2004, he'll move to No. 13 (unless Biggio passes him).
Home runs: No. 10 with 551. Just ahead is Reggie Jackson (563) and Harmon Killebrew (573).
RBI: No. 17 with 1775. Eighty more would move him to No. 11, assuming Bonds doesn't play.

Runs: Currently No. 40 with 1603. Another 100 will move him all the way to No. 24.
Doubles: No. 18 with 564, right behind Palmeiro and just ahead of Bonds. Biggio will pass Palmeiro on their trek up the list.
Hit by pitch: No. 4 with 256. Needs only 32 to be No. 1 all time. This is a record worth watching because of its bizareness - Biggio could rightly say, "I've been hit with a baseball more than anyone, ever!" Kinda reminds me of Coach on "Cheers" ...

Home runs: No. 28 with 446. Needs seven to pass Yaz. After that, it's Steroid Canseco and Dave Winfield.
RBI: No. 41 with 1510. Another 100 would put him at No. 24. Eighty would get him to No. 29.
Walks: No. 25 with 1383. His career best is 149, which is almost 100 less than Bonds' best.

Home runs: Orioles fans may not have a lot to root for this season, but they do have milestone chasers Palmeiro and Sosa. Both are in the home run race, and Sosa is currently just ahead of Palmeiro, with 574, No. 7 all time. He'll pass buddy Mark McGwire this season, as well as Frank Robinson. Then it's a race against time: He'll catch Willie Mays if he can stay injury-free.
RBI: No. 38 with 1530. One hundred would boost him to No. 23.
Strikeouts: Here's another fun record. Sosa is No. 2 on the K list, and needs about 500 to pass Reggie Jackson. It is somewhat of an infamous title, but remember: You have to play a long time to strike out 2000 times, and bad players don't stick around that long.

Home runs: No. 31 with 436. Just ahead are Andre Dawson (438) and Dave Kingman (442).
Walks: Thomas' on-base ability has often gone overlooked, but he's No. 19 on the all-time walks list. Another 64, like last season, would push him past players like Jimmie Foxx, Willie Mays, Mike Schmidt and Lou Gehrig.

Wins: At the start of the season was tied at No. 10 with 328. Two wins move him to No. 9, ahead of John Clarkson and Steve Carlton. After that, it's Tim Keefe with 342.
Innings: No. 28 with 4493. Two hundred would put him at No. 19.
Strikeouts: No. 2 with 4317. Is he still playing just so Randy Johnson won't catch him in Ks? Whatever the case, Clemens needs an ungodly 1400 strikeouts to catch Nolan Ryan. Not gonna happen.
Shutouts: No. 26 with 46. He's only tossed one shutout since 2000, so it's not likely he's moving up this list.
Walks: No. 11 with 1458. Has always had good but not exceptional control, so this position isn't bad.

Wins: No. 20 with 305. You can pretty much pencil him in for 16 wins a season, so that would boost him to No. 15 all time.
Innings: No. 34 with 4181. Can he catch Rocket?
Strikeouts: He's never been known as a K machine, but he's No. 13 with 2916. His season best is 204.

Stikeouts: No. 3 with 4161. Who will fold first: Roger or Randy? If it's Roger, Randy could finish his career No. 2.

Games: Another ageless wonder, Franco is No. 2 in games with 1088. Jesse Orosco is No. 1 with 1252. Franco made his Major League debut before many of the current crop of rookies was born. You have to love rooting for guys like Franco, so catch an Astros game this season, if you can.

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