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04/24/2007 Archived Entry: "Milestones: April 15-23"

Milestones: April 15-23

By Michael Toeset

There were so many relatively minor milestones in Week 3 that it would bore the reader – not to mention myself – to read the exhaustive list, so for the benefit of all, I’ll stick to the major milestones and try to impart more of the historical significance (or insignificance) of the deed.

Jeff Kent recorded his 2,200th hit on April 15, leaving him about 2,000 hits shy of Pete Rose’s record, which really puts into perspective Rose’s accomplishment. Kent has been playing for 16 seasons and is that far behind (Rose played 24 seasons). Of course, Kent never has been a hit machine, but he’s a good hitter – as evidenced by a career .290 average. His top five season hit totals – 196, 195, 181, 160, 156 – pale in comparison to Charlie Hustle – 230, 218, 215, 210, 210.

Jose Cruz hit his 200th home run on April 15. Cruz really has only had one good season (2001, when he hit .274-.326-.530 with 34 HR and 32 SB). An interesting study would be for someone to compare MLB fathers vs. sons. It seems the sons generally end up better, but Jose Jr. falls behind his dad in almost every category save for home runs.

Also hitting home run No. 200 this week was Jorge Posada. Same number of homers in about the same number of games as Cruz, but Posada routinely has been much more valuable to his team, not the least of which because he’s a catcher. Just goes to show that numbers don’t tell the whole story. He slugged No. 200 on April 17.

Brad Wilkerson and Jason Bay reached the 100-homer plateau this week (on April 17 for Wilkerson and 18 for Bay). Wilkerson has played in 758 games; Bay has played in 489. These numbers DO tell the whole story.

Chipper Jones (April 17) and Johnny Damon (April 19) both scored run No. 1,200, Jones in 1,781 games, and Damon in 1,720. A manager probably would be hard-pressed to decide if he had to pick one of these guys (for his whole career) over the other. Most probably would pick Jones, but what if your team didn’t have any lead-off hitter prospects? Who would you choose?

Kenny Lofton got hit No. 2,300 on April 22 (he’s played in 17 seasons). His best five totals: 210, 185, 169, 164, 164. His career batting average is .299.

Mike Stanton became the No. 2 player in games pitched on April 22. He recorded game No. 1,120, passing John Franco. Pitchers who stick around this long have to be good, and Stanton’s career ERA – 3.82 – bears that out. Making him somewhat of an anomaly is that he’s the only guy in the top 15 who never really was a closer. Stanton had one year in which he was asked to close out games (1993, with the Braves), but otherwise he’s just been the dependable bullpen arm. Players like this don’t get the glory, but Stanton obviously has been very valuable over his career, and if one were to break down his value vs. a middling closer, well, you’d get an interesting answer. No. 1 on the games list is Jesse Orosco, who pitched in 1,252 games. Orosco pitched until he was 46, and Stanton is only 40, so if the talent still is there, Stanton could pass the Ageless Wonder.

Yet another player reached 200 homers: Aramis Ramirez, on April 23. Another quandary: If you had to pick Posada or Ramirez, whom would you take? Ramirez’s season high is 38.

Replies: 1 Comment

Good job, Michael - love those milestones.

Posted by Max Blue @ 04/25/2007 06:18 AM EST

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