Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Way The HR List Should Be

More steroids. Now it's Alex Rodriguez (who people were counting on to pass steroid cheapened Bonds and restore justice). I don't know enough to estimate how many career home runs he should be penalized to date.

I have an equalizing list for career totals, which tries to approximate what would have happened under normal circumstances: no steroids, no wartime service, no pitcher-dominated eras, etc. I suppose it's time to update it, just so I can drop Rodriguez off - for now. Explanations for my new totals are in the first comment. Active players are in italics, so of course any of them could drop down in the future if steroids turn out to be part of their picture. You will notice that Sosa, Palmiero, and McGwire aren't on the list. Eliminating steroids dropped them to about 400 HR each.

1. Aaron 780

2. Ruth 728

3. Mays 715

4. Williams 691

5. Killebrew 680

6. Griffey 611

7. Robinson 606

8. Bonds 600

9. Jackson 575

10. Gehrig 563

11. Schmidt 560

12. Mantle 552

13. Murray 547

14. Thome 541

15. Banks 532

16. Mathews 530

17. Ramirez 527

18. Thomas 521

19. Foxx 506

20. Sheffield 499

21. McGriff 493

Whatever its imperfections, doesn't this list just make more intuitive sense?


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Bonds 762 (without steroids, about 600 )

Aaron 755 (plus pitcher’s era adjustment 780)

Ruth 714 (batting full time early in career, 767; hitter’s era 728)

Mays 660 (no military, 685; plus pitcher’s era, 715)

Griffey 611 (and counting)

Sosa 606 (without steroids, about 400)

Robinson 586 (pitcher’s era, 606)

McGwire 583 (without steroids, about 400)

Killebrew 573 (Washington Senators get their heads out of their asses 1955-58, 680)

Palmeiro 569 (no steroids, about 400)

Jackson 563 ( no strike in ’81, 575)

Rodriguez 553 (steroids. 100 HR penalty not unreasonable)

Schmidt 548 (no strike in ’81, 560)

Thome 541 (and counting)

Mantle 536 (pitcher’s era 552)

Foxx 534 (hitter’s era 506)

Williams 521 (no military, 691)

Thomas 521 (without boneheaded injuries 553. On second thought – his fault, 521)

Banks 512 (pitcher’s era 532)

Mathews 512 (pitcher’s era 530)

Ott 511 (normal ballpark, about 440)

Murray 504 (no strike, 514; normal ballpark 547)

Gehrig 493 (No ALS, usual retirement age 563)

Ben Wyman said...

This is the exact sort of problem that you're the perfect person to work out.

Anonymous said...

I have a Netflix subscription. That entitles me to "Instant viewing" on the computer. I recently discovered that the program "Home Run Derby" is now available on DVD and through instant viewing on Netflix. I have made it through the first DVD. While it appeals to a baseball junkie like me, it is still a little bit boring at times. But I decided to check Wikipedia. They gave the lowdown on the series. What I found fascinating is that the best performer in the program was Henry Aaron. At the time of filming, he had 179 lifetime HR's. The HR Derby format may have its shortcomings, but it seemingly identified the all time HR king (sans steroids) long before it was evident to everyone else. Mantle, Mays, Banks, Killebrew, Matthews were all part of this, but Aaron won the most competitions. BTW, much to my surprise, the show aired only one season. The power of re-runs is why I would have thought it ran for years!

Anyway, all of these revelations make Griffey look better and better!

Anonymous said...

Whatever is said, Babe Ruth was the best player. No one combined excellence as a pitcher and hitter, not to mention all-around hell-raiser, the way he did. Too bad he got sold to the Evil Empire.

Teddy Ballgame gets my vote for most accomplishments outside baseball. (Accomplishments outside the family, as no one ever mistook him for Father of the Year, nor for Husband of the Year.)

Gee, do you notice a certain Soxist bias to my lists?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

soxist. Love it.

OBloodyHell said...

Look, you start allowing for this, you really need to also allow for differences in diets, smoking, you flinkin' name it.

How would an obvious natural like Ruth have done with modern sports training, diets, medicine, and attitudes towards sports? I think that there isn't anyone out there would would have done better. The man ate hot dogs all the time, for crying out loud. He was often overweight, and almost certainly didn't work out a day in his life.

How much longer would his career have been (and/or more effective) with today's longer seasons, diets, and some good equipment training? I'd lay odds it would outweigh the advantages given to the pitchers nowadays.

All I'm saying is, this is sort of pointless -- the number of variables involved (and ignoring the chaotic nature of many of them) is far too high. The numbers produced, while no doubt entertaining the potential for lively debate, aren't all that different from random numbers I could produce with a computer and a few common-sense rules to constrain the random variances it applied.

That's not meant to be critical of AVI or anyone else, more of the idea that this can be done with anything resembling even the slightest validity.