Over at Wax Heaven, a question was posed: Which member of the 500 Home Run Club had the least impressive career?
Well, let’s find out… by looking at the statistics. They say the numbers never lie, so Baseball-Reference will be our guide.
Notes before we begin:
I’m not taking performance enhancers into consideration. We’re going purely by statistics. Deal with it.
Everyone with 600+ Home Runs are exempt from least impressive debate due to the sheer number they hit.
Triples and stolen bases are pretty irrelevant unless in abnormally high amounts, and even then only stolen bases are worth considering. Triples are too dependent on where most of a player’s games are played. In other words, it’s hard to hit triples at Wrigley.
We’ll start at the bottom, and work our way up.
Stats: 504 HR, 3255 Hits, 560 2B, 35 3B, 1917 RBI, 1627 Runs, 110 SB, 1333 BB, 1516 K, .287 AVG, .359 OBP, .476 SLG, .836 OPS, 129 OPS+
Awards: 1977 Rookie of the Year, 8-time All-Star, 3 Silver Sluggers, 3 Gold Gloves, Top-5 in MVP voting 6 times, 0 MVPs
+ 3255 hits, 1917 RBIs, and 560 doubles are all legitimately legendary numbers; Highly decorated, even defensively
– .287 batting average, .836 OPS, and 129 OPS+ aren’t quite elite
Notes: Overall, Murray’s numbers indicate longevity more than out & out greatness, but still an outstanding and highly decorated career with some numbers that are much too big to ignore. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with longevity.
He isn’t going to be the best of the bunch, but I highly doubt he’ll be the worst.
~Gary Sheffield (still active)~
Stats: 509 HR, 2683 Hits, 465 2B, 26 3B, 1674 RBI, 1634 Runs, 253 SB, 1471 BB, 1165 K, .292 AVG, .393 OBP, .514 SLG, .908 OPS, 140 OPS+
Awards: 9-time All-Star, 5 Silver Sluggers, Top-5 in MVP voting 3 times, 0 MVPs
+ Borderline-elite OBP, OPS, and OPS+; Considerably more walks than strikeouts; Highly decorated
– Hits are kinda low, but that’s due to missing a lot of time over the years
Notes: Sheff has actually played more seasons than Murray, but has more than 2000 less ABs. That’s FOUR seasons he’s missing out on, compared to Murray. Given the same number of at-bats, he’d likely be pushing 600 Home Runs with everything else at least being on par with Murray.
I have to put Gary Sheffield just below Eddie Murray, even if he does have a good excuse for his lesser numbers. What say you?
Okay, this is going to be way more time-consuming than I thought, and I’m getting really tired, so I will post continue it tomorrow evening. I WILL get this done though. There is just too much good debate to not do the whole thing.