The 10 greatest hitters ever (Cont.)
8. Jimmie Foxx
You might know that Foxx won the Triple Crown in 1933. He hit .356, hit 48 homers and drove in 163 runs. Yeah, a pretty nice year.
But here's an interesting tidbit: Foxx TWICE had near Triple Crowns. In 1932 he hit .364 with 58 homers and 169 RBIs -- he had the most homers and RBIs, but lost the batting title to the much-forgotten Dale Alexander, who hit .367. What's interesting is that Alexander had only 454 plate appearances that year -- if they had the rule then that a hitter needed 3.1 plate appearances per team games played, he would not have qualified for the title. So, we should give Foxx the Triple Crown retroactively that year.
In 1938 Foxx led the league with a .349 average and 175 RBIs. But he finished second with 50 home runs. This time it was legit though... Hank Greenberg hit 58.
7. Albert Pujols
I tried all I could to push Albert down because he only just crossed that 6,000-plate appearance limit. But no matter how many points I penalized him, he kept popping into the Top 10. He's that good. Though it should be noted that after he hit two home runs in Milwaukee in early September this year -- that gave him 47 for the season -- he was asked about being a home run hitter. And he adamantly said that he's NOT a home run hitter.
And, sure enough, he did not hit a home run for the rest of the season.
6. Stan Musial
Bernie Miklasz, my good friend at the St. Louis Post Dispatch, tells a great story about Stan the Man. Pujols' very first game was April 2, 2001, in Colorado. And on that day, Musial just showed up at the park. He was in town for a card show or something, and for some reason he just decided to go to the ballpark. He did not call ahead or anything... he just showed up and said, "Hi, I'm Stan Musial. I was hoping I might get in to see the game." Of course, they treated Stan like the royalty he is -- asked him to throw out the first pitch and so on -- and he was happy to do it. And then he settled into his seat and watched the game.
Now what inspired Stan Musial to go out to the game? It could have been anything, of course. Maybe he just wanted to relax and watch a baseball game -- one of those things to do in Denver. But yeah, as much as I love the numbers and as much I try to stay based in reality, sure, I have a little Field of Dreams in me. And, sure, I can feel that maybe Stan the Man was meant to be there to see Albert Pujols start his career.
5. Rogers Hornsby
You might recall he was the one who called Tom Hanks a "talking pile of pig [bleep]" when his parents had drove all the way down from Michigan to see him play the game. From what I can tell about Hornsby's personality, that sounds about right. But, he was one amazing hitter. And he also might be a distant relative of Bruce Hornsby. The stuff you learn on Wikipedia.*
*Should there be an adjective called 'Truthiki?" We have truth, of course. And Stephen Colbert gave us truthiness. Well, what about truthiki -- and that is what you call any fact you learn on Wikipedia. It may be true. It may not. It's probably true. It kind of sounds true. Is Rogers Hornsby really related in some way to Bruce Hornsby? I don't know. But it sounds truthiki to me.
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