Here's hoping that someday Bench will join Ruth and Gehrig with a second appearance on this list.
DONN B. KIRK
Los Altos, Calif.
It rankles me that you feel you have come up with something quite clever in determining runs produced by combining runs scored with those driven in and then subtracting home runs from this figure (SCORECARD, Oct. 25). According to your system, when a run is driven in by any means other than a home run, that run is worth two points—one for the scorer and one for the player driving him in—whereas a home run, for some illogical reason, is worth only one point to the person producing it. For example, let us say Joe Morgan gets three singles to drive in Ken Griffey three times in a game. Each player winds up with three runs produced, whereas if Morgan hits three solo home runs in a game, he still receives credit for only three runs produced, even though he has generated the entire offense by himself. If you want to figure runs produced in a reasonable manner, just add the runs scored with those driven in and you'll have a meaningful statistic.
The runs-produced theory does not take into consideration the player's team. For instance, Pete Rose, as great as he is, would not lead the league in runs scored if he led off for the Mets. Would this make him less of a leadoff man? John Mayberry, with his meager batting average and home-run total, would not have knocked in more than 90 runs had not George Brett and Hal McRae been consistently on base. Conversely, a Dave Kingman, playing for the Mets, can hit 37 home runs and not have 100 RBIs, simply because of a lack of men on base. Statistics, as they say, can be misleading, especially in baseball.
I found it interesting that of the top 21 run producers you listed, the National Leaguers, without benefit of the designated-hitter rule, clearly had the higher figures. Joe Morgan, with 197 RPs, seems to be in a class by himself, just three short of the 200 mark. By the way, who holds the record in this category?
?There are no official records, but take a look at the statistics for 1930, a year in which the entire National League batted .303 (with six of the eight clubs hitting over .300) and the American League average was .288. Al Simmons of the Philadelphia Athletics had 152 runs, 165 RBIs and 36 homers for 281 RPs. Hack Wilson of the Chicago Cubs scored 146 runs, batted in 190 and hit 56 homers for 280. Lou Gehrig chalked up 276 RPs, as did Kiki Cuyler, and Babe Ruth's RP total was 254.—ED.
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