analzying past prediction for 3,000 hit club


Yesterday Starlin Castro became the youngest Cub to reach 900 hits. I was trying to find who was the youngest Cub to reach 1,000 and came across a July 6, 2011 article by Bleacher Report giving a list of “12 Players Who should Reach 3,000 Career Hits“.

Well, it’s been almost four years. Let’s see how they did.

1. Ivan Rodriguez
2,842 career hits as of 7/6/2011
2,844 career hits as of 6/3/2015
off by 156
last year of service: 2011
This one is simply the best. After this article Rodriguez managed to get just two more career hits. TWO!

2. Alex Rodriguez
2,760 career hits as of 7/6/2011
2,987 career hits as of 6/3/2015
active (age 39)
He needs just 13 more.
Bleacher Report got this one right.

3. Johnny Damon
2,662 career hits as of 7/6/2011
2,769 career hits (no longer playing)
off by 231 hits
last year of service: 2012

4. Ichiro Suzuki
2,342 career hits as of 7/6/2011
2,877 as of 6/3/2015
needs 123
hits per year until age of 40: Well, he’s 41 right now.
active (age 41)

5. Michael Young
1,958 career hits as of 7/6/2011
2,375 career hits (no longer playing)
off by 625
last year of service: 2013 (age 36)

6. Albert Pujols
1,978 career hits as of 7/6/2011
2,568 career hits as of 6/3/2015
needs 432
active (age 35)
hits needed per year until age of 40: 87
If he maintains 550 at bats per year for the next 5 years, he needs to bat .157

7. Juan Pierre
1,929 career hits
2,217 career hits (no longer playing)
off by 783
last year of service: 2013 (age 36)

8. Carl Crawford
1,544 career hits
1,880 career hits as of 6/3/2015
needs 1,120 hits
active (age 33)
hits needed per year until age of 40: 160
If he maintains 550 at bats per year for the next 7 years, he needs to bat .291

9. Jose Reyes
1,243 career hits
1,798 career hits as of 6/3/2015
needs 1,202
active (age 31)
hits needed per year until age of 40: 134
If he maintains 550 at bats per year for the next 7 years, he needs to bat bat .243

10. Robinson Cano
1,171 career hits
1,887 career hits as of 6/3/2015
needs 1,113
active (age 32)
If he maintains 550 at bats per year for the next 8 years, he needs to bat .253
hits needed per year until age of 40: 140

11. Adrian Gonzalez
1,021 career hits
1697 career hits as of 6/3/2015
active (age 33)
hits needed per year until age of 40: 187
If he maintains 550 at bats per year for the next 7 years, he needs to bat .338

12. Joe Mauer
1,032 career hits
1592 career hits as of 6/3/2015
needs 1,408 hits
active (age 32)
hits needed per year until age of 40: 176
If he maintains 550 at bats per year for the next 8 years, he needs to bat .320

12 active players reaching 3,000 hits is just plain nutty.

Break down the history of baseball into 20-year generations, because that’s just about the length a player needs to get 3,000 hits. Dating back to 1871 there are 6.2 generations. I’m ruling out 1995-2015 because those guys are still playing.

There are 27 players to get 3,000 hits. Derek Jeter is ruled out because he’s in the 1995-2015 generation. For the benefit of the doubt Craig Biggio and Rafael Palmerio are included. This all equates to 4.35 players per generation going the 3,000 hit club.

Not 12, but 4.35.

Out of the Bleacher Report’s group of 12, I’m betting two, maybe three get there. Arod for sure. Pujols is in good shape. Ichiro, at the age of 41, is on the brink, but he’ll probably need to play another year and I’m not sure he’s going to do that. Reyes is a candidate, but I don’t see him holding up for another 9 years. The same for Cano. Adrian Gonzalez, Mauer, and Crawford are completely out. And of course there’s the guys on the list who are no longer playing.

It would be interesting to predict which four active players will get to 3,000. Pujols, Arod, and Ichiro need not be included because they’re in the twilight of their careers. The crop is tricky. Miguel Cabrera? Adam Jones? Starlin Castro? I have a hard time seeing any of those three make it.

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Reassembling a baseball bat from relic cards

Baseball card manufacturers like Topps (and formerly Upper Deck) slice apart game-used baseball bats and embed them into cards. What if you bought a stockpile of one player’s relic cards and reassembled the bat? It would look rather like a LEGO bat, I’d imagine. Or if you sanded off the rectangular edges, you’d end up with a plywood bat.

Gary Sheffield has 27 relic baseball bat cards currently on sale at–all from the “2001 Upper Deck SP Game Bat Edition Piece of the Game” edition.

Gary Sheffield: 27 2001 Upper Deck SP Game Bat Edition Piece of the Game

Taking just the wood chips from each of the 27 relic cards, here’s how they look together:

Gary Sheffield game-used bat relic baseball card

These 27 chips would total approximately a 3.6-inch wide by 3.8 inch high card. To purchase all 27 cards on, it would cost you $92.48 before shipping and handling fees. So for about $100, you can assemble your own 3.5 x 3.5-inch square of Gary Sheffield’s bat.

But Gary Sheffield? How about a real American hero? Like Jose Canseco. He has 20 cards for sale from the “2001 Upper Deck SP Game Bat Edition Piece of the Game” series.

Jose Canseco Game-used bat relic baseball card

His 20 cards in total runs up to $95.18. The wood grain of his bat runs a tad darker than Sheffield’s bat. But there’s a little more interesting wood grain. My favorite of the twenty is the chip that has a slight knot in the grain.

Jose Canseco: 2001 Upper Deck SP Game Bat Edition Piece of the Game

This knot must have caused the wood to splinter off making an irregular cut on the top of the chip. That imperfection makes this bat relic a little bit more unusual–much like the man Jose Canseco.

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Which is better: collecting baseball cards on pinterest or collecting the actual physical card?


As collectors of baseball cards, we love finding a great card and adding it to our collection. Take Roger Maris’ 1962 Topps card.

Maris captured swinging his mighty bat during a World Series win. The exact moment of the bat is frozen in time and is echoed compositionally with the yellow box declaring what is happening. The wood grain design of the card echoes the wooden bat.

A beautiful card. I’d love to add it to my collection.

But what really is a baseball card collection in real life? A stack of cards? Perhaps the cards are in a binder. A binder that sits on a shelf.

There are two aspects to baseball card collecting.
1. Hoarding
2. Sharing

A primal urge of many baseball card collectors is to accumulate things. The urge the gather and get more and more. Storing cards up in boxes. Hoarding. Amassing a collection, so you can say you have the biggest collection of Player X cards. The thrill of the hunt.

A second primal urge is sharing cards with others. Sharing a card with someone and saying, “wow, the design of this card with the photo is fantastic.” The social aspect of baseball card collecting. Opening packs with friends. Trading cards. Going to a show with your brother. Pointing out cards that you like. Sure, we can acquire cards along the way, because of our love for baseball cards. But that action of sharing is key.

This sharing makes me reconsider simply collecting baseball cards on pinterest, instead of the real card. Sounds crazy, right? Amass a collection of cards online, and you never have the real thing! True. But a collection online can faciliate sharing and commenting.

Baseball card pinterest board

My brother Erik and I both share a baseball card pinterest board. We occasionally pin cool cards to the board. I like reading his comments on cards. Erik is the one who first pinned that Roger Maris card with the comment, “some nice lines on this card.” I replied, “Whoa. Yeah. Check out how the bat is parallel to the yellow box.”

Roger Maris card pinterestThis card is so nice that I immediately went to eBay to buy one. You can get one for about three to five bucks, including shipping. A good deal for an older card. But I opted to skip buying one. I already have the great interaction of reading and replying to my brother’s comment online. If I bought the card now, it would just sit in my desk drawer. Or maybe I might hang it up on my file cabinet by my computer. But if I hang up the card, there is no comment by my brother next to the card. You can’t see my response to my his comment on the file cabinet.

Posting cards online enables to have this sort of conversation archived, and always available to continue the conversation.

At some point Pinterest might go away. But the same could happen to my baseball cards. They could burn up in a fire. Or get tossed out to the garbage. We like to think, “oh no! I would never let that happen to my cards!” But it could. We think of the physical ink on cardboard as something permanent. But in the scheme of life, it’s temporary.

Which would you rather have? The cardboard hanging up on a file cabinet? Or a digital image where you can actively leave comments? I go back and forth between the two. For now I enjoy both.

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Andre Dawson: beanball master

Andre Dawson Beanbrawls Sports Illustrated cover

Did you know that Andre Dawson lead the NL in hit by pitch four times?

Hit By Pitch
1978 NL 12 (1st)
1979 NL 6 (9th)
1980 NL 6 (1st)
1981 NL 7 (1st)
1982 NL 8 (2nd)
1983 NL 9 (1st)
1986 NL 6 (6th)
1987 NL 7 (5th)
1993 AL 13 (3rd)
Career 111 (57th)

Most of Dawson’s years on this list was wearing an Expos uniform. In fact, he only appears on this list as a Cub once–his first year. The year he was an MVP in 1987. You have to wonder if after his MVP year, the Cubs said, “hey lay off the hit by pitches, you are too valuable.” Or perhaps the beanball to the face, as seen on this SI cover, was enough to deter Dawson.

I’d really like to read this article “Beanbrawls: baseball’s headhunting gets ugly” article from Sports Illustrated. Does anyone know how I would be able to get digital access to this article from July 20, 1987? Perhaps I have to go the old print route and purchase the magazine from eBay. With shipping, the cheapest auction is $6.50. I’d be willing to pay $1 to read the article online.

Hit by pitch is one of my favorite stats. There’s something extremely admirable and daring about being willing to get on base by putting your body on the line. In this year’s All-Star game Chase Utley leaned into a 94mph two-seam fastball from Chris Sales. His leaning into the pitch on the big stage of the All-Star game was fantastic. It came as no surprise as I knew Chase Utley has a HBP guy. He lead the NL three times:

2007 NL 25 (1st)
2008 NL 27 (1st)
2009 NL 24 (1st)

Utley currently ranks 18th all-time by HBP. One of these days I’ll have to do an in-depth HBP analysis. For now, I’ll keep it to expressing my surprise that Dawson lead the NL four times. Dawson is even more of a stud in my book. I didn’t know that was even possible to be more studly than Dawson already is. But he just upp’ed his stud status.


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How many times have two Cubs struck out in the same All-Star inning?

Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo: foundation for the Cubs

The Cubs managed to squeak two players onto the All-Star roster this year. Both Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo batted in the same inning. Castro came up first. The announcers were talking about the Cubs young talent; and how Castro is a cornerstone of the talent. He strikes out.

Anthony Rizzo steps up as the third batter in the 8th inning. Talk of the Cubs fine young talent comes up again–about how the Cubs management really loves Rizzo. He strikes out.

Two Cubs batters striking out in the same inning. Has this happened before? Actually, yes. Three times.

Kosuke Fukudome and Geovany Soto strike out back-to-back

The most recent occurrence in 2008 when Kosuke Fukudome and Geovany Soto struck out back-to-back in the 8th inning with the NL ahead 1-0.

Billy Herman and Stan Hack

The other two times you have to dig back into history on 1938 and 1939. Both times involved Stan Hack and Billy Herman striking out back-to-back.

In 1938 it was against Johnny Allen in the 7th inning with the NL ahead 4-0.

In 1939 Lefty Grove struck out Stan Hack and Billy Herman in the 5th inning with the NL down 2-1.

Ok, how about positive news? Did any Cubs get a hit in the same inning? Yup.

  • 1973: Billy Williams and Ron Santo both singled back-to-back.
  • 1937: Frank Demaree and Ripper Collins both singled. It would have been three-in-a-row for the Cubs if Gabby Hartnett didn’t ground out in between his teammates in the sixth inning.
  • 1936: Frank Demaree singled, then the next batter Gabby Hartnett tripled against Lefty Grove.

The full list of the 51 times Chicago Cubs players have batted in the same All-Star inning:

2008*: Kosuke Fukudome groundout. Geovany Soto flyball.
2007: Alfonso Soriano lineout. Derrek Lee groundout.
2007: Alfonso Soriano homerun. Derrek Lee walked.
2005: Derrek Lee popfly. Aramis Ramirez walked.
2005: Derrek Lee double. Aramis Ramirez ground ball doubleplay.
1993: Mark Grace groundout. Ryne Sandberg walked
1991: Ryne Sandberg flyball. Andre Dawson ground ball doubleplay.
1990: Shawon Dunston flyball. Ryne Sandberg flyball.
1988*: Ryne Sandberg strikeout. Andre Dawson groundout.
1988*: Ryne Sandberg strikeout. Andre Dawson single.
1987*: Ryne Sandberg groundout. Andre Dawson strikeout.
1987*: Ryne Sandberg groundout. Andre Dawson double.

1972* Don Kessinger Flyball: LF
1972* Glenn Beckert Flyball: RF (Short RF)

1972 Billy Williams Single to CF
1972 Ron Santo Ground Ball Double Play: 3B-2B-1B

1971 Don Kessinger Flyball: RF
1971 Glenn Beckert Popfly: SS

1970* Don Kessinger Single to CF; Carty to 2B
1970* Glenn Beckert Groundout: 2B-1B

1970* Don Kessinger Single to CF
1970* Glenn Beckert Groundout: P-2B/Forceout at 2B

1969 Don Kessinger Groundout: 1B-P; Alou to 2B
1969 Ron Santo Groundout: 3B-1B

1969 Ron Santo Groundout: SS-1B
1969 Don Kessinger Groundout: SS-1B

1968 Ron Santo Walk
1968 Don Kessinger Groundout: SS-2B/Forceout at 2B

1968 Ron Santo Walk
1968 Billy Williams Flyball: RF

1965 Ernie Banks Single (LF-CF)
1965 Billy Williams Groundout: 1B-P; Banks to 3B; Rose to 2B

1962* Ernie Banks Triple (Deep CF)
1962* Billy Williams Groundout: SS-1B; Banks Scores

1955 Randy Jackson Lineout: CF (CF-RF)
1955 Gene Baker Flyball: CF

1952 Hank Sauer Home Run (Deep LF-CF); Musial Scores
1952 Bob Rush Groundout: 3B-1B

1947 Andy Pafko Groundout: SS-1B
1947 Phil Cavarretta Strikeout

1944 Bill Nicholson Double to RF; Ryan Scores
1944 Phil Cavarretta Walk; Galan to 2B

1943 Stan Hack *LEADOFF GM*:Single (Deep 2B)
1943 Bill Nicholson Groundout: 1B-SS/Forceout at 2B

1940* Billy Herman Single to CF
1940* Bill Nicholson Foul Flyball: RF; Herman to 2B

1940* Billy Herman Single to RF
1940* Bill Nicholson Flyball: RF

1939 Stan Hack Strikeout Looking
1939 Billy Herman Strikeout

1938* Stan Hack Single to LF
1938* Billy Herman Reached on E6 (Ground Ball); Hack to 3B

1938* Stan Hack Groundout: 2B-1B
1938* Billy Herman Single

1938* Bill Lee Flyball: CF
1938* Stan Hack Flyball: CF
1938* Billy Herman Strikeout

1938* Stan Hack Strikeout
1938* Billy Herman Strikeout

1937 Frank Demaree Flyball: CF
1937 Gabby Hartnett Groundout: 2B-1B

1937 Billy Herman Single to LF
1937 Frank Demaree Flyball: 2B

1937 Gabby Hartnett Single to CF
1937 Billy Herman Reached on E5 (Line Drive); Ott to 3B

1937 Frank Demaree Single to LF; Medwick to 3B
1937 Gabby Hartnett Groundout: 2B-SS/Forceout at 2B
1937 Ripper Collins Single to RF; Whitehead out at Hm/RF-C; Bartell to 3B/Adv on throw to Hm

1937 Billy Herman Single to LF
1937 Frank Demaree Groundout: SS-1B

1937 Billy Herman Groundout: 1B-P
1937 Frank Demaree *ENDED GAME*:Groundout: 2B-1B

1936* Augie Galan Strikeout Looking
1936* Billy Herman Flyball: RF

1936* Frank Demaree Single to LF
1936* Gabby Hartnett Triple to RF; Demaree Scores

1936* Augie Galan Flyball: CF (Deep CF)
1936* Billy Herman Walk

1936* Frank Demaree Foul Flyball: 1B
1936* Gabby Hartnett Groundout: SS-1B

1936* Augie Galan Home Run (Deep RF)
1936* Billy Herman Single to RF; Herman to 2B/Adv on E9
1936 Frank Demaree Ground Ball Double Play: 3B-2B-1B

1936* Lon Warneke Groundout: P-1B
1936* Augie Galan Strikeout
1936* Billy Herman Single to CF

1934* Gabby Hartnett Groundout: SS-1B
1934* Billy Herman Popfly: SS
1934 Kiki Cuyler Lineout: CF

1934 Billy Herman Double
1934 Chuck Klein *ENDED GAME*:Groundout: 1B-P

*indicates back-to-back

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Juan Lagares has the best ratio for hitting safely in all games

Juan Lagares 2013 Topps

The player with the best hits-in-a-game ratio so far this year is Juan Lagares of the Mets, hitting safely in 81% of his games this year. (38 games with a hit, 9 games with zero hits). But his at bats per game is awful, ranking at 132nd with 3.61 AB/G. He’s hit leadoff for the Mets in 21 of his 53 games this year. But his other spots in the lineup has been sixth or seventh.

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Brock Holt, a new Beat the Streak choice?

Brock Holt 2013 Topps

Brock Holt is an exciting new choice to use in MLB’s Beat the Streak. Although his GH (Games with a Hit) is quite low, ranked at #146, that’s only because he hasn’t played any games. In fact, if you take his GH/GzH (Games with a Hit divided by Games with zero Hits), he has the SECOND BEST ratio in the majors with safely getting a hit in 80% of his games. (Second behind Juan Lagares.)

Since the end of May, Holt has been the leadoff hitter for the Red Sox, giving him the EIGTH best at bats per game with 4.14 AB/G.

I put a small six-game streak on the line by starting Brock Holt against the third worst pitching staff in baseball, the Chicago White Sox. Sounds like a good bet, right? Nope. Brock went 0-for-4.

Brock Holt seems like an interesting new guy to play for Beat the Streak. However, the Red Sox aren’t a great hitting team this year, ranking sixth-to-last in the majors for batting average. Holt has yet to prove himself. Last year in 26 games he batted .203 for the Red Sox. Yipes. 203. The year prior in his rookie season for the Pirates proved to be better with a .292 average over 24 games.

Which Brock Holt will emerge? the .292 hitter from 2012 or the .203 hitter from 2013? So far this year, he’s been the best with .311, can that hold up?

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