05 September 2002

Homers and Strikeouts...

John Perricone, over at Only Baseball Matters, had a digression regarding players who have had more homeruns than strikeouts in a season, specifically in response to a question from a reader about Barry Bonds' Second Annual Historic Season. (Perricone's blog is linked to this one, as you can see, and I thought mine was to his, but I could be wrong.) John, in his great benevolence (and evidently even greater free time) found all of the players dating back to 1620 who have hit at least 10 homers and struck out as many times or fewer. He found 267,492 of them, but I have gone a step more. I have pared it down to all of the players who led the league in homers while striking out less often than they homered, and gues what! There's only 13 of them, and none since 1954! Much better.

Name_______________Year __HR ___ K __
TED KLUSZEWSKI ____ 1954 __ 49 ___ 35
JOE DIMAGGIO ______ 1948 __ 39 ___ 30
JOHNNY MIZE _______ 1948 __ 40 ___ 37
JOHNNY MIZE _______ 1947 __ 51 ___ 42
TOMMY HOLMES _____ 1945 __ 28 ___ 9
TED WILLIAMS _______1941 __ 37 ___ 27
JOE DIMAGGIO ______ 1937 __ 46 ___ 37
LOU GEHRIG ________ 1936 __ 49 ___ 46
LOU GEHRIG ________ 1934 __ 49 ___ 31
ROGERS HORNSBY ___ 1925 __ 39 ___ 39
KEN WILLIAMS _______1922 __ 39 ___ 31
SAM THOMPSON _____1895 __ 18 ___ 11
HUGH DUFFY ________ 1894 __ 18 ___ 15

Look at that, some pretty great names, eh? And can you believe that Tommy Holmes? Not only did he lead the league in, like, everything that year, but he only whiffed nine times in 636(!) AB, perhaps even more impressive than Bonds. Of course, Bonds is currently 4 bombs behind Sammy Sosa in the race for the NL home run title, so unless Sammy cools off in Septober, it's not gonna happen this year either. (Sammy could slow down a little, as his SLG% in Septembers is the lowest of any month over the last three years, as well as over the course of his career, but I wouldn't bet on it.) The other interesting thing about Bonds' season is that he's on a pace to win a batting title, with a .367 average, and ESPN projects him to end up with 145 hits, which means that you'd hafta go back to 1958 to find a batting title winner in a non-strike season with fewer hits, when the Splinter amassed 136 hits on the way to an AL leading .328 average. To find a Major League leading hitter with fewer than 145 hits, you hafta go all the way back to 1940, when Debs Garms (Debs Garms?) led the majors with a .355 clip, but only 126 hits. Of course, those 381 plate appearances shouldn't qualify him for the batting title, so I'm not sure why he's even listed on the leader boards. Anyone who has some insight on this issue, feel free to email me here, or at the link to your left, which I have recently restored. And to find someone who actually qualifies for the batting title and has fewer hits than Bonds' projected 145? Well, I guess you'd hafta go back even more, and frankly I'm tired of looking.

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