Top 10 active base hits leaders

I read yesterday that one of Pete Rose’s bats was being auctioned off, the one he used for his last hit, number 4256. And it made me wonder if that will ever be topped. I can’t imagine it will be, but stranger things have happened. Of course, the Baseball Hall of Fame still fails to recognize what Rose did on the field because of what he did as a manager off the field. But that’s for another post. Here is a look at the Top 10 active leaders in base hits:

1. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees (2824)—The classiest player by far in the big leagues today, and the epitome of someone who plays the game right and just gets it. I look forward to Jeter notching his 3000th hit, which will likely be next season.

2. Ivan Rodriguez, Washington Nationals (2781)—In his twentieth season this year, I-Rod is batting .331. No loss of bat speed with this guy, that’s for sure.

3. Omar Vizquel, Chicago White Sox (2724)—Amazingly, Vizquel is in his 22nd season and still looks like he’s 28 years old. I got to see him play in his prime in Cleveland, and he was/is the best defensive shortstop I’ve ever seen. But he has clearly racked up hits too.

4. Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees (2596)—Well, duh. The question is, though, will he eventually be the all-time home run king?

5. Manny Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers (2530)—Yeah, he juiced, and so did A-Rod. But these two guys still have to be incredibly talented ball players to rack up this many hits.

6. Garret Anderson, Los Angeles Dodgers (2515)—Steady and classy as well, but it’s just hard to believe Garret Anderson is 38 years old. Didn’t he just break into the bigs?

7. Johnny Damon, Detroit Tigers (2482)—Scrappy, solid player, and he just keeps on grinding. But do any of you remember Damon’s days with the Royals? I sure don’t.

8. Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves (2444)—Another guy who defines playing the game the way it was meant to be played, and he just keeps on hitting well into his thirties.

9. Vladimir Guerrero, Texas Rangers (2326)—He’s hitting .339 with 53 RBI on June 11. Vlad is another ageless wonder.

10. Edgar Renteria, San Francisco Giants (2213)—It’s kind of amazing that Renteria is on this list, even though he’s never had a 200-hit season. But he’s been reliable and consistent all these years.

Source: Baseball Reference

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Great point about Mark McGwire and the “one-dimensional” argument

Ted Robinson of At Bat thinks that Mark McGwire is getting a raw deal from MLB Hall of Fame voters and brings up a great point about the argument that Big Mac was a one-dimensional player.

More voters are revealing their choices and it’s hard to argue that transparency is bad. I found the comments of a Boston voter puzzling and borderline deceiving. The man in question defended his anti-McGwire stance with the claim that McGwire was “one-dimensional.”

If we accept the premise, then we must ask what exactly is the problem with dominating the most important offensive dimension? McGwire, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa were the greatest home run hitters of their era. Bonds won the career battle but McGwire was the pioneer.

McGwire was the first to hit 50 home runs in four consecutive seasons, a mark Bonds reached only once.

One-dimensional? McGwire won a Gold Glove, an award often scoffed at by the Numbers Crowd. Although no one should confuse McGwire with Keith Hernandez, the Gold Glove is voted on by managers and coaches.

Another thought rushes to me when I consider the phrase “one dimensional” when used as an insult, the manner in which the Boston writer intended. (Disclaimer 1: here we will violate, mildly, a personal rule against invoking the comparison argument with any present Hall of Famers. It is never the intent here to denigrate anyone already so honored, however…would that writer call Nolan Ryan “one-dimensional?” Ryan’s resume leads with the career strikeout record, which he smashed and, like McGwire, is a symbol of dominance. (Disclaimer 2: I acknowledge that strikeouts are regarded by many voters as significant, a stance with which I don’t agree).

Strikeouts must be the reason Ryan is in the Hall. It can’t be his 324 wins because his career winning percentage is barely over .500 (.526). Surely, no rational person would conclude that seven regular season no-hitters warrant Hall of Fame inclusion.

It’s hard to argue with that point. Some players (Ryan is one of them) are in the Hall because they excelled at one facet of the game. Ozzie Smith was a career .262-hitter, but he was also one of the greatest defensive shortstops to ever play the game. McGwire was one of the best power hitters to ever play the game.

But the difference between McGwire and those players is that Ryan and Smith never took performance-enhancing substances to excel at their craft. McGwire did and fair or unfair, it’ll likely keep him out of the Hall for a very long time, if not forever. Stats are sacred in baseball and McGwire achieved his stats with help. Hall voters can’t look past that.

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