My ritual for preparing for the baseball season usually involves purchasing Street& Smith’s Baseball Annual. It helps to remind me who was traded or retired during the off season. I’m sure it’s a fantasy league player’s dream, but that’s never interested me.
What DID interest me is the career totals in the several categories. I was fascinated to find that the leading active player in hits (tied all-time with Rogers Horsby) and doubles (ahead of Hank Aaron and Cal Ripkin Jr.), AND second to Barry Bonds in runs (beating out, among others, Jimmie Foxx and Honus Wagner), and third to Bonds and Griffey Jr. in total bases is Craig Biggio. Barring some revelation, he should be a lock for the Hall of Fame when he retires.
So, who is the batter with the fourth all-time greatest slugging percentage after Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Lou Gehrig? It isn’t Bonds, who is sixth, after Foxx. It’s Albert Pujols, who’s top 4 among active players in on-base percentage.
Of course, over the past few years, the issue of steroids has muddied the waters in terms of not only baseball but other sports achievements. For reasons that I’m not entirely sure I understand, it is the Albany (NY) County district attorney that is leading the charge in a major steroid bust in Florida.
At some level, I think I, and many others are fervently hoping that today’s stars, such as Pujols and Ryan Howard, will stay clean, for the sake of the game.
Paraphrased from The Very Worst In Sports
In 1895, Mike Grady played professional baseball for the Phillies. Grady, normally a catcher, was playing third base in a particularly memorable – and painful — game for him. As the story goes, he bobbled an easy grounder allowing the batter to reach first base (first error). His throw to first was wild (second error), allowing the runner to advance. The runner tried to stretch it to third. The first baseman’s throw to Grady at third was in time, but he dropped it (third error). Finally, the runner was racing home and Grady’s throw sailed over
the catcher’s head into the grandstand (fourth error) – ALL in one single play!