erik lundegaard

Friday February 19, 2016

What If All of Hank Aaron's HRs were Ks?

This is one of my favorite baseball stats ever. Not a stat, I guess, but a factoid. I think I first saw it on Twitter last year.

Here it is:

If all of Hank Aaron's 755 homeruns were strikeouts, he would still have more hits than Babe Ruth and fewer strikeouts than Reggie Jackson. 

When I first saw that, I went, “Naaah.” Because it seems like it shouldn't be. Aaron is known for the homeruns, so turning every one of those blasts, the zenith of hits, into whiffs, into goose-eggs, would, you would think, diminish his stature. 

Hank Aaron: Home Run King

Except Aaron also has the third-most hits in baseball history (3,771) so if every whammo was a whiff he would still have 3,016 hits, which is not only more than Babe Ruth but all but 26 players in Major League history.

He's also not high on the career K list (94th, with 1,393), despite big swingers being associated with big whiffers. Add 755 Ks and you get 2,138, which is not only less than Reggie, but also less than Jim Thome, Adam Dunn, Sammy Sosa and A-Rod. 

Total bases? Aaron's number, criminally, would be halved: from 6,856 to 3,836.  Yet that would still be more total bases than Ichiro, Tim Raines, Mike Piazza, Johnny Bench or Mark McGwire. Among many, many others.

So then I wondered: OK, sure, but how do other homerun hitters rank when you do this? Maybe they're all this way. 

Nope. Take away homeruns from the top 10 homerun hitters of all time and you get these hit totals:

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PLAYERS HITS - HRs
Aaron  3016
Mays  2623
A-Rod 2383
F. Robinson 2357
Bonds 2173
Ruth 2159
Griffey Jr. 2151
Sosa 1799
Thome 1716
McGwire 1043

Only Mays is within 400 hits of him. Most are 800-900 away. McGwire is 2,000 hits away.

And if you add those HRs to the K column for the all-time HR leaders?

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PLAYERS Ks + HRS
Ruth 2044
F. Robinson 2118
Aaron  2138
McGwire 2179
Mays  2186
Bonds 2301
Griffey Jr. 2409
A-Rod 2907
Sosa 2915
Thome 3160

My way of saying pitchers and catchers reported this week. 

Posted at 07:41 AM on Friday February 19, 2016 in category Baseball  
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