Albert Pujols is going to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. He is the active leader in WAR, SLG, 2B, HR, BB, and several other counting statistics. He is not, however, the all-time leader in any category. He’s second in IBB with 304, but will never catch Barry Bonds’ 688.
There is one other statistic for which he is second all-time. We’ll call that stat XX for now. Here is the leaderboard:
Pujols is in great company; the top seven names other than Pujols are all in the Hall of Fame. He began the 2017 season in third place on this list. He tied Ivan Rodriguez on April 4 and surpassed him on April 18. He’s likely to overthrow Cal Ripken sometime after the All-Star Break if he stays healthy.
Pujols has led the league in XX three times in his career, twice in St. Louis and once with the Angels. Ripken only led the league once despite being the all-time leader (for a few more months at least). It was a different Orioles ironman shortstop who led the league the most times: Miguel Tejada was the leader five times between 2004 and 2009 with Baltimore and Houston.
The 2016 leader was another brand name: Miguel Cabrera. The 2017 leader, Yangervis Solarte, doesn’t have quite as impressive a resume, but is on pace to nearly double the single-season record! He even had a XX twice on April 12, going 2-4 with an RBI as well. Only three players have ever accomplished XX four times in one game: Goose Goslin, Joe Torre, and Victor Martinez.
The greatest player ever at XX may have been Jim Rice. He’s tied for seventh most ever despite playing five fewer seasons than any retired player above him. Rice also had an unprecedented streak of XX proficiency from 1982-85. He was the league leader in all four of those seasons and his single season totals in those years are the 19th, 8th, 1st, and 2nd most ever. His single season record is 12.5% higher than any other non-Rice player.
Have you guessed it yet? You can find the answer here. Congratulations in advance to Mr. Pujols on his outstanding achievement!Next post: The Rise of Unfinished No-Hitters
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