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Looking to the sky, we bemoan the bazillionth intentional walk that Barry Bonds receives as he tosses his elbow brace and bat toward the dugout. But what if they actually pitched to Barry Bonds? What if we were actually given the chance to hit like damn near everyone else in baseball, just how would he do? In this article we will take a look at that question and survey the landscape of HR hitters in baseball.
PART I- A look at the current
rate of today’s HR hitters.
We could list the top 25 HR hitters as of the date of this article (June 15th, 2004) but you could check that information on any website. Instead what we propose is a bit different. Let’s list the homerun hitters based on the frequency that they hit HR, not on the total HR they have hit to this point. Below is a chart with displays this idea under the category HR%. HR% denotes the percentage of at bats in which the hitter swings and sends the ball on a path that ends in the glove of some lucky fan in the outfield bleachers (or in a kayak depending on where the game is played).
Example: Bonds HR% is 13.5 which means that 13.5% of all his at bats result in a HR.
+ Denotes injured players who
still have a high enough HR% to qualify among the top 25 in baseball.
GLAUS- Too bad he has that bum
shoulder, it would have been nice to see what he would have done.
We bet your asking yourself just how do these HR% compare to the all-time best seasons in baseball history? We’re glad you asked. Here are the top 10 single season HR% of all-time. Again, Bonds is knocking on the door of greatness with his 13.5 HR% thus far in 2004.
Um…yeah…76 HR is a lot. Sixty-eight is kind of a lot as well, but if we had to guess, and that’s what we are doing in this section, we’d guess that Bonds season total will be right around 42 (his pace of 342 at bats is ridiculously small). If only they would pitch to him.
As for the other guys…we think that if you had to make some educated guesses, we’d stick the totals from the 502 AB column, but still be a bit wary. The long summer tends to drain many ballplayers power.
In this section we will list the top 10 HR% hitters for the past three years.
***For a listing of the top 25 HR% hitters of the past 10 years, an a listing of the top 25 HR% seasons of all-time, visit www.wildpitch.blogspot.com
These totals are based on those hitters who accumulated 502 plate appearances or more (enough to qualify for the batting crown).
In the end the top two HR hitters as of this writing, Thome and Bonds, are two names that litter the HR% rate sheet of the 21st century. It’s a joy to watch them hit, hopefully we will get the chance to see both of them do just that the rest of the season. However, we aren’t stupid, we know there’s about as much chance of Bonds getting pitched to as there is of Juan Pierre hitting 40 HR…it just ain’t gonna happen.
Did you know that for one week Frank Howard was the best hitter ever? During the week of May 12-18, 1968, Howard managed to hit 10 HR over 6 games in only 20 at bats (HR% of 50.0).
Ray Flowers can be reached with comments/questions or suggestions at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also visit Rays’ blog at http://wildpitch.blogspot.com/ for a full review of all of his recent articles.