FanPost

Historical statistics

Like maybe others here, I started following baseball when people like Bill James were only beginning to be influential, and before the days of some these more modern statistics. This meant that when I looked at players like Ted Williams or Joe Dimaggio, the two best players of the 1940s, I was normally looking at their triple crown stats. Recently, I re-looked at some of these older players paying particular attention to what we now know are the more important statistics, including walks and strikeouts and homers. Here is what I found for those two people. I also calculated some BABIPs for fun.

 

Joe Dimaggio looks even better - one of the only players in history to hit almost as many homers as strikeouts (361 to 369) over his career, despite having an extremely high batting average (.325 over his career), one wonders why it was lower than other players'. We don't have line drive percentage data for these players (or at least I don't) but his BABIP over his career was .304. In his best year, 1939, at age 24, he batted .381/.446/.671 (OPS+ 184), it was partially because his BABIP rose to .354 (though hitting 30 homers and striking out only 20 times in 462 at bats didn't hurt)

 

Ted Williams needed a bit more luck to get his .400 batting average. At age 22 in 1941, he batted .406/.551/.735 (OPS+ of 235!!!). His numbers were relatively similar to Dimaggio's, with 37 homers and only 27 strikeouts in 456 at bats (though he added 147 walks to Dimaggio's 52), but he managed the extra 25 batting average points by having a BABIP of .378. Over his career, in 7706 ABs he had a disturbing 2021 walks while striking out only 709 times (just under 3-1). His .329 career BABIP helped him get a .344 career batting average

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