Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Kruk on Sammy

John Kruk just commented that the list of 600-homer hitters represents the five best offensive players of all time.

Um, what?

Ruth and Bonds, yes. The others, not a chance, although I would campaign for Hank and Willie in the top 20.

What about Sammy Sosa? Honestly, does any intelligent fan even think Sammy is one of the five best offensive players of his own era? It's not all that hard to name ten or fifteen guys from the past 20 years who were clearly more valuable at the plate.

Sosa is the proud owner of a .344 career on-base percentage against a league average of .339. Compare that to, say, Frank Thomas (.423), Edgar Martinez (.418), Manny Ramirez or Jim Thome (.410 each)--it's not even close. Chipper Jones, Gary Sheffield, Mark McGwire, Jeff Bagwell, A-Rod, Vlad; all of these guys have inarguably been better career hitters than Sosa.

Sammy did have one of the better five-year peaks of all time, but he was simply never a great hitter outside of that span, and his inability to get on base cost his teams dearly. It's odd that John Kruk, a light power hitter who lived on OBP, would fail to understand this. Then again, I've met Sherpas who have deeper insights into baseball than Kruk.

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