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February 17, 2011

Brief Thoughts on Young and 3,000 and the Hall

Joey Matschulat has a fine article about Michael Young's Hall of Fame chances, wherein he mentions something I wrote a year ago about Young's likelihood of achieving 3,000 hits. A "statistical sledgehammer," he called it. Flattering. To make a long story short, Bill James's "Favorite Toy" gave Young a modest 18% probability of reaching 3,000, and I suggested that even 18% was optimistic.

Young now needs 1,152 hits to reach 3,000. He's entering his Age 34 season. Riffing off Matschulat, here's the list of players who achvieved that many hits from Age 34 through the end of their careers and how many seasons were needed:

Sam Rice, Pete Rose
Ty Cobb, Paul Molitor
Craig Biggio, Nap Lajoie, Edgar Martinez, Honus Wagner
Hank Aaron, Luke Appling, Stan Musial, Dave Winfield, Carl Yaztrzemski
Omar Vizquel
Carlton Fisk

Only 15 players, many of whom were among the best to ever swing a bat, populate the list. Tony Gwynn had "only" 1,102 hits after turning 34. George Brett had 1,059. Wade Boggs had 1,045. And so on. Whatever you think of Young, the players in the preceding table are his betters, not his peers. He's bucking some terribly long odds at this point. On the other hand, he already leads the Rangers in base hits. If he hangs around, he'll lead in games played, plate appearances, total bases, doubles, and times on base. His name is all over the franchise's record books.

Texas took the extraordinary step of introducing the still-active Pudge Rodriguez before its first-ever World Series game last fall. Pudge received a hero's welcome. Despite leaving under uncomfortable circumstances, he remains as beloved as any player in Texas history. What reaction might Young receive in 2020, if he were invited back?

Posted by Lucas at February 17, 2011 01:02 AM