Thursday, October 08, 2009

A Baseball Comparison

A-Rod came into the final day of the 2009 Yankees season with 28 home runs and 93 RBIs in a steroid-injury-shortened season, which is exactly where he sat coming into the 6th inning of the afternoon's game. In that 6th inning however, A-Rod blew up, smacking two home runs and knocking in 7 RBIs to finish the season with 30 homers and 100 RBIs for the twelfth year in a row. Is this the biggest last-game-of-the-season performance to reach or secure a major statistical milestone?

Not even close.

In 1941, in Ted Williams' third year in the bigs, he entered the final day of the regular season with a .400 batting average in the books, and his manager Joe Cronin decided to sit Williams for the last day's doubleheader in Philadelphia. Williams, who had no interest in becoming the latest (and as it turns out, the last) guy to hit .400 in a season with an average that he knew was actually .39955 at the time, insisted on playing both games over Cronin's objection. And he proceeded to go 6-for-8 over the team's final two games on September 28, 1941, raising his final batting average on the year to the much more impressive .406 that we all know today as the last time anybody has ever accomplished (and probably will ever accomplish) that feat. Even after a 4-for-5 performance in Game 1, Williams' average sat at .404 and he still insisted on going out for the nightcap as well, risking losing his .400 season to an 0-fer but instead banging out another 2-for-3 in what I see as the greatest last-day clutch performance I have ever heard of when it comes to attaining an individual statistic.

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Blogger lightning36 said...

The last game was not really much of a risk after the outstanding first game. Even an 0 for 4 performance would have kept him at .400. Still, 4 for 5 when it counted most tells you what kind of a player he was.

5:14 PM  

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