Friday, May 18, 2012
Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton on record-setting RBI pace
Pursuing the 82-year old RBI record would bring a unique twist into baseball watching.
To no surprise, Major League Baseball named Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton American League Player of the Week for May 7-13, a period when he went on one of the most offensive explosions in recent baseball memory. Just how far can he go?
Hamilton batted .467 (14-30) with nine home runs, two doubles, 18 RBI, and 10 runs scored in seven games last week. He led the majors in homers, RBI, extra-base hits (11), slugging (1.433), and total bases (43), and was tied for the lead in hits and runs.
The onslaught included the May 8 game at Baltimore, when Hamilton went 5-for-5 with a double, four home runs, eight RBI, 18 total bases, and four runs scored. It was just the 16th four-homer game in major league history, the 14th in the modern era (since 1900), and the sixth ever in the American League.
Additionally, Hamilton was just the third player in baseball history to hit four multi-run home runs in a single game, and the first-ever A.L. player to do it, joining the Dodgers’ Gil Hodges in 1950 and the Cardinals’ Mark Whiten in 1993. Hamilton’s 18 total bases in the contest were an A.L. record, just the third player ever with as many total bases in one game. Just another day at the office? Yeah, right.
Although some may say it’s much too early in the season, and certainly manager Ron Washington doesn’t want any of his players focused purely on statistics, Hamilton’s stats are wowing fans and baseball analysts to project the possibility of breaking some of the most coveted season records in the game.
As Hamilton stands at press time, if he stays on his current pace, he would surpass Barry Bonds’ 2001 73-home run record. At press time, he’s batting right at .400, which, if he holds, would make him the first player in 71 years to hit at that mark (Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox, .406, 1941).
But it’s a third category that people should be looking at ahead of the others: Runs Batted In (RBI).
The record is 191 by Hack Wilson of the Chicago Cubs in 1930. Hamilton is currently on pace to bring in 203 runs, based on the current 162-game season. If he was only playing 154 games, like Wilson did, he would still notch 193.
This is the category fans may be overlooking, yet should be looking at the closest, because it would be relatively easier for Hamilton to attain - with a big emphasis on relatively.
Even if he doesn’t hit a home run, clean base hits can still bring in runners. But that’s the rub that would make his task slightly tougher. Batters ahead of him would need to get on base on a consistent level; he wouldn’t be able to depend solely on himself. For the Rangers however, barring a total team meltdown hitting slump, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Past the ultimate glory of chasing a home run record or challenging to hit .400, pursuing the 82-year old RBI record would bring a unique twist into baseball watching. Plus, it would have to be more of a team effort.
So, you guys go on and follow the home run or batting average chase; even in enigmatic fashion, I’m studying the heavy RBI pursuit.
Pegasus News Content partner - Dallas Weekly
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