Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Counting Homers

Not to Alarm anybody, but Babe Ruth is still #2 homerun hitter (USA, no disrespect to Oh-San).

See, Ruth didn't have 714 homeruns in his career, he had 729, or 730.
And Bonds doesn't have 715, he has 724 or 726. (without Torii, he'd have 727).
Aaron actually has a smaller lead than you think with 761 or 763.

Where are these uncounted homeruns? In the postseason and all-star game.
Babe had 15 postseason (I think that's WS only) and 1 all-star homerun.
Barry has 9 postseason HRs and 2 All-star homeruns (hence Torii taking one away).
Hank had only 6 in the postseason, but 2 in all-star games.

I can see an argument for not including All-Star game homeruns, I mean, it is (was?) an exhibition game. But why don't we include postseason Homers? Real, live Major-league pitching in an even more important setting for all parties than the "championship season." There might be an argument that with the expanded playoffs, players have more opportunities, but even the single-season records aren't pro-rated to 162 games. Career homers after the 154th game of the season are definitely not excluded. Sure, including postseason HRs benefits players on better teams but they already have the benefit of getting more ABs in a game if their teammates are better batters, and they won't get pitched around as much.

Maybe I've gone Meta, but why do we count what we count? Could we count spring training HRs? Only if the pitcher was on a 40-man? Rehab stint? Minor-league? Sure, the quality of the pitching is lower, but we don't exclude homeruns off Eric Milton or September call-ups. Could WBC homers count? Should we go back and find the homers in games that weren't official because they were later called due to rain?

You stare at black and white long enough and you start to see the fuzzy gray border.


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