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Monday, May 28, 2012

Top 5 MLB Hitters in MLB Part 5

#5 Willie Mays
#4 Rogers Hornsby
#3 Babe Ruth
#2 Ted Williams
#1 Ty Cobb

Ty Cobb, "The Georgia Peach" is far and away the greatest hitter in MLB history. When Cobb retired, he held over 90 MLB records. He still owns the highest lifetime Batting Average in MLB history(.366). In his career, the Georgia Peach won 12 American League batting titles. A record that still stands today. Cobb, won a record nine consecutive batting titles from 1907-1915. Cobb also finished second in batting average three times. His nearest competitors have eight career batting titles(Tony Gwynn and Honus Wagner). Ty Cobb batted over .400 three times in his 24 year career. Cobb holds the records for highest batting average over a two year span(.414 over 1911 and 1912), and a three year span(.408 from 1911 to 1913).

The Peach finished his career with 4,191 hits, an MLB record, that stood until Pete Rose broke it in 1985. Some of Cobb's other records that have since been broken; most career runs 2,246, broke in 2001, most career games played 3,035, broke in 1974, most career at bats 11,434, broke in 1974, most career stolen bases 892, broke in 1977. Ty played 24 years in the MLB and was elected by 222 of  226 voters for the inaugural Hall of Fame class. His 98.2% of the vote was higher than any player on the ballot, which included; Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Honus Wagner and other greats. The Georgian also won the AL triple crown in 1909.

An average Cobb season over 162 games looks like this; 162 games played, 698 plate appearances, 611 at bats, 120 runs, 224 hits, 39 doubles, 16 triples, 6 home runs, 103 RBI, 48 stolen bases, 67 walks, 36 strikeouts, .366 batting average, .433 on base percentage, .512 slugging percentage, and 313 total bases. That is just an average season over his 24 year career. That is an amazing stat line.

Ty Cobb is second all time in career offensive WAR(wins above replacement level) with 144.9 win shares. The Georgia Peaches career stats; .366 lifetime batting average first all-time, 4,191 hits second all-time, .433 on base percentage ninth all-time, .512 slugging percentage 71st all-time, 3,034 games played fifth most all-time, 11,434 at bats fifth all-time, 2, 246 runs scored second all-time, 5,854 total bases fifth all-time, 724 doubles second all-time, 295 triples second all-time, 1,938 RBI seventh all-time, 897 stolen bases fourth all-time, 3,053 singles, second all-time, 1,136 extra base hits 12th all-time, and he was on base 5,532 times good for third all-time.

I believe Cobb to be the greatest hitter of all-time and it is not even close. He was the top hitter of his generation. A generation that only used one or two baseballs per game. These balls were much different from the baseballs used in 1920 and thereafter. They were not wound tight, and they did not carry nearly as far as the modern baseball. Despite these differences, the Georgia Peach still managed to hit .366 for his career. Cobb played in an era that was much different than today's, but he was that generations top slugger. His power numbers compare favorably with the greats when you factor in the different era he played in.

Here is a story  that best sums up his career. On May 5, 1925, Cobb began a two-game hitting spree better than any even Ruth had unleashed. He was sitting in the dugout talking to a reporter and told him that, for the first time in his career, he was going to swing for the fences. That day, Cobb went 6 for 6, with two singles, a double, and three home runs. His 16 total bases set a new AL record, which stood until May 8th, 2012 when Josh Hamilton hit four home runs and a double for a total of 18 bases. The next day he had three more hits, two of which were home runs. Cobb's single his first time up gave him 9 consecutive hits over three games. Cobb wanted to show that he could hit home runs when he wanted, but simply chose not to do so. At the end of the series, 38-year-old Cobb had gone 12 for 19 with 29 total bases. The fact that he could do that shows he is by far the greatest hitter of all-time.

part 4

part 3

part 2

part 1

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