Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Nice going, Hank

Classy move by Hank Aaron to have a taped congratulations to Barry Bonds prepared for the video screen in San Francisco. I can understand him not wanting to watch it in person and I can understand him sharing the widespread perception that Barry Bonds didn't really deserve it because he was juiced. But his attitude, at least as portrayed in some of the media, was just on the edge of being petty. In the end, however, he was gracious and classy. Good for him.

Now for a little perspective. The Register's Mark Whicker did a column a couple of days ago that reminds us that while hitting home runs may be spectacular, it doesn't necessarily coincide with winning. No American League team leader in HRs has won the World Series since 1984 (Detroit), and no National League team leader since 1976 (Cincinnati).

Manny Ramirez led the AL in home runs in 2004 and his team won the World Series. The previous time that happened was 'way back in 1973, when Reggie Jackson played for Oakland. The last time a NL team had a home run leader and a World Series championship was Mike Schmidt and Philadelphia in 1980.

Mark Whicker thinks Tom Glavine getting 300 wins is more significant, and he's probably right. He's likely to be the last to reach this plateau the way the game has changed, whereas A-Rod, who became the youngest player to get to 500 homers this weekend, will probably pass Barry (barring something catastrophic) before he's done. Ken Griffey Jr., despite injuries, has a shot, as does Andruw Jones.

None of their teams has been a consistent winner (unless the Yanks sustain their current hotness, which will depend on players other than Rodriguez) while these players have blasted so many out of the park. Home runs are fun, but it's a team game.

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