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Thursday, October 20, 2011

2011 In Review: Career Statistical Lead Changes

Now that the regular season is over, I've been going through the (thankfully digital) online record books to update my statistical leaders lists. The awards lists will mostly come later (hey, I can't put in the ROYs until they're announced), but I figured I'd get a jump on the several changes seen in the career leader boards this year. Just for your understanding, I take the top 27 career leaders in several categories (three binder pages).
Out: Albert Pujols
The first change is the oddest: Stan Musial (yes, that Stan Musial) and Sam Thompson (who played around the turn of the century) are added to the career batting average leaders list. They both have averages of .331, but until this year their averages were just the smallest percentage points less than Ichiro and Albert Pujols. Pujols batted only .299 this year, while Ichiro hit a disappointing .272, putting their career averages at .328 and .326, respectively. Pujols has been tearing it up in the postseason, batting .400 (.478 in the LCS).
Derek Jeter - 3088 hits and counting
Next, a change that made headlines - Derek Jeter broke the 3000-hit barrier and finished the season at 3088. Also added to the career hit leaders: Cap Anson, who played with the Cubs before they were the Cubs. It looks like MLB doesn't recognize all his hits (3481 according to Wikipedia) because he played with the inferior National Association members Rockford Forest Citys and Philadelphia Athletics in the 1870s. However, his career hit total increased by a small bit to 3011, moving him into 27th place. His hits total is a big controversy, and even the 3011 number may not be correct.
Speedy and somewhat obscure Juan Pierre
Silently moving up the career stolen base list is Juan Pierre of the White Sox, who now has 554 stolen bases. A pair of Franciscos (Cordero, Reds, 327, and Rodriguez, Brewers, 291) made their way onto the always changing career saves list.
Panda hit for the cycle - a tough feat for a guy like him!
Two players hit for the cycle, both in September: George Kottaras of the Brewers was the first in over a year, meeting the accomplishment on September 3. Pablo Sandoval followed on September 15.

Verlander came close to pitching no-hitters twice this year, in addition to the one he threw on May 7
Three pitchers had no-hit gems: Francisco Liriano on May 3, Justin Verlander on May 7, and Ervin Santana on July 27. This was a year for pitchers, as it seemed there was at least one game per week where a pitcher was close to throwing a no-hitter.
Isringhausen earned his first save since 2008
Francisco Cordero entered the 300 Save Club early in the season, and Jason Isringhausen reached 300 saves in August, where he still stands. Of course, Derek Jeter is the newest member of the 300 Hit Club.
Cy Young Shoe-In Clayton Kershaw
Last for the statistics-based season notes, two pitchers earned the Triple Crown - leading their league in ERA, wins, and strikeouts. Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw were outstanding pitchers last year, with stat lines of 2.40/24/250 and 2.28/21/248, respectively. 

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