Following the grand celebration, recently held at Cooperstown last July for the Class of '99, one might offer an additional perspective for the voting baseball writers to consider for future inductees. My approach concerns an area in baseball statistics, which is so informative and important, yet very little, is ever mentioned. The subject I ask writers to weigh and deliberate is the impact of total base leaders and our history during the past century of baseball. For general knowledge, total bases consists of 4 counted for a home run, 3 for a triple, 2 for a double, and 1 for a single. The research is as follows for total base leaders:
|1900 - 1909||1st - Honus Wagner|
|2nd - Sam Crawford|
|1910 - 1919||1st - Ty Cobb|
|2nd - Tris Speaker|
|1920 - 1929||1st - Babe Ruth|
|2nd - Rogers Hornsby|
|1930 - 1939||1st - Jimmie Foxx|
|2nd - Lou Gehrig|
|1940 - 1949||1st - Stan Musial|
|2nd - Ted Williams|
|1950 - 1959||1st - Stan Musial|
|2nd - Duke Snider|
|1960 - 1969||1st - Hank Aaron|
|2nd - Willie Mays|
|1970 - 1979||1st - Pete Rose|
|2nd - Bobby Bonds|
|1980 - 1989||1st - Dale Murphy|
|2nd - Eddie Murray|
|1990 - 1999||1st - Ken Griffey, Jr.|
|2nd - Rafael Palmeiro|
It seems in baseball circles, the desired honors are centered on 3,000 hits, 500 home runs, 300 victories, and so on. These illustrious plateaus are certainly noteworthy, but please also reflect on the importance of total bases (especially for an entire decade).
The total bases leader during the 1980's was, of course, Dale Murphy, a two-time MVP winner and a dominant force during much of his decade. Murphy was second in home runs only to Mike Schmidt and second only to Eddie Murray in RBI's during this time frame. Additionally, Robin Yount finished third in total bases in the 1980's, behind Murphy and Murray. When one combines Murphy's outstanding statistics with his on- and off-the-field contributions and character to our National Pastime, one must consider his enshrinement in Cooperstown, July 2000.
Dale Murphy has kept company with some pretty darn good players, one could say! He is a most worthy candidate for the Hall.