It has been quite some time since I have last posted on this site, and I think it is about time to get it up and running again. What better way to kick things off than to talk about the two MLB players we can’t seem to get enough of: Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez .
Considering the rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees, it is strange that there have not been many direct comparisons between these two players. Both were the main sluggers on their respective teams, and both were the face of the franchise (for reasons good or bad). But, like any other comparison in baseball, the question becomes: Who is better?
Because of the absurd amount of coverage A-Rod gets, many people seem to assume he is the better player. True, he certainly has the fleet-footed Manny in the speed and defense departments, especially considering the position he plays. I am making the argument that Manny Ramirez is a far superior hitter.
Despite the fact that Ramirez is three years older and wiser (ok, maybe not wiser) than Rodriguez, they are actually in very similar places in their respective careers. Ramirez has played in 2,103 games and logged 7,610 at-bats. A-Rod is not too far behind with 2,042 games and 7,860 at-bats.
In 200 less at-bats, Ramirez has accrued an almost identical amount of hits (2,392 to 2,404), total bases (4,516 to 4,543) and home runs (527 to 553). The only place he seriously falls behind is runs (1,444 to 1,605). His totals for doubles, RBI and walks beat A-Rod’s by a large margin. Perhaps most importantly, Ramirez boasts a career AVG/OBP/SLG line of .314/.411/.593. Rodriguez lags behind in all three categories with a career line of .306/.389/.578.
Another point to make is that while A-Rod was swinging for the big-league fences at the age of 18, Ramirez did not break into the bigs until about the age of 21. In the 12 seasons where he played 130 games or more, Ramirez averaged 36.4 home runs. It is fair to say if Ramirez had begun his MLB career at the same age as A-Rod, he probably would have 90 or so more homers at this point. Even if we drastically cut down the expectations to just 20 homers per season, that still would have put Ramirez near the 600 mark by now.
Regardless of whether you believe Manny is the better hitter or not, he is set to have an historic season. If he puts up career-average numbers, he will surpass 2,500 hits, 550 doubles and home runs, 1,500 runs, 1,800 RBI and 1,300 walks. That is one of the greatest career lines in the history of right-handed hitters, and he still has a few seasons left in the tank. Pound-for-pound, Manny Ramirez has had a better hitting career than Alex Rodriguez.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson made history against the Chargers Sunday, running his way into the record books with a whopping 296 yards. Unless Tom Brady throws for 14 touchdowns in a game, which may be possible, Adrian owns the most astounding performance of the season.
Peterson beat out poor old Jamal Lewis by a single yard to claim the record. What made Peterson’s game ridiculous, though, was that he faced the Chargers, owners of one of the top defenses in the NFL. Who would have thought the fiery rookie would explode against San Diego and upstage LaDainian Tomlinson?
Launching himself even further into stardom, Peterson has rushed for 200 yards or more TWICE in his rookie season. This little feat has never been done before by an NFL rookie. Ladies and gentleman, I believe we are looking at the new LT. Bold statement? Maybe so, but just look at what the young phenom has done. The age of Tomlinson seems to be fading, and Peterson may soon take the stage as top running back.
Running backs, especially the prolific ones, have a penchant for burning out early. The wear they place on their bodies is tremendous, and Tomlinson is no exception. If he stays healthy, Peterson has the talent to shatter many more records.
As the ball sailed into the waiting arms of Greg Jennings, the crowd erupted and Brett Favre raced to his receiver to celebrate. Number 421 had crossed that final line, and etched itself into the history books as the highest career touchdown total. Brett Favre finally eclipsed Dan Marino’s record, years after many experts considered his career history instead.
The record was broken on the way to Green Bay’s fourth consecutive victory, another trend not anticipated by anyone on Earth. The Packers may have been away from home, but many faithful fans showed up for the record-breaking moment, and the subsequent victory.
Favre is also poised to claim a far more dubious crown: the career record for interceptions. Standing at 275, Favre only needs two more joyfully errant tosses to shatter another record held by George Blanda. And old number 4 only needs about, oh, 2,500 more passing yards to claim that record as well. Dan Marino is going to love this guy by the time the season is over.
With this record, many have begun to ask the question, “is Brett Favre the last of the run-and-gun, gunslinger quarterbacks?” In an age where the game has been honed into an exact science, the number of Favre-like QB’s has certainly dwindled. But to think that the days of risky passers are over is very premature. Players like Jake Delhomme still pass with some of that reckless abandon, and reap the benefits as well as the costs. Favre may represent an end of an age, but is merely another luminary in a long line of gunslingers.
In 1957, Willie Mays, one of the greatest players to grace the outfield, had a season that was not matched for over 50 years. He did not set a record for home runs, hits, or any of the usual suspects. Instead, in a manner representative of his versatility and consistancy, Mays achieved over 20 home runs, doubles, triples and stolen bases in a single season. On September 9th, 2007, this mind-boggling line of statistics was finally matched by another talented outfielder named Curtis Granderson.
Granderson joined Mays and Frank Schulte in one of the most exclusive clubs in baseball after stealing his 20th base against the Seattle Mariners. In many ways, entering the “20-20-20-20 club” is just as impressive as any other feat this year. In a season that saw a new all-time home run leader, 500 career homers from Alex Rodriguez and Frank Thomas, and Tom Glavine’s 300th win, Granderson’s freakish season should stand tall.
To put his numbers in perspective, Granderson has hit more triples then several teams put together, and his 22 on the season is the highest amount in over 50 years. The last Detroit Tiger to hit 21 triples was the lengendary Ty Cobb. To compliment this speedy stat, Granderson has also swiped 20 bases on the season, and still has time for more. Combined with the power to hit over 20 homers and 36 doubles, Granderson may be the most well-balanced player in baseball.
In a time where over-juiced players rule the game, Granderson’s season is a testament to players like Mays, who’s amazing ability was reflected in every facet of the game. Still only 26 years old, Curtis Granderson’s unique skills set should excite fans and exhasperate opponents for years to come.